Friday, January 28, 2005

Your blog for today is.....

You, Robot
Markus Giesler, professor of marketing at Toronto’s York University has this to say: "…Consumers often say the iPod has become part of themselves. The iPod is no longer just an instrument or a tool, but a part of myself. It's a body extension. It's part of my memory, and if I lose this stuff, I lose part of my identity."

Kind of losing like your bankie when you’re two, I guess, only now you’re grown up, and some kind of android.

Another Canadian in the news!
A Canadian won a Supreme Court appeal against a conviction for indecency. British Columbian Daryl Clark, it seems, had masturbated "in an illuminated room near an uncovered window visible to neighbors."

The Supreme Court ruled that an indecent act has to be performed in a public place - home doesn’t count - and that Mr. Clark did not intend to give offense.

He had been convicted after a complaint by his neighbor, who had been watching television with her two daughters, when Mr. Clark indulged in his particular recreational activity. She then alerted her husband, apparently, and the two watched him from their darkened bedroom for 10 to 15 minutes, using binoculars and a telescope, before calling the police, whom they then invited up to the bedroom for a four-way.

Job Alert !
A Christian movie company here in San Francisco just posed a series of job opening on Craigslist for a science fiction adaptation of the story of Joseph. The company seeks grips, choreographers, costumers, pyrotechnicians, fight coordinators, nd prayer intercessors: “To pray on & off the set during & before filming.”

So if you’ve got an “in” with the Lord, and like to blow things up, why not send ‘em your resume?

Dick, under fire
At the freezing outdoor ceremony commemorating the liberation of Nazi death camps at Auschwitz, Vice President Dick Cheney showed up wearing a hooded parka and boots. Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan sniffed that his look was "the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower."

Further, she wrote, "Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood." He was also wearing a knit ski cap, on which were stitched the words "Staff 2001."

He looked "looked like an awkward child amid the well-dressed adults."

At least he wasn't taking nips from a hip flask of Schnappes.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Run blog run. Good blog.

Blog News.
It is said that blogs were important in the last election, but I’m not convinced.

Well, sure they were important, but their importance was equivalent, or less than, to rumor, innuendo, pundit blathering, news reports, bullshit spewed at a party or dinner, manifestoes posted on telephone poles and laundromats, the received idea, the fixed idea, the brochure, the insistent phone call or e-mail, the party line, the whim, the birth of Jesus, Muslim extremism, the economy, the weird look you got from those Mormons on the bus, a disturbing tattoo, gay men observed kissing, a stout woman observed playing a slot machine, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a broken window, a fixed window, a rude public employee, a public employee who bent over backwards to help you, a ruthless corporation, a kind corporation, candlelight vigils, team-building seminars, chain letters, spam, Dave Barry, Kurt Vonnegut, Ted Nugent, Mahir, bulging suitcoats, France, whales, genetic modification, and… like that.

Moan Tones
Porn star Jenna Jameson is now marketing “moan tones,” to be downloaded to your cellular phones, and then employed. It’s a brave new world.

Molly Ivins
I go up and then down with Molly Ivins. Her Texas colloquial schtick wears a little thin. But today’s column was quite good. It was about social security reform. She talks about Frank Luntz, conservative pollster, and his recent appearance on Air America:

He was asked: “Do you think it’s fair for Democrats, or reporters or anybody else, to use the words privatization, or private accounts to describe the president’s policy?”

“I think it is fair for the Democrats to do so.”

“Why not the press?”

“Because it’s not—the press is making a pejorative statement.”

“But wait, it’s the phrase that the president himself has used over and over again….”

“Used it.”

“OK—at the point at which he no longer uses the word, reporters have to start using a different verbiage, shall we say?”

“It’s one of the reasons the American people don’t trust the media. If the media wants (sic) to engage in a debate, let it say so. Let them come on the shows as they do on Sundays, and let them state a pont of iview and people know that they’re not getting the journalistic report, they’re getting the opinion of the left wing or the right wing because there are journalists from both sides.”

President Bush, you see, in his argument for the partial/total privatizing of social security, had originally used the phrase “private accounts,” to refer to his alternate plan. In the face of focus groups' response, he changed his phrase to “personal accounts,” which (for some reason) sits better with those whom his potential policies might affect.

I find this debate not only creepy, but stupid. But then again, I am not a fan of President Bush. And his social security policies seem to me to be a bone thrown to his corporate supporters, and not a piece of meat for the actual, you know, beneficiaries of Social Security.

