Thursday, December 30, 2004

Have you ever felt as though you must be missing something when reading Andy Capp? Well, it turns out you were right - over the years they have mysteriously removed any mention of Andy's hilarious wife-beating antics from the strip! Granted, just being a shiftless alcoholic is still fairly funny, but without the side-splitting spousal abuse he's really only a pale Cockney Leroy Lockhorn imitator.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

This new scanner of mine came bundled with OCR software, which allows me to launch a new feature of dubious legality that I am going to give the lengthy title of Size For Size, Two For Two, Staple/Staple, Clip/Clip: Documents From The World Of Litigation Photocopying. Episode #1 follows:

Q. Did you ever hear any employees in the Redwood City store make any remarks that you consider to be sexually harassing to Rose XXXX?
A. Not that I recall.
Q. Did you ever hear any employees make any remarks that you believe to be sexually harassing of anyone in the store?
MS. SMITH: The Redwood City store?
A. I don't recall any that I can think of.
Q. BY MS. FELCH: Do you recall an employee named XXXX XXXX?
A. Vaguely.
Q. Did you ever hear him make any inappropriate remarks?
A. No, ma'am, I didn't.
Q. Did you ever hear him make any remarks that you would consider to be sexually harassing?
A. No, ma'am.
Q. Did you ever hear any supervisors at the Redwood City store make any inappropriate remarks to Rose XXXX?
A. No, ma'am.
Q. Or any remarks that you would consider to be sexually harassing?
A. No, ma'am.
Q. Did you ever tell Rose XXXX that she had a big butt?
A. There was a song on the radio at that time that somewhere in the song I believe it said -
Q. Let me stop you. The question is, Did you ever tell Rose XXXX she had a big butt?
A. Yes, I believe so.
Q. Okay. Did you tell her that she had a big old butt?
A. Yes, I believe so.
Q. Did you tell her you wanted to fuck her in the butt?
A. No way. No, ma'am.
Q. Did you tell her you wanted to take her in the back of the store and do that?
A. No, ma'am.
Q. Do you recall anyone in the store telling her that?
A. No, ma'am, I don't.
Q. You never heard anyone say that?
A. Not in my recollection I don't remember anybody saying that.
Q. What was Rose's response when you told her she had a big butt?
A. In my best recollection, she would repeat that about other employees.
Q. That's what she would say back to you when you told her she had a big butt?
A. It was part of a song, and I believe that -- that she -- we would say that in the store and we would say it amongst one another. We would say, Rose got a big old butt and Roger got a big old butt. We said it back and forth to each other.
Q. What song was this on the radio?
A. I don't know the name of the song.
Q. Was there a particular station that you listened to when you were working there?
A. Not that I recall.
Q. And what did the song say, if you can recall the words to it?
A. The only words I recall in the song was they said - they said a particular name in the song and they said "got a big old butt."
Q. Do you recall the name?
A. NO, ma'am, I don't.
Q. Did Rose ever tell you she didn't want you to say that, she didn't want you to say that to her?
A. No, ma'am.
Q. Do you recall Rose XXXX asking you why she didn't get a pay raise that she was promised?
A. No, ma'am, I don't.
Q. Did you ever tell her that she didn't get a pay raise because she didn't fuck the district manager?
A. Not in my recollection.

What is this workplace that I'm always talking about? Well, while I'm not technically employed by them anymore since my department got outsourced in June, I still work at Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, a spin-off from the famously corrupt accounting firm of Arthur Andersen. This is from a late-90s issue of the firmwide newsletter, but the consulting professionals who I create pie charts for today are still just as super cool and super pumped to explore new ways to sell the Misfits music over the Internet as those pictured here (one of the more exciting ideas involves a joint venture between Levi's and The Misfits to market a line of casual business attire and haircare products called Devilockers, though details concerning how this would have anything to do with the Internet or selling music over it still need to be ironed out.)

In memoriam.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I was beginning to think that our Filthy Family Circus feature might have run its course until I started scanning things in from my archive of newspaper clippings. Filthy Fun Fact: this is one of the few cartoons in the long history of the strip to inspire a ZZ Top song.

I haven't had time for the blogging today due to work (this working from home that I've been trying out for the past few days turns out to be just as time-consuming as working from the office once actual work shows up, go figure) AND Christmas packages finally arriving. I got the first season of Popular on DVD from my mom and a hard drive and scanner from myself, but obviously the most appropriate to showcase in this space is the reader-sent nut pictured above (thanks ab!). Once I get this scanner hooked up there ought to be plenty of new content to post in the days ahead, though, and in the meantime you can add to your Chanukah fun by watching a video about making latkes here while I sing a seasonal song about my new nut: Acorn, acorn, acorn, the Chinese made you out of something, and when Lillian Vernon has finally shipped you, with acorn I will store things.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I was going to include it as a link in the last post, but this history of the weed-whacker that I've found is so very informative that it rightfully deserves a separate entry.

