Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wolverine Set To Open Huge!

Hugh Jackman stars as terrifying superhero Wolverine in the new movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Well, my tracking is showing that the latest X-Men film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine will open huge this weekend, taking in anywhere from $198 Billion to $987 Squillion dollars. And why not? It features a handsome man slicing his way through a bunch of bad guys, and running around in hot yellow pants and leopard print shirts. It's a true "four quadrant" film, with my tracking showing high interest among comic book fanboys, middle aged women, narcoleptics, and male exotic dancers. This one is going to be the big one! Summer has truly arrived!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Much Does Obama Care About the Environment?

President Obama is ordering an investigation into

the decision giving the go-ahead to a $329,000 publicity-photo shoot over New York City with one of the planes that serves as Air Force One.

Obama “was furious” when he learned about the April 27 flight and the tumult it caused when the VC-25, a military version of Boeing Co.’s 747, and two F-16 fighter jets flew low over New York Harbor, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Apparently, New Yorkers were afraid it was September 11, 2001 all over again. And that is pretty scary. But leave aside the all-important photo-op flight's psychological impact for a moment. What about the effect on the environment?


Beyond their emissions of carbon dioxide, aircraft release other gases that have disproportionate but short-term effects on our planet's climate.
Military aircraft use more fuel apiece than civilian aircraft. A decade ago, military aircraft were one fourth as numerous as civilian aircraft worldwide, yet they consumed roughly one third as much fuel. Furthermore, military jets, with their high performance requirements, produce more climate-changing pollutants, especially nitrogen oxides.

Barack Obama has stated that he is in favor of the environment. Yet his plane is damaging it, and all so that he could get a nice picture of Air Force One.

To give you a sense of just how badly this Air Force One New York City photo op has damaged the environment, I offer the following very alarming chart:

Very alarming.

Cartooning Associated Press Headlines, and Defending the Passive Voice

The AP has a story on yahoo this morning about the sad death from swine flu of a child in Texas. It really is too bad, and hopefully there won't be any others.

As the United States grappled with this widening health crisis, [acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Richard] Besser went from network to network Wednesday morning to give an update on what the Obama administration is doing. He said authorities essentially are still "trying to learn more about this strain of the flu." His appearances as Germany reported its first cases of swine flu infection, with three victims.

"It's very important that people take their concern and channel it into action," Besser said, adding that "it is crucial that people understand what they need to do if symptoms appear.

That's all well and good, I suppose, but the headline the AP chose to grab peoples' attention seems a bit unfortunate to me:

Officials confront first US death from swine flu

The use of the active voice is a bit awkward here. The officials are actually being confronted by the first US death from swine flu. It's not like they have a choice in the matter. All we can do is try to defend ourselves against the swine flu- it's not like the swine flu is "drugs," or "poverty," or "terror," and we can just declare a "war" on it. Perhaps, "Officials confronted by first US death from swine flu" would have been better. Anyway, the headline conjured in my mind the following unfortunate image:

How are they confronting "death"? "Death" is not an actual entity, so I'm left to believe they're confronting the dead person.

This is a good lesson for aspiring headline-writers. Despite the fact that college professors often frown upon it, sometimes the passive voice is the way to go.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New York Times Spam Scam Emails

Dear New York Times,

I noticed recently that you've done articles in which you report that spam accounts for 94% of all emails, and that spam emails contribute to global warming.

But did you realize you're part of the problem?

Over the last few days, I've had articles emailed to me from people I don't know, often from Nigeria or some other exotic locale, with messages addressed to me about some exciting business opportunity, often having nothing to do with the forwarded article. Case in point:

From: Mr. Douglas Green The Manager Accounting and Operations Unit, HSBC Private Bank ( UK ) Limited, United Kingdom. Dear Friend, I am Mr. Douglas Green, The Manager of Accounting and Operations Unit, (HSBC Private Bank (UK) Limited).Am contacting you through this medium for an urgent beneficial transaction. I have the opportunity of transferring Four Million Two Hundred Thousand British Pounds Sterling from an account that belongs to one of our customer's from the United States of America who died long ago in heart related disease. Nobody has come for the funds as the deceased was residing permanently here in the United Kingdom . The bank will be transferring the funds Into the Bank treasury as an unclaimed fund by the end of this year as stipulated by the banking law over such account that lingers dormant for more than five years. I want to hearing from you so that I can file an application of claim in your name with the in formations of the deceased and the account as the benefited beneficiary of the account. Please this is supposed to take us only few bank working days to conclude on the transfer for I have put everything in place before contacting you and there is no risk. Thanks yours sincerely Mr. Douglas Green

This message was attached to an article from your newspaper regarding fighting between the government of Pakistan and the Taliban.

I sincerely hope you'll do something to help limit your carbon footprint, and I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.


PS: Screenshot of the email below. I can't resist, after noticing the name of the author of the forwarded article, that the spammers have a "lotta gall" to use your newspaper in such a nefarious way! Am I right? Huh?

Swine Flu Myths

The popular media is doing its part to ensure panic among the citizens regarding the scourge of swine flu. Of course it's important that everyone keep in mind the worst possible scenarios, because who knows, this swine flu might actually turn out to be as bad as normal flu, which kills more than 36,000 people a year. Maybe even worse- it might turn out to be as bad as traffic accidents, which kill more than 40,000 people a year. With that in mind, and in an effort to drive more traffic to my blog, I'm offering up a list of Swine Flu Myths:

Myth 1: A person can get swine flu from performing cunnilingus.
This statement is false- it has been perpetuated by alarmists, and by men who are too lazy to do their duty to their female sexual partners. It's possible, if the swine flu becomes significantly worse, that you might want to avoid eating out at restaurants, but otherwise you should be fine. Exercise caution, however, when having direct sexual contact with a swine flu infected partner.

Myth 2: Swine flu is more virulent than kung flu.
Kung flu will kick your ass. In fact, if you have a black belt in kung flu you will become immortal. But this does bring up an interesting question: Is swine flu the most virulent of the "animal strains" of influenza? The answer is, Not even close. Struthious flu, or ostrich flu, is much more deadly, and we should not hide our heads in the sand about it.

Myth 3: You can catch swine flu just by thinking about it.
People can "panic themselves sick," weakening their immune system, but a person must actually catch swine flu before he can physically suffer from it. Along those same lines, you cannot catch swine flu from a toilet seat. Not from normal use of the toilet seat, anyway. If you catch swine flu from a toilet seat, I really don't want to know what you were doing with it.

Myth 4: I should avoid traveling to inconvenient family events.
Weddings and birthdays can be annoying inconveniences, and they should be avoided for that reason alone, not because of swine flu. Unless you want to use that excuse.

Myth 5: I should wear a mask to avoid swine flu.
This one is actually sort of not a myth. A good, scary mask, such as a wolf man mask, or a zombie mask, could actually scare the swine flu away from you, so you might consider wearing one. The trade-off is that the really effective masks are heavy, and it gets really hot and damp inside them, which can lead to the hot damp flu, which is nearly as bad as swine flu. I guess you should use common sense.

If you do wear a mask as protection against swine flu, consider wearing a particularly scary one, like this zombie mask.

Zombie mask pic source.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Love Money 2 April 27: The Terror of It is Very Real

There's a point in any of these reality show competitions where the alliances fall away, and it's every person for himself. On "I Love Money 2," that point was reached last week, but Ice was slow to realize it. She would have been wise to heed the advice of Niccolo Machiavelli: "A wise ruler ought never to keep faith when by doing so it would be against his interests." Myammee stabbed her right in the back, and in front of her face no less.

Myammee was standing right beside Ice during the Vault ceremony. All Ice had to do was turn her head a little to the right and she would have seen Myammee voting for her. But poor Ice had blinders on.

