Friday, July 30, 2004

"Oh, I was just kidding."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

A ill-conceived detour onto Fifth Avenue just now (following a trip down 54th for a bratwurst which was not there) reminded me about a theory I was discussing with the bustard busting Minnesotan subject of Tuesday's blind item. The theory is that even on the infrequent occasions when they are not morbidly obese you can still identify people from the Midwest by their slow aimless waddle. It looks as though they are worn out from a day spent riding the range and roping goats, but my expert opinion is that they are simply not used to walking more than 50 yards at a time. Whenever I go back to Iowa I am struck anew by the fact that everyone drives everywhere, even though you could walk all the way across town in the same amount of time as it takes me to walk from my house to the train every morning in Brooklyn. It doesn't matter if you are only going 2 blocks and it is a perfect 75 degrees and sunny, you will be driving. The combination of this new theory of mine and another collectible I've found has led me to coin a new term for these corn-fed shufflers, which is the next logical step in my quest to become the Herb Caen of the 21st century. Just so Mary Rhyner-Nadig can't pull any sort of copyright crap on me, my coinage is Moomericans and I'd like everyone to start using it right now. MUST CREDIT IAAFOTS!

There is some ultrasonic squirrel news to report. I found out about it from today's 2nd most emailed Yahoo photo, although astute IAAFOTS regulars will undoubtedly notice that this photo is not a ground squirrel at all, but a completely non-newsworthy Eastern fox squirrel. It's still a great picture, but you Yahoo people are sloppy fools.

In The News: George W. Bush, with first daughter Jenna at his side, attempted to steal focus from the Democratic National Convention with the unveiling of a large weiner in a ceremony at the White House this morning. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

If, on the other hand, you're hoping to smoothly transition your progeny from towhead to jarhead, these items may be more up your alley. If you have any trouble choosing which one to get, I would advise you to buy 'em both and let God sort 'em out.

Looking for a lifelike baby doll who will coldly peer deep into your very soul and find it deficient? Then you are looking for Jasmine.

The piece I found the other day about the coming extinction of the pika got me to thinking about other year-old stories that I missed the opportunity to link to in a timely fashion. In this fast-paced madcap world we find ourselves in it would be worthwhile, really, if there was some sort of media outlet dedicated exclusively to stories that were at least a year old... but for now I will just dedicate myself to unearthing these three posts from The Antic Muse concerning the crapulence that is Vice Magazine, as well as the article in The American Conservative and the interview in the New York Press that are referred to. In addition, for those of you with no interest in this dated topic, I also have another picture of Mr. Peebles to offer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

2nd in a series. As before, print (clicking on the picture first will get you to a larger version), cut, tape, and help revitalize the American workplace. Posted by Hello

I was just trying to decide what to get for lunch, and this has decided me in favor of a 6-inch Sweet Onion Teriyaki Chicken on white. "The owner of the first Subway hit on Saturday said it's possible the bandit likes the sandwiches pitched by the chain's former fat-boy spokesman, Jarod Fogle. 'Generally, our food is fresh and low in calories,' said Narinder Singh." I'm not sure whether it's just my compulsive thrill-seeking lust for danger or because I've been conditioned over the years by the Hamburglar and Frito Bandito to look to our nation's bandits for culinary advice. [UPDATE: No burglary encountered.]

Blind item! Who among the readership got evacuated from her Battery Park City apartment when the WTC went down, then took a trip to Northern Pakistan a few weeks later, then got turned in to the FBI by a cleaning lady who was scrubbing trade center dust out of her apartment and saw a Koran and other suspicious items, and has now been invited by her friend the king to accompany him and his sheik friends on a falcon hunt for Hourbara bustards in Southern Afghanistan? Some highlights from a previous hunt: "In early 1999, they followed bin Laden to a southern hunting camp where he was falcon hunting with a group of visiting Arab princes. The agents put up GPS devices, the Agency put up satellites and took pictures of the camp. Inside the National Security Cabinet, the question was, 'Do we have enough information to shoot? And even if we do, can we risk killing unknown possible members of one of the United Arab Emirates' royal families?' In the end Clinton chose not to shoot."

