Sunday, December 31, 2006

Jingle Balls

Woman Charged With Malicious Castration

"All three were heavily intoxicated."

That's a shocker. What's impressive is that she inflicted a wound requiring 50+ stitches with her bare hands.


Two very different best-of-the-year image collections, both British:
* Those look-how-fabulous-I-am pictures that people invariably take when they're on vacation

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Go Fark Yourself

I can't believe nobody's told me about Fark. With stories like this, it's right up my alley.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hard Times at Hillbilly Heaven

Papa Pilgrim proceeds to the pokey.

Fascinating though it's been, the saga leaves me with only one burning question: How did they bathe with their clothes on? (And why? God made us nude, did He not?)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

You Killed Santa!

Or maybe he just has a wicked hangover.

A sand sculpture in Puri, India.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Alone for Christmas?

Here's an idea. I'm not sure they speak English, but beggars can't be choosers.

Friday, December 22, 2006

O Tanenbaum

We went with a different shape of Christmas tree this year: tall and thin. Like Naomi Campbell, but it doesn't throw tantrums or telephones. (Wouldn't that be fun, though?)

The smaller footprint leaves more space for people. And presents.

South Florida Squirrel

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Martha and Her "Very Good Tool"

From the New York Post:


December 17, 2006 -- She's no prison rat.

And her new $1,200 "vibrator" is "a very good tool," ex-con domestic diva Martha Stewart confided in a raunchy riposte with Sirius Satellite Radio colleague Howard Stern.

The usually stiff-shirt Stewart showed her down-and-dirty side last week.

She recalled dating Mayor Bloomberg "years ago" - and confessed she couldn't get past the Hannibal Lecter character while dating "Silence of the Lambs" actor Anthony Hopkins.

"Do you want someone eating your brain while you are sitting in your beautiful dining room in Maine?" she wondered. "I would have probably had a very nice relationship with Anthony Hopkins but I couldn't get past the Lecter thing."

She called her current beau a filthy-rich Microsoft retiree with his own plane and boat. "Those guys have all the toys," she said.

The woman imprisoned for the ImClone insider-trading scandal also said she ran into "girls with mustaches and girls with beards [who] would ask me for lunch" behind bars.

"They also wanted to learn," she added ". . . Everybody in prison has a business plan."

She said she always told guards that she'd simply fallen whenever they asked her to snitch on who had bruised her arm.

And she's still fuming at Donald Trump over her axed spinoff of "The Apprentice." "Don't sit us next to each other," she said.

Redneck Time-Out

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Season's Greetings

Pity the artist whose work is misinterpreted by an unsophisticated public. Like Mr. Sensitivity here. Don't miss the video.

Role-Play Can Be Fun

Especially for the audience. Check this out.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Grannies Say the @#*&!%est Things

People who socialize with gossip columnists know not to say anything they'd regret seeing in the next day's paper. As ubiquitous as blogs have become, you might think that lesson would be universal by now. But you'd be wrong. You're not even safe confessing to a shut-in these days. Not if he has a blog.

The other day, someone of my acquaintance was driving her four-year-old granddaughter and a young friend to the performance of a traditional holiday ballet. She's normally mild of manner, but a late start and another complication had set her nerves on edge long before the cabbie cut her off.

"Fucker!" she hissed reflexively.

A moment later, inevitably, came the small voice from the back seat: "What did you say, Grandma?"

Thinking fast, she said, "Oh, I was just saying hi to Mr. Fucker," trying to make it sound more like "Focker" this time. "He's driving that taxi up there. Hi, Mr. Focker!" She gave a little wave.

That seemed to satisfy the girl. But Grandma's going to hold her breath for another day or two, and she'll probably be a little anxious the next couple of times her son or daughter-in-law calls.

This could just as well have happened in my family. We're about 10 years past that point now, but I'm sure my nephew's vocabulary got plenty of entries from my mom.

