Although it's Wednesday, I'm going to do a Five today, of my own, Thanksgiving-themed design, since I'll be hosting the fam all weekend and not blogging one bit:

1. What is your family's traditional Thanksgiving menu? We start with appetizers that run from the sublime to the mundane: stuffed mushrooms, shrimp, spinach dip in a bread bowl, and a tray of deviled eggs that are immediately devoured by my uncle and my dad. At dinner, we go straight for the classics: roast turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, sometimes pearl onions, two kinds of cranberry dressing, old school "stuffing" that's really more like a spoonbread made with Saltine crumbs, flaky rolls with chives. And for dessert, the Parade of Pies: pumpkin, pumpkin-pecan, rhubarb, possibly apple, and I think this year we're having a pumpkin cheesecake too. *dessert guilt*

2. Any classic anecdotes from Turkey Day? Oh ho ho, where do I start? When my sister Becca was about three, she ate a hot pepper from the "pickle plate" thinking it was a cherry, and she screamed "My mouth's on fire!" for the rest of the day. One year my aunt was opening the kitchen window before dinner and the frame slipped and caught her fingers, and she had nerve damage for months afterward, though no broken bones or even a bruise. And of course, a few years ago my dad and uncle eschewed the leftovers in the fridge in favor of grilling up some Omaha Steaks, in the dark, in the rain, in the backyard...much to my mom's consternation.

3. What else does your family like to do, besides feast, on Thanksgiving? For the last several years, we've been going to the Macy's Parade in New York, which is a lot of fun if you're not a little kid and you can stand the cold, crowds, and hours of waiting before the floats come by...which makes it all worth it. And we usually play games and/or go to a movie after dinner...okay, a chick flick.

4. What do you do with your turkey leftovers the next day? My dad makes his signature turkey salad ("secret" ingredient = seasoned salt), and my mom makes turkey soup.

5. What are you most thankful for this year? So many things! The generosity of my mom and dad, the friendship and closeness of my siblings, all the good times with old and new friends, the four new little people who came into the world and our tribe, and for lessons learned when love jumps out the window and walks in the door.

In the words of Adam Sandler, "Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!"
"Computers race ahead of you, books walk with you" -- Umberto Eco holds forth on the future of books in this lecture delivered at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. He notes, "After having spent 12 hours at a computer console, my eyes are like two tennis balls, and I feel the need of sitting down comfortably in an armchair and reading a newspaper, or maybe a good poem." Indeed!
"Brands have run out of juice" -- according to advertising uber-agency Saatchi & Saatchi, trademarks no longer have the power to inspire "loyalty beyond reason." That's why we need Lovemarks. That's right, you heard me, LOVEMARKS. You nominate the brands that "mean the most to you," for, uh, no particular reward -- although surely Saatchi is using this site as a giant focus group. A look at the most popular Lovemarks so far is predictably dispiriting, though oddly dominated by the Antipodes. Maybe it's just the Americans' choices that seem lame to me...nope, we're all advert-addled after all. Yeesh.
To aid our holiday digestion tomorrow, I'll stay away from the hard bad news today...but this Daily Outrage on the trashing of the Buckingham Palace gardens at the hands of GWB and the Secret Service is too juicy to ignore! Who knew the Queen had her own flock of flamingoes?
You can never have enough weird, bad album cover art. This one has a certain seasonal awfulness to it...
BIG NEWS, readers -- I've been Bifurcated! Scroll down to 20:14:25...nice! Big cheers to Lindsay, the drollest of blog gurus.
Time Tales -- a collection of ordinary but mysterious lost and found photographs. I love things like this.
"The Real World" meets "Court TV" -- a strange sexual assault case is shaping up on the set of the MTV reality show. Hands up if you think they'll handle this really poorly.


"The boss left you in charge. Can you make the right change and keep the customers happy?" My answer to this is a resounding "No" -- my simple math skills are just that, simple. The thought of working a cash register makes me reach for the PeptoBismol. Thanks to the Nat Wiz for the Humbling Link o' the Day! :P
Freewayblogger.com -- "When you put a sign on the freeway, people will read it until someone takes it down." This would be a welcome change from the tattered, faded American flags on all the Rt.128 overpasses...
The coolest job on the planet has an opening -- William Grimes, restaurant reviewer for the NYTimes, gives a pre-departure interview to MSNBC.
Tell Us The Truth, Boston -- Sunday night's excellent installment of this traveling music & politics roadshow was a refreshing gust of wind across the grassroots, despite its multifaceted message. Media consolidation, free trade, Iraq, peace, love, parenting, Janeane Garofalo, what more could you ask for? I am once again totally crushed out on Billy Bragg -- we all agreed he spoke as eloquently (but of course less mendaciously) as Tony Blair, with a dash of Woody Guthrie, and of course the electric guitar added a lot to his look. The surprise of the night was the sonorous singing voice of Tom Morello, formerly known only for his mighty axe-wielding in Rage Against the Machine. To me, he was channeling Bruce Springsteen on "Nebraska," but the Globe's assessment ("Johnny Cash-Leonard Cohen") is true too. If anyone can make a song called "Maximum Firepower" sound vulnerable, it's him. Right on! Check out the tour site for more details...
Two of my (other) favorite bloggers weigh in on the ongoing "Lord of the Rings" uber-nomenon. Jason Kottke reviews the extended edition DVD of "The Two Towers," and loves the 45 extra minutes so much he suggests making 4 (!) movies instead of three: "Only problem...what do you call the fourth movie?" Um, that's not the only problem. Over at Bifurcated Rivets, Lindsay grumbles, "I am getting entirely sick of people wondering 'what will happen in LOTR III' - read the !*&£$!* book, idiots." Yeah!
Col. Sanders busts a move -- and gets busted for false advertising. "Wait, you mean fried chicken isn't a low-fat choice?" Gaahhh.
For further proof that the Globe is now just a sad, pale imitation of the Times, observe these two articles on forthcoming gay wedding trends in the post-Goodridge era. Hello, even in a fluff piece you'd think the Massachusetts paper could make a better local connection...sheesh.
Just when you think the Catholic Church can't get any more pompous and high-handed, they make some liturgical adjustments, to "introduce more reverence and solemnity" to the Mass. Also to prop up their crumbling empire, but I digress. For example, priests will not be allowed to walk amongst the pews during the sign of peace -- heaven forfend! And the priest will take Communion before any lay ministers approach the altar -- keep away, unworthies! Best of all, January 22 will henceforth be a "day of penance" for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade! I can only say it so many times: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! Jesus is probably rolling over in his grave...oh, wait.

If this isn't enough to raise your ire, read the story of Robert Scamardo, former general counsel to the Archdiocese of Houston. He defended the church against lawsuits by clergy abuse victims...though he himself had been abused by a priest and a lay minister as a teenager. A very sad story of the psychological imprisonment built by church secrecy and greed.


I'm a bit under the weather today (what in the hell does that phrase really mean, anyway?), so I will post just this one item for now -- a Halloween prank gone awry, that provides an intricate web of irony for us to contemplate. See if you can spot the issues -- for example, compare the byline with the use of "American Indian." Whaa??


