Ridiculously Hilarious "Daily Show" Bit

Samantha Bee's report tonight on the "Daily Show" had one IAGL moment; this guy in Connecticut had a city water pipe burst, which broke his sewage line. He thinks they should pay for it; they won't. His sewage doesn't work. So he is protesting by going and using the toilet at City Hall every day. And so:
SB: You're pooping for what's right.
Guy: Yeah, you could say that.
SB: It's what Gandhi would've done
Guy: If he'd been eating.
That is FUNNY.

UPDATE: Jon Stewart is hounding Ed Gillespie, as Kerry was on last night - Stewart asks, "Where's your guy?" Gillespie offers this lame "I'll put in a good word," answer, and Stewart calls him on it, saying, "No you won't."
Stewart is holding Gillespie to the flame - saying SBVFT are lying; asking incredulously, "Are you sure you want to bring that up?" when Gillespie trys to plug www.kerryoniraq.com, and saying it was Bush who, you know, actually brought us into the Iraq war.
Finally, Stewart says in another attempt to get Bush on the show - "I promise I'll be a pussy."
But of course, BC04 is probably more terrified of Jon Stewart than any other potential interviewer. And with good reason, as he's the only interviewer out there who isn't actually a pussy.

What I Learned Watching the Olympics

Specifically, what I learned watching the 800m heats this evening, regarding the 800m-
And to expand on the last point, very rarely is there an American of anything approaching quality or prominence in any race longer than 800m, either.

So why is this?

Unsurprisingly, I have a theory. In two parts:
i) explosive speed over short distances
ii) leaping ability
iii) brute strength
So, where does that leave the United States track and field team? Well, these are actually pretty good predictors of the events that the U.S. traditionally dominates - 100m, 200m and 400m sprints, hurdles and relays (esp. relays, given absurd depth of the United States' athletes); long jump; decathalon; the throwing sports (javelin, shot put, hammer, discus [which I really think an ultimate player should train for for 2008]).

These sports are emphasized, at this point, both for their training ability, the United States' traditional dominance, and also - their ease. The tools that are developed in other sports are easily translated into these events, which in turn help hone those abilities.

So - 800m+ races? What sport is there where running half a mile straight, with proper pacing and race strategy, comes in handy?


The 800m.

Plenty of sprinters and shot-putters went on to the NFL, or vice versa - not so much with the middle distance.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...it's just that, well, there's really no reason the United States should ever lose, at anything.

W Ketchup

Have you seen this yet? I guess it bothers some people; it doesn't bother me. Free markets are here for a reason. However, check out this contribution to the comments page:
Great item and I love your pitch. I ordered a case and will slug it with some USA Prime Beef down upon arrival! God Bless America.
- S.S., New York City
Nice syntax, idiot.

They give unnecessary homage to Reagan (whose administration proclaimed ketchup was a vegetable). Though at least they've giving their money to a good cause (college scholarships) rather than, you know, a bad one.


It's like DoubleMint gum

But less fun.

Jenna and Barbara Bush are on the campaign trail for daddy-o. I read this snippet on Newsday.com:
"We are asking you to get involved with this campaign not only because it is the most critical election of our lifetime, but also because we have the ability to positively change our future," said the 22-year-old twins.
"...said the 22-year-old twins"?? Did they speak in sync? Was this a written statement released to the press? I'm not sure which is funnier. No, actually, I am -- the former.


Thanks, Bater

I found a new, ridiculous site: Identifont. In particular, the Top Ten Fonts and the font pages (e.g., oh, maybe the London Underground font?). JKD, I know you'll love this site.

Robot Update

More news from the world of tomorrow (taken in full from the AP via WaPo):
The Associated Press
Thursday, August 19, 2004; 9:04 AM

TOKYO - Seiko Epson Corp. is developing a flying robot that looks like a miniature helicopter and is about the size of a giant bug. The company hopes it'll prove handy for security, disaster rescue and space exploration.

The robot, 3.35 inches tall and 0.4 ounces, follows a flight-route program sent by Bluetooth wireless from a computer.

On board is a 32-bit microcontroller, a super-thin motor, a digital camera that sends blurry images and a tiny gyro-sensor, which the company said may also appear in digital cameras and cell phones as soon as this year to help deliver more precise images.

The Micro Flying Robot barely managed to get off the ground in a demonstration this week. It crashed off the table at one point and required long waits for battery changes. It can fly just three minutes at a time, for now, and its lift was wobbly because the machine's precision is not much better than a wind-up toy.

But developers say its power, relative to its minuscule size, makes it potentially a useful tool for rescue and surveillance. The robot is not yet available for sale; a commercial model is planned for release in two or three years.

This is...kind of cool. Moreso, it's potentially cool, but given the penultimate paragraph - i.e., the robot doesn't really work, per se - it's interesting that this was thought worthy of an AP story, and that the WaPo would pick it up.

So the important question becomes - why is that? There are dozens of robotics programs at top-flight universities that do far, far, far cooler shit than this every day. So is this notable because it's done by a corporation? And if so, why is corporate work more interesting than publicly funded research, in the eyes of the WaPo's editors?

Is it because they are developing something that people (and not even people, really - other corporations and government agencies) will be able to buy?

What's going on here? I mean, robots are really freakin' cool (more on this later - I mean, clearly, but there's something specific I have in mind), and I'm all for robots.

But this is kind of strange.


