Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This one's for Vince.

Vince has no blog but he's got Kate on the radio
right now and I think he deserves an LolMoose.

How Do People Too Stupid To Find The Courthouse Manage To File So Many Suits?

OK, so this first one is probably more a case of delusional than stupid, but Priya Venkatesan has threatened to sue Dartmouth and some of her ex-students who disagreed with her in the classroom. She sent emails to a bunch of faculty and students on the campus announcing her plans.

"I regret to inform you that I am pursuing a lawsuit in which I am accusing some of you (whom shall go unmentioned in this e-mail) of violating Title VII of anti-federal discrimination laws," she wrote in a message that contained several typos.

"I am also writing a book detailing my experiences as your instructor, which will 'name names,' so to speak. I have all of your evaluation and these will be reproduced in the book. Have a nice day."

First problem here is that it's pretty hard to sue students under a statute that protects against employment discrimination.

The article doesn't say whether she was fired or left Dartmouth on her own, but she's now teaching at Northwestern. Just sayin'.

Second Stupid: Juicy Couture (an oxymoron if I ever heard one), is suing Victorias's Secret for daring to slap their Pink logo across the ass of sweatpants. I may be missing something here, but is Juicy claiming that they thought of printing tasteless shit on clothing asses and that no one else can do it? If that's the case, I'm the one who thought of putting stuff on the backs of T-shirts. The front is OK; someone else came up with that, but anyone printing stuff on the back of T-shirts owes me a ton of money.

Inspiration Eludes Me.

How's this for a meme? I got nothing.

I don't want to hear anything more about Barak Obama's tiff with Rev. Wright until they actually schedule a slap-fight in a kiddiepool full of Jell-O.

I don't care about Miley Cyrus or Disney trying to disown her (while still reaping in all of the proceeds).

I care a little bit about Paula Abdul's prescience on American Idol. Last night all of the contestants had to sing twice. They all took their first shot and then the judges commented on each of them. Paula told Jason what the problem was with his second performance...that he hadn't done yet.

Update: I forgot to mention, Vince's online radio show is on tonight!
7:00 pm Central time. People can go to, click on the Listen Live image, and follow directions.

I'll try to find something I care about today.


I don't care "Where in the world is Matt Lauer".

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Adventures In Movieland!

I know I've directed you to my IMDB listing before. Go there again. Bask in my awesomeness. I honestly don't know how they keep these listings current. I've gone on the site to update my listing, only to find that they already had me listed on a film. They usually seem to know everybody working on a picture long before it finishes shooting, so my idea that they keep some homeless dude chained in a basement taking notes while repeatedly pausing the credits on the DVD is apparently not how they do it. It's a mystery.

Having said that, they are not all-knowing. They've missed at least one classic that I worked on, namely Mortal Sins. I was the Unit Manager on Mortal Sins. Unit Manager is one of those made up titles that can mean a lot of different things. In some cases it's a glorified Production Assistant (who doesn't get paid any more, but gets a nifty title). Sometimes it's a kid who drives a small truck filled with all the miscellaneous production supplies that no one else wants to deal with. In my case, I was sort of an Assistant Production Manager whose job on a daily basis consisted of whatever the Production Manager didn't want to deal with.

I have very little memory of what the movie was about. Here's a review with a little backstory if you care. I do, however have a lot of memories about making the movie. Where to start?

There was the day we were supposed to shoot in a closed, derelict synagogue on the Lower East Side. The guy with the key didn't show up. First, we spent about a 1/2 hour sitting around staring at the chain and padlock. No one on this show had a cell phone or if anybody did, the guy with the key didn't have one, so we couldn't find out where he was or if he was on the way. Eventually, the Prop Master offered to open the door with the Big Yellow Master Key, (a bolt-cutter), which he proceeded to do. Now, none of this was done furtively and it's not like the 70 or so people standing around were trying to be inconspicuous, but the cops driving by decided they needed to investigate. Luckily, the Location Manager had a copy of our signed contract with her. Most Location Agreements say that we are going to "...take sole possession of the premises..." for the period of filming, so eventually, the cops agreed that as temporary owners, we could break into our own place. We only got started 2 hours late that day.

There was a bar we shot in for a few days. One of the reasons we chose the location was that the bar was located beneath the 12th Avenue Viaduct and the exterior scenes would take place in the lovely, gritty location. Here's a crappy picture I found on the internet, but it should be enough for you to recognize.

In the middle of shooting here, most of Manhattan, including our location suffered a blackout. No biggie for us; we were powering everything off of a generator anyway. However, things got interesting. Because of the fact that this location, on a weekend, was a deserted stretch on the very edge of Manhattan, the NYPD chose it as the place to set up their Command Post. So, our rinky dink little movie was shooting in a bar at the extreme south end of the viaduct and the remaining 7 blocks of this stretch was filled with thousands of cops and cop cars and mobile command centers and you name it. They really didn't seem to pay any attention to us at all until we came outside to shoot the exterior scenes. We had to scrap the shots looking north up the viaduct since there was no scene in the script with thousands of cops, but we figured we could shoot everything facing the front of the bar. So outside we went. And we set up our lights. And we turned them on. And thousands of cops cheered and applauded, thinking the blackout had ended. Um, not so much.

There was one particularly horrible day shooting in an attic apartment in New Jersey. First of all, it was August and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that it was 4000º on the set. Really, it was. We were shooting a dialog scene between Nathan, played by Brian Benben and his girlfriend Marie, played by Maggie Wheeler (you may remember her as Janice with the annoying laugh from Friends). In this scene, Marie is cooking dinner for Nathan and the entree is going to be Calamari*. At one point, she holds up the whole squid with its tentacles draped down her arm and shakes it at Nathan to emphasize some point. Did I mention there was no air-conditioning? Did you know that squid only has to be exposed to un-air-conditioned atmosphere for a nano-second before it begins to stink? Did I mention that the Prop Master only brought one spare squid? Did I mention that this attic apartment had only two teeny-tiny windows?

