Sunday, October 31, 2004

Maybe you can find whatever you're looking for here.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Otters and more otters.

Since there's a Halloween theme developing here today I figured I might as well bust out this photo from one of my own costumed outings, 1997(?) in San Francisco. I ditched my double-sided mask early on in the evening, but I went as the Olsen twins. Posted by Hello

These costumes might not be quite as frightening, but Katie Couric isn't the only yappy little bitch with the opportunity to cover themselves in crazy couture this season.

I went into last night's episode of The Apprentice fully prepared to accept the new lack of feistiness and enjoy the show just as much as usual, but though it was pretty entertaining, the main thing that stuck in my head at the conclusion was Donald's line after his premature firing: "That was a no-brainer, and it's done". The absence of Stacy Rotner doesn't really come into play here, it's just that as soon as Elizabeth Jarosz was selected as Apex team leader you knew that they were going to lose and that she would be the one to get fired this week. If her previous performance in the position didn't have you completely convinced of this, their very first team meeting should have cleared up any doubts for you, when she went against her own anti-military-theme opinion and caved in Raj and the rest of her team. "We did not have a strong creative idea and I cannot get behind something that I don't believe in," or whatever she kept saying in the boardroom and taxicab was the most delusional bullshit we've heard out of a contestant yet, because what she ended up getting behind and presenting was exactly the idea she could not get behind. Over on the Mosaic side, the tagline from last week's 'scenes from next week' finally had some connection to reality, as the young guy actually did step up and show what he was made of. He quickly came up with a great idea for the campaign, and did not listen to the condescending Maria or let her take over the team like she was dying to do. He stood firm against a constant onslaught of calls to sex things up from the rest of his team, led them firmly through the execution of his vision, and in the end they had what I think is the first product resulting from one of these tasks that is actually polished, powerful, and professional. I thought it was as good as anything the humorously named Donny Deutsch and his regular team might have done themselves, except that it wasn't shot on film and looked a little cheap, but since they didn't have much time and it was really just a pitch for their campaign (even though it did end up getting aired in Times Square) using video seemed okay. Maria, Kelly, and the rest seemed to have a pretty shallow notion of sexiness, too, at least with the Hummers and hotbodies they were suggesting. Saving lives, helping people, making your family proud, (not to mention walking around armed and dangerous)... why anyone would think there was a need to sex that up further with some fake, glossy veneer is beyond me. Back to Apex: Kevin continues to be the most impressive man on the show (though I'm much more favorably disposed towards Andy after this episode), staying up to help out his incompetent team leader in trying to present her own, much better, vision to the team, then finally getting tough and firmly refusing to take any more of her wishy-washy crap after she caved in yet again once the sun came up. Jennifer once again unveiled her intense dislike of the physically similar Elizabeth with some very sharp criticisms in the boardroom discussion, and one the funniest moments from the show was when someone said something about Elizabeth needing to be less of a pussy and Jenn said, sotto voce, "I don't think she can help it". Raj, with his armchair army-lovin' la-la-la-la-la idiocy has now fallen out of favor with me. And the rest left no impression whatsoever. There are two other issues to be addressed here before I leave. First, I'm beginning to think that before long everything Donald and his two cronies say on the show is going to consist of looped lines added in post-production. The jarring change in tone and shots of the back of their heads has been noticeable on occasion before, but now it's becoming as rampant as kudzu. Lastly, it was cruel enough to have to hear that next week "Stacie's Back!" and know that it was not the desired Stacy who would be returning, but to follow that up by saying that three more of the fired would be seen again and none of them were Ms. Rotner was a pretty low blow. But I can take it, and will be back again next week to see how Scary Stacie managed to claw her way back into the fold, and whether Jenn C. now looks like Katie Couric did on Today this morning.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

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It looks like I've succeeded in getting "Emily" booted out of the blogosphere, plus I've landed myself a nice new gym bag on the cheap, and have a new and improved version of iTunes downloaded to enjoy some freshly ripped Springsteen songs. With things proceeding so smoothly in the human realm I can now return my attention to the small mammal beat, and reader Will H. is right there to help out with some timely tipping concerning the bats. While bats are not one of your more attractive mammals when viewed up close, they more than make up for that with the flying, echolocation, and cave dwelling, and this first link gives a fairly standard overview of the species along with some related rock lyrics. But Will helpfully notes that when you remove "bats.html" from the link you are presented with a fascinating overview of the bat and Benatar loving priest behind the website, Father Alejandro J. Sánchez Muñoz.

Here are three quick items out of Michigan that I wasn't able to get up yesterday, two final articles on the dead squirrels, and one new Eminem video where he finally gets explicitly anti-Bush at length, which at least provides some counterpoint to rightward-leaning mitten-staters Kid Rock and Ted Nugent even if it doesn't end up mobilizing huge numbers of 15 year old kids to try to vote next Tuesday.

