Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Road Less Traveled

I'm clicking Wired down a notch as far as their movie reviews are concerned (not that I ever rated them that highly.

Their "2009 Movie Guide" lists many sci-fi, horror, fantasy movies due out in 2009, but doesn't even mention the one I'm most eager to see: the film version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

While it doesn't fit neatly into the traditional "sci-fi" category, it's certainly consistent with the genre and rates at least a sentence or two from a publication that purports to be "cutting edge."
Read more!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Go For Broke

I found the New Yorker's "Cartoon Capture Contest" #173 winners to be mostly bankrupt of any humor.

I'm partial, but I liked my entry better than any of the finalists. It was on target, but not TOO obvious:
"What color was Fred's parachute."
The "winners" were as subtle as getting hit on the head with a safe.
  • "Who would have thought they'd actually give money to a bank!" - that's funny??

  • "At the next bailout, let's also ask for a pony." - ha ha ha (fake laughing)

  • "Did you send your thank-you card to Congress?" - they've GOT to be picking them out of a hat

Read more!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oh No They Didn't!

Eat your heart out Patriot fans. The Lions make NFL history with their own "perfect" season and don't break ANY rules!

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Taken to Task

Wow. Someone really took issue with the fact that I wasn't taking the GapFlix service which promises goal realization through video serious enough in one of my posts:

You apparently weren't paying attention. The service offers a way for you to visualize your goals and dreams. The technique is exactly the same as how athletes visualize winning before a competition. This is a tool to create a video of your personal goals. Try it before you put it down

I'm guessing that this person shelled out the $48.95 on something that YouTube does for FREE.

Read more!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

They'll See the Big Board!!

I was worried about NORAD's Santa tracker siphoning off valuable resources that should be watching the Russkies. Then someone reminded me that Sarah Palin can see the Soviet Union from her house.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Turkey

I didn't enter The New Yorker "Cartoon Caption Contest #170," but the winner laid an egg:

"I miss the cash bonuses."

MY favorite, "I am useless until I have my morning turkey," came in second.

The third place entry did nothing for me: "I was actually hoping for a boy."
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bread and Circuses: Ruminations From Ground Zero of the Auto Bailout

This week I did something that I rarely ever do: I took the bus into work.

Full post at The House Next Door.
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Just ONE More

The Saints hand the Lions their head. Now, don't blow the last one against Green Bay guys!

A "perfect" 0 and 16 season is just four quarters away.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008


Great entry to Postsecret:

I don't like proving people wrong, but I'm ALWAYS surprised when an mass email turns out to be true.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

44 Presidents of the United States

A friend of mine forwarded me this excellent bit of work:

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's Kathy Smoking?

There's plenty to take issue with in this love letter from the Detroit Free Press by Kathy Barks Hoffman to Governor Granholm masquerading as a serious article...
Granholm makes rounds as auto advocate

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has differed in the past with U.S. automakers, squabbling with the United Auto Workers union over party politics and wishing out loud that Michigan’s fortunes weren’t so tied to the ailing industry.
Exactly WHEN did she fight the UAW. I must have missed it.

...But when detractors in recent weeks portrayed the Detroit Three as manufacturing dinosaurs that didn’t deserve bridge loans to avoid bankruptcy, Granholm became an impassioned — and occasionally sharp-tongued — advocate for the industry.

“It has been extremely frustrating, and I have probably used some words I should not be using,” she said last week...
I wish she had been as passionate when Toyota was trying to decide where to locate their new plant (that ended up in another state). Oh, but she did give 40 percent tax breaks to the film industry.
...But the feisty and hard-charging governor, who ran a half-marathon in less than two hours this fall, also is easily angered by injustice, and she thinks the automakers and her state are being wrongly maligned....
Could the writer kiss her ass any more. Speaking of running, I'm just glad she can't run again for Governor.
...She accused Senate Republicans who refused to back the bridge loans of “protecting the foreign companies that are in their borders. They’re not acting as Americans.”...
Shelby and his cheerleaders in the GOP are full of shit, BUT I thought challenging some one's patriotism was wrong. BTW, does her husband still drive a Lexus?
...When former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said during an exchange Sunday with Granholm on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that U.S. automakers had a cost disadvantage compared with foreign automakers, an impassioned Granholm skewered his comments as inaccurate and pointed a finger at him as she argued over legacy costs...
I disagree with Romney's position, BUT he mopped the floor with her on Sunday.
...Granholm usually is relatively cool in public. The former assistant federal prosecutor and state attorney general often draws on her legal training to phrase her comments carefully, but she can be a fiery speaker....
I remember a particularly "fiery" speech where she promised that we'd be "blow us away" in five years? Nuff said.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

The Other Shoe...

