Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rage Against the Machine

Boolie: Mama, cars don't behave. They are behaved upon. The fact is you, all by yourself, demolished that Packard.

Daisy: Think what you want. I know the truth.

From Driving Miss Daisy, by Alfred Uhry

Some years ago, my friend Derek met up with me in Paris to go to Prague. I'd been staying with my uncle, and since we had a few hours till our train, he suggested we stay for dinner.

Later Derek said, "At first I wasn't sure which side of your family he was on, but when he started cursing at the appliances, I knew he was related to your mother."

I never shared the story with that uncle, but my aunts and cousins found it hilarious and my mom could at least appreciate it. My other uncle didn't get it: "What's funny about that?" Most people don't yell at objects, explained his long-suffering wife, because it's utterly pointless.

As is trying to correct the behavior. My mother has never met a device she couldn't pick a fight with. They're all recalcitrant, spiteful. Remote controls are the worst: "I didn't push that button! That's not what I wanted!"

I used to point out that, absent a malfunction, electronics do what you tell them to, but she never bought it. She'd done nothing wrong; it was them. Eventually I understood: They sit around waiting for her to pick them up so they can unleash the mischief they've been plotting.

I didn't inherit this colorful trait, but I have other superstitious concerns: karma, Murphy's law. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. As soon as one thing's repaired, I expect something else to break imminently. And it usually does.

'Yup Yup'

From Riley.

From Gail by way of Mom.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Semper Fine

One of this neighborhood's downsides is the lack of eye candy. (That and the crushing suburban dullness.) But there are some exceptions, most notably the 26-year-old Marine who moved in next door a few months ago.

Strikingly handsome with a body that won't quit, you can almost sense women ovulating when he approaches. I know I do. And unlike the last stud-puppy neighbor, this one isn't unnerved by people in wheelchairs. He probably attributes the drooling to my medical condition, which is only half accurate.

His friendliness actually presents a problem: As Dan noted, it's hard to maintain eye contact with such a magnificent chest in your face. Straight guys aren't the only ones who appreciate a great rack.

I'm not even put off by seeing him head out every Sunday morning in a crisply pressed outfit, a Bible in his meaty paw. Somehow it works for him.

Can't get too attached, though; he's not here to stay. He bought the place for a song after its longtime owner died, and he's been busily fixing it up ever since. As soon as the market picks up, he likely will too.

Show and Tell

To Land o' Lakes and beyond with Amy Sedaris.

From Terry, who probably kept his eyes shut.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

'Did You Get That?'

At last, an explanation (of sorts) for something that's long mystified me:
And there, in a nugget of anti-wisdom, is all the delusional glory of white working class people who support Republicans. Apparently, for them, money for things like welfare or food stamps or whatever, which is fine when they need it, but is socialism when others do, is just pinched out by a money-shitting, giant bald eagle or something. Maybe Jesus jacks off, and where his seed falls, trees with golden apples grow. Maybe Uncle Sam just pukes greenbacks.

Champagne and Mustard

My heroine:


Take Two

"Happy Days" is here again.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

From Car-o-line.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Today's Top Story

From Terry.


Usually I'm running late, but not today.

In Search of a Clue

Behold, the Undecideds. Have you heard of this bizarre, nefarious group? The millions of faceless, slow-blinking, mentally unattached Americans who are, right this minute, with mere days to go before the most historic election in our lifetime and when faced with what seems to be the most glaringly obvious divisions of attitude and perspective you could possibly imagine, still "on the fence" about Obama or McCain, love or hate, country or disco, Paris or Fresno, oil or water, Porsche or Pinto?
Mark Morford attempts to make sense of the senseless.
Market trader Alfred Bailey practicing with 15 baskets at Covent Garden, London, for the basket-carrying championships at Herne Hill, 1925.
(Fox Photos/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Running on Fumes

One way to travel: Leisurely jaunt by private plane, yacht, or railcar.

Another way: Eight-hour road trip in a minivan, your lap occupied by an elderly dog with lethal halitosis and a wicked case of gas. Lovely fall foliage, though.

'Like a Princess From Heaven'


Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Fallen Angel

If this makes you laugh, you're a bad person.

From Alan.

Tu-be or Not Tu-be

The icon that almost wasn't.

From Derek.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Keeping Track

I caught part of CNN's "Sarah Palin Revealed" the other night and learned a couple of interesting things about that classy clan:

1. The first child was born less than eight months after the couple eloped, thus beginning a family tradition.

2. They named him Track because that's the sport that was in season. Better than Football, I guess, but if she were truly a maverick she'd have gone with something like Paintball or Pétanque.

From Pat via Mom.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Today's Top Story

From Riley.

The Igljacks Go Cruising

We're spending the week at the Iglfolks', where the big goal was to get me - in my power wheelchair - into the new pontoon boat. Excited by the prospect, I didn't want to get my hopes up in case it proved impossible. I hadn't been on the water since our Alaska cruise, two years ago, and the harrowing memory of going ashore in Sitka was finally beginning to fade.

