Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bad News Blog!

“Preliminary results from a survey of married couples suggest that disputing husbands and wives who hold in their anger die earlier than expressive couples.”

The wee wife likes to give me a thunk on the side of the head with her forefinger occasionally. However, she being shorter than I, the thunk requires that I be sitting down. Which is why I spent much of my married life upstanding, which I believe also has aerobic benefits.

News from Davos!
“World Economic Forum wraps up with warnings for 2008.”

Rambo is back!
Rambo? Rambo. I mean, really…. Rambo? The Alvin and the Chipmunk movie was bad enough, but Rambo?

The New York Times raves: “…the movie does have its own kind of blockheaded poetry.”

Bill Clinton is back!
Ranting and raving, getting all red in the face, reminding voters everywhere that if Hillary is elected President, Bill will be there too. Little tiny winces come over me.

End of American power, in this week's NYT Sunday Magazine
“So now, rather than bestriding the globe, we are competing — and losing — in a geopolitical marketplace alongside the world’s other superpowers: the European Union and China. This is geopolitics in the 21st century: the new Big Three. … The Big Three make the rules — their own rules — without any one of them dominating. And the others are left to choose their suitors in this post-American world.”

Does this mean the word “hegemony” will disappear from editorials? That would be an upside.

Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla. Why did anybody think this was a good idea?

The Tears of Hillary
I did not see the video. I did not dare. I only heard the event on the radio. But there was a catch in Hillary’s voice, was there not, one never caught before? It was not her husband’s catch, a catch we have heard many times. It was her own catch. And the catch was caught, and played and replayed after the phenomenon, back in those cold New Hampshire days. We hunched around our radios, enemies and fans and the indifferent alike, listening to her voice, suddenly soft, suddenly vulnerable, suddenly fragile, suddenly tentative. But was it a false catch? Like the peculiar often-inappropriate half smile frequently presented by President Bush, was her catch a nervous tic, a deliberate attempt to endear herself to us, or an actual semi-meltdown?

And what of the tear itself? Did it exist? Observers vary in their opinions. Time has passed. The mystery deepens. Teams of experts watch the video in slow motion, stopping it and starting it, blowing up stills, examining each frame with magnifying glasses. Did Hillary tear up? If she did, was her tear the result of exhaustion, or allergies? Was it spontaneous liquid combustion? Was it a calculated sob, practiced for hours late at night in front of strange hotel room mirrors? Was it an artificial droplet, artfully applied? Only Hillary and her conscience know.

Go to YouTube. See for yourself. Watch the glistening. Not even a glistening, more of a precursor to a glisten. It might even be a trick of light. There may be nothing there. But if there is - and so many seek it still - we do not know if it was the liquid diamond of sorrow, or a spectrumless prism, a transparent portal to an empty soul.

In hope and fear, we await the results of the studies. Lachrymologists, and bloggers, and those who can accurately take the measure of our bodies’ excretions, all assemble their findings. And we poor voters, mining our own dusty ducts for the last vestiges of fear and grief, we wonder. This mythical teardrop, is it the lonely teardrop of a poor lorn Tammy, or the crocodile tear of a suicide blonde? Is her tear the Iran of body secretions, or the lost Eden of forgotten innocence?

All we know is this: if the tear is real, it will not be kissed away. The floodgates could open. If that happens, will the tears of Hillary heal a nation, or destroy the world? Get out your handkerchiefs, America. Only time will tell. And history will write the answer in its own tears. Or its own blood. Or its own…. whatever. What were we talking about again?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Paper Thin Blog

Suck up goes terribly wrong
Diane Keaton on the Today Show, plugging something or other, and flattering Diane Sawyer on how beautiful she is, said, “I’d like to have lips like that. Then I wouldn’t have worked on my fucking personality.”

A shocked hush subsequently fell over the audience of rapt housewives. Gossip site TMZ, however, was strangely gleeful, and through its auspices the video promptly made the rounds of the Web.

No Country for Old Men
Ike Turner, the man who made the first rock and roll record, “Rocket 88,” and gained infamy as the abusive Tina Turner starmaker, has died at 76, of a cocaine overdose.