Was it just me, or did the Secret Service seem a bit slow in coming out to protect President Bush during the shoe throwing incident in Iraq?

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Two To Go!

After the Lions dropped a 31-21 decision to Indianapolis, a "perfect" 0 and 16 season is just two games away!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

If the Shoe Fits...

My 15 year old took a one-week "Young Adults" class at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit last summer.

Today we noticed that one of her projects from that class made it into the new CSS course schedule brochure.

Yes, I'm one of those annoyingly proud papas.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Global Warming Heretics Unite!

I'll reiterate my prediction that, in a few years, "man-made" global warming will compared to the "killer bee" scare from the late 70's.
UN Blowback: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims

Study: Half of warming due to Sun! –Sea Levels Fail to Rise? - Warming Fears in 'Dustbin of History'

POZNAN, Poland - The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers...(full article)

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Candidate 5

The scandal involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his efforts to benefit from filling Obama's vacant Senate seat has me muttering "WTF?"

Blago 2016

Throughout the intercepted conversations, Blagojevich also allegedly spent significant time weighing the option of appointing himself to the open Senate seat and expressed a variety of reasons for doing so, including: frustration at being “stuck” as governor; a belief that he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor; a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for President in 2016; avoiding impeachment by the Illinois legislature; making corporate contacts that would be of value to him after leaving public office; facilitating his wife’s employment as a lobbyist; and generating speaking fees should he decide to leave public office.


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Monday, December 08, 2008

Pot, Meet Kettle

According to Reuters, Senate Banking Committee Chairman, Christopher Dodd, "agreed with suggestions by fellow lawmakers that GM should probably consider replacing CEO Rick Wagoner and restructure with a new team.

"I think he has to move on," Dodd said.

Interestingly, Dodd got a very sweet deal from Countrywide Financial which is at the very center of the banking crisis that arguably what has caused a lot of GM's current woes.

Two U.S. senators, two former Cabinet members, and a former ambassador to the United Nations received loans from Countrywide Financial through a little-known program that waived points, lender fees, and company borrowing rules for prominent people.

Senators Christopher Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut and chairman of the Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, refinanced properties through Countrywide’s “V.I.P.” program in 2003 and 2004, according to company documents and emails and a former employee familiar with the loans.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

RIP: Forrest Ackerman

I probably shouldn't admit this, but Forrest Ackerman and William Gaines had an enormous impact on my life. As a kid, Famous Monsters of Filmland and Mad Magazine were the first periodicals that I read on a regular basis. I frankly couldn't be bothered with the antics of bat, super or spider men. I even got my dad to pay for subscriptions (no small feat).


Forrest J Ackerman, the Man Who Coined Term 'Sci-Fi,' Dies at 92

...Ackerman said he thought up the term "sci-fi" in 1954 after he heard a radio announcer say "hi-fi."

"My dear wife said, 'Forget it, Forry, it will never catch on,'" he later said, according AP.

FMoF came out years before People or Entertainment Weekly and catered narrowly to science fiction and horror fans. It really didn't offer any serious cinematic analysis and often lumped pure crap in with film classics. However, I'd argue that FMoF generated an appreciation for movies in youngsters just as the "Dick and Jane" series taught them to read. That certainly was the case with me.

I, for one, am glad his wife was wrong.
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Friday, December 05, 2008

Second Only to "Netflix Envy"

Now I don't feel as bad about that stack of unread magazines in the corner. From
Are you afflicted with 'TiVo guilt'?

More and more people are becoming turned off by their TiVos. Digital video recorders (DVRs) revolutionized television for many viewers, freeing them from endless VCR programming and buying and keeping track of tapes. But it turns out that very ease is providing users with more than they can watch -- and turning a joy into drudgery.