Things seem to be back to normal here today, and Blogger support has sent me an email letting me know that they'll be dealing with the nefarious comment spammer, so hopefully the comments feature is safe for the time being. Other than not being able to do much in the way of blogging, it was a pretty satisfying, if exhausting, day for me yesterday. I got up an hour and a half earlier than normal in order to kick off attendance at my new gym with a complimentary personal training session. I don't know that I've mentioned joining the gym in this space, but judging by the fact that I can barely lift my arms from my side today, it is clear that this is exactly what I've done. Given the earlier hour of waking and the sleep-delaying excitement of starting something new delaying my sleep the night before, I was pretty much in a zoned-out daze while being led through a challenging though basic weights and floor exercise routine, which I think it was helpful in that I just did whatever I was told without thinking about it (or thinking about the fact that I was about to keel over) and before I knew it an hour and a half had passed and I was back here at my computer munching on a PowerBar. I continued in a semi-delirious and giddy state all day, feeling unusually good. After work I had plans for a model-packed evening of watching America's Top Model and Zoolander with a reading friend, appropriately accompanied by a couple of the previously praised Sofia Mini's (I see from the review linked there that Gawker has cleverly called the beverage 'a can of dumbass' and if that's not appropriate for the evening's viewing line-up I don't know what is). By the end of the funny stupidity I was fighting the urge to curl up in contented slumber and started preparing for homeward travel when my hostess flipped over to Game 4 of the World Series with the Red Sox up 3-0 and 3 innings left to go. It felt very similar to the sensation of forcing myself through the third set of sit-ups back in the gym that morning, but we managed to gut it out and see the history happen, though the full impact was heavily blunted by the fact that I wasn't 100% sure I was still awake (I know I had to have slipped into some sort of nightmare or hallucination during the 7th inning stretch, because I was fully convinced that I saw former Creed singer Scott Stapp speaking in tongues or something). Finally I was able to stagger off toward Brooklyn (totally neglecting to look up to see the total lunar eclipse unfortunately) but there was one little comedy bit still waiting for me. The L train was only running on one track, so I had to wait for around half an hour to get out of Manhattan, and once I got onto the train and latched onto a pole I finally did drift off into the land of nod. Luckily I didn't have to trek all the way to East New York or wherever the end of the line is, though, because when we pulled into the Bedford station a slack grip and Newton's first law of motion conspired to slam my head up against the pole and knock me flat on my ass among a tangle of legs and refuse, from which position I had to quickly roll over and spring out onto the platform like a jaguar onto a gazelle before the doors closed and I missed my stop. A handful of hipsters applauded, I got up and spread my arms out in a ta-da fashion, and then I went upstairs and paid for a car to take me the final way to my door without further incident. So that was Wednesday, and now that hell has officially frozen over and I am back to my bright-eyed, bushy-tailed self (even with limited arm mobility) I look confidently forward to capitalizing on that long-awaited climate change myself in the days and weeks to come.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Jesus H. Christ, it has been a slog to blog today. I'm blaming the influx of spammers unless I'm presented with convincing evidence to refute that theory. I might not be able to get to all the content backlog this afternoon now, but let me try to deal with the celebrity bits at least. First a little Apprentice news, as the foolish decision to cross Lil Stacy is causing the nasty Pamela Day problems beyond the boardroom. Then there are two items concerning America's Sweetheart, Julia Roberts: Hugh Grant has bad mouthed her bad mouth, and also her two buns tried to hop out of her oven a little early today, leading to a dash to the hopsital for the pretty pregnant woman and the man most likely responsible for her condition, The Mexican. And while I'm here I might as well continue with the reader celebrity sightings too, as I've heard that reader Michelle E. spotted both Amy Sedaris and Damon Dash today, but not together (crushing any hope that we'll be seeing Roc-a-Cheeseballs hitting the streets anytime soon).

I've got a little bit of everything today, squirrel news, celebrity gossip, scientifical info, personal insight, AND blog-specific news, but Blogger has been down all morning so I've had to keep it all bottled up until now. Since I just mentioned Blogger I guess it makes sense to lead off with the blogcentric portion. As at least one reader noticed yesterday, we have been hit with our first instance of blog comment spam, which can still be seen in the comments to the last post from yesterday because I am currently unable to delete comments. I've contacted the Blogger support team and hope to get some answer on how to combat this (and get this "Emily" kicked the hell off the service) before it continues and I have to disable the comments completely. I guess maybe this comes from getting around 1,300 hits a month (which I'm sure isn't really a lot but seems pretty good for this squirreliness). Which reminds me, if you've never clicked on the counter down at the bottom it takes you to the counter sponsor (I have no idea why anyone would click on it, so it seems like a pretty poor way to advertise something), which is a fine looking ladder. I can't claim to have any hands on experience with this ladder, but I like that it's our counter sponsor and encourage you to check it out. Lastly, while trying to find out more about this blog spamming yesterday I came upon the website for the Deutsche Welle International Weblog Awards 2004, where I was suprised to see IAAFOTS nominated in two categories. I have no idea who out there nominated me, but if you're reading this, thanks! There's no way I'll actually be winning, I'm sure, but it really is just an honor to be nominated. And that seems like a good segue into the celebrity gossip...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Now for some DVD reviewing: The Greg The Bunny discs are great (and remind me that I should have included Sarah Silverman when listing sexy ladies last week), though it sucked a little to learn that someone stole Tardy Turtle after the show went off the air, so there are no interview segments with him among the bonus features. But the other TV DVD set that I bought at the same time but may not have mentioned before, Strangers With Candy Season Three, is sort of disappointing. I never saw this third season when it was broadcast, but it seems like the show really fell off and was ripe for the cancellation it soon received. Anything featuring the talents of Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Dinello is still worth watching, but seasons one and two (especially the Who Wants Cake episode) are the places to go to appreciate their true side-splitting genius. And that is my review. Also, while looking for some things to link up here I came across another Sedaris website, that of The Rooster. [update: and a look around the t-shirt page there led me to a 2nd Rooster site, which has a fun and challenging game as its Flash intro.]