Oh, and the other wonderful thing that occurred on this lovely day is that I sent a P.A. into Manhattan to pick up the paychecks. For some reason, when he got to the office, he locked the keys in the car...blocking traffic...with the motor running...on fumes. Between the lack of breathable air and the lack of being paid, the crew staged an impromptu strike for a few hours.

I could go on. I could tell you how hard it is to get all the vehicles off of a street...when that street has the HQ for the Hell's Angels in the middle of the block. I could tell you about trying to shoot the final romantic scene for the movie and being interrupted by a jogger headed east on the street meeting a pit bull traveling west on the same street and having the two meet, jaw to crotch right in the middle of our shot. I could tell you about one actress who hugged me enthusiastically when saying goodbye after finishing her last day on the film. She had one of the earlier versions of breast implants when apparently, the surgeons were still using rocks. Damn, did that hurt!

Instead, I'll close with two things that amuse me. First, when we shot the movie the working title was God's Payroll. So, our wrap gifts were these really crappy T-shirts that said, "I was on God's Payroll". Cute, huh? I wore the shirt once. I got half a block from my apartment when a woman saw me and said, "Hallelujah Brother! Praise Jesus!". I went home and changed.

Second, a few years later, When I was working on [Name of Movie Redacted], [Actor Name Redacted], who is in both movies shows up in the production office and I'm the first person he sees. We say hello. He says, "Don't take this the wrong way, but does the fact that we're both on this movie mean it's gonna suck too?" The answer to that, was apparently, yes.
* Yes, Anne's post today is what made me think of this in the first place.

No Reason! No Commentary! I Just Like It!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ironical Realization!

So, for however long it's been, I've been crowing to the world that Tania is on Jeopardy tonight. And since early last week, I've known that my sister was going to be in town tonight and I'd be meeting her for dinner.

The two pieces of knowledge just collided for the first time about an hour ago. If I'm meeting my sister for dinner (which I am), I will miss Jeopardy tonight. No TIVO, no VCR, noDVR.


If anyone feels like live blogging the event so I can read about it later, that would be cool.

Where Do Memes Go To Die?

Why, here, of course!

After being tagged last night, I announced that I would participate but that I'd add a rule to my blog stating that I won't respond to them in the future. I've changed my mind. That lacks finesse. You see, I've discovered that there is a service I can provide to the internet with very little effort.

I hereby volunteer to henceforth, serve as The Official Intertoobs Black Hole of Memes. The Meme Pit. The Meme Whacker! Meme-Be-Gone! Meme Interrupted.

In the short time since I responded, two of my tagees have announced that they don't do memes. One has responded, but said that she doesn't forward memes. Three haven't done anything yet, but I've got faith. Stand up for your right to only participate in lunacy that you've volunteered for. Stick it to the man! Don't respond! Or, if you must, trace back the history of this thing and send it spiraling backwards!

The next time I respond to a meme, I expect it to look something like this:

I've been tagged for a meme where I have to name three nasty infectious diseases I've had at one time or another in my life. I'm supposed to tag three people to continue the meme.

Tagee #1: Fuck You!
Tagee #2: Why didn't you die of one of those diseases.
Tagee #3: I'm currently suffering from one of those diseases and I'm sending you a jar of pus!

So, feel free to spread the word. I'm open for business. If you've got a meme that needs killin', this is the place. I won't be posting that new rule; I'll just refer people to this post.

Hah!, Polybloggimous: The Memes Roach Motel...Memes get in, but they don't get out!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Six Unimportant Things About Me.

I got tagged by Unfocused Me to participate in a Meme. Meh! I think he's just getting even with me for that whole LolFish ugliness. Before I get into this, since everyone was supposed to link the person who tagged them, I decided to try to trace this back to it's beginning. I fully intended to tag whoever started the thing. Serves 'em right. Well, I managed to track it back about 20 or so generations. (Folks, you should link the actual entry, not the front page of the person's blog.) At any rate here's what I found before Firefox froze and there was no way I was starting again. First of all, I was able to trace it as far back as a few Christian blogs in the Southwest. From there, interestingly enough it went to Wales to a woman who is interested in the paranormal. Then it hopped around Hong Kong and some photographers. Next, it flew to a bunch of places but landed firmly in the hands of Romance Writers. At some point, it got to us: fans of SF and SF writer wannabes.

Also, at some point, someone left the word Unimportant out of the title of the meme. I'm bringing that part back.

So, now I have to come up with six unimportant things about myself and tag six other bloggers.
As I said in the previous post, I will be installing Rule #1 at Polybloggimous. In the future, tag me at the risk of getting an unpleasant response. Since I didn't have that rule posted, I'll play along. I'll also apologize in advance to whoever I decide to tag. In future, I'll never tag someone with something unless I just think it's beyond cool.

Before I forget, I need to post the rules. The rules are:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you. (I did that above, you bastard! :D)
  2. Post the rules. (Done)
  3. Write six things about yourself. (I'll get to it; keep your shirt on.)
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (Dread)
  5. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their sites. (Dread also)
  6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up. (Yup, got it.)
So, here are six unimportant things about me. Some of them might even be true.

1. I live on a one-way street that heads South.

2. My heartburn is acting up tonight and I'm totally out of Tums.

3. Widget (the fat cat) has scratched me three times this week solely because she is incompetent at being a cat and has the brains of a yam. Some of these may leave scars. And she's sleeping in my lap while I type this. Let us pray that she doesn't dream of zombies.

4. Every year my sister brings a group of Sixth graders to NY for a trip. I always meet up with them for an afternoon and play tour guide. It's really easy because I can point to any impressive building in the neighborhood and say, "Madonna has an apartment there." They're sixth graders from Florida. What the hell do they know. (My sister thinks it's pretty funny too.)