"You want to watch TV, and what do you have? You turn on your DVR and you have a homework assignment," says Brad Berens, chief content officer for iMedia communications, who analyzes how media advances change people's behavior.

"Economists call this 'opportunity costs,' " explains Berens. "You're sitting there and you have to weigh, well, 'I have to watch this thing, because I promised myself when I told TiVo ... I want the whole season of that! Go get it! And go get things like it!' And so you've committed to this decision and it's a burden -- suddenly your relaxation has turned into more work."

Read more!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fun with Facebook

Here's a nifty little Facebook game to play (in lieu of the usual stupid "Movies of the '80s" quizzes).

Instead of listing a status such as "out to lunch," or whatever, do the following:

  • Grab the book closest to you. Now.
  • Go to page 56.
  • Find the 5th sentence.
  • Write that sentence as your status.
  • Copy these instructions as a comment to your status.
  • Don't go looking for your favorite book, or the coolest one you have -- just grab the closest one.

When I did that, I got: "No, it's not Star Wars." I actually kinda liked that one.

Read more!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Too Bad If You're a Giants Fan Named "Smith"

Here's a fun experiment.

Go to the shop on the NFL site and try to order a New York Giants jersey with the number 17 and name "Smith."

You can't. Instead, you'll get the following error:
Your current entry cannot be processed. Some entries are prohibited due to guidelines for past and present player names. Please create a new entry.
Here's why: after accidentally shooting himself in the leg, New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress (no. 17) checked into the hospital under the name of "Harris Smith."

As a result, the league has acted fast to block any clever fans from getting a #17, "Smith" jersey.

Pretty funny.
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday Monday

In honor of Cyber Monday:

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

That's Ecotainment

Oh no! It sounds like Klaatu's Christ-like message in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still is going to be an environmental one.

How is that going to play? "Stop ruining the planet or Gort will blow it up!"


"Scott Brown on the Looming Deluge of Eco-Disaster Flicks" in Wired:

The dopiness of so-called ecotainment—environmentally virtuous entertainment—rises in direct proportion to its message-mongering. In this way, it's no different from the Christian inspirational flick. To be sure, many classics prey upon our ecological anxieties—The Birds, Jaws, and Jurassic Park come to mind. But these highlight the indomitable and inscrutable brutality of nature, not the need for better stewardship of a beleaguered planet. They're the children of Moby-Dick, not Silent Spring. Even in these jittery, post-Inconvenient Truth days of rising seas, killer storms, and T. Boone Pickens TV spots, blockbuster-scale ecotainment is still the poseur spawn of Towering Inferno-style disaster matinee and Silkwood-esque docudrama. The subject matter simply resists Hollywood idiocy: Environmental problems are complex and holistic, whereas mainstream movies thrive on conspicuous good/evil dichotomies that flatter our binary human minds. To oversimplify: Nature is Gore-ville; blockbusters are Bush country.

...Before this beefed-up, camp-free ecotrend can continue, however, it must pass its ultimate legitimacy test: Keanu Reeves. He's starring in a Category 5 environmentally minded remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still—an antiwar-message movie from 1951—invading theaters in December. Fox has been "trying to remake this since the original," says screenwriter David Scarpa. "Ray Bradbury did a draft in 1980." Now that humankind has finally generated a worthy successor to nuclear Armageddon, the studio has pulled the trigger. Keanu plays Klaatu, the wise alien who, in the original, landed in DC with his chaperone, the chrome killbot Gort, and began counseling against atomic brinkmanship with the USSR. This time, he's an unearthly Earth-firster who chides our planet-raping ways—and backs up his critique with lethal action (Gort again—but updated).

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

God Bless Us, Everyone (For Less)

It's nice to see that the financial crisis hasn't dampened people's holiday spirit.


Throng Of 2,000 Shoppers Bum-Rush L.I. Wal-Mart

...But on Friday – better known as "Black Friday" to millions upon millions of holiday shoppers across the country, a scene like this turned deadly as a mob stampeded over a security guard at a Long Island Wal-Mart.