"The thing fell out first and she couldn't grab on to nothing and she just flew out."

It seemed like today would be a good time to see what is going down in Snohomish County now that Charles at Smuggler’s Cove Restaurant has cranked down their ratty umbrella for the season. The highlights are threefold, starting with another ghost story (which would seem to simply be timely until I looked in my archives and saw that The Herald of Everett contained similar spookiness back in July, too): "'I don't even keep bacon in the house,' she said." Next there is some coverage of the local fauna, "'She stopped and ate what was left of my blueberries and proceeded down to my pond for a drink,' Christenson said. 'My donkey was going to have no part of that, so she decided to try and charge the bear.'", which is also the subject of my final highlight, a column concerning two area horses with names that remind me of two of my favorite television shows, Raj and Dandy (the first one shouldn't need explanation, for the second I'm thinking Don Meredith).

Opening up for Don Rickles was the incomparable Gene Ferrari, The Voice With A Heart. Yeah, I'd never heard of him before, either, but he filled the role of warm-up singer admirably, knew that people were really there to see Rickles and didn't overstay his welcome, and to be completely honest I was almost a little bit moved when he sang One Moment In Time from the 1988 Olympics soundtrack. Posted by Hello

On the drive back from AC on the Garden State Parkway the foliage got more and more colorful the further north we travelled. This photo isn't the best example of the whole range of hues (there were pockets of bright red and orange every now and then that I didn't manage to capture) but I'm finding that it makes for a comforting autumnal desktop pattern anyway. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 25, 2004

Don Rickles was as excellent at 78 as he was at 76 or however old he was exactly when I saw him over in Newark with reader Michelle E. a few years back. The show was a bit longer than when I saw him before, and during the last 20-30 minutes of it Don turned unexpectedly sentimental, talking about Sinatra and some other old friends who helped him out when he was starting up, getting a little choked up when talking about his mother, and while it was nice to have him break character for longer than usual (he always sings a sweet little song about how he doesn't mean any harm and just wants to make people laugh to close his shows), it also gave the impression that he might have a feeling he's not going to be around much longer. On the other hand, I got a little sentimental and overwrought here myself earlier this month, and I don't have any intention or premonition of dying anytime soon, that was just a case of trying to work out some personal issues and taking a moment to be thankful for what I've got before going on to get some more (helpfully enhanced by barely sleeping for two weeks). So hopefully Mr. Rickles was also just getting tuned up for bigger and better things (and/or has a problem with fleas), he did say that he's going to be in some movie on TNT soon which he thinks might get him an Emmy nomination. If he does he vowed that we'll never see him onstage again, but he just signed a deal to appear at least three times at Resorts over the next year (with Oct. 23-25 being his first stand) so you ought to get down there the next time he shows up just in case, because he is the last of the breed, and the best. Posted by Hello

In addition to Rickles and gambling, there was some other business that needed attending to over at the Taj Mahal, but unfortunately Donald's own survival instincts led him to wisely steer clear of his casino this weekend. He'll be learning a little something about getting harder-core soon enough, though. Posted by Hello

As I mentioned on Friday, I spent this weekend down in Atlantic City, which was very enjoyable even though I neglected to bring along quite enough luck (and as I was reminded on both the ride down and over the casino soundsystem, only the lucky ones get lucky; there's some other saying that starts out "unlucky in cards..." that I'm banking on kicking in now that I'm back, though). A ubiquitous sight around the dumpy seaside gambling mecca this weekend were casino employees on strike walking up and down the boardwalk all day and all night long, which severely impacted the delivery of complimentary drinks to the gaming tables among other things. If any readers happen to be planning a trip to AC soon, the Sands and the Borgata have evidently signed the contract in question, so no picket lines will need to be crossed to stay or gamble in those establishments. Unlike the Tropicana and Resorts... we just had no idea when we booked the room and got the tickets to the show, but don't make the same unlucky mistake yourself. Posted by Hello

I'm stealing today's first item from Wonkette, but since it pertains to both North American woodland mammals and politics, I think the double coverage is appropriate. Here is the link to Wolfpacks For Truth, which is not another reference to DYS, but a refutation of a recent Bush ad.

Friday, October 22, 2004

A few weeks back I couldn't stop making references to The Outsiders, and today it looks like it's Warner Bros. cartoons, because all day long I have been preparing myself for life after this weekend by repeating, "I am Paul Wm. Drew, millionaire, I own a mansion and a yacht". The reason this practice is necessary is that I will be travelling down to Atlantic City tomorrow with readers Mike A. and Will H. to see Don Rickles at Resorts, stay at the Tropicana, and accumulate vast wealth at the blackjack tables. Maybe enjoy some saltwater taffy, too. So look for some fun-filled photos and/or stories on Monday, unless I find myself far too rich to get my hands dirty with all this typing anymore.

