Friday, April 30, 2004

REASON NO. 1,843 I married her:

Somebody on TV uses an elaborate serving spatula to carve off a piece of something-or-other, and I say, "That looks like veal Prince Orloff!"

Jacqueline immediately replies: "I'm not as hungry as I thought I was!"

Don't get it? Think Mary Tyler Moore. Here's the best explainer I could find. Scroll through some other sitcom gems, including one of my other favorites (Oscar and Felix on "Password"), to find it.

HERE'S SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN when you're 6, or 17, or 29:

I just got a year younger, sort of. In thinking about tomorrow being an old friend's birthday, I thought: Now we'll both be 43. Only, wait a minute, he was born in 1962, about half a year after me.

So . . . I'm only 42? Yay! I'm not sure how long I've been thinking I was 43.

I GET A LITTLE SNIPPY when I have to register for news sites, but perhaps I should have given more thought to that user name.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

"SOCIALLY AWKWARD" isn't good enough anymore. Now it's a disease, with a name and everything. Read all about it in the New York Times. (Sorry, registration required -- but you're not a victim of Registrophobia, are you?).

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


If you thought Omarosa was bad, meet Drew the intern.

I once thought Boston Rob was my direct opposite. Then I saw Brad.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I'VE TAKEN SOME GRIEF for offering The Slot-logo thong panties, but I've actually sold some. Even I, however, am puzzled about why on earth anyone would buy this logo merchandise.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

HOW THE HELL did "cut and run" suddenly become an everyday expression? And what the fuck does it mean? The "cut" part suggests fishing, but then why would you run from a fish?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I TOOK LAST THURSDAY OFF to see the Pernice Brothers at a D.C. club called the Black Cat.

Awesome -- the club, the band, the show, the evening. The Black Cat has been around for a decade or so, but I had never been there. Joe Pernice has been making music under a variety of band names -- the Scud Mountain Boys, Chappaquiddick Skyline, "Joe Pernice," the Pernice Brothers -- since the mid-'90s. But I hadn't heard of him until a year or so ago, when my online friend Craig Lancaster mentioned "Yours, Mine & Ours" as one of two recent albums I had to have. (The other was Guster's "Keep It Together," and it's great as well.)

Jacqueline and I were amused that the guys hanging out at the downstairs bar ended up being the roadies -- who ended up being the band. Joe himself wasn't in the bar but was one of the guys setting up. I didn't really know what any of them looked like, so I had no idea. Here's a guy who does great modern mellow alternative pop but looks like a not-necessarily-cool working stiff. (Jacqueline isn't as obsessed as I am but had heard and liked the new album and was expecting a "shoe-gazer.")

Here's a guy who wrote a book about how "Meat Is Murder" changed his life in high school. And wrote a song called "The Ballad of Bjorn Borg." And sometimes does the Pretenders' "Talk of the Town" as an encore. He didn't this time -- just as well, Jacqueline said, to keep me from turning into a full-fledged stalker.

Friday, April 16, 2004

THE END OF PARTISANSHIP? Well, no, but it's refreshing to see any move in that direction. When WMAL-AM in Washington dropped "Dr." Laura, one of my train-wreck favorites, I was too lazy to change my morning habits and I just kept turning the radio on at 10:30 or 11. The station replaced the doctor-who-isn't with a guy named Michael Graham.

Graham calls himself a "right-wing nut job" and never misses a chance to mention that he went to Oral Roberts University, but he's far from being a predictable conservative. As someone who has endured more than his share of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (again, too lazy to touch that dial), I am fascinated by this.

Graham's topic one day was how it's ludicrous to say that atheists can't be good Americans. Another day it was how his fellow conservatives lose sight of their core values when it comes to law enforcement. The day after President Bush's news conference in which he said he couldn't come up with an example of a mistake he made, Graham devoted the show to harsh criticism of that non-answer. Limbaugh and Hannity have their token disagreements with the president on trade and immigration and government spending, but they're not about to give liberals the satisfaction of agreeing with them on any of Bush's faults when it comes to the really emotional issues. You just get the feeling that if Dubya slashed a baby's throat in the Rose Garden, Rush and Sean would say the kid had it coming -- or change the subject and say that at least Bush wasn't lying about blow jobs. (To be fair, I suppose you could argue that if Clinton had done the same thing, the far left would have applauded it as a bold step for abortion rights.)

Graham gets a little too libertarian for my tastes at times. Although he is passionate in his distaste for racism, he argues that private businesses in a free country should be allowed to discriminate on any basis they choose. He scoffs at laws saying that you can't talk on a cell phone while driving and that you have to turn on your headlights if it's raining. Like most conservatives, he seems to think the right to smoke is at least as basic as the right to breathe. But he's funny, provocative and interesting, and he's nobody's bitch.