Now Prancer has positioned herself as the most worrisome contestant. She's physically strong despite the injury that no one really believes occurred, and she's aligned herself with Saaphyri. Tailor Made and Myammee open by plotting how to get her in the box. As long as she's not Paymaster, they feel they're okay. They have It on their side, after all.

Cut to Saaphyri and Angelique discussing things with Prancer. Saaphyri's sense of justice has been inflamed- she can't bear to "see evil people overcome." By evil, I assume she means anyone who's not part of her alliance, which now includes Angelique, Prancer possibly, and of course It.

It has somehow become the power player. The swing vote. The ultimate force for deciding who advances in the game and who falls. He's done this by presenting himself as the most innocuous, even perhaps a little silly contestant. It's been suggested that I'm wrong about him, that his act is not just an act. I submit that it would be difficult for It to find his way out of bed every morning if he were actually as silly as he's presented himself on this show. For proof, I offer the fact that each competing alliance believes they have a hold over him, and each needs his vote to achieve their goals.

It is the real force in the house.

For the challenge, the contestants are sent on an obstacle course that they must navigate while wearing giant inflatable breasts. Angelique and Saaphyri think this is ridiculous, because they are already well-endowed in the breast department. Angelique's breasts were sculpted by a true artist- they are large and perfectly round, and preternaturally perky. Saaphyri's are all-natural and pendulous; she is the earth mother, the Venus of Willendorf made tempting flesh, with the promise of both sensual delights and of tender nurturing.

Saaphyri shows so much promise. In some ways, you could say, she's nothing but promise.

Prancer is looking forward to wearing the inflatables and navigating the course- her stated goal in appearing on the show has been to earn enough money to buy herself a pair of breasts to at least equal Angelique's. This should be good practice for her.

Prancer has been open about her intentions from the very first episode: She wants newer, bigger breasts. Hey, it's her body, she can do what she wants with it.

...And she did, too.

It interviews that he intends to use his Superman powers to fly through the course. Superman, of course, is a fictional character. It is the Dead-Last Loser.

Prancer is Paymaster. Everyone seems nervous, except It. It seems incapable of being nervous. It seems to lack the higher-thinking required to become nervous about anything. Again I say it: If It were really this stupid, he would have to wear a diaper. It's performance on "I Love Money 2" has been second only to Becky Buckwild's, and I say it's been second only because for some reason I find her physically attractive. It is still in the game, while Becky is long gone.

Tailor Made, loyal to a fault, has only a little time to wheel and deal in an effort to save himself and the founding member of The Pretty Girl Alliance, Myammee. For some reason, Tailor Made trusts her. What kind of hold does she have on him? Is it physical attraction? I don't know, but we're treated to a shot of Tailor Made pleading their case to It. He manages to get It to commit to voting for Angelique and Saaphyri. But where is Myammee in all this? She's nowhere to be found. Perhaps Tailor Made believes that her presence would do more harm than good in his diplomatic mission?

Saaphyri thinks It might be confused. Or, maybe not. "He can't be that dumb, he must be plotting," she says. The other contestants are starting to wake up to It's game. Maybe.

In the Vault, It is barely able to contain his glee. When Craig calls him out, and asks what he thinks is so funny, he replies in his usual sheepishly charming and mumbled way, that he's "just chillin'." Everyone else is just dumb, he interviews. He cannot believe he's the smartest person here, at least in his own eyes. His laugh is chilling. It is sinister.

It has become a power player in the house. The turn the show has taken, with It's display of power combined with a chilling laugh, is even more terrifying than that horrid clown that Tim Curry played in the television adaptation of Stephen King's "IT."

Tailor Made: "If It screws up, there's a strong potential that I could be in the box... It's a little scary, because It's the decisive vote." We are all scared, Tailor Made.

It: "I gotta do what I gotta do." More terror.

To the shock and consternation of his bedmate Saaphyri, It votes Saaphyri and Angelique into the box. On the surface this is a profoundly stupid move. Prancer seems to have aligned herself with Saaphyri, who saved her last week while eliminating Ice, and Angelique, who has been in a lion with Saaphyri from the start. It should have voted Tailor Made and Myammee into the box.

Exhibit B, may it please the court, in my evidence that It is not so stupid as his competitors believe. He is attempting to break up Saaphyri and Angelique by presenting himself as the weakest person in the house. So weak, in fact, that he cannot think clearly enough to do the logical thing to save himself.

This strategy didn't work for Ice last week, because Ice had not cultivated a lovably disheveled and obtuse personality. Ice was not sharing a bed with anyone. Ice did not scratch her head confusedly every five minutes, and mumble, while screwing up his face as if even walking required the sheerest force of mental acuity that was just beyond his reach.

Angelique is wise to him. Angelique is wise to him because she has been playing a similar game to It, if less effective. Her accent is a lampoon, her "zesky" attitude a caricature. She has attempted, throughout the series, to position herself in as low and nonthreatening a place as possible. But It has trumped her, and it's humiliating. She sees the writing on the wall.

Angelique has used a number of strategic and diversionary tactics to advance in the game. Here she attempts to hear advice from a fake money-stuffed sea shell. It's no wonder she's made it this far.

She threatens to quit now, immediately, before the Vault ceremony is even completed. She can't trust Prancer, she rambles on. Everyone is a snake and her virtue is being corrupted by her proximity to these venal disroyal cretins. She wants out. Saaphyri convinces her stay, in solidarity with herself and with women everywhere. She is strong, she must come through. And, by the way, if Prancer does end up eliminating her, she will have the opportunity to curse the bitch before she leaves.

Like a real woman.

Yes, Angelique will stay, and will bite Prancer back, because camera is a bitch.

At the power outing, It leaves the women to metaphorically and literally hit balls on the golf course, while he uses the opportunity to drive the golf cart. More charmingly bizarre behavior. The women laugh, and take swings at their balls, while It laughs, and plots how to spend his $250K.

At the lunch, it's "Pussy Power" versus "the Dick." Saaphyri and Angelique make a plea for feminine solidarity against the MAN who put them in the box. There can be no greater betrayal than to have the man who's sharing your bed vote to put you up for elimination. Pick off the men one by one, and let the women fight it out for the money.

Prancer worries that It, a MAN, might not be as stupid as everyone thinks. Despite the evidence of her eyes and ears, she worries that he might turn out to be a Superman, that he might be pretending to be weak, and might fly in at the end and win everything.

Superman, as I've already stated, is a fictional character. It is very, very real. He is a nightmare figure, for sure, a sinister double agent who has tricked you all, but he is very real.

You should fear him, Prancer.

At the elimination, It makes a heartfelt plea for the money, to save the life of a long-dead grandfather. He continues to mumble and slur his words in such a way that the details are lost, but the feeling behind them is evident: "I am weak. I am stupid. I am inarticulate. Keep me."

Angelique is less effective, and Saaphyri even less than her. But Saaphyri spared Prancer last week- she expects the same in return.

First check goes to Saaphyri.

Now, Prancer is torn. She has wanted to get rid of the guys for awhile. But It is just so... so cute... so innocuous... so nonthreatening. Angelique, in her desperation to stay in the game, nearly won the Iron Boob challenge. She is a threat. Prancer feels she can defeat It. "He's blind, he can't swim, and he might really be that stupid." She does not feel the same about Angelique.

Goodbye Angelique. But, in her anger and frustration, she places a hex on both Prancer and It. Neither will win. Camera will come around, they will both get what they deserve. Which is to lose.

It's triumph is nearly complete.

Farewell, Angelique. You gave it a good try, but ultimately you were no match for It. I will not mourn you- I have a feeling you'll land on your feet. Or your knees.

