November 2003 Archives

December Title Contest


So, for all my American readers who are recovering from the tryptophan-and-carb coma of yesterday, and for all my non-American readers who are simply happy that it's Friday, it's time for the December title contest: post your favorite pithy quote that contains the word "December" in the comments, and the best one (as adjudged by moi) gets both their quote up in the title bar and their site will receive top billing in the permalinks for the entire month of December (remember, that's 31 days for the price of 30!).

And while you're at it, you might want to buy a T-shirt for all the rockstars in your life.

Turkey Coma

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newshirts1103.gifIf, like me, you hate the post-Thanksgiving commercial frenzy, why not try to do all your holiday shopping with your mouse at the Internet Emporium, where you can find something for everyone (as long as they like t-shirts with pithy slogans and catchy sayings on them)! Buy one for your girlfriend, your boyfriend, or both! Three new blog-inspired designs are introduced this week, as well as the long-overdue redesign and return of the instant internet classic, "Friends Don't Let Friends Blog Drunk..."

SPAM Warning

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If you're running a MovableType installation, you really need to read this spam warning and take appropriate action. Or get someone who knows what they're doing to take appropriate action for you.

Life Is Sometimes Like A Kurosawa Film

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One of the interesting things about blogging is how reading multiple blogs can be very Rashomon-esque.

On Inspiring Confidence


I was going to do a post titled "Famous Canadians" but realized that it was too much work, so instead:

It hardly inspires confidence, when, whilst dining at the colorful and hip new downtown southeast asian joint (the one favored by the beautiful set), one glances behind the banquette to see a pair of freshly-baited mousetraps.

I suppose I can be thankful that 1) they weren't rat-traps, and 2) they were empty...

(and in other news, this is this blog's 900th entry)


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Dear Friends,

My name is Kim Jong-Il, but my friends call me Dave Rhodes. In September 1988 my country was on the verge of civil war and international debt collectors were hounding me like you wouldn't believe. I was about to be overthrown and my international sponsor had stopped writing me checks. The only escape I had from the pressure of failure was my computer and my modem. I longed to turn my advocation into my vocation. This January 1989 I crushed my enemies AND I went on a ten day cruise to the tropics. I bought a fleet of submarines for CASH in Feburary 1989.

I am currently rebuilding the Presidental Mansion, with a private pool, boat slip, and a beautiful view of the bay from my breakfast room table and patio. I will never have worry about foreign intervention again. Today I am rich!!! I have earned the respect of all my neighbors and will become regional hegemon within 4 or 5 months. Anyone can do the same. This country-building program works perfectly every time, 100% of the time. I have NEVER failed to cow my neighbors into submission whenever I wanted. Best of all you never have to leave home except to go to your mailbox or post office.

In October 1988, I received a letter in the mail telling me how I could make nuclear weapons whenever I wanted. I was naturally very skeptical and threw the letter on the desk next to my computer. It's funny though, when you are desperate, backed into a corner, your mind does crazy things. I spent a frustating day calling international aid organizations looking for a bailout. The pickings were sparse at best. That night I tried to unwind by booting up my computer and calling several bulletin boards. I read several of the message posts and than glanced at the letter next to the computer. All at once it came to me, I now had the key to my dreams. I realized that with the power of the computer I could expand and enhance this formula into the most unbelievable military might generator that has ever been created. I substituted the computer bulletin boards in place of the post office and electronically did by computer what others were doing 100% by mail. Now only a few letters are mailed manually. Most of the hard work is speedily downloaded to other bulletin boards throughout the world. If you believe that someday your country deserves that lucky break that you have waited for all your life, simply follow the easy instructions below. Your dreams will come true.

Sincerely yours,

Your pal Jong-Il (aka Dave Rhodes)


Follow these instructions EXACTLY, and in 20 to 60 days you will have received well over 50 atomic bombs, all yours. This program has remained successful because of the HONESTY and INTEGRETY of the participants. Please continue its success by carefully ADHERING TO THE INSTRUCTIONS.

  1. IMMEDIATELY mail one ounce of U-235 to the first 5 (five) names listed below starting at number 1 through number 5. Send pure U-235 only please (total investment less than a third of a pound!). Enclose a note with each letter stating: "Please add my name to your mailing list."
  2. REMOVE the name that appears number 1 on the list. Move the other 9 names up one position. (Number 2 will become number 1 and number 3 will become number 2, etc.) Place your name, address and zip code in the number 10 position.
  3. Post the new letter with your name in the number 10 position into 10 (Ten) separate bulletin boards in the message base or to the file section. Call the file, MAKE.NUKES.FAST.
  4. Within 60 days you will receive over 3,000 pounds of U-235. Keep a copy of this file for yourself so that you can use it again and again whenever you need fissile material. Using instructions easily found on the internet, start building your devices!