David H. Hackworth, while sharing many of my political views, is endlessly irritating to me. The fact that he has a nickname, for one thing, and is constantly reminding us that he is “Hack” to his friends, really raises my hackles. Nicknames are great, but they should be held as a sacred trust between you and whoever bestowed them upon you. He constantly uses his nickname to give himself an aura of trusted authority, which logic itself apparently cannot bestow.

In other words, I agree with most of what he says, but I wish he would just say it, and withdraw his bluster from the saying. Thoughts?

Ducks DVD
Well, you know… It’s there. It’s good. Buy one.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Then I saw her face, now I'm a blog leaver....

Why people hate lawyers
A Southern California gambler is suing the Mirage, the Las Vegas casino, for taking his money when they KNEW he was a compulsive gambler. I think I'm going to sue capitalism, because I'm broke.

Deborah Gibson (formerly Debbie) is going to pose for Playboy. Save your quarters for that one, kids!

Ashcroft Ashcroft, all fall down.
The Washington Post informed me that former Attorney General John Ashcroft is something of a card. At his retirement ceremony Monday he was the focus of a “roast,” apparently, or its Calvinist equivalent; colleagues claimed that Ashcroft is a "warm and lighthearted man" who loves the St. Louis Cardinals, rides motocross bikes and skis, and has “been known to let loose with a not infrequent bad pun.”

This curious office behavior was also revealed: "He wiggles his toes, slips off his loafers . . . and balances them against each other pointing up toward the ceiling like a teepee." It sounds like he could have a possible career in vaudeville, if vaudeville wasn’t dead, and he wasn’t such a big asshole.

I love my gay Sponge Bob
Sponge Bob might be promoting a “gay agenda.” Apparently, according to Dr. James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, because Sponge Bob is joining other fictitious cartoon characters in a video which Dr. Dobson insists intends to “promote a ‘tolerance pledge’ that includes tolerance for differences of ‘sexual identity.’” The video, of course, contains no such thing. But why should we care if it did?

Scandinavia in the news!
The following headline amused me: “Norwegians confused by Bush.” It seems that the gesture he made on Inauguration Day – the index and pinkie finger raised in a salute – is considered a salute to Satan in Norway; in Texas, however, it’s just another lame testament to a goddam football team.

In Denmark, meanwhile, I learned that Ikea does not have the panache that it has in the U.S. There it’s considered the equivalent of CostCo. Not that that’s a bad thing.

And a group of 4,000 Icelandic citizens bought a full page ad in the NY Times protesting Iceland’s support of the US invasion of Iraq.

Duck’s Breath DVD
Buy one, damn it! A brand new Duck’s Breath web site is in the works. Will keep you informed.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Blogblocker 3000!

Our Little Metaphors, and How They Grow
President Bush, you might recall, said in his speech: “After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical - and then there came a day of fire.” Meaning 9/11.

So he came to the conclusion: “The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world…. So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

Finally, he said, not mentioning Iraq by name, “…we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.”

That was a pretty neat rhetorical trope: the fire of terrorism shifting into the fire of democracy.
Of course, right on the heels of President Bush’s inaugural address, terrorist honcho Abu Musab Zarqawi declared war on democracy in Iraq "and all those who seek to enact it."

So I guess we’ll see whose fire is fighting whose.

Live fearlessly.
Addressing the Knights of Columbus in Baton Rouge, Supreme Court Justine Antonin Scalia told the assembled Catholics (he is one himself), "God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools ... and he has not been disappointed."

He went on to say, "If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."

He did jump off the Christian-as-idiot trope long enough to allow that "intellect and reason need not be laid aside for religion. It is not irrational to accept the testimony of eyewitnesses who had nothing to gain. There is something wrong with rejecting a priori the existence of miracles."

As I understand “a priori,” it refers to a conclusion or argument based on reason alone, outside experience. How can the existence of a miracle be knowable outside of experiencing it directly? You can’t conclude from a premise that a miracle WILL occur. That doesn’t make any sense. Idiot.

The course of true love…
Speaking of idiots, AP informed me that a thief in Delaware, one of two men who robbed a Domino’s Pizza deliverywoman in New Castle, then called her on a cell phone to apologize and ask her for a date. She declined, and gave his number to the police.

