January 31, 2006

You Can Bet The Ranch

There'll be no suspense at the Oscars this year.

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January 30, 2006

Dark Days In Television History

April 27, 1995: The first appearance of the David Puddy character on Seinfeld.

Nothing against Patrick Warburton. I was just watching a Seinfeld rerun tonight -- the face-painting episode -- and it finally dawned on me. The decline of Seinfeld's writing definitely coincided with the emergence of the Puddy character. By season seven it had stopped being a show about nothing and become a show about callousness, thus jumping the shark.

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A Little Change For This Year

Normally a response to the State of the Union address is released after the president's speech. In an interesting procedural twist, the Democratic response was released beforehand this year.

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January 27, 2006

I'm In Santa Barbara

I'm here for a wedding. I love Santa Barbara. I just saw a homeless dude with bluetooth! And I ain't talking about his dental work. He had a full-on earpiece. How weird is that?

The weather is gorgeous. The whole frickin' town is gorgeous. I'm in a bar, drinking Guinness, and enjoying a black forest ham panini. Gorgeous. I'm going to hang out by the pool later. In the middle of frickin' winter! More later.

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January 26, 2006

Benedict's First Encyclical

An excellent short post on Pope Benedict's Deus Caritas Est is over at Hugo's. I wholeheartedly agree with the Pope, and Hugo's, thoughts on the separation of charity and proselytization. Although I recognize that for much of my church's history, that separation was blurred at best. I do think it's most effective, especially on a personal level, to proclaim the Gospel more by example and less by argument.

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Miscellaneous Thoughts Blogged Off The Phone With A Starbuck's Before Class

1. I'm taking suggestions for a spring Fash-ism photo essay. Leave one in the comments.

2. Is the starling an ugly bird or a handsome bird?

3. That crane reminds me of the alien machines in Spielberg's War Of The Worlds. Dang, they were scary.

4. Hey over there. In the world of foundation, less is more. Look into it.

5. What is that smell?

6. I want an Audi TT convertible. Those things are sweet.

7. Shit, it's time to go. Do I have to go?

More scintillating blog content later.

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January 25, 2006

My First AI Post Of The New Season

1. Have you noticed how touchy and flirty the guys are with Paula this season?

2. Put me in the column of folks who are bored with the Diva voice.

3. The Sacramento area representin' tonight - embarassingly. What was with that MJ impersonator they passed? Eeek. And that dude from Elk Grove who tried to sing Clay? Bwahahaha.

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Shame On Google

Screw democratic idealism, Google takes the money.

Google's launch of a new, self-censored search engine in China is a 'black day' for freedom of expression, a leading international media watchdog says.
Reporters Without Borders joined others in asking how Google could stand up for US users' freedoms while controlling what Chinese users can search for.

Its previous search engine for China's fast-growing market was subject to government blocks.

The new site - Google.cn - censors itself to satisfy Beijing.

. . .

It is believed that sensitive topics are likely to include independence for Taiwan and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, as well as human rights and democracy in China generally.

That pesky human rights again. Like CNN in pre-war Iraq, Google would rather stay in the market than actually stand up for something noble.
Google argues it would be more damaging to pull out of China altogether and says that in contrast to other search engines, it will inform users when access is restricted on certain search terms.
"More damaging" to whom? Google shareholders I'd guess.

Unbelievable Update: Google founder Sergey Brin, in a lame attempt to defend Google's decision, actually compared censorship of information about Taiwanese independence, the Tiananmen massacre, human rights and democracy with censorship of child pornography! Sort of.

Brin: . . . [W]e also by the way have to do similar things in the U.S. and Germany. We also have to block certain material based on law. The U.S., child pornography, for example . . .
I like how Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, summed this up:
I'm sure Google justifies this by saying it's just a couple of search words that people can't get to, but it's very difficult for Google to do what they just did and avoid the slippery slope. The next thing [China will] do is ask [Google] to tell them who is searching for 'Taiwan' or 'independence' or 'human rights.' And then it's going to find itself in the position of turning over the names of dissidents or simply of inquisitive individuals, for imprisonment.

The key in my view is that every company faces the same dilemma -- how do you maintain your principles while benefiting from the enormous Chinese market. And the answer is only going to come through safety in numbers. And it's going to require all of the search engines to get together and say 'None of us will do this.' And China needs search engines. If it can pick them off one at a time, it wins. If it faces all of the search engines at once banding together, the search engines win.

Google's got a great philosophy of 'Do No Evil.' And I'm sure they say well, 'It's better for us to be there than for us not to be there and there are just a few things that people can't search for.' . . . I would have expected better from Google.

Not me.

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Wednesday Is Robert Burns's Birthday

Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet, was born on this day in 1759. He is probably most famous for having written Auld Lang Syne. Now I know there are some Burns fans out there. Here's on he wrote in honor of his own birthday.


