Wednesday, December 21
Bow down before the totally radical He-Man/She-Ra crossover Christmas special!
He-Man/Prince Adam: So that's how Christmas first came to Eternia. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but the spirit of the Christmas season is within us all. It's a season of love and joy and caring.
Orko: And presents!
He-Man: (Chuckling) Presents are nice, Orko, but Christmas means much more than that.
Orko: I know, Adam. Christmas is a time of peace and caring and happiness.
He-Man: That's right, Orko. And what would make you happiest this Christmas?
He-Man: Oh, Orko!
The 45 minute cartoon/infomercial is nakedly geared toward selling toys such as the He-Man Helicopter Dildo (see below).
Tuesday, December 20
Check out this excellent video, produced by design gods Ray and Charles Eames, that starts with a man in a park, zooms out 10x, then 10x again, ad infinitum, until you're looking at thousands of galaxies, then back in again until you are staring at a single carbon atom in the guy's DNA.
Made way back in the day for the exponent-loving geeks at IBM, with music by soundtrack maestro Elmer Bernstein.
Posted by Quickr FlickrHo Ho Hoyay! To celebrate Christmas, the MP3 blog Copy, Right? has posted 15 -- count 'em, 15! -- cover versions of the perennial Wham! yuletide favorite "Last Christmas," along with the excellent photo of George M. and Andrew R. showing off their Xmas spirit. Uh, guys, I don't think Santa actually rides his reindeer, but go 'head and do your thang.
Friday, December 16
Great fake SNL commercial on the Woomba, a feminine hygiene robot from the makers of the Roomba, which brutally lampoons all of those soft-focus commercials that promise to end that "not so fresh feeling."
"It's a robot and it cleans my business -- my lady business -- and I like that," exclaims Tina Fey (above).
Cut to a typical scene of a woman skipping carefreely through the forest, only to find that she's frantically trying to escape the Woomba, which clearly has a mind of its own.
Frighteningly, its "beedee beedee" sound effects suggest it may be the bastard child of Twiki from Buck Rogers and the Hamburglar.
"Once Woomba has been activated, it is entirely self-sufficient. IT CANNOT BE TURNED OFF. Woomba will address your personal feminine hygiene needs whenever and wherever it thinks best."
You can run from robotic feminine hygiene, but you cannot hide.
Other great SNL fake ads: Dan Ackroyd's Super Bass-O-Matic, The Oops I Crapped My Pants adult diaper, The Love Toilet ("Because when you're in love, even five minutes apart can seem like an eternity"), Schmitts Gay beer, and (I have to admit I haven't seen this one) Steve Martin's All-Natural Penis Beauty Cream.
Thursday, December 15
As it turns out, it wasn't the first time the Queen visited Reuters -- she took a royal spin through the old Fleet St offices back in 1963...Or Did She?!
"At the time, rather surprisingly, the Reuters newsroom was felt to be too rough and tough an environment for the Queen to see. So we created a realistic but sanitized mock-up," said Reuters Group archivist John Entwisle. "This time Her Majesty has seen the real thing."
There are probably a couple of Reuters editors that would be much happier with a Potemkin Village of journalists. But we've certainly come a long way from the Fleet St days -- nowadays, the Reuters newsroom is booze- and tobacco-free (more's the pity), and looks like nothing so much as a telemarketing office with a few extra flatscreen monitors.
The Reuters intranet gushed: "There was no way The Queen could miss out on visiting the largest newsroom in Europe. Guided around the busy 4th floor by Geert Linnebank, Editor-in-Chief and Global Head of Content, even the presence of a Royal on their floor did not deter journalists from filing their stories as usual."
...or buying clothtes on eBay, or watching cricket, or surfing for porn...
At the end of her visit HMQEII "filed" a Reuters story onto the giant screen in the lobby, giving longtime royals correspondent Paul Majendie a coveted dual byline.
Tuesday, December 13
In episode two, the men discuss a BBC story -- since proven to be a hoax, but it really doesn't matter -- headlined "Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight."
Everything you need to know is in the headline, but here's an excerpt:
The fight was slated when an angry fan contested Yang Sihamoni, President of the CMFL, claiming that one lion could defeat his entire league of 42 fighters.
Sihamoni takes great pride in the league he helped create, as was conveyed in his recent advertising campaign for the CMFL that stated his midgets will "... take on anything; man, beast, or machine."
The fight was called in only 12 minutes, after which 28 fighters were declared dead, while the other 14 suffered severe injuries including broken bones and lost limbs, rendering them unable to fight back.
Merchant muses: "I wonder if they were fighting against their will. With all due respect to any midgets listening, they must be fairly easy to round up."
Gervais: "No, because a lot of them stand on each other's shoulders and wear a long coat."