The heavy glass and steel sliding doors were literally knocked off their hinges in the shopper-stampede-to-be-first. Then the wave of humanity caved in on defenseless Wal-Mart workers as they opened early -- 5 a.m. -- for the annual bargain hunting ritual that kicks off the morning after Thanksgiving.

"The crowd pushed so forcefully that they crashed the doors down and one of the workers from Wal-Mart was pushed to the floor as the crowd entered the store, many of them running," said Det. Lt. Michael Fleming of the Nassau CountyPolice Department.

Read more!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Perfect Season?

From the Freep:
It's not 'just a chance': Lions are likely to go 0-16

There are only four games left. Plus, let's face it, we're witnessing history here. They don't just have a chance to go 0-16 -- they have gotten to the point where it is actually likely. Isn't that more fun than 3-13?

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Still Prefer NetFlix

Here was an unusual piece of spam I received yesterday from GapFlix. I only opened it because I thought it was a DVD rental service that specialized in hard to find movie titles.

Nope. As near as I can tell, GapFlix (Goals Acquisition Program), promises that, through the power of "creative thoughts and aspirations" (and $48.95), they will help you attain your dreams by giving you a place to store your own Internet movies. Isn't that what YouTube does for free?

Here are some "satisfied" customers:

A high school drop-out who served time in federal prison

A college drop-out working in a restaurant

A man wearing a green bow-tie
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Impeach Riley

Richelle Riley's Free Press column s has to be the stupidest thing I've read in weeks. Even if I were to grant everything she accuses Bush of (which I don't), how in the hell does she seriously expect it to be accomplished in six weeks? It can't. Then, she ties the importance of the issue to the economy. Does Riley have any idea of how the spectacle of an impeachment proceeding cobbled together in haste would do to consumer confidence? Oh, why do I even bother asking myself the question? The column is pure bullshit.

For economy's sake, Pelosi needs to push for impeachment now

Rep. Nancy Pelosi's ineffectiveness became clear the day she became Speaker of the House and immediately announced that there would be no impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

...Pelosi wouldn't have to start from scratch: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the bravest member of Congress, introduced legislation 11 months ago to impeach the president and vice president. Last January, the House gave a first reading of one of those articles of impeachment. Our own Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, joined 38 other representatives to sponsor HR 635, which would form a committee to look into whether there are grounds for impeachment. Revive that effort!

...The only question I have for Nancy Pelosi is this: What are we waiting for?

Read more!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

But It's Still Better Than Tang

A piece of equipment costing $154 million gets tripped up by rubber grommets and bolts worth a couple of dollars.

Astronauts tinker with urine-to-water machine

HOUSTON (AP) - Astronauts tinkered Sunday with a troublesome piece of equipment designed to help convert urine and sweat into drinkable water, which is vital to allowing the international space station crew to double to six.

Station commander Michael Fincke and space shuttle Endeavour astronaut Donald Pettit changed how a centrifuge is mounted in a urine processor, which is part of the newly delivered $154 million water recovery system. The centrifuge is a spinning device that helps separate the water from urine.

It was on rubber grommets to reduce vibrations, and Mission Control asked Fincke to remove them and just bolt the piece down.

"We're very hopeful for this, and if not, we have a few other tricks up our sleeves," Fincke said from the space station after the task was finished.

Read more!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fowl Play


After officially "pardoning" a turkey, something that just about every executive branch politician does at this time of the year, Palin gets interviewed at a turkey farm while a couple of less fortunate birds get "processed" in the background (video below).

I know Alaskans are probably more used to this sort of thing than us city folk, but didn't it occur to Palin, her handlers, or whoever is working the camera that maybe they should frame the f'n shot 10 feet over?

Even the guy using the turkey cone (yes, that's what it's called) seems taken aback.

BTW, here's a quick description of how to use the contraption from Blue Oak Ranch Pastured Poultry. Bon Appetite!:

The first turkey goes into the killing cone headfirst. Catch and handle your birds gently and calmly, and there will be less stress (for both you and the bird!). Restrain them by holding the shanks, and try to avoid rough handling.

