April 2006


Everything’s Coming Up Rosie

Further proof that there are always “second acts” in American Pop Culture: Rosie O’Donnell is joining “The View”. Interestingly, her personal collection of pictures on flickr.com has just been ‘discovered’ on the web, just as she uploaded a couple pictures of Barbara Walters, “View” star/execproducer, and frankly, she doesn’t look happy. Coincidence? I care not! I’m just looking forward to the inevitable catfight with Star Jones-Reynolds-Wrap over her recent comments on her capitalization-and-punctuation-free blog. They may need Jerry Springer to mediate. (Which one’s gonna throw the couch?)


Are Arbors Arbitrary?

Thanks to an MSNBC.com 5Top List that I did not write for reminding me that today is Arbor Day. (Another holiday? THAT’s why I’m not getting any work done.) Although overshadowed by the very closely scheduled Earth Day (occasionally they fall on the same day), my traumatic childhood experience with the Boy Scouts makes the tree-based holiday closer to my heart (and no, I will not be telling you that story anytime soon). So, while it is still April 28th here on the Left Coast of California, let me offer up what, for me, has always been the traditional Arbor Day Greeting:

Happy Arbor Day
Take a Tree to Lunch


What Do Secretaries Secrete?

D’oh! I completely forgot that today iswas Administrative Professionals Day, the quasi-PC re-naming of Secretaries Day dedicated to all those office-dwellers who have transcended secretarihood with a combination of skills comprable to the entire cast of “X-Men: The Latest Sequel”. Of course, there are still those poor incompetents whose inadequacies ensure that they will forever be Secretaries… like Donald Rumsfeld. Whoa! I suddenly realize that America’s recent political history can all be explained by The Peter Principle.


More-on Music

One of the easiest ways to write something that’ll attract attention to you is to make your own All Time Top 10 or 40 or 100 Best Whatevers List. The only thing easier (and more attention-whoring) is an All Time Top 10 or 40 or 100 WORST Whatevers List. I’ll admit I’ve done a few myself, but I don’t make it so easy on myself. I’ve written about the Best Summer TV Shows of All Time, the Best “Bad Clowns” (NOT the Worst Clowns) and not really the worst, but the Most Overrated Celebrities (“We wish them well, but, mostly, we wish they were better”).

And I have recently witnessed an unprecidented proliferation of “Worst Pop Songs” lists on and off the Web. The trend could be traced back to 1993 when Dave Barry actually wrote a newspaper column (they were simpler times) and got a massive response (mostly via snail mail, how quaint) to his own suggestions of the Worst Songs Ever. the top three from his survey were (3) Paul Anka’s “You’re Having My Baby”, (2) “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and (1) anybody’s version of “MacArthur Park”. If you want to see any more of his list, you have to buy the book.

All remained quiet on the Worst Songs front until two years ago when rock-music-magazine-nobody’s-ever-heard of Blender got some recognition for its Bad Songs list, and next thing you know, VH-1, the BBC, WFMU, and even some people without a TV or radio station have gotten in on the act.

Most recently, nouveaux blogger (who’s also a veteran TV writer/producer for “M*A*S*H”, “Cheers” and a dozen lesser comedies, former major league baseball announcer, L.A. disc jockey who used the name “Beaver Cleaver” and one of the people I am most in awe of in the business of show) Ken Levine put out an exhaustive but unranked list. Then CNN.com entertainment writer Tom Leopold has gone the Dave Barry route, trolling for sucky song suggestions after giving his own vote to the awfulness that is Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey”.

And now, AOL.com’s free streaming radio service, which already has specialized narrowcasting channels for fans of Sinatra, Pearl Jam, Anime Soundtracks and Sports Bloggers, have opened up a stream playing “The Top 111 Worst Songs of All Time”. Like Dave Barry, AOL does not have a full list openly available, but unlike Barry, you can listen for no charge (except maybe the forfeiture of your immortal soul), and that’s what I did during a surreal 8-hour period last weekend, while doing other stuff on my laptop, interrupting myself every 4 minutes or so to log the latest AOL-designated bad song, so now I am somewhat ashamed to be able to present their entire countdown (if you follow the -more inside- link)… Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.


