November 2006


Bad Sex on the Sheets (of Paper)

This year’s winner of the Literary Review Bad Sex Award: “…we’re lost in a commotion of grunts and squeaks, flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles.” Uh, yeah. The competition this year was, uh, “stiff”, according to The Guardian, and “unstoppably on”, according to The Independent. Well timed for the end of NaNoWriMo, which really should provide some of next year’s contenders.

crossposted on MonkeyFilter


The Political Power and the Passion (or Back Benches Are Burning)

AustralianPoliticsFilter: Congressman John “Orleans” Hall has nothing on Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett, who quit singing political rock to start rocking politics, was elected to the Aussie Parliament in ’04 and has now been named the Labor Party’s “Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Reconciliation and the Arts” (whew, what a title). But it’s not all “Blue Sky (His)”: he’s been attacked by a former environmental activist ally in the Green Party and mimicked by Treasurer Peter (no relation to Elvis) Costello. At least he’s healthy, unlike some Australian singers (or singers in Australia).

crossposted on MetaFilter


Doctor Doctor Give Me the News (Unbroken)

Well, the test results are in, and my Dr. gave me the good news and the bad news: Apparently, I am much healthier than I feel.


Chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added…

aka Spam, the semi-edible kind. As for spam, the email kind, I did have that scourge of the internets under control for a while, through judicious use of multiple addresses at different domains, each disclosed to very specific audiences. Most of the spamisms I received were correctly filtered – except for those with “penny stock tips”… I’d get two or three of the same message with different “sent bys” showing up in each of my inboxes a couple times a day, nothing too annoying, and I had to laugh at the total futility of them for the spammers: I don’t have enough saving to buy a single share (and yes, I’m talking about PENNY stocks). But in the last month or so, things started changing. First, some spams promoting diet drugs started getting through the filters. It bothered me only because I have been trying unsuccessfully to lose weight (just not enough activity to burn the few calories I’m consuming) and I couldn’t help wondering if somebody at SpamMail Inc. actually had me on a fat-boy mailing list, and if so, how?

Another thing I had been lucky to avoid almost totally was p0rn spam. It rarely even showed up in my filters (when I’d open them up to hose them out) and I felt like I was living a good, clean life. But as of about two weeks ago, no longer. Now, with all the promises to provide crystal-clear pictures of almost endless variations of mostly disgusting practices (I’m no prude, but apparently there is no market for semi-normal sex… or it’s totally satisfied… yeah, sure), over 95% are successfully trapped in the filters, but enough still get through every day to outnumber my actual email messages from real people. And that’s a perspective I don’t want to see.

But the lowlight of my recent spam-covered experience occurred when one promoting an all-herbal-wonder-medication that I will never ever admit to needing (even if I ever do) had a randomly-generated name in its sender field that was not a Groucho-esque “Unselfishness V. Stonehenge” or something similar, but by sheer coincidece the real name of somebody I actually know – a female MetaFilter member who I’ve met personally and consider attractive. At least I HOPE it was a sheer coincidence.

Unfortunately, there is only one way to stop the scourge of email chopped-pork-shoulder… and that is to find that one-hundredth of one percent of the spam targets who actually respond to it and keep SpamMail Inc. and its ilk in business, and then to feed those idiots to live crocodiles. I have my suspicions where I might find some of these people (the audience at Larry the Cable Guy concerts, owners of Ann Coulter books and NOW CDs, viewers of Flavor Flav’s TV shows and users of HEAD ON, some of whom aren’t even smart enough to apply it directly to their foreheads). I will soon begin a charity fund-raising drive to acquire a sufficient number of crocodiles to do the job. When you receive my solicitation emails, you know what to do…


Just as Delicious the 7th Time?

