Saturday, March 31, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

Someone Brought Donuts

Krispy Kremes, even. And there's free pizza for lunch. But I'm not touching any of it. I was up 0.2 pounds at the last meeting, and although I know i's only around 3 ounces, and I might have drank that much water on my way over, and considering the week I'd had (late night at a bar Thursday, Ortlieb''s Jazzhaus on Friday, and a complete undercounting of mooshoo pork on Saturday), I should be glad to be only up 0.2 pounds. But that doesn't mean I'm going to chuck this week away and eat a Krispy Kreme.

My beloved Krispy Kreme.

My precious.

No. No. No.

... no, dammit.


UPDATE: When I left work, there were Krispy Kreme donuts left behind--all because I hadn't done my part. This makes Iron Eyes Cody cry.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Talk at Work

You never know what's going to come up at work. This morning it was rat kings and musical theater. The bastard has the play by play.


Monday, March 26, 2007

I have to believe other people have done this exact same blog post.*

Everybody was kung-fu fighting


Those cats were fast as lightning


In fact it was a little bit frightening


But they fought with expert timing



*But I won't be able to think of anything else until I post it anyway.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cake or Death?

Thanks to The Beat for pointing my peepers toward this video, a trailer for the long-sought PG version of 300.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

"We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life."

We’ve got birds. They’re in the air vent above our upper-story bathroom. One or two have nested there, and I think I hear chicks.

It’s weird enough, thinking that there are lifeforms in our air ducts, because I’ve seen enough action movies to know that they’re probably using them to bypass our security systems and either steal our secret plans or disable our tractor beam. But even stranger is the way they whistle and chirp in the morning. It’s like I’m showering with R2-D2.


Never Ever Gonna Quit

So the other day, I was listening to a deejay spin a lot of records at a family party. After a TON of Michael McDonald (no idea what was up with that, but he loved those McDonald sings Motown albums) he played a little Barry White. And I came to realize that I'd never really listened closely to the lyrics of "Never Gonna Give You Up" before. Here's the chorus:

"I never, never gonna give you up

I'm never, ever gonna stop
Stop the way I feel about you
Girl I just can't live without you"

Which is all well and good. And sexy, which is the main thing. But then we get to...

"I'm never ever gonna quit
'Cause quitin' just ain't my schtick"

Hold on--schtick? Schtick? I thought I heard it wrong, but I checked it later with my wife, and then online. He goes from Barry White, king of sexy, all of a sudden to Shecky Greene, Old Jewish Comedian. And it works, is the craziest thing. Barry sells it, and he sells it sexy. But I had to wonder: Who the hell had the stones to ask Barry White to sing "schtick"?

A quick look at reveals "Never Gonna Give You Up" (the relevant version, that is) was written by... none other than Barry White himself.

Who else could get him to say "schtick"? No one else would dare ask.

So therefore...

Barry White... you're the first inductee into the...

Heroes of Vocabulary!

Yes, every now and then, if I find an unusual word in a song lyric that stands out like a sore thumb but works anyway, the lyricist will be inducted into this august group. I'm looking at you, Rick Springfield.

So congratulations, Barry. You've earned it...because quittin' ain't your schtick.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another Update

I weighed in tonight and found I'd lost another 5.4 pounds. That's 12, total. I'm collapsing in on myself like a dying star!

Don't expect such quick updates on the bad news, when it comes 'round.


R.I.P., Calvert DeForest

Mark Evanier notes the passing of Calvert DeForest, the man who was better known to late-night fans as Larry "Bud" Melman. And he includes a YouTube video of him in action, greeting people and passing out hot towels at the NY Port Authority bus depot in 1983. It had me in stitches.

Thanks, Calvert. Thanks, Larry "Bud".



Solace in Cinema presents a look at shots from Zach Snyder’s 300 pulled directly from Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Check it out.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"Tonight We Dine In Hell!"

My brother’s fiancée’s bridal shower was Sunday. What better time to for the guys to go see 300?

It’s a hell of a movie: Stunning to look at, absolutely gorgeous in its depiction of slow-motion violence and bloodshed. It’s very faithful to Frank Miller’s graphic novel in that regard. The costume and armor designs are drawn from Miller’s pages, and they look great on film.

