Thursday, March 30, 2006

Been surfing

A sampling of my favorite bits:

  • My favorite insult this week, thanks to Christopher Moores' blog: dysfunctional douche-nozzles.
  • From a real article on ongoing bird flu research: "At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ferret sneezes are frozen in tiny vials and locked up in a high-security chamber called an enhanced biosafety Level 3 laboratory. .."
  • From an article in an English paper: "Louise Arnold is left frozen with fear by a bizarre phobia - of peas." Makes my little inability to fill my gas tank seem pretty mainstream, now doesn't it?
  • From a science journal: "Scientists can grow frog and mouse meat in the lab, and are now working on pork, beef and chicken. Their goal is to develop an industrial version of the process in five years.
    If they succeed, cultured or in vitro meat could be coming to a supermarket near you. Consumers could buy hamburger patties and chicken nuggets made from meat cultivated from muscle cells in a giant incubator rather than cut from a farm animal.
    Home chefs could make meat in a countertop device the size of a coffee maker. Before bed, throw starter cells and a package of growth medium into the meat maker and wake up to harvest fresh sausage for breakfast." I found this through Dave Barry's blog. He just liked the phrase "in vitro meat." I found it a little more disturbing.
  • From another venerable provincial English news outlet: "A man had part of an ear bitten off during a brawl in the toilets of a bar in Fallowfield..."
  • I'm finished, and glad of it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

V for Voluminous Capes

Would it be bad if I didn’t like a movie that so deliciously skewers the fascist-lite oligarchy that currently rules our land (even though the “graphic novel” that it is based on was written during the rather iron-fisted reign of Margaret Thatcher)?

V for Vendetta could be worse. But it could have been way better. Here are my gripes. In list order, because I am apparently going through a list phase. Bear with me.

  1. Why are capes so cool in the movies? If you wore one to work, the snickers would last until your coworkers found a batman flashlight and aimed the beam on the ceiling above your cubicle. Then why do they think that the image of a dude whipping weapons out from under a cape is shorthand for cool? It’s just silly.

  2. Speaking of whipping weapons out, apparently Brit Fu is practiced with daggers that you are required to twirl a lot. It, like all the other fus, is best practiced in slow motion with lots of spurting blood.

  3. How do you torture Natalie Portman? Cut her hair off. Then she won’t be quite as pretty as she was before! So cruel! But she will still be prettier than you.

  4. Does the British Prime Minister have bad teeth because he’s a bad guy or because he’s British? This point was never satisfactorily explained.

  5. They didn’t take the extra time needed to make up proper fake brand names for products appearing in the movie, so you see things like “British Fertilizer,” British Paper” and “British Eggs” on packages. If the Wachowski brothers were British, I think they would have thought of more imaginative brand names.

  6. Natalie Portman gets whisked away by our “V” while wearing a blouse that her character must have bought when she was 12. I’m not sure what her motivation was. Maybe, “look how impossibly skinny I am! No, don’t look at the buttons straining bravely when I breathe!”

  7. The best part of V for Vendetta? A TV show that was playing in the background on the set of the British Television Network (see, there’s that British thing again), called Storm Saxons. I would totally watch that. And it would make an awesome name for a rock bank.

  8. And lastly, a few choice phrases that I found silly:

  9. “I call it the shadow gallery.” Which is my new name for the garage.

  10. “I’m finished and glad of it.” Which is my next favorite way to say goodbye, second only to “This is Janice “Storm Saxon” McTracy, signing off and heading for the tub.”

Saturday, March 25, 2006

See if this makes you smile

I’m not a 3 Stooges fan. Not big into the guy-centric physical humor. However, when slapstick does strike me funny, I laugh way harder than I do at the verbal humor that I really gravitate to. And I end up giggling like, well, a little girl.

Here are my favorite moments of physical humor that I can think of today.

  1. The. Funniest. Thing. Ever. The Ministry of Silly Walks from Monty Python. When John Cleese flings his legs into the air to walk to his ministry office, I fall apart.

  2. John Cleese again. Fawlty Towers. Basil Fawlty doing his Hitler impression for visiting German tourists. Pants-wettingly funny.

  3. Will Ferrell playing the cow bell in that Blue Oyster Cult skit on Saturday Night Live. Here’s where things get a little cloudy, physical-comedy-wise, because - was he funny because he was sashaying around giving ‘er (or Tonkin it) with his cow bell and his gut hanging out, or was he made so much funnier because Christopher Walken just killed by saying, “I got a fever, and the only cure is more cow bell”? See the dilemma? I’m going to go ahead and count it.

  4. If you didn’t see this, I’m sorry you missed it. Several years ago, Mo Rocca and Steve Carrell used to do this recurring bit on the Daily Show which started with them both sitting at typewriters busily typing away. The funny part was the way they typed like major spazzes. Mo Rocca, jazz hands out, wacking on the keyboard with his flopping hands. I don’t know why I found it so funny, but I will follow both of them until they die (or I do, whichever comes first), hoping to laugh like that just one more time.