Sonnet Written On The Author's Birthday,

On hearing a Thrush sing in his Morning Walk.

Sing on, sweet thrush, upon the leafless bough,
Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy strain,
See aged Winter, 'mid his surly reign,
At thy blythe carol, clears his furrowed brow.

So in lone Poverty's dominion drear,
Sits meek Content with light, unanxious heart;
Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them part,
Nor asks if they bring ought to hope or fear.

I thank thee, Author of this opening day!
Thou whose bright sun now gilds yon orient skies!
Riches denied, thy boon was purer joys-
What wealth could never give nor take away!

Yet come, thou child of poverty and care,
The mite high heav'n bestow'd, that mite with thee I'll share.



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January 24, 2006

Another Crazy Dream I Had

Along the lines of my weird Tom Cruise dream, I had another crazy dream last night. Bea Arthur, Betty White and Estelle Getty were in it. They formed a rap group, calling themselves the Insane Bingo Posse. They had a huge following, much like the Dead or Phish used to have. All young people too. Somehow I found myself watching them at Shoreline Amphitheatre with my old friends from high school. Weird huh? I blame it on the dip from last night. We had some chips. We had some leftover sour cream. We were hungry. So we decided to make some dip. There was a package of Lipton onion soup mix in the back of the pantry that was about five years old. But I figured, hey, soup mix don't go bad right?. So we mixed up some dip, and ate it with a bowl of Tostitos. It wasn't bad. However, among other side effects that I won't go into, which also occurred during the middle of the night, I had that crazy dream.

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Unsolicited Advice For The New CW Network

We already got a country and western network on cable. It's called CWT. Not everyone likes country music, but I have a solution, which should help bring in more viewers.

Add David Gilmour to the Gilmore Girls' cast. This will bring in the casual rock & roll viewer who would otherwise channel surf past the CW network.

On a somewhat unrelated subject, Time Warner cable service sucks logs. Comcast is way better.

I would also suggest tinkering with the names of some of CW's sitcoms. Smallville should be changed to Well-hungville, to capture the more discerning female viewer. And Everybody Hates Chris should be Everybody Loves Chris. Why would I want to watch if you're already telling me I'm not going to like the main character? And it goes without saying that America's Top Model should be changed to America's Top Nude Model, or maybe America's Top Drunk Nude Model. That's a no-brainer and a sure ratings getter.

Finally, fire Les Moonves. I don't like him, and I never know how to pronounce his last name. It sounds like he should have been a character on WKRP.

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Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

Senate Judiciary Committee refers Alito to the full Senate.

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January 23, 2006

What's More Annoying...

the concept of "high energy" in advertising?

...or some other thing?

Update: "High energy" would be like loud upbeat music, lots of dancing kids, bright primary colors in motion, maybe a cartoon character or two breakdancing.

Okay, I got something more annoying, maybe. How about that barrista who's having so much fun she's just gotta yell all the time?

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January 21, 2006

Long Live The Whale

I could only come up with four flippant* comments about the whale. They are as follows:

  1. Haven't seen this many Londerners lining up to see a dead body since Diana's funeral.
  2. Why make such a big deal over this whale, when thousands of fish are lost along the Thames every day, and no one tries to save them. It's species favoritism, I tell you.
  3. Is there a way they can blame Bush for this one?
  4. "Unsuccessful attempts had been made during the night to encourage the Thames whale to swim back downriver." Maybe they should have tried a bikini whale.
Extremely lame, I know. Okay, so you can do better?
_______________

* Five if you count that pun.

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Narcissistic Quote Of The Day

With the position that I've kind of come into I'm in a place where I can really make an impact on people and really help girls that are, you know, people with anorexia, people that aren't in good relationships with their lovers … people that don't get along with their parents. I can change that a little bit.

Then again, maybe nobody gives a rat's what you think.

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Two Words

Cinnamon dolce!

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January 20, 2006

Trivia

Ten Top Trivia Tips about ANNIKA!

  1. Ninety-six percent of all candles sold are purchased by ANNIKA.
  2. About one tenth of ANNIKA is permanently covered in ice.
  3. The patron saint of ANNIKA is Saint Eugenie.
  4. A cluster of bananas is called a hand and consists of 10 to 20 bananas, which are individually known as ANNIKA!
  5. Olive oil was used for washing ANNIKA in the ancient Mediterranean world.
  6. New Zealand was the first place to allow ANNIKA to vote.
  7. Some birds use ANNIKA to orientate themselves during migration.
  8. The Church of Scientology was founded in 1953, at Washington D.C., by ANNIKA.
  9. Bananas don't grow on trees - they grow on ANNIKA.
  10. ANNIKA has three eyelids.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Via Dawn.

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January 19, 2006

Dancing Blogging, The Sequel

Jerry: Posture, dude. Stop watching your partner. You can do better. My mom still loves you.