Monday, July 26, 2004

Okay, now that I have put the idea into my head I am compelled to list the ten most underrated musical acts, even though I am extremely wary of tripping blithely down the primrose path towards some sort of High Fidelity stereotype doom (I have not seen the movie nor read the book, but I understand that it may be about lame music geeks such as myself who are all too prone to composing lists).
  1. Norman Greenbaum
  2. Wreckless Eric
  3. Sparks
  4. The Fleetwoods
  5. Gordon Lightfoot
  6. Devo
  7. Ui
  8. Buffy Sainte-Marie
  9. Altered Images
  10. Lt. Garcia's Magic Music Box

I finally tracked down a website for the greatest collectible vinyl figures I've ever seen, the Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo, after first spying Titus the Bear on a visit to Toy Tokyo with reader Andrew H. a month or two ago but promptly forgetting the name. The photo above is a new member for the group that I came up with after reading this article, which was even more upsetting once I saw that it's already a year old. Posted by Hello

I did not attend the big DEVO concert in Central Park (even though they would easily make my most underrated bands list) but I see from the photo that accompanied the Times review of the show that Mark Mothersbaugh no longer has to put on the mask in order to portray Booji Boy, which must be a real time-saver for him, time that can now be spent rewriting all of their songs with lyrics which priase the Swiffer, e.g., Gates of Swiff, The Day My Baby Gave Me A Swiffer, Swiffin' Back and Forth, S.I.B. (Swiffer Itching Brain), etc.

Here's some mind-blowing news from the beginning of my vacation that I've forgotten to mention since my return (due in part, no doubt, to the blown mind). On Saturday, July 17th, I went to a Brooklyn Cyclones game out at Coney Island with reader Mike A. I took the G train from my home up in Greenpoint down to Mike's neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, and expected to switch to the F train after meeting up with Mike, but there was no F train... The lowly G was going all the way out to Coney Island. I know you're sitting there now yelling, "That is crazy! And historical! What has happened to my mind?" because we went through all of that and more when the full reality of what was taking place hit us. It was like stepping into a strange alternate universe where down is up and fish smoke pipes and say "How do you do?" Less captivating were the Cyclones, who lost to the Hudson Valley Renegades 7-2, but their park is really nice, they had two different costumed races (a hot dog race around the park featuring professional wursts, and a horse race down the third base line featuring fans), a faux-Neil Diamond lip synced the classic hit “Sweet Caroline” on the Diamondvision during the seventh inning stretch while everyone sang along, and I am looking forward to heading down there again soon on whichever train will take me.Posted by Hello

Friday, July 23, 2004

 Posted by Hello

On the way back into the city yesterday, I was involved in what I thought would be some sort of news story, but I haven't been able to find mention of it online yet, so I suppose I will be forced to do the reporting. The train ran into a pedestrian! It was between Bellport and Patchogue, and my unverified imagining of the events is that a very large woman, possessing a strong air of life spent in the company of trailers, was partying down by the tracks and wandered too close to the approaching locomotive. Soon far too many king's horses and men were swarming the scene, including firemen, paramedics, and police from at least three different townships and two photographers (which is another reason I find it odd that I can't find an article in Newsday or something about this). One of the firemen was wandering back and forth carrying a large ax, presumably in case the immensity of the victim made stuffing her into one of the ambulances impossible without some judicious trimming. I also got to see a bit of real world detective work when one of the cops carefully picked up a bottle of water that was sitting atop a flattened cardboard box next to the tracks, held it up and slowly turned it around while examining it closely from all angles, and then quickly twisted off the cap and took a swig of it. Having ascertained the contents he very carefully placed it back exactly where he had found it and moved on. After about an hour and a half a very, very important man seated next to me got on the horn to the MTA and started complaining loudly about the delay, saying that "these guys are just standing around here with nothing better to do, but the people on this train have jobs to get to and places to be and they're making us all sit here looking like a bunch of idiots!" I would think that if you actually had to get to work you wouldn't be on the 11:55am train, though I guess that I was supposed to be at work myself. But I'm what is colloquially known as a "goldbricking glorified secretary who wanders in whenever he pleases acting like he owns the goddamned place" so I'm not a very good example of how someone who really 'had to be at work' might behave. Anyhow, the accident did not appear to be fatal and we finally got moving again and reached the city by 4pm. In lieu of an article about that I will link to this article about the travails of East End ambulance drivers from the East Hampton Star, which covers some similarly compassionate behavior, as well as an article on chickens, apropos of nothing other than the excellence of the Star's writing. (I would warn the Herald of Everett take notice and stay vigilant, but they seem to be keeping on their toes with or without the cross-country competition, as you can see from the tale of the dog cookie.)

OK, now that I've confirmed that my 19 pound behemoth of a cat is alive and kicking, I can move on to the little matter of Mr. Peebles. Reader Teresa S. opines, "Mr. Peebles is Peeb-dorable!" and friends, she does not lie. I was first told about the tiny tabby while still away on holiday, and a good part of my last night among the dunes was spent entertaining the notion of an even more miniscule cat, of a size that would fit easily into your shirt pocket. You could surrepticiously feed him tasty morsels of your filet-o-fish, or you could let him climb up onto your head for a fashionable evocation of Fess Parker / Marc Antony. We just need to find a Mrs. Peebles and the breeding program can commence.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Man, there is a lot to talk about from my vacation, but it is late and I am tired and I still haven't gone home to make sure Cassius "The Cat" Clay isn't dead from inattention, so for right now all I can manage is the weekly squirrel.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Gone clammin'... back Thursday. Posted by Hello