  5. Jim Carrey. I used to adore Jim Carrey when he was funny. I think he was way funnier when he seemed to be so filled with rage that it came out - as funny - in every direction. I’m sure it’s better for him that he has less rage, but a bummer for me. The funniest physical thing I’ve ever seen him do was in his stand-up act. He had the best pratfall - it started with a lunge forward and ended up flat on his back. Hard to find, but worth it.

  6. One more Jim Carrey moment: the asparagus scene in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (“do I have something in my teeth?”), followed closely by wearing a rude little man as a stole. Hard to explain. But funny.

  7. Okay, one more Jim Carrey moment from the same film (where’s the Oscar, Academy?): the rhino birthing scene. I’m not going to try to explain that one either.

  8. Let’s go back to Monty Python for a moment and relive the catapulted cows in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Mooooo.

  9. Seinfeld was mostly verbally funny, but there was that one dance. You know which one I mean. Elaine’s dance. The stuff of legend.

  10. Zoolander. Will Ferrell in the brain-washing scene.

  11. Zoolander. The pose-off.

  12. Dana Carvey’s stand-up. Specifically, his bit about guitar players. And his kids who like to run around naked.

  13. The opening scene of Austin Powers – Man of Mystery. Yeah, the dance sequence. Brilliant.

  14. Speaking of dance sequences, the closing scene of Forty Year-Old Virgin was good too.

  15. Speaking of Forty Year-Old Virgin: the drunk-driving scene with Steve Carrell and Leslie Mann, who kills in this scene. I say More Leslie Mann.

  16. Here’s another iffy one: Jack Black in High Fidelity when he sings with his band. I don’t think this would be nearly as funny if we didn’t know so much about Jack Black’s character – how he abuses the record store customers and is so annoyingly opinionated. But still.

  17. A couple more Jim Carrey highlights: There’s a moment in Me, Myself and Irene, where he is perched on the hood of a car, and then, on the spur of a moment, slides off like his bones have melted. It’s a moment of pure squeal.

  18. And the final Jim Carrey moment: the scene in Ace Ventura – Pet Detective where he is pretending to be crazy to get access to the – well, whatever the plot is. And of course, funny is always amplified by a tutu.

  19. And lastly (for today), gag reels in general are often funnier than the film, but there’s a portion of the gag reel for Dodgeball which shows the little skinny cheerleader guy getting pelted with dodgeballs. Gets me every time.

Add your own. It’s fun.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Do you have your snarky pants on?

Have you seen Catwoman?

OMG, do NOT listen to those naysayers! I know I'm late to the party, but it is the mostest funny comedy since...

What, it's not a comedy? No way.

Halle Berry could not have said THOSE lines, and walked around in THAT outfit like kitty-kat porn-ho in heat, with, like, her serious "what's-my-motivation" face on, could she?

Wow. Breathtaking.

You've got to see it.

And I want that Catwoman hairdo.

Not the outfit, though.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Not Oprah's Favorite Things

I guess I should stop whining because my favorite bloggers aren’t posting fast enough to keep me constantly entertained, and post something my own lazy-ass self. Erk.

You know, I’m going to have to say that it SHOULD be just as calorie-consumptive to think as it is to work out physically. That it is not, is just crap.

Now, where were we? Ah, entertainment through blogging. Since I am probably unable at present to entertain you with what I can pull out of my keister, I will attempt instead to entertain myself.

Ye Olde Oregonian’s olde columnist (okay, that’s just mean and uncalled-for), Margie BoulĂ©, had an entertaining column on what she called “emotional branding.” Things that make you feel warm and fuzzy. What she really ended up listing were things that her friends felt they couldn’t live without. Things that I would otherwise call “favorite things,” if Oprah hadn’t over-used the phrase until it literally became an Oprah-ism. But then again, why should Oprah be able to re-brand a very useful phrase? So to hell with Oprah, I’m calling this list:

My Favorite Things – Not Oprah’s.

  • Diet Coke. Caffeine. Bubbles. The ghost of Tab past. What’s not to like? I drink it every day. When I don’t have any, I am less happy, and maybe a little headache-y. Is that bad?

  • Dansko shoes. Namely, the “Professional” clog. I know, I’ve gushed about them before. That’s because they are a favorite thing! See the trend? (Wow, I’ve certainly got my snarky pants on today.)

  • Toast made from Country Oven (Fred Meyer store brand) 12-Grain bread. No other bread in the world is as good for toast making. Oh, yes, there are other 12-grain breads, but not like this. These twelve grains add up to perfection. With butter. And either a 3-minute egg or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (not both). My favorite breakfast.