The first cut to sever the jugular vein and carotid artery are made just behind the tendon attachment for the beak and tongue. You can feel the hard cartilaginous piece behind the jaw attachment and ear canal.

Make sure you have absolutely sharp knives for this process. The sharper the knife, the cleaner the cut and the bird will bleed out faster and more completely.

After the bird is in the cone, pull its head out by the lower beak and hold it firmly. Your thumb should be able to sit firmly in the "V" of the beak and your forefinger should hold the jaw firmly on the inside. Yes, the bird will try to close its beak; and no, it won't really hurt you...

...Be prepared to deal with the blood, which will flow over your hands and even squirt out the side of the neck, if you only nick the carotid artery instead of severing it.

...Cut deeply behind the jaw, pressing firmly with your knife while using a slicing motion. Cut down and toward the front of the neck, traveling under the jaw. Still holding the lower beak firmly with your thumb, cut the other side of the neck in the same location behind the jaw to sever the opposite blood vessel.

Read more!

If the Avatar Don't Fit, You Must Acquit!

FIVE YEARS? Some real killers don't go to prison for that long.
Online divorcee jailed after killing virtual hubby

A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband's digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.

The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

"I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

Read more!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Plymouth Rock the Vote

Here's a ballot disputed by the Al Franken campaign as a recount for the Minnesota Senate race proceeds in Plymouth. I guess they think that this person accidentally voted for Norm Coleman and then tried to "x" it out.

Coleman's people should challenge ALL of the ballots on the basis that Franken isn't a farmer.

From the
One challenge headed to the state so far in Plymouth

The bubble beside Norm Coleman’s name appeared to have both an X and a squiggle in it, but the Al Franken campaign wants the state Canvassing Board to rule on whether it should count. That’s the only challenge in the special envelope in Plymouth so far, according to Sandy Engdahl, the city clerk and the official running the city recount...

...Eight of the 24 precincts had been counted by 1:45 p.m., and the only challenged ballot, in Engdahl’s view, was clearly a vote for Coleman. Nevertheless, the Franken campaign was allowed to seek a second opinion.

Read more!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chicks In Space

Why do I find this story about a woman astronaut, a lubricant spurting grease gun, and a floating tool kit simultaneously hilarious and alluring?

Oops! Tools Lost in Space

A shuttle astronaut performing repairs during a spacewalk outside the International Space Station yesterday faced a slippery dilemma when a grease gun spurte lubricant inside her tool bag. As Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper cleaned the lubricant from he gloves, her bag full of tools floated away, boldly going where no tools have gone before reports the Houston Chronicle.

"Oh great," muttered the astronaut as the bag floated just out of reach. The lost bag included grease guns, scrapers, and wire ties-none of which is expected to pose  space hazard. The tasks were completed by sharing tools with a fellow astronaut. Th Shuttle Endeavour docked with the space station Sunday on a 16-day mission to expand the station and install additional equipment.

Read more!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Confession About Nothing

I loved the penultimate episode of the The Shield, where Vic Mackey, as part of a plea deal, confesses to every sin he's committed during the show's seven year run.

On the one hand, it was powerful stuff. I loved it when the female ICE officier tells him that he has ruined her career, to which Vic quietly replies, "I've done worse."

Mackey's confession was staged as a series of dissolves and cuts where, at any given moment, you only get to hear part of the specific incident he's fessing up to and, if you know the show, can connect it to the episode it came from.

However, I must say that about half-way through, it reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where Costanza, who is competing for a vacant apartment with an Andrea Doria survivor, gives his sad life history to the tenant association.

If you don't believe me, check out the 17 minute mark of this video to see what I mean.

Seinfeld: The Andrea Doria
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fudge Factor


From By Christopher Booker, at
The world has never seen such freezing heat

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

Read more!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fire the Cartoonist

The New Yorker "Cartoon Caption Contest 168" left a sour taste in my mouth.

My entry was in the ballpark with a "Fantastic Four" reference:
If you think that's "fantastic," you should try one of Johnny Storm's crepe flambes.
Here are the winners:
  • Apparently, even the Fantastic Four can feel the pinch of the recession. - I can't believe that this was the best of the lot that made the F4 connection. Mine was more subtle.