Angelique pic source.
Myammee backstabbing pic source.
Angelique knees pic source.
Prancer natural breasts source.
Prancer newer breasts source.
Saaphyri pic source.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jane Austen's "Daisy of Love" Chapter 1


No one who would have looked upon Daisy de la Hoya would have figured her to be so susceptible to heartbreak. The tattoos, heavy makeup, elegantly coiffed hair, piercings, and confidential attitude gave the overall effect of a creature whose heart had been, if not hard from birth, then at the very least hardened by continual and bitter disappointment at the failings of humanity.

But those aspects of her person that would cause reproachful judgment in those who did not know her were in fact recognized as her cunning armor to those who did. Every modification to her physical appearance had been undertaken as a way of hiding her true feelings from everyone, for Daisy understood that anyone and everyone could be both a potential source of joy, and of heartbreak. Nevertheless, she did endeavor to find for herself a love true, which led her to finally take leave of her live-in ex-boyfriend, her band, and her occasional and possibly apocryphal stripping jobs, and engage in a televised program in which she might find the man of her dreams.

Mr. Michaels was an aged and wise man who found, in music, occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one. His travels had brought him contact with all manner of man and woman, but never such a woman as might be considered “a lady,” or a potential life partner. Thus, being so disappointed by the turns his own life had taken, he endeavored to find for himself true love on a televised dating program, in which a number of comely lasses would compete for his earnest affections.

For Daisy, open-hearted and of a lively, playful disposition, the prospect of winning Mr. Michaels’ affections seemed a dream come true. And the dream continued until the very final episode, when Daisy was crushed by yet another in a series of disconcertingly predictable disappointments. Daisy de la Hoya was to be Mr. Michaels’ second choice, with his first being the much elder and conniving Miss Lake. It seemed that, perhaps, Mr. Michaels was not looking for love at all, for if he were, he would surely have pursued Daisy’s affections?

But from out of that tragedy came the possibility of great triumph, as Daisy made the fateful decision to once again follow her heart, and attempt to find a true love on her own televised dating program. This time, rather than competing with the nearly two-dozen other sisters, she would be the owner of the property, and herself the object of pursuit of nearly two-dozen men, each of whom would seek to possess not only her body, but her soul.

The gentlemen numbered twenty, and stood outside the estate in the vast Hollywood Hills, awaiting anxiously. Each considered Daisy to be his ideal mate, from her sweet and open disposition, to her large, fake breasts and big lips. When they saw the motorized Hummer come over the rise, a cheer arose from the crowd- a most gentlemanly cheer indeed. When the Hummer stopped before them, however, they were most taken aback to discover that the passenger was not in fact their beloved Daisy, but rather Daisy’s manservant, Mr. Rachtman.

Just one week ago, Riki Rachtman, as host of the Rock of Love Bus reunion, told Bret Michaels he was correct to not pick Daisy de la Hoya in the second season of Rock of Love. This week, he is acting as her protector and manservant on her new show. Hmmm.

“I am undertaking to be Daisy’s protector,” the proper Mr. Rachtman explained to them. “I’ve been around this world, and seen many a sight. My sophistication is such that I can provide Daisy with most agreeable counsel in matters of the heart. Especially where scoundrels are concerned. For you see, I have been a scoundrel myself.” His wink was knowing, but bemused.

“And now I assume you all want to see your beloved, Daisy. She is awaiting you in the interior greatroom,” Mr. Rachtman added, sending the gentlemen rushing inside.

The greatroom was appointed most elegantly, with furniture imported from the finest Ikea, and guitars by Gibson hanging upon the wall. A stage had been set up, around which was a gate, where the gentlemen stood in a gentlemanly line, as gentlemen are wont to do in such circumstances, awaiting the entrance of their intended.

And what an entrance indeed! Preceded by four dancing girls of varying degrees of loveliness, Daisy herself entered in a leather and lace bustier and thigh-high fishnet stockings. Her breasts were just as large and fake as the gentlemen had imagined, her lips as large and inviting, and her singing as heavenly. Indeed, Daisy was not shy about sharing her latest hit with the men in waiting.

But, the song over, Daisy’s manner became melancholic. “I am here to find a love most true,” she explained. “I have been hurt before. I hope that none of you are here to hurt me.”

The gentlemen made vocal their noble intentions, and then proceeded to the bar, where they began the consumption of copious amounts of alcoholic beverages. There was an irresistible variety of wines and vodkas and tequilas, and even beers! The men drank until finally they were called back to the stage area by their lady love.

“The time has come the ceremony of naming,” Daisy explained, with a wry smile. “I shall assign to each of you a proper nickname, based upon the vibe I receive from you.” Indeed, Daisy’s and Mr. Rachtman’s naming style was based on a purely intuitive cleverness, such that one gentleman who performed a backflip in order to impress Daisy was thereafter to be called “Flipper.” Another was a stone-cold fox, which meant he would be called “Fox.” One had a sinister appearance in dress and demeanor, and thus did Daisy deign to call him “Sinister.”

Fox is a "fox," hence his nickname. Apparently, this is the type of guy Daisy finds most attractive, and is the one to beat. Because, you know, he's a fox.

And so Daisy proceeded, pausing only once to remark, “It’s difficult to come up with names for so many and varied a group of gentlemen!” She hoped against hope that she was capturing their personalities.

It was at this point that Daisy came face-to-face with the man known as 12 Pack. This was not 12 Pack’s first attempt at finding true love on a televised dating program, and thus it was Daisy let her suspicions be known. But 12 Pack opened his heart to her in as true and sincere a manner as possible. His previous love-searches were mostly for show, but now he knows what he wants. “I am looking for a woman of noble intent, who will abuse and cheat on me,” he explained.

Daisy, relieved, could see the sincerity in his eyes, and said, “I think I can accommodate your wishes.”

Are 12 Pack's intentions toward Daisy true? It depends on what your definition of "true" is.

Following the ceremony of bestowing nicknames, there was thrown for the gentlemen a lavish garden party. Truly it was the social event of the season, as these twenty gentlemen were among society’s finest, and it showed. Daisy was impressed by each of the men in his turn, each to varying degrees. Cage, for instance (so named for the fact that he engaged the most gentlemanly pursuit of cage fighting), kept a running tally of dead relatives tattooed upon his arm, so as never to forget the loved ones left behind.

Fox charmed her by explaining, “You are who you are. You are your name. You are the true epitome of ‘Daisy.’”

“Your wit is most dazzling!” Daisy exclaimed, feeling flushed with emotion and desire. Was it possible to be feeling such feelings so soon upon meeting?

Dropout took the opportunity of their conversation to impress upon her the fact that Tool Box had exclaimed, during their initial attempts at inebriation, that he was on the lookout for “bitches.” “I am sure he was not referring to hunting dogs,” Dropout explained. “He used the word ‘bitches’ to refer to women of loose virtue.”

Daisy was scandalized. “I certainly hope he did not mean to imply that I was such a woman?” She sought out Tool Box and, taking him to one side, explained, “I am not that kind of girl.”

Chastened, Tool Box offered his heartfelt apologies. “I offer you my heartfelt apologies,” he said. “I feel chastened.”

“I can see that you are,” Daisy said, relenting almost in spite of herself.

Tool Box proclaimed that he was looking for bitches. Daisy kept him around anyway. She has a very healthy self-image.

The Sweedish triplets attempted to impress Daisy by ingesting hot dogs directly from the freezer, without cooking them, drinking enormous amounts of alcohol, and speaking with adorable Sweedish accents. They also, perhaps, offered to engage in a complicated sexual act with her, the four of them, but their impenetrable accents made the notion at best questionable.

Flipper climbed upon the lighting scaffolding and leapt off, performing an astounding backward somersault.

But it was 12 Pack, the veteran of televised romantic pursuits, who had perhaps the most to prove to their beloved. Seeking her out, he endeavored to open to her his heart: “I am a good-looking man, and I am not retarded,” he said, nearly rendered inarticulate by his lovestruck devotion to her. “I also have amazing stomach muscles. A ’12 pack,’ if you will.”