Boy Genius

Saturday, December 16, 2006

That Ain't My Excuse

Soy is an excellent source of protein. It's also "feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality." Might cause cancer and obesity too.

So says this guy. And he should know, because he's an "author, advertising copywriter, columnist, teacher, pioneer thinker, chronicler of the miraculous, and spokesman for the worldwide house church community." He's so smart, he wrote The Meaning of Life.

Check out his site. I'm sure you'll be every bit as impressed as I was.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Constructive Criticism

The Finns have devised a creative outlet for the everyday annoyances of modern life: the complaints choir.

The first effort was actually in Birmingham, "the arsehole of England," but their group isn't nearly as melodic as Helsinki's. No one does misery like Scandinavians.

Now the phenomenon is spreading. Could this be the magic bullet for the Middle East?

Annoying Neighbors?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not Your Plumber's Snake

There are a lot of stories I'd dismiss as urban myths if the source weren't a newspaper. Like this one from Sydney's Daily Telegraph:

Toilet blocked by 2m snake

SCHOOL teacher Kate Poole called for help when she found her toilet was blocked – and couldn't work out why.

A plumber peered into the porcelain bowl – and found a huge snake looking back at him.

The 2m carpet python was living in the septic tank at the property in Howard Springs, 20km south of Darwin. Parks and Wildlife ranger Peter Phillips said the snake had probably poked its head out of the toilet "for a bit of a look around".

He tried to pull it out through the bowl – "but it was stuck around the S-bend".

The snake was finally caught by lifting the septic tank cover and using special tongs.

Ms Poole, 58, a part-time relief teacher, had met the snake before when it killed a baby possum that used to come to her door for a feed with its mother.

"It was crushing the possum," she said. "I managed to free the poor animal by lifting up the snake with a crutch but it was too late – the possum was dead." She didn't hold a grudge and was happy to see the python liberated from her toilet and septic tank.

Mr Phillips said the snake was a fine specimen – "he's got a nice big boof head and no sign of disease".

The operation brought back memories for plumber Mick Pittman – he used to catch crocodiles and is known as Crocodile Mick.

Best of the Year's Bumper Stickers

1/20/09: End of an Error
That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First
If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore
America: One Nation, Under Surveillance
They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It
Whose God Do You Kill For?
Cheney/Satan '08
Jail to the Chief
No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?
Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
Bad President! No Banana.
We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
Is It Vietnam Yet?
Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?
You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
Impeach Cheney First
Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too
The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?
One Nation Under Clod
2004: Embarrassed. 2005: Horrified. 2006: Terrified.
Bush Never Exhaled
At Least Nixon Resigned
Republicans for Voldemort

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Condi's (Not So) Secret Weapon

I have a friend who's kept me laughing for more than two decades now. We share a strong appreciation of the ridiculous and outrageous -- and a fondness for shocking people, especially those we think could use a jolt.

In recent years she's developed a taste for outsider art and a talent for finding good stuff. Pathologically generous, she's as likely to buy a piece for a friend as she is for herself. I've been a grateful beneficiary more than once, and the latest offering is my favorite so far.

It's a portrait of Condoleezza Rice, our estimable secretary of state. Condi is not wearing her famous dominatrix boots in the picture. In fact, she's not wearing anything except pearl earrings, a gold necklace, and a sly smile. Oh, and a huge phallus, which probably explains her expression. Appropriately, the title is Mine's Bigger Than Yours.

The picture hangs proudly in our hallway, where I can see it from my bed, framed by the doorway. It's been there for almost two months now, and it's been a hoot watching people's reactions: lots of hearty laughter, given the political views of most of our visitors, but also a pair or two of pursed lips. What can I say? Butt Hollow just isn't a Martha Stewart sort of household. No seascapes or still lifes for us.