  • Please try not to stare at his disproportionately short right arm. - I actually like this one.

  • The first course has been described as a taste explosion. - comci, comca

Read more!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What Would Barry Do?

To be perfectly honest, I had turned off last week’s election broadcasts by 9:30pm. My prediction that it would be decided by nine o'clock was only premature by half an hour. Instead of watching John McCain, my choice for president, get defeated by Barack Obama, I decided that the movie 300 would be a more entertaining lost cause to see played out. Based on what little of the coverage I did catch, including that high-tech news anchor hologram on CNN and those inane electronic touch screens that are more suited for weather reports, I think I made the right decision.

Full post at The House Next Door.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

She Could Call It The Dud Bowl

5-foot 6-inch, 110 lb. (I'm not being catty, she lists that at the top of her site) brunette and self proclaimed author/comedian, Amy Borkowsky, is trying to raise 3 million dollars on the Internet so that she can afford to a run her own personal ad on the Super Bowl in the hopes of finding a husband.

As of today, she's only $2,996,165 short.

If you donate $10,000, she'll even invite you to the wedding. Oh, joy!
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

Some things speak for themselves.

This line of undergarments come with a built-in GPS device. And they're 100% cotton too!!
Forgetmenot Panties:
Ever worry about your wife cheating? Want to know where your daughter is late at night? Need to know when your girlfriend's temperature is rising?

This amazing device will answer all of your questions! These panties can give you her location, and even her temperature and heart rate, and she will never even know it's there! Unlike the cumbersome and uncomfortable chastity belts of the past, these panties are 100% cotton, and use cutting-edge technology to help you protect what matters most.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What So Proudly We Google

Since I constantly complain about the days they fail to celebrate, I must be fair and commend Google for actually recognizing Veteran's Day this year:

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Missles of November

Joe Biden's prediction about an early test for President-elect Obama has come a little early.

From The

President Medvedev ordered missiles to be stationed up against Nato’s borders yesterday to counter American plans to build a missile defence shield.

Speaking within hours of Barack Obama’s election, Mr Medvedev announced that Russia would base Iskander missiles in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad – the former German city – next to the border with Poland.

He did not say whether the short-range missiles would carry nuclear warheads.

Taking advantage of the world’s attention on the US elections, Mr Medvedev also cancelled plans to withdraw three intercontinental ballistic missile regiments from western Russia by 2010.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Help Me Obi Wan

Not since Fox Sports added a dot and comet tail to the puck for NHL broadcasts has there been a more uselessly Rube Goldberg-like implementation of "new" broadcast technology than last night's debut of the CNN hologram.

Read more!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nano Wri Mo

I'm not sure why, but I'll be participating in my 2nd National Novel Writing Month exercise over at  50,000 words in 30 days.  I'm already behind!

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Friday, October 31, 2008

We Interrupt This Carnage

Granted, the special effects are dated and the sequels kinda sucked, but for my money, this plausible "explanation" scene of an implausibly hellish situation from Night of the Living Dead, using news broadcasts, is still one of the best.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008


I found Barack Obama's multimillion television event quite interesting. I didn't realize that he could hold two times his own weight in water.

Oh wait, that was the ShamWow infommerical.  My bad.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In the Red

Much like the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis which serves as the connecting motif running through Mad Men’s finale, Meditations in an Emergency, the second season of the Emmy winning show ended with a whimper, not a bang. As opposed to an explosive, crash and burn cliff-hanger type finale, three distinct "emergencies" were presented in an episode that provided the audience with a soft landing from the previous outings. These emergencies included: the aforementioned Cuban Missile Crisis, the takeover at Sterling Cooper by British ad agency, Putnam, Powell and Lowell, and Betty discovering that she’s pregnant while still trying to sort out her marital woes with Don.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, Mad Men deliberately uses color to delineate the feelings and motivations of cast members at a given point in the story. Red seems to be particularly significant in denoting when someone is experiencing a strong yearning to fulfil some unrequited need. Black, on the other hand, would seem to indicate a pragmatic resignation by a character, consciously or not, that some aspirations just aren't attainable. This is consistent with the show’s logo in which the word "Mad" is in red, while "Men" is black. By implication, the "madness" that afflicts different characters at times, is an outgrowth of some deeply felt internal void and made manifest for the audience by the prominent display of the color red. Whereas black often indicates the other side of that continuum.

