Sunday, September 30, 2007
(Mrs.) British Holliday
(Mr.) Fonzie Garnett
Prof. Pharnal Longus
R.J. Reynolds (age 17)
Nannie Burns Frisby
Dr. Guillermo Balfour
August J. Rumps
(Mrs.) Middy Shutt (children: Buffy, Topper)
(Mr.) Ocie Crump
Manzella Ann Yourtee
Lorena Bobbitt (not that one)
(Ms.) Spirit Trickey
Ollie Mae Alley
Wilbur and Velma Wigglesworth
La Dear Brevard
Louis Napoleon Lemieux
Hank Wangford (president, Nude Mountaineering Society)
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
It was known that she was no cat lover, yet people were nonetheless taken aback when she remarked, shuddering, that she couldn't stand "that awful noise they make." My mother, who's had many felines, none of them particularly vocal, was nonplussed. She must mean the yowling you hear when a cat's in heat, she decided.
A logical answer, but not the correct one. Further probing revealed that the sound so disturbing, so offensive, was ... purring.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Freegans take it a lot further. To them, thrift is a calling and recycling's a competitive sport.
I admire their commitment, I honestly do. Just remember, kids: It's all fun and games until you get amoebic dysentery. And your doctor doesn't subscribe to the barter system.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
When a person cannot deceive himself the chances
are against his being able to deceive other people.
One of the good things about living in the Internet Age is that it's a lot harder for public figures to get away with rewriting history. Yet still they try ...
In Slate, Jack Shafer examines media fact-checking efforts and asks: "Why can't the press drop the pretenses and call people who lie liars?"
I find it deliciously ironic that the story's fifth paragraph consists of a run-on sentence, although that seems to be common practice in British English. Maybe they'll discover the wonders of the semicolon once they've made it through the hyphen crisis.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
In many parts of the world, a Mormon missionary is the only American the locals will ever meet; the clean-cut, idealistic young face of our nation. With foreign-language fluency and the perpetually sunny demeanor of the true believer, they’re incredibly successful at winning converts.My favorite passages:
Because they prohibit birth control, Mormons have apparently developed a remarkable tolerance for screaming babies.
Mormon families are instructed to stock up on canned goods and wheat to prepare for Armageddon. The Church itself stores 19 million pounds of wheat in a Salt Lake City grain silo.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
(AP Photo/Gull Meadow Farms, Dawn Wendzel)
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Every year when I come begging for the Walk to D'Feet ALS, I like to highlight a benefit or service that's been of particular help to me so you can get a tangible sense of where your money goes. This year it was an easy choice.
At some point over the summer, my computer went kaput. Decisively. Most people these days are attached to their computers, but mine is much more than a convenience. It's my link to the world. Without it, I am effectively cut off from civilization. As much as I enjoy reading and watching TV, they get old after a couple of days when you have no alternatives.
The company that adapted the computer advised me to send it in, but that would have taken ages and cost a fortune. The speech-language pathologist at my ALS clinic suggested I just throw away the machine and use a Muscular Dystrophy Association grant towards a new one. I love a new toy, but I don't love tossing expensive devices when they can be repaired.
Carlos, the technology guru at the ALS Association's DC/MD/VA Chapter, had a radically different approach. He came over, diagnosed the problem, and had the computer up and running within days. Better than ever, with extra memory and vastly improved voice-generation software. How much did all that cost me? Nary a cent.
Services like this are priceless to me and many others, which is what pushes me once a year to set aside my aversion to fundraising. If you'd like to sponsor me for the walk, you can do so here. Support in any amount is greatly appreciated. Contributions are fully tax deductible, and you'll receive a receipt.
If you're free on October 21st, come join the Jackals on the Mall. We have a great time, and there's always room in the pack.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble.
It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
"The job of the president," he continued, through an ample wad of bread and sausage, "is to think strategically so that you can accomplish big objectives. As opposed to playing mini-ball. You can't play mini-ball with the influence we have and expect there to be peace. You've gotta think, think BIG...."Excerpts from Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
I don't know when he acquired the habit or how much time he devotes to it. We were roommates for years in the '90s, and the only show I remember watching regularly was "Melrose Place." Those were good times. At some point the plotlines grew too farfetched and we gave it up like a pair of OP shorts. It's better to quit while you still have a little self-respect.
Marty's last stay coincided with a "Little People, Big World" marathon. Lucky me. The featured family is surprisingly ordinary except for being dwarfs. And ordinary families don't make for riveting entertainment. Even their dysfunction is fairly mundane.
