Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Today's Top Story

"The cheeses were all fantastically smelly but Stinking Bishop absolutely knocked us out."
From Riley.

Just Cause

Gay marriage is a foregone conclusion. It's a done deal. It's just a matter of time. For the next generation in particular, equal rights for gays is not even a question or a serious issue, much less a sinful hysterical conundrum that can only be answered by terrified Mormons and confused old people and inane referendums funded by same. It's just obvious, inevitable, a given.

From Laurie.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today's Top Story


O Really

From Alan.

Out of Style

Although my high school was (allegedly) one of the best in (purportedly) one of the top systems in the country, I have only a fleeting memory of studying English grammar. For some reason, this did not deter me from majoring in English, with a heavy dose of journalism. I interned at the local daily, which published my efforts, and passed the AP reporters' exam. My entire career was in communications, most of it as an editor.

Somehow I usually just know what's right and wrong. I read a lot from an early age, and I picked up more grammar studying French and Spanish than I missed in English. To this day, though, I couldn't diagram a sentence if my life depended on it. I know what gerunds are, but I never mastered the difference between subject and object.

As for the book in question, I'm disturbingly versed in several style manuals, mais pas celui-là. It sat on my shelf for many years, unopened.

The link is from Peggy, another proud B-CC graduate.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"It never hurts to ask. Unless you ask for hurt."

Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata

Short Stories

Some of my favorite texts from last night:
(781): You can't wash away shame.
(1-781): I can try.

(850): paul mccartney is starting to look like angela lansbury

(630): her vagine was all disorganized.

(218): No, computers are like whores. moody bitches that cost too much and no matter how much protection you have you can still get a virus

(312): You'll put your fingers inside me but you won't be my FB friend?

(617): I cannot find my penis.

(505): You should really figure out how to get me a picture that will pop up on my phone when you call
(720): Just upload a picture of Bea Arthur. That's what my soul looks like these days

(803): Operation extremely regretful is in full effect

(458): I just saw the asian versions of us.

(212): Eating poptart. Fell down metro. Beautiful sunrise.

(707): I still think their baby is ugly. I also still think it's yours.
British pop diva Dusty Springfield (1939-1999) stands on a stack
of books to record her first single, "I Only Want To Be With You,"
22 October 1963. (M. McKeown/Express/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Estate sale: One almost bulletproof vest.

Walter Piel
From Six Word Stories.

Grammy Cracker

"Don't you disrespect me, boy! I'm your great-granny, your mother, your sister, your mistress, your wife ... Hell, sometimes I'm even your barnyard animal."
I know little about Miley Cyrus - which is more than I care to - but I love Tracey Ullman.


Tube Boobs

I always thought Dan's parents had a lot of televisions ... until yesterday, when I learned that the people next door have 20. That's four TVs for each family member.

Verily, my Quaker mind doth boggle.

In Her Own Words


Friday, May 22, 2009

"You're the gayest gay who's ever gayed."

Terry L. Kates, to me

Notre Dame du Lac

We're having a lovely time down here. With no alarm, we wake up when we like, and it's warmed up enough to have coffee on the deck the past few mornings, gazing over the water, watching the herons come and go. We take an afternoon nap, and in the evening we've been catching up on videos: The Changeling, Benjamin Button, There Will Be Blood.

Yesterday I unwittingly assumed red-state camouflage. We took the boat out for a picnic lunch, and I returned with my first sunburn in a decade. That used to be a rare occurrence with my darkish complexion, but years as a shut-in have left my skin ranging from the color of parchment to that of Muenster cheese. And now my lower arms and legs are bright pink. It's too elegant for words.

The lake's been strangely quiet, especially considering that Memorial Day is upon us. We saw more birds and turtles than people on our outing. We cruised by two properties for sale, one of them the oldest house in River Hills. Built in 1940 as a retreat for the Belk family, of department-store fame, they ended up retreating from it after a child drowned. A yacht club for years, it's now a home again - and a bargain, mostly because the current owners built a big new house in the backyard, which doesn't do much for the view.

Not such a steal is the other place, which perches demurely on the North Cackalackee side. Its claim to fame is that it was occupied by Mel Gibson while he was filming The Patriot. Perhaps he was drawn by the area's white, Christian demographic. Or by the refined architecture:

It's even ghastlier up close.

At night we're treated to an exotic serenade, courtesy of resident tree frogs. This convulses Dan and me with laughter, because they sound like the screamapillar from "The Simpsons."

And now, if you'll excuse me, my old fashioned awaits.

Cool Glances

Bar Tender | San Antonio, TX | 1-Person Household |
Goes to sleep at 8AM and wakes up at 4PM daily. | 2008

From Kristine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Amy.
"A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies."

Oscar Wilde

There Will Be Lud

"Is that a gun?" Dan asked, incredulous.

We noticed the pellet rifle as soon as we got here. Propped in the corner by the kitchen door, it looked ready for action.

