Wednesday, August 30

Pigs in a Blanket

471Like I need those foodie fashionistas at the New York Times Dining and Wine section to tell me that Pigs in a Blanket cannot be beat as a delicious cocktail party snack?

After all, my wife and I had them at our pre-wedding grubfest FOUR YEARS AGO. Of course I was told in no uncertain terms that there wouldn't be a wedding if I didn't procure them, causing me and my brother to drive around southeast Michigan for three or four hours. We eventually hit pigs in a blanket pay dirt at a small frozen food wholesaler, and they were delicious -- so the hell with haute cuisine pigs on a blanket on a silver platter!

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Thursday, August 24

Poor Pluto

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What Terrorists Want

Bruce Schneier:

Imagine for a moment that the British government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the TSA and its European counterparts didn't engage in pointless airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press didn't write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn't use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we'd reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.

It's time we calm down and fight terror with antiterror. This does not mean that we simply roll over and accept terrorism. There are things our government can and should do to fight terrorism, most of them involving intelligence and investigation -- and not focusing on specific plots.

But our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to not panic every time two Muslims stand together checking their watches. There are approximately 1 billion Muslims in the world, a large percentage of them not Arab, and about 320 million Arabs in the Middle East, the overwhelming majority of them not terrorists. Our job is to think critically and rationally, and to ignore the cacophony of other interests trying to use terrorism to advance political careers or increase a television show's viewership.

"Multiple orgasms trap benefit cheat"

Great headline in the Times of London

Wednesday, August 23

Don't Download This Song

4241Apr_weirdAlGive a listen to Weird Al's latest "We Are the World" style singalong, "Don't Download This Song," with a website that of course urges you to do just that.

"You start out stealing songs, then you're robbing liquor stores, selling crack and running over school kids with your car/ Don't download this song/ The record store's where you belong."

Tuesday, August 22

Paris Hilton Really Likes Paris Hilton Album

Sadly it's not an Onion story. The AP turns its critical eye on what is clearly the biggest news story on the planet:
0821paris"People go crazy," the 25-year-old socialite said. "They love it. Everyone's like, `Who is this?' I don't tell. Because I don't want someone putting their phone up and recording it and making a ring tone off of it.

"I think when people don't know it's me, they won't judge it. But if they know it's me, then they'll be like, `Ugh.' They won't even dance.

"I, like, cry, when I listen to it, it's so good."
thanks Jason!

Bring on the Beck

T-minus 11 days until His Gueroness rocks London! Here's a video off the new album, "The Information," due out in October.


Update -- More on Beck's album here.

Monday, August 21

Like Going to Tennis Church

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David Foster Wallace, most likely the only star contemporary fiction writer who really , really loves tennis and played it competitively, files a typically lengthy NY Times dispatch on the rare beauty of Roger Federer.
It was impossible. It was like something out of “The Matrix.” I don’t know what-all sounds were involved, but my spouse says she hurried in and there was popcorn all over the couch and I was down on one knee and my eyeballs looked like novelty-shop eyeballs.

Anyway, that’s one example of a Federer Moment, and that was merely on TV — and the truth is that TV tennis is to live tennis pretty much as video porn is to the felt reality of human love.

Update: watch the point Foster Wallace describes here.

To: John Kerry From: Everyone

kerry03On Sunday Ira Glass from "This American Life" had a little something to share about the 2004 Democratic Party Presidential nominee:

"Why won't John Kerry just go away? Why do I keep seeing his grey, zombie-like face, intoning in that ...intonation he has, where he's almost human but not quite human?

I'm not proud of this, and I'm just saying it as one voter to another, and is anyone else feeling this too?

When I'm flipping channels and I see him making a speech or giving an interview, I feel this moment of rage, like why do you still walk the Earth?

Why do I have to keep seeing your face? We all took a vote: we don't like you. I see him and it's like seeing some ex-girlfriend that you don't want to run into on the street. Like why do I still have to think about you, now, after everything? Stop running for president, John Kerry."

Can I just add, Al Gore, ditto?

Friday, August 18

No match for The Knowledge

cab_oldSatNav (GPS in Americanese) is for losers! So sayeth London's legendary cabbies, who would rather rely on memorising"The Knowledge," a mental map of the city's insanely non-rectilinear street grid.

"Regardless of the salesmen's hype about these machines they cannot match the knowledge and experience of a good cabbie," the general secretary of the London Taxi Drivers' Association told Reuters.

In Italy last weekend, it was a different story, as my friends and I relied on the dulcet tones of John Cleese to guide us around Umbria. Yes, the Minister of Silly Walks has joined the ranks of the celebrity GPS voiceover. It could have been worse -- the other voice option was Mr. T.

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Saturday, August 12

Just Read This

The New York Times:
The London Plot

It comes like a punch to the gut, at times like these, when our leaders blatantly use the nation’s trauma for political gain. We never get used to this. It never feels like business as usual.

Friday, August 11

"Bring me the goddamn Miracle Whip!"

Enter the disgusting, hilarious (and fake) world of the porn Foley artist.