No Country for Old Men, II.
I didn’t see the movie, but I read the book. I’ve read everything Cormac McCarthy has written, but I thought this novel was a load. McCarthy makes up this weird psycho killer, who kills people with a cattle prod, and then asks us to believe that his grotesque imagined character is some sort of stand-in for the Universal Evil In Men’s Souls. Hannibal Lecter didn’t even aspire to that.

No Country for Old Readers
Steve Jobs, talking to the New York Times, had an opinion about Amazon’s new book-readin’ gizmo, Kindle: “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

He was interviewed because he had recently unveiled a new paper-thin laptop for the adoring followers at MacWorld. It’s so thin it fits into an envelope, which is how he unveiled it. By removing it from an envelope. Not exactly Moses parting the Red Sea, but it’ll do, I reckon, in these downsized times.

I knew there was a reason I hated this company.
New York Post: "Dov Charney walks around his office in his underwear, sleeps with employees, and calls women bitches, sluts, whores and the c-word - and that's the stuff he admits to."

Dov Charney is the founder of American Apparel. A civil trial is about to begin in Los Angeles in which a former female employee claims that Charney showed up for a meeting with her, wearing nothing but a sock over his penis, and invited her to masturbate. Allegedly. Later, when she informed him she would be talking to a lawyer, he fired her. Allegedly.

American Apparel, in a statement obtained by the Post, said that the "…facts are these: Mr. Charney never harassed Ms. Nelson. Mr. Charney never propositioned Ms. Nelson. The only time he was in his undergarments was for strictly professional reasons....”

Strictly professional reasons? He was showing off the new line of socks, I guess. Or new line of sock, anyway.

Let’s put this one to rest, shall we?
Describing the voters of New Hampshire as “fiercely independent.” What the hell does that mean? Do they tear up ballots with their teeth?

And furthermore, thanks to Google, a trope that really chaps the hindquarters of both me and the Child Bride…
“It might seem like a small technical tweak, but by reducing idling and acceleration the Office of Sustainable Development predicts that in five years 171,786 metric tons of carbon dioxide can be offset, equivalent to taking 34,220 cars off the road for one year.”
Globe and Mail

“The award recognizes Quad/Graphics' leadership in reducing emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from its freight transport activities. In 2006 alone, Quad/Graphics prevented the emission of 11,878 tons of carbon dioxide -- the equivalent of taking 2,332 passenger cars off the road.”

“Perhaps you've heard that if every house in Canada exchanged just one incandescent bulb for a compact fluorescent, the savings in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking 66,000 cars off the road.”
Sudbury Star

“So far, the housing corporation has spent around $90 million on energy retrofits and thus cut its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 19,000 tonnes – the equivalent of taking about 10,000 cars off the road every year.”
Toronto Star

“More than 425,000 households in Adelaide take part in council kerbside collection of green organics. If just one in every 100 does the wrong thing, that adds up to 4250 bins of contaminated waste. Mr Bowden said the compost industry turned more than 555,000 tonnes of organic material into compost and mulches each year. Taking that out of the general waste stream was equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road a year, because of greenhouse gas savings.”
Adelaide Now

“Ann Arbor is the first U.S. city to convert 100 percent of its downtown streetlights to LED technology. The city anticipates that it will take about 3.8 years for them to see the payback on this investment. This is based on energy savings from products that are expected to burn five times longer than the bulbs being replaced, while requiring less than half the energy. More specifically, each new fixture draws 56 watts, and its bulb is projected to last 10 years, as opposed to the former units that used more than 120 watts and carried a two-year life expectancy. Once fully implemented, this changeover is projected to cut Ann Arbor’s public lighting energy use in half and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,425 tons annually. This is reportedly equivalent to taking 400 cars off the road for a year.”
Product Design & Development

“By implementing these standards, California would be eliminating greenhouse gases equivalent to taking 6.5 million cars off the road by the year 2020.”
Associated Press

“If every state were allowed to enact the standards, greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road, saving 11 billion gallons of gas every year, state officials say.”
San Diego
Copeley News Service

