January 2008


News Flash! Associated Press Can’t Count!!!

Last week I contributed the following to my second webhome at MetaFilter:
Got Questions About the News? Ask AP (Associated Press) All you have to do is “send your questions to newsquestions(at)ap.org, with “Ask AP” in the subject line. Then keep an eye out for installments of the new Q&A column, where you’ll finally get some answers”… maybe… if they feel like it. Instant Analysis: No threat to Ask Metafilter.

Well, a week later, AskAP answered its first questions, “six of the 150 questions submitted by the news-reading public” (I’m disappointed; I’d hoped that MeFi members would flood their inbox with a lot more than that):

The questions:
What ever happened to Baghdad Bob?
How can oil go up in cost by a factor of five and the cost of gasoline go up by a factor of two?
What happened to Meredith Emerson’s dog Ella?
What is the difference between a caucus and a primary?
What is a “redshirt freshman”?
Waitaminit. There are only five questions…. WHERE THE HELL IS THE SIXTH QUESTION?!? (or is that the sixth question?


I Have Nothing Against Your Right Leg… The Trouble Is, Neither Have You

Something about certain of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore’s comedy bits never get old. Of course, 30+ years of “hire the handicapped” campaigns and “non-traditional casting” help to keep it current, and “politically incorrect” (I HATE that term, but it fits). Although, today a one-legged man could conceivably play Tarzan, with CGI filling in the second leg. Heck, the only thing keeping Christopher Reeve from resuming his old role as Superman is the fact that he’s dead… and a few more years and that won’t be an obstacle either. What am I rambling on about? I don’t know, watch the video.

In spite of the obvious visual element of Dudley Moore hopping around, this bit worked incredibly well in audio-only format, in Cook & Moore’s 1974 Original Cast Album LP of their stage revue “Good Evening”, which I enjoyed two years before first seeing them do it on Saturday Night Live (and a baker’s dozen years before the performance on the YouTube clip).

I’ll even threaten to anger the Copyright Gods by offering an mp3 of the totally unavailable album cut. Enjoy.



I have NOT died in a blogging accident. Even though it has suddenly become a popular thing to do. Personally, I think it would be better to have died in a knitting accident. But that’s just me. But I actually think the best possible fate is to be the first ever to have died in a napping accident.

(Yes, I’m getting Googlewacky again… But I am NOT a link whore. I don’t make any money from it, so I am a link slut. I hope that clarifies everything.)


Okay, my mind has now melted…

I was scanning headlines in popurls.com and “Vast Cloud of Antimatter Traced to Binary Stars” for a moment looked like “Vast Cloud of Antimatter Traced to Britney Spears”


Where Can Oga Park

When I was employed by a radio station in the suburbs of L.A., it frequently paid tribute to the area its signal covered best with “This Is the San Fernando Valley”. A lot of the historical tidbits involved the origins of the names of communities in the area (and there are a lot of them), and thus we learned that Burbank was NOT named after Luther Burbank and Tarzana WAS named after Tarzan (since Edgar Rice Burroughs lived there). There were also some in-house parodies of the feature, including one claiming that Van Nuys was named by the first Jewish settler who took one look at the area and said “Ver’ nice!” (a cheesy Jewish dialect makes the joke funnier) and Canoga Park was named for the plaintive cries of an immigrant named Oga looking for a parking place…


Corn-Based Humor

There have been numerous cases of events, originally written as fiction or even satire, that actually ended up happening in real life (excuse me if I don’t google up any of them – I’m tired). And both I and Andy Borowitz are losing sleep over the possibility that the “Iraq Exit Strategy through Iran” joke scenario might come true. But rarely has the lead time between THE JOKE and THE REALITY been so short…

My Web-Based Comedy Idol Lore Fitzgerald (Don’t Pronounce It Like Björk) Sjöberg did his weekly Wired.com column on “the best gadgets I’m pretty sure are probably being revealed at CES 2008.” I.E. the most extreme exaggeration of current tech trends turned into comically absurd vapor-product.

With the color green on everyone’s lips, computer makers are competing to create the most ecologically responsible desktop machine (…including the…) 100 percent biodegradable MulchMaster 7800x.

So when I saw the headline “FUJITSU UNVEILS LAPTOP MADE FROM CORN”, I just assumed it was an extension of the same joke. It’s not.

Okay, the People of the Corn have already replaced sugar with corn syrup, gasoline with ethanol and Presidential Primaries with Iowa Caucuses. Now they’re going to replace the laptop with a ‘computer on the cob’? These people must be stopped!!!


10, no, make that 15

Okay, one of those listbloggers – you know 10 Best this, 5 Worst that – came up with a collection of pictures of what it called the 10 Creepiest Old Ads, and a fairly nice collection it is, with a baby suffering from Marlboro-envy, a 1979 airline ad for flights to New York with an airplane shadowing over… well, guess (and extra creepy points for it being for the national airline of Pakistan), “Blow (Smoke) in her Face and She’ll Follow You Anywhere” (yeah, did that EVER work?), a WWII poster with a girl who really does look pretty clean, Thorazine for Cranky Old Men, another age-inappropriate baby, a WWII Victory Bonds scare ad, a smoking Santa (that’s where the baby picked it up), a wife getting spanked for buying the wrong coffee (what consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes is fine, just don’t take it to Starbucks), and a French Pig slicing himself into sausage (there is a whole blog dedicated to “Suicide Food” which I heartily recommend).

But mixed in with the old ads was some new advertising that, in keeping with Google AdSense’s famous ability to match ad to content, were pretty creepy too.
(No, you may not click any of these here. They’re not my ads. Not on my site.)


Sign of Oncoming Dementia #267

When I saw the headline “Taiwan To Purchase Patriots, Apaches”, I thought ‘Patriots’ referred to the NFL franchise and wondered if the Washington Redskins had made a politically-correct name change I hadn’t heard about.


Bagpipes Do Grow On Trees

From the “Well, I can’t make this stuff up” Department:

Bagpipes a threat to the environment (and we’re not talking noise pollution) from scotsman.com, so you have to believe it.

Money Quotes:
“Scots are being asked to fund the planting of “bagpipe trees”…”
“…African Blackwood, which proved to be far more resilient and produced a sweeter sound.” (compared to what?)
And the non-sequitorial closing line:
“The pipes were outlawed as an “instrument of war” after the Hanoverian forces crushed the Jacobites at Culloden in 1746.”

It seems to be suggested that other woodwinds – clarinets, oboes, bassoons – are also contributing to the depletion of the African Blackwood, but the bagpipe’s rather jellyfish-like design means more wooden pipes per instrument. Still, if the bagpipe is actually more popular than other woodwinds, well, I despair for the state of Music.


Tardis For Fears

I’ll admit I don’t follow the New Doctor Who as much as I should to keep up my Nerd Cred, but for me, this montage of Whovian villains and monsters to the tune of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is great fun. Lots of great matches of lyric to image, all umpteen incarnations of The Doctor seem to be represented, and all the Daleks you can shake a sonic screwdriver at. Your Smileage May Vary.