“Why didn’t I think of that?” I thought, slapping myself on the forehead.
The dotcom days refuse to die. A Nebraska web-page designer auctioned his forehead on e-Bay as an advertising space. He will receive $37,375 to advertise SnoreStop, a snoring remedy, for a month.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

iBlog therefore iAm

Let’s Play Dress Up!
I’m no fan of President Bush, but when it comes to the kvetching about the high price of his inaugural gala, I feel compelled to say, “Shut up and let the guy have his party.”

Come As You Aren’t
What is that flap with Prince Harry all about? I could see the outrage if he showed up at a fascist rally in full regalia, but he was at a costume party. He was wearing a costume. When you go to a costume party – an activity I do not recommend- you wear a costume. Sure it was in bad taste. He should have shown up as a Wookie, or Spiderman, or Paris Hilton. But still—good grief.

IPod uPod weallPod for iPod
Why would you want to own a music player you could accidentally swallow. And they’ll probably get even smaller, if that’s what you want from a player - thinner than a dime by 2007, and sub-atomic by 2010.

Much has been made of Apple’s new Mac mini, which sells for around $500 and is the size of a paperback book. Personally, I’d like see this shrinkage trend reversed. I want a steam-driven behemoth of a computer that fills my entire garage, one that requires a seat belt to use, and emits horrible grinding noises and big puffs of white smoke any time I perform an operation. I want a computer, in short, that alerts everybody in a ten block radius that, look out, this guy is hard at work.

And are we now going to chronicle every single time somebody says the “eff-word” on the airwaves? The latest is some guy from some band called Fuel, performing at an inaugural party for the youth, who announced that this was the greatest effing country in the world. It made the news!

So now any time some rock star or wannabe lets fly with an expletive, it’s a news story? Stop it, media!

The networks should do what my mom did. Give them all a swear jar, and every time a curse passes Vince Neill’s lips (for example), he has to put in a quarter. Once a week, send that money to ME. I could sure use it.

According to POPBITCH, the gossip site, to his young friends, “the King of Pop refers to semen as ‘Duck Butter’.”

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Happy Cartoon Fun!

Cartoon fun
Check out, on which an artist, as he puts it “decided to take a select few … popular [cartoon] characters and render their skeletal systems as I imagine they might resemble if one truly had eye sockets half the size of its head….”

You will find Before and After renderings of your cartoon favorites, including Hello Kitty, Tweety, Marvin the Martian, Pikachu, The Peanuts gang, and the PowerPuff Girls.

Reducing cute little Tweety to gaping eye sockets in an enormous head, with vestigial limbs- well, it’s not an artistic accomplishment ranking with the Sistine Chapel, but it’s certainly mildly disturbing. Have fun!

Excerpt from a movie review from an alternative universe?
“Whoopi Goldberg voices a mothering goat and has an affectionate, cranky rapport with Dustin Hoffman’s Shetland pony.”

More cartoon fun
Many cartoon characters have psychological and physical disorders. Sponge Bob, of course, being a sponge, faces many challenges, which he does with a chipper can-do attitude.

What about Tintin, though? Claude Cyr, professor of medicine in Quebec, did an analysis of the comic book hero for the Christmas edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He wrote, “We hypothesize that Tintin has growth hormone deficiency… This could explain his delayed statural growth, delayed onset of puberty and lack of libido.”

According to Reuters, previous editions of the Journal revealed that “…Winnie the Pooh’s continuous search for honey was caused by obsessive compulsive disorder, Piglet needed anti-panic medication, while Eeyore was massively depressed.”

The authors of these studies may have had their tongues in their cheeks – a rare physical condition for professors, but not unheard of – but I’d be interested in hearing their thoughts on whether Goofy is a dog or not. Pluto is a dog, but he can’t talk. If Goofy IS a dog, why can he? What are the laws in that cartoon universe? And why does a mouse need a pet dog anyway?

In other news….
My computer has more or less died, and somehow I’ve managed to import various viruses and worms to the new one, which I am slowly but surely deleting between sneezes (did I mention I have a cold? Pity me!). I hope to return to the banal existence I led before disaster struck sometime over the next few days. This means a return to blogging, Duck’s Breath news (did I mention the DVD?), and an account of attending the Michael Tilson Thomas 60th Birthday gala at the San Francisco Symphony. Oh, it’s a madcap social whirl! And sneezing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Happy New Year!