Let's keep this week o'quizzes 'n' lists going, shall we, by finding out just Which Classic Novel Do You Belong In? Thanks to a certain older brother (not mine, of course), we can all evaluate our literary personas (personae?). All is right with the universe -- I belong in "Pride and Prejudice"! "A world of satire and true love...a world where your free-thought puts you above the silly masses, and where bright eyes and intelligence are enough to attract the arrogant millionaire of your choice." Indeed! Should I be worried that all of these Quizilla things give me frighteningly accurate results? Hmmmm...
Today's Friday Five is of a rather philosophical, personal-goal-establishing nature, what with there being only a few weeks left in this bloody, tumultuous year...here goes:

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year. Make biscotti, banish clutter, energize my daily routine, winterize the house, brush the cat.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again. Since *I* am usually the one who slacks off on correspondence, the people I'd like to hear from *me* again are all my friends in California (Judi, Paul, PhaPha, Wyeth, Kathy, Mark), plus my friends Marcy and E.G. right here in Boston!

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do. Bake successful bread, play "Red Eyed and Blue" on my guitar, operate a standard transmission, listen without interrupting, surf.

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery. I'd take the lump sum, keep half, and give the rest away. I'd pay off all my loans, and those of my family and friends. I'd endow a chair at Tufts in American Studies, then ask for the job. I'd start a foundation for Massachusetts public schools, write big checks to Mass NARAL, Howard Dean, and 34 Million Friends, and fund task forces on gun violence in Boston and national single payer health care. Then I'd buy a few new gadgets to play with, and perhaps a house, before heading off to Australia with Nat for a month.

5. List five things you do that help you relax. reading, stretching, musing, cooking, and...um...ecstatic chi realignment. ;-)
Let the wiggling begin -- state AG Tom Reilly has finally piped up about the SJC's gay marriage ruling, and he's in over his head already. He wants to draft a civil union statute to confer some of those "rights and benefits of marriage" that the court said should be made available to, uh, EVERYONE to gay and lesbian couples. Reilly claims he (the state's top lawyer, mind you) "can't say with any certainty what the court intends." Hmmm, it seems pretty clear to Laurence Tribe, Harvard's constitutional guru -- when the court "forbids the creation of second-class citizens" it probably doesn't want to see some separate-but-equal sham, but some nice plain language. "I see this as a great opportunity to treat people fairly," Reilly said. Apparently "fair" and "equal" are not the same thing anymore. On a dark pronouncement note, just wait 'til Reilly tries to unseat Romney in the governor's race in a few years...how many Democrats will be left unalienated by then if he keeps doing Romney's bidding?
The "No Lobbyist Left Behind" Bill, otherwise known as the 1200-page Republican pork-o-rama Energy Bill, featuring massive cash giveaways and tax breaks for select Bush-contributing companies, and funding for really keen projects like nuclear power, ethanol, and turkey-carcass energy harnessing, is dying a slow death in the Senate -- click through the Daily Outrage and tell Ted and Johnny K. to get on the ball.
What To Do If the Internet Goes Down -- horrors! Canadian satire, mmmmm, the best kind. This reminds me of that Simpsons episode when the TV announcer intones, "Your cable TV is experiencing difficulties. Please, do not panic. Resist the temptation to read or talk to loved ones. Do not attempt sexual relations, as years of TV radiation have left your genitals withered and useless." Ewwww...
"It's not worth your money. Not even one look. Mike Myers has butchered a great children's book." -- Ouch! Salon's Charles Taylor excoriates the new "Cat In the Hat" movie, and rightly so; the one clip I saw on TV included an erection joke with the Cat's hat and a picture of the children's mother -- no thanks, blasphemers! I will say the production design looks amazing, much nicer than that crappy Grinch. A.O. Scott of the NYTimes calls it, "A vulgar, uninspired lump of poisoned eye candy"! Over at Rotten Tomatoes, it's rating a lowly 13%, with words like "heinous," "catastrophic," and "kitty litter" appearing...oh Hollywood, when will you learn?
The New York Times offers suggestions on how to spend 36 Hours in Boston -- good ideas all, but where is Davis Square on the itinerary? Not enough chic boutiques, I guess.


The BBC weighs in for List Week with a poll of 50 Places To See Before You Die. I was delighted to see Sydney (#8) edging out New York (#9)...though the entire state of Florida somehow ranked at #3, and Britons apparently do not realize FL extends beyond the greater Orlando area. This whets my appetite for travel, or at least for a copy of this book in my Christmas stocking for armchair journeys.
Local lesbo, writer, and gadfly E.J. Graff, author of the excellent "What Is Marriage For?" (feel free to borrow my copy if you need to find out the answer, by the way), weighs in on the Mass gay marriage revolution in The American Prospect, with her signature flair: "The only thing that's remained static about marriage is its name -- and the kind of vitriol it inspires whenever there's a change to its rules." Right on, sister.
Despite President Globetrotter's Pollyanna attitude towards his misbegotten war, and his administration's attempts to spin, smother and squelch all news coverage of the mounting casualties, the cold hard fact of these deaths remains. The Washington Post has established Faces of the Fallen, an accounting of each U.S. service member who has been killed in Iraq, somewhat similar to the Portraits of Grief from the NYTimes after September 11. It's updated every Friday. Is there anything sadder than the tabs at the top of the display to flip back to the casualties of earlier months?
I noticed something today on Evite, the handy online invitation service -- they seem to be adding features to their services that are very, very similar...in fact, you might say, "identical"...to those of Craig's List and Friendster. For example, you can now post a "public invitation" on a community calendar-type spot...and you have an Evite profile, with your details, likes/dislikes, hobbies, etc., which can be posted for other people who are attending the same events as you to see. Hmmmm. Since this is all in the realm of free, evanescent social software experimentation so far, it seems sort of innovative...except that Evite is completely overrun with advertising, and one could argue they are co-opting the (admittedly, and foolishly, un-patented) features of sites which are not so commercialized. I just don't see Evite becoming a social portal site, though, like the personals or even Friendster, it's just too...flashy or something. My $0.02.
In the dog house? Want to send someone there? Try Mark's handy Apology Note Generator (for the fellas) and Bitch Letter Generator (for the ladies) -- sure it's sexist, but in that fun, lighthearted way. For all your ass kicking and kissing needs...

And to round out today's selection of generator/quiz sites, try Which Matrix Persona Are You? I came up as "benevolent, enigmatic, profound" -- that's right, I'm The Oracle. :)
President Bush toppled in London -- well, a giant papier-mache version of him, anyway. A demonstration arts-n-crafts masterpiece!
A week from today, how about cracking open a nice cold Turkey & Gravy soda instead of going through all that poultry-roasting hassle? God I hope this is a joke. Or if not, and if my inaugural T-Day dinner falls through, I hope I can find a six-pack to foist off on my family.
What Part of No Do Ya Still Not Understand? -- LA Weekly article on where feminism, date rape, and sexuality intersect in our post-Kobe world.
Here's something new to worry about: Illinois man finds tiny octopus in his toilet, apparently an abandoned exotic pet that...somehow...found its way through the pipes, like Nemo. Except it was dead. My biggest question: what did he do with that spatula?