5. I once drove a Honda CRX through a windstorm in Nebraska. The wind was head-on on a straightaway section of highway that was flat as a board. I had the gas pedal floored and I could only get the car up to 45mph.

6. I have held onto a cow's tail and skiied barefoot through cow shit.


The following folks are getting tagged because I'm fairly certain they'll forgive me, be good sports about it and I don't think any of them have access to cruise missiles.








Now I will skibble off to notify the tagees and the tagger.

Duty done.

Advanced Notice!

I have been directly tagged with my first meme. I'm pretty sure I'm not a big fan of this, but I'll be a good sport and participate. This means two things.

1. I have to tag six of you (and the first 6 who comment to tell me that I shouldn't choose them...will be chosen.)

2. It's time to post some blog of which will be "Don't tag me 'cause I won't play."

Don't get me wrong, it's not having an assignment foisted off on me that bothers me; it's that I'm now required to inflict it on 6 of you.

What do you think would happen if I tried to tag Scalzi, Gaiman, Wheaton and a few more of that ilk. Yeah, I didn't think so either.

A Big Messy Post About Movies: Lies, Reality And Whatever Comes In Between

If you think you're going to read this and come away with some big answers or even my big answer, turn away right now. Just thinking about the subject makes my head hurt, so I wanted to write something about it...but I don't profess to have any answers. I may not even be asking the right questions. So, for what it's worth, here's what's making my head hurt this ugly rainy Sunday morning.

Where to start?

When I was a kid, in the 60's and 70's, one of the local TV stations had their "Dialing for Dollars Movie" every morning at 10:00 A.M every weekday. They'd show some old movie (that presumably was in public domain or otherwise really cheap to broadcast), interspersed with commercials, (of course), and a segment where they'd call some random number from the phone book. If the recipient of the call knew what movie was playing, they'd win whatever was in the pot. If they didn't know what movie was on, the station threw another $5.00 into the growing pot for the next phone call.

Well, I was either really good at playing sick when I was a kid, or maybe I really was a kid constantly so ill that going to school was out of the question. I don't know which, but for some reason, I saw a fair amount of these movies.

One movie I remember seeing was "The Life of Emile Zola", the story of a French journalist who exposed Anti-Semitism and corruption in the French officer corps resulting in The Dreyfus Affair. It was a pretty good movie. And I'll admit to you here and now, that I've read a little about the actual trial and about Zola, but I also have to admit that 80% of any knowledge I've got about the case comes from having seen the movie. On the one hand, I can live with that. On the other hand am I just fooling myself that I know anything about what really happened?

I come down on the side of figuring I probably know enough because, A.) it all happened over 100 years ago and probably has little or no real effect on anything happening today, and B.) while I have no doubt that much of the movie was dramatized, I'd also bet that in 1937, the filmmakers probably felt more of a responsibility to be somewhat accurate in their portrayal.

Note: Please, before you start giving me examples of why the previous paragraph is utterly full of shit, I'm already screaming the same things at myself. This is part of why the whole subject makes my head hurt.

OK, let's fast forward to 1991, the year that Oliver Stone blessed us with "JFK". I saw the movie in a theater when it came out. I was suitably aware of all the controversy surrounding the film when I saw it. I took the whole thing with a grain of salt. A lot of grains of salt. But what happens when somebody born in 1980 sees "JFK". I'm sure that somewhere the movie includes some bullshit disclaimer that the movie is based on this or that thing; that it's a dramatization of one theory of the events, or some such bland extenuation. I'm also quite sure that the movie doesn't include anything that says, "Some of the things in this movie happened exactly as portrayed; some of them are very likely to have happened as portrayed, and some of the things in this movie are just steaming turds pulled whole from Oliver Stone's ass."

I have to wonder how many people have seen "JFK" and think it's a fairly accurate portrayal of events. I wonder how much it really matters 45 years after the event. I wonder if I'm an idiot for even asking that last question.

So, what got me thinking about all of this on a dismal Sunday morning? This article in the NY Post. (Yes, the gossip pages of that venerable rag, are what I usually read with my first cup of coffee every morning. Usually there's nothing there to make my head hurt.) I haven't seen "Battle for Haditha" and it's doubtful I ever will. What I know about the events in the movie are what I've seen on the evening news and from scanning some articles about it...which is to say, not very much. I also know that, of the eight Marines originally implicated, charges have been dropped against five. (Note that depending on your view of things, this is either partial vindication for the Marines or clear evidence of a whitewash and coverup.) Knowing my readers, I'm confident that some of you have as clear of a picture of what happened as is possible with the information that's available to the public. (Some of you know details that aren't available to the public yet.) But I'd be willing to bet that 90% of people who slavishly search for every available detail, are doing so solely to back up they're pre-conceived notion that either the Marines are monsters or they're being unfairly vilified.

So, I told you at the beginning that I had no intention of providing any big answers...not even my own. And I won't. If you're interested in pursuing the subject, look at this review by D.G. Smith on FilmCatcher. There's also some worthwhile reading on DefendOurMarines. While I won't claim that either are objective, I didn't notice any foaming at the mouth on either site.

Why did I write this if I wasn't going to even put forward any answers? Because now I've spread the HeadHurt. When I give some of it to you, there's less remaining here. Thanks for helping me out that way. Maybe tomorrow I'll provide too little information and no answers about proselytizing at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

An Historical Revision

While the whole Hijack concept certainly has merit, I've had another idea. Let's all crash someone else's party. I just did a GoogleSearch "what's for dinner" and I was randomly clicking on different sites to find out what might be for dinner.

I ran across this post. Now reading that one post and looking at a few others, it struck me that this might be a person with a sensibility similar to us UCFers.