Merchant: "But who would want to voluntarily join the midget fighting league?"
Gervais: "Midgets who want a bit of action!"
Merchant: "If I were on the midget fighting team, I'd be thinking, 'I can't believe I listened to my agent. I should have just taken up panto in Grimsby.'"
I vividly remember a tramautic episode from my youth when my parents promised a Chuck E. Cheese outing, only to find when we arrived that it had permanently closed. I was one inconsolable 17 year old.
Monday, December 12
Everything seems to have gone extremely well -- I've had no virtually no pain and I can't tell you how great it just to be able to walk around London again!
A few tidbits to welcome you back:
An Oregon town disposes of a dead whale by blowing it up with dynamite, showering whale parts for more than a mile and destroying at least one car with a large chunk of falling blubber.
Vintage 1970 news footage via Google Video.
You'd think Lillo Brancato Jr would have got the message that organised crime doesn't pay after his "Sopranos" character, Matthew Bevilaqua, got whacked by Tony and Big Pussy in Hacklebarny State Park. But nooooooooo -- He decides to burgle a house, gets surprised by a cop, and in the resulting shoot-out the cop dies and Brancato and his accomplice are critically wounded. Lillo, your onscreen father Robert De Niro ("A Bronx Tale") would be so disappointed. Bonus points: In the B-movie "'R Xmas," Brancato was married to fellow Sopranos whackee Drea De Matteo.
And finally...Xmas is a busy time for photocopier repairmen, what with all the asses being photocopied. "Canon also asked its staff to report the strange objects that they had found in damaged equipment. The list included stockings, a condom, a kitchen knife, a sausage roll and a vibrator - although presumably not all in the same machine."
Friday, November 18
Behold, 30 fascinating facts you may not have known about Chuck Norris:
-- Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead decided to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter he grew a beard.Visit Chuck's round-housing Web site, which includes an audio greeting and a "Farewell to Walker" letter.
-- Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
-- The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.
-- Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
-- Chuck Norris doesnt shave; he kicks himself in the face. The only thing that can cut Chuck Norris is Chuck Norris.
-- If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death.
-- The original theme song to the Transformers was actually "Chuck Norris--more than meets the eye, Chuck Norris--robot in disguise," and starred Chuck Norris as a Texas Ranger who defended the earth from drug-dealing Decepticons and could turn into a pick-up. This was far too much awesome for a single show, however, so it was divided.
Don't like Chuck Norris? Try Waxing the Hoff.
Thursday, November 10
Guess what? It effing worked!
At least that's how it looks on day two after the procedure, from my vantage point in what has to be the most ridiculously plush hospital this side of Shangri-La. The Princess Grace -- where the Queen and other royals go for treatment -- boasts hotel-style private rooms, flat screen TVs, a mini-bar, room service and a wine list!
The steak sandwich with Dijon mayonnaise is particularly ace.
In case you wondering, I am indeed blogging from my hospital bed thanks to magical "wireless" Internet access.
I'm thinking about moving in full time, especially if I can keep my morphine wristwatch.
Yes, you read that correctly: I have a morphine bottle pinned onto my PJs, hooked up to a device on my wrist, which then feeds into an IV. I press the button on the wristwatch, and it's morphine city.
It's all about patient empowerment, people.
I've been up and walking since the day after surgery, and I can't tell you how good it feels to not have pain and numbness in my leg. Kelly and my Mom have been incredibly attentive and kind by my bedside, the hospital staff have been excellent, and tonight for dinner I'm having fennel and leek soup for a starter, followed by sea bream, and sticky toffee pudding for dessert -- accompanied by an insouciant Sancerre.
Friday, November 4
First came Tegan & Sara's original version, then Jack and Meg White got their little red and black and white mittens on it in a smoking cover version.
There's even a techno remix if that's your sort of thing.
I double dog dare you not to be subsummed in the catchy musical goodness.
Tuesday, November 1
Fast forward to 2002, when a internal investigation found that NSA officers deliberately skewed intelligence to conclude that North Vietnam was responsible. No massive surprise there, but check out what came next:
The NSA historians tried to go public. Today's NY Times reports:
But their effort was rebuffed by higher-level agency policymakers, who by the next year were fearful that it might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, according to an intelligence official familiar with some internal discussions of the matter.
Saturday, October 29
In the words of an unusually perceptive friend: "When I was there, just before the IPO, I thought the coziness to be almost overwhelming. Happy Golden Retrievers running in slow motion through water sprinklers on the lawn. People waving and smiling, toys everywhere. I immediately suspected that unimaginable evil was happening somewhere in the dark corners. If the devil would come to earth, what place would be better to hide?"