Happily, the task proved pretty easy. There's a steep hill with many steps between the house and the dock, so I met everyone else at the marina. A makeshift plywood ramp was laid down, and I rolled right on. We'd barely finished congratulating ourselves when a speedboat tore by, its wake causing my 300-pound chair to slide across the floor and lurch alarmingly back and forth. After that we made a point of crossing wakes from the side.

We zigzagged up and down the lake, passing herons and egrets as we ducked into some of the countless coves and surveyed the houses, which run the gamuts of size and taste.

I went to college in North Carolina and always thought of its southern neighbor as a bit rougher - the Billy Carter of the Carolina family, or maybe the Roger Clinton. By and large, though, the South Cackalackee side of the lake seems a lot more genteel than the facing shore, which sports an actual trailer park.

Looking for a quiet spot to drop anchor and have dinner, we ventured into some dark backwaters over there that were straight out of Deliverance: tumbledown shanties, junk piles, barking dogs on decrepit piers. We turned around before anyone emerged with a shotgun.

Our little dinner cruise was noteworthy for someone else besides me. Leaving Zap home with Emma, we took Devo along for the first boat ride of his 11 and a half years. From all appearances, he enjoyed it as much as I did: the sights, the smells, the food, the company. In fact, when Dan went kayaking today, Devo was quite perturbed to be left behind.

Capital Captions

It's all about the subtext.

From Peggy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Playing Favo(u)rites

From Riley and Anne.

Maid Me Wonder

After watching this, I whipped out my calculator and figured out that we spend between $14K and $15K a year to staff Butt Hollow. No wonder we never have any money.

That's a small fraction of the McCain domestic payroll, but we have help because we need it, not because we have a dozen homes.

From Caroline.

'Monty Python Could Have Written This'

From Derek.
A family were compelled to spend the last five days of their holiday in their
parked caravan after the clutch on their car burned out on the Kingston bypass.
Here they are pictured having a picnic on the side of the road, 1972.
(Press Association)

From Riley.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Monday, October 06, 2008

Give It Your All

Or at least your most.

'Bush on Steroids'

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward....

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

From Florence.

Dirty Job

I can't remember who sent this. Caroline?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Heavy Medalist

Greg Louganis is still a hottie. In case you were wondering.

He spoke Friday evening at a benefit for Alexandria's same-sex domestic violence programs. It was a deeply personal talk, mostly about being gay, HIV positive, and in an abusive relationship. Very moving.

You know what impressed me the most? Not the Olympic medals, but the fact that he'd trained a Jack Russell terrier to be an obedience and agility champion. Seriously, have you ever tried to get a Jack Russell's attention? Unless you're dangling a live rodent by the tail, it's a hopeless pursuit. As for getting it to obey a command, it would be faster - and easier - to master quantum physics.

It probably helps to be Greg Louganis. I'm sure even a dog would do whatever he asked; I know I would.

We got to meet Nipper, the protégée, after the talk. She was adorable, poised - and, yes, extremely well behaved.

Anyone who wanted to cripple our little city could have strolled into the Hilton that night with a machine gun, because all our officials, to their credit, were there to support the queers. Vice Mayor Redella
"Del" Pepper (who looks and sounds exactly as you'd expect a Del Pepper to) read a proclamation designating October as Don't Beat Your Gay Partner Month or some such. Bless her heart, she referred to the guest of honor as Lou Ganis. (Or was she saying Lou Gayness - in which case, touché, madame.)

The diver wasn't the only hunk in the room. Our chief of police, I discovered, is strikingly handsome, a classic silver fox, and the deputy fire chief made me think about playing with matches.

For some reason, the crowd was extra friendly to Little Wheelchair Girl - lots of smiles, greetings, offers of food and drink. Alas, no private audience with Lou Ganis ...

Mock the Vote

I keep hearing that she's ''like us.'' There's this idea that people who hunt and have ''good'' values are somehow this mythological American; I don't know who ''this'' person is, I've never met them. She is no more typical ''us'' than I am, than Obama is, than McCain is, than Mr. T is. If there is something quintessentially or authentically American about her, I sort of feel like, you know what? You ''good values people'' have had the country for eight years, and done an unbelievably s---ty job. Let's find some bad values people and give them a shot, maybe they'll have a better take on it.
Stewart and Colbert discuss the campaign.

Holidaymakers enjoy the sun on Bournemouth beach, 1946.
(Press Association)

From Riley.

Friday, October 03, 2008

No Gerunds Allowed

Sarah Palin is ethnically English but culturally ing-less. Don'tcha know.


Have you read ... about Palin's adorable Pentecostal church where ... they like to speak in tongues and lick the skins of serpents and watch NASCAR while shooting moose from the backs of animatronic dinosaurs adorned with "Jesus is My Co-Pilot" bumper stickers? (Note: possible slight exaggeration. But not by much.) It's all sorts of Disney-on-acid fun.
Mark Morford on witches real and imagined.
Swedish gymnasts perform handstands by a brook, circa 1930.
(FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

From Riley.