I don't think that I did end up get mentioned on NPR last week, but the site is once again the number one search result for "squirrels friend" on Google, and that should be netting IAAFOTS more than enough traffic all by itself. The rival which we continually battle with for that crown is Maria's Duck Tales, and though I'm probably helping Maria to snatch away the top search result again by doing this, I have to admit that her observations and imaginings from water to woods are well worth spending a few leisurely moments perusing (and can lead to your own imaginings about this dark side of assisting nature which she declines to write about, imaginings which may involve ducks and a weed-whacker if your imagination is similar to my own).

Since work is very slow today I've had the opportunity to look back and reflect on slides I've created for business presentations past. A key to the humor in this one is the fact that the man purchasing a frankfurter is a Buddhist monk, which is indicated by the graphical convention of having both of his feet facing backwards and to his left. Also, this is from a few years back so I can't remember for sure, but it may have an alternate punchline from the version which was ultimately delivered to the clients.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

 Posted by Hello

Friday, December 24, 2004

And now it is Christmas Eve. My mom and sister were planning to travel here to Brooklyn for the holiday but then mom's recent health problems put that plan on hold but not entirely cancelled until the last minute, which left me with no time to find an affordable flight to Texas and its tasty barbequed brisket instead. Therefore, since everyone has left town I am currently pretending that I am Macaulay Culkin sans bumbling burglars (thus far), which is not turning out to be nearly as bleak as one might assume. For one thing, there was a game on Fox between the Packers and Vikings to decide the division championship which Green Bay just won 34-31 with a field goal in the last 3 seconds, I have my Dec. 24th tradition of watching The Apartment to look forward to later, and though one of my gift packages has reportedly gotten lost in transit my mom's Christmas candy did finally arrive yesterday afternoon (additionally, there is this funny story in the current Onion...) At the moment I'm listening to some Christmas music on my festive new iPod: Christmas Day Of The Robot by Servotron, White Nights by Psychic TV, The Little Boy Who Santa Claus Forgot by Vera Lynn, and my favorite yuletide song from childhood which I used to repeatedly play over and over and over from December 1st through the 25th until everyone else within earshot had visions of death's sweet release dancing in their heads, Jingle the Christmas Mouse. It's off the record on the left of today's advent calendar picture (but not the album on the right, which confusingly is 100% different except for the title) and it goes like this:

jingle the christmas mouse
lives in the kitchen in santa's house
and though they know he's there
nobody seems to care
he's such a quiet mouse
you'd never know he was in the house
even the family cat
has to agree with that
all year long he practices
lying still, very still
and he doesn't stir until
santa says okay
relax it's christmas day
and if you're wondering
why does he do such peculiar things?
just try remembering
these words you've heard before:
"twas the night before christmas
and all through the house
not a creature was stirring
not even a mouse"
and the mouse who wasn't stirring
was jingle the christmas mouse
jingle the christmas mouse
jingle the christmas mouse

And repeat. So my only real concerns now are 1) why can't they make the otherwise decent Silk Soy Nog a little thicker, 2) where in our little lord Jesus' name has the Chex Mix gotten to, and 3) what the caga tió is up with the Catalans?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Evidentally there is a very slim chance that IAAFOTS might be mentioned on NPR tomorrow, though I forget exactly what show that probably won't occur on. But if you happen to have your radio tuned to an NPR affiliate and hear Nigel Poor and the guys from Found talking to somebody about found objects keep your ears peeled. Anyway, just in case a sudden influx of radio-referred readers do stop by I thought I should scan something new in since it's been pretty slow here as of late (check out the archives for some real g.d. cleverness or just here for the cache of found stuff). This and the item above weren't so much found as they were purchased (they came bundled with Sgt. Wooly Pullover) but however I came upon them you will have to agree that they are faaban-faabucking-taababulous. Unfortunately, before you run down to the mall with hopes of stuffing some child's stocking with rampaging ruminants on Saturday morning I also ought to mention that they are from around 15 years ago and for some reason were not on the market very long at all.

IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 23.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The tipline has been quiet in recent weeks, which along with my holiday fluster and vacationing has made things relatively sparse here lately except for the advent calendar (which is evidently not entirely unpopular if reader Kirra B. is to be believed). But big news comes down the pike today from reader Mike A.: the new coach of the beloved Brooklyn Cyclones is none other than Mookie Wilson! Besides having one of the best names ever, in or out of baseball, Mookie is also probably my all-time favorite Met (if you don't count Mr. Met). Granted, I've never really liked the Mets at all so that's not saying a whole lot, but I do like their single A farm team, and I am always a strong believer in promoting someone from within the organization, as I think I have made clear in the past... Anyhow, it will be even more of a treat to head down to Coney Island to see a few games next summer now, so congratulations Mookie and hoorah Cyclones.

