Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gone Fishin'

This is exactly the sort of mishap I'm always imagining. Honestly.

From Peggy.


There's hard science, and then there's this.

Thanks to Terry.

Just Desserts?

Don't give me that crap! (Actually, I'd be pretty tickled if you did.)

From Derek, who strives never to merit such an offering.
Sir Edward Grey, Winston Churchill, and Lord Crewe leave a cabinet
meeting following the Liberal victory in the general election,
14 February 1910. (PA Archives)

From Riley.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today's Top Story

From Clark.

The Less You Know

One of the few pleasures in my otherwise dull and bleak existence is the weekly podcast of This American Life.

Last week's episode was my favorite so far. Modern Jackass magazine? I have a lifetime subscription. Sometimes I catch myself in mid-oration and realize I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.
An auxiliary fireman trainee carrying a dummy down an escape during instruction at Cardiff Fire Brigade, 1938. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"The penalty for success is to be bored
by the people who used to snub you."

Nancy Astor

Dolls in Union Mills Homestead, Carroll County, Md., 1968. (Marion Warren)

More here.

From Riley.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Today's Top Story

From Alan by way of Derek.

Snuff Said

Like a kind of literary circus freak, Palahniuk delights in delivering material that frequently causes his fans to pass out (he stopped counting the casualties at 72). His only concern about this phenomenon is that his most shocking prose might be now overfamiliar. Hence the reason he replaced it for a while with material that instead made people cry.
Chuck Palahniuk is my kind of writer.

A couple of years ago, cooped up on a cross-country flight, I started listening to one of his short stories on my iPod. It was so foul, so hilariously obscene, I was overcome with hysterical laughter of the crying-and-gasping variety. The fact that no one else could hear only made things worse. I had to turn it off after a few minutes.

Also from Riley.
A porcelain manufacturing plant, 1930. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Have Cocktail Will Natter

Remember the early-'80s song "Freaks Come out at Night"?

I don't know if it's the hot weather, but on our late-evening dog walks we keep encountering people in liquor-fueled states of chattiness. You could almost see the fumes rising off one of them. I was used to that in the city, but you don't often see it on display in the 'burbs.

Speaking of boozy neighbors, Dan ran into a notorious tippler this morning. (No word on her status at the time.)

"How's your brother?" she asked.

The first time she made that query, a year or two ago, Dan was momentarily nonplused, wondering: How could she possibly know my brother? Then he realized she must have meant me.

He set her straight, as it were, but evidently it was too much to grasp. Or maybe she just forgot. Heavy drinking takes quite a toll on the mind, you know.

We might have to do something more memorable - like making out in front of her. Which would give me considerable pleasure, not least because Dan reported that she was wearing a T-shirt today from the 1996 Republican convention.

In Other Words

I'm glad Olympic tourists will be able to order food with some degree of confidence, but "mapo tofu" just isn't as evocative as "bean curd made by a pock-marked woman."

From Peg.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today's Top Story

I thought this type of phenomenon was limited to Catholics and evangelicals.

From Riley.

Child Play

Everyone hates babies. They're ugly, self-centered, inarticulate. They drool; they scream; they soil themselves. And things only get worse after that.

Why wait till they're verbal to mess with their little oversized heads? Some ideas to get you started.

From Peg, whose own daughter has reached adulthood without (visible) damage.

Another Angel in Heaven

Thank you for being a friend, Miss Getty.

And thank you, David, for breaking the news with a salty sweetness worthy of Sophia.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Until you've lost your reputation,
you never realize what a burden it was."
Margaret Mitchell

Barbie Cues

It's never too early to start shopping for Christmas, and I sincerely hope someone's planning to get me this.

Barbie gets a bad rap these days, but I challenge you to show me a more versatile role model. She's been everything: astronaut, dentist, NASCAR driver - and now performance artist, albeit unwittingly.

Thanks to Kristine for the second link.