My computer died last week; I have revived it briefly to extract my files and transfer them to another computer, which is infested with viruses by… something… that hijacked the browser. As a result, for a few days there, I was unable to remain online for longer than five minutes or so. I switched browsers, but Explorer kept trying to take over, giving me pop-up windows with no information on them. That has stopped, thank goodness. But now I need to reconfigure my e-mail account so I don’t have to go on-line to get my messages. Oh, and my printer stopped working. And I have a terrible cold. Truly, Job has nothing on me. I will get back to blogging when my woes get woed over.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A world without Paris

Silver linings dept.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday the outpouring of American aid and humanitarian help in the region devastated by the tsunami may also help Muslim nations see the United States in a better light.

The last time we’ll see Paris
As a kind of New Year’s Resolution, I guess, the gossip columnist for the New York Post announced in his column, Lowdown, last December that he would no longer carry items about Paris Hilton. Of course, he spent the whole column talking about what a clueless skank she is, in his opinion, before making his solemn vow: “If she discovers a cure for cancer, wins the Nobel Peace Prize, launches herself into outer space - or even gets her high- school diploma - I'll be happy to revisit the issue. But until then, this is the last time you'll see Paris in Lowdown.”

Now this sort of thing is considered admirable in America – you smoke for many years, then quit, everybody applauds, you stop drinking, doing drugs, go on the Atkins Diet, you pay attention to the goofy doings of oxygen-deprived socialists, and then stop cold turkey. Kudos! Bravo! Everybody salutes you!

But why tell us about it? Can’t you just, you know, not talk about Paris Hilton, without talking about how you’re not going to talk about her?

And don’t forget Kirstie Alley!
I don’t read the New York Post anyway, as a rule, and those gossip columns I do read, well, all mentions of Paris Hilton wash over me like tepid tapwater, frankly. I’m more of a Britney man, when it comes to eavesdropping on celebrity meltdowns.

Still, thousands of people do read the Post. Couldn’t the columnist have held a contest of some kind, to see how long people noticed before they realized he’s no longer talking about her? If he had just let it go, his readership would eventually think, “Say, it’s been two months without a mention of Paris Hilton. What the hell is going on?” The first one to call in to complain could get a free round trip to Queens. Or something. I’m just spitballing.

And what EVERYBODY stopped paying attention to Paris Hilton?

A world without Paris
As in a horror story by Poe, or Borges, the shallow star would jetset to New York to London, unrecognized, ignored, forced to carry her own designer luggage like a ghost, her vapid utterances falling on ears forever closed to her. Even her little dog, Tinkerbell, would start checking Craigslist for a more suitable mistress, like Britney, or the Olsen Twin without the problems.

And all the computers on which resides the infamous downloaded Paris Hilton sex video will gather dust, as their owners log off, to wander outside, blinking at the sunshine, and wonder at the beauty of the world. Eventually, say a year from now, when you do a Google search for Paris Hilton, the only thing that will pop up is a French hotel, no vacancies, and room rates so expensive, just looking at the web site can cause bankruptcy. And that’s when we will all turn our truncated attention spans to Lindsay Lohan, where they belong.

Duck’s Breath DVD
Bill Allard and I are starting a Duck’s Breath web site, for the purpose of selling the DVD, among other things. Will keep you posted, as we get closer to launch.

Monday, January 03, 2005

The shock jock n hookers blog

What is a deejay?
They aren’t really deejays any more, are they? They don’t spin discs, they just dream up stunts. They’re called shock jocks now, which is kind of odd. They were originally disc jockeys - because they spun platters - which became deejays, and then, when they stopped playing music altogether (Do they play music? I dunno, I don’t listen), they’re called shock jocks. It's like a syllogism missing a premise.

So anyway...
Some deejays dreamed up a stunt called “Breast Christmas Ever,” in which four stations offered 13 women breast enlargement surgeries, in exchange for essays explaining why they wanted larger breasts. A Tampa station claimed to have gotten more than 91,000 entries.

Okay, children are starving in Asia, hundreds of thousands dead, there's a horrible war in Iraq, women are being degraded, yadda yadda....

I don’t want to deal with those discussions, except to tell you that the National Organization for Women called the contest "degrading and unethical,” can you believe it?

And a spokeswoman for Clear Channel, of which the four stations were members, declared, "There is no reason to be concerned because it's not a Clear Channel-sponsored contest. We empower our local manager to make programming decisions.''

"There is no reason to be concerned, because it’s not a Clear Channel-sponsored contest." Whew! If it had been a Clear Channel-sponsored contest, I might have had to slit my wrists. That's how disappointed I would have been.