Last night's feature was "627 Lb. Woman: Jackie's Story." The subject seeks bariatric surgery, which requires leaving her home for the first time in a year and a half. Now, this was a story I could sink my teeth into -- even as I sank them into the stack of cookies in my lap. Marty was mesmerized, eating Ben & Jerry's straight from the carton.
So thoroughly did we empathize with Jackie that we were too spent to fully bond with her successor. "Half Body: A Woman's Courage" introduced us to Rose, whose malformed spine leaves her with a virtually useless lower body. Naturally, she wanted to have a baby. Yet adoption, a seemingly logical solution, was apparently either unfamiliar or unappealing. We didn't last long enough to find out how she fared.
Marty will be back any minute, and I haven't had the courage to peruse tonight's listings. He checked in this afternoon, saying: "I hope there's something on about hermaphrodites."
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Bessie Bell Beatty Bussey
John Hooker, defense attorney
(Mr.) Sanatone Reddix
Eleanor Pope Tickell
(Mr.) Stonie Weathers
(Ms.) Triantafilitsa Mattfeld
Hugh E. Lewis
(Ms.) Missouri Maggett
Commie Lena Bussey
Haseltine Cornelia Shockey
Thomas C. Thomas
Millard Swingle Jr.
Cornelius Marine Buffler
Lura Ann Zickefoose
Ruth Pack Wolf
Gervis and Leafie Boggs Mullins
Sgt. Princess Crystal-Dawn Samuels
Pamela Polychrones Furr
(Ms.) Glorious Bazemore
Elvira "Curly" Glascock
Ossman B. Orndorff Jr.
Colleen Fontanelle Swilling
(Mr.) Justice Shakespeare Lee
Richard Lee "Dick" Scarlett
Hertha Maxine Googe
(Ms.) Shirldan McGrit
Willisene K. Garbrick
Burl T. and Burl A. Jones (siblings)
Elizabeth Betty Windsor
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
Then again, illiterate nutters can be quite engaging.
Consider Lee Mercer, a self-described "road scholar." I've been following his campaign for several minutes now -- ever since a friend called to my attention No. 56 of the 70 reasons Mercer gives for running: "To Prove Jeb Bush is all in my house with disease." I was also struck by No. 49: "To Prove the United States Government killed my sex life, my wife sex life, my daughter-in –laws sex life both may sons and other of my family members sex life with Espionage Experimentation and Espionage Exploitation sex killing."
And some people think the '08 choices lack spirit and originality ...
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I can think of no other explanation for the purchases I made yesterday on iTunes: several singles each by REO Speedwagon (gulp!) and Toto (gasp!) and, most shocking of all, the entire 16-track Ultimate Air Supply.
Maybe I was rattled by the series I'd just watched. As often as not, CNN leaves me muttering in disgust lately. (Wolf Blitzer: Do you have any shame left at all? Larry King: If you won't die, will you at least retire? Please?) But some of their specials are quite good, as was the case with Christiane Amanpour's* "God's Warriors," an equal-opportunity survey of religious nuts.
The ironic thing about zealots -- whether Christian, Jewish, or Muslim -- is how alike they are. Dead certain that they're right and everyone else is wrong; matched in their single-mindedness, rigidity, and intolerance. Their differences are relatively minor, except for how far they'll go to make a point. It's a rare Jew or Christian who'll blow himself up with a smile on his face.
It was an excellent series, and it left me feeling unsettled and slightly bereft. Hence Air Supply.
* I like her so much, sometimes I can even forget about her bangs. Girlfriend needs a makeover.
The story of the Edsel is a farce that might make a good Mel Brooks movie, a tale of human folly, corporate arrogance and vast piles of horse excrement, much of it metaphorical but some of it, alas, all too pungently real.
Monday, September 03, 2007
I rolled on stage, surely one of Jerry's oldest and ugliest Kids, for a chat with one of the emcees. I'd been given the questions ahead of time, so I programmed responses into my talking computer. It worked pretty well -- well enough to moisten the eyes of the host and at least one of the telephone volunteers, whose reaction was caught by a sharp cameraman. I don't give up until someone cries.
The only disappointment was that I didn't get to sit in Jerry Lewis's lap. He was safely across the country at the main site in Las Vegas. With Maureen McGovern and the Village People. You keep that lap warm, Jerry; I'll catch you someday.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Professional swimmers, such as the Thorpedo, are the only members of the male gender that can wear Speedos and not incur the ridicule of fellow men. The broad body balances the tiny pants to perfection, the electric blue says catch me if you can, I'm the fastest man in the pool. A masterclass in swimming -- and swimwear.