Dan's father has been waging war against the natural world for as long as anyone can remember. He's faced countless foes, from messy trees that wantonly shed detritus to devious moles bent on destroying his pristine lawn. Until now, the weapons had been garden implements and chemicals: firearms are new.

Squirrels are the enemy of the moment, although the specifics of the grievance elude me. To my relief, Lud is apparently not an accomplished marksman. When he does make a rare kill, he flings the little trophy down by the water, where it's quickly dealt with by the turkey vultures that are usually skulking on the decrepit dock next door.

Fighting nature is a largely futile endeavor, of course - but so is pointing that out to an old German.

Ironically, a friend sent me this story the same day. I decided not to share it with Lud.

'This Is England'

McCullin found Snowy, the man in the portrait, standing by the side of the road with an ice-cream barrow in Cambridge in the early 1970s. He pulled the mouse out of his pocket and put it into his mouth as McCullin took pictures.

From Riley.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


"Good-bye. I am leaving because I am bored."
George Saunders
We're off to South Carolina to spend a week with the Iglfolks, copiously eating, sleeping, and avoiding the subject of politics.

Strange Bedfellows

You'd almost think they were pals ...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Peggy.

Just Kidding

In the neighborhood where I grew up, you're almost as likely to see a raccoon as a child these days. Every once in a while, you'll catch a glimpse of a kid in that brief moment between house and SUV, but it's a rare event to see one linger outdoors. They're always dressed in a clean, stylish outfit, and you will never witness a runny nose or a skinned knee. Any "playing" seems to occur indoors or maybe at the country club.

It wasn't always this way.

My parents split up when I was three, and my mother went to work and, later, to grad school. My grandmother lived nearby and was frequently around, but the only time my sister and I had a babysitter was when our mom went out in the evening, which wasn't very often.

After school and all summer long, we were pretty much free to do what we wanted, which was usually something outdoors.* Some parents were a little more protective - two of our friends weren't allowed to cross Connecticut Avenue, which put the creek off limits (so sad!) - but for the most part, people seemed to believe their kids could have fun unsupervised without getting into serious trouble.

I don't know how old I was the first time I ventured downtown by myself, but I flew to L.A. unaccompanied the summer I was six and to Europe when I was about 13. Somewhere in there, I took my first solo cab ride in New York. (Didn't know about tipping, which I still feel guilty about.)

It wasn't that we were oblivious to the world's dangers. I was an imaginative child - I read incessantly and watched after-school specials - and I knew there were child molesters and drug pushers around. (Beware the windowless van!) I guess the paranoia threshold was just a lot higher back then. Our parents put their faith in common sense, gave us plenty of rope, and most of us managed not to get hanged.

It was an article that got this old fart a-ruminatin'. I found it quite interesting; in fact, I wrote the author to express solidarity. Her blog is here.

* My sister and I were the only ones summoned for dinner with a cowbell. (It worked - you could hear it from anywhere.)


The Mother's Day message from Stephen Colbert's I Am America desk calendar explains my entire life:

The small print at the bottom reads: Messy houses drive boys into the arms of bald musclemen.

From Michael K.

Veneereal Disease

The RNC Clown College is just a joke ... or is it?


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Captain's Log

I learned today that someone I've known my entire life keeps a detailed record of their bowel movements despite having no relevant medical condition nor any other compelling reason for doing so.

Maybe I'm not so obsessive after all.

That's All, Folks

I love its gentle warble,
I love its gentle flow,
I love to wind my tongue up
And I love to let it go

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Riley.


Seen on Facebook:

L: I just learned that Tracy Morgan has the words, "Stove Top" tattooed on his penis. I thought you should know.

M: What the what?!?

L: You have a penis, I don't. I figured you could explain it to me.

M: My tattoo aversion is amply documented, and I'm pretty sure I'd rather be waterboarded than stuck repeatedly by needles in such a sensitive area.

As for the message, it strikes me that if the item in question were truly stuffing material, that would be self-evident, with no need for textual reinforcement. Given the physics involved, it probably reads "Stop" when flaccid. Which is good advice.

Out of Order

I should have posted this a few days ago:

Friday, May 08, 2009

“Mommy? Why aren’t you moving? … Mommy?”

Sheila Faris-Penn
From Six Word Stories.

Dressed to Kill

New York, May 7, 1975: Martha Mitchell (2nd R) shares big laugh with hostess
Pat Collins (L). Mrs. Mitchell, estranged wife of former Attorney General John N. Mitchell, said she was "terribly frightened" during President Nixon's last months in office by the thought that he could "activate all those missiles just by pushing a button." She appeared with playwright Truman Capote (dark glasses) and writer-author Jimmy Breslin (R) on CBS-TV's "Pat Collins Show." (Bettmann/Corbis)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Today's Top Story


Sealed With a Kiss

Put me in Gael and throw away the key.



When we got a new TV and upgraded the cable, one of the things I was most excited about was getting BBC America. Among other great programs, I'd finally get to see "How Clean Is Your House?" Friends had been telling me about it for ages: "You have got to watch this. It is so you." They weren't kidding.