Separated at Birth?

Not quite a Thriller, but decidedly spooky.

From Peggy.

'Shall I Jump out of the Window?'

The mortgage crisis explained.

From Riley.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Today's Top Story

What I want to know is how many rage incidents are sparked by a sticker on someone else's car. I'm not going to hurl a Slurpee at you if your bumper sports an NRA or pro-life message, but I'm a lot less likely to let you cut in front of me.

Creature Discomforts

A new PSA campaign from the brilliant team behind "Wallace and Gromit" and "Creature Comforts."

Thanks to Peg.

Who Knew?

I was never much of a science student, but they sure do make some interesting discoveries.
1902: A French postcard of two bathing belles posing by
a bathing hut "on the beach." (Hulton/Getty Images

From Riley.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Have Gas Will Travel

If the porcine version wasn't challenging enough for you, try this.


Over It

"I don't like this 'ALS' business," I remarked this morning as Dan attempted to force my left knee through my ribcage, part of our daily routine.

"I know," he said. "It's getting really old. You've been working it too long."

"No one cries anymore," I sighed.

Smutty Art

Or arty smut?


Friday, July 18, 2008

Whine Country

To my knowledge, I've never agreed with right-wing nutter and soft-core porn investor Phil Gramm about anything. I have to say, though, it's a bit much to hear fat, lazy Americans bitch about how much it costs to fill up their SUVs.

We've been so spoiled for so long that we think of cheap gas as a birthright, never mind how expensive it is elsewhere in the world. Last week I was impressed that it cost $62 to gas up Marge the Minivan when there was still a third of a tank left. That was put into perspective when a friend reported spending $130 to fill up in Belgium.

In today's column, Mark Morford considers some of the forces at play:
I admit to a bit of total confusion mixed with a certain level of stupefied awe and teeth-rattling frustration as to why anyone with the mental acuity of more than a housefly would think that stabbing more holes into Alaska and the eastern seaboard in the search for a few remaining precious drops of oil is a good idea, would solve anything at all, is anything more than the equivalent of hurling matches at the devil.

Red Ink

Thanks to Derek.

Playing With Food



Thursday, July 17, 2008

Don't Tread on Me

Here in the Holler, we've learned through painful experience to pause before plunking down on the sofa or a bed. What looks to the untrained eye like a randomly strewn throw or a disheveled duvet might well conceal a small greyhound. Possibly even a whippet, if it's dark or you're exceptionally tired or drunk. Barely three-dimensional to begin with, they love melting into a cozy crevice. They also like to be covered - even in the heat of summer.

Though I've lived it for many years, I didn't realize till today that the phenomenon has a name.


'All Best'

Pamplona, Spain: A matador is gouged by a bull during the seventh corrida of the San Fermin fiesta. (Pedro Armestre/AFP)

From Riley.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Looks to Die For

If you ever wondered what my ideal man looks like, now you know.

From Kristine, who's going to be very surprised when I bring him to her wedding.

Rolling Stoner

As an erstwhile San Franciscan, I can tell you this isn't as surprising as it looks:

From Peg.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Today's Top Story

I have a new hero:

Crease: The Musical

Long, long ago, I spent a summer and the subsequent holiday season as a Benetton vendeuse. The pay was lousy, but my wardrobe was greatly enhanced.

Although it sparked no career aspirations, there was something satisfying about the work. It wasn't until I read this that I realized how appealing it was to my OCD aesthetic: all those crisply uniform stacks and rows.

Like the people in the article, I kept my own clothes (and linens) in the same manner until fate, cruel fate, intervened.

Finger-lickin' Good

From Terry, who's always hungry for a tasty treat.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Today's Top Story

From Christine.

Bacon Bits

Having come across a rash(er) of bacon stories lately, I'm beginning to think there's almost nothing you can't do with it. As with many things, though, the fact that you can doesn't mean you should.