Dear President Bush,

I'm sure you'll be having a nice little tea party with your fellow war criminal, Tony Blair. Please wash the cucumber sandwiches down with a glass of blood, with my compliments.

Harold Pinter, Playwright

Some caustic open letters to President Crumpet in The Guardian!
In IKEA we trust -- after all, we're Swedes. Long live the land of kooky lamps and cheap housewares...and did you know Ford bought Volvo?! Where the hell was I in 1999? Oh, right. Law school.
And the hits just keep on coming over at The Guardian -- their Argument-Fomenting Top 40 List du Jour is of "the greatest US bands of today"! *sharpens knives* Well, I can't argue with some of their offbeat choices: Foo Fighters, Magnetic Fields, Calexico, The Roots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Flaming Lips (who are #1!) and of course #21 Wilco, my favorite band, are...uh...some of my favorite bands. But Springsteen....edged out...by...JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE?!! JT may "hold his own in a tough genre" and all (and he himself was rightfully edged by Beyonce). But The Boss is...well, let me quote: "arguably, the symbol of everything that is decent about his beloved country." Duh! I have no problem with Eminem, OutKast, Timbaland, and The White Stripes outstripping Bruce, but NSYNC Boy? Try again, lads.

UPDATE: Here's a list in response, from the blog Information Leafblower...this one has The Strokes at #1 and Wilco at #7...and yet another Timberlake tragedy, as he edges out Jay-Z by one slot.

And if you feel like squabbling on forever over a music list, try this vague-sounding yet intriguing one, 500 Songs That Shaped Rock, from the curator of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame...for good or ill, this would make one hell of an mp3 setlist...

UPDATE: It must be Pop List Day -- check out SFGate's "39 Reasons To Not Kill Your Television," i.e. shows worth watching. Daily Show, check...Food Network, check..."The Sopranos," check ("Everybody waits breathlessly for this series like Jesus is going to reappear in the second act"!)...but, Jimmy Kimmel? "American Chopper"? I think not.
Stunning news today for Howard Dean and his family, as the possible remains of his brother Charles were discovered in Laos, 29 years after he and a friend were executed as prisoners of war. Charles Dean was not a soldier, but he and his friend were held in a prison camp as suspected US spies -- they were arrested by the Pathet Lao on the day I was born. Remarkable -- as is Dean's somber statement on the discovery.
The maelstrom of controversy continues over Goodridge v. Mass. Dept. of Public Health, i.e. the Gay Marriage Case...unsurprisingly, our shiny Mormon governor pushed for the proposed constitutional amendment to limit marriage to "a man and a woman" (and can I just say that every time I hear that phrase it sounds like the person is about to burst out with "When A Man Loves A Woman"?)...surprisingly, Mass. Senate president Robert Travaglini is standing firm in his support of the decision and, in the alternative, civil unions. But it looks like there's really no way to get around it, since the amendment would take until at least 2006 to pass. So come May 19th -- which is my parents' wedding anniversary! -- city hall clerks will have to start registering "Spouse 1" and "Spouse 2," no longer "Bride" and "Groom." Yaaay! For that special local flavor, see also Eileen McNamara and Derrick Z. Jackson in the Globe on the news...cannot WAIT until conservatroll Jeff Jacoby gets going on this one!

And speaking of conservatrolls, Salon has a fine overview of some of the frothier condemnations of the decision today, in it's Right Hook column: do all your enemy due diligence reading at one fell swoop.


We gonna rock down to....The 80's Lyrics Quiz! All your totally awesome middle school favorites...but come on, "She blinded me with (blank)"? Hello! That's on a shampoo commerical these days, too easy!

UPDATE: I scored 85.5% -- I'm a pop junkie, baby! The corrections and comments on your score are even funnier than the lyrics...nice.
Reduce, Re-Use, Freecycle -- find people in your area who have stuff you want, for free, and give away stuff you no longer need. It's the anti-capitalist alternative to EBay! See also the Craig's List Free Page, aka Land of the Free Sofa. I quote Marge Simpson: "Homer, please don't bring home any more old crutches!"
"The Feminization of American Culture" -- intriguing article from The World & I magazine on the interplay between changing gender identities and, of all things, estrogen-mimicking chemicals in our environment. Both threads are fascinating to me; here's a quote on the new paradigm of maturity, in contrast to the stern 1950's or the macho 1970's: "Today, Dr. Philipson observes, the badge of emotional maturity is no longer the ability to control or sublimate your feelings but rather the ability to express them. A mature adult nowadays is someone who is comfortable talking about her inner conflicts, someone who values personal relationships above abstract goals, someone who isn't afraid to cry. In other words: a mature adult is a woman." Sweet!

But it's not that straightforward -- the author draws a parallel to environmental toxins which act upon human and animal bodies as estrogenic, or otherwise hormonal, agents, a phenomenon widely reported and studied -- intersex fish and alligators, plummeting fertility, and increasing incidence of cancer in estrogenic tissue, i.e. breasts. I read "Our Stolen Future" and "Living Downstream" years ago when I was first diagnosed with PCOS, and I've been drawing my own conclusions about these issues, and the PCOS epidemic, ever since. I think the next 20 years will show not only the consequences of these pervasive pollutants on our bodies, but also the near-impossibility of eradicating them from the environment. Just today, The Lady SB sent me this warning for Nalgene bottle drinkers: maybe they leach a toxic chemical over time, maybe they don't. Sigh.
"With television, the ironies never end" -- truer words were never spoken, or in this case, published as Knight-Ridder content in The Southern Illinoisian. This article on "25 Tips For Better TV Watching" is marginally helpful, but infinitely creepy...it starts to sound more and more like a therapy session for dealing with a troublesome coworker or family member...or an addiction, for that matter. I am all for active, informed media consumption, but do adults need this much help negotiating their relationship with TV? I guess somebody must be watching all those network shows, so, yes.
Next stop, Fangorn Forest -- if only we worked in NYC, we could take the Middle Earth Shuttle today!
"I now pronounce you wife and wife" -- that's right kids, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts! Well, it's not all that simple, actually -- the decision was close, 4-3, and will be immediately appealed, plus it turns the issue of actually giving out marriage licenses to couples like the plaintiffs over to...gulp...the Legislature, i.e. the Fiefdom of Finneran, to come up with a plan to compy within 180 days. Hmmmmm...methinks there will be much demonstrating atop Beacon Hill in the coming weeks...get ready! Mazel tov!

UPDATE: Be sure to check out the Boston.com message boards on the ruling -- about 85% in favor, 10% against, 5% nuts, like the guy on page 8 who whines, "I guess we all get to see even more cars driving by with the gay rainbow on it [sic] now." Ha! Beware an upturn in sales for Subaru Foresters, beware!