Now I'm not saying that the linked Jen of Jenworld should be the one, but here's the idea. (And we can do this as often as we like). First, any of us finds a blog that has no connection to any of us. It's something written well consistently (with interesting comments), and updated regularly. It's also someone with an established following (as evidenced by comments), but not with a massive following. Then we wait for a particularly fun or interesting post to show up and we all show up en-masse.

Your thoughts?

We can even announce our arrival. (The visit might be a one time thing, but in my imagination, we're finding a blog that we'd want to read regularly and that we'd want their readers checking us out.)

Contemplating The Ultimate In Hijackey Goodness.

On occasion, I've been accused of being a Hijacker. Yes, you folks see me as someone who blithely dances into someone's thread about Third World Debt Relief, sees some mention of Kinshasa and proceeds to post a lengthy comment about how disgusting the toilets are at the train station in Newark. (Yeah, there'd be a specious connection.)

These accusations hurt. The fact that there's a pebble of truth to them is completely irrelevant.

Anyway, I decided it might be better to embrace my inner-Hijacker instead of wallowing in feelings of distress. After all, I'm certain this would prove much easier than actually moderating my behavior. But how to go about it? What would the ultimate Hijack look like?

Since you all know I'm a big fan of the mashup, (remember this? And that other thing I can't think of, but when you say you're a big fan of something, you'd better come up with at least two examples and then you can just claim you forgot to post a link?). Well anyway, here's my idea.

I put up a post labeled The Ultimate Hijack. That's the title. The body of the post just says, "...can be found here." And it's a link. It links to one of those blogs I discussed running across while using the "Next Blog" button feature of Blogger. And then in the comments section of that randomly chosen blog, you'd find a lengthy post in their comment thread that isn't even vaguely related to anything in the aforementioned blog. I promise I'd watch the language and I'd avoid any kid's blog or getting all ranty on some poor well meaning religious person's blog. In fact, I'd make sure that my post would be a complete Non-Sequitur as opposed to challenging anything about the blog I'd Hijack.

And the cool thing is, you guys would all go there giving some randomly chosen Confusee a whole new (temporary) audience. Maybe we could Digg-it and send the world.


The odds that I'll actually follow through and do something like this are really pretty slim...but the idea makes me laugh.

Cheering The Yankees. And I'll Only Be Doing This Once!

Earlier this month, I told you how a Red Sox Fan/Construction Worker, placed a David Ortiz jersey in the concrete being poured for the locker room at the new Yankee Stadium. I predicted the Yankee's would send in the jackhammers to remove the dreaded jersey, and of course, I was proved right two days later.

Well, the Yankees management decided to do a really neat thing with the jersey. They donated it to the Dana Farber Pediatric Cancer Center in Boston, home of the Jimmy Fund...the Red Sox's adopted charity. It was auctioned off and raked in 175 G's.

Classy! Yay Yankees...(just this once).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Taking Pictures of Your Camera

While looking at Anne's blog today, I pondered the conundrum of taking a picture of your camera with your camera. I couldn't figure out how to get it to look at itself.

Then I remembered that little lens facing me from the top of my screen. I am, at heart, a problem solver. the world. the camera.

I Love PicLens.

I know I babbled about Cool Iris before. It's a Firefox Add-On that allows you to hover your cursor over a link and have a kind-of window shade unfold to show you what's at the link without actually leaving the page you're on.

I downloaded PicLens a little while back and while I thought it might be kinda cool, it was still a little buggey. It seems they've worked out the bugs, and yay, I pronounce it awesome. The link will take you to the version for Firefox on mac, but there are links for other browsers and for Windows as well. There's also, apparently something for you WordPress bloggers that I didn't look at too closely, because, I'm not one of you, but I bet that's cool too.

Take the tour and download this immediately.

Update: One thing that still doesn't work when you're using PicLens...If you're searching GoogleImages for some generic picture to use on your's not very useful. If you're doing the normal search and just going through the pages of pictures, you can just drag the picture to your desktop (at least on a Mac) and bingo. If you're looking through them in PicLens, you can't drag it to your desktop and you have no idea what page it's on in the GoogleSearch. Technically, this probably doesn't count as a bug, just a missing feature that would be nice to have.

Thursday's Dumbass...Courtesy of Indiana

Tony Zirkle wants the Republican nomination for the Congressional seat from Indiana's 2nd District. Tony Zirkle is a dumbass.

He claims he didn't know very much about the group he'd been invited to speak to. He's apparently not very good at deciphering subtle clues.

He went on to defend his appearance thusly:

"I'll speak before any group that invites me," Zirkle said Monday. "I've spoken on an African-American radio station in Atlanta."

Yeah, that's comparable.

Mr. Zirkle ran also ran for the seat in 2004 against the incumbent Chris Chocola. At the time, Zirkle said he was "willing to debate the idea of returning the guillotine and lynch mob for those who prey on children under the age of 12". He was unable to get Chocola to debate him on that or any other subject.

Bonus: He's retired from the Navy. Anybody out there ever met this guy? Hmmm?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Don't Tell Anyone, But There's A Slight Chance That I Was A Really Strange Child.

(Don't you just hate it when you accidentally publish a post before you've actually written it?)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

The other day, I look over and notice that the GF is browsing some recipe websites. The following conversations ensued:

Me: Whatcha lookin' for?

GF: I'm going to make some kind of fruit bars.

Me: Why don't you use my recipe?

GF: (Giving me a doubtful look) And where would I find your recipe?

Me: In one of the cookbooks in the kitchen.

GF: ::Silence::

Me: ::Got up and went to the kitchen returning with this:

My mother was active in Sisterhood (a woman's group at our synagogue), and one year they produced this cookbook as a fund raiser. The year was 1974.

That's my mom seated in front all the way on the left.
Now here's where the 'strange child' part comes in. Just what kind of 14-year-old boy has a recipe for Lemon Pie Bars. And wants to brag about it by putting it in a book the presumably people will actually see? This strikes me as uber-weird. Judging by the looks that continued coming my way from GF, she was in complete agreement.