And I’m not talking about Turkey & Gravy soda, I’m talking about, the ‘social bookmarking’ site where jason kottke (who was blogging before they called it blogging and who is one of the few people whose no caps practice I will respect) discovered that somebody else had already discovered that you can set up a bookmark for any address on the Web, including itself AND including any other bookmark. As a result, you can now find a bookmark for a bookmark for a bookmark for a bookmark for a bookmark for a bookmark for, creating what Web historians will no doubt call “The Recursion”, which, if we’re lucky, will become more popular than the Hasselhoff Recursion (which, if you’ve never seen it, is not totally safe for viewing at work, since it has caused blindness and the tearing out of one’s own eyes, neither of which were covered under Workers Comp insurance).


Easiest Blog Post I Ever Had to Write

The Good News: Jones Sodas will no longer contain high-fructose corn syrup.

The Bad News: Jones Sodas will continue to contain turkey and gravy.

Update: Mandatory punchline disclosure laws require me to tell you that Jones Turkey & Gravy Soda is artificially flavored and does not contain actual turkey and gravy. Spoilsports. Anyway, I’ll be here all week, enjoy the rest of the show, tip your waitress and try the veal flavored soda.


The Gnome Is Off His Locker

Chris Pirillo may be the funniest nerd on the Internet/in the Mass Media* today.

In maybe his most interesting video-captured exercise since the incident with the priceless irreplaceable 100-year-old cylinder record, he has created three separate videos of himself, customized for each of the three most significent video sites, YouTube, Google Video and Revver that, in order to be enjoyed to their fullest, must be watched all at the same time. Now, I still have not figured out how to get my WordPress installation to accept embedded video thingies. (I apparently installed a plugin for a WYSIWYG editor that kills the code of embedded video and which I can not successfully uninstall. I am not going to be too alarmed by this until my editor starts writing its own blog.)

So, go to Chris’ blog where he has the stack of videos set up, and get them all running at once. Three things will become immediately apparent: First, he can’t do three-part harmony worth bat guano. Second, this is what living with someone with Multiple Personality Disorder is like. (Don’t ask me how I know. I just do.) And third, Chris is a total whore who will endorse almost anything or anyone who asks him and absolutely anything or anyone who pays him. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s actually refreshing to deal with somebody who handles it so honestly.
* By this I mean someone who is both on the Internet and in the Mass Media. There are some people funnier in both areas, but nobody I know working in both areas… and who is a nerd. I hope I have explained this clearly.


Phrases They Didn’t Catch

When somebody does something like “TV Land’s 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases”, one of its major purposes is to create “buzz” by prompting argument about what should’ve been on the list and what should’ve been left off. And it works. I’m doing it here, and I’ll be quoting other people who did it on other Internet venues.

First, a look at the least deserving phrases on the list:

It’s really easy to argue that “Boston Legal” (“Denny Crane.”), “Nip/Tuck” (“Tell me what you don’t like about yourself.”) and “The OC” (“Welcome to the O.C., bitch.”) have neither the longevity or popularity for their phrases to make the all-time list. Yet, “How I Met Your Mother’s” “Suit up!”, despite being from an even newer and not terribly high-rated show, is, IMO, an instant classic. (Yet, it could disappear if the show gets cancelled before making enough episodes for an afterlife in syndication.)

There were a couple of phrases that are far less memorable and far less deserving than the characters saying them, specifically Barney Fife’s “Nip it!” and Felix Unger’s “Never assume.” And Joey Tribiani’s “How you doin’?” Did they feel obligated to include a “Friends” quote rather than just throw in some more Seinfeld-isms? (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” “Serenity now!” “Spongeworthy.” “I don’t want to be a pirate!”)

And there are plenty other multiple-catchphrase candidates: I already argued that they should have used Archie Bunker’s “You Meathead” instead of “Stifle”. And Maxwell Smart could just as easily have made it for “Would you believe…?” or even “Missed it by that much” as “Sorry about that, Chief”. Is Ralph Kramden more famous for “Baby, you’re the greatest” or “To the moon, Alice!”? Is Dragnet more memorable for “This is the city” than “Just the facts, ma’am”? Why did Wayne and Garth get “Schwing” and not “We’re not worthy” or “Party on”? Why Flip Wilson’s “What you see is what you get” instead of “The devil made me do it”? And they chose Spock’s “Live long and prosper” over “Highly illogical”? That IS at least somewhat illogical.