This is clearly not a case of art imitating life, but it would explain a great deal about the administration's approach to foreign policy.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Tori's Sale Attracts Hundreds

Tori Spelling's yard sale attracted about 300 people this past weekend. Reportedly, people even came from out of town for the sale. As a result, traffic jams occurred and news helicopters flew overhead capturing the chaos. Among the items purchased by bargain-hunters were paintings, lingerie, a rubber duck, a $25 plastic Starbucks mug and a whip.
Check out Tori's official site. It's a treat.

Noteworthy Names

The latest installment from the ever-growing list of names that have caught my attention:

Fawn Breeze
Phila Belle Blackwell
Elmer Freeburger
Caitlyn Shatlock
Crystal Nick
Jewel Skeens
Rubye Beaver
Jade Teegarden
Wanda Wiltbank
Erlease B. Proctor
Luva Dotson Gant
Clarence T. Finkle
Trevin Lumpkin
Lisbon Jack Gober
Cmdr. Herschel Head
Edna B. Head
Celestine Head
(Ms.) Temprest Tennille
Durward and Vandalia Taylor
Junella Shade Lovett
Rev. Kahlfani Drummer
Vondaleera Higginbotham George
Olive Bonnet
Refrenita Smith
(Ms.) Ozell Jones
Wilma Knight White
Orman Z. Rippeon
Luola Murchison Hurkamp "Lola" Beaver
W.G. Snuffy Walden
Vendetta M. Forney
Comillious Proctor
Annie Stringer Necessary
Sir Ninian Buchan-Hepburn
Forrest Coop
(Mr.) Gwan Gamble
Violet Rosen
Violet Laden
Terry Terbush
Queenie Pope
Jean S. Pookrum
Collenia Linzy
Peter Pupa
(Mrs.) Ossie Fryer
Park Greenwell
Hattie V. Ivey
Haydon McPheeters
Winnie Peoples
Eulitta Rhodes
Ezella Stone
Harry Hurt III
Effie Mae Funderburk
(Mrs.) Starr Topken
Heather Sacks
Destanye Owens
Novella Nesbitt
Danita Fedchock
Ida Mae Day
Tyrone L. King Jr. Armstead
(Mr.) Delaware Barbour
Fletcher Gnat
Meta Dohrmann Driessnack
Doris Morris
Marva Goode
Melburn Lingenfelter
Natavia Vineyard
(Ms.) Crata Vaughn
Wilma Ohlenbusch
Roxie Dippel
Clayton, Leona, and Lynelle Stunkard
Chuck Sublett
Shane Yamada
Zenobia Boulware
Elandus Carver
Hattie Duppins
Earline Fludd-Minor and brother Wilbur Pierre "Tookie" Fludd
Hal Hasty
Mellowese and Lenericha Pegues
Travilla Weatherholtz
Zelda Coker
Carolyn Bacon Cave
Domini Bean
Bland Janice Holly
Willestine McClain
Fiona Roll
Capt. Urial Leach
Debernair Leonard
Cornelius Awkard
Percy Pondexter
Celestine Pettus
Maebell Stuckey
Vanilla Spencer
Musette Sutphin
LaSanta McGill
Fannie, Luevenia, Pandora, and Candy Carey
Rose Woods
Elvis, BaRonie, and Shaneena Wright
Brig. Edward Grismond Beaumont Davies-Scourfield
Damian Grammaticus
Cielle Fink Block
Nannie Bustle
Rosetta Dent Napper
Otelia Mugg
Braxton and Twanna Wiggins
Preston, Ettrina, and Marquise Vanzego
(Mrs.) Laculia P. Williams
(Ms.) Tamale Walton
Melvin T. Bumbrey
LaVell and LeVell Calhoun (twin brothers)
Candy Couch

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Laying It on the Line

This book is worth buying for the title alone: They Call Me Naughty Lola: Personal Ads from the London Review of Books.

And then there are the excerpts:

Most vegetarians complain about missing the taste of bacon. Not me, I complain about my liver disease. And rural postal services. Man, 40. Box no. 3143.