 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

1345 Avenue of the Americas, 12.21.04

Keep this article from The Herald of Everett on file to refer back to when the follow-up story about a goodly sika deer rising up and leading all the deer out of Snohomish County appears a few years from now.

 Posted by Hello

Monday, December 20, 2004

Though I haven't even watched or commented on the final episode of the Apprentice 2 yet (preliminary comment to tide you over: I think the original MasseytronXP was in the shop for maintenance at the time of the live show, because that was clearly the backup module that I saw, but did not hear, losing to Kelly while at the Irish bar) I've already been on the hunt for a new reality show to cover, since the Apprentice has generated much more excitement here than the not at all popular advent calendar could ever hope to. The preliminary winner of this search is Wickedly Perfect, which will premiere on January 6th and is CBS's attempt to find America's Next Top Martha Stewart before Martha herself gets sprung and begins production on her own reality series. In case there are any bookies out there who have not yet figured out that taking bets on an event which has already happened is ridiculous and you'd like to get yourself some WP action, I have already chosen three favorites: Amy Guglielmo because she is from New York, Dawn Schedule because her last name is Schedule, and Kimberly Kennedy because she likes paper crafts and looks most likely to snap and either kill a fellow contestant or at least chuck a tartlet at Joan Lunden's head during the course of the show (this portent of craziness can been seen in her right eye...) Or if that show doesn't pan out there's always The Apprentice 3 starting on January 20th, this time pitting "street smarts" against "book smarts". As someone who straddles these worlds by getting most of my smarts from books I find on the street, I'm going to go ahead and trump both teams with a solution to their first task, "who can come up with the most enticing new Burger King menu item", which is far more enticing than whatever Chipotle Chicken Melts and Atkins-friendly Croissan'wichs they probably concocted: The Mega-Mini Bundle Bonanza. This would be a raft of six Burger Bundle-sized sandwiches, but here's the extra enticing part: they are not all burgers. The package would consist of: one Lil' Burger, one Lil' Bullseye BBQ Burger, one Lil' Chicken (similar to the KFC Chicken Little of days gone by), one BK Lil' Fish, and (continuing to steal and shrink sandwiches from other restaurants) a Lil' Hot Ham & Cheese and a Lil' Roast Beef, plus docked on the side of this tasty rack would be a split container housing a lil' portion of fries and lil' portion of onion rings back to back. You could try to claim that you're not entirely enticed right now, but I would be hard-pressed to believe you.

Today's advent calendar photo wasn't taken in some nameless winter far in the past and only dug out to be pressed into service today - it finally snowed! If you enjoy the snow as much as I do, perhaps you would like to find out more, but not too much more, about it. If so, this is the site for you, a place where you can experiment the excitement of the snowball fight, learn to build the very easy but very fine snow lantern, and discover that "Snow is very versatile material. Sometimes it can be very hard, but it can also be very gently material. Freshly fallen snow is maybe the finest material in the world, but it easily turns to hard and thick material." Also, those readers not living in the New York metro or other snow-covered area (as well as those not yet entirely satisfied with the amount of snow here) are directed to, and specifically to their used equipment section (not interested in full-on snow but simply a general feeling of coolness combined with a sweet ass ride... not a problem when there is a Cool Machine available for sale).

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I've already suggested that you ought to give serious consideration to the idea of visiting 14 Places To Eat every single day, but I feel I should do so again.

In the tradition of the 16 Goats of Glory and Dutchess County Fair collections, here are all of the found and scanned entries from the archives of the ill-fated Dippinkind magazine that have been posted here to date all dumped together into one convenient package: Dear T.F., Something Special To Remind Her, Tigerbeat Survey (And I Do Mean Man), Rosalyn Carter, You Are Person Good Day Afternoon, Going Off Deep End, My Dear M. Rinken, and Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry.

IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 19. Reinsquirrel photographed in Monsignor McGolrick Park, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, U.S.A.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Friday, December 17, 2004

It looks like the incoming traffic here is way up again this Friday, mostly from Google searches for Jennifer Massey (though for a nice change of pace one was from a search for Steve Perry). Unfortunately I only saw the final part of the final episode last night at some Irish bar and the sound was turned off (they wouldn't even switch the channel from The Dale Earnhart Story on one of the many TVs at Hooters, so it was an improvement). So until I see the inevitable repeat of it I'm not going to be able to write the final commentary, but here is the one picture of Massey to be found at this site, links to Steve Perry Rock and Roll Fugitive can be found in the IAAFOTS Gold section over on the left of the page, and I hope to see the entire show (with sound) and complete the write-up at some point before the end of this weekend. Other questions you may now have, and their answers: Why was I away from a fully functioning Apprentice-tuned TV in the first place? Holiday party. Was there karaoke at the Irish bar? Yes. What did you sing? Dirty White Boy by Foreigner. How do you feel today? Lousily craptastic. Are raccoons for everybody? While Nancy Elliott finds joy in her "furkids," she would agree that raccoons are not for everybody.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 14. I think I prefer the Hello way of posting photos here, but they don't have a Mac version so this will have to do for my home use. [Update: You can stop your incessant worrying over my slight displeasure with using Flikr to post photos, I've figured out how to make them look almost exactly the same as they do with Hello. Whew.]