What To Do If Your Mom Discovers Your Blog -- helpful advice from the Blog Gods themselves, the people of Blogger, in response to this Onion article. Tee hee...I love the self-referential internet.
John Muhammad was found guilty today of capital murder, among other crimes, in his Virginia Beach trial for last year's sniper shootings. His accomplice, Lee Malvo, is on trial now. I'm not sure why, but the shootings seem far more senseless, cruel, and terrifying to me now than they did while they were happening...maybe it was the prosecution's methodical presentation of the overwhelming evidence. In any case, this might be a good time to check out the NRA Blacklist, and maybe get yourself on it.
The Top Ten Conservative Idiots -- dude, GWB isn't even #1, ouch.
A certain fellow British comedy buff and I spent some time with "The Young Ones" over the weekend, and were struggling for breath most of the time (from laughing so hard...*ahem*). Luckily there are DVD's of this classic show to slake our thirst for deeply random, cheeky humor...and no shortage of fansites, either. Second only to "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on my list of Funniest Cancelled Television Comedies...narrowly edging out "Parker Lewis Can't Lose." :P
Take a spin down the aisles of the Foreign Grocery Museum -- heavy on the Japanese snacks and their signature wacky packaging. Looks like the curator hasn't been to Australia, land of Scotch Finger biscuits, cheese that comes in "tasty," "extra tasty" and "strong & bitey" flavors, and good old Vegemite Snackabouts, yum yum.
Ann Coulter really is a talking Barbie doll. *shiver*
Try your hand at the Belief-O-Matic and find a faith that fits. Anything can happen: despite my entirely Catholic upbringing, I came up 100% pure Unitarian Universalist, woohoo! Thanks, Kim! :)
Want to watch a silly, somewhat gruesome little Flash movie about a bad toaster? Well, Half Giraffe is the place for you. Check out some of their other stuff too.
The Greatest Album Covers That Never Were. Ever wanted to redesign your favorite band's cover art? These artists did just that. Check out Kurt Vonnegut's take on Phish -- woah!
Ethan Gilsdorf is...The Lord of the Dweebs. Read his insufferably blinkered article from yesterday's Globe magazine, "The Lord of Ka-Ching" -- a tiresome, pompous, nonsensical rant about the evils of commercialism trampling the sacred sod of JRR Tolkien's splotless legacy, blah blah. He was foolish enough to let the Globe print his email address, so by this time I'm sure he's been tsunami'ed by irritated LOTR fans the world over -- what else would we do with a sniveling aesthete who claims to loathe the movies yet happily collects the action figures? Can't have it both ways, chief -- come on in, the waters of fandom are fine!
Here's another school kiss story: two high school seniors in Maryland were suspended for climbing atop a lunch table in the cafeteria and making out for about 15 seconds. Of course, they're both girls. Media storm (and much loin-stirring, surely) ensues. The stunt was not only an anti-homophobia statement, it was their response to a class assignment on the transcendentalists(!): each student was asked to perform a "nonconformist act." I think that qualifies, ladies...
Monday afternoon, and it's the first chance of the day to blog -- what a world! :P Here's a very relevant article, though -- do you get Sunday Night Anxiety as the weekend winds down and your mind drifts towards all the wonders/horrors in store for you at work the next day? You're not alone: "Overstressed employees often feel trapped and pessimistic about finding more enjoyable work at a reasonable wage. These harried workers often feel as if the weekend is over by Saturday night. " Yikes! My prescription (as a lifelong procrastinator, of course) is to make both Sunday and Monday nights o'fun...laundry can always wait, can't it?


I hereby command you to spend the rest of the day playing with this virtual Spirograph! You can play with the color, shape, and pattern endlessly -- and if you sing the theme from "Vertigo" it looks a lot like the opening credit sequence!
Erase your student loans the Howard Dean way -- check out the Village Voice's review of Dean's bold "College Commitment" proposal (as I posted yesterday).
In deliciously good news, Guinness may in fact be good for you -- stout-drinkers get an artery-soothing antioxidant (?!) benefit that lager louts just don't.
Can you say "Sippuray Sumsum"? Israeli and Palestinian versions of Sesame Street hope to bring peace to the Middle East the Muppet way...and in other feel-good news, read the story of a wrongly-convicted redneck white supremacist who is getting his swastika tattoos removed as a sign of respect to the Jewish lawyer who got him released from prison. Wow!
And now, for your quibbling pleasure: The Guardian's list of the 40 top film directors worldwide. David Lynch comes in at #1 -- something tells me this would never happen in his native land. First woman (out of a whopping 2 total) comes in at #12, two-time director Lynne Ramsay, whose "Morvern Callar" I really wanted to see. Now for some outrage: P.T. Anderson and Spike Jonze rank higher than Ang Lee, Gus Van Sant, and Wes Anderson...!?!??!?! And, do I even need to ask, where the hell is Spike Lee? Worse, King of the Sellout Degenerates David Fincher is on the list at all -- at least he's 30 places behind David Cronenberg, whose shoes he will never, ever fill. Discuss!
"I've seen this in Chechnya and believe me, when you start fighting a guerrilla war with carpet-bombing, you've lost. Period." The Daily Outrage delivers another cold cup of coffee about The Iraq Debaqle and our badly scrambling "Keystone Kolonialists."

Perhaps this will help wash down the craw-sticking new poll numbers from the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes:

[A] majority of Americans (55%) believe that the Bush administration went to war on the basis of incorrect assumptions. An overwhelming 87% said that, before the war, the administration portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat, while a majority (58%) believes that the administration did not have evidence for this... with 61% saying that the US should have taken more time to find out if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and 59% saying it should have taken more time to build international support.

As Bob Harris wrote over at This Modern World, "I'm buying stock in whoever makes Ambien."
Dude, where's my sugar glider? The hot new dorm pet is a wee Antipodean marsupial -- cute and all, but my dorm room was enough of a disaster without newspaper all over the floor, yeeesh....
Today's Friday five is short and sweet...and therefore somewhat challenging:

1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space. informal

2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer. altruistic, profitable

3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pasttime. dark, silvery, transporting

4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day. multipartite, procrastinatory, indoor, semi-productive

5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life. long, slow, beautiful, joyful, considered


Time Magazine rolls out its list of the Coolest Inventions of 2003 -- query, obviously, what about anything that's announced in the next six weeks, and also, what the hell kind of parameter is "coolest"? Anyway, some of the entries have generated controversy -- for example, the camera phone. While Time drools over it as a brilliant combination of two beloved gadgets, some folks feel it's nothing but a frivolous ploy by the wireless companies to sneak fees by the phone users. I don't even like using my plain cellphone, so I'm not disagreeing...but in the interests of equal time, check out the cameraphone photoblogs over at textamerica, like this one featuring pics of the California wildfires. One could make an argument that despite the hidden costs, digital photography (or even photojournalism) is in the hands of a larger and more enthusiastic audience thanks to the camera phone. Or not. In any event, to me the camera phone is not the thing on this list to get het up over -- try the Radio Snorkel. WTF?!!
How to make Starbucks seem more like a local Austin coffee joint -- wacky Austin columnist John Kelso has a few suggestions for the caffeine chain. My favorite: "Hang a picture of Stevie Ray Vaughan. If that doesn't fool 'em, nothing will."
Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall encapsulates the bleakness of the Iraq debacle: "The CIA report on the situation in Iraq, which got so much play on Wednesday after its existence was revealed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, was apparently even more bleak than the article suggested. And if you read the article, you know that’s gotta mean it was pretty damn bleak." Yikes.
In campaign policy news, Howard Dean unveiled his higher education plan, which includes $10K in federal financial aid for college and trade school students...paid for by repealing all the Bush high-income tax gifts. Sweet!
Sorry Chicago, Boston is actually the windiest city in America, with an average annual wind speed of 12.4 mph. Okay, that takes care of the science trivia for today...