Reader Andrea B.'s commentary on the latest Apprentice post raises an important point, and now that I'm beginning to emerge from the initial shellshock I'm able to admit that in truth Stacy was finally showing off some of the annoying quality that everyone has been complaining about for weeks (though I still maintain that her photo notion would have been a goldmine, either monetarily or comically), and her worst sin was her lack of love for the dogs. Had she qualified that by expressing a love for the cats I could have let it slide, but I get the feeling that she might be one of those people that find all animals dirty and smelly and liable to get hair all over your pretty pink pantsuit. My mom falls into that category a little, actually, which is probably why we went through five dogs while I was growing up, because she was always looking for an opportunity to ship them off to the country or kill them outright (Jethro won't stop licking on his paws and they're getting all brownish? Better put him out of his misery.) This is Scamp, a mutt who probably had some border collie or something in him. My cat, Jake, who arrived about a year or so after Scamp had taken up residence, used to run underneath him (when he was kitten-sized), leap up and somehow rotate to sink all four sets of claws into his underside, and then hold on for dear life as Scamp ran madly around the house trying to shake him off. He never really barked at or chased Jake despite this, and I think they had a kind of Marc Antony / Pussyfoot relationship. Needless to say, Scamp mysteriously disappeared at some point around our nation's bicentennial, perhaps to put him out of the misery of enjoying the company of felines. Posted by Hello

I semi-noticed a headline about some sort of pie-throwing incident while scanning the news when I got in this morning, but I didn't actually look into it until I received a tip from reader Teresa S. just now. And thank god for that tip, because the crazy skank on the receiving end of those pastries turns out to be none other than Ann Coulter. Here is the most complete coverage I've found, here are the mug shots of the perpetrators, and here are a few tasty pie recipes: Pecan, Punkin, Strawberry-Rhubarb, and Tang. That last one might be the one to save for chucking at Miss Coulter.

A conversation about TV shows on DVD last evening got me to thinking that Popular (the prematurely cancelled WB series whose creator went on to do Nip/Tuck) is supposed to be out on DVD now, and since I've been looking forward to that repeatedly delayed release for awhile, I headed over to the overpriced but convenient FYE when I stepped out to fetch my lunch. Unfortunately that show was nowhere to be found amongst their half-assed selection of discs, but when I turned to leave something else caught my eye, something with a stuffed rabbit and Seth Green on its cover. It's only around $20 for all 13 episodes plus two unaired ones and a crapload of bonus features, so run don't walk to your own most convenient DVD outlet, aheegit blah.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Okay, I need to just be strong and force myself through this. My heart won't really be in it, though, because my heart has now left the Tower forever. Oh Stacy... you were too good for this cold, hard world of brass and fine Italian marble. I knew it was going to happen, but still I needed to hold onto one little dollop (little dollop... ok, being strong) of hope in my back pocket, believe there was some slight sliver of a chance that life might be fair just once. Now that dream has hailed the final taxi and ridden off into the night, never to return. She nearly lost her composure 6 times that I counted during her goodbye, but she kept it together. So must I. Other than the horrifying tragedy of the episode, the biggest news this week was of course the corporate restructuring that occurred at the top. Much like Lil Dollop herself, I cannot bring myself to admit any weaknesses or faults in Stacy today, but Sandy and Maria were definitely the best two choices for culling, and Classy Massey continues to impress as the most qualified of the women, maybe of the entire group. Her sleeper-holding partner in potential dog maiming, Kevin, also showed himself worthy of my respect again, and Wes should not have let his tender feelings for the youthful Andy cloud his judgement when it came time to send people packing. The only other potential winner I see in the bunch, Kelly the army man, continues to be the sort of person I really dislike. Wes became the leader of the new Mosaic, and made what are probably the first impressions he has ever made on me so far due to that central role. The accumulated result of those impressions is that I still find him staggeringly bland and nondescript, but he seems nice enough, and at least I can distinguish between him and Kelly now. I like Andy a little better, too, despite everyone else's derision I thought it was nice for the dogs to help out the kitty kind (to the tune of $12). I'd be curious to see what will happen next week when 'The Young Guy Strikes Back' or whatever they said in the coming attractions, were it not for the fact that the scenes from next week have proven themselves beyond any doubt to be a complete farce. I called the Stacy firing, but it turned out to have nothing to do with the "I can't stand people who exagerate" teaser, and really the teaser had nothin' to do with nothin', just like last week. If he was on a military mission losing that phone would have cost some buddy his life, from what I hear, but it didn't seem to have much impact on civilians (also, I have some interesting trivia for these Apprentice hopefuls - although not many people are aware of their existence, New York City actually has a number of telephones conveniently scattered throughout the city that anyone can use for only two bits). Chris sounds awfully New Yorkish and ought to be hip to that, but it may be beneath his dignity as a Rolex-wearing entrepreneur since he was 11 years old to massage the buttons of such a contraption, I guess. And Raj returned to being fairly sensible, I thought, his suggestion to branch out into another location to maximize the potential for canine coddling was smart and ultimately taken up by Jennifer, and he shockingly did not wear a bowtie to visit Gracie Mansion! The other moment to mention while on the subject of the Bloomberg reward is when they showed a reaction shot of Kelly right after they found out what prize the Donald was bestowing this week and he had a little angry twitch from missing out on a sit-down with the mayor. I actually think Michael Bloomberg is pretty decent as mayors go, a hell of a lot better than Giuliani at least, but being denied a chance to shake his hand and hear a few stale insights on 'leadership' while he counts the seconds before he can get the hell out of there and jet down to Bermuda would elicit little in the way of involuntary muscle contractions in this sweet face. Finally, they really should have set up a doggie foto hut, they would have totally creamed Apex (or at least provided some hilarious footage of a Corgi trailing taffeta and tulle bounding across the Sheep Meadow with Sandy and Kelly hysterically scrambling to corral him) and these would be tears of joy splashing down onto the mousepad right now. Back next week to provide commentary on a sad and empty new world.