I was going to take this Wednesday through Friday off from work, but when no one scheduled me to work on anything today I decided to make that Tuesday through Friday, and that's why you've seen nothing in this space so far today. I've found an absolutely wonderful substitute out there, though, and truth be told she is a much more astute judge of this crazy modern world than I could ever hope to be. Let me direct your attention to the work of Carol Glassman, author of Carol's Quips in the Marco Island Sun Times. Here you can find out the truth about that garbage that kids today call 'music', discover that there are many different kinds of tea, and so much more... it's as though Erma Bombeck had accidentally gotten buried in a pet sematary and returned to life almost normal except she's not particularly funny anymore and gives off a faint grave-like odor.

Monday, December 13, 2004

I hadn't really planned it, but I've just noticed that today's advent calendar posts seem to have been traveling backwards through time, starting with 1978, then 1977, and I'm pretty sure this one is from Christmas Day 1976 when I received my very first videogame, Pong (well, knock-off Pong). I think that recently finding out that my mom now has more in common with Dick Clark than simply an abiding love of bloopers and practical jokes might have me a little nostalgic for a time before I was really aware that my parents were ever going to die. Not that mom's health concerns are that serious, but the whole thing has had me somewhat stressed and distracted since Thanksgiving-time, temporarily derailing a few things such as exercising, eating, sleeping, my general go-get-em attitude, etc.. But a brief trip to the gym at lunch showed that it thankfully has not gone out of business, life has been continuing along pretty smoothly even without receiving my full attention, and my new iMac totally kicks ass on Pong, so I think it's about time to give this 21st century another chance. Posted by Hello

IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 12. Since I started looking at the stats for this site a few weeks back it has averaged around 60-80 hits per day, which seemed unusually high itself, but this past Friday that number suddenly shot up to 214. A glance at where all those people had come from showed that the large majority of them had done a search for some variation of "jennifer massey apprentice pics", and I guess because I had that phrase in a recent post this is one of the top sites that comes up. Hopefully this will help alleviate any disappointment these visitors may have been experiencing. Posted by Hello

Even though I finally have my own computer at home, I didn't get Photoshop until last night, so once again there will be 3 days worth of advent calendar to catch up with today. To begin, here are Kristy & Jimmy McNichol being greeted by Karen & Richard Carpenter for Saturday, Day 11. Posted by Hello