“Hence your nickname!” Daisy exclaimed. “How utterly charming.” She paused then continued, “Still, 12 Pack, I want you to understand that I am guarding my heart. I have seen you on these programs before, and I know that you have engaged in affectionate- even scandalous- behavior with my bitter rival Heather.”

“That is all in the past, I assure you.”

“The past is not so soon forgotten,” Daisy said, morosely.

As the evening neared its end the garden party drew to a close. Reluctantly, and with a heavy heart, Daisy made her solemn announcement:

“Gentlemen! Thank you for an evening most generously accounted with interesting conversation and activities to warm even the coldest of hearts. Unfortunately, our time here on the program is limited, and I fear I must send three of you home right now.” She surveyed the crowd, and finally her eyes settled upon the triplets of Sweden. “Your charms are many and obvious,” she said, “but I fear I must send the three of you home.”

The triplets made declarations that were barely understandable, loaded their clothing with food and alcohol, and took their leave in a most gentlemanly manner.

“But we are not done yet,” Mr. Rachtman said, to the alarm and consternation of the gathered gentlemen. “Two more of you shall be removed from the show, and lose your place in Daisy’s heart, before this night is through.”

And so it was that the gentlemen retired to their bedrooms, where they endeavored to get ready for the ceremony of elimination. When one gentleman, the man playfully dubbed Weasel, is too much in his cups and passes out on his bunk, the others engage in a bit of playful and gentlemanly sabotage, attempting to make him appear retarded by drawing with a marker upon his face.

Twas all in good fun, however, as Weasel survives the ceremony. Indeed, the gentlemen who did not win Daisy’s heart were the cartoony Dropout, and the incomprehensible and dolphin-clicking Torch. The others of the assembled gentlemen had earned their first chains, and while they each felt noticeable and powerful relief, they knew that the journey to Daisy’s heart would be long and arduous, and this was merely the beginning of what promised to be a long and potentially hazardous journey.

The Swedish triplets that Daisy eliminated tonight, 84, 85, and 86, looked suspiciously like Lindsay Lohan, Ashlee Simpson, and Mary-Kate Olsen. They just can't catch a break.

Rachtman pic source.
Other cast pics source.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich apparently won't be allowed to travel to Costa Rica to appear on the American version of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here." The judge, who has the improbable name "Zagel," says vaguely that he's worried things might go "astray."

You know what? Life's complicated. Things go "astray" sometimes. It can't be helped; part of the joy and unpredictability of things. I'm no "legal expert," but that is a poor excuse for not allowing this man to entertain us by living in the Costa Rican jungle and doing whatever it is that they do on this show, which I am now slightly less interested in watching, thanks to this ruling.

For their part, the network in question, NBC (which apparently could use all the help it can get), says they're "disappointed" by the judge's ruling.

It's a symbol of just how far NBC has fallen that they can't pull some strings on this. The best they can do is issue a simping statement about their "disappointment." Come on, NBC! Pay this "Zagel" off and let's get this show on the road!

The segment from the "Today Show" is here:

Around the 3:30 mark, clueless Meredith Vieira, the least offensive of the "Today Show" on-air talent, asks a question that should get her disbarred, or whatever it is they do to on-air talent when they're removed from morning news/entertainment programs for asking dumb questions. She asks him why a former governor would want to be on a show like this. "Why would you want to be running around in the jungles of Costa Rica?" She seems genuinely confused.

Blagojevich gives the "I've got a family to support and a mortgage to pay and trying to create a little society and govern that little society sort of like I did when I was governor of Illinois sounded like an interesting challenge to me" answer that we've all heard before from reality show contestants, but we know the real answer.

Meredith, I have a question for you: Why would you want to host a morning news/entertainment program? The answer: Because it is on tv.

That's his answer. Because he wants to be on tv, Meredith.

And if he's on tv, what is he doing? He is entertaining us, Meredith. The viewing public. There is no nobler goal than that. This isn't just a ruling against the former governor- it's a slap in the face to all US television consumers.


My Letter of Recommendation

I would appreciate it if you would print this out, sign it, and then fax it to all my potential employers. Thanks a lot!

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter with a heavy heart. Heavy because it is about Ricky Sprague, and he is attempting to find employment with you. Why is my heart heavy? Because he is awesome in every way, and I want to keep him all for myself.

Let me tell you a thing or two about him. First of all, do not believe everything you see on the internet. The word that I would use to describe him is "gifted," and also "special." I realize that ordinarily those terms are euphemisms used to describe people who are challenged in some way. Well, the only way that Ricky is "challenged" is when he "challenges" himself, which is every day, because he is so gifted and special.

I have been in a unique and privileged position to witness his growth as an individual. This growth has been exponential, and it's been abundant. Not only in his current field of study, but in all others. The word "autodidact" comes to mind. That is the word I would use to describe him. I realize I used two other words to describe him in the previous paragraph, but the fact is that he is so unique that one word is not enough to describe him. I just realized that I used "unique" to describe him in the previous sentence, and that is definitely another word I would use to describe him.

With great confidence I recommend that you hire Ricky to do your research, or teach your students, or clean your oil traps, or whatever it is that his febrile mind is pursuing. I can unequivocally recommend him for any job whatsoever, even brain worm removal, if that's what you need. He hasn't been specifically trained in that field, but if you give him a couple of weeks and some decent training, he can pick it up.

He can pick up anything. And he will, too. It's what he does. That is why I am so anxious to offer this recommendation.



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is Raising "A Kid off the Grid" Child Abuse?

I became aware of the Nickelodeon program "A Kid off the Grid" from this takedown of it by Lewis Black on The Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Kids' Earth Day
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Leaving aside the "indoctrination" of the kids, or "teaching," or whatever you want to call it (I don't really care about the politics), isn't keeping your shit in a bucket unsanitary? That's third-world stuff, where the life expectancy is in the mid-40s. Instead of teaching kids to shit in a bucket, why not teach them that "researchers have discovered that, over the long term, being richer often translates into being greener." Or teach them about upcycling. Or freecycling. Or this planet green stuff.

But collecting their shit in a bucket? Really?

The show featured a group of kids who live at an "Eco Village" called "Dancing Rabbit." (Here is the show's press release, presented as an editorial or article or something in a newspaper called "The Memphis Democrat." That's some good reporting right there.) I don't know if the kids at Dancing Rabbit collected their own shit in a bucket or not- I haven't seen the show. But I wonder why it is that teaching kids to collect their filthy, stinking, disease-ridden feces in a bucket is not considered child abuse. Earlier this year, some kids named Adolph Hitler, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie were "removed from their home by New Jersey's Division of Youth and Family Services." Were those kids collecting their feces in buckets? Then, about a year ago, the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Texas was raided because of alleged child abuse. Were those kids collecting their shit in buckets?

Obviously I don't equate raising your kids to be racist, or raising them to be polygamists, with raising your kids to be environmentally aware. We should teach our kids to be environmentally aware. But going "off the grid" is, by definition, a separatist movement- these people are separating themselves from "the grid." Most of the rest of us are on the grid.

And teaching your kids to shit in buckets? Isn't there an argument to be made that that's child abuse?

RE: Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples, and What About the Couple Forced by the Bad Economy to Live in Separate States

It turns out there's a serious crisis in America that requires our expert and undivided attention: People who have been married for a long time run the risk of seeing their relationship go stale. The New York Times tells us about the research, and what long-marrieds can do about "rekindling the romantic love":

The solution? Reinventing date night.

"Date night" is the often one-night-a-week that long-marrieds spend together doing whatever it is that long-marrieds can only stand to do one night a week. "Reinventing" the date night by, as the article suggests, "trying a new restaurant or something a little more unusual or thrilling — like taking an art class or going to an amusement park," can activate the brain's reward system,

flooding it with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same brain circuits that are ignited in early romantic love, a time of exhilaration and obsessive thoughts about a new partner. (They are also the brain chemicals involved in drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder.)