You're a brunette, 6', long legs, 25-30, intelligent, articulate and drop-dead gorgeous. I, on the other hand, am 4'10", have the looks of Hervé Villechaize and carry an odour of wheat. No returns and no refunds at box no. 3321.

I'll see you at the LRB singles night. I'll be the one breathing heavily and stroking my thighs by the 'art' books. Asthmatic, varicosed F (93) seeks M to 30 with enough puff in him to push me uphill to the post office. This is not a euphemism. Box no. 4632.

Mature gentleman (62), aged well, noble grey looks, fit and active, sound mind and unfazed by the fickle demands of modern society seeks . . . damn it, I have to pee again. Box no. 4143.

These ads try too hard to be funny. Not me, I'm a natural. Juggling, monkey-faced idiot (M, 36). Box no. 5312.

Friday, December 08, 2006


If your holiday gift list includes this, this, or -- God forbid -- this, I humbly suggest that you take that money and donate it to a charity instead. Or to me.

I'm quite fond of my iPod, but things have clearly gone too far.


[Mary Cheney is] going to have to explain to her child what mommy was doing trying to help a party that doesn't believe in fairness for families like theirs.
Indeed. A thoughtful column by Ruth Marcus in today's Post.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Learning From the Past

At this point, all of my pants have elastic waistbands. My wardrobe is that of an old man or a small child, with just a hint of the Unabomber.

Even with a minimum of buttons, snaps, and zippers, it's become increasingly challenging to pull my pants up and keep them there.

Lying on my bed the other day, catching my breath after one such struggle, an epiphany surfaced from some dark recess of memory: Maybe it would be easier in this position. I gave it a try, and indeed it was. Gravity was no longer working against me.

I did not invent this technique. It was widely practiced by girls during my early teen years, when skintight jeans were de rigueur. The names Jordache and Sasson probably don't mean much to other generations, but they meant everything at the time. Girls would yank them on and totter around triumphantly, laughing off the dark rumors about fainting, blood clots, and sterility. Who knew back then that these brave young heroines would reach far into the future one day to lend me a hand?

Thanks, girls!

(Wind-) Breaking News

Dec. 6, 4:12 PM EST

Flatulence Forces Plane to Land

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said.

The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.

The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.

"It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up."

The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

And You Thought Your Family Was Weird

Richard Pryor's daughter Rain has written a memoir. Considering the circumstances, it's bound to be an interesting read.

Truth be told, I'm a little jealous that the following will never be said of me:

[A] lot of the time, she says, the money went to the hookers hanging out at his house -- "Daddy, the whores need to be paid"-- and not to paying child support to his many ex-wives raising kids far from the Hollywood Hills. So hers was a childhood of abundance and of lack, of private jets and welfare checks, of elaborate vacations in Hawaii and a gig selling hot dogs on the beach when she was 13.

She is the daughter of an exceedingly complicated African American icon who famously set himself on fire, and an equally complicated blond, blue-eyed Jewish woman who fervently believed that she was black. In a new autobiography, Pryor writes of lighting candles for Shabbat with one set of grandparents and also listening attentively to her great-grandmother, a onetime bordello owner, breaking down racial realities as she shuffled a tarot deck: "You black, Rainy. The world's gonna see Rain as a [black person] no matter what her mother is."

The book describes her mother as a jive-talking dancer with a fondness for wearing Afro wigs -- it was the '60s -- and quoting Malcolm X.

When she was 4, her mother introduced Rain to her father. The book recounts that he took one look at her and said, "Ain't denying this one's mine!" That night, during a sleepover at Pryor's home, she wandered into her father's bedroom. She'd heard noises and she was afraid. She saw her father on top of a blond woman and ran out of the room.