"If there was somebody to come to for the sound of Chewbacca taking a shit on somebody, i'm that guy."

Thursday, August 10

Amazing 9/11 photos

Bill Biggart was a freelance photographer who headed toward the World Trade Center on 9/11. He took some amazing photographs, but died when the second tower collapsed. His cameras were recovered, and one memory card was readable -- the photos on it are now being released for the first time.

USA Terrorist Attack-WTC

This was the last photo he ever took.

If I can't have my iPod, Al Qaeda has won

Osama vs Steve Jobs: talk about your clash of the civilisations!

osama_ipod.thumbUnless you're living in a cave -- whoops, sorry Osama -- you know by now that a foiled plot to blow up UK airlines has prompted an unprecedented security crackdown at airports in Britain and the United States. No carry-on baggage, no iPods, no magazines, no liquids. Nothing other than wallets, money and passport.

(Baby milk is okay but you have to taste it -- ew!)

There is a precedent for this. Al Qaeda actually detonated a bomb constructed from an eyedrop bottle filled with nitroglycerin on an airplane in the 1990s, killing one passenger. But aside from the absurdity of taste-tested breast milk, can we talk about all the dangerous items today's new security measures leave out? What about, say, watch batteries? Prison inmates have been known to makes shivs out of newspapers, so is a deadly in-flight magazine really that implausible?

The point is, a determined killer can always find a way. And they make needles-in-haystacks look positively ubiquitous: something like 70 million (presumably non-terrorist) passengers fly through Heathrow every year.

Even worse, who is to say that the ridiculous-sounding security limits implemented today won't be the norm...forever? I know it's a bit of a blogging faux pas to quote BoingBoing, but this bit from Cory sums it up perfectly:

If this is a good idea now, then why won't it still be a good idea in a year? A decade? After all, terrorist plots will always exist in potentia (can you prove that no terrorist plots are hatching at this moment?) Until they handcuff us all nude to our seats and dart us with tranquilizers, there will always be the possibility that a passenger will do something naughty on a plane (even then, who knows how much semtex and roofing nails a bad guy could hide in his colon?).
Sure enough, just a minute ago CNN just announced that the security limits will be in effect "for the foreseeable future."

Cory again:
The point of terrorism is to make us afraid. The UK response to a foiled plot is to create an unspecified period during which fliers are arbitrarily deprived of iPods, novels and dignity.
I don't know about you, but on a long haul flight I care a lot more about the former two.

Friday, August 4

Back on the Treadmill

Really no way to explain this one. (maybe Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity" video on a budget?) Just watch and try not to smile. Also, not a bad song. (via Kottke)

Thursday, August 3

Why are there so many songs about Rainbows?

Everything you ever wanted to know about rainbows, and their atmospheric optical cousins -- fogbows, moonbows, green flashes and crepuscular rays

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Return of the Sorkin

Welcome back, Aaron "I invented popularised pedaconferencing" Sorkin. His new show, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," is a little bit "West Wing," a whole lot of "Sports Night," and more than a pinch of meta, with plenty of drug references in the pilot that echo Sorkin's own problems (not to mention those of co-star Matthew Perry).

I heard references to bongs, joints, crack pipe, Valium, Percoset and cocaine, along with a suspicous level of detail about the problems of getting an insurance company to underwrite a show when one of the producers fails a drug test. Hmmm...

studio_60_splashPage

This is probably the most hyped show of the year. I think shows promise. The pilot just leaked to YouTube, but don't expect it to stay there for long. Check it out here: 1 2 3 4 5.

*Wikipedia says that Sorkin's producing partner Tommy Schlamme created the "walk-and-talk."

Wednesday, August 2

Weird Science

#1 Hungry men are attracted to heavier women than men who are full.

Because the heavier women are more likely to know where to find a good meal?

#2 Attractive parents are 26 percent more likely to have a daughter than a son as their first child.

Huh?

"Beautiful parents have more daughters than ugly parents, because physical attractiveness is heritable and because daughters benefit from attractiveness more than sons."

Uh, ok. But wait, there's more.

"We have also shown that women on average are more attractive than men."

Well, duh.

Succinctness is next to Godliness

nytimes.tvSlate's Jack Shafer loves the New York Times' haiku-like capsulized film reviews, which appear within its TV listings (sadly, these do not seem to be available online).

For example:
-- The Matrix Revolutions: "Ferocious machine assault on a battered Zion. Stop frowning, Neo; it's finally over."
-- 2 Fast 2 Furious: "Ex-cop and ex-con help sexy customs agent indict money launderer. Two fine performances, both by cars."


More from Shafer:
Howard Thompson invented the Times capsule style in the 1960s and continued to write them on contract after his 1988 retirement, according to his 2002 Times obituary. Among his greatest clips cited in the obit were assessments of The Guns of Navarone ("Allied commando mission. Strong on scenery but weighs 10 tons."); Matilda ("A boxing kangaroo. What the world needs now."); and The Wrath of God ("They said it, we didn't and it's pretty close.").