  • NPR. Unbiased. Unboring. Occasionally cheeky (but rare enough to make me wait for it). With “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on Saturdays to really make me laugh. “Wait-Wait” is the best hour in broadcasting. I’m serious. I laugh more during that show than anything on radio or TV, with the possibly exception of the Daily Show. Which is only a half-hour. So quantitatively, not as funny. "Wait-Wait" is available in a podcast now. Sweet.

  • Baths. Just shy of scalding. With a book. I guess that’s not a brand.

  • Bloggers. It’s fun to be able to comment and then possibly have my comments read by people I admire. I can say “I gave advice to Tom Bodett once,” and not be completely lying.

  • Get Fuzzy. And before that, Zits (when I could have sworn I had the same 15-year-old. Now mine is all grown up, and the guy on Zits is still 15). And before that, Bloom County. And before that, Calvin and Hobbes. And always, Doonesbury (how does he do it? What a brain).

  • Pinot Gris. Preferably Oak Knoll or Duck Pond (both admirable Oregon wineries). Ten bucks will get you a couple of glasses of pure bliss to share. Or not.

  • Target has this awfully pseudo-kitchy new brand of candy they call “Choxie.” Ugh. But if you can get past the name, they make dynamite chocolate covered dried cherries. Can’t get enough of ‘em. That’s just my favorite chocolate this week. I could write a blog just on my current chocolate obsessions, but I will spare the bandwidth of the world from that.

  • Athletic wear. Why do athletes get all the soft, smooth, breathable fabrics with seams that don’t chafe? I don’t care if I don’t always sweat in them. They feel good on sensitive skin. They are the most comfortable clothes, thus they shall be mine. Title 9 sells good stuff.
That’s about all the listing you should be required to read in one day. Add your favorite.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pictures for you blog readers on-the-go

I call this one "takedown." I think that's a wrestling term. I could be wrong. It was definitely a wrestling move. That's what a (rare) sunny day at the Oregon coast does to people. Makes them giddy and prone to goofy pro wrestling moves.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Another exciting week in the TAW

An eventful week:

First there was National Pi Day (3/14, get it?), in which I refrained from eating pie.

Then there was the Ides of March (3/15), in which I refrained from getting assassinated by a band of rogue Senators.

Now St. Patrick's Day, where I will attempt to refrain from acting like a wanna-be Irishperson by overimbibing in refreshments and barfing in technicolor. I think I have enough Celtic blood in me to feel Irish without using green beer to up my greenness from the inside out. But don't let me spoil your fun. You go ahead. Just don't drive home.

Erin Go Braless.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A little quiz, or " el quizzo"

Say a bunch of guys go to the Baja peninsula for a little dirt biking and cerveza drinking? Say these guys do something safety-oriented for a living, say, just as an example, oh…firefighters? Just hypothetical, mind you.

So being Hypothetical Firefighters (HFFs), they bring lots of bottled water, and stay away from salads washed in the local mud puddle or what have you, and generally behave like very safety conscious tourists, sticking to their bottled water and Coronas.

Then, when they get to Todos Santos, a nice fishing-village-turned-rich-American-artist-colony, they decide to splurge and sample the local (raw) oysters (whilst avoiding the deadly salad)?

What do you think might happen to one of said HFFs?

If you guessed typhoid-style bacteria, Exorcist-style barfing and a trip to the local clinico for a south-of-the-border-style IV, you win!

Viva los oysters el nudo!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

It's not just me, right?

This is from Max Azria for BCBG, from his spring line. This was on the front of the Oregonian this morning, with an accompanying article on Portland fashion developing along the same lines.

Is this a joke?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Unleashing My Inner Beast (Sorry)

If you’ve met me, you probably don’t remember. I’m pretty see-through. Not because of my paper-white skin, but because I probably didn’t look you in the eye, or, you know, say anything.

I’m not exactly outgoing.

So why do I turn into a screaming freak when someone lets their (illegally) unleashed dog bound up into my (legally leashed) dogs’ faces?

Maybe because my sweet little Annie has been leaped onto repeatedly by unleashed dogs.

It is also now an issue for Scotty, my bouncy, bouncy toddler dog. I have had to use a halter for him in order to control his youthfully spastic outbursts without throwing out my back. Since it is a special head halter, this leaves him with less control over his own head motions, which is fine until he gets spooked by something LIKE YOUR DAMN DOG, YOU IDIOT. Then he starts to panic and tries to pull out of it by backing up wildly. THANKS, ASSHAT.

See? I’m starting all over again. I actually screamed at a jogger this morning from across the park (whose dog was, naturally, on the other side of the park, in my dogs’ faces) “WHAT THE HELL? IS THIS YOUR DOG?” When she (rather dimly) admitted it was, I yelled, “WHERE’S HIS LEASH?” When she pulled it out of her pocket, I couldn’t help myself, “OH, IN YOUR POCKET. GREAT!”