Ackley-Geneva Argus, May 1986. Mine was sort of funny at the time, possibly (I wrote Danny Baker's, too). Funnier, though, is that this entry was left alone but someone on the afternoon shift of the paper changed one of my other submissions from the "senior survey" all the seniors (except Dan) filled out for this graduation issue. For What You'll Miss Most I put down "the rich, black topsoil" and when I saw the page laid out it had been changed to "rich topsoil". Thinking it was just a typo, I redid it and restored my original text (I was the editor, after all), but then when the issue came out it had been removed again. I guess someone thought it was somehow racist? That's the only explanation I can think of, anyway. Which is ridiculous, the area surrounding Ackley was always said to have the richest topsoil in the world (undoubtedly a lie, but that was the word) and it is dark black. Of course, now that I think about it I remember that I had just gotten over half our class to cast a vote for the person I think was responsible, who was also the member of our class who got knocked up during our senior year, in the category of "Most Accident Prone". She definitely won that vote, but the second place winner ended up on the list when it was published. I don't even know why it was necessary to give someone the title of editor, since these examples make clear I had absolutely no authority over what actually went into the publication.Posted by Hello

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I've been a little distracted with some work complications that are becoming all too typical for the past day or so, which is exactly why I've tried to stock up on some items to trot out when I can't be bothered to track down new material. This is a second photograph of my television from the heady days of my long, lonely Labor Day weekend. The UPN 9 sports team, Russ and Monica, flank Tony Orlando here and help him sing "Knock Three Times" during the telethon. A cool surprise from Tony's performance was the presence of Toni Wine (a sliver of whom is visible behind Mr. Orlando's right arm). Toni, as a few of you might already be aware, is a real bubblegum legend, writing or co-writing a bunch of classic songs and voicing both Betty and Veronica on the first few Archies albums, most notably on Sugar, Sugar and Jingle, Jangle. Her connection with Tony Orlando is that she wrote Candida, and in fact rumor has it that they just released the demo for that single with Tony overdubbing the lead, so she is also probably the original Dawn. Posted by Hello

While watching the game last night I was enjoying some Polish potato chips, Chio Sour Cream & Onion to be specific. I've lived in Greenpoint, which has the largest concentration of Poles anywhere other than Warsaw, for four years now but had never tried one of their snack foods, though now that I think about it, the potato kind of anchors their whole cuisine, so I should have investigated the kawałek ziemniaku scene long ago. And I like them, they have a somewhat different taste and consistency from your normal US chip, and aren't really pringley either... but they aren't bad, and it's a nice change of pace for sure. Next I'm going to try the Paprika flavor. I assume bags of these treats can be found all over the GPT, but they are most definitely at the deli on the corner of Nassau and McGuinness (across from the funeral home), where you can also get a nice little meatloaf that will make you 2-3 cold meatloaf sandwiches for $1.50.

To quote a similarly monikered Yankee bastard, holy cow! I've said before and must mention again that I am a lifelong Baltimore fan, but when push comes to shove (and there are no Orioles in sight) you have to hate the Yankees more than the Red Sox, and with the past two nights being all historical and crazy it's been even more enjoyable to watch them fall apart. Now that they won't be playing New York anymore it might be slightly harder to root for Boston, but if they were to win the Series that would mean that hell had frozen over, and the repercussions from that would be felt far beyond the ballfield; I've been waiting for it to happen for a long time myself. So go idiots! Cardinals or Astros suck!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Reader A.B. continues to do most of the legwork today, tipping us to the upcoming sevenfold surge in worldwide robots that the U.N. is forecasting. Today your lawn, tomorrow the world. Posted by Hello

I get to encroach on Gawker territory this afternoon, with a reader celebrity sighting to report. Reader Andrea B. passed by the very pretty and very fired John Willenborg by Columbus Circle and Central Park South while on a lunchtime stroll earlier, and reports him looking just as pretty and fired as he does on TV. Like moss on a tree, he was facing north, but I still maintain that if he really wants a successful career in this big city, he's going to need to head downtown.

There's a fresh baby white rhino down at Busch Gardens, and you can help name her if you'd like. But what do you call a young rhinoceros just generically? As the rhinocerati well know, they are called calves, and here is a website where you can find out what other animal youth (as well as males, females, and groups of those animals) are called. My favorite term that I wasn't previously familiar with is puggle, a baby platypus (and it turns out that's also what you get when you mate a beagle and a pug).