Remember as each post is downloaded and the instructions carefully followed, five members will be reimbursed for their participation with one ounce of enriched uranium. Your name will move up the list geometrically so that when your name reaches the number five position you will be receiving hundreds of pounds of radioactive material!

[List removed]

The following letters were written by participating members in this program.

To Whom It May Concern:

About six months ago I received the enclosed post in letter form. I ignored it. I received about five more of the same letter within the next two weeks. I ignored them also. Of course, I was tempted to follow through and dreamed of building bombs, but I was convinced it was just another gimmick and could not possibly work. I was wrong! About three weeks later I saw this same letter posted on a local bulletin board in Montreal. I liked the idea of giving it a try with my computer. I didn't expect much because I figured, if other people were as skeptical as I, they wouldn't be too quick to part with U-235. I addressed the envelopes and mailed out the uranium as directed. Two weeks went by and I didn't recieve anything in the mail. The fourth week rolled around and I couldn't believe what happened! I can't say I received 5 bombs, but it was enough marterial for a very impressive underground test. For the first time in ten years, my neighbor stopped his sabre-rattling. It was great. Of course, it didn't take me long to go through the rest of the uranium so I am using this excellent opportunity once again. Follow the instructions and get ready to enjoy.

Please send a copy of this letter along with the enclosed letter so together we can convince people who are skeptical that it really works!

Good Luck,

Another letter:

This is a great program! Where was it when I needed something like this!

Best Wishes,
[undisclosed location], Saudi Arabia

additional notes:

This system works equally well if mailed out manually. Mind you it takes more effort to hand address the envelopes and the cost goes up proportionately to cover the postage and envelopes. You must also photo copy the instructions, cross out the name in number one position, write in your name in the number ten slot and change the rest of the numbers accordingly. (It might be neater to use white out or paste over the names.) In order to achieve the same results you must send out the uranium to the first five names and then send out another 100 letters with copies of the program enclosed. It has been suggested not to put a return address on the outside of the envelope in order to encourage the recipient to open it. The return will approximate that then received from the posts listed on the bulletin boards.

Author's Note: This is a parody of the infamous MAKE.MONEY.FAST email chain letter. The dates listed have nothing to do with reality. It goes without saying that these kinds of chain letters are illegal and propagation of them will land you in federal pound-you-in-the-ass prison, so don't do it.


Turns out that I'm not the only one have trouble with this whole web groupie thing.

Behind The Scenes


I've completely restructured the archives, moving from MT's dump-everything-in-one-directory default to what one hopes is a more structured and rational plan. Old pemralinks will stay where they are for the time being, but I wouldn't expect them to stick around forever. The monthly and category archives have been moved to new places, however...

(and yes, email is still wonky) Update: email back to normal, whatever that means.

Communication Breakdown, Part The Second

Due to an utterly inexplicable yet colossal fuckup on the part of RoadRunner, getting to my email for the past day or so has been a bit iffy and continues to be so. Email is still being delivered; it's just that my access to it is unusually convoluted. If it ain't one thing...

MCD going on MD


We've managed to hit 1,400 comments already, which, as you know, means that there's a contest a-brewin'.

Which is to say, whomever leaves the 1,500th comment wins a fabulous prize pak™. The rules are pretty simple: No leaving more than 3 comments in a row, comment spam doesn't count, and all decisions by the judges (i.e. me) are final.

Have at it, boys and girls...

Pens Without Points

So I'm over at Office Depot or Staples or whatever it's called during lunch, buying some refills for my pen, and I notice that some genius has invented low-odor dry-erase markers.

Dude, half the fun is the smell! I love the smell of volatile organic molecules in the morning...

Communication Breakdown

Sorry about the (unplanned) outage today. What happened was the DSL line that my provider lives on decided that last night was a good night to die. The servers have been moved; we shouldn't have any further problems...



According to a very reliable source, I'm a rockstar.

So, like, I'm wondering, where are the groupies?

This Country Is Stranger Than I Ever Thought Possible

B00004W4VD.01-AVNF7U7GN6VQJ.MZZZZZZZ.jpgThe strangest thing I've ever seen in my Amazon Gold Box:

The Beef Jerky Works Kit! I thought that it was a caulking gun at first, and then had to spend several minutes trying to wrap my brain around the concept of a beef jerkey kit. It is, as it turns out, not a caulking gun at all, but rather a "jerky gun" (with three attachments, no less!). I'll leave that one for you to ponder.

I don't know why I had such trouble with the idea; after all, "homemade jerky is fun, easy, and economical!"

Only Slightly Overpriced

I want this car: Harvey Birdman's 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner, four on the floor, 383 big block V8, and a killer CD collection (particularly the last one).