That is not me yelling. I don’t yell at people. So who possesses me? Jan, the Great Lioness Mother Goddess? Whoever it is, she has a major problem with anger control.

And she's making no friends at the park.

Monday, March 06, 2006

My Oscar Post-Game Analysis

Or, "Hey, let’s all take the Oscars MORE Seriously!"

I had some craft work to do yesterday, so I turned on the tube to keep me company.

Lesson 1: If you are going to subject yourself to the Oscar pre-show, or God help you, the pre-pre-show, do not try this alone or sober.

It’s just so painful to watch grown men and women groveling, reaching, racking their brains for questions that come out twice as lame for the effort, and their prey smiling fakey, fakey smiles and looking for the exit. If they are such great actors, why can’t they act all tickled and happy to be accosted yet again on a patch of red real estate with a reported FIFTEEN HUNDRED JOURNALISTS? What did they expect?

One of the lamiest parts of the pre-pre-show (why did I continue to watch? I don’t know, it was like a death wish, only it took longer) was Roger Ebert trying to lasso stars from behind some shrubbery. I’m not sure why the Oscar people didn’t allow Mr. Ebert on the other side of the boxwood. Maybe he has a problem with halitosis. But the shrubbery required him to lean over it in order to holler his questions loud enough for his captive to hear, and then hold the microphone over the hedge so that they could answer. And all the people that weren’t here watching with me (why? Who wouldn’t want to sit around and needlepoint with me while watching horrible, horrible TV?) missed the best home-made MST3K since the classic Charlie Sheen movie “Terminal Velocity” (a must-see for bad-movie fans).

Lesson 2: If your dress “makes a statement,” put it back and pick another.

Cases in point:

Felicity Huffman’s dress said “I really am a woman!” I guess she was feeling a little insecure after playing a male-to-female transsexual in Transamerica. But any dress that requires adhesive to keep you from going all Girls Gone Wild on us is just icky. It’s like Kristi Turnquist said in the Oregonian this morning, “She wants us to look, but I really don’t want to.”

Michelle William’s dress said “I could spill all the mustard I want and you wouldn’t be able to tell!”

Charlize Theron’s dress said “I can wear anything, no matter how wacky, and I’m still better looking than you.” At least that’s how I took it. Why else would she wear a dress with a bow on her shoulder that is bigger than her head?

Keira Knightley’s outfit said “I spent so much on this oufit that I didn’t have any money left to do my hair.”

Jennifer Lopez’s dress said “Quick, pull down this theater curtain before Rhett comes. I have to make myself a lovely, lovely dress!” Or maybe, “I have made my body into a theater and I shall open the curtain for you. And you. And you.”


Lesson 3: Invite Jon Stewart back next year. Enough said.

Lesson 4: Academy voters have a sense of humor.

It was fun watching Cedric Coleman and Three 6 Mafia win Best Original Song for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow”. They were all happy and glittery-toothed.

Lesson 5: Academy voters have no sense of humor.

Or else, they require their lessons learned via hammer applied to head. “Crash” was like a Very Special After-School Special for grown-ups. Too much exposition. Not enough good. If you want some race lessons with your entertainment, I recommend Spike Lee (“Do the Right Thing”, “Jungle Fever”, “Malcolm X”, Bamboozled” and others).

Lesson 6: It is not humanly possible to watch the Oscar pre-pre-show, pre-show, show and post show. Well, not without some damage.

I tried. The post show was just too awful. It was the pre-show only with stars who really, really don’t want to talk any more. About anything. I couldn’t take any more pain and called it a night.

Gosh, only 364 more days until next Oscar night. Maybe if I work out by watching a lot of Entertainment Tonight and E!, next year I can make it through all 8 hours of Oscar programming! Or I could just pull my own teeth out with pliers.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Human Nature Continues to Disappoint

I am disappointed that I'm not seeing any Mardi Gras beads on nice people yet. I could have sworn I had the answer to everything west of Iraq. I wonder how long it takes for a trend to catch on?

Probably a long time if nobody reads it...

No, don't call me pathetic. How about "rather troubled but dealing with it quite bravely"?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Capt. A alive and well, although the satellite phones seem a little under the weather

In case you were worried (who worries here at the TAW?), Capt. America is alive and well and having the time of his life somewhere on the Baja peninsula. They finally motored into a town (the first one they have come to with a pay phone), and called in.

Seems that their brilliant plan on having a constant connection with the satellite phones isn't playing out too well. Ah, well. If that's the biggest problem they have, they will be lucky.

Tonight they will be sleeping on the beach somewhere near San Francisquito. Hope he sleeps above the high tide line (see, there's always something to worry about).

Adios for now, amigos.