Wait a second- I've been a long-married, and presumably living with the person to whom I've been long-married and I suddenly want to stimulate the parts of that partner's brain associated with drug addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder? Isn't life difficult enough?

[But what about this poor couple? The economy's so bad that they can't even live in the same state.

Thanks to the crumbling economy and terrible timing, the Sugdens were trapped in the middle of a move and now have to live hundreds of miles apart from each other, putting their lives and their hopes as a family on hold.

They decided to move from Minnesota to Michigan, for some reason- the husband took a job there- and he moved while she stayed behind to sell the house. That sounds pretty exciting, leaving one long-married behind to sell the old house while the other long-married sets up the new one. I bet their brains are really stimulated now.]

Anyway, back to Reinventing Date Night:

Most studies of love and marriage show that the decline of romantic love over time is inevitable. The butterflies of early romance quickly flutter away and are replaced by familiar, predictable feelings of long-term attachment.

But several experiments show that novelty — simply doing new things together as a couple — may help bring the butterflies back, recreating the chemical surges of early courtship.

The "butterfiles," (i.e., stimulating those parts of the brain associated with drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder [think about this, do you really want to live with a drug addled person who's stalking you?]) can be hatched again, as if from the magic chrysalis that's been laying dormant in your belly? How do they propose we do it?

More recently, Dr. Aron and colleagues have created laboratory experiments to test the effects of novelty on marriage. In one set of experiments, some couples are assigned a mundane task that involves simply walking back and forth across a room. Other couples, however, take part in a more challenging exercise — their wrists and ankles are bound together as they crawl back and forth pushing a ball.

Before and after the exercise, the couples were asked things like, “How bored are you with your current relationship?” The couples who took part in the more challenging and novel activity showed bigger increases in love and satisfaction scores, while couples performing the mundane task showed no meaningful changes.

Wow. The economy really is bad. Tying your wrists and ankles together, and crawling around on the floor while pushing a ball is how they define "reinventing date night." I admit, it sounds kind of kinky. But I have the feeling it would get stale pretty quickly, and then you're right back where you started. Trying to come up with new ways to "reinvent date night." Except, now, you've stimulated those parts of your brain associated with drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder, meaning that the next reinvention has to push things even farther. It's only a matter of time before the only way you can get those "butterflies" back is by going on a killing spree.

I never thought I'd see the day that The New York Times would advocate killing sprees, but there it is.

Suicide for Financial Institutions That Take Government Money

Last month the jackassley Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, suggested that, with regard to the government bailouts,

The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them, if they had followed the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, "I'm sorry," and then either do one of two things, resign or go commit suicide.

Well, today it turns out the acting chief financial officer (CFO) of Freddie Mac took the senator's advice:

David Kellermann, the acting chief financial officer of mortgage giant Freddie Mac, was found dead at his home Wednesday morning in what police said was an apparent suicide.
McLean-based Freddie Mac has been criticized heavily for reckless business practices that some argue contributed to the housing and financial crisis. Freddic Mac is a government-controlled company that owns or guarantees about 13 million home loans. CEO David Moffett resigned last month.

But Senator Grassley wasn't talking about executives at Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae- he was talking about AIG:

Well, I think you're smart enough — I know you're smart enough to know rhetoric, but I am very sincere when I bring into the argument about corporate culture in America that it would do the taxpayers a lot of — make the taxpayers feel a lot better, it'd make me feel a lot better if our corporate structure would adopt that culture from Japan for the reason that I have not heard anybody apologize for running the corporation or the financial institution or the bank into the ground, and AIG is just one example of it.

So even though it's not quite the suicide that senator Grassley was hoping for, do you think he's at least a little happier this morning?

Meanwhile, should we expect more suicides, perhaps from senators and representatives who left the country open to fraud and "potential unfairness to the taxpayer"?

Monday, April 20, 2009

What If Tom Stoppard Wrote an Episode of "I Love Money 2," and "I Love Money 2" Recap: A Dramatic Turn, and Competing Philosophies

PART FIRST: If Tom Stoppard Wrote an Episode of "I Love Money 2"

From "Morality of Absurdity," a play by Tom Stoppard

Myammee, in her bikini and weave, is seated at a table under a large canopy, eating food and drinking a brightly colored alcoholic beverage from a large glass. She seems unperturbed by anything, without a care in the world.

She is joined under the canopy by 20 Pack, a large man with a slack expression and a muscle shirt. On his right wrist is a cast- he broke his own hand celebrating a victory in one of the challenges, an important insight into his character. Anglique (also called “Frenchy”) is an enormous-breasted woman of indeterminate national origin who speaks with an improbable accent, and who wears a bikini that is so small that the tops barely cover her areolae. Saaphyri is a large, intimidating woman with wide childbearing hips covered by a skirt, and bikini tops that actually fit; her face is distorted by righteous anger, and her own weave rivals Myammee’s (her rival).

The three visitors take their seats at the table- with Myammee at the end of the table, Saaphyri takes the seat to her immediate right, 20 Pack is seated to Saaphyri’s right, and Angelique is seated to 20 Pack’s right, at the farthest end of the table from Myammee- Angelique has had romantic feelings toward 20 Pack, who has ignored her advances; nevertheless, she still steals longing glances at him during the meal. The order is important for thematic reasons (Myammee and Saaphyri are rivals and should not be seated next to one another; 20 Pack believes himself to “safe” because he’s played both his own “alliance” [Saaphyri] and the rival alliance [
Tailor Made] in an attempt to stay “in the middle”, and Angelique on the end because she is attempting to make herself “invisible” and above the fray).

The dialogue begins just as the three enter the scene, and continues as they seat themselves and begin to eat their own food and, especially, drink their alcohol.

20 PACK: What ho!

MYAMMEE: Who are you calling “ho”?

20 PACK: Certainly no one under this canopy. I was merely making an ejaculation of greeting.

MYAMMEE: Well, put a condom on. I don’t want to catch anything from your “ejaculations.”

SAAPHYRI: If wit were contagious, you probably wouldn’t have such an ugly weave.

MYAMMEE: Wit isn’t contagious- would that it were!- but STDs are, which I’m sure you already know.

ANGELIQUE: I’m zeksy!

Now seated, Saaphyri turns her attention to Myammee, with fire in her eyes.

SAAPHYRI: Just because you’re Paymaster doesn’t mean you’re anything special. You think you’re hearing the sound of applause- but really that clap is all between your legs.

MYAMMEE (rolling her eyes and putting another piece of food in her mouth NOTE: type of food is not important, but some tropical fruit would be appropriate): I’m just trying to eat. If you don’t want to kiss my ass, that’s fine.

20 PACK: I’ve been wondering if the act of merely observing this Power Outing would have a greater effect than my participation in it?

MYAMMEE: You mean, do you think there’s anything you can do to save yourself?

20 PACK (shocked): Do I have to do something to “save” myself?

MYAMMEE (brutally casual, shrugging): You tell me. You seem to have all the answers.

20 PACK: I was asking a question to which I have no answer.

SAPPHYRI: I’m tired of your quantum physics theories; it’s just a way to excuse all your spooky actions. You’re here, you’re still in the game- be a man and participate, don’t just observe!

ANGELIQUE: My lion is zeksy!

20 PACK: I was under the impression- perhaps mistaken- that I had participated. At the last elimination. At the time I suppose I was thinking in term of Newton-

MYAMMEE: You mean because every action we take has a consequence?

20 PACK (disappointed): Was I not the first person to think of that? I thought I was being clever.

SAAPHYRI (angry, directing her rage at 20 Pack): No one gives a fig about Newton! Our actions here don’t have consequences because if they did, you would be gone, and Becky would still be here!

