Friday, August 29, 2008

hey look, a blog

Okay, fine. That last entry was really painfully obvious.


palin, veep

i'm sure that tina fey is aware she needs to get her ass back to SNL, stat.

I also almost didn't make my flight because I was goofing off at Newbury Comics

Hello post I wrote on Wednesday but forgot to hit publish on so it sat on the bench while I was in Boston self tanning and giving advice to a man who has 150 million platinum reasons not to listen to it...

It was a game of firsts at last night's Nationals-Dodgers “pitchers duel.”

Foremost, it was my ninth game at the new stadium but the first win I’ve witnessed this season.

Secondly, we opted to drive and it was a terrible mistake. Metro is the superior means of ballgame delivery even if your parking pass allows you to pull up directly into the opposing team’s dugout, which ours did.

As we sat in traffic:

Me: It looks like Ryan Avent was right about this one.
The G: Bite your tongue. Avent is not allowed to be right about anything, ever.

Thirdly, we got real gentleman-like seats so we had to be real gentlemen-like. So no yelling at Manny when he half-assed it from second on a play that would have tied the game if he hadn’t jogged to third.

Speaking of which, sportscasters, just because a game is low scoring (2-1) it shouldn’t automatically get assigned the label of “pitching duel” like I heard on the radio. The Nats used 5 different pitchers. The starter hit two batters, walked two batters, struck out none and committed an error. They team walked two opposing pitchers. And the Dodgers left 10 players on base. The Nats were lucky that their one run lead held up. It wasn’t a pitching duel.

The Lizard gives the G the ol' Slimy Eyeball. Then he licked it.

Finally, I’ve complained about this before but they really need to send Screech’s head to the dry cleaners. From a distance it looks white-ish, like one of those paint chips that’s not really pure white but still not in the same paint card as the grays. Up close, however, you can tell it’s been hugged by so many sticky children and sweaty drunks that its gotten exceedingly filthy.

Unless he’s going for whatever they call the hair style that number 8 has sporting there. Blond on top, decidedly not blond underneath.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

he's got thousands! in different sizes!

it's a long story as to why I was googling "where to purchase berets in bulk," but here, in case you were in the market. ("This quality made beret is an acid stone washed denim material. Comes with a draw string tie and looks stylish.") Yay!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


(update: "WhoDis?" guy has a name. It's Julio, and if he calls me one more time, I'm gonna find ItsJulioWhoDis? and kick him in the teeth.)

data, form

Linking this even though it includes a Radiohead video.



- Kottke's infoviz collection

- information design

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Failsafe Automated Exclamation Point Generator

It was funny for the 4 minutes before this.

It was sad when it went on for another three.

Seven whole minutes of horn blowing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

yes, but you didn't KNOW the people violently killed

A 10 minute car ride with my father-in-law:

The N: So, heard whats going on in the news today? (referring, I assume, to the convention)
FIL: Japanese scientists can clone stem cells from wisdom teeth!

* * *

The N: We only know one family that lives on that street, trust me. The Jones & the Does were not next door neighbors
FIL: Yes they were! I swear they were neighbors
The N: No. The Jones lived on XXX Street, and the Does lived on YYY street. Trust me. The only people we know who EVER lived on XXX street ever were the Jones.
FIL: Well, other people lived on that street too.
The N: Like who?
FIL: There was a murder on that street once.

There were more, but these were my favorites.

Next week, we'll practice by jumping over bike racks

While our tour of DC schools was somewhat limited to small part of the city, CA and I can report that at least McKinley Tech High School was 100% ready to open this morning. The new turf football field was a beautifully unnatural green, the grounds were liter free, and the parking lot was level and without cracks.

We’d also like the thanks the grounds keeping crew for their advice on staying in shape. Your suggestion of how our cores would be better served by bending at the waist was greatly appreciated. The tips about the medicine balls and footwork were spot on and obliques certainly paid the price. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s always nice to have an audience when lifting weights in a high school parking lot.

And they took great pains not to blow leaves and grass clippings on us. McKinley Tech High School janitors: You guys are the best.