"...and strap your hands 'cross my candidacy!" -- In a high-octane attempt to provide a bigger headline for today than "Two More Quit Kerry Team Amid Shakeup," John "Bad to the Bone" Kerry roared onto the Tonight Show last night on a motorcycle. Though I've been given free rein by an actual Kerry supporter to savage him at will, I must admit that it's hard to take a bite out of a man who called his still-ongoing presidential campaign "a long and humbling experience" on a late-night chat show. He did provide a chuckle with this inspiring statement: "This campaign is moving. We know exactly where we are going, know exactly what we are doing." Yeah, I know where you're going too, JK, and it's not here or here.
The MetaFilter link of the day is the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection at Indiana University. Cushman left his 14,000+ slides to the library, and they are some of the most beautifully composed amateur photos I've ever seen, taken on his travels around an America that doesn't exist anymore. Gorgeous and fascinating.
Now that a certain friend has joined Curves, and is wisely encouraging me to do the same, I think the time is right to revisit these Weight Watchers recipe cards from 1974. Just as old as me, but unlike me, totally unappetizing. Check out the Frankfurter Spectacular -- in what universe is this a low fat choice?
The Diary of Samuel Pepys is online -- the excerpt for each day's date...in the 1660's...is updated daily. Pepys is a famed chronicler of 17th century life, through his meticulous and often unwittingly hilarious entries: "Then I went down into the Hall and to Will’s, where Hawly brought a piece of his Cheshire cheese, and we were merry with it." Huzzah!
Make a virtual LEGO minifig of yourself, with the Mini-Mizer!
Today Salon features "Streets of Fear," a report from Iraq by Georgetown professor Samer Shehata -- it's worth getting the day pass to read. Here's the wrap-up kickoff paragraph:

November has been the deadliest for both Americans and Iraqis since President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1. The headquarters for the International Committee of the Red Cross was bombed. Baghdad's deputy mayor was assassinated. Three of the city's police stations were simultaneously attacked. Two U.S. helicopters have been shot down. In the past few days, alone, gunmen in Mosul opened fire on an oil company executive's car, wounding him and killing his son, and a bomb in Basra claimed several civilian casualties.

And it's only November 12th. Add to this toll today's massive truck bombing in Nasiriyah, killing 23 including 15 Italian soldiers, and to put it mildly, something's gotta give. Looks like they might be too busy over at the White House already, though.
Just as an introductory note of lunacy today, let me record the fact that when I turned on the Today Show this morning Matt Lauer was interviewing...The Rolling Stones. :-o


Despite the inherent lameness of Amazon.com's "Holiday A-List" celebrity promo gimmick, the Jack Black installment is aptly awesome -- check out the hand-drawn Tenacious D Lifetime Backstage Pass he drew! I am firing up the color printer and laminator...
It's the 25th Anniversary of the Science Times section of the NYT, and they've posed 25 of the most provocative questions facing science today, including 'How does the brain work?', 'Are men/women necessary?', and 'How does gravity work, really?'
"Why We Should Fear The Matrix" -- that would be the "Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange," run by the Pentagon through a private company(!), not the land of The Merovingian...yet.
"Freedom good, dictators bad" -- I think Liberal Oasis does a fine analysis of GWB's Iraq-tionale, don't you?
Create your own Bayeux Tapestry online with the Historic Tale Construction Kit! Thank god for geeky German students...this is too cool!
"Dick and Jane went on a picnic...Jane wished Dick did not have an accent. After living in Los Angeles for five years, she was a racist." Good old McSweeney's presents "The Dick and Jane Reader for Advanced Students"... rated somewhere between "Dawson's Creek" and "Intro. to Multicultural Social Theory."
'Tis the season to do some good works (if you're only going to do them once a year, that is... >:P), and for those in the know in Boston two excellent opportunities are coming up. First, for your Thanksgiving table, is Pie In The Sky -- the annual bake sale fundraiser for Community Servings, an organization that delivers meals to people and their families living with HIV and AIDS. The pies are delicious, and for $20 you get dessert and a family of 4 gets a whole meal; you can order online and choose one of the pickup sites around the city to get your pie on Wed. 11/26. For the big spenders, there are also "celebrity pies" for a $100 contribution: you could eat a pie from Brian Ferry, Tom & Ray from "Car Talk," Tori Amos (!), Eminem (!!), or...Nomar Garciaparra!!!

Once the crippling turkey feast is done, only a few short weeks remain 'til Christmas, and more importantly Christmas in the City. As plenty of you know firsthand, this is a one day extravaganza of food, folks & fun for children and families in Greater Boston who are homeless. This year it's on Sunday, December 21st, and I will be looking for as many volunteers as I can get to help give lunch, an afternoon of fun & games, and a mountain of presents to some very needy kids. Stay tuned for more info...mark your calendar and get out your goofy holiday headgear...
This morning on the drive to work, I clicked over to WFNX and was stunned to hear "Smoke" by Ben Folds Five, an extreme rarity even on "alternative radio." Lo and behold, it turned out the morning show was interviewing Nick Hornby, who's giving a reading tonight in Cambridge for Songbook, his book of essays with mix-CD accompaniment -- newly out in paperback, FYI. Nicky was wry and gravelly, and held forth on Paul Westerberg -- they played "Born For Me"! -- and Ani Difranco, and then played "A Minor Incident" by Badly Drawn Boy....sigh...if only morning radio was always like this...