20 PACK: When we started this, we all knew that we would reach an ending. The flow of the game is one-way; forward toward the end; and only one of us can win. I suppose none of us gives a serious second thought to not winning, until we’ve had our checks placed in the box. And even then it’s only a minor concern.

SAAPHYRI (now barely able to contain herself): No, let me tell you what’s a “minor” concern! When you fuck a bitch up in a fight at a nightclub, because she looked at you funny. That’s a minor concern. A major concern is when you get between me and that $250,000!

ANGELIQUE: Zis meal is so zeksy!

MYAMMEE (attempting to take charge, perhaps waves her hand in the air to get their attention): I think I need to explain to you, in pedantic detail, exactly what you need to do here to save yourselves. It’s not in witticisms or Newtonian digression, or post-modernism, or even irony. No, what you all need to do to save yourselves in this game is some good, old-fashioned traditional ass-kissing. Of me. And moreover-

SAAPHYRI: I’m not putting my lips anywhere near your ass. I don’t like cottage cheese.

MYAMMEE: “Cottage cheese”? Have you seen your ass? I don’t know how you could miss it; it’s the thing you’ve been talking out of.

SAAPHYRI: If I am, then that means my ass is cleverer than your mouth.

MYAMMEE (dismissive): Well, you have my congratulations on the cleverness of your ass.

20 PACK: I don’t mind interjecting here that I’m beginning to feel disillusioned-

ANGELIQUE (grabbing 20 Pack’s arm): A leetle dissolution weel cure your disillusion!

20 PACK (pulling Angelique’s hands away from his arm): Please, Frenchy, you’re being ridiculous.

ANGELIQUE: Life ees reedeeculous! Zees game ees reedeeculous!

MYAMMEE (shrugging): She’s right, you know. You might as well sleep with her.

20 PACK: I thought you just said you were against irony?

MYAMMEE: Maybe I was being ironic when I said that.

20 PACK: You mean, you were being ironic when you said you were against irony, or you were being ironic when you said I should sleep with Frenchy?

ANGELIQUE: Forgeet “irony”! I horny!

20 PACK (ignoring Angelique): I feel we’re speaking in circles now.

SAAPHYRI: You feel that way because the worm has turned, you rotten snake!

Myammee rises from the table, and walks off the scene, leaving the other three seated there, Saaphyri still fuming, and 20 Pack fighting off the increasingly persistent advances of Angelique.

MYAMMEE: Now my head’s spinning, and I don't want anything bad to happen to my hair. I’ll see you at the elimination.

: I Love Money 2 Recap for April 20, 2009: On the Importance of Having A Practical Philosophy

No matter how satisfied we are with our situations, we can be arrested by a terrible wondering of what might have been. It might manifest itself as an ache that hurts like a physical presence. It might plague our mind like a never-ending series of questions- Did I make the right decision? What if I'd done even one small thing differently? Would I still be in this position; would I still be the person I am? Would I be happier? No less an authority than Ben Gibbard, the songwriter from Death Cab for Cutie, put it thus: "Out on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone."

Maybe we're doing well, maybe we should be happy with what we have, but there's always that possibility that things could be better. Or, worse, maybe we're happy but we know, or think we know, that it's all going to come crashing down. If we don't make a move we could be condemning ourselves to... well, that's the point, isn't it? We just don't know.

Two weeks ago, Becky Buckwild admonished 20 Pack to remain on the sinking ship no matter what. He rejected her philosophy and eliminated her. He got off his sinking ship, but the following week, he was eliminated. These are the perils we all face. There are no clear answers to these questions. Make the change, or stay put?

And now imagine what it must be like if you're a contestant on a reality show, in an alliance that has successfully controlled everything, but you're seeing signs that the groundwork you've laid is shifting beneath your feet, and there's even a slight possibility that you can do something about it. Do you? Do you risk everything you've worked for, turning your back on the safety of what you've built for the uncertainty of something else that might be so totally wrong for you?

Now imagine even more pressure: You're a contestant on an unusually dramatic and exciting reality show with a flair for the dramatic yourself. You understand that turning your back on the alliance you've helped to build would make for a fascinating twist. The temptation could be too great. But is the temptation to help yourself, or to do what's best for the game? How do you know which feelings you can trust?

Generally unflappable Tailor Made has succeeded thus far by reading the game perfectly, and responding appropriately to each turn the game has taken. No wonder he's so despised.

This of course was the situation that Tailor Made found himself in last week. He was the mastermind behind the Underdogs' strategy. He made a deal with 20 Pack to eliminate Becky Buckwild. He expected, if one of the Underdogs became Paymaster, that members of his alliance would honor that deal. Myammee did not. She went her own way. She gave her alliance what it really wanted, she said during the elimination when 20 Pack's check was voided. But she wasn't speaking of the Underdogs. No, in a brilliant bit of obfuscation and word play- worthy of Tom Stoppard, no less- she was referring to her new, secret alliance, "The Pretty Girl Alliance."

Myammee asserting control of the game by starting the Pretty Girl Alliance. I'm pretty sure it was Shakespeare who once said "The pretty girls make fools of us all, and will eliminate you whilst wearing lingerie." I could be wrong about that, but my point stands.

Myammee thinks she can defeat Saaphyri, who doesn't want to listen to Myammee run her mouth. She wants to get Paymaster so that she can eliminate Myammee.

Tailor Made is worried- pacing back and forth with stress, but Ice has no sympathy for him: "Just freaking because he's afraid he's gonna look bad..." Derisively, she mocks him for worrying over how he'll be perceived after "giving his word 'til the day I die'" to 20 Pack. Her philosophy: Say whatever is necessary to someone's face, then do whatever's necessary to win the game.

Contrast that with Becky Buckwild's philosophy of remaining on a sinking ship, even though the sinking ship is SINKING.

Remember, she's a member of the Pretty Girl Alliance. The tentative plan is to get rid of Saaphyri and Frenchy, and then eliminate It and Tailor Made.

Which leads us to the challenge. Prancer is worried that it might be the stripper pole challenge, which would obviously favor Frenchy, the stripper. She takes the opportunity to "practice" her stipper poling, using Tailor Made's leg. Remember that last week, we saw Tailor Made and Prancer in bed together. How lucky is Tailor Made? And, how junior high school is it to pretend to need practice on a stripper pole so that you can wrap yourself around the leg of the object of your crush? It's kind of sweet, when you think about it.

And It used the excuse to wrap himself up around Myammee. Unexpectedly smooth. "Myammee was turning a brother on."

But Saaphyri believes that It is going to do whatever she wants. She knows about the Pretty Girl Alliance, and can see the Underdogs' alliance crumbling. For his part, Tailor Made has intimations that if one of the girls from his alliance becomes Paymaster, he could be going home.

The challenge involves each of the contestants hanging onto "liferings" suspended above the ocean. First to fall is the Dead-Last Loser. The challenge necessitates the contestants jumping into the ocean, and there's a brief moment of suspense while Myammee decides whether or not to get her hair wet.

It is "just dumb," not bothering to hook his leg through the ring. He's the first to fall into the ocean, and is now the Dead-Last Loser.

It gets down to Tailor Made versus Saaphyri, leading Saaphyri to prayer to ask for hep in outlasting the other bitches, and God answers her prayer because Tailor Made falls, and Saaphyri is Paymaster.

Prancer's leg is injured, and Saaphyri is skeptical. Saaphyri of course "fainted" in the Vault during a previous episode, so she knows about being a player. While Prancer's in the hospital (and even if she is faking, you have to admire the determination of her ruse- after all, Saaphyri was suddenly cured the minute the paramedics arrived with hypos), Tailor Made, Ice, and Myammee discuss putting Prancer in the box. That's just for Tailor Made's benefit, however, because Ice turns right around and goes to Angelique and explains that they're going to put her check in the box, but she can help them and herself by going along with the previously only suspected "Pretty Girl Alliance," and voting Tailor Made in the box.