Friday, December 10, 2004

 Posted by Hello

The first thing I have to mention about last night’s Apprentice episode is how very frustrating, disappointing, and seemingly pointless it all was, at least the first half hour of it. You finally get to see these people sit down for an actual interview and find out what exactly they want to do and what their experience is, and for a few minutes it seems like you’re going to find out, and then all of a sudden the cuts get faster and faster until it’s just a gatling gunned blur of open mouths and puzzled expressions and then it’s over and the four trusted executives who did the interviewing are sitting in the boardroom to report back to the Donald. Well, at least you’ll hear what went on from them, you might think, but almost everything you find out you already knew. Kelly is a proven leader (and follower) and is the obvious winner of this competition, as anyone with half a brain undoubtedly figured out a few weeks into the show. Sandy is very nice and hardworking but has no corporate experience and seems to already be doing exactly what she is best suited to do. Jennifer knows exactly how to look and what to say but to this point (and this point is the penultimate episode of the series) the only indication that she is not, in fact, Disney’s latest breakthrough in audio-animatronics is the fact that this show is not on ABC. The only person whose review really contained any new info was Kevin, as the fact the he was a scholastic and career butterfly who was building an impressive resume but seemed to have no clear idea of why hadn’t really come out before as far as I can recall. What had come out, though, at least in my opinion, is that he and Kelly were far and away the two most qualified candidates, and I have to believe that the main reason he got sent packing first was solely a television decision (not that they probably all aren’t); I didn’t see the show last season but I believe that the other finalist besides Bill Rancic was a black male and they didn’t want to repeat themselves this year. And he got fired first even though Sandy was obviously the also-ran among the four because they wanted an M&M twins catfight to liven up the otherwise unbelievably boring first half hour of the show. Which they got, though the only two things that were particularly noteworthy were 1) Jennifer’s endlessly repeated answer for why she was a fearless risk-taker: “I moved to San Francisco!” clearly and forcefully enunciating San-fran-cis-co as though any idiot should know that willingly taking up residence in this terrifying snakepit is the very definition of fearless risk-taking. I would say that I guess myself and a large percentage of the regular IAAFOTS readers are therefore also fearless risk-takers, but at some point she also started adding, for extra emphasis, “in 1999!” and given that this was at the peak of the high tech bubble when there was probably so much corporate lawyering work to be done in the Bay Area that the seals down by Pier 39 were getting inundated with calls from legal headhunters, the extreme jeopardy that an attractive young woman with a Harvard Law degree was courageously subjecting herself to truly was something to… okay seriously, what the fuck was she talking about, and this brings up one of the questions that has been plaguing me about J.M. Does she herself really believe any of the bullshit and lies that she so assertively and nastily keeps throwing at people? On one hand, it seems like she does, and that it would be hard to sound so convincing if you hadn’t also first deluded yourself into thinking that whatever nonsense you were saying was true, but it’s hard to believe that someone so composed and seemingly in control could be so divorced from reality... on the other hand, maybe that’s the only way possible to give off that appearance, because when you get down to it no one really has much control over anything in this absurd and chaotic world. A couple other examples of her ridiculous claims from this week were when Kelly and Sandy were talking at the beginning of the show about how Jenn really didn’t want to be team leader the week before and just didn’t say anything until Sandy finally stepped up and said she would be team leader and Massey overheard them and proclaimed that to be completely untrue and that of course she wanted to be team leader, why would she not, and Sandy had just jumped in and taken it? I mean, both of them and the entire viewing audience had seen what actually happened… now that I think about it there are a few similarities between Her Classiness and the Bush administration here. And another example was when she was talking about Kelly to the camera later and said how he was scared of her and had been very manipulative and underhanded “with people that I’ve become friends with”??? Who are these imaginary friends that Jenn made over the course of this show (my best guess is that they may be Not Me and Ida Know, the mischievous gremlins who are always bedeviling The Family Circus) and does Kelly see them too and how do you manipulate a make-believe phantasm and, and…? I was getting pretty flabbergasted there for a second, but one good thing about getting constantly interrupted by pie chart-creation this afternoon is that it’s given me a moment to remember the other point she was snapping at the poor overmatched bridal consultant, which was “Do you even know what a lawyer does?” Because I think that I do, and it doesn’t have much of anything to do with discovering the truth about a case, it’s about taking whatever your client wants to happen and doing everything you can to make people believe that whatever that might be is the truth. And to be able to do that successfully without constantly being racked with guilt that you are fighting for the right of some corporation to rape and pillage the planet, or allowing some actual rapist or pillager to continue walking the streets (or destroying the life of some innocent defendant if you happen to be a prosecutor) maybe you do have to completely buy into your own bullshit. It’s not a quality that I find very worthy of respect or admiration though. There was another corporate lawyer on the show this year, however, who at least had the good sense to be captivatingly adorable enough to make this presumptive underlying amorality ever so slightly bearable, and when the field had finally been narrowed down to Jennifer and Kelly this Lil’ Dollop I speak of was happily the first of six previously fired candidates to stroll into the boardroom to be divvied up between the finalists to comprise their final task teams. Making me even more fond of Stacy Rotner than I already was, the team picking went as follows: Kelly picked Elizabeth, Jenn picked fuckin’ Chris, Kelly picked John, Jenn picked Pamela, Kelly picked Raj, and Stacy brought back fond memories of 6th grade gym class to me by not getting picked at all but just getting sent over by Trump to the Massey squad by default. Before I move out of the boardroom I have one more point concerning Sandy’s firing that I skipped over before (it was going to be #2 in the two things I said were particularly noteworthy): what I think really made Mr. Trump think that Jennifer out-debated Sandy in their showdown was only the fact that Massey said that he had 15,000 employees and he likes hearing that (not that it mattered, since everyone already knew Sandy was going home before they ever walked in there and they really could have spared us the whole thing and moved right onto the task). Jenn’s task, some kinda charity basketball event hosted by Chris Webber, began with her telling Chris and Pamela to do pretty much everything and then getting up, grabbing her purse, and walking out of the room (somewhere in there Stacy also disappeared, one minute she was sitting at the table between Jenn and the other two, the next Jenn was strolling out of the room while Chris and Pamela stared at her in open-mouthed disbelief that she was apparently not going to do ANYthing and Rotner had magically disappeared into thin air (or perhaps into Massey’s purse?) As far as I could tell, she was never given anything specific to do, at least in the beginning of the task which they showed this week, and the only two things that Jenn did were talk to some corporate sponsors about some seating assignments where she basically asked them how they would do it and the puzzled representative said “Well, it’s not my project, but if it was I think I would have thought out some sort of plan?” and then talk to Chris Webber’s agent when they got last minute word that he might be canceling. My roommate Jay made two very good points regarding that: 1) it was obviously a set-up, Chris Webber’s not going to cancel out of some charity event that is being shown on one of the top-rated television shows in the country, and 2) Jenn said that she would do whatever it took to make sure that he would not cancel but her only argument was that “We were counting on him and it is going to ruin this project if he doesn’t come.” Clearly the most effective argument would have been to say that it was going to be incredibly bad publicity for him to cancel out of a charity event and if he did everyone was going to hear about it. So she doesn’t even appear to be particularly adept at the one thing she’s supposed to be good at, arguing, and really ought to have delegated that task too (to Stacy, though this scene did, I guess, contain the only line she had and I believe it may have been something along the lines of “that totally sucks”.. she would have stepped up if she’d been put on the phone, though, I’m sure). As far as Kelly’s team, his only mistake may have been to go a bit too far the other way and keep jumping in and taking over the tasks he’d given to Raj and John until they got the impression that they didn’t need to be there and went out to race up and down the polo field (oh, their task, if you’re foolishly relying on this for any kind of accurate play-by-play, was to run a polo match of some sort). The main obstacle they ran into was that it started raining, which meant that they couldn’t paint the special logo on the middle of the field that is so very crucial to a polo match that they have never painted one on there before in the history of the club and, of course, might mean they have to cancel the whole match. How Kelly can really get blamed for the weather I’m not sure, though my one thought is that if he has ever been to a baseball game where it started raining he should be aware of these things they have called “tarps”. You’d think that the grounds crew would automatically put them out if they had them, but if they don’t I’d think you could get a hold of some from a ball field or jerry rig something similar instead of just sitting around and humorously saying “What rain? Is it raining?” like Kelly was. And then the episode suddenly came to a “to be continued next week” end, and thus so do I.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