Why be a DJ when you could be an MP3j? You knew this was coming down the pike: no more turntables, just 2 iPods packed with enough music to play for months without a repeat. Of course, the whole fashion statement element would be ruined with those little white earbuds instead of proper headphones...Meanwhile, try out the Technics Sound Flyer online, with click-and-drag sound samples you combine and "spin." Neato.
"Adding a bit of structure to the Q&A process" -- another scathing Daily Outrage today, on the power-mad Bush Administration's latest attempt to run Congress like Robert DeNiro in "The Untouchables": "Part...of...a...team!"
Want to go to Lapland with Yoko Ono and Zaha Hadid? It's not an Avant Garde Women Artists with Unusual Names Summit, no, it's The Snow Show, a festival of art and architecture installations using snow and ice. Cool. (*rim shot!*)
For all you "Clerks" fans out there: if Jay and Silent Bob really were action heroes...perhaps it would look a little something like this.
SWM, 57 seeks lefty activist soulmate for sunset walks, candlelit dinners at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave -- that's right, Dennis Kucinich is lookin' for love. I think it's very cool that he's single and proud, but really when you're running for president you maybe shouldn't announce to the electorate, "If you're out there, call me." Hmmmmmm...
Oscar is a brand -- but one with a shrinking market share? Can the Academy truly be surprised that most folks watch the awards for the stars, not to cheer on their favorite cinematographers? Let's hope the solution does not lie in more dance numbers...
Random Church Sign Generator! And you know I love generators -- this site has some great links, to the ACME Valentine Heart and License Plate Generators; green freeway sign applet-maker; ransom note generator ("For entertainment purposes only"!); and my favorite, the I.P.-licious Prior-Art-O-Matic!
Pop Quiz -- how long into this article on Sarah McLachlan before you get brutally annoyed by yet another reference to Sarah, Lilith Fair, and the 90's in general as "estrogen-fueled"? Grrrrrrr...
The sprawl of Massachusetts is the sprawl of America -- a new study by Mass Audubon finds McMansionization rampant in the Fey State....duhhhhhh. 40 acres of open space per day is lost to development, nearly all for new home construction -- which always sounds so good and chipper in an economic recovery report, but in real life means the nightmare that is Hopkinton, and the lots along Rt. 2A on my way to work where the houses alternate thusly: modest 60's bungalow, towering faux-lonial insta-manse, modest 60's bungalow, towering faux-lonial...well, you get the idea. You can read more and download the whole study at Mass Audubon -- and while you're there, why not join, so we won't all be living in the Paved State in 20 years?
Shake it up, John Kerry -- the lantern-jawed yet beleaguered candidate has replaced his campaign manager at the 11th hour...well, ok, it's still more like the 10th hour. I'm no strategy expert, but it seems that the time to fire is *before* your leading opponent wins two major union endorsements and opts out of public financing in the same week...
Greetings from Monday, people -- you know it's been a crazy weekend when you're looking forward to a few slow workdays to get a breather. In between shuttling teenagers around The Bean, I did see "The Matrix Revolutions", and here's the plain (or to some, appalling) truth: it was my favorite installment of the trilogy! I was never on the original Matrix cult train, though, so maybe I'm immune to the disappointment others seem to have. It was a satisfying conclusory chapter to the story -- if the whole thing was one long movie, would people complain as loudly that the denouement was somewhat anticlimactic? I think we expect too much, for each installment to "top" its predecessors rather than just complement them. The probable exception to this rule, of course, will be "Return of the King," which by all accounts will be somehow even better than the other two...*shiver*! Anyway, back to the Matrix -- check out the Corporate Mofo guide to the dense weave of pop philosophical claptrap the Wachowskis have spun...and some brilliant photoshopping! Thanks to N.K. "Plot Hole Ahead" Woodward for the link.


Which Muppet Are You? I am apparently Kermit, not Lew Zealand...but check out this analysis: "You are Kermit the Frog!! You are loyal to your friends and don't really know how to say no. No matter what you are doing, you would drop it in a second if a loved one was in trouble. You are also a born star. Everyone loves you!" Ouch, baby, very ouch. ;-)
Dr. Dean may not be Dr. King quite yet, but this op-ed from the L.A. Times makes an interesting point about the underlying issue of Dems winning the white Southern vote, and what MLK might say: "King realized that the grand old bargain this country had always offered to poor whites – namely, accept your poverty and we will ensure your racial caste superiority over blacks – must be destroyed before universal opportunity could be realized." Maybe Howard should look to this Ms. C. Rice as a speechwriter...
Just when you thought Google couldn't get any cooler, they come up with the DeskBar: run a Google search without opening your browser. This would come in massively handy, I think, on my old computer, which couldn't handle running 8 or 9 things at once. Speaking of old, check out this interview with the search engine -- he's so quaint, that Jeeves...
Eighth grader faces $283 fine for giving a girl a hickey. Sound outrageous? Just wait til you read the whole story. This makes me think back to the seething sexual undertone of middle school, and wonder: has nothing changed except calling something "assault" instead of "horseplay"? Where's all the vaunted "character education"? Hmmmmm...
Today being Friday, me being utterly wiped out, and there being a very cool Friday Five today, I believe I'll start with that:

1. What food do you like that most people hate? Sorry, I'm not one of those black jellybean people...but I love caramelized onions -- I could eat a whole five pound bag of onions that way. I guess they're in fashion these days, but a lot of people pick them out of things. More for me.

2. What food do you hate that most people love? I don't like pepperoni, or really any of the fatty Italian deli meats. I also loathe roasted red peppers. Actually, whole hot peppers of any kind too. Bleeghhhhh...

3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you? Putting aside the obvious choices of malnourished starlets and/or aging matinee idols, I'll pick Ashton Kutcher and his whole crew of unshowered juvenile idiots.

4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find
As if I need to think twice -- it's Jables, people.

5. What popular trend baffles you? Are you kidding -- where should I start? I'll have to pare this down to the truly inexplicable...i'll say 1) low-rise jeans; 2) talking on a cellphone while shopping, etc. with the earbud in, holding the phone out in front of you (thus negating the "hands-free" aspect) like a divining rod and speaking at full volume to nobody like a schizophrenic; and 3) supposedly quicker/more convenient/fortified versions of soup, cereal, and yogurt -- if you don't have three minutes to eat these things in their original format, you have bigger problems.


Say cheese -- check out this photo of GWB and henchmen at the signing of the "partial birth" abortion ban yesterday...notice anything peculiar? None, I say, none of those lawmakers looks pregnant to me! They sure do care a lot about life, though. For more fun, head over to kottke.org and click on the comments to Jason's link to this picture -- somebody call the fire department, it's a flame war! It was batted around on MetaFilter too.

But don't fret -- another federal judge has blocked the ban, based on a suit in NY by the National Abortion Federation, whose members work across the country. Thus, the effect may be even more widespread -- nice.
Barbara Meltz goes off on watching too much TV in today's Globe -- score one for those of us who turned out fine on an hour a day til age 14! The study discussed here is truly disturbing -- kids under 2 (that is, children who can't even really speak) watching 2+ hours per day? Toddler teachers finding kids don't know how to engage in pretend play? WTF?!
"Darko Milicic gets the rebound!" vs. "Lucious Harris for three!" -- check out Gene's annual survey of wacky NBA player's names over at his blog, Atomiq. To play this game yourself, I'd start at the NBA's International Players page -- they're all here, from Yao Ming to Hedo Turkoglu to my fellow Lithuanian, Zydrunas Ilgauskas. My money's on Vitaly Potapenko, he's the mellifluous NBA counterpart to Erubiel Durazo.
Homegrown Evil Empires -- The Daily Outrage covers the Reagan miniseries-cancellation flap with its usual aplomb, and a scary level of detail on the Reagan Legacy Project, shiver. The cancellation itself is getting criticized not just from the usual liberal corners, but in fuming editorials across the land...what can I say, it's not like I'd ever watch CBS anyway.
Microsoft forgets to renew domain registration in the UK -- an "almighty cock-up" (!) says The Register. I used to do domain name administration all day long, and it is not so difficult: get an email from VeriSign, send them the $30. Next time try tying a string around your finger, folks.
Jesus saves the Class of '04 -- very interesting tangle over religion and a public school yearbook in good old Orange County, CA. Several students wore t-shirts spelling out "Jesus <3's U" and whatnot for the senior picture -- the principal nixed it, and the kids walked out. If this were a final exam in a Constitutional Law class, you'd have to wonder what the difference is between these shirts and kids who wear crucifixes, etc. in their individual portraits. Is it the group photo aspect? Is it the directness of the message? Despite one kid's weak rationale ("We wanted to express how important Christianity is in our lives...We weren't trying to impose our beliefs on others"), the expression "Jesus is the way" seems pretty definitive to me. Would it make a difference if the the shirts said "My personal belief is that Jesus is the way"? What if the kids all wore shirts from their school club, "Brothers and Sisters in Christ"? Muy interesante...
How they make those minutely detailed action figures. Cool as an Agent Smith would look on my toy shelf, I think this is my movie memorabilia choice for the Xmas List...