E. 19th & Park Avenue South, 10/19 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Looks as though another dead squirrel article was being posted by the Lowell Sun at approximately the same time that I was posting about the other two articles I found jumping on the bandwagon of this short-lived phenomenon. And still no definitive word on what went down in Michigan, according to The Holland Sentinel: "Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Nik Kalejs reports test results on stomach contents and tissue samples of squirrel specimens returned 'negative' in Michigan State University laboratory testing and a secondary lab. 'Whatever happened, it must be over,' Mahoney said. 'I don't know how to describe it. I think it's encouraging, but we'll have to see what happens with these tests.'" The evident lack of information sharing between Kalejs and Mahoney does not inspire much hope that an answer to this mystery is going to surface anytime soon.

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Reading about Peekaboo Sunday the other day has me thinking about miniature ponies (not that I don't often think about them anyway), one of which is enjoying a snack in this photo from the 2003 Dutchess Co. Fair. There's a charity called Personal Ponies that I've been a strong supporter of since I came across their website last year, and maybe you'd be interested in helping them out, too, or just enjoying some photos and information about the specific ponies they use, UK Shetlands, which are one of the most amazingly great animals around, equine or otherwise. The website can explain more about what they do with their ponies, and though it probably isn't as important as curing cancer or feeding starving people or something, I think it is very important in its own small way to some kids who could probably use a little happiness. Posted by Hello

Some other folks are starting to speculate on the possibility that a great squirrel migration is underway, a month after the story was broken wide open by IAAFOTS. Here is some evidence they are waking up and smelling the squirrels in Boston, and here some johnny-come-latelys down in Kentucky try to move in on my scene.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Editorial Note: I've gotten a couple of emails complaining about faulty and/or pop-up laden links in the IAAFOTSexiest Women Alive list. These problems have been addressed, and hopefully everything should work smoothly now.

Okay, I've been debating it for awhile, but I have to put this one up. Just read the letter and not this explanation if you don't think you can handle something really sad right now. I've redacted the names, and don't want to say too much about where this came from, but the basic story behind it is that this kid got put into one of those 'tough love' boot camp type places by his parents, and not long after writing this letter he collapsed from heat exhaustion or something while running on the grounds, they told him to quit faking and made him keep running, and he died. Posted by Hello

"He thought it was our red wiener dog," she said with a laugh. "When he realized a squirrel had come in through the open front door, it was too late." The choice squirrel stories often seem to travel in pairs, and this one has the added interest (to me) of occurring very near my home town.

"Just a few months back he thought of an amazing idea of keeping a cat and two squirrels in the same cage. Then he actually kept the cat and squirrels in the same cage."

There was shocking news to greet me this morning when my Yahoo homepage came up: it turns out that Angelina Jolie is not the ugliest, most frightening female celebrity currently stalking the planet, but rather the sexiest woman alive. With Halle Berry coming in at number two, I was beginning to wonder whether my taste in actresses is just plain wrong, maybe I ought to get with the program and find these sexy women sexy already. In the end, though, I've come to my senses and will be sticking with my own list of admirable actresses, which I am publishing now to quickly counter these lies being spread by the misguided fools at Esquire:
  1. Zooey Deschanel
  2. Gwyneth Paltrow
  3. Mary-Louise Parker
  4. Kirsten Dunst
  5. Irene Molloy

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Finally. Ok, I think I already mentioned the choice quote from the episode ("We've been hardcore but let's be harder core") , but beyond that there was precious little of precious little Stacy. Her big moment was at the beginning, when she came back to the suite very pleased with herself over her "You want another Enron, Mr. Trump, here's Pamela" line from last week. From what I've gleaned from some online discussion about the extended boardroom Saturday rerun, she did actually explain more fully what exactly Pamela had asked her to do that she deemed shady, and evidently Carolyn agreed that the labels on the bottles issue was a very important legal consideration, so I withdraw my complaint that she didn't really argue her case very effectively in last week's boardroom. Still, that Enron comment coupled with the scenes from next week where Donald says "One thing I absolutely cannot stand is someone who exagerates - go, get out of here" does have me somewhat fearful that the bell may soon toll for my pet. Beyond that, it was nice to see her at the reward party dressed unbusinesswomanly for a change; that pixie is talented in a number of different areas. Speaking of the scenes from next week, last week's were once again misleading with their "New Rule: Don't Cross George". You'd naturally think that such a crossing would lead to your dismissal, but all that really occurred was that Raj got blindsided by both George and Donald, who almost made him cry by telling him that all the models had been complaining about how annoying he was (and after one of them had told Raj that she liked his bowtie, too... he doesn't really deserve my sympathy, but he got a little anyway after that). He definitely was being incredibly annoying to the designer, though, and in general my estimation of Raj has been lowered considerably. The Raj/Kelly rivalry was advanced this week, and on the other side Elizabeth emerged as the next target for the women to gang up on, deservedly I think. I found it interesting that they picked the one male designer that we saw interviewed, reinforcing the notion that women (or at least these women) do not work well together. In the end that decision seemed to work out for them, though; even if I found their clothing line to look pretty godawful, the buyers evidently preferred it in a big way (pricing might have had more to do with that than design, however). I'll glide past the actual boardroom by simply agreeing with the decision, John was an ineffectual leader who couldn't seem to make a decision on his own to save his life and really ought to think about using those artistic skills that he showed in the restaurant episode (and/or pursuing the nascent Joe Buck-ishness he also displayed that week) instead of continuing down the businessman road. He'll end up getting fucked either way, but at least there will be some pretty pictures to show for it if he follows my advice. Two more notes to go... When Carolyn Kepcher was on Conan O'Brien's show last week promoting her new book, he brought up the fact that it was odd to see her smiling and laughing because she was always so serious and stone-faced on The Apprentice, and suggested that it would be cool if one time when the contestants walked into the boardroom she just had a huge smile on her face, it would completely freak them out. So it was very interesting to see her uncontrollably cracking up while watching the men cope with the fashion business this week; I can't believe that it was a coincidence. Lastly, the ludicrous spectacle of 3 or 4 of the men wearing sunglasses indoors (not quite channeling Corey Hart, but close enough to link to him here) when the results were announced must be addressed, and I address it thusly: What the fuck? Particularly Kelly's ridiculous tiny sunglasses that he pushed down on his nose librarian-style because, I assume, it was too dark inside to be wearing sunglasses but he couldn't just take them off because then he would not be super suavely cool like the other vision-fearing imbeciles on his team. So that's it for this week, and maybe next week I will get the chance to use the school-days nickname of Jennifer M. that I was hipped to earlier today by reader and Jenn M. FOAF Teresa S., assuming Classy Massey isn't as AWOL as she was this week (or I guess I should say maybe I'll get to use it again, and perhaps a few more acronyms, too, while I'm at it).