Prancer's leg injury was indeed so severe that her breasts swelled up.

They call themselves the "Pretty Girl Alliance," not the "Smart Girl Alliance."

We flash back to the time when Tailor Made spared Angelique during a previous elimination. Not only did he spare her, but he made a point of telling her how much he respected her loyalty to her own alliance (lion). Is it possible that this unbidden gentlemanly act will save the mastermind this week?

Saaphyri wants Myammee in the box. Ice wants Tailor Made in the box. But Saaphyri knows "that bitch can't be trusted," because last week Saaphyri made the impassioned plea that the women vote all the men in the box, and take the game over themselves. Ice was particularly cruel and dismissive of the idea. Now it's coming back to haunt her.

Tailor Made and It agree to a summit with Saaphyri and Angelique. Saaphyri lays it out to him. She's giving voice to his concerns. Saaphyri wants Myammee in the box. Tailor Made wants real evidence before making up his mind. Saaphyri endeavors to get him the evidence, and she walks into the dining area and asks the Pretty Girl Alliance straight up, who they want in the box?

Ice tells her, straight up, Tailor Made.

What they don't know is that Tailor Made is brilliant, and Saaphyri is possibly his equal. Tailor Made is hiding on the couch, just a few feet away, listening to everything. He has his proof- the Pretty Girls are turning on the Underboys, and they've got their sights set on him.

Tailor Made pops up, and Prancer and Ice are shocked- shocked!- that their "secret" is out. Tailor Made, so concerned about the moral implications of turning against the alliance that's gotten him this far, can now in good conscience go after the Pretty Girls.

Saaphyri and It are back to sharing a bed. Saaphyri tells him to vote for Myammee. If he doesn't, she will vote It out of the game. It just wants to have sex.

Tailor Made still trusts Myammee. He goes to Myammee and tells her to turn against the other Pretty Girls. She goes to It and implores him to vote for Prancer and Ice, not her. It remains noncommittal, snoring away charmingly.

Now to the Vault. Angelique opens with a compelling argument against putting her in the box. Saaphyri's not going to vote for her, she explains, so she's safe no matter what. But that's all we really get to see of the Vault ceremony. Saaphyri's called back in, and we get the answer with her:




Where is Myammee? Someone did something jinky. Tailor Made messed up her plan. Now he's in her sights, as well.

Ice feels that the Pretty Girl Alliance is no more. Do you think? Did you decide that when Myammee voted for you? Myammee, tearfully, goes to Ice to apologize. Prancer, more practically, goes to Saaphyri to plead her case. She's so upset over the turn the game has taken. It's so cutthroat. She wants Myammee gone, too, because she turned against her. And she can help Saaphyri get rid of Tailor Made, too.

All this before the Power Outing.

Saaphyri abuses her position as Paymaster by having him fan her. But "his ass ain't in no danger." Perhaps sensing this, Prancer and It plead their cases. No one believes Prancer is really hurt that badly. She has a contusion, a bruise on the bone, not on the skin.

"Who voted for Myammee?"

Ice reveals that she didn't vote for Myammee, because Myammee's been her girl from day one. Saaphyri's not impressed, but still picks Ice for the one-on-one because she "doesn't really know that boy."

Aside: Is it Ice's baritone that causes people to refer to her as "Ice Man"? I don't get it- she's an attractive woman. Her voice is what sophisticates such as myself refer to as "smoky." It might not be suited to the whispering of "sweet nothings," but I wouldn't mind lounging in a bath, being fed grapes, and having her read to me from "The Song of Solomon."

If Ice is a man, then I must be gay. I would not go out of my way to avoid her sweet kisses.

Anyway, Ice spends the one-on-one prostrating herself to Saaphyri, and bashing Prancer, who's obviously faking, because she hasn't even bothered to wrap up her contused leg.

First check to It. She picks up the VOID stamp, and asks him if he loves her. It replies that he does. How much? Enough to twirl? Yes- It is her "thang-thang," she's got no reason to send him home.

Saaphyri takes the time to lecture Prancer and Ice. It basically comes down to this question: Is Prancer faking her injury? And, is Ice really so stupid as to not vote Myammee into the box, when she knew it would save her? Which is the worst sin? That's actually three questions, but math was never my strongest subject.

Saaphyri decides to void Ice's check. She's sending "men home," she explains, which I'm sure makes It feel good about himself.

Ice's first time in the box was her last. That, Saaphyri explained, was her downfall:

"What Ice should have done to save herself, was never put her ass in the box. She should have put other people into the box."

A practical philosophy that all the contestants should heed. Compare it to Becky Buckwild's nonsensical philosophy about remaining on a sinking ship no matter what, and you begin to understand why Saaphyri has outlasted her.

But then again, maybe philosophy has nothing to do with it. This is, after all, "I Love Money 2." As Tom Stoppard once wrote, "Life is a gamble, at terrible odds-if it was a bet you wouldn't take it."

Saaphyri is looking to eliminate all the men. It apparently doesn't count.

Myammee Pretty Girl Alliance pic source.
Ice pic source.
Prancer pic source.
Saaphyri and It in bed source.
Tailor Made pic source.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Laziest Spam Scam Email Ever

I've gotten some lazy spam scam emails in the past, but this is probably the laziest.

From Mr, Smith.

I am Mr Smith Kadu. I work in a Bank. In my
department I discovered an abandoned sum of
US$18.5Million usd. Reply me for more d

Not trying to give some explanation for the "abandoned" money is bad enough, but he doesn't even bother to give a name for the bank he supposedly works at. That's so lazy it's insulting.

The Friends Every Woman Needs: Like, You Know, The Rationalizing Friend Who Uses You For Source Material

MSN has a series of those soul sister traveling pants type articles in which women write articles about their own friends, and how those friends represent the types of friends that every woman needs. They're typical of those articles that writers write sometimes to make a quick buck (just last week a man wrote an article about what he thinks makes a "real man") and make themselves feel better. I really don't blame them, but these articles are often so transparent as to be laughable, and I wonder why anyone puts up with them.

In the first article we learn first about author Jennifer Weiner's "kooky" friend Elizabeth.

Her fears could fill a phone book: mice, bugs, elevators, confined spaces. She reads the fine print on warning labels and scrupulously adheres to the age guidelines for board games and amusement park rides. If she spies her daughter scratching her elbow, she'll scrutinize the spot, murmuring, "Oh, I hope that's not the bite of the brown recluse spider." The last time we went swimming together, Elizabeth peered at the pond's tranquil surface, then turned to me and asked, "Are there sharks in there?" It was a freshwater pond, I told her, so sharks would be unlikely. She looked at me somberly. "Things happen," she said.

She sounds like a jerk, and I certainly wouldn't want her for a friend. Someone should call child protective services on her. A minor scratch and she tells her daughter that she might die from it. That is not what parents should do. Parents should teach their children to be strong and self-sufficient. She is doing her daughter a horrible disservice, attempting to pass along her totally unfounded neuroses to her.

But it gets even worse, where her kids are concerned:

Besides, who wants normal friends? Normal friends do not have hilarious stories about the time they saw a mouse in their kitchen and barricaded themselves and their kids in the bedroom, and made their husband come home from work to kill it.

To Jennifer's friend, I implore you, for the sake of your kids, GET HELP. The story about barricading yourself AND YOUR KIDS in the bedroom because you saw a MOUSE is not hilarious in any way. It is sad. It's dangerous. Think about what you're showing your kids- they can't do it on their own, they need to be dependent on a MAN to help them take care of something that is insignificant, even trifling, that should take up no more than a minute or two of your time. The resulting story might be amusing to the author who might or might not have a sadistic streak, but it's actually a cry for help.