For 30 years I have been wondering, what indication of its existence might we expect from a true AI? Certainly not any explicit revelation, which might spark a movement to pull the plug. Anomalous accumulation or creation of wealth might be a sign, or an unquenchable thirst for raw information, storage space, and processing cycles, or a concerted attempt to secure an uninterrupted, autonomous power supply. But the real sign, I suspect, would be a circle of cheerful, contented, intellectually and physically well-nourished people surrounding the AI. There wouldn't be any need for True Believers, or the downloading of human brains or anything sinister like that: just a gradual, gentle, pervasive and mutually beneficial contact between us and a growing something else. This remains a non-testable hypothesis, for now. The best description comes from science fiction writer Simon Ings:
"When our machines overtook us, too complex and efficient for us to control, they did it so fast and so smoothly and so usefully, only a fool or a prophet would have dared complain."
Wednesday, October 26
Tuesday, October 25
Bob Schwartz, who also is Gov. Bill Richardson's crime adviser, was hospitalized at University of New Mexico Hospital on Sunday night with bites on both his arms, said Pahl Shipley, a spokesman for the governor.
A hospital spokeswoman declined to release Schwartz's condition, but Shipley said Schwartz is "going to be fine."
Schwartz has three dogs registered with the city: a boxer and two English bulldogs, said Denise Wilcox, who oversees Albuquerque's animal care centers.
Schwartz was instrumental in getting a law passed during this year's regular legislative session that would allow felony charges to be filed against owners of dogs deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous and that seriously injure or kill another animal or person.
The law was designed to make dog owners accountable, said Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, who worked with Schwartz to pass the bill.
"But I guess when it happens in your own family, that's another story," she said. "That's tragic."
Thursday, October 20
We love monkeys here at Monkey Daemon, and so happened to come across a great Wikipedia article that tracks the origin of this famous pop-culture touchstone.
(Montgomery Burns, inspecting the work of his monkey typist team: "'It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?!' You stupid monkey!")
A few selected snippits:
-- An infinite number of monkeys given an infinite amount of time is, simply, overkill.
-- "If the monkey could type one keystroke every nanosecond, the expected waiting time until the monkey types out Hamlet is so long that the estimated age of the universe is insignificant by comparison ... this is not a practical method for writing plays," wrote Gian-Carlo Rota.
-- Jorge Luis Borges, explores a similar theme in the story "The Library of Babel," which contains volumes filled with random strings of characters. The narrator notes that every great work of literature is contained in the library; but these are outnumbered by the flawed works, which are in turn vastly outnumbered by the gibberish.
-- ABC political insider email newsletter The Note often refers to the Washington press corps as "the Googling monkeys."
-- In 2003, scientists at Paignton Zoo and the University of Plymouth reported that they had left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Sulawesi Crested Macaques (see photo above) for a month; not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages (PDF) consisting largely of the letter S, they started by attacking the keyboard with a stone, and continued by urinating and defecating on it.
Tuesday, October 18
That's 21 this year if you were counting.
Any future storms in 2005 will be named after the letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, etc.
You can see future hurricane names through 2010 here. Personally I'm rooting for Humberto in '06 and Joaquin in '09.
Who could forget words such as:
-- Meh: An interjection expressing apathy, general indifference, and boredom.
-- Saxomophone: Homer's word for Lisa's favorite instrument. (During Lisa's absence, Homer attempted to "play" Lisa's baritone sax by singing into it the words "Saxomophone" to the tune of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony)
-- Yoink!: A verbal exclamation made by a character when stealing an object from its owner or rightful place.
There are also some excellent Simpsons "snowclones," which are adaptable cliched phrases such as "Mmmmmm.... (fill in the blank)," "Worst ______ ever," and "I, for one, welcome our new _____ overlords."
Some Simpsons phrases may sadly and undeservedly be destined for obscurity, such as BBBQ: "Come to Homer's BBBQ. The extra B is for BYOBB." When Bart asks what the extra 'B' is for in BYOBB, Homer replies that it's a typo.
As a bonus, today's lexigraphic term of the day is Portmanteau: a word that is formed by combining both sounds and meanings from two or more words. You may remember it from such words as Craptacular and Sacrilicious.
Tuesday, October 11
Friday, October 7
The BBC's excellent Wikipedia-esque H2G2 peels back the years to look at the roots of Britain's favourite curse words:
"In the 1950s, construction kits like Meccano would be sold in boxes of various sizes. The list of contents which came with the standard size box would be headed 'Box, Standard' (which elided into 'bog standard' when spoken) and the larger box was the 'Box, Deluxe' which was spoonerised to create the phrase 'The Dog's Bollocks'. This is such a satisfying explanation for two common forms of British English usage that one really wants it to be true."