H/T to kottke:

Hands on a Hard Body is now on Google video, in it's entirety. This doesn't really effect you if you are a member of my immediate family/related to me in any way, since we've been passing around bootleg dvd's of this thing for years as Christmas gifts. My brother can recite the entire documentary from memory, and my mom talks it up to complete strangers.

It's a fine, fine little film.

Friday, August 22, 2008

also, i'm watching soaps on mute at work.

- Hey, universe? No more abandoned-helpless animal stories, alrighty? euthanized whales nursing on boats? turtles who stumble into italian restaurants after making a few wrong turns? dogs who stay by their owners corpses for weeks at a time hoping they will wake up? I'm DONE. okay? thanks.

- Recently, my cell phone number has been accquired by the gentlemen henceforth* known as "Whodis? Guy." He calls every day around 3 or 330 pm, and in the mornings on weekends. I have answered the phone probably 8 times and told him every time he has the wrong number. Now I simply ignore it. Whodis? Guy never leaves a message. Here is a typical interaction:

Me: Hello?
Me: No, who is this?
Me: You have the wrong number sir. Again.
WDG: (untelligible) wrong number? (untelligellible) WHODIS?
WDG: (kind of sad "whodiiis?" heard before I hang up)

The calls are from a landline in Alexandria - should I call back and hope someone else answers, maybe at a different time of day, and explain to them that I no longer want Whodis? Guy interrupting my very vry strenuous workday of playing Bookworm online? Advice.

- Pizza Hut is now selling something called "Bacon Mac n Cheese Pizza."

- Sexy Teen Party tonight! I'm going as a VERY sexy teen with loose morals and a bleak future.

-JL on JBel

* i feel as if I just used "henceforth" incorrectly but I'm too lazy to find out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Seriously, Des Moinoids?

Attention the entire state of Iowa: if you announce that your state’s most attractive Olympic athlete’s likeness is going to be sculpted in ice at your state fair, don’t make that effigy impossible to locate. The best I could find was this tiny out-of-focus thing. I can’t see ice abs in that picture. I want a Snoopy sno-cone made from Lolo Jones and I want it now.

(Whatever you do, don’t go look up Lolo Jones website because it’ll make you crazy. The song Whatever Lola Wants plays constantly and you can’t turn it off. And it’s designed in a way that only evokes frustration from creepy dudes looking for Lolo Jones pictures. (Not me))

The lack of real news photos of the ice sculptures meant I spent the day looking at other peoples’ flickr pictures from the state fair. Was it the fried awesome on a stick?


- The name of my new band? IPT. But my “I” will probably stand for International so it can be more ironically un-ironic.

- Is “kebab” too foreign sounding? The government should really shut down those restaurants like Moby Dick and their "terrorist salads."

- Make room for Beer Dog. Or as the G sez, “This is that commercial with the beer horse and the get-you-n-shape dog that comes and gets horses in shape with Rocky music.”

You mean a trainer?

“No. A get-in-shape coach.”

- Granted Lolo Jones is the second most famous Olympic Des Moinians*, but pictures of this stupid Shawn Jones butter statue are everywhere. Again, I want to break off pieces of ice Lolo Jones and make mojitos. And I refuse to be part of any innuendo involving Shawn Johnson and butter.

*There was some debate over the correct term to describe someone from Des Moines. My native Iowan father said Des Moiner. My numbskull cousin (who lives in Des Moines) said Des Moinoid. So I called the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce and the Bureau of Tourism. They both said the correct term was Des Moinian

They also added that they city is planning to build statues of Lolo Jones and Shawn Johnson for their Iowa Hall of Pride. But neither will be made of ice.

So I still can’t feed chips of frozen Lolo to women in labor?

Dang it.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I’ve got one of those headaches that are so bad that I’ve started looking into whether the Red Cross is holding a blood drive nearby. Every possible remedy has been attempted. But my surgeon/barber has been saying some good things about blood-letting.

not about james carville, still about sports

Olympics/Nike marketing geniuses: If I hear the Killers one more time, I'm gonna put my foot through a wall.

Also, everyone is getting hurt on the hurdles this morning. They are NOT soldiers. Soldiers dont keep fucking up their hamstrings in this way, I don't think.