Huffington and Puffington and Blow Me Down!

It has been a long-standing tradition for this blogger that whenever somebody elsewhere on the Web quotes me or links me, I don’t notice it until an embarassingly long period of time has passed, and inevitably, most of the new visitors directed by the link do so during a period when I’m not blogging anything, or even worse, the site is Under Costruction. And, indeed, it has happened again. While I was obsessing over adding little graphical bells and whistles, while periodically destroying and rebuilding the quasi-technical CSS formatting of the page you are reading now (assuming it is currently readable), one of the two new voices at the Post-Huffington Trauma dedicated most of a post* to quoting what I wrote down there.

This came AFTER a seperate entry* in which he quoted 7 other bloggers, mostly medical-topic (or topical medication) blogs. But weird old Wendell got an item* all to himself, although Doc Rost totally unneccesarily included the three paragraphs of me quoting him, and without the “blockquotes”, no doubt confusing some portion of his readership (They may even think “That Wendell’s an idiot if he can’t tell 13 paragraphs from 3”). Rost is still new to this whole Internet Citizen Journalist thingy; most of us enjoyed a more-than-heathy ego boost when we first discovered just how interactive the whole blogosphere can be… some of us have never gotten over it (No, I will NOT name names), but few are as openly goofy about it as the El Rost-o-rino.

Worth noting: this may be the first time that anyone inside the HuffPo (except maybe for comment trolls) has referred to “The Arianna Post (I still have issues about the cachet Ms. A. got from her formerly-married name)”… Mission: Accomplished indeed!

And all because of my weakness for shaggy-dog disclaimers. Speaking of disclaimers and prescription medication:

The opinions expressed in this song are not necessarily those of SquabbMerlCo or its subsidiaries. Progenitorivox is not available anywhere. Offer void in Wisconsin. Any resemblence to actual drugs, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Any unauthorized use of your own judgement in the application of Progenitorivox is strictly forbidden. Progenitorivox may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball. May cause drowsiness or restlessness in lab animals. Do not resume sexual activity while operating heavy machinery without consulting your physician. For erections lasting more than four hours, insert your own joke here. If you experience psychotic episodes, you’re crazy. If death occurs, discontinue use of Progenitorivox immediately. If symptoms persist, consult your physician. All sales final. Batteries not included.

By the way, I have also been obsessed with other things, one of which will get a very long post here in the next 24 48 hours (revised timetable: once again miscalculated effects of obsession) .

*note to self: gotta do something about blogging nomenclature… item? entry? post? article? there’s gotta be a better term for these chunks of writing … chunks? hmmm…


The Late Great Wendell, Part 32

Late again. The ‘tweaks’ I’m doing to the blog format that I was going to do last weekend are happening NOW. If something is wrong, just remember, I do NOT have the same kind of control the voice guy on “Outer Limits” had. However, if you come back an hour or a day later and it’s still haywire, please leave a comment here or email me, wendell, at wendellwit dot com.

And here’s something only webmasters and webslaves will understand. I sometimes find myself turning into a semi-luddite about certain technologies, and “AJAX” may turn out to be one of them. I’ve decided to replace the javascript that rounds the corners on all these boxes with an all-CSS method that requires about 100 extra characters of HTML each time I use it. And I think it looks better. So there.



Dr. Peter Rost, former Pfizer executive and male model (say what?) has begun blogging about Medical, Pharmaceutical and anything-else-he-wants issues at The Arianna Post (I still have issues about the cachet Ms. A. got from her formerly-married name), and while I am still far from finished reading the impressive output from his first three weeks, one thing has already made me a fan: his Disclaimer. I guess he realized he had become enough of a lightning rod by being “the first drug company executive to speak out in favor of reimportation of drugs”, that he needed to ground himself properly, but I really love some of the wording in the 13 paragraphs (plus three photos of crossed fingers) of this non-binding legal declaration:

If you are a lawyer and read this you can never use this blog in a court of law, since it does not always contain a full statement of facts, or even facts, but you can use it to entertain your fellow lawyers. And if you are an entertainment lawyer, feel free to call me because I need a gig or a speaking engagement.