In other toy news in the NYT today, check out this article on the upstanding American Girl phenomenon.
I'm sorry, this story is just the best possible way to begin a busy Thursday: truck full of hot dogs catches fire on Iowa interstate! Film at 11...


This one, clearly, goes out to Peter: The Random Wisconsin City Name Generator!
15 Trends in Logo Design -- neato.
Donald Rumsfeld Wants You...to join your local draft board. Really. In a minor yet sinister move, the Pentagon is moving to fill draft board posts: they say it's the "natural cycle of things" (?!), other see the growing Vietnamesque quagmire in Iraq and tremble at the thought of conscripting young men to fight there. There's a whopping 80% vancancy rate, since there has been no need for them in 25 years. The good people at True Majority have a creative solution, though -- get out there and join the board! I quote their email to me: "If you were a scared teenager in your community confronted with being drafted, who would you want deciding your fate?" I'd say, me.
"Another Bush For Telling Women What to Do" -- were I able to slap a bumper sticker on the presidential limo today, that's what it would say. Not even two weeks after his brother John Ellis Bush hustled a monstrous, probably unconstitutional law through the Florida legislature dictating the terms of Terry Schiavo's life and death, President No-Choice signed a monstrous, probably unconstitutional federal law banning the dilation & extraction procedure after the first trimester of pregnancy. Welcome to the slippery slope.

Allow me to quote some of his inspirational rhetoric: "For years, a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth while the law looked the other way ... Today, at last, the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child." Putting aside cynical points about a tirade on "violence against children" coming from a man who slashed HeadStart, law enforcement, welfare, and education funding, let alone his sending teenagers to their bloody deaths every day in Iraq...let's simply parse his words. "Children who are inches from birth"? As sane people know, this rare procedure is used only when medically appropriate, to help women whose pregnancies are clearly not going to result in a safe delivery and healthy infant. "Defense of the innocent child"? There are no "children" in question here, and even if there were, who would say they were not innocent? What is the point of including inflammatory language like this -- clearly it's to reframe the reproductive rights debate by placing the unborn at the center, and the government in the position of "protecting" that key demographic from "harm." Ironically, the law signed today does not, I repeat, not include an exception for protecting the woman's health from "harm." Not only does this boggle the rational mind, it ushers in a host of unpleasant realities for women facing these tough decisions right now -- I'd like to see President Innocent have to explain to a pregnant woman scheduled for D&X, on national television, why he thinks she should be forced to continue carrying an acephalic or otherwise terminally compromised fetus. This high-flying song and dance about "protecting children" would sound pretty hollow, I think, to someone to whom Washington is dictating how they can treat their reproductive organs. Whatever happened to "smaller government"?

BUT WAIT -- even as I was writing this post, a retaliatory blow has been struck in Nebraska! A federal judge there granted a temporary restraining order against the new law! Way to go, Judge Kopf! The TRO applies only to the four physicians who filed suit, but may extend into several states, and this strategy will surely be replicated in other federal circuits. Tiny sigh of relief.
Where are we going? How did we get inside this handbasket? -- adult film star and California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey (link omitted from fear of Googling her at work) will be hosting an "R-rated" reality show on pay-per-view entitled "Can YOU be a pornstar?" Despite the seeming redundancy of this question, the show will track several wannabe starlets and award a contract (now THAT sounds like fun) and $100K to the "best" one. Let me take this opportunity to reiterate my prediction that within our lifetimes we will see pay-per-view televised executions...to raise revenue for public education, of course.
Enter The Meatrix -- just finish your drink first, or you'll have a big mess when Moo-pheus comes on the scene, like me. For those of us not going to see you-know-what as it opens today, I think you'll agree that the lead here is better than Keanu anyway...plus, he cares about family farms!
Newsflash from H.J. Simpson Labs -- in the spirit of real-life Skittlebrau, we now have real-life tomacco. When someone reverse engineers the Kwik-E-Mart Squishee, then I'll get excited.
Tastemakers, beware -- Amazon.com's Top Books of 2003 (query what happens to all the books released in the next eight weeks) is equal parts ridiculous and sublime. The Amazon editors chose some real sleepers, like this, this, and this which are on my list -- as well as Bill Bryson's book which is certainly my top choice of the year. The customers, on the other hand, are playing it culturally fast and loose -- Harry Potter and Al Franken, OK; Dungeons & Dragons and the South Beach Diet? Sounds like a bad punchline...and speaking of which, please tell me this item (at #28!) isn't real.
Here's the Red Sox tidbit of the day -- I just love this guy: "John Burkett, also a free agent, said Epstein was set to call him, but the righthander is not expecting encouraging news. "I don't think he'll be calling to offer me a raise," said Burkett, who went 12-9 with a 5.15 ERA in the final season of his two-year, $11 million contract. "It will probably be more like, `Goodbye, and we appreciate everything you've done.' " Burkett, who turns 39 Nov. 28, plans to test the market before deciding whether to retire. "My experience there was fantastic," he said of Boston. "I will never play in a place better, I can tell you that."" Perhaps the gritty veteran can offer Billy Bob Thornton his services as a stunt double...and on a conclusory note, I went over to the Sox site and neither Burkett nor fellow free agent Todd Walker appears on the 40-man roster! Uh-oh...
How about a round of applause for SubstiBlogger Nat, who did another fine job yesterday updating the Index, while I toiled in the obscure warrens of democracy...{*applause*} :)

Yesterday was a hot one for politics all over Boston -- starting, of course, with the Somerville Ward 7 Alderman race, and continuing across the river at the Rock the Vote event for the Democratic presidential candidates at Faneuil Hall. My dear friend Marty will not, unfortunately, be taking a seat on the Board of Aldermen -- the evil incumbent, Bob Trane, won by about 100 votes. Double sigh. It was a frustrating night for Howard Dean too -- looks like that good ol' boy pickup truck doesn't shift into reverse too well...