Even the author seems to realize this, at least subliminally. But she has a great way of rationalizing away any desire to possibly help this poor woman:

Sometimes I think that Elizabeth's myriad terrors make the world a difficult place to live in...but then, I think, her world must be a more interesting place than the one most of us inhabit. After all, if you see every meal as a potential case of botulism, every hot tub as a roiling cesspool of infection and every rash as the harbinger of Dengue fever, imagine the sweet relief when the food's OK, the hot tub's clean and the rash is just a rash.

The world is just so much more interesting when you're insane. Or, if not insane then incapable of learning from your past. At some point you should grow out of being so hagridden, but if you don't, perhaps it's time to see a psychiatrist. Because this isn't just "kooky," (such a playful word- so innocuous!) it's pathetic and dangerous.

Yes, it's dangerous:

And, because of her occasional freak-outs, she meets new people in the most interesting ways, like the obliging kayaker who befriended her after she panicked in the middle of the pond when we went for that swim last summer. He towed her back to shore.

Here's the crux of the problem. Most people are too generous, too kind-hearted, to call this woman out. So they indulge her. The "obliging" kayaker could have been doing something else, something productive (maybe saving the children who were drowning on the other side of the lake, or teaching the children on the other other side of the lake to kayak) rather than wasting his time on the "kooky" woman who is afraid of being eaten by a shark with botulism in an enclosed freshwater lake.

I'm wondering why it is that someone would keep such a friend, then I get all the way to the end of the article and read that the author is a novelist, and moreover writes "chick lit." I have nothing against chick lit; I've read more than a few of them in my time (no need to list them all here at this time but trust me I know the genre), but it explains why she remains with this friend, and why she isn't trying to help her to get the treatment she needs: She provides good source material. She's a fairly stock chick lit character- the lovably neurotic friend.

Rationalize all you want, JW. Deep down, you're still just a writer.

Anyway, there are a few more articles, but I couldn't bring myself to read them. Maybe they're good. But the first one irritated me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Inefficient Coefficient

I do some of my best thinking in my sleep. For instance, it was while dreaming that I first hit upon the idea to dip pizza rolls in ketchup. That was a good flavor, although I must say that I grew out of it pretty quickly. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a great idea; it just wasn't a great idea for me.

Last night I had another great idea:

E1 = E0(1 + αS(M1 − T0))

I'm calling my great idea "the inefficient coefficient." And I'm officially copyrighting it and trademarking etc right now. But in the interests of helping the world, which is what I am trying to do all the time, I would like to explain how it works.

The idea is that being inefficient is actually a form of efficiency. The inefficiency slows everything down enough that you can catch your mistakes (they won't sneak up on you quickly) and correct them, therefore making you more efficient. Efficiency equals efficiency, with mistakes subtracted by time, where S is the total multiplier.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure about the equation yet. This is a work in progress and, remember, I had the idea while I was asleep. These things take time to properly flesh out.

For examples of the Inefficient Coefficient in action, one need only visit the DMV, or the Post Office. Everything moves at a slow, seemingly inefficient pace. But mistakes are kept to a minimum (how many times have you gotten a driver's license with someone else's photo on it? I didn't think so). Whereas, very often a new vehicle reaches the market with faulty brakes, because they rushed to get it out.

In that case, the Inefficient Coefficient would have been beneficial.

Anyway, I'm sure you can think of plenty of examples of my great new Inefficient Coefficient theory in action. Those of you who work in an office can probably cite multiple examples on a daily basis.

Once the TSA becomes more efficient, it will be a great example of the Inefficient Coefficient in action.

TSA pic source.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Re: Tori Spelling Begs for Scripts

Is famous actress and reality show star Tori Spelling begging for movie scripts? According to this article, yes she is.

Tori Spelling is begging for movie scripts.

The actress and her husband Dean McDermott - who are currently working on the fourth season of their reality TV show 'Home Sweet Hollywood' - are desperate for new projects and have even appealed to fans to submit proposals.

Dean said: "We are looking for movie scripts."

Tori added: "There's probably a lot of writers out there in the audience, so if you have any ideas, we're open."

Of course I have several ideas, any one of which could work for you, Tori Spelling. You can watch some of my films to get a taste of what I offer: An acerbic doctor who "diagnoses" patients by testing them with his "meat thermometer" (we could change the doctor's gender to a female, and have the doctor diagnose people by putting his breasts- I mean, her breasts- into their mouths); a heartwarming tale of Santa's favorite elf walking in on Santa and Mrs. Claus enjoying a rimjob; an eccentric doctor who performs a penis transplant that goes horribly hilarious; a man who is shrunk down to microscopic size and injected into his own testicle, where he meets his sperm. We could change it to a woman who is shrunk down to microscopic size and injected into her ovaries, if you want.

Tori, this is really just the tip of the iceberg of what I have to offer. My email address is in my blogger profile, so feel free to drop me a line, we could meet at the Ivy and chat.

What's Wrong With Photographing Your Own Ballot?

From the time we're kids, we are constantly being told the importance of voting, that it's a "duty", and the sacrifices that others have made so that we can exercise the right. Last year a group of celebrities tried to shame people into it.

But it turns out that your "right" to vote is extremely limited (and I'm not even talking about the ridiculous election laws that Democrats and Republicans have written to protect themselves over the years). For instance, your vote is not yours to sell, if you choose to sell it. And now, it turns out, it's not even yours to photograph, either, as some unfortunate hockey fan in Missouri is possibly about to find out.

Whoever wrote-in [St Louis Blues hockey player T.J.] Oshie as a candidate in last week's election took a picture of the ballot that was then posted on a fan website — a violation of the law, state and county election officials say.

A little-known election regulation appears to prohibit voters from photographing and displaying their own voted ballot.

And the punishment is more than just a few minutes in the penalty box: Willfully sharing the contents of a completed ballot is a class-four election offense in Missouri, carrying up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

"Willfully sharing the contents of a completed ballot" is an offense punishable by jail time and a fine? Whaaaatttt???

What if I tell people how I voted? Is that a crime? If the vote belongs to me (one person, one vote) then no one should have the power to tell me what I do with that vote. If I want to take a photo of it, if I am so proud of my vote (and it's just not enough for me to wear one of those obnoxious "I Voted" stickers they give you at the polling place) that I want to let everyone know exactly how I voted, then why can't I?

What if I'm partnered up with someone who's part of Votergasm, who won't have sex with me until I've provided photographic evidence that I've voted? What if I'm partnered with one of the "Girls who say yes to boys who say Obama," and she wants proof that I put Obama in the box before she'll give me access to her box (sorry, couldn't resist)?

Thanks to an obtrusive and unjust law, these lovely ladies will just have to take me at my word that I voted for Obama.

If my vote is not really mine, then all those people who died so that I could have it died in vain.

The integrity of the voting process is at stake, he said.

"You can't violate something as sacred as the ballot,"
[county elections director Rich A.] Chrismer said. "People won't trust going to a polling place if they think somebody is walking around with a camera."

First of all, the person with the camera was a voter taking a photo of his own ballot. Does this sanctimonious jackass Rich A. Chrismer understand the difference between a single private citizen photographing his own ballot and an organized campaign of intimidation and force?

Actually, he does. He's going to use some intimidation himself:

The chances of ever finding the Oshie voter are slim — the photo appears anonymously and individual voter preferences are not tracked by name.

Chrismer, however, said he will at least attempt to sleuth the voter's identity by contacting the Oshie website.

When you're worried about voters being intimidated, and the voting process being compromised, the obvious thing to do is to harass private citizens who are exercising their "sacred" rights in a way that you don't like. And if we've learned anything from what happened in Florida in 2000, and Minnesota in 2008 (and we haven't), it's that one vote really doesn't matter anyway- but a bunch of lawyers do.

The offending website can be found here, at least for now.