And what about the other Star Trek co-star, DeForrest Kelley? “He’s dead Jim” or “I’m a doctor, not a (whatever)!”

Where is “Lucy, ju got some ‘splainin’ to do!”? Or “Missus Carmichael!” (Gale Gordon, the later Lucy Show, in case you forgot)? And other sitcoms… Flo in “Alice”: “Kiss my grits!” Gilligan’s Island: “Hey, little buddy”, “Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale” or “a three hour tour…”. “Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.”: “Shazam!” “Home Improvement”: “I don’t think so, Tim.” Mister Ed’s “Willllburrrr…” or Mork’s “Nanoo nanoo” or Alf’s “Ha! I kill me!” Or from the vaguely memorable “Dinosaurs”: “I’m the baby! Gotta love me!”

And where is Andy Kaufman as Latka Gravis? “Thank you veddy much!”

The list needs something British, like “The Prisoner’s” “I am not a number, I am a free man!” or “Be seeing you.” Or “The Avengers'” “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed.” Or “Red Dwarf’s” “Smeg off!” Or Monty Pythonisms like “And now for something completely different.” “It’s an ex-parrot.” “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” “I don’t like Spam!”

More game shows: “No whammy no whammy no whammy”, “Let’s see what’s behind door number three!”, “The survey says…”, “I’d like to buy a vowel”, “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.”

Other Laugh-In classics: “You bet your bippy.” Arte Johnson’s “Verrrry Interesting”. “Beautiful Downtown Burbank.” “And that’s the truttthhh…” Other SNL goodies: “I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not.” “Baze-bol been beddy beddy good to me.” “Nevermind.” “I’m Gumby, dammit!” “Pump… you up!” “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me.” “Would you like to touch my monkey?” And where is SCTV? “That blowed up real good!” “Oooh… scary!” “Hoser.” And Mystery Science Theater 3000: “Robot roll call!” “Movie sign!” “Just say to yourself it’s just a show…” And Red Green! “Keep your stick on the ice.” “If women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

There is a serious shortage of Children’s TV quotes… Buffalo Bob on “Howdy Doody Time”: “Hey, kids, what time is it?” Mr. Rogers: “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Barney (the Dinosaur): “I like you, you like me.” Davey and Goliath: “I don’t know, Davey.” Schoolhouse Rock: “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?”

And cartoons… Pinky & the Brain: “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?” (the one true keeper from Animaniacs’ efforts to create as many catchphrases as possible; I’m sorry, but “Hello Nurse” was not good enough). Bullwinkle: “Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!” “Fan mail from a flounder?”

Other Simpsons: “Eat my shorts.” “Don’t have a cow.” “Okelly Dokelly!” “Excellent!” “Worst. (Whatever). Ever.” And South Park: “Screw you guys, I’m going home!” And Futurama: “Bite my shiny metal ass!” “Good news everyone!” And, if you insist, some Family Guy: “Giggity giggity!”

More commercials: “You’re soaking in it.” “How do you spell relief?” “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” “He likes it! Hey Mikey!” “Mama mia, ‘at’sa spicy meatball!” (or old-old-school Alka Seltzer: “Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is!”) “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner…” “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.” “Please Mother, I’d rather do it myself!”

The list has already been accused of having a liberal bias for its choice of political quotes, so may I offer a little Reagan: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” and Clinton: “I did not have sex with that woman.” And how could you have televised news quotes without “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit”?

Where are the “Mission: Impossible” quotes? “Your mission, should you decide to accept it…” “The Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions…” “This message will self-destruct in five seconds.”

And nothing from the Twilight Zone? “A dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind.” “You unlock this door with the key of imagination.” “Submitted for your approval…” “That’s the signpost up ahead…”

How about something from “House”: “Everybody lies.” Or a “24” cliche: “We’re running out of time!!” “Who are you working for?!?”