I'm going to be on vacation until next Thursday, so it seems the perfect time to try to court some controversy, seeing as how I won't be around to take the heat. In the spirit of the earlier Wilco post (and inspired by sports radio call-in shows and Chunklet) here is a list of the Top 20 most overrated musical acts. This does not mean Worst bands, they're in no definitive order (except for #1), and here you go:

  1. The Beatles
  2. Radiohead
  3. Beck
  4. Wilco
  5. Modest Mouse
  6. Television
  7. Interpol
  8. David Bowie
  9. The Flaming Lips
  10. The Streets
  11. Can
  12. The Rapture
  13. PJ Harvey
  14. The Who
  15. Olivia Tremor Control
  16. Fleetwood Mac
  17. !!!
  18. Wu Tang Clan
  19. The Pixies
  20. Black Dice

Reader Kirra B. has just sent in an excellent item concerning the meadow vole, the prairie vole, and the universal language.

After long last, a journalist has written an article about Wilco that speaks the truth. "To a listener accustomed to Hootie and the Blowfish, Wilco sounds like the Minutemen—daring, allusive, funky, weird, and yet so right. To a listener accustomed to the Minutemen, Wilco sounds like Hootie and the Blowfish: classic rock for frat boys." It's not a particularly coherent or well-written article, but heads of nails are hit.

 Posted by Hello

Thursday, July 15, 2004

At the end of the day, he just couldn't get up the enthusiasm to jump in.  Odds will remain the same.

This is already one of today's most emailed stories, evidently, but even though it doesn't need my help in getting disseminated, I find it impossible to pass up. "I can't believe they have the gall... Apparently, it's not nice to be nice."

Oh man, it's Thursday already, isn't it? As luck would have it, I was just looking at this publicity still from Man vs. Beast III which will serve my needs perfectly. Posted by Hello

This office classic used to be as ubiquitous as SortKwik in our nation's workplaces, but I rarely see them anymore. So print, cut, tape, and do your part to reverse this trend. Then you might want to go get some SortKwik, because aren't your fingertips starting to feel a little dry right now? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

A blog in motion tends to stay in motion. Posted by Hello

While we're on the subject of erectile dysfunction, your odds of seeing an appropriations bill containing the line items "Ricky Williams" and "Real, Honest-to-God Barrel of Pork" may soon get much better.

Another tip from reader Teresa S. serves as a case study for the IAAFOTS investigative approach. The tip was for an article in Salon about an erection guarantee program that Cialis is running. Since you have to go through a whole long process to get onto Salon, though, I wanted to find the article somewhere else, and as luck would have it, the original source is mentioned in the article. "'We're putting our money where our mouth is,' he told The Herald of Everett." This is where the humble tip transforms into something much larger and more powerful, a passport to a magical world of adventure, if you will. The Everett Herald is an outstanding publication, highly readable and offering something for everyone. In addition to the erection guarantee scoop, some representative pieces include Reardon, Sax Trade Barbs on 'Smoking Bat', No Racial Motive Seen in Cross Burning, Everett Woman Depends on Her Service Chihuahuas, and my current favorite, Couple Find a Ghostly Mystery. The quality of the newspaper alone would make life in Snohomish County a constant pleasure, but there's a lot going on beyond its pages as well. Kla Ha Ya Days just ended this past weekend, but you can still suit up with your action squad and go downtown to hobnob with the goats. After washing your hands you can either head over to Country Burger, or if you're feeling fancy, Charles at Smuggler’s Cove Restaurant, now featuring a summer cuisine of gourmande salad and wichyssoise under the famous ratty umbrella. Then head out of town to one of the local casinos, either The Skagit or Muckleshoot Casino, home of the future 7 story parking garage (two floors now open). And if you get in a jam, Snohomish attorney James M. Mucklestone can help you with Traffic Infraction defense, Collections (and Defense), Landlord Tenant Issues, and Ballroom Dance Instruction. I hope this case study has been illuminating, now if you'll excuse me I am overdue for my MetroNap.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I'm sure that a lot of you would like to be able to put some faces to the names of all these "readers" you see mentioned here. That's why I'm launching this Readers in the News feature, which debuts with coverage from WGAL, Channel 8, serving the greater Susquehanna Valley by featuring this photo of reader Kirra B.

While they're not quite as egregious as aluminium, reader Teresa S. has alerted us to further instances of the British having a devil of a time spelling things correctly: diarrhoea and faeces. Rather stupid of them, really.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

You might call me paranoid, or just astoundingly self-centered, but I think that it's perfectly clear from the graphic at the top of Gawker editor Choire Sicha's webpage that someone has been feeling the heat from the competition and is looking to start something. So what's up, Choire, huh? What's up?