It’s a phenomenal, dazzling spectacle. Here: The Spartans march, a mere fraction of their army. Here: The Persian “Immortals” approach, fearsome in their silver masks. Here: They clash in blood and dirt, with no-nonsense slashes and brutal thrusts. Every combat brings something new. And if it seems a bit like a video game, with each wave of villains more terrible than the last, it doesn’t detract too much from the horrible beauty of the dance.

The characters have little depth, but the script doesn’t call for much. It isn’t a movie for thinking; it’s a movie for feeling. A subplot with Leonidas’ wife left a bad taste in my mouth; if I recall the book correctly, it was added for the movie. It’s an attempt to add politics to the film, but the Spartan politicians are an unsubtle bunch. They’re better on the battlefield.

300 is a better movie to look at than to watch. But make no mistake, it is a joy to look at.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Since 2003

Thank God we were greeted as liberators. Otherwise we'd still be Iraq.



This will probably be pulled from YouTube before too long, so watch it quick. Here's a trailer of the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, complete with Russian subtitles (the trailer hasn't been released over here, and probably not over there, but that's where this is from). And while no one gets a prosthetic machine-gun leg, I can't think of anything else wrong with the what we see here.

(The trailer was pulled, so I deleted the big useless YouTube box.)


Friday, March 16, 2007

Use the Do-Do-Wap, Luke!

I’ve been listening to a lot of Curtis Mayfield lately. Great seventies funk and soul – perfect for walking around the city, because it’s the sort of music that was playing in the movies and TV shows that were my first exposure to NYC when I was a kid. “Move On Up” and “(If there’s a Hell Below) We’re All Gonna Go” are righteous and fine, giving me a great groove as I walk through Koreatown toward my train.

But the one song that’s been revolving in my earbuds lately is called “Do Do Wap is Strong in Here.” The thing is, though – just the title of the song reminds me of Star Wars, and Dath Vader saying “The Force is strong with this one.” So here’s a short list of Star Wars quotes, had George Lucas taken the wiser course and called the Force by its rightful name, the Do-Do-Wap.

The Do-Do-Wap is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

A tremor in the Do-Do-Wap. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master.

The Do-Do-Wap can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

I felt a great disturbance in the Do-Do-Wap, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff. But I've never seen anything to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Do-Do-Wap controlling everything.

Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed; the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Do-Do-Wap.

Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Do-Do-Wap, and a powerful ally it is.

Yes, a Jedi's strength flows from the Do-Do-Wap. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Do-Do-Wap are they.

(May the Do-Do-Wap be with you.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

By the way...

...I'm absolutely loving watching another Bush crony twist as more and more dirty dealings are exposed.

Is anyone surprised?


In Case You're Wondering...

Down 6.6.

I don't expect to repeat a jump like that, but it is heartening.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Leaving Schools Behind

Kevin Drum has a really perceptive blog post about No Child Left Behind. It’s short, and definitely worth a read.

UPDATE: He follows it up here and here and here. Busy guy.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How Should I Shake That?

Now that Penn Radio is off the air, I’ve been listening to the Bone Conduction Music Show a bit more. Thayrone spins ‘em like no one else, and man, do I hear a lot of great music there.

Most recently, he just completely amped up my respect for Little Richard. Not only did he close the hour with a great old song called “Cherry Red,” but he played a LR tune called “Jenny, Jenny.” Here’s a sample verse:

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny
spinnin' like a spinnin' top
Jenny, Jenny, Jenny
Spinnin' like you ain't gonna stop
The greatest little momma
You oughta see her reel and rock

Fine enough, and you know Little Richard is gonna give it energy. But then consider this: between every couplet, he also sings, “Jenny Jenny! (wooo!) Jenny Jenny!” What gets me is the speed that he switches back and forth between singing Jenny’s name and that high falsetto whoop, and back again. Just try to sing along with the song – even if you can’t hit the note (I sure as hell can’t), you probably won’t even be able to make the switch. It’s uncanny. The man’s a fireball.