Iggy Pop is appearing at Newbury Comics at Alewife (aka Fresh Pond) tonight at 8pm! What a world! If I were there, I'd ask him how much Carnival Cruise Lines paid him to use "Lust For Life" in their TV commercials...
What has five legs and lives on a farm in Scotland?
From The Desk of Your Fill-In Blogger, N.K.W.:
Thanks to my sister and her Live Journal, I have found this link: The 18 Worst Jobs In Science. Number Three on the list has been mentioned in the movie Clerks, Number Eight has been documented on HBO, Number Fourteen was excruciatingly documented on film too.
One of the worst-delivered lines in movie history has been formally recognized: Empire Magazine has listed the Ten Cheesiest Moments In Movie History. In my opinion, the worst-delivered line in movie history has to be in Four Weddings and a Funeral, when Carrie ("played" by Andie MacDowell) says "Is it raining? I hadn't noticed." The miracle of the film is that it trancends MacDowell's embolism-inducing performance and becomes one of the great rom-coms of all time.
America's youth are fatter and more hyper than ever, but at least they're getting their vitamin D! Yes, the medicating of America continues: Caffeinated milk has arrived, thanks to Minnesota-based Schroeder Milk Co.
"We're giving teens the caffeine they want but also vitamins, calcium and protein," says Jill Schroeder, brand manager, in a fit of rationalization. I'm sure Jill has no trouble sleeping at night, but her customers will, as long as they're tweaked out on her company's products. No word on how this will affect the sales of decaf milk.
Your ever vigilant coffee addict, N.W.
Boston-based comic stripper Darby Conley, creator of the mildly funny dog, cat, and owner strip Get Fuzzy, has received death threats over a bad joke about Pittsburgh.
"Kyle is going to bring a guitar, and if we need extra nourishment, we will live off the power of each other's rock"
In Tenacious D news, the D team of Jack Black and Kyle Gass skewered illusionist and total tool David Blaine (I refuse to offer a Blaine link here) with a shameless publicity stunt of their own. "I have evidence that David Blaine had liquid cheeseburgers pumped into his box," Black said at a press conference before the event.
Click here to see Tenacious D clad only in spandex jumpsuits.
Your faithful substi-blogger, Nat W.
Sarah McLachlan is back. Her first album of new material in six years picks up right where she left off. The reviews are solid, but beware of recording one album after another which all sound the same- as Tracy Chapman can tell you.
Her last CD of new material, Surfacing, sold 6 million copies, but that was 1998, the zenith of the Lillith Fair. The 'women' dominating the pop charts in 2003 were all in high school in 1998. It's hard to imagine there was a time when no one knew who Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera were. McLachlan's hardcore fans will still buy her records, but mainstream, multi-million selling success may be behind her.....your substitute blogger, Nat W.
Greetings fellow blog-readers, this is NOT The Divine Miss Em, but her sub, Nat W., who is filling in whilst Em is manning a folding table in a high school gym or retirement center, somewhere in Somerville for Election Day...

Boston is trying out some 21st-century technology: the next-generation of parking enforcement, the "pay and display" system, and the "pay per space system". They work like this: instead of parking meters at each space, there's a box (like a small ATM) which covers every 5-7 spaces. You go pay for your time at the box. With "pay and display", it gives you a receipt which you must display on your dashboard.
I have used the "pay and display" system in New York City, and Park City, UT (strangely enough), and it is not a royal pain, but I am troubled by the trend of paying with credit cards for everything in America. I keep all my quarters in my car, and I drop by the bank to get rolls of quarters a couple times a year- is that so hard? I thought parking meters were the last bastion of cash-only, but that battlement has fallen to the plastic armies of banking. Americans don't seem to mind having interest rates and annual fees attached to every purchase they make. People appreciate the convenience of credit cards, but isn't the no-charge transactions cash offers even better? With these credit-card parking systems, your bank will literally nickel and dime you to death.


The hour grows late, friends, and I just remembered I will be offline tomorrow, as I spend 12+ hours observing the machinery of democracy in action as a volunteer for my friend Marty's campaign for alderman -- woohoo, democracy! For your bloggish pleasure, the ever-ready N@ Woodward will be guest hosting for the day once again, so adjust your vertical and horizontal hold dials accordingly. (/lame ancient TV-based humor)
Portrait of the Director as a Young Woman -- from the BBC. Shreepali Patel is shadowing director Roger Michell, the man behind "Notting Hill," on the shoot for "Enduring Love," based on Ian McEwan's novel.
"Conspiracy Theories" -- web accompaniment to a Canadian Broadcasting Company investigative report on the rumored plots behind September 11th. Some interesting threads...also poses the question, could and will a similar report ever be published by the American media?
The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb celebrates its fifth anniversary this month -- and I can say from experience, it is an amazing adventure that deserves to be replicated around the globe. Despite the somewhat ill-fitting raingear I wrestled with, every aspect of the climb is smoothly planned and totally safe -- you actually can forget that you're up on the side of a bridge girder because it's so wide and massive. And in any case, you're firmly latched on to a safety line, so you can gaze out over Sydney Harbour all you want. Highly recommended -- and I'm available to go again if anyone's handing out trips to Australia...
"The Incredible World of Bowling Noir" -- could I make up a more intriguing link? Nay.
"This is like a music reviewer discovering Velvet Underground and saying they sound like The Strokes" -- well, sort of. It's yet another review of David Foster Wallace's infinity book, from The New Scientist, by a clueless nerd who seems to thing DFW is following in the footsteps of Dave Eggers and not the other way around...feel free to skip on ahead if you're sick of this already.
The Paul Green School of Rock Music -- not to be at all confused with The School of Rock. Right.
The Littlest Immigrants -- not a heartwarming children's book, but an article from the NYTimes on the young children of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who are being smuggled in with strangers to try and join their families. Watch out for the photo gallery, it will break your heart.
Fear not, though, this is not turning into a Diaryland blog -- there's still plenty of bad news to post, like the disastrous helicopter attack in Fallujah, Iraq yesterday. I don't really want to know the answer to this question, but how bad does it have to get before the White House changes its same old tune, or Rumsfeld says something less ghoulish? The nightmare continues...
November 3rd -- HOW can it be November 3rd already, people? That's the tricky thing about Halloween: it's the emblematic October holiday, but as it comes on the 31st it always unceremoniously dumps you right into winter. And the displays of Xmas decorations and wrapping paper in the same aisle of CVS as the Halloween candy do not help with this. Sigh.

But on a brighter note, a fantastic time was had by all at The Halloween Switcheroo on Friday night -- even Steve Bartman was redeemed! Amid ghostly lights and your garden variety battery-operated vampire bat, we had a host of hilarious transformations: Hamlet became The Center of the Universe! A hockey player turned into a deviled egg! James Bond became an old-school 70's Charlie's Angel! Lance the "Pulp Fiction" Drug Dealer became Billie Holiday! Add in a mountain of candy -- total insanity! Especially with that last duo, it was one wild, unexpected, altogether memorable weekend...