An example would be the two gift boxes presented in The Mountain King. In a flashback from a previous Christmas at Anna's house, Don excitedly tells her about meeting Betty. In the background can be seen a gift box decorated in red ribbon. At the end of that same episode, Betty, who is now suffering over martial woes with Don, gives her daughter a gift that's curiously wrapped in black ribbon. It's also at this point where we get the first hint about Betty's pregnancy.

In the very first scene of Meditations in an Emergency, on a wall at the office of Betty’s doctor we see a painting depicting a fawn and it's mother (an analogy for Betty's situation). The exam room Betty sits in is dominated by black colors. She clearly doesn't want this baby. Betty and the doctor talk in code about other "options." However, the doctor, holding her hand, unconvincingly tries to dissuade Betty from pursuing these options just yet.

After his three-week disappearance, Don reunites with Betty at her riding club. Wearing black, she seems to be inviting a miscarriage by deliberately disobeying her doctor's orders about equestrian sports. Don confesses to his infidelity. Betty's ironic reply, "At least I'm not crazy," doesn't completely jibe with her behavior in past episodes. And certainly not what she will do in this one.

Back at SC, Pete, still showing signs of the newfound courage he displayed in The Mountain King, and after some encouragement from Peggy, admits to Duck's about losing the Clearasil account. Duck, who is wearing a red tie, seems to be falling in lockstep with the culture of the new British owners by using terms like "sticky wicket" to describe Pete's situation with his father-in-law. Luckily, the Clearasil account would be in conflict with one of PP&L's current clients. So, it's loss turns out to be a moot point. Duck expresses approval of Pete's “loyalty.”

Don watches a televised speech by John F. Kennedy that introduces the Cuban Missile Crisis into the storyline. The next morning, Don returns to the office in a wet overcoat. While this is ostensibly due to having just come in from a thunderstorm outside, it also could refer on a symbolic level to the global storm they all face or Don's baptism in the ocean at the end of The Mountain King wear he is reborn as Don Draper. Now consigned to an existence he had contemplated abandoning, Don, in contrast with Duck, is wearing a black tie. Peggy, who confides to Pete later in the episode that she has realized the costs associated with success, is wearing a black and gray outfit that conspicuously matches Don's.

Pete goes into Don's office and complains about being abandoned in California. Don, still a good pitch man, congratulates Pete for passing his "test." On a shelf behind Don is a globe. This is a new addition to his office decor. Later, when Don goes to Roger's office to discuss the merger, a cross is visible through Roger's window. Both of these touches reinforce the issues of worldly and supernatural concerns that underscore the major themes presented in Meditations in an Emergency.

Regarding the tension in Cuba, Don tells Roger, "We don't know what's going on." The junior executives at SC act out their own panic but seem more concerned over the implications of the merger than they do about the Russian threat. At one point, Ken, Sal and Paul are trying to watch a news broadcast but, ironically, can’t get the television in Harry's office to work. After hearing that the Soviets had fired on U.S. ships, Ken, pounds on the television exclaiming "Fix it!" Ken is referring to the poor reception, but his statement has a double meaning that also reflects his exasperation over the global situation. There's a nice moment when we see that SC’s “head" of television can’t fix his own. Just as world operates in the dark regarding Cuba, so are SC employees groping about for answers concerning their professional fate. They get Lois the switchboard operator to admit to hearing about "redundancies,” an English term for layoffs, in phone conversations among top brass.

Panic over the Cuban Missile Crisis is also on display when Betty visits her hairdresser. In curlers and wearing a blue smock salon, she lights up a cigarette as she waits her turn. The sight of an expectant woman smoking was a common thing in the 1960s, but has a somewhat jarring affect on our current sensibilities and reinforces the idea of Betty wanting to end the pregnancy.

Betty drops the kids off at Don’s hotel room for a visit with their father. As she drops them off, it’s notable that the daughter is wearing a black hat and a grey sweater. This seems to suggest Betty’s emotional downturn. The son, a stand in for Don who hopes to reunite with his family, is wearing a bright red sweater.