What really interests me.
How does this story relate to an Associated Press wire story, posted on December 23, “Federal regulators on Wednesday proposed a $220,000 indecency fine against the owner of two Kansas radio stations for broadcasting a 'Naked Twister'' game with local strippers and graphic interviews with porn stars.” Hm?

What is the sinister connection between drive time deejays and strippers/hookers? For centuries (it seems), morning radio guys have been cajoling strippers into taking off their clothes, hookers into taking i.q. tests, and generally indulging in all sorts of pranks that are of enormous fascination to frat boys, a source of irritation for another 80 per cent of the country, and an indication that the end of the world is near to the rest.

I’m in the irritated 80 per cent by the way (full disclosure), but I am interested to know – where do the shock jocks meet the strippers and hookers? I mean, the radio shows go on at five, six in the morning. They can’t go out clubbing at night, or cruising the strip. They need their sleep if they’re going to be fresh little rude boys at the crack of dawn.

And the hookers and strippers? What is the enticement for them to get up in the morning after a hard night of hooking and stripping, just to make fools of themselves with creepy little giggly pasty no longer quite young men in tee-shirts who stopped listening to music when Def Leppard retired?

What do the hookers and strippers get out of it?

It’s a mysterious symbiosis to be sure, one that ensures ratings for the shock jocks, not to mention citations from the FCC, and, I suppose, a certain kind of fame for the hookers and strippers, who probably don’t mind a game of Naked Twister at eight in the morning, if they’re paid for it, and it doesn’t involve the exchange of body fluids.

Whither America?
But what does America get out of it? More entertainment I guess. Lord knows we have a damn dearth of entertainment in this country. Not to mention a severe shortage of large-breasted women.

So bless you, Clear Channel, for empowering your local managers, and providing a much-needed shot in the arm to the troubled cosmetic surgery industry. I salute you! This blog salutes you!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Meet the New Blog, Same as the Old Blog

Hi, I’m Ann Coulter, and I’m hot and lonely. IM me! I have a webcam!
The Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute is offering a 2005 calendar, Great American Conservative Women, featuring Ann Coulter, Dr. Laura, Michelle Malkin, Condoleezza Rice, and Shemane Nugent, among others, all naked as jaybirds. Not.

Which makes me wonder….
How did “jaybird” become the measure of nakedness? And what would be its opposite? As fully clothed as a Great American Conservative Woman?

Doomsayers regret the error…
An asteroid that experts previously thought would hit the earth in 2029 is not going to hit the earth after all.

The owner of a strip club in LA got a hearing with the Los Angeles City Council, hoping they would allow him to increase his open hours. His petition was denied. However, he taped the meeting to prove that he not only didn’t get a fair hearing, but council members weren’t even paying attention.

The tape, according to the Associated Press, revealed that “one council member paced, deep in a cell phone conversation; three huddled in conversation; another strolled about the room….”

A subsequent lawsuit by the owners of the club brought a ruling by the Court of Appeal that the 15-member council “has a legal duty to listen to testimony — or risk violating citizens' due process.”

One of the council members, Dennis Zine, thought the city should appeal the decision; he said, "It's impractical for us to sit there like students in a classroom… ”

The hearing in question took place on Hawaiian Shirt Day, traditionally a time of much joy and celebration for the Los Angeles City Council.

Stewart dissed
Martha Stewart’s team lost a prison decoration contest, says People Magazine.

Each team was given $25 worth of glitter, ribbons, construction paper and glue to build a display around the theme, ``Peace on Earth.'' Her team crafted paper cranes that hung from the ceiling. The winning team made a nativity scene showing ``pictures of snow-covered hills and sleds and clouds on the wall.''

My wife wondered idly if Martha Stewart shivved the winner in the shower later. People Magazine did not say.

And before that we heard Whitney Houston, and “I Will Always Love You”
One of the alleged tactics used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo was to force them to listen to a looped tape of the Meow Mix cat food jingle for hours on end.

Everybody needs a hobby
The editor of MODERN DRUNKARD, a magazine out of Denver about heavy drinking, and how to do it, is an alcoholic; he told the LA TIMES, "I drink about eight drinks a day and maybe 30 on a heavy day, but as long as I remain healthy and happy, I have no intention of slowing down. I mean, when you have something good going, you stick with it, right?" In the offices of MODERN DRUNKARD, smoking is also encouraged.

The Duck’s Breath DVD…
…is resting after a strenuous New Year’s celebration, and will return to shipping on Monday. Happy New Year, y’all.