 Posted by Hello

Now to finish off a few Apprentice notes that I overlooked yesterday in my rush to get the hell out of the office before someone asked me to do anymore work for them. First, I forgot about Ivana's Theme in her final boardroom, which was reminiscent of the duck's theme in Peter in The Wolf which continued even when she was inside the belly of the wolf. That strain of the meltdown went a little like this: "Who do you think I should fire?" "Jennifer" "But Jennifer's not here" "I am better than Jennifer" "I can't fire Jennifer, Jennifer's not here" "Please fire Jennifer", etc. And second, I realized that although it didn't work immediately as I think she had planned and initially got Raj fired, Massey's gambit of directly attacking Ivana without provocation to throw her off balance was completely and brilliantly effective in the long run. Because I don't remember Ivana mentioning or paying much attention at all to Ms. Massey until after that scene in the bedroom where she was accused of being weak and only good for putting together an Excel spreadsheet. After that she slowly became more and more fixated on her, eventually losing all perspective and common sense, which ultimately led to the sad spectacle of her forcing her team to move downtown (both wasting valuable time and moving into a territory that had already been covered by Mosaic) in a desperate and feverish bid for some kind of high noon showdown where fast draws are replaced by dropped drawers. Very well played Jenn M., though I hope that Kevin somehow takes you out tonight (because I'm almost positive that Kelly has to be one of the final two, and Sandy has no chance, so it's really Massey vs. Allen as far as the 2nd spot I think... but we will see).