Anyway, here's the recipe. GF made it with fresh squeezed orange juice instead of lemon. She also brought it into the 21st Century by cutting a 1/2 cup of sugar out of it and just lightly dusting the top with the powered sugar. ( I don't know who the woman is that I ended up having to share a byline with, but I wasn't happy about it then and I'm still a little miffed.)

It am delicious!

Something Mundane To Enliven Your Wednesday

What decade are we currently living in? If I talk to you about the 40's or the 80's, you know exactly what I'm talking about. I suppose there are some people who might think I was referring to the 1840's, but those people are idiots, so we're just going to ignore them. Also, I think a case can be made that when you refer to one of these decades, you shouldn't be held prisoner to mere numbers. As far as I'm concerned, the 50's ended around 1962 and the 60's managed to hang on clear into 1974.

At any rate, sometime in the not too distant future, we're going to have occasion to refer back to this decade. The Aughties has a distinctly archaic sound to it. The Zeros? The Twenty Hundreds? The Two-Thousands? These all sound really stupid. And we better come up with an answer or we're going to be in deep doo-doo in just a few years.

You'll be sitting at the dinner table saying things like, "Timmy, stop whining about how heavy your templar interface is. Why I remember back in the Aughties, we had to lug around 5 lb. laptops everywhere. And you had to find a Starbucks to get a WiFi signal." And little Timmy will say something snotty like, "What's the big deal about that? There's two Starbucks on every's a law!"

So, anyway, does anybody know a decent name for this decade?

**Brought to you by guest-blogger Andy Rooney**

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sophie From Shinola - An Ending?

Everyone (including non-participants) has been invited to try their hand at providing the final chapter of Sophie from Shinola. Here's my entry.
Ms. Wilberforce looked up from picking lint from between her toes as the door to the examination room opened behind her. Turning slightly in her chair, she could see Dr. Wesley Crusher leading the little girl into the waiting room. "God", she thought, "He's such a Mary Sue motherfucker." The girl's mother stood, worriedly.

"Mrs. Of Nine", Dr. Crusher said. "I'm Dr. Crusher."

Sophie's mother said, "Please, call me Seven."

"All right", he said, "Let's just sit down and talk for a moment." Inwardly he was thinking, "Rawr, I'd sure like to interface with her".

As they took their seats, Dr. Crusher continued, "Seven, your daughter either has an extremely active imagination or she's dangerously delusional. We just don't know which."

Seven looked at Crusher and said, "What do you mean you don't know which. Those are pretty divergent diagnoses."

Crusher looked a little defensive and replied, "Well, not to be indelicate, but this is Cincinnati. Sorry, but this really is a shithole of a hospital. I'm going to recommend you take her to Dr. Janeway in Chicago."

"Yeah right," Seven said, "I've met that pompous bitch. I'll take my chances on finding someone on my own." She turned and said, "C'mon Sophie, we're leaving."

Sophie looked up at her mother thinking, "It'd be really cool if a dinosaur ate her when we get to the parking lot." But she held back on giving voice to the thought, instead saying, "Yes, mother. Can I have chicken fingers for dinner?"

Confused? You're not the only one.

I woke up this morning a little before 7:00am and there...waiting in my inbox...were notices that both Justin and Tania had posted their parts of Sophie from Shinola.

I'm gonna stick with what I said yesterday. You're all invited to submit a finale, a coda, or even if you wish, an epilogue to Sophie from Shinola. As the saying goes...let's wrap this sucker up! Entries are welcome until Noon, Eastern Time two days hence...April 24th.

Go ahead. Tell us how you want this to end.

Update: In case I didn't make it clear, this "Try your hand at the ending" thing is open to anyone, not just the original participants. If you want to take a shot at it, just post a link in the comments.

Also, since I still think we should be choosing one of these to be the "official" ending, I'm not going to be commenting on any of them until after the deadline.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Portion Control For Two: Mission Unpossible.

Last week I whined about how grocery stores don't package things in appropriate portions for two people. They all seem to assume that I'm caring for Uncle Gudolf in his waning years. Or maybe we have a loser neighbor who always stops in for dinner.

Well, even when the grocery store isn't involved in the size of the meal we're going to have, we are incapable of making a meal that's really the proper size for two people. Last night, GF decided to make lasagna. Yay! I love lasagna. I made a point of not snacking later in the day 'cause I was anticipating lasagna.

You might guess that this is going to be a recipe post. NOT! This is all about impatience and eyes bigger than one's stomach and we don't actually own an EZ Bake oven. Remember when you were a kid? Remember the EZ Bake oven that would produce an entire cake that could be consumed by a 5-year-old in one bite? Yeah. We ain't got one of those.

So GF prepared the lasagna in an 8" X 8" dish. That should produce the right amount of food for one meal and a reasonable amount of leftovers, right? I waited for dinner. Salivated a bit at the aroma wafting from the kitchen. Eagerly awaited lasagna.

So eager, in fact, that I was completely unwilling to wait 10 minutes after the thing came out of the oven for it to set up enough to be served as a cohesive unit. Nanoseconds after it came out of the oven, I just had to have mine. Well, as most of you know, if you slice lasagna too soon after it comes out of the oven, all of the tasty parts may end up on the plate, but in a leaky, run all over the plate sorta way. And what's in the pan, quickly tries to fill the space recently vacated by what you served up.

So, we ended up eating a quarter of the lasagna. But when I went back to put the leftovers in the fridge, I saw that the other 3/4 of the lasagna had energetically refilled the vacated space. So, now it looks like we have an entire lasagna leftover to consume.

The world is conspiring against us making the right sized meal! I'm pretty sure I know what's for lunch today.