Outside, Betty passes by a department store display window. We see her visage reflected between two mannequins. One is wearing a red outfit and the other blue. At this moment, she is being given a choice between the pursuit of her urges (the red outfit) or to stay within her life of suburban domesticity (as represented by the blue outfit that’s similar in color to the blue smocks worn at the beauty salon).

Deciding on the former, Betty enters an upscale cocktail lounge and sits at the bar. It's not long before she is approached by a handsome stranger. Like Betty's nails and lipstick, his drink is red. The two end up having sex on a plush leather sofa in a back office of the lounge. The use of the couch, another familiar device on Mad Men (and referenced in the opening credits), suggests that the tryst is an emotional nadir for Betty. This also can be juxtaposed with the couch at Betty’s psychiatrist's office in Season One where she underwent a more traditional form of "therapy." After the encounter, probably intended by Betty as a form of penance for Don, her usually vivid red lipstick is all but rubbed off.

Peggy and Father Gill (wearing a black jacket) discuss nuclear war and god. Gill threatens Peggy with the possibility of damnation if she doesn't confess her sin. While he's severe and dogmatically correct, Gill isn’t portrayed as the stereotypical raving theist. Nonetheless, as she has all season in these matters, Peggy politely puts him off.

Back at their apartment, Pete watches Trudy packing as she readies to go stay with her parents until the Cuban situation blows over. A more hard-boiled Pete, who, educated about missiles from his trip to California, doesn't see any point in running.

Back at SC, Ken, Sal, Paul and Pete once again discuss the impending merger. Pete, not divulging the news of his promotion, is warned by one of the other execs about the hanging of "loyalists" by the "new regime."

Inspired by this, Pete tries to form an alliance with Don by telling him about merger (which Don doesn't let on to already knowing about). Referring to the missile crisis, Pete offhandedly comments that because the U.S. took a stand, the Soviets seemed to have backed down. Now Don is the one who is inspired as he takes a stand during his first meeting with PP&L. Duck, Roger and Bert are also there.

Duck, feigns surprise at his promotion. He outlines a bold new vision for SC that's rooted in selling media time not creative strategies. Don balks and threatens to quit. Duck informs Don that he'll held to the terms of his "contract." To Duck's surprise, Don reveals that he doesn't have a contract. Looking like an angry Nikita Khrushchev at the United Nations beating his shoe on a desk, Duck has a temper tantrum and pounds his hand on the conference room table before storming out himself. While neither Don nor Duck are wearing red ties in this scene, one of the PP&L representatives sitting between them is prominently wearing a red bow tie.

Heading back to his office, Joan tells Don that Betty has called for him to come home due to an emergency. He pointedly leaves his briefcase behind. This suggests his true desire to focus on his family rather then the work persona he’s created.

Pete and Peggy have a heart to heart. Pete declares his love for Peggy (a red picture is visible above her shoulder from Pete's viewpoint). Though it’s not exactly what he had in mind, Peggy honors Father Gill’s request by confessing to Pete that she had his child and “gave it away.” She tries to lighten the blow by pointing out that, as the mother of his child, she could have trapped Pete “forever.” This further links the Don and Peggy characters in that Don uses the word “forever” in a letter to Betty apologizing for his indiscretions. In both cases, the term is used to describe their ideal view of relationships. As mentioned above, Peggy also admits that “wanting” her career hasn’t proved nearly as satisfying now that she has achieved it.

The last shot of Pete shows him in his darkened office holding a rifle as if he were standing guard against the world outside. With Trudy, he seemed resigned to whatever fate had in store for him. However, it’s now as if he’s found something to live for.

Don returns home with little fanfare. He sits quietly with the family watching television. Later, referring to the kids going to bed, a helpful Don tells Betty that they "finally went down." On the radio, we hear signs that the Cuban crisis is subsiding (the Russians have backed down). Betty informs Don of her pregnancy. Both their reactions are complicated. While it’s an emotional moment, neither seem overly excited nor saddened. Not unlike the first scene in the doctor's office, Don, resigned to the reality of the situation, finally reaches out to hold Betty’s hand.

Fade to black.

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