"There is also the phrase 'sweet Fanny Adams' which is sometimes abbreviated to 'sweet FA'. Fanny Adams was an eight-year-old child who was murdered and dismembered in Alton, Hampshire, in 1867. Her grave is still there. At around the same time, the British Navy started preserving chopped mutton in tins, and the sailors - always an uncouth lot - described this as 'sweet Fanny Adams' which eventually came to mean 'nothing of any good at all'."
"In 1230AD, both Oxford and London boasted districts called 'Gropecunte Lane', in reference to the prostitutes that worked there. The Oxford lane was later renamed the slightly less-contentious Magpie Lane, while London's version retained a sense of euphemism when it was changed to 'Threadneedle Street'. Records do not show whether it was a decision of intentional irony that eventually placed the Bank of England there.
The word has good Shakespearian usage, though even he was a little subtle. Hamlet asks whether he can lie in Ophelia's lap, 'I mean, my head upon your lap?' and then says 'Do you think I meant country matters?'"
"A phrase that, until recently, was almost exclusively American, is 'motherfucker'. Despite sounding very Oedipal, this does not have Freudian derivations. The word was apparently coined by African slaves to describe the slave owners who had raped the slave's mothers. Simple as that."
As the word 'piss' became categorised as vulgar, the phrase was modified - 'taking the micturations', later shortened to 'taking the mickey'
Thursday, October 6
Defamer weighs in on Nick & Jessica:
"Nick and Jessica have not separated," their spokespeople said. "Rumors to the contrary are simply not true."
Somewhere out there, a 15 year-old Jessica Simpson fan, unable to process information from events that have occurred since the first season of Newlyweds due to an elective lobotomy, slowly pumps her fist and whispers Yes!, her faith in the health of her favorite couple’s marriage unshaken.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you believe that the president can claim executive privilege?
HOWARD DEAN: Well, certainly the president can claim executive privilege. But in the this case, I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it's called.
The president's "argument" for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.
He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.
His argument seems a little arbitrary to me (vote against her confirmation because Bush didn't veto McCain-Feingold?), but it warms my heart to see dissention in the GOP ranks.
The Dubyaite counterstrike is even more amusing, noting that would-be Judge Harriet "happens to be a gun-toting evangelical who gives money to pro-life organizations." Whew, I feel better already.
Wednesday, October 5
Name: Kim Wilson, "a 45 year old male Little Person"
Likes: Reading, Studying psychology/spirituality, and gay relationship counseling
Astrological Sign: Sagittarius
Name: Scott Robinson
Likes: outdoors, reading, laughing, writing, camping, swimming, fishing
Seeks: "a lasting friendship, and who knows what else"
Astrological Sign: Sagittarius
Crime: Sexual Battery
thanks for the link, Dolly!
"Don't let dean of students, Henry Riegert, fool ya, or even try to school ya. We'll get that bonfire going in time for da mixer, mon," Marley told the Sigma Nu chapter of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
"Seriously, I'm such a huge fan that I've practically worn out my CD copy of Legend. It's the best fuck music," said Jason "Boner" Bonham, chapter president of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Tufts University.
Friday, September 30
Wednesday, September 28
"You might have a naughty dream about a special lady in a special way in a special place that smells like the sea."
Shocking. Hilarious. Not in any way remotely safe for work -- as I discovered too late. I am so fired.
Tom "Jump the Couch" Cruise is giving a series of talks on "Scientology's solutions to mental health problems," including one lecture titled: "Handling Sexual Dis-Orientation: Out of the Closet and Into the Auditing Room."
Show up for Tom Cruise talking about gay people (!), but stay for "Diagnosis and Treatment of So-Called Clinical Depression with the Hubbard Mark Super VII Quantum Electropsychometer."
October 22 -- Live Webcast promised.
Whoops -- it's a fake. As Defamer notes, a pretty good one, though.
Photo via Sasha Frere-Jones
The BBC got its knuckles rapped by the UK media regulator yesterday for running a radio show on the history of punk culture that opened with an elderly woman reeling off a long string of profanties.
After a brief warning about strong language, the program began:
"Hello ladies, boys and girls, I thought that you might like to know - in the spirit of punk rock – the following show includes, what we often refer to as language. So if, like me, you are offended by such words and phrases as: arse; bollocks; tit, wank; tit-wank; rotter; mother licker; mother sucker; mother fucker; twat; minge juice; bottler and of course bastard – then you might wish to turn over, or fuck off – thank you."
Minge juice? I also really like the fact that "tit-wank" is its own word, more than the sum of its parts.
UK media regulator Ofcom ruled that the profanity "was
clearly intended to be ironic and provide a humorous
introduction to the programme", but noted that listeners aged 4
to 14 make up 14 percent of the Radio 1 audience at that hour.
"Given the potential child audience for Radio 1 at this
time, we believe that the use of such strong language, with such
intensity, at the start of the programme was inappropriate", the
regulator wrote in its ruling.