Giselle: Wow. Another nice routine. I love the tango. It's so fun with a partner who knows what he's doing. The judges are whack. She did good.

Drew & Cheryl: If Drew shows improvement every week, it's because Cheryl is probably the best pro on the show. And he's coachable. Only negative: he wasn't in synch at times (no pun intended).

Aside: I checked out that skating show last night, expecting it to be better, but it was not as entertaining as this dancing show.

George: He's so funny. But that was not good. No posture. No movement. By the way, is he Warren Beatty's long lost brother, or what?

Lisa: Casca is right about her lips. I thought she did fine. I love the bubble-gum flapper suit. I could not pull it off, but my friend Betty would totally wear something like that. She's curvy like Lisa Rinna. I wonder if that outfit is for sale at Lisa's store?

Stacy: I send my boyfriend out of the room when she's on. Fantastic. Best tango of the night so far. The ringer didn't disappoint. The judges suck.

Master P: He's like Kobe, uncoachable. When he dances, I want to leave the room. I could tell he was trying harder this week, but it's hopeless. He dances worse than my brother. On the other hand, the judges still suck.

Tia: Schwing! Better than Stacy's! The best choreographed routine of the night, too. That dorky judge said: "a little too much of an Argentinian flavor." WTF? Isn't that a good thing when doing a tango?

Final thoughts: The best jive was Drew's and the best tango was Tia's. Master P should probably be eliminated tomorrow night.

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Tell Me What You Think?

Should the U.S. negotiate a truce with Al Qaeda? Yes or no, and why.

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January 17, 2006

Chocolate City

I don't really have a problem with what Ray Nagin said yesterday about New Orleans as a chocolate city. (I'm certainly no fan of Mayor Nagin, and I can't defend the other stuff he said. I think there should be a moratorium on public figures talking about why God does stuff. It always results in the speaker apologizing within a week, so why bother.)

A lot of people sound shocked at the words "chocolate city," but it's an old school phrase that I was first introduced to back when I worked as a temp in downtown Oakland. We used to bring in CDs to listen to while we shuffled paper. A friend of mine brought in the Parliament CD, which featured this title song:

Uh, what's happening CC?
They still call it the White House
But that's a temporary condition, too.
Can you dig it, CC?

To each his reach
And if I don't cop, it ain't mine to have
But I'll be reachin' for ya
'Cause I love ya, CC.
Right on.

There's a lot of chocolate cities, around
We've got Newark, we've got Gary
Somebody told me we got L.A.
And we're working on Atlanta
But you're the capital, CC

Gainin' on ya!
Get down
Gainin' on ya!
Movin' in and on ya
Gainin' on ya!
Can't you feel my breath, heh
Gainin' on ya!
All up around your neck, heh heh

Hey, CC!
They say your jivin' game, it can't be changed
But on the positive side,
You're my piece of the rock
And I love you, CC.
Can you dig it?

Hey, uh, we didn't get our forty acres and a mule
But we did get you, CC, heh, yeah
Gainin' on ya
Movin' in and around ya
God bless CC and its vanilla suburbs

Gainin' on ya!
Gainin' on ya!
Gainin' on ya! (heh!)
Gainin' on ya!
Gainin' on ya!
What's happening, blood?
Gainin' on ya!
Gainin' on ya!
Gainin' on ya!

Yeah!
What's happening, black?
Brother black, blood even
Yeah-ahh, just funnin'

Gettin' down

Ah, blood to blood
Ah, players to ladies
The last percentage count was eighty
You don't need the bullet when you got the ballot
Are you up for the downstroke, CC?
Chocolate city
Are you with me out there?

And when they come to march on ya
Tell 'em to make sure they got their James Brown pass
And don't be surprised if Ali is in the White House
Reverend Ike, Secretary of the Treasure
Richard Pryor, Minister of Education
Stevie Wonder, Secretary of FINE arts
And Miss Aretha Franklin, the First Lady
Are you out there, CC?
A chocolate city is no dream
It's my piece of the rock and I dig you, CC
God bless Chocolate City and its (gainin' on ya!) vanilla suburbs
Can y'all get to that?
Gainin' on ya!
Gainin' on ya!
Easin' in
Gainin' on ya!
In yo' stuff
Gainin' on ya!
Huh, can't get enough
Gainin' on ya!
Gainin' on ya!
Be mo' funk, be mo' funk
Gainin' on ya!
Can we funk you too
Gainin' on ya!
Right on, chocolate city!

Yeah, get deep
Real deep
Heh
Be mo' funk
Mmmph, heh
Get deep
Bad
Unh, heh
Just got New York, I'm told

It's a cool song, and the sentiment is about pride, not racism. I think there is real concern that the new New Orleans will become some kind of sanitized N.O. themed resort. I'd hate to see it become a city-sized Pleasure Island or Universal Citywalk. Mayor Nagin was just using a colloquial reference that his audience understood to assure them that New Orleans was going to stay real.

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