You can expect to encounter generalizations, simplifications, hypothecations, exaggerations, inflations, fabrications, but mostly a lot of truths no one ever had the guts to tell you before. (The last part I wrote, my lawyer made me put in those other words.)

This disclaimer may be updated anytime and is presumed to part of any past or future postings. If you didn’t find it it’s your own fault.

A lot of the commentors to his blogging think Dr. Rost is being too defensive or self-important. As a blogger who has always been proudly defensive and self-important, I think he’s entertaining.

I am also rapidly becoming a fan of Steve Young on the same Zsa Zsa Arianna Post site (I can be so-o-o catty!). His issue-based humor is generally superior to mine, somehow good-heartedly poking fun at the evil-hearted, plus he actually gets his one-liners published in that other Los Angeles newspaper (yes, there is one, kinda), and he has self-published an apparently book totally UNironically titled “Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful“, although he definately puts his tongue in his cheek for “Dieting With Failure”.
I am impressed.

I just realized that there are many among my favorite bloggers and other writers (most of whom I’ve enjoyed far longer than the two above) whom I have never acknowledged in this forum. I got a lot of catching up to do.

Wendell’s Disclaimer: I am never gonna get caught up.


Blogging Has Now Officially “Jumped the Shark”

“The Bloggers Project,” onstage at UCLA (appropriately Freud Playhouse, except its named after Ralph Freud)


Live Bitchily

For those of you joining this blog in progress, I (1) am a fan of April Winchell’s blog and (2) frequently enter online contests for short and silly writing, so, when the Bloggoddess herself invited suggestions for satirical citibank slogans*, I had a million of ’em…

Stop worrying about your money. We’re not giving it back to you.

Learn to laugh at yourself the way we bankers laugh at you.

Keep telling yourself “Living well is the best revenge”. And put down the gun.

Let us know if you find something money can’t buy.

Good health is priceless. The resale value of healthy organs is always high.

Enjoy your time with your family now, before they find out you’ve spent their inheritance.

Make paper airplanes with those 14 credit card applications we send you every month.

A penny saved won’t cover our service charges.

The price for a pound of flesh is holding steady.

Who needs a power tie when you don’t have any power?

One of my submissions was good enough to make the list of 15 finalists that April’s “wonderful and talented boyfriend John” photoshopped into billboard form…
“The best things in life are way out of your reach anyway. So settle.”
(The ‘WENDELL’ tag at the bottom of the board is my photoslop work, NOT John’s)

I am honored. I am easily honored.

In spite of its being listed third among 15, I have not won Third Place – yet. The final judging is being made by you, the public; however I do not have my own 1-900 umber, you just have to email April. Vote early. Vote often. And if you can’t bring yourself to supporting this pathetic bloghead, here are my other favorite entries:

“It’s not supposed to bend like that.” submitted by steebie
“You’re more than a number to us. You’re a number with a dollar sign.” submitted by john-san
“Remember – old people often forget that they loaned you money.” submitted by newdug
“If you’re happy and you know it, think again.” submitted by curlylee
“Eat right and exercise. Your organs will be worth more.” submitted by bmuller (which is the same joke as one of mine, just better worded, dammit.)

*Due to her blog’s non-existant permalinking, the only link to the original contest is here, right below the tattooed lady. For your own protection, DO NOT click on the links in the tattoo post. Just don’t.


Horrible, Terrible Words

I think you could say that terror and horror are partially synonymous, at least similar in connotation (Bad. Real bad.). Terrify and horrify are similarly similar, as are terrible and horrible. It could be argued that in today’s world we need terms like horrorist and horrorize to go alongside terrorist and terrorize. So how did we end up with terrific meaning something so different from horrific? (And I’m speaking as a life-long fan of Tom Terrific.)