A more accurate title would be "How Can You Live Like This?". The premise is simple: A pair of British cleaning experts go into the filthiest homes imaginable, scold the resident pigs, and clean the place thoroughly, dispensing tips as they go. Hoarders abound, and the squalor often stretches the imagination. The close-ups are almost too much in hi-def.

Sadly, after a few months it appears that I've seen every episode. I was just coming to grips with that when I learned I'd missed this. TLC usually airs these shows to death, but I can find nary a speck on the horizon. What's left to live for?

Thanks to Kristine for the second link.
Martha Mitchell (1918-1975), the wife of Attorney General John Mitchell during the Nixon administration, speaks to reporters at London's Heathrow Airport, September 20, 1974. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Cecelia.

Esprit de Corpse

Ego Trips

"The disappointment telling the children that the reindeer could not fly was incredible…you must state this clearly in your brochure in future"
Remember these? There's more where they came from.

Thanks to Peg.
June 19, 1974: Martha Mitchell, wife of former Attorney General John Mitchell, interviews Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (right), the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story. Mrs. Mitchell, who is serving as co-hostess on CBS's "Pat Collins Show," got Woodward to admit that he had
voted for President Nixon in 1968. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Mime trapped in box. Irony lost.

ocean master
From Six Word Stories.

The Passions of the Jack

A couple that are fit to print, anyway. I'm expecting a call from Vanity Fair any day now.


In Europe ... the postwar cradle-to-grave idea of a welfare state gave way in the past few decades to some quite sophisticated mixing of public and private. And whether in health care, housing or the pension system ..., the Dutch have proved to be particularly skilled at finding mixes that work.
From Cecelia.
Animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams appearing on "Panorama" with guest
Martha Mitchell and host Maury Povich in background. (Walter Bennett, 1974)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Derek.

Noteworthy Names

Wild Freeborn
Peerlyss Minor
Coy Peasant
Mary Paramore
Amanda Ogle
Fanny Hudgins
Fanny Lai
Peter Willey
Peter Trapp
Dick Hosier
Major Dickie Head
Keith Didcock
Amber Cummings
Amber Ray
Amber Brewer
Cola Jewell
Opal Brown
Crystal White
Rose White
Iris Green
Misty Grimes
March Weathers
Grace Bridge
Penny Poor
Penny Falls
China Walls
Virginia Artist
Synamon Better
Royal France
Crystal Queen
Schlonda Queen
Acquanetta Tyler
Loydleeta Wabbington
Tijuana Washington
Roosevelt Washington
Verta Mae Manners
Vader J. DeLoatch
Franzetta Knox
Bink Pefley
Jane Fox-Barke
Nettie Troutman
Byrd Walker
Peck Chambers
Nick Fleshman
Ebony Black
Maximus Granda
Mercedes Ford
Reina and Regina King (sisters)
Carter and Reagan Reynebeau (siblings)
Anita Harley (daughter: Rhoda)
Adele Peed
Hose Polite
Nellie Scrapper
Peterson Toscano
Mauricio Rubinstein
Joe Coe
Gary Terry
Mary Ferry
Carrie Berry
Shirley Early
Carole Farrell
Holly Holliday
Holly Hazel Wines
Kitty Beer
Kitty Dove
Kitty Lyon
Bob Boon

Anne Oakley
Rob Petrie
David Larry
Esther Roll
Elizabeth L. Taylor
Michael A. Jackson
James Dean
Robert Blake
Melanie Griffith
Angela Bassett
John Davidson
John McCain
Woodrow R. Wilson
Barbara W. Bush
Frederick Douglas
Frank Lloyd
George Forman
Margaret Mitchell
Charles Schulze
Steven Hawkins
J. Michael Jordan

Harry Steelman, building contractor
Timothy Salthouse, gerontologist
Maurice Vigourous, army colonel
Angelo Dicks, arrested for public nudity

Dr. Louis T. Harms
Greg Butcher, bird conservationist
John Crumplar, air force colonel
Rong Wei, car dealer

Thanks to everyone who contributed.
New York City, May 3, 1973: Mrs. Martha Mithell, wife of former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, waves as she leaves the office of attorney Henry Rothblatt (L) after giving a deposition in litigation involving convicted Watergate conspirator James McCord Jr. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

You had so many filthy tricks up that drunk and smoky sleeve
of yours that I was happy to go along for the ride.
From Dear Old Love.
Helen Thomas, United Press International's White House correspondent, and Douglas Cornell, who retired recently after 43 years with the Associated Press, were married on October 16, 1971, at St. John's Church, across Lafayette Park from the White House. Here at a reception, Mrs. Martha Mitchell (R), wife of the attorney general, congratulates the couple. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Friday, May 01, 2009

"Feed a fever, starve a cold. Lightly sup with rickets."

Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata

About Last Night

(845): At my boss' house at a bbq. Had a few beers. Taking a poop - there's no TP...this is my nightmare.
I have a new favorite site.

Thanks to Michael K.
John and Martha Mitchell, 1971. (David Kennerly, Bettmann/Corbis)