In other crap no one cares about, I am learning about fantasy football!(?)! It is comedy gold, but so far I have it down. I'm being tutored every evening for 10-15 minutes so I don't completely humiliate my spouse on draft day by using my first round pick to go for "a hottie who throws the ball.... that's called a quarterback, right?"

The biggest issue I see with this experiment is the potential for me to get really, really, really, into this lame sport I know nothing about.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Artificial Horizon

The G and I have a friend who we credit/blam for introducing us crazy kids about 240 years ago in college. Judging by the size of things, though, we haven’t seen him in at least 8.25 months. We thought it’d be nice to rekindle this friendship but it’s proven rather difficult to track him down. His cell phone service has been canceled and the emails that the system administrator doesn’t kick back just go unanswered.

But we got a tip last week. Apparently, he and his “band” play acoustic cover version of 90’s alternative songs at the Front Page Arlington on Wednesday night. SEX TYPE THING!??! REEL BIG FISH!?! OFF TO BALLSTON!

Except not. Although we found a great parking spot, there was a line to get into the bar. The Front Page. A line. And we were older than anyone else there by 15 years. We couldn’t figure out who was lamer. But it probably wasn’t the two 30+ year olds who refused to wait to get their ID’s checked at a Arlington mall bar. And it looks like our friend won’t have the honor of seeing us in out latest versions and re-imagined Ultimate costumes.

But that’s only part of what this post is about. On the way there, the G claimed to have never heard the song that we discussed last week. You know, the one about fake lesbians? And since AM has admitted to loving the song and listening to it on the radio all the time and wanting to marry it, I knew it was often played on 99.5. So we tuned in.

We heard one Coldplay song before the DJ came back on. But before we got a chance to hear anything else, he said something that justifies my refusal to listen to anything other than Paul Harvey.

The young man, who I may remind you is music DJ in Washington DC, asked his listeners if they knew if the Black Cat was a different venue than DC9. He wasn’t sure. He’d been to the Black Cat before but it’d been awhile. Is it still around, he wondered? Did DC9 replace it? It had to be the same place because there couldn’t be that many places where bands could play in DC. I mean, after the MCI Center what else is there? Please to be texting him with the answer.

I’ve seen the G irate before. Crazy irrational angry with knives shooting out of her eyes and squiggly furious lines coming off her like Pigpen’s stank. But it’s been a long time since I’ve seen her this wolf-faced enraged. Especially over a stupid radio top 40 show.

I mean, I’m not a radio DJ or anything but I still know that they tore down the Black Cat in 2006 and built The Bayou in its place. It’s where Lungfish plays.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I’m all for an Aventopian future where no one drives cars and everyone has adorable dogs. But if you want me to pay money to share a bike with some tourist, don’t park them near hospitals that leave biohazard specimen bags lying around the sidewalk.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I enjoyed watching the G and CA enjoy the Arlington County Fair since they were so bright-eyed about all its offerings. There was fried dough to cram down their maws, baby/genetically miniaturized animals to pet, other less cute animals to race, wilted produce to judge and giant stalks of corn to be amazed by. (An impressive 8 feet).

But the D and I are much more experienced fairgoers. We’ve been to several real Midwest county fairs. We’ve seen 4 generations of pigs in one pen. I’ve been amazed by truly gigantic stalks of corn. (19 feet 7 inches) I’ve watched baby/genetically miniaturized animals drag their captors around on sleds. I’ve seen Grand Funk Railroad.

Since the county fair season is at its midpoint and some may still be making the trek to faraway places with names like Prince Williams, I thought I’d offer a few insider hints about things to keep a an eye out for.

#1 – Actors in giant costumes or giant actors in appropriately sized costumes.

Called “Strolling Characters” in the county fair business, these towering body puppets main jobs are to terrorize children and not crush people. I believe Rock-it the Robot to be the most famous in this class of entertainment but he and I had an unpleasant encounter at a fair a few years ago. Naturally, I challenged him to a dance-off and even awarded him the advantage by mandating that "The Robot" be the only allowable dance. Things became unpleasant when he refused to participate.