And so soon after Thanksgiving, how could they have missed “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”?

I’d better quit now. I haven’t even started researching IMdb’s quotes yet, and I have collected almost another hundred.

But one more thing: How long until we add “Save the cheerleader, save the world” to the list of eligable catchphrases?


Catch This

There’s nothing like an inane “All Time Top X” list to get my juices flowing, and TV Land’s “100 Greatest TV Quotes & Catchphrases” is one of the all-time inanities (and one of the best reasons for me to get to work on my “Top Several” project. Anyway, they’ve released the entire list in alphabetical order prior to the unveiling of the numerical order the week of December 11 (five hours for a list of 100, that’s 20 per hour, 3 minutes per catchphrase – less commercials, about 2 minutes… this is gonna be mind-numbing).

A proper analysis of the list requires a little breaking down. first between the Quotes (famous for being said once) and the Catchphrases (famous for being said over and over and over). There are only 10 quotes, 7 of them from non-fiction TV (and 6 of those from non-TV-professional people):

  • “Ask not what your country can do for you …” (John F. Kennedy)
  • “Do you believe in miracles?” (Al Michaels, 1980 Winter Olympics)
  • “Have you no sense of decency?” (Joseph Welch to Sen. McCarthy)
  • “I’m not a crook …” (Richard Nixon)
  • “One small step for man …” (Neil Armstrong)
  • “Read my lips: No new taxes!” (George H.W. Bush)
  • “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” (Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle)

The 3 fictional one-time quotes:

  • “Oh, my nose!” (Marcia Brady, “The Brady Bunch”)
  • “Welcome to the O.C., bitch” (Luke, “The O.C.”) (Correct me if this has been said more than once; I’ve never watched more than 5 minutes of this show)
  • “You’ve got spunk …” (Lou Grant, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) (They should’ve used the entire quote, which ends: “I HATE spunk”.)

It must be noted that the one-time quotes would qualify as “Classic TV Moments” except for the fact that TV Land already did a list of “100 Most Unexpected TV Moments” that showed that they don’t know the meaning of the word “moment” (several on the list are entire shows).

11 of the remaining 90 are from TV commercials (It’s interesting that many of these are not commercial slogans per se)

  • “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” (Alka Seltzer ad)
  • “I want my MTV!” (MTV slogan)
  • “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV” (Vicks Formula 44 ad)
  • “It keeps going and going and going …” (Energizer Batteries slogan)
  • “It takes a licking …” (Timex slogan) (Again they left off part of it: “And keeps on ticking”. Is TV Land afraid that full-length quotes will bore its audience?
  • “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?” (Grey Poupon slogan, kind of)
  • “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids” (Trix cereal slogan)
  • “Tastes great! Less filling!” (Miller Lite beer slogan)
  • “Time to make the donuts” (“Dunkin’ Donuts” slogan, kind of)
  • “Whassup?” (Budweiser ad)
  • “Where’s the beef?” (Wendy’s ad)

56 of the remaining I would categorize as “character catchphrases”, 10 are “personality catchphrases” (associated with semi-real people, not fictional TV characters) and the remaining 13 I consider “show catchphrases”, openings, closings and the like, although most of them are associated with specific people or characters. There may be some category overlap, which I admit to below. First, the “Show Catchphrases”:

  • “And that’s the way it is” (Walter Cronkite, “CBS Evening News”)
  • “Come on down!” (credited to Johnny Olson but also said by Rod Roddy and whoever’s doing the announcing now, “The Price is Right”)
  • “Good night, and good luck” (Edward R. Murrow, “See It Now” recently stolen by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, but with a more cynical delivery)
  • “Here it is, your moment of Zen” (credited to Jon Stewart but originally said by Craig Kilborn, “The Daily Show”)
  • “Here’s Johnny!” (Ed McMahon, “The Tonight Show”)
  • “Is that your final answer?” (credited to Regis Philbin but also said by Meredith Vieira, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”) (Yeah, Regis uses it elsewhere, but it really belongs to the show, IMO)
  • “Smile, you’re on `Candid Camera'” (“Candid Camera”)
  • “Space, the final frontier …” (credited to Capt. Kirk but also said by Capt. Picard, “Star Trek”)
  • “The truth is out there” (Fox Mulder, “The X-Files”) (I don’t recall the character saying it much, but it was displayed in big letters in the show’s opening for much of the series.)
  • “The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat” (Jim McKay, “ABC’s Wide World of Sports”)
  • “The tribe has spoken” (Jeff Probst, “Survivor”)
  • “This is the city …” (Sgt. Joe Friday, “Dragnet”)
  • “Two thumbs up” (credited to Siskel & Ebert, “Siskel & Ebert”, but used by whover is currently hosting that movie review show)

The “Personality Catchphrases”:

  • “Bam!” (Emeril Lagasse, “Emeril Live”)
  • “How sweet it is!” (Jackie Gleason, “The Jackie Gleason Show”)
  • “Let’s get ready to rumble!” (Michael Buffer, various sports events) (Could this also be classified as an “Opening”?)
  • “Makin’ whoopie” (Bob Eubanks, “The Newlywed Game”)
  • “Mom always liked you best” (Tommy Smothers, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”)
  • “Now cut that out!” (Jack Benny, “The Jack Benny Program”) (Benny was playing a fictionalized version of himself, so this might be considered a “Character Catchphrase”)
    -“Say good night, Gracie” (George Burns, “The Burns & Allen Show”) (Same as Benny, plus it was part of the show’s closing… sometimes things just don’t fit in easy categories)
  • “That’s hot” (Paris Hilton, “The Simple Life”)
  • “We’ve got a really big show!” (Ed Sullivan, “The Ed Sullivan Show”)
  • “You’re fired!” (Donald Trump, “The Apprentice”) (Since they didn’t let Martha Stewart use it, the phrase belongs to the Donald, not the show)

And now, the purest of the pure catchprases, the ones associated with (and frequently repeated by) TV characters:

  • “Aaay” (Fonzie, “Happy Days”)
  • “Baby, you’re the greatest” (Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, “The Honeymooners”)
  • “Book ’em, Danno” (Steve McGarrett, “Hawaii Five-O”) (Yes, this could be classified as a Show Closing, but that’s more picky than even I am)
  • “Danger, Will Robinson” (Robot, “Lost in Space”)
  • “De plane! De plane!” (Tattoo, “Fantasy Island”)
  • “Denny Crane” (Denny Crane, “Boston Legal”)
  • “D’oh!” (Homer Simpson, “The Simpsons”)
  • “Don’t make me angry …” (David Banner, “The Incredible Hulk”) (Another incomplete quote: “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”)
  • “Dyn-o-mite” (J.J., “Good Times”)
  • “Elizabeth, I’m coming!” (Fred Sanford, “Sanford and Son”) (Didn’t he usually phrase it: “I’m coming, Elizabeth!”?)
  • “Gee, Mrs. Cleaver …” (Eddie Haskell, “Leave it to Beaver”)
  • “God’ll get you for that” (Maude, “Maude”)
  • “Good grief” (Charlie Brown, “Peanuts” specials) (This was so obviously a comic strip catchphrase years before it became a TV catchphrase… I wonder if they just included it to contrast with “Good night and good luck”.)
  • “Good night, John Boy” (“The Waltons”)
  • “Heh heh” (Beavis and Butt-head, “Beavis and Butthead”) (Shouldn’t there be a third ‘heh’?)
  • “Hey now!” (Hank Kingsley, “The Larry Sanders Show”)
  • “Hey hey hey!” (Dwayne Nelson, “What’s Happening!!”)
  • “Hey hey hey!” (Fat Albert, “Fat Albert”) (What does it say about America’s literacy when this list contains TWO “Hey hey heys” – although Dwayne and Fat Albert used strikingly different deliveries on it – plus “Hey now!”, “Heh heh” and “Aaay”… and we haven’t gotten to the “yabbas and yadas” yet.)
  • “Holy (whatever), Batman!” (Robin, “Batman”) (Interestingly, the only catchphrase on the list with unlimited variations.)
  • “Holy crap!” (Frank Barone, “Everybody Loves Raymond”)
  • “Homey don’t play that!” (Homey the Clown, “In Living Color”)
  • “How you doin’?” (Joey Tribbiani, “Friends”)
  • “I know nothing!” (Sgt. Schultz, “Hogan’s Heroes”)
  • “I love it when a plan comes together” (Hannibal, “The A-Team”)
  • “I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl …” (Larry, “Newhart”) (I’m getting tired of finishing these for them… “and this is my other brother Darryl.” They left off the punch line!)
  • “I’m Rick James, bitch!” (Dave Chappelle as Rick James, “Chappelle’s Show”)
  • “If it weren’t for you meddling kids!” (Various villains, “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?”) (This time they left off the first part… “And I would’ve gotten away with it…”, plus the ending “…and your dumb dog!”)
  • “Jane, you ignorant slut” (Dan Aykroyd to Jane Curtin, “Saturday Night Live”)
  • “Just one more thing …” (Columbo, “Columbo”)
  • “Let’s be careful out there” (Sgt. Esterhaus, “Hill Street Blues”)
  • “Live long and prosper” (Spock, “Star Trek”)
  • “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! (Jan Brady, “The Brady Bunch”)
  • “Never assume …” (Felix Unger, “The Odd Couple”)
  • “Nip it!” (Barney Fife, “The Andy Griffith Show”)
  • “No soup for you!” (The Soup Nazi, “Seinfeld”) (Maybe this should’ve been in the Quotes category, since the character was only in one episode.)
  • “Norm!” (“Cheers”)
  • “Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!” (Stan and Kyle, “South Park”) (Okay, maybe they had a reason for leaving off “The bastards!”)
  • “Resistance is futile” (credited to Picard as Borg, which all good Trekkies know should be Locutus of Borg, as well as every other Borg including Seven of Nine, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”)
  • “Schwing!” (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth, “Saturday Night Live”)
  • “Sock it to me” (“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”)
  • “Stifle!” (Archie Bunker, “All in the Family”) (I would’ve picked “You meathead” before this for Archie.)
  • “Suit up!” (Barney Stinson, “How I Met Your Mother”)
  • “Tell me what you don’t like about yourself” (Dr. McNamara and Dr. Troy, “Nip/Tuck”)
  • “Up your nose with a rubber hose” (Vinnie Barbarino, “Welcome Back, Kotter”)
  • “We are two wild and crazy guys!” (Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd as Czech playboys, “Saturday Night Live”)
  • “Well, isn’t that special?” (Dana Carvey as the Church Lady, “Saturday Night Live”)
  • “What you see is what you get!” (Geraldine, “The Flip Wilson Show”)
  • “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” (Arnold Drummond, “Diff’rent Strokes”)
  • “Who loves you, baby?” (Kojak, “Kojak”)
  • “Would you believe?” (Maxwell Smart, “Get Smart”)
  • “Yabba dabba do!” (Fred Flintstone, “The Flintstones”)
  • “Yada, yada, yada” (“Seinfeld”)
  • “Yeah, that’s the ticket” (Jon Lovitz as the pathological liar, “Saturday Night Live”)
  • “You eeeediot!” (Ren, “Ren & Stimpy”)
  • “You look mahvelous!” (Billy Crystal as Fernando, “Saturday Night Live”)
  • “You rang?” (Lurch, “The Addams Family”)

Of course, there are many (besides “Meathead”) that were not included but deserve to be on this list. There’s a MetaFilter thread full of them, and I’ll be discussing those and a few of my own later. Right now, this blog post is long enough.