I had a few leftover tidbits to add to my Apprentice review this morning, but the top headline that greeted me when I turned on my computer just now compells me to first mention the vulgar display of power which went down in Ohio last night. R.I.P. Dimebag.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Okay, get ready to pretend that it’s Friday, December 3rd for a few minutes of this Wednesday, December 8th, because the dark and stormy work clouds have parted at least momentarily here and it’s time for some hastily slapped together commentary for last week’s episode of The Apprentice. There were a few questions that I had before the episode started, and the first of these – “What will Jenn M. do now that there are no more men on her team to bewitch” – was quickly answered when she and Sandy returned to the suite and sat down for a team huddle. Sandy Ferreira has always felt left out, unnoticed, and underappreciated during the course of this game, and thus when Jenn suddenly became her only teammate/special chum she was almost just as suddenly quite enamored with the classy lady. Massey did not lose any time in capitalizing on this, maneuvering Sandy into the vulnerable position of team leader, a brilliant move which both made Sandy feel appreciated and respected and allowed Jenn to continue flying under the radar. Of course, Sandy had already proven herself a nervous, crying mess in her previous stint as team leader, so she was also more than willing to only be given the title while Jenn called all of the shots for the remainder of the episode. The downwardly spiraling poor little rich girl, Ivana Ma, seemed to fully understand what Massey had accomplished as soon as the Donald was told that Sandy would be the team leader, as shown by the look of complete despair in her reaction shot. Basing the task in a chocolate factory reminded me that I recently compared Mr. Trump’s increasingly orange complexion to that of an oompa-loompa, and led to speculation on the effects of constant exposure to chocolate on one’s skintone. Unfortunately I was reminded by a mention of the horribly misguided Tim Burton/Johnny Depp remake of Willy Wonka the other day that oompa loompas are only fictional characters, which kind of neutered that theory. The slapstick shenanigans during the candy-making sequence were very fun to watch, but the only item that I noted as worthy of comment was Ivana referring to the candy bars as her babies. It was basically the same thing as when she cried upon seeing the completed Pepsi design the week before, a personification of objects which in light of her burgeoning all-around loss of sanity starts seeming a bit more unsettling than it might otherwise. Anyway, after the Ivana-baby inspection team had finished their cold-blooded slaughter of the innocents, Team Apex were off to sell their remaining offspring on the mean streets of midtown, while the M&M twins (Massey/minion) headed down to Wall Street. There are two basic ways that a person’s physical beauty can affect other people’s perception of them. One is the well documented tendency for people to perceive beautiful people as more intelligent and competent than more ordinary-looking folk, a perception probably enhanced by the confident self-assurance that they usually possess from having grown up with this power. Additionally, people have been shown to be much more likely to give money to a stranger on the street if they are particularly attractive, assuming them to be good and trustworthy people based simply on aesthetics; it just gives people a greater sense of self-worth to be associated with them in any way, and these were the effects which were affecting Sandy last week (as well as the people who spent $5 on a candy bar that is well-stocked in every corner store in town – which reminds me that I much enjoyed my favorite remaining candidate, Kevin Allen, telling everyone that this bar was not sold anywhere else – I guess if only 5 people in the entire world were authorized to sell the bar and they had to approach you on the street in order for you to buy one it would make it seem very exclusive and desirable, but evidently not enough for anyone to actually buy one from him until he cut his price down to $1… ok, refer back to what came before this parenthetical sidetrack before continuing). I mean, the idea of two similar-looking women dressing up twinsies when going out as a sales team is a fine idea, but also a completely obvious one, and heralding J.M. as incredibly creative based on this singular piece of evidence shows either a) confusion as to the definition of creativity or more likely b) a sublimated desire to scurry back to your bridal shop and begin preparations for the Mrs. and Mrs. Massey wedding (another quick sidebar – it was amusing when Sandy was getting giddily excited during their dress-up party in the morning and said “Ooh, you know what, I have glitter dust in the other room!” and you could hear a whole world of non-plussed balancing act wheel spinning that was going on inside Massey’s head in her reply of “really?”) The other way that beauty can override logic in the mind of its observers is over-amply personified by Ivana, thinking that people are intrinsically shallow and idiotic just because they are pretty. I’ve traditionally been victim to this nonsensical ideology myself, which is quite obviously rooted largely in jealousy, and is just a different way of expressing the same stupidity. Of course, Ivana adds the additional wrinkle of hating both Jennifer and Sandy because they are blonde, which is something that has never made any sense to me as either an attraction or something to be jealous about, so the whole sexy/stupid blonde stereotype thoroughly baffles. Of course, I guess it is almost exclusively a hair color produced in chilly northern climes, so cultures based a little closer to the equator where everyone has dark hair probably view it as a little more magical than someone from a town whose annual summer festival was Sauerkraut Days might. In any case, just being blonde and wearing a skirt does not in any way make you look like a stripper (and adding that part about ‘and not a classy strip club, I mean one of those places like in Texas with peanut shells on the floor’ is a nice reminder of the sheltered sense of elitism lurking in this lady whose daddy got her a Porsche when she was 16). No, a much more accurate methodology for the quick identification of any cheap strippers who might be in your midst is to keep your eyes peeled for a person who walks up to men and tells them that they’ll drop their skirt for $20. My favorite quote of the episode was from Caroline in the boardroom: “You weren’t selling candy bars. Honestly, what were you really selling?” Caroline has proven to be the level-headed voice of reason perched on Trump left shoulder, while lurking on the other side of his huge heap of hair-engineering is the lecherous George, who clearly finds something appealing in the notion of a female who has unequivocally demonstrated the willingness to take off her pants in order to get ahead. The final boardroom came down to a fascinating series of repetitive variations leading to an inevitable but dramatic resolution, the predominant leitmotif being Donald telling Ivana she always loses or asking her why she always loses followed by Ivana looking angrily upward and to her right, upward and to her right. It was almost what you’d call high art (or, now that I reread that last sentence and think about it, a lot more accurately ‘almost like having sex’ than driving that Lamborghini was last week). Now that I’ve said that my name for the new move that Donald busted out for the firing sounds a lot more crass than I had intended it to be – since he forcefully slapped his palm down on the table and then pointed his fingers in a ‘kapow’ type motion I had thought to dub this Cobra-cousin the Slap Bang, but now I’m going to refine that on the fly to the Slapshot, which is so much better anyway that I’m feeling idiotic for not coming up with that in the first place. So that’s the episode, see you back here next week (or hopefully in two days, should the slack life continue here at work).

IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 8. This squirrel with nut was photographed in Monsignor McGolrick Park on my way in to work this morning. I kept going out and trying to take a picture of a squirrel for months to no avail, now all of a sudden they're jumping right out in front of me almost every day. Go figure. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Just a television viewing heads-up: A Charlie Brown Christmas is on ABC tonight from 8-9, and you really ought to at least tune in for the part where they're all dancing at the pageant practice, though I can't really imagine why anyone wouldn't want to watch the whole thing. Posted by Hello

Though I've been eating a whole lot less fast food as of late, I still can't help but wish that there was a Hardee's in NYC now that reports of their new Monster Thickburger have reached me. My real curiousity concerns the comparisons and contrasts between this shocking new monstrosity that has media outlets across the country up in arms about the 'new' level of unhealthy hugeness it has supposedly breached and the almost identical Colossus Burger that Jack-In-The-Box was marketing over 10 years ago. As I recall from a near-death encounter that I once had with this sandwich when I was working at a litigation photocopying establishment only a few blocks away from a Jack-In-The-Box, it also sported two 1/3 lb. burger patties, 3 layers of cheese, and, I believe, 6 strips of bacon rather than the measly four that Hardee's offering offers us. Why then was it only 1,100 calories compared to 1,417 for the Monster Thickburger? The only thing that I can figure is that the bun, in addition to being mayoed, is also buttered and appears to be fairly thick and hearty it's own self. Jack-In-The-Box, on the other hand, has a fairly bun-phobic clientele (based on their ads from a few years back where they had a focus group focusing on their new Ultimate Cheeseburger whose only complaint was that it had a bun: "Bun's neither meat nor cheese") and so this element of the Colossus was probably the bare minimum of bread needed to differentiate a sandwich from a greasy mound of cow-based products. In any case, one thing I can be sure of is that this new customer-killing strategy that Hardee's seems to have adopted is clearly the handiwork of Happy Star, the longtime Carl's Jr. mascot that is now pulling double duty as the Hardee's mascot (I assume there was a takeover at some point since I moved away from lands colonized by the Hardee's empire in the early 90's). Carl's had a string of advertising campaigns that never really made sense while I was living in California, and a long-running one showed us the behind the scenes power struggle that existed at the time between Carl and the Star (the equally incomprehensible campaign which finally replaced it was "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face", an ill-conceived attempt to transform the fact that their food had an alarming tendency to fall apart and ruin your clothing into a selling point). Carl was always trying to provide good, affordable food in a clean and friendly setting to his customers, while the Star was revealed as not at all the very happy individual he appeared to be, but rather a scheming troublemaker who despised the customers and was always looking for a quick and easy way to rip them off, and I think that perhaps without the steadying influence of Carl in his life since his move to the midwest these antisocial tendencies and delusions of grandeur have been given free rein to blossom into their full horrifying potential. Be very afraid indeed.

 Posted by Hello

Monday, December 06, 2004

The first section I always check on MyYahoo! homepage (well, after Ziggy, of course) is one which lists the four most recent snack reviews from, and today they feature a new candy bar that looks as though it may have what it takes to wrest the confectionery crown from my current #1 sweet treat, Vagabond Chews.

IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 6. The joy and wonder which alight in this young boy's eyes when he spies jolly old John Ashcroft nestled in these festively flammable boughs is really what it's all about... O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter! Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit Gibt Trost und Kraft zu jeder Zeit.Posted by Hello

Continuing to catch up, IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 5. Posted by Hello

IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 4. I know today is really Day 6 (and this photo was taken last night on Day 5 @ 14th St./1st Ave. in Manhattan). In a perfect world you would be prepared for every possible situation that might arise, but as a practical matter I feel it is somewhat unreasonable to expect that I could have anticipated the occurance of weekends during the month of December when I first conceived this project. Posted by Hello

I do have high hopes that I will be able to compose the usual recap to last Thursday's Apprentice before this coming Thursday, but for right now I am still far too occupied here. Reader Andrew H. has sent in a nice tip to help out, though, a community blog of baby animal photos: mice, capybaras, donkeys, puppies, kittens, etc. My own favorites so far are suprisingly both non-baby animals, the goat at the end of this series and the cat-wary cops toward the bottom here, but there look to be pages and pages more to peruse at your leisure. Oh look, baby reindeer.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Sorry, but I've been kept all too busy to compose the Apprentice review today. Additionally, any free time that I have had today has been spent trying to figure out this cartoon. I like it, but cannot for the life of me understand what it is supposed to mean, so if anyone out there has any idea, please let me know.

IAAFOTS Advent Calendar, Day 3. Posted by Hello

Squirrel, Monsignor McGolrick Park, Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Posted by Hello