To loosen up a little before getting down to business with my thoughts on The Apprentice, let me offer a brief review of the movie I've just seen with a few favored readers, Team America: World Police. Overall, my views are suprisingly close to those expressed in the Times review of the movie (when searching for that review just now I found out that Team America opened in third place this weekend, behind Shark Tale and Friday Night Lights, both of which have been out for a few weeks, so that does not bode so well for Team America). I really laughed hard at a lot of it, and the puppetry was awesome, as puppetry usually is (awesome in that it's absurd and jerky, of course). Two of my favorite bits: the cats and Matt Damon (who only says "Matt Damon", and if you watch the credits that joke gets even better when you see that both Matt Stone and Trey Parker are credited with that voice), plus the team's theme song, reminiscent of G.I. Joe's theme song, is extremely catchy, I'm singing it in my head right this very moment. In the end I was somewhat disappointed though, it's not completely overloaded with non-stop jokes and shocking zaniness, kind of drags a little at times, and while funny is funny to me (like beautiful cinematography is b.c., were I talking about Olympia or Triumph of The Will), my disagreement with some of the director's obvious polical viewpoints necessarily tempers my love for it slightly, too. That's not actually much of my problem, though, it's more that much of the humor was easy and not nearly sharp enough. But in a way my initial reaction feels much like my reaction to The Royal Tenenbaums, which I also liked a lot but not quite as much as I thought I would, and when I got that I got that film on DVD and watched it a few more times my appreciation for it has increased and increased again, so I definitely look forward to renting the DVD when it comes out. Bottom line, you should go see it, it's really funny and looks really cool, but I'd recommend seeing Shaun of The Dead first, that is still by far my pick hit of the year. Gotta call 'em like I see 'em, so now let us see what I saw on The Apprentice this week.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I did watch The Apprentice last night, but I took a few notes during the broadcast which I left at home, so I'm not entirely equipped to deal with it in a thorough manner today. I was going to whip together what I could this afternoon and then add in anything I found I'd left out when I got ahold of my notes later, but now I have become busy with 'work' and you are going to have to hold your breath until Monday (or over the weekend if you've a computer at home or frequent the internet cafes) to discover what I thought about this week's episode. While I'm here, though, it has been suggested that I mention a recent addition to the site that many readers may not have noticed. Next to each post there now appear little letter icons which are 'Email This Post' links. If you click on one it will take you to a screen where you can enter your name and the desired recipient's address and it will deliver that post (or a link to it) to a friend or anyone else you think might be interested. So look for The Apprentice overview to arrive over the weekend, for now I will only provide my favorite quote: "We've been hardcore, but let's be harder-core." - Stacy Rotner. I've been thinking the exact same thing.

This note was found inside a high school textbook that I bought at this great used bookstore in San Francisco (I think I've since heard that it closed, but it was on Church Street right by where you got off the J train in Noe Valley). It's not as crazy as some of the other found notes I've put up this week, but I like it anyway. The author, who is clearly Robert Arias, never handed it in... did he type up a cleaner version or come up with a less lame excuse? Or did he just keep this on hand inside his General Mathematics book in case he ever needed an excused absence on short notice? Also suitable for speculation: is this Rinken fellow French? Posted by Hello

I don't know if you noticed this in a comment to the Veronica Lake post from a few days back, but reader Kirra B. turns out to know the woman who reputedly has the remains, the owner of Homer and Langley's Mystery Spot up in the Catskills, Laura Levine. There's a lot of interesting things to see on her website, both in the Mystery Spot sections (customer photos include this one of Penny Arcade holding a nice squirrel/nut dish) and in the artwork, photo, and film sections, because this Laura Levine has really done a lot of cool things over the years. By far the best of all, in my opinion, is a short film she made in 2001 called Peekaboo Sunday (which, I just realized, is a V. Lake reference - the only one I came across, I could find nothing concerning the current news interest in the shop). "Peekaboo raises many disturbing questions about contemporary life in rural America. 'Should one breed tiny horses?' 'Is one wee horse enough, or is half a dozen preferable?' 'Is it possible to love a disobedient miniature?'" It's only 1:45 min. long, but I must see this film.