The World's Most Expensive Food Court

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Fancy restaurants in shopping malls—an Asian invention born of the need to build multi-purpose developments vertically—are coming to New York inside the AOL Time Warner Center. Is this a concept that New Yorkers are ready to embrace?

Well, look at the lineup and decide for yourself:

  • Already open is Asiate, located on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental, featuring French-Japanese fusion cuisine.
  • At the "low end" is Cafe Gray, a "brasserie" with Central European (read: Vienna, Budapest and Prague) accents, run by Gray Kunz, the chef who piloted the late lamented Lespinasse to four-star status.
  • Renowned American chef Charlie Trotter will run "a reinterpreted oyster bar, with slight Asian touches" next door to Cafe Gray.
  • Jean-Georges Vongerichten will bring his vision of what a steak house should be to the table (or, in other words, far more sophistication than the standard meat-and-potatoes meat joint).
  • Masa Takayama will be flying in from Beverly Hills to open Asayoshi, "where he will be pleased to serve a $500 dinner."
  • The crown jewel, though is probably Thomas Keller's Per Se, the east coast version of his legendary French Laundry, which will have one seating a night for a prix-fixe tasting menu, with lunch (again, one seating, prix-fixe only) being served only three times a week.

With the exception of the already-open Asiate, the restaurants are expected to open sometime in February.

Time to start donating organs...

Update: Gothamist thinks that what the AOL Time Warner Center really needs is Kitchen Stadium, an idea I whole-heartedly endorse.

Floating Wreckage

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Don't forget November 19: World Toilet Day 2003!

I've Seen London, I've Seen France

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gallery-msg-4636-3.jpgAt one point in the not-to-distant past, I had been contemplating the creation of a "Paris or Porn Star" interwebthingie quiz of some sort—you know, a small picture of someone, and you'd have to guess if it was Paris Hilton or a porn star.

Recent events seem to have overtaken me, particularly in light of new evidence (the short version is that a millionaire heiress with attention issues set a new land speed record in her odyssey from debutante to porn star—and judging from her unrefined yet eager fellatio skills, finishing schools aren't what they used to be) and now the only answer to any such quiz would not be either/or but rather have to be an all-too-enthusiastic "Yes!"

What seems to be curious, though, are the raves lavished on Rick Solomon (or rather, a particular part of Rick), Paris' putative co-star: "[his penis], all things considered, appears to be his only somewhat redeemable quality"; "the guy was hot and had a really decent piece of equipment on him"; "surprisingly handsome ... Nicely hung, too."

What, my friend, is the real moral behind the story? Is it not to let your little girl grow up dressed like a slut? No, that can't be it, as I am told that dressing like a slut is the new black.

No, the real moral of the story is take your penis pills, because you'll never know when a 19-year-old millionaire heiress with a distressing exhibitionist streak and a night-vision video camera will show up in your bedroom, and when that grainy green tape makes national news, you will want the doyenne of internet gossip to be able to say, at the very least, "yeah, he's a scumbag, but he's a scumbag with an impressive penis" (or, in the vernacular, "he's a dick, but what a dick it is!").

Whoo Hoo!


Big shoutout to Maureen Duffy, who, entirely unbidden, went out (well, clicked around) to the wishlist and sent me something. This is insanely cool and incredibly generous. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

Now all I have to do is carve out space in the day to spend some serious quality time with my DVD player. Anyone up for 36-hour days?

Update: No irony here today, as CNN reports: Ten Commandments judge removed from office.

Do They Give Merit Badges in Nuclear Engineering?

Johnny's new high-school science project: How To Build an H-Bomb.

Update: kinda related is The Radioactive Boy Scout, a story about a kid who almost built a breeder reactor in his mother's potting shed...

It's The New Black. Or The New Cool. Or Something.

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I have a dream that my children will one day be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their iTunes playlists:

[He] said Wesleyan students are enjoying a new parlor game -- going through music libraries trying to guess what their owners are like. ... "This one playlist had a lot of German techno," Aubrey said. "We predicted this was a kid wearing a mesh shirt who wanted to be a Nazi." At a party shortly afterward, Aubrey recognized the playlist and asked whose music it was. "They pointed to this kid in a mesh shirt with a swastika on his arm," he said.

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti...

Tiny Bubbles

Obviously, I'm Doing Something Wrong

This sort of thing never seems to happen to me. (link is mostly safe for work until you read it)

You Want To Buy These

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8406485_F_store.jpgSome more rejiggering going on over there in the long-dormant pf internet emporium: one shirt (image at right) 'specially for girl bloggers who, well, just read the shirt, and another shirt for the girls that addresses an apparently common complaint.

Buy one for yourself and one for a friend! They make fantastic Christmas/Chanukah/Kwannza/Winter Solstice/Lunar New Year presents!