I Get Email

I just got an email from one of you UCFers saying that maybe Sophie from Shinola bogged down here in the home stretch because some of you might be hesitant to take on the task of being the final word. I won't narc out who sent the email (OK, it was Michelle), but I think there may be a valid point there.

So, since I'm to blame for the whole thing in the first place, and since the secret emailer (Michelle) volunteered, here's how we're going to finish this off. Tania and Justin need to submit their entries. These should be setups for a finale (or not). Then, (Michelle) and I will each write a conclusion. She'll email it to me so I can post them both simultaneously. Then, we'll all vote on what's the best way to end it.

Update before I even hit the Publish button: I'm already changing the rules. Hah, I'm totally consistent in my fickleness. Here's what we're going to do. Once I receive and link the final installments (setups) from Tania and Justin, I'm going to open it up to anyone who wants to try. I'll post a deadline for emailing me an ending and then I'll post all of them simultaneously. Then we'll vote on which one gets official status and gets included in Saqib's wonderful creation. Don't think of it as an opportunity to be one of the losers...think of it as a way to be an also-ran!

Sophie from Shinola Meets The Bard.

We bogged down for a week, but Charles has now posted the next installment. I'll admit that I want some explanations. And I don't care if they're Charles' explanations or just the rest of you making up more shit. Charles volunteers to have this installment left out of the final product. NOOOEEEES! I don't know what it means, but I guarantee it will move things in a direction that none of us imagined before...and that's quite an achievement.

I'm pretty sure that Justin and Tania are the only ones left on deck. Bring it home, guys!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Holy See And Be Seen!

So, The Pope was making the rounds of NYC today. He started the day with a ceremony at Ground Zero and then moved on to host a Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium. Without exception, every local broadcast station here, preempted all of their programming and covered the events without commercial interruption. Obviously, my plan to veg out in front of the TV today was thrown a Monkey Wrench.

I realize that there are a whole lot of Catholics here who were probably thrilled to be able to watch it all, so I'm not really complaining. But I do have it on good authority that since The Big Guy was out of town, Vatican TV has been running a Buffy The Vampire Slayer Marathon.

Hey, It's National Lookalike Day!


I've already told you that I've been compared to:

Groucho Marx,

Jim Croce,

and Frank Zappa.
It's a mustache and run-amok eyebrows thing.

I've also been told I look like Gene Shalit, but that's just plain mean!

Who do you look like?

(And, this is today's second post. Scroll down a little further. You don't want to miss the first.)
(Well maybe you do want to miss the first, but if that's the case, I just don't want to know you.)

Saqib Comes Through Big Time.

Saqib told us he'd be compiling Sophie from Shinola into a single document and he has totally outdone himself. He's hit the ball out of the park. He has lapped the field. I've run out of superlatives, but...yeah, I like what he's done.

Sophie from Shinola is now a free E-Book. The cover art is beautiful and intriguing. The layout and font choices are excellent. Each author's entry has an embedded link back to their original entry on their sites. Saqib, this is totally excellent!

Now, I beseech the final authors to get their entries posted and, hopefully, Saqib can get them tacked on for a complete final document.


Update: As you probably realize by now, my big red button turns out to just be picture of a big red button. To get the working link, go to this post, scroll halfway down the page and look for it on the sidebar. Gah!

Update, the Second: Please make all of your breathless excited comments on Saqib's blog. He did the work and he should get the hits.

Update, the Third: Saqib, please email me the code to embed a working big red button. The big button should be working now.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Embracing My Intolerance.

There are quite a number of blogs I follow these days. Too many, in fact. I've seen the complaint before, but truly, I don't have time to keep up with all of you. Sorry.

I have no idea why, but most of the blogs I follow, religiously have issues with religion. (I understand why those of you who have issues, have them. I just don't understand why I've been drawn to so many blogs that have those issues.) Most of the posts on religion are understanding enough that they don't make me feel uncomfortable in the least. They're what you guys believe (or don't) and...O.K. fine. Sometimes, however, some of you go off the deep end.

Before I go any further, I'll restate my own situation. I grew up in a religious Jewish home. We kept Kosher. We went to shul on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. I still know the services by heart. Everything was in Hebrew and, yes, I can still translate most of it for you even though I can no longer carry on a conversation in modern Hebrew. Some time in my late teens, I discovered the joys of McDonalds and I found out that shrimp and lobster are the nectar of the Gods and I rationalized that I should be able to eat these most delicious foods. I became a backslider.

I've never given up some of the most basic Jewish tenets. I still believe that Jesus may have been a really good guy, and he suffered badly and all that, but as far as I'm concerned, he was another Jewish guy preaching a variation on Judaism. I'm not familiar enough with the New Testament to comment authoritatively, but if/when he claimed to be the Son of God, he was hallucinating; happens to the best of us.

I know that there are 613 commandments in the Torah and that for the most part, they're worthy commandments. I'm just not about to keep track of them and follow them, ba-dum-dum, religiously. The fact is, there are two things Jews believe that make me continue to identify myself as Jewish. First is that Jews of all stripes consider it their God-given mission to argue over the meaning of the Scriptures. That's what the Talmud is...a bunch of Rabbis arguing about "what does it all mean". If you're going to claim that God is be understood, claiming you know his intent is the height of hubris. Arguing his/her/its intent honors the concept of "all-knowing and unknowable". Second is the Jewish concept of Heaven and Hell. We don't claim to know whether or not they exist. They might. They might not. But regardless, we're commanded to live our lives as if all that exists is what we know here on Earth. If you're going to be a good guy, it's for the sake of being a good guy...not for some reward in the afterlife. Sorry, religious Christian readers, but I'm offended by the concept of living a good life for the sake of a reward. Here is all that I know about and I'll act accordingly.
(And no, I'm not blind to the fact that if there's an afterlife, I'm working toward prime tickets, but I also think there's something to be said for motive. My motives are all here.)