If you're artistically inclined, you could put your mind to something like this. (I personally think the Parthenon is crying out for it.) You'll build up an appetite for sure, so you'll want to have a snack on hand. Maybe even something substantial. And you'll definitely want to follow up with this; your dentist will thank you.

Sources: Neatorama, Dlisted, OMG Blog
A roofer uses his cell phone while being tied with a security rope to the sculpture adorning the roof of the Royal Chapel of the Chateau
de Versailles on June 30. (AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)

From Riley.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

"A happy childhood has spoiled many a promising life."
Robertson Davies

Far Out

Freako Suave

The fine art of seduction ...

Listen and learn, kids. Listen and learn.
Two young passengers settle down to their comics as
their train leaves London's Victoria Station, 1939.
(Tim Gidal/Picture Post/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Monday, July 07, 2008

"He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult
to tell which was which."
Douglas Adams

Check, Please

One of the few perks of being an Amyotrophic American - besides the primo parking - is that I don't have to pay income tax or even file a return. My gubmint cheese and its private counterpart are nontaxable, and the interest on my "savings" is well below the threshold.

I was therefore surprised when Dan suggested I apply for a stimulus payment: "How can I get back money I didn't pay?" But he double-checked the criteria, we sent off a brief form, and hell if I didn't get a check last month.

Mine went straight into the bank - sorry, Dubya - but other people had specific plans for theirs.
Two men in drag costumes pose at the Gay Pride parade on July 5 in London. The parade consists of celebrities, floats, and performers celebrating the UK's largest gay and lesbian festival. (Peter MacDiarmid, Getty Images)

From Riley.

Friday, July 04, 2008

"Although he's regularly asked to do so,
God does not take sides in American politics."
George J. Mitchell

Fonda Civics?

Before you stuff your face at the cookout and exclaim over the fireworks, why not take this short quiz to find out if you even know what you're celebrating.

I passed with 25 out of 30. My weakness was constitutional amendments, which I blame on my public education. I barely remember studying them. Frankly, I'm surprised I did as well as I did.

Jurists' Prudence

From Riley.

Another Angel in Heaven

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Efficiency is intelligent laziness."

In Deep Water

Well, I Swan

This must be the ultimate vintage toy.
The Hamilton Grange National Memorial makes a slow turn from Convent Avenue onto 141st Street in New York, June 7. The two-century-old house, which once belonged to founding father
Alexander Hamilton, was moved to a new spot in a Harlem
park. (AP Photo/National Park Service, Mindi Rambo)

From Riley.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"I never forget a face, but in your case
I'll be glad to make an exception."
Groucho Marx

Today's Top Story

The perils of censorship ...


Cut to the Core

Getting a haircut is a profoundly humbling experience these days.

It's debasing just to enter the Hair Cuttery, but the real anguish sets in when I'm stationed in front of the mirror, at which point I'm forced to confront the horror: the shrublike hair (before and after the coiffure); the slack, pallid visage marked by odd red patches like those of a career alcoholic; the cascades of white clippings. I keep my eyes shut through as much of the ordeal as possible.

Today, when the smock was ripped off like a band-aid - or a scab - a special treat: the faint spot where I'd drooled a bit of vitamin pill this morning, centered perfectly between my fat-girl titties like a Victorian necklace.


A pigeon's-eye view of London.

Also from Riley.
The Duke of Connaught (1850-1942), third son of Queen Victoria, in
naval uniform as he reads a book on the deck of HMS Malaya, 1921.
(Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Michael J.: 'Fox!'

Late this morning, I glanced out the window just in time to see a tiny red fox stride casually past.

I knew there were foxes around – one ran across the road right in front of Dan a few months ago – but I’d never seen one myself. And I was looking towards the street, not the woods, which made the encounter all the more surprising. It was quite a little thrill.

Most days all I see is birds, squirrels, dogs, and cats. And white people. Lots of white people.
© 2008 Derek Maingot