The Arlington County fair had a “green” theme to it this year so in addition to encouraging everyone to move closer to their jobs and lose their cars, they brought in Treebeard to amaze the locals.

Judging by the man in the FBI hat, he was unsuccessful.

#2 – Works of art by local amateurs judged by less amateurish amateurs

Most of the entries are photographs. Some are pretty good and could possibly make it into a calendar of generic landscapes or a Windows desktop theme. Most were terrible. One was of an old woman in a wingback chair eating a Pop-tart on Christmas morning a half second before a leaping black cat landed on her head. Another was one of those pictures King’s Dominion will sell you after riding the Grizzly. I’m not really sure how that qualified under the rules.

The other categories were sewing (a Christmas stocking featuring a rabbit in the snow that read TRACY), doll design (a stuffed bear made from an old fur coat dressed like a fairy princess) and sculpting (a five-legged clay crab with Snoopy painted on its shell).

Also, painting.

This here is the winner. Subtlety titled Car With Explosion, it won all the best ribbons. My initial reaction was to chuckle disbelieving but I bet painting a BMW fleeing a giant explosion at what appears to be a church (based on the flying steeple) is probably tough for a high school student. I know we didn’t attempt gasoline fireballs until my second year of Studio Art in college.

#3 – No matter how far north or progressive or urban you think your county is, at some point a carnie will try to separate you from your money with the promise of cheap yet surprisingly disordered Confederate paraphernalia.

This example features a ring toss game in which the victor qualifies to win one of three non-sanctioned CSA flags. The first shows the Stars and Bars over what I believe is the mock explosion used on a 1970s-era box of Tide laundry detergent. The second flag shows a skull with faintly glowing eyes, sporting a Crocodile Dundee hat, guarding a second Confederate flag with two sabers and a rattlesnake.

The final is the most Daedalian. From what I can figure, it uses your basic Confederate flag as a background with the words Rebel “Til” I Die superimposed in the center. (Not sure why the Til is in quotes.) Under the motto appears to be the blue, translucent head of a seal or possibly a chupacabre with two motorcycles coming out the side.

It just screams “Welcome to Arlington. We hope you enjoy your stay.”

I hope these three tidbits enhance you fair-going experience. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go win this giant, stuffed Sebastian the Crab.

Monday, August 11, 2008

oh volleyball you are so awesome

Dalhausser is the beach's answer to you-know-who, non?

Oh, and if a case ever needed to be made for HDTV: hello Olympics. Even if Dalhausser and Foster choked (choked!) against Latvia early on, I still super enjoy seeing every bead of their sweat in high def.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Carlos the Dwarf: The Movie

The plan is too see Pineapple Express tonight.

With the exception of September’s Coen Brothers pic, it looks like the next few weeks are going to be pretty barren at the old multiplex. That’s why the Pineapple Express better be the best fucking movie I’ve ever seen with my 127-year-old cataract-filled mole eyes.

This will most likely be the last movie the Pyggies will see in a theater for at least 5 years. When we make it back, it’ll be for some delightful animated romp that a Pixar executive just thought up yesterday. Children will love it for the bright colors and silly voices. Adults will barely tolerate the thinly veiled jokes about President Tim Pawlenty. I’ll abide the recycled Star Wars sound effects slipped in by animation nerds.

And it’ll be a matinee.

Or maybe I’ll sneak out by myself and watch a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Returns after everyone else has gone to bed.

Either way, I’ve ruined my life.

Come on Pineapple Express. Make the next 18 years worth while.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

halloween 2008 costume idea, #45

Sometimes, you're having a bad day. You trip and fall, your car gets towed, someone puts mustard on your BLT. All tragic and weird.

But then you read something like this and life becomes magical again.

Makes a rainbow about as colorful as a lead pipe.

The longest thing I've read in the last few weeks that could even resemble a book is a graphic novel checked out from the library. I wouldn't be surprised if I've completely forgotten how to read if the text isn't in word balloon form. But when I decided to actually read a book, the library only had one copy of the one I was looking for and it was in audio form. And that book was about comic books. Bonjour, Monsieur Cercle Vicieux.