So, anyway, back to what I was thinking when I started this post. The Pope is in town this week. The main effect on me is that traffic sucks. An awful lot of people have issues with the Pope because he's the final word for Catholics and some of what he preaches grates on some of us...including American Catholics. I remember, not so long ago, folks from some gay and lesbian groups showing up at St. Patrick's Cathedral to protest the Church's stance on homosexuality and lackluster response to the AIDs crisis. I sympathize(d) with them. I've got gay friends and a gay brother. I wish the best for all of them.

But I can't get myself to line up with anybody who thinks a religion needs to change its beliefs to line up with my own or anyone else's. I may agree with Judaism on a whole lot of things, but I can't claim to be a good Jew if I continue to eat pork and shellfish. I am, by definition, a backslider. And I don't think gays and lesbians should be screaming that the Catholic Church should change its basic beliefs to accommodate them. Religions exist to prescribe and proscribe a way to live your life. You either agree or disagree with those basic prescriptions and proscriptions. Sorry, but if you disagree, the answer is not to force the entire group to accept your heretical ideas...the answer is to emulate Martin Luther and found your own church.

The Catholic Church exists to push its agenda. The Baptist Church exists to push its agenda. Every existing religion exists because they believe they are right. If they don't believe they're right, they're useless to their adherents. I'm free to reject the ones I disagree with, but I don't believe I have any standing to tell them they should change their beliefs.

Yes, I believe that these douchebags are going to rot in hell (if there is one), but I'm not about to tell them they need to accommodate my ideas so I can be one of them...I'm just going to reject them. To a lesser extent, I can't align myself with a whole lot of Catholic dogma, but I think my position needs to be that I reject their beliefs and have to go my own way...not to try to tell them what they ought to believe.

I realize that I'm rambling on and on and on here, but there is a point. Really, there is. I'm less offended by a Pope who says the Priesthood will remain limited to men; who says that birth control is a sin and that abortion is a worse one--than I am by people who demand that their Church change its basic beliefs to accommodate them. It's what they believe. Start your own fucking church. The one you're leaving will either survive or it won't...on its own merits.

I can't claim to be a good Jew if I'm not going to keep kosher or go to shul. I'm not going to push black and whites, but if you believe gay men should be married and admitted to the Priesthood, you just might not be a good Catholic and you might want to found your own church.

Stop trying to convince a bunch of people who believe in one thing that they need to adjust those beliefs to accommodate you. Find the folks who agree with you already. Embrace your intolerance.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Foooooooom This, Motherfuckers!

I'm all atwitter. Really!

A couple of days ago, Scalzi posted this in regard to bimonthly open registration at Whateveresque. I took the opportunity to comment that I thought the lack of his guiding hand as a moderator was not a good thing. Then, after a few people made similar comments, he posted this over on the 'e'. Now, I'll admit that I accidentally hijacked the comment thread, but, in truth, what needed to be said had already been said and it's not like someone can't put it back on the rails if they so choose.

So anyway, I dropped in over there a little while ago to see if there's anything new and what did I find? This! Now I make no claims to special abilities to predict the future, but I don't see this going anywhere good. In fact, I foresee spontaneous Foomage!

I have no intention of commenting on the thread and I'm not trying to get any of you to do so either (although if you want to, knock your brains out). But I am going to watch the thread just to see how long it takes to get ugly...'cause you just know it will!

Today's Exercise In Stealing Content

And it's a double steal! Woot! By way of Lyn Viehl's blog, Paperback Writer, I found One Sentence-True stories, told in one sentence. What is One Sentence? I'll let them tell you:

About One Sentence

One Sentence is about telling your story, briefly. Insignificant stories, everyday stories, or turning-point-in-your-life stories, boiled down to their bare essentials.

The idea was born from a blog entry several years ago that got a million (actually, only 14) responses. "Maybe this will take off more as its own site," thought I. Let's see.

So, please post your "one sentence" story in the comments. I'd also ask you to post it on their site as well, since ya'know...they deserve the hits for having the idea in the first place.

I'll begin with one of my own.

Tapping the man on the shoulder, I said, "Putting a package of doughnuts on the counter and then walking around and choosing six more items from the shelves is called shopping...not 'next in line'".

So, I followed my own instructions and dutifully went back to OneSentence to post mine. You don't have to sign up for anything...easy-peasey! However, once you post it you discover that not only are you being moderated, you get sent to a page that basically tells you your sentence will show up shortly after hell freezes over. I actually think that's kind of funny and I still encourage you to add to their backlog.

Sophie From Shinola

The last installment of Sophie from Shinola was posted on Sunday. Tania was supposed to be next in line but she's apparently very busy so,'re up. We'll come back to Tania and I'm pretty sure there's someone else who got skipped over. get your don't have to finish, but you need to provide a pretty good setup for those who do.

Update: Sophie from Shinola has brought the first, to my knowledge, hit to Polybloggimous from someone who was searching for pron. And to make that all so much shinier, the search originated in Tehran. FTW! Take that, you Iranian pron searcher!

Update the second: Tania has peeked out from behind a massive pile of old, new and undifferentiated paperwork to let me know she's happy to be skipped for the moment and will pick up the thread when she's able. Justin will be next and I'll post links when he's ready.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Landmarks Achieved...Not So Much!

I noticed yesterday that I was approaching my 200th post here on Polybloggimous. I meant to keep track and try to make #200 a good one.

Then I forgot all about it. Then I wasted #200 telling you I'm having fucking hamburgers for dinner. I am a schmuck!

Ah well. I can alway commemorate the 500th post with a scintillating discussion of post nasal drip. Stick around. That'll be a real barn burner.

Because You Were All Friggin' Dying To Know!

The meatloaf (although not grilled) the other day was a complete success. What I didn't mention was that my grocery store seems to be incapable of or unwilling to package meat in quantities meant for two people. I'm not talking about family packs. Those make sense.