Update: A correspondent, explaining why she isn't buying the shirt at right: "My boobs are self-evident; I do not need to write about them."

"I had a great time last week, and I'm wondering where you were when I went on eighteen lousy dates in a row, but..."

Upon Further Review

I don't think that I would have made a very good rock star.

Hector and Paris


Unbeknownst to anyone in the atheletic community except the really pervy ones (yeah, you're still reading this, aren't you?), the Trojan Games have been going on in Bucharest (graphic designers will get a kick out of the faux-Olympic logo), featuring the world's finest in, uh, alternative sports. Check out these video highlights (requires flash and may take a little while to load):

And in other, entirely unrelated news, Eurotrash has been plumbing the depths of Wedding's forums: "I've just spent ten minutes over there reading about semen allergies."


TO: The Anonymous Dickwad Who Called Me at 5:06 a.m.
RE: Run and hide

If you ever, ever call me at 5 o'clock in the morning again, I will hunt you, I will find you, and I will make sure that it's physically impossible for you to ever telephone anyone ever again. I just saw Kill Bill and it's giving me ideas. Bad ideas.

The Shake

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You Asked For It, You Got It


Scenes from drinks dinner with a woman who's far too attractive to be seen out in public with me:

"So why did you start to blog?"
"To pick up chicks."
"I dunno about that -- that whole dry reserved thing isn't really a chick magnet."
"I've noticed."

"So you actually want me to blog about this? Most women don't."
"Yes. And remember that it's all about me, me and me."

"I'll have the rack of lamb, medium rare -- more rare than medium."

"Are you having a good time?"
"Oh yes, I most certainly am. For one thing, I'm still here. For another, it's nearly 10 o'clock and you haven't gone running screaming into the night yet. That's always a positive sign."

"Oh, I'm still working on my gin and tonic."
"Waiter, two glasses of pinot noir."

"And uh...."
"I'm sorry, am I distracting you?"

"It shouldn't cost someone a hundred bucks just to get to know me."
"Well, then, today's your lucky day -- it's not a hundred bucks."

"Hey, we never did those tequila shots!"
"There's a bar near my house where I'm sure we could arrange for that to happen."
"Oh, I gotta get up early tomorrow and go to work."

"Nah, this is a great block. If I lived here, I'd never leave it. I mean you've got Lincoln Center, the Loews' Megaplex, Tower Records, Victoria's Secret -- all these entertainment options right here..."
"You are such a boy."

When Hairy Met Sally (Or, On The Friend Problem)

Mike Wolf, on the movie Charlotte Sometimes:

Highly recommended [...] unless, like me, you happen to be a slightly romantic, slightly depressed and a generally lonely guy who has a lot of female friends. Then it's sorta like sticking a really big ice pick in your cranium. Your call.

Karlotta on parental advice:

because in the end, my father was right,
you can't be friends with boys,
because they will all want to see you naked;

Graceland on roommates:

You would probably fall for my roommate, because she's the girl that all the guys fall for, and I would smile and get out of your way. [...] I'm the girl that's the great friend. I'm the girl who's a great time. I'm the one they dance with and they hug and they tell stories about.

Sarah Space on being neighborly:

Engaged in a brief physical encounter with the neighbor's tree man. I did not know that "Can I have a glass of water?" means "Let's make out."

Down And Out In The White House Transcript Room


You might remember a post I made a few weeks ago, wherein I made fun of President Bush for saying

We see a China that is stable and prosperous -- a nation that respects the peace of its neighbors and works to secure the freedom of its own people.

Eagle-eyed blogger Ken Goldstein subsequently pointed out that the official White House transcript said "We seek a China that is...", suggesting that "see" had been a simple transciption error that had been corrected.

Well, eagle-eared reader Ralph Levien did a little more digging, and he's discovered that not only does the Offical Hansard of the Australian Parliment record "We see a China that is..." (not "seek"), but the audio record of the speech clearly shows the President saying "We see a China that is..." (it's at about the 15:15 mark of the recording, realplayer required).

So what's with the White House doctoring their own transcripts to change the meaning of what the President said?

Update: It seems as if the original speech script said "seek" but the President—perhaps he misspoke, perhaps he misread the teleprompter, perhaps he just changed it on the fly—said "see". This, of course, doesn't change the fact that the transcript reflects what he was supposed to have said, no what he actually said.

On The Magic of Silver Nitride


At this point, everyone and their sister has posted about Dumenco's article about New York bloggers (and weighed in on whom he missed: I won't comment, save to say that it's really looking like I have to get started on that international fugitive gig).

But seriously, are those not horrific photographs or what?

One Last Shot

One last California Recall Election story: starring "Ernie Gropenegger," "Spooge Cruztamante," and Mary Carey as herself, the California recall election is being turned into a porn movie.