Fortunately, the book(CD) is incredibly good. The Ten-Cent Plague narrates the controversy-plagued history of comic books between when Captain America punched Hitler to Stan Lee taking credit for inventing every superhero in the 60's. Caped heroes comics weren't selling too well back then so the publishers relied on true crime stories, fake crime stories, stories about reanimated corpses and other things coming from swamps, high school romance, cowboys, jungle queens and all of the above on the moon or somewhere else in space.

The problems arose in the late 40's after some community do-gooders started to notice the severed heads, rotting flesh and general misogyny on the covers of the crime and horror books. Comic book burnings became all the rage in some small rural towns and even some of the larger cities drafted legislation concerning their distribution and sales. Senate subcommittee investigations were held. It all came to a head in the mid-50s and the negative attention forced the most popular books (in terms of sales) out of production.

While important to the comic book industry, this culture skirmish gets lost behind the other major battles being fought around the same time. The Congressionally led communism, juvenile delinquency and organized crime investigations all occurred within two years of the comics scare and draw more attention in the history books. But it did lead directly to the Comics Code Authority and caused the immediate scrubbing and near destruction of the industry. For example: Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited. (Yeah! All but the walking dead comics are kinda lame) or Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities. (Booo! Where are young boys going to develop their unrealistic expectations of the female form?)

The CCA’s restrictions were so stringent that they pretty drove the industry’s top publisher out of business. And there was little wiggle room for other editors to maneuver. Either they eliminated “all scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism” or the books went unpublished. That was pretty much everything popular outside of Archie and talking animals.

The book touches on how the Comics Code Authority differed from the other self-regulating organizations established by the entertainment industry around the same time. For instance, the movie industry’s Hays Code had the same restrictions but the Hollywood writers were deft enough to get the message past the censors. In fact, it forced a whole generation of scriptwriters to develop a visual medium based on allusion and imagery. In the mid-50’s, writers and artists in the comic horror and crime industry could not achieve that sort of finesse. The industry collapsed.

I “read” most of this book at the beach last week during a reunion of the Iowan side of the family. Early one evening, I was treated to a concert by my cousin’s four-year old daughter. (That’s my other cousin on guitar playing an unrelated song by 311 or whatever other shitty band he’s into right now.) It went a little something like this…

I was casually aware that there was a song floating around the Top 40 about a barsexual kiss between two girls. I did not know it was the #1 song for some 1000 straight weeks. Huh.

Creating a CCA-like censorship board that would cleans the lyrics of Clear Channel pop songs is probably a bad idea. But, man, I wish there was some way to force some subtlety into the songs available to our nations four year olds.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Plug in my M.C.I

Pulled this quote of a an article about the Police’s last show

"People don't really change," guitarist Andy Summers told The Associated Press. "We're the same three (jerks) we always were. I'm actually quite proud of the fact that it's gone on as long as it has."

What’s the word that “jerk” replaced? I’m guessing “wanker”, for the sake of American audiences. But I’m hoping it’s “miserable, cocksucking twats,” for the sake of descriptive accuracy.

The G hopes its “dillhole.”

goats, part IV

Goats grazing on National Park Service land at Staten Island's Fort Wadsworth managed to do what terrorists wished they could: They sneaked under a fence onto a restricted area near the base of the Verrazano Bridge - without triggering alarms, sources said.

Monday, August 04, 2008

please someone tell me they had the same love of Units as I did in 1988. Please. Someone.

i need help, internet weirdos. The first person who can please find me a photo of anything to do with the 1980's "modular clothing" phenomenon store UNITS will be my new best friend.

I cannot find jack shit out there as far as photos, just a few measly mentions of the store on "remember the 80s"- type websites and a brief bio on designer Sandra Garratt. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

UPDATE: Nevermind.

(it's a belt! it's a tube top! it's a micro mini! it's a headdress! it can be used to smuggle snacks into the $.50 movie theatre! it's been corrupted by the skeletal chicks with fake boobs on "Survivor" and re-named a "buff!" I myself paired this modern fashion miracle with coordinating slouch socks, skorts, and vests. yes, all at the same time.)