To quote my friend and blogging mentor Tony Robbins, "If we habitually focus on how to improve things that are already great, can you see how this spirit can transform ourselves, our organizations, families and communities?" Maybe one of my favorite stories can help shed some more light on this exciting, yet unsettling, notion of 'change'.

Friday, July 09, 2004

"It was unfortunate that this went the way it did — and I hope Glenn Danzig learned a valuable lesson tonight: Do not lay your hands on anyone unless you can handle what may happen." Video of what may happen available here.

This is also a ridiculous rip-off, but there is something very appealing about it at the same time, most probably the chairs.

Either this girl has also succumbed to the mesmerizing power of Magic, or that's not a kazoo. Another question: $3.49? For the love of Mike, look at the end - it's already broken! This combination of shoddy craftsmanship and price gouging is exactly why they were forced to stop selling the round tuit a few years back.

Bill himself has been kept in a constant state of hypnosis for the past 3 years by the little bitch.

When I was in grade school, the career I planned to have when I grew up was that of volcanologist. Unfortunately, I either messed up or got desperate, but I'm hoping for a better outcome for Danny, Jillian, Billy, Alex, and Houston.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I'll just let this speak for itself (note: it is a video link).

Right after I posted the weekly squirrel, I received some actual breaking squirrel news, and unfortunately these squirrels are not able to be so laid back and carefree. From what I've read, the Mount Graham red squirrel does not vocalize very much compared to most squirrels, but I've been imagining them huddled together and singing a Midnight Oil song anyway, because I like to imagine things.

Recumbent squirrel.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I am unfortunately busy, so you're going to have to do most of the work yourself today. Compare and contrast.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

You'd better think twice about those Canadians you were going to kill, because notice has now been served that they will cost you $1,418 apiece, and that ain't hay, brother. On a side note, if the New York Times is so all-fired liberally-biased, why do they refuse to mention the most interesting aspect of the whole affair in their story?

Late on Sunday night it started to rain, and soon after that I began to hear a rattling sound at my window. At first I assumed that it was the rain or wind, but as it kept up it became apparent that someone or something was tapping on the glass. Eventually I forced myself up from the couch, went over, and pulled back the curtain. In the well between the inside window and where a storm window would be if there was one I saw what appeared to be a large, wet, shivering rat. After jumping back in shock and falling over the coffee table, I returned to the window and looked him over more closely. Once I confirmed my initial diagnosis of big huge rat, I rapped on the glass behind him to get him to move along, but when he leapt up and moved out onto the outer windowsill I saw a scraggly and bedraggled, but not hairless and under better circumstances probably bushy, tail. I know this looks really bad and calls the whole name of this blog into question, but let me offer this rhyme in my defense: A nest in a tree's where a squirrel should be, not in Paul's window; he's still your friend, though. Right? I mean, I would have let him stay if he'd downplayed the whole rodent thing a little better, but honestly, I'm not running a hotel.

In Bombay, people have been moving closer and closer to where the leopards live. In an utterly baffling development, the leopards have started eating them.

Friday, July 02, 2004

It's time for our annual fireworks recommendations, in preparation for the poorly-timed Independence Day this Sunday. If Live Free Or Die had been called Live Free And Die or Operation Enduring Freedom was rechristened Operation Enduring Eye Out, either one might have taken the crown for best battle-themed firework. As it is, however, the flaming balls of Indian Uprising carry the day. In celebrity products, aerial bursts in the shape of Mare Winningham and Andrew McCarthy were enough to allow St. Elmo's Fire to edge out the sentimental favorite, recently deceased Marlon Brando's Large Star Ball Contribution. There's no need when wait another 17 years to enjoy a swarm of insects with poor navigational abilites when Loco Locusts are available; they narrowly defeat Ragin' Rottweilers for best animal-themed firework. In the grand finale category, the eloquent endorsement of Lillian Ross gave New Yorker Salute Finale the boost it needed to upset Untamed Retribution. Finally, we have three classics for the kids that are deserving of honorable mention. No Fourth would be complete without permanently damaging your driveway with snakes, and there are plenty to be found in the Phantom Snake Bag. Plane Drops Parachute flies high into the sky, and then it drops a parachute that floats softly to the ground! Very unique! Whose roof will catch fire? And I am overjoyed to see that my all-time favorite, Artifical Satellite, is still available, thanks to the chinaman. For those not in the know, this item is a small metal disk with four sharp blades and a stickless bottle rocket on the underside. When lit, it lifts off the ground and buzzes around very speedily in a totally unpredictable fashion, frequently straight at your head no matter which way or how far you run. Sweet land of liberty!

There is an obvious question which this article doesn't even address, but it is answered in this video. For the lead and control of the board, name that question.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I don't know how I am to be expected to blog on company time if the Internet is going to be down for days on end. Let's get this out of the way while I'm able. Logan is right on the money as far as his reasons for liking squirrels, by the way.