Here's the sort of thing I generally expect to find when I visit the Pravda website: Mutant Stray Dogs Attack Muscovites. They take what sounds like a pretty straightforward news conference by some dog expert and by cleverly conflating street smarts and mutation attempt to mold it into something completely different. Plus at the end it veers away from dogs entirely: "Several occurrences of crows' attacks against people have been registered. Specialists, however, believe that the birds behave so for their wish to play with humans." Finally, and best of all, one of the related articles listed is Heroic Goat Rescues Little Girls from Rabid Dogs.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

 Posted by Hello

In case you were wondering, the cat is in improving health finally. The primary cause for his malaise was pinpointed not long after my initial post on the subject, but for reasons I will explain I've been keeping it to myself until now. The problem, it soon became extremely apparent, was that the cat had somehow come in contact with some fleas (ironically, my prime suspect is the squirrel that sometimes loiters right up next to the front window, where the cat had recently been spending a lot of time), and those fleas had gone on to infest the entire apartment. Since they like carpeting and bedding and the kitchen is not so cozy like that, Cassius was rightfully avoiding setting foot beyond the linoleum. Once I got some Advantage flea control (and some Petromalt, because all that flea chewing had filled him full of fur, I think) he started becoming gradually more peppy and and normal. He still isn't too sure about leaving the kitchen, though, and I don't blame him because until last night I had not gotten more than 3-4 hours of sleep (per night) for the past 2 weeks or so. Roommate Jay O. is happily not affected, because from what I've read fleas don't like to bite some people and/or some people are not allergic to flea saliva and so don't get an itchy reaction even when bit. I myself am unhappily both delicious and allergic, so my ankles and lower legs (and to some extent my stomach and some other areas) have been completely covered and recovered with very itchy bumps, which is why I haven't mentioned this nightmare here because writing would make me think about it and thinking about it would make the itching even more unbearable than it already is. Or was, because thanks to a whole mess of vacuuming and spraying of highly toxic chemicals the problem is starting to go away, and last night I got almost 8 whole hours of torment free sleep, which was way overdue (sleepless itchiness is not a winning combination when you're trying to achieve total world denomination... or any other time that I can think of, I guess). Next on the agenda is laying down some flea egg killing toxins to 'break the flea lifecycle', so the struggle continues but it is only a matter of time now before the cat is free to roam wherever he pleases (well, within a 550 sq. ft. area, unless he manages to sneak out the front door sometime).

Rather than getting so outraged by all that cheeeeeeeeeez, Bronx residents ought to be getting busy tracking down some crackers. But since they are a little hysterical right now, I have gone ahead and taken charge of the matter, finding that there are crackers in a huge quantity in Ludhiana (I'm not postive, but I think that's somewhere near Fishkill, so take the Major Deegan to the Moshulu to the Sawmill to the Taconic, and then keep an eye out for godowns).

 Posted by Hello

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez. "I don’t understand why someone would do this. He, she or they must be sick." I really enjoy this story, sent in to the tipline by reader Will H., and I think you will too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

It does sound like an idea for a T.V. show, but certainly not a bad one.

From The Charlie Brown Dictionary. Other than moving the definition underneath the illustration and photocopying, this has not been altered. Since the house with his cat nemesis is in the other direction, Snoopy appears to be aiming directly at the Brown's back door. Posted by Hello

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Here's an interesting site that reader Mike A. has found for your edification. It has a map of the U.S. with the states color-coded to show the current electoral vote count based on statewide polls. Mike hastens to point out that these numbers change daily, so don't get overly alarmed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

"When people complain, it's really that they need it, and like it, and want it, and want more of it." Posted by Hello

This is one of those Yahoo news stories that I complain about vanishing too quickly to make for worthwhile posting here, plus it's currently the most viewed news story on Yahoo so you may well have already seen it, but here it is regardless. Veronica Lake ended up having a pretty sad life, and now it appears as though she might be having a not so happy death as well.

Yesterday I mentioned the ill-fated Dippin Kind magazine, but there are more than two publications that I've been responsible for over the years (oh hey, that reminds me that I was editor of our high school paper as well, the Ackley-Geneva Argus; I won't go so far as to take any responsibility for it, but I ought to dig out some of those wonderfully crapulent issues for your enjoyment one of these days). In the 6th-8th grades I put out what ten years later would probably have been called a zine, but at the time was just called "what the hell is this in our mailbox", The Delta Report, and the above list from 1981 should serve as proof that some things never change. Posted by Hello

Squirrel News In Brief: More Squirrels Gone Nuts, Michigan Dead Squirrel Update, Further Michigan Update, and now the highlight, "Imagine you're a veterinarian, and you've just been called to untie four squirrels that have somehow become knotted together at their tails."

 Posted by Hello