“As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from cars, light trucks, and sport utility vehicles would be reduced by 392 million metric tons by 2020, the equivalent of taking 74 million cars off the road for an entire year.”
Darien News and Review

“Savings from the California standards would prove tangible. In this state, their adoption would mean the equivalent of taking 690,000 cars off the road by 2020.”
Seattle Post Intelligencer

“An impressive collection target of 100 million cards has been set by the Woodland Trust and Recycle Now, which will enable 24,000 trees to be planted1 and save 2,600 tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases - the same as taking over 800 cars off the road for a year.”
MK News (Milton Keynes)

“This year's Earth Hour reduced pollution by 24.86 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equal to taking 48,613 cars off the road for an hour, according to an Energy Australia estimate.”
Sydney Morning Herald

“E.On spokesman Jonathan Smith said the new station was ‘more modern and efficient’ than the old plant and would cut emissions by two million tons of C02 a year - the equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road.”
The Press Association

And on, and on....

As Wee Wife put it, “We estimate that taking 200 cars off the road would be equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road.”

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Self Help Blog

Dr. Phil to the Rescue!
According to the Associated Press, Dr. Phil showed up as Britney Spears was checking herself out of the hospital, and walked her to her car. He said he talked with her for an hour, and told reporters that “she is in dire need of both medical and psychological intervention.” However, gossip site TMZ says, “We're told Britney did not invite him in; she didn't even know he was coming. Sources say it was Brit's parents who told Dr. Phil to go to the hospital. When he walked into her room, we're told, a blindsided Britney walked out -- and eventually came back. Sources say Phil tried speaking with Spears for about 15 minutes -- not an hour as Dr. Phil's press release states -- but she wanted none of it. We're told Phil was doing almost all the talking. As for walking with her to the car on her way out -- again, as his release states -- we're told if he was walking behind her, that's news to her. She absolutely was not accompanied by him.”

Britney’s Mom, incidentally, will be on Dr. Phil’s show this Tuesday. Coincidence or amazing synchronicity?

The wisdom of Joel Osteen
"If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be up on it. If God carried a wallet, your photo would be in it."

Okay, but why would God have a refrigerator? And where would God carry His wallet?

She’s Long Island Dolores now, if you please, with a newfound dignity.
AP: “Former ‘Long Island Lolita’ Amy Fisher is joining her husband in trying to market a sex tape, saying, ‘I always wanted to be No. 1 at something, but I didn't think it would be something like this.’”

Lizard news!
Faced with a cold snap in Florida, iguanas are lapsing into a kind of involuntary hibernation, and falling out of trees.

Formerly cute Knut
Knut apparently will be cute again, if the Berlin Zoo goes through with a deal to make the bear the star of an animated movie. Contrary to rumor, baby Knut will not be voiced by Suri Cruise. A Cruise family friend ttold MSNBC, “Suri doesn’t even speak in full sentences yet.” And neither does Knut.

Tyger tyger rumor
I have a friend who works at a San Francisco hospital, who happened to be on duty when the two young men mauled by the tiger were brought in. He claims that the two had slingshots on their persons.

This is the weirdest election ever, isn’t it? All these candidates were in Iowa for about half a millennium, giving the same stump speech day after day, leaving reporters with nothing to write about except candidates’ body language, energy levels, and minute to minute standings in the polls. The BBC was covering the caucuses! It is very odd to hear people with British accents talking about Iowa. It just doesn’t seem right.

I lived in Iowa for some years, and thought it was a fine place, full of fine people. So the Iowa backlash rather puzzles me. Typical was this letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle: “That one small state has usurped onto itself such influence and attention is bizarre…. Iowa does not even represent the Midwest well. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois are more populous, wealthier, more sophisticated.” The writer of the letter was from San Anselmo, which is more populous, wealthier, and more sophisticated than Redwood City.

Huckabee is like the uncle I never had
Mike Huckabee apparently had a negative ad against Mitt Romney, which he decided to pull from circulation. He did this by announcing at a press conference that he was pulling the ad, because he was above such tactics. He then showed the ad to the reporters. And the Washington Post reported that the ad actually did run in Iowa, three times, on New Year’s Eve.