In addition to his radio duties, he's the author of "Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War," which he talks about here.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

THE BEST ROUTINE from the first few episodes of Comedy Central's "100 Greatest Standups of All Time" is from a comedian I had always thought of as a prime example of unfunny stand-up, George Wallace. (Not the racist Alabama governor.)

George begins: "I went to McDonald's the other day. My total was two dollars and seventy-eight cents. I gave the kid three dollars and three pennies -- and all hell broke loose."

By the way, when you plug "George Wallace" and "all hell broke loose" into Google, that routine isn't what comes up.

SENSEO UPDATE. The thing really is a masterpiece of industrial design, and I'm getting used to the not-so-great coffee. Pour me a cup of the good stuff and I may need TP, for my bunghole. When Podhead.com comes out with compatible coffee pods, I think I'll have a winner.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

THINK THE INTERNET HAS CREATED A "NEW ECONOMY"? Try refinancing your mortgage and get back to me.

Mortgage companies, banks, insurance agents -- the world still revolves around allowing untalented people to collect a paycheck for unnecessary paper-pushing. Instead of calling up a document that you know damn well is in their records, for instance, these people force the customer to dig up a copy and fax it to them. Instead of employing modern money-transfer techniques to collect their rip-off gouging fees, they ask that a check be overnight-mailed to them.

The fax machine is to the untalented paper-pusher what horrible '70s clothes are to small-town fashion victims. I could accept it (well, no, I couldn't, but play along now) if these slow-things-down-to-make-me-look-useful clock-punchers insisted on U.S. Postal Service delivery of original documents. It would make some sense if the default wardrobe for Middle America were functional dungarees and traditional gingham. But what we get instead on both fronts is a reverence for what was new and exciting two or three generations ago. Faxes! Disco-era haircuts!

The irony here is that we selected the mortgage company partly because of its Web site, one of the best of its kind we had ever seen. That may sound stupid, but what else do we have to go on? Mortgage companies advertise interest rates and "points" but aren't obligated to even begin to disclose the real prices they charge until you've spent weeks or months faxing documents to them and not getting your phone calls returned. By then, the ability to avoid repeating the hassle is worth hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

WHAT I'VE LEARNED so far from "The Swan":
  • Plastic surgery apparently can make you look better rather than turning you into a circus freak. (So, why don't multimillionaire celebrities have access to these plastic surgeons?)
  • It's vitally important to have "zoom bleaching and a full set of da Vinci veneers."

    What I've learned so far from "I Want a Famous Face":
  • When somebody from Playboy is telling you that maybe you shouldn't be trying to look so slutty, you might want to listen.

  • DON'T MAKE the mistake I did. When TurboTax asks you if you want to print your return, say no, and then spend the 11 hours necessary to figure out exactly how to pick and choose which forms to print. It will save you time compared with the 27 hours it will take to print all the piece-of-shit worksheets that TurboTax has decided you will need.

    Or, if you want to be like me (you do, don't you?), you could sit at your desk while the printer loudly churns away and bark, "Fuck YOU, Intuit! Fuck YOU, Hewlett-Packard! Fuck YOU, Bill Gates, for deciding that your operating system can't work and print at the same time."

    Better yet, buy TaxCut. It's probably just as bad, but I've had 365 days, give or take, to forget. I'll just keep alternating between the two until the sweetest tax relief of all, also known as coronary thrombosis.

    Monday, April 12, 2004

    SORRY, HEATHER. Your Salon review wasn't the only one to miss the point of Nick and Jessica's "Variety Hour." My esteemed colleague (Have I met him? Yeah, right!) Tom Shales also pans the obvious parody with a straight face.

    MAYBE I'M GOING out on a limb here, but I'm pretty sure the people behind "The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour" knew they were doing a parody of '70s variety shows.

    I thought they did a pretty good job, but reasonable people may differ (you have to be of a certain age to understand). So, while I'll grant Salon's Heather Havrilesky the right to her opinion, when I read her I Like to Watch column I have to wonder whether she even began to get the joke.

    Perhaps it was the off-topic inclusion of Jewel and Babyface that muddled the message.

    Wednesday, April 07, 2004

    BACK FROM almost a week in Miami Beach. South Beach is a wonderful place, but we could last only so long where nice hotels charge $400-plus a night and drinks for two tend to come to $40.

    Meanwhile, in the place we usually go, the Harrah's bastards have ruined the legendary Horseshoe.

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