More here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Title on the Fiction Shelf

At long last, someone has explored the uncanny links between two of the most distinguished figures in modern history.
Greatness: Reagan, Churchill, and the Making of Extraordinary Leaders
Steven F. Hayward

Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill were true giants of the twentieth century, but somehow historians have failed to notice the many similarities between these extraordinary leaders. Until now.
Among the "extensive and profound" parallels the author uncovered:
  • "[M]any of Churchill’s friends would say to him — 'Winston, you missed your calling in life. You should have been an actor.'" And Ronald Reagan was an actor!
  • "They both had a fondness for vigorous outdoor labor. Churchill spent years building a large brick wall by himself at his country home, Chartwell, while Reagan built long fences out of telephone poles at his ranch, as well as endlessly cutting brush."*
  • "And of course they both loved horses."**
Well, that cinches it. The two giants were obviously separated at birth. It's eerie, I tell you. Just think of all the coinkydinks Hayward didn't mention: Both men were white, married, spoke English ...

* I see room for another cowboy-president in a future edition.
** Hayward notes that "[b]oth were in the cavalry," but I believe he's confusing Reagan's film roles with actual military experience -- just as the Gipper himself did on occasion.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Beyond Immaculate Conception

Obviously I spend more time perusing the obituaries than is generally considered healthy. I concede the point. But they're so interesting.

This one, for instance:
On October 25, 2006. Father of Charles Hendrix Plunkett of Maryland and the late Ernest MacLeod Plunkett; grandfather of Charles F. Plunkett; great-grandfather of Charles C.K. and R.I. Plunkett; great-grandson of the late Lt. Col. William Henry Plunkett; grandson of the late Rear Adm. Charles Peshall Plunkett; and son of the late Lt. Charles Tuck Plunkett, USN.
Some families have more boys than girls, and vice versa. And then there are the Plunketts, who apparently managed to produce seven generations of males without the assistance of a single woman. Remarkable. I guess theirs truly is a man's world.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Be Fruitful and Multiply*

I just read a death notice for a man who left 16 children, 60 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren.

Pardon my French, but holy fucking shit!

I finally saw An Inconvenient Truth last week, so I already knew the planet is doomed. Still, must we hasten it so wantonly?

* In moderation. In moderation, damn it!

Burning Bushes

Much of the Outlook section in today's Post was given to predictions of Bush's legacy -- i.e., the worst president in history, or merely one of the worst? Five historians weighed in:
And the magazine reprinted a brief excerpt in which Bush pere et fils share their views on class and privilege, revealing far more about themselves than they realize. The full article, from 1986, can be read here.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Livin' (and Dyin') Large

Big news in this morning's paper:
Rosalie Bradford
Once Weighed Over 1,000 Pounds

Rosalie Bradford, 63, who held records for being the world's heaviest woman and for losing the most weight, died Nov. 30 at a hospital in Lakeland, Fla.

Publicist Stephen Nortier said the cause of death won't be known until a medical examiner's report, but Ms. Bradford had spent the past year bedridden with complications from having her lymph nodes severed years ago. She weighed about 400 pounds just before dying.

Ms. Bradford weighed 1,050 pounds in January 1987, according to the 1994 Guinness Book of Records. She lost 736 pounds, to weigh 314 pounds, in September 1992, according to the record book. At her largest, Bradford was 8 feet wide.

She credited Richard Simmons, the fitness guru, with helping her lose weight. The two began corresponding after a friend of hers wrote Simmons when she tried to commit suicide.

Ms. Bradford blamed her lifelong battle with obesity on abandonment, which bred a food addiction. Her Web site claims her peak weight was more than 1,200 pounds.
Among all those big figures, the one that really struck me was the eight-foot width. She was as big across as a standard ceiling height.

If, like me, you are riveted and want to learn more, check out her site.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Off the Beaten Path

Why stay at the Radisson when you can rent a Forgotten House?

The agency looks like a small, private version of Britain's venerable National Trust, which offers hundreds of quirky properties. We rented a cottage in rural Devon three years ago, and it was one of my best vacations ever.

Great browsing at both sites.

Why I Don't Watch Daytime TV

A friend saw fit to forward this clip of Rosie O'Donnell and her milkshake. Now I'm sharing the love, because that's the kind of person I am.