But my nearest grocery store always has packages of meat that are completely appropriate for three adults. And we'uns just got us two here. So something always goes into the freezer. Well happily, after glomming together the right amount of meatloaf that would provide one meal for two and enough leftovers for some cold meatloaf sammiches, I had exactly enough ground meat left for two perfectly sized hamburgers. Which I formed. And put into the freezer. Each in its own little freezer bag.

And an hour ago, I took them out to thaw. So I get to barbecue those lovely little burgers tonight. And there's beer too. What's not to love.

I knew your day would not be complete without this information.

The Good Times Roll On Bulgarian Idol.

Watch it all the way through. You'll thank me.

Living On Tulsa Time.

Here's a wonderful story about a shooting at a McDonalds in Tulsa, OK. Okay, I take it back, it's not a wonderful story. There's just so much weirdness attached.

First of all, whoever wrote the article is just barely functionally literate. The article is a mess. But it is good to know, "
the News On 6 went back to that McDonald's on Wednesday and was told that particular manager has since been fired." That would be the manager who shot the customer at the drive-thru window.

And then, by all means, please peruse the comments. First of all there's a discussion of which shooting in that neighborhood on that night is being talked about. Sounds like a fun neighborhood. Also, much like the argument that raged over whether the new millenium began on January 1, 2000 or 2001, in Tulsa, they seem to have some difficulty with the concept of when Saturday ends and Sunday begins.

But lastly, you've got to love this gem from Ada from Muskogee.
"On sunday, 2;00 in the morning, most people are sleeping getting their rest to go to work or something, it sound like to me he wasn't the only one drunk. Now, a man is hurt behind a food order. God be with him, and the man who shot him also." It makes me tear up a Dickensian.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You Can't Judge A Cover By Its Book.

OK, first of all, this happens more often in SF I'd imagine than in other genres, but does it annoy you guys as much as it does me how often the cover of a book seems totally unrelated to the book? I'm not talking about the space ships looking different than they do in my imagination, or the alien not being what I'd picture. I'm talking about books where the author describes the character and the cover artist doesn't read the book or ask anybody what the character should look like.

If you follow the side banner, you know I'm reading The Planet Pirates. The book is a trade edition that puts three previously published books together in one. It's terrific. I'm almost finished and enjoying it immensely.

But click on the link I made for you in the last paragraph. It should take you to a close-up of the book cover. Now we know the character pictured is supposed to be Sassinak. It says so right on the forehead of her armor. What's wrong? Well, for one, the book makes repeated references to how Sassinak keeps her hair short for space duty. The chick on the cover has freakin' braids down to her waist. (Actually the braids go down to her crotch, but I'm not going to get into that.) She's also holding a key very meaningfully. Maybe that will come into play at some point, but so keys in the story. Or maybe its just supposed to be the key to her heavy cruiser. "Hey, XO, have you seen the cruiser-key? I may have left it in my other jumpsuit."

And this doesn't bear on the accuracy of the picture, but that's about the most retarded space armor I've ever seen. Bulky as all git out; big arms reaching up out of the back of the shoulders for thrusters? And WTF is that between her legs? Are those the tips of folded wings? WTF!

Don't authors get any input into their covers?

Open Thread Wednesday.

Hopefully, I'll think of something to actually write about later today, but in the meantime, I declare this an Open Thread (as if any post I put up doesn't devolve into one anyway).

Suggested topics:

Stupid Criminals.
Stupid Cats.
Stupid Parents.
Stupid Politicians.
Stupid Celebrities.
Stupid Civil Servants.
Stupid Bloggers.

Please ignore your own content and provide amusement here.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's Finally Time To Buy That Beach House In The Hamptons!


After much battling with the producers of 13th Child, The Legend of the Jersey Devil, The Directors Guild of America has forced them to cough up the residual checks they owe. As Unit Production Manager on that wonderfully successful motion picture (theatrical gross receipts-$0.00, Pay TV gross receipts-$11,319, DVD sales gross receipts-$29,817), I got a check today for my share of the residuals.


Maybe I'll buy beer instead.

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

I am...but just barely.

blog readability test

I don't know if this is because of some lack in my vocabulary or if I'm purposely keeping this site accessible to the masses. I also have no idea whether or not it takes into account your comments. Are you guys keepin' the man down?

Regardless, if you start to see me pontificating in multisyllabic language requiring the OED, Rogets, Funk & Wagnall's, Merriam Webster and a plethora of other reference materials to comprehend, it'll just be me trying to get into Grad School.

Thank you--and please watch the quality of your comments.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Another Brilliant Idea Comes To Naught.

I was just thinking about what to make for dinner and the concept of grilled meatloaf came to mind. I took this a step further and was trying to figure out how to make a meatloaf stay on the rotisserie.

GF said I should ask you guys.

Pratt Sculpture Garden

The Brooklyn Campus of Pratt Institute is only a few short blocks from my home, so I thought I'd give you guys a peek. There's at least twice as much as what I'm posting here, so if you ever find yourselves in Brooklyn, it's well worth a visit. In each case, I've posted the descriptive plaque and then a few shots of the piece. So, without further ado (and very little comment from yours truly), here's some culture for ya!

I wished I'd had an apple for this one.

This one reminds me of a badminton birdie. By the way, the building in the background is the library. The stacks there were done by Louis Comfort Tiffany and they're spectacular. They're made of glass block so the sun shines through the floors and the rest is intricate metal scrollwork. (I couldn't take pics inside without a student ID, or I'd have shown you.)

I especially like the texture on this one.

This one is really quite haunting.

And this is my favorite. The base is left mostly natural.

This one is missing its plaque, so I don't know who the artist is or anything about the piece. I almost didn't post it without being able to give the attribute, but I liked it, so it's in. If anyone knows anything about it, please let me know and I'll update this with proper attributes.

This is another of my favorites. It looks like it's about to go off or something.