And then there’s Sam Cooke. In the same hour, Thayrone played a Cooke tune called “Shake,” a dance-instructional song that included these magic lyrics:

Shake it like a bowl of soup
And make your body loop de loop

…um, Sam? Who the hell shakes a bowl of soup? Great music, but try a little harder on the words, baby.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Richard Jeni, RIP

Comedian Richard Jeni died this weekend, apparently by his own hand. He was a funny guy, and brought a little more light into the world than he found here. Here's a clip of a recent special to remember him by.


Secret of the "Surge"

This is awful, if true. Salon reports that we’re sending injured soldiers back to Iraq.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Paging Dr. Girlfriend

Good news from The Beat. Venture Bros. Season Three is in the works, and Season Four has been greenlit. Go Team Venture!


Thursday, March 08, 2007


I joined a cult.* What did you do today?


*It's the inimitable KTBuffy who calls it a cult. Nonetheless, I am imitating her. Poorly, I might add, though that pretty much goes without saying.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Genius, Sir.

I’d never heard of it until I read part of an interview at the Newsarama blog, but check out Nicholas Gurewitch’s comic strip, The Perry Bible Fellowship. There’s no continuity, so just start with one of my favorites (say, this one) and then just keep hitting random. Oddball fun.


News That Will Horrify My Wife

It's one more thing for me to laugh hysterically at while she wonders what she ever saw in me: Variety is reporting that the cavemen from the Geico ads are being developed for a sitcom on ABC.

The frustration that guy feels -- the fruitless battle for respect. It kills me. Every. Single. Time.

(Yes, I'm kind of ashamed.)


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Take Me to the River

Jack of Diamonds
Jack of Diamonds, oh yeah
Jack of Diamonds is a hard card to find...

So... where have I been?

Vegas, baby. My friend Jeff and I headed out there for a mid-week weekend, and really made the most of it. We saw some magic shows, ate at some great restarants, and gambled our fool heads off. And the best part? We each won a poker tournament.

Now, Jeff's a good poker player -- he'd been practicing for years, and deserved his win. My win was more a fluke than anything else. Certainly it was as much luck as skill (It'd put the mix at 70-30 luck, at least), and it helped that it was a small tourney. The Paris poker room has a tournament every odd hour on the half hour (1:30, 3:30, 5:30, etc.), 24 hours a day. I'd played (and lost) in a few of them the day before, and wasn't planning to play in the 11:30 am one, but I noticed it was a small tourney (there wound up being 11 players; I think Jeff bested 19 in his win) and decided to enter (the entry fee is $65). Winner got 70% of the take (after fees and the casino's cut), and 2nd place got 30%.

It helps to start the tournament with pocket aces (what'd I say about luck?). I didn't get a lot of money out of it, but it gave me a slight chip lead right off the bat and made me comfortable in passing up questionable hands. I folded a lot of hands, playing really tight. And mostly, I let the other players take each other out of the game, but occasionally I won some decent hands, regaining the chip lead by the end of the game.

Finally it came down to three of us: me, my friend Jeff and another player. Jeff was the short stack (but wasn't in dire straits yet) and the other player had a decent amount, but less than me. I had an Ace-Jack, and thought it was a pretty decent hand. After what I thought was a pretty aggressive bet, the other guy went all-in. Then Jeff went all-in, too.

I probably should have stayed out of it. If the other guy won, Jeff would be out and I'd be in the money. If Jeff won, the other guy would be short-stacked and most likely out soon. And if they were both all-in, at least one of them was confident of their hand.

But I didn't think of all that. What I thought was that, whatever happened, I had the chip lead, and would still be alive after the hand. If I won, I'd win it all, and if the other guy won the hand, Jeff would be out and I'd be in the money. If both Jeff and the other guy beat me, I'd be pretty much hosed, but might be able to make a play if I got good cards. So I went all in.

My ace-jack was the worst hand on the table. The guy turned over pocket queens, and Jeff flipped pocket kings. It all came down to the community cards.

The flop gave me another jack, and some other stuff of no consequence. So I had a pair too, but the low pair. I needed an ace or another jack to win, while avoiding a king or queen, which would clinch it for one of them.

Nothing came up on the turn...and then the river gave me another jack. The Jack of Diamonds, which as any bluesman knows, is a hard card to find. A last-minute victory by the skin of my teeth -- it was like being Maverick.

Man, I'm flyin' high. Anyone wanna play?