Too bad I have work

Check out this casting call for 1,600 extras for the sequel to XXX. There is one spot I am sure I could nail.


Bear with me

This is quick and worth it:

Head over to the 2004 Olympic basketball tournament page. Scroll down and click on the link that reads "View the Competition Schedule." Wha happon?



A question:

in the hypothetical (or, as the case may be, not, though I think I know this blog's readership pretty well) circumstance that you have a child, what sport are they pressured/encouraged to play?

a) football american
b) baseball
c) soccer
d) basketball
e) other
f) no sport at all

There is a correct answer to this question, which I've already composed. After y'all e-mail me with your opinions at mingle08 AT hailmail DOT net I will let you know what that is.


Apparently Pat O'Brien Reads this Blog

You'll recall that a while back I lamented the poor career choices made by Pat O'Brien throughout his career and wished, well, to quote myself:
But seriously, nobody's ever done the Olympics or NCAAs better than O'Brien, and I just wish he'd realize that (and also what an embarrassment "entertainment journalism" is...) and get back to actually being really, really good at something.
So apparently he was paying attention. Kind of. O'Brien is back hosting the Olympics for NBC, though after that he will still start his sure-to-be-awful show, "The Insider" ("more newsy, unpredictable, with longer interviews" than "Access Hollywood", which means that interviews could stretch to 21 seconds even).

And in a further you-can't-make-this-shit-up twise, NBC was at one point suing O'Brien to prevent him from plugging "The Insider" during his 170 hours of anchor-desking.

These freakin' people (i.e., the media in all its hideousness) make me sick.

Also - turns out O'Brien went to SAIS and got a graduate degree there in international economics.


Things That Annoy Me, Part CVII

So I log in to Hotmail today, and I notice that rather than "Account Size Critical: You may not be receiving all your messages" and a number in the high 90s for my account usage, there is:

1% of 250MB

Now, I knew this was coming. Hotmail had sent me a message about two weeks ago (August 2, to be exact) saying:
Dear MSN® Hotmail® Member:
As a valued MSN Hotmail Member, you will receive your storage upgrade automatically in the coming days. Over the month of August we will upgrade the storage capacity of your e-mail account to 250 MB - that's 125 times your current storage limit! We will also increase your attachment size from 1MB to 10MB. This means you will be able to store and attach more than ever and it's free!
That's really nice.

I've had a Hotmail account since well before it was a MSN® Hotmail® account - round about seven (7) years or so, and it's been, up until this morning, 2MB the entire time.

There was a long time when Hotmail was my primary, permanent e-mail - and then a couple of years ago I started bumping up against the ceiling, and rather than delete all my old messages (though I deleted a lot), I just switched. Because other free e-mail had more space, and was...better (e.g., Fastmail).

There was a time when Hotmail was the only game in town as far as free e-mail went (pretty much). Microsoft could've kept it that way, if only they'd've gradually increased storage space, and made their interface better, sleeker, and easier to use.

Instead, they chose to clog their interface, again and again, inserting annoying pages between login and viewing of actual e-mail, and keeping the storage static from 1997.

When Gmail and its splendiforous 1GB of storage came along a couple months back, Yahoo! immediately saw the threat, and within a week and without any hype, upped their mail to 100MB. Which really was nice, and insured that I'd keep using Yahoo! as an auxiliary account (which is all it's ever been). I was a valued customer, and they showed it, and I remain one (though it's not like Yahoo! ever has or will get a cent out of my pockets).

Now, Hotmail does it, and it's "Over the month of August"; yesterday I was in the red and they were threatening to delete my forwarded jokes from high school, now everything's cool.

I suppose I will keep Hotmail as a legacy account - some people for some reason still have that as my e-mail - but nothing else, really; the point of this all is, even when Microsoft does something good, they manage to do it badly.

UPDATE: Fastmail has now also upped the already (or at least previously) superior storage for its pay accounts (of which I have the "Full"); I go from 50MB to 600MB, while the enhanced goes to 2GB. If I ever get some sort of really serious independent consulting gig, this is the option I would take, as it's 2GB, and on a fairly well-protected offshore server. Plus with some really kick-ass other features (e.g., invisibility, ability to shoot lasers from eyes, etc.).


Holy Freakin' Crap

Iraq beat Portugal 4-2 at the Olympics; this despite a 13th minute own-goal by Iraq. So Portugal - who made the finals of Euro 2004 a couple of weeks ago - managed to score one goal, giving up 4, to a team whose country is, you know, at war and in total chaos.

Oh, and btw - yeah, I know the Olympics don't start until tomorrow. That's true. Except for soccer, which started yesterday. Which is stupid.

California Supreme Court Strikes Down SF Marriages

Bummer. What's interesting - to me, being a totally paranoid anti-mainstream-media dork - is that the WaPo story (which I read first, and found wanting for this reason) doesn't mention, at all, the fuller legal context. Which the SF Chronicle does:

Suits by gay and lesbian couples and the city are pending in San Francisco Superior Court claiming - as Newsom did when he authorized the weddings - that California's opposite-sex-only marriage law violates the state Constitution by discriminating on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.

As promised, the Supreme Court in Thursday's ruling steered clear of the constitutional issue. The justices will probably have to deal with that issue in a year or two when the Superior Court cases work their way up to them on appeal.

Now wouldn't you think that this is a little, you know, important (i.e., providing the legal context for a story that is entirely about a court decision)? Maybe.

Or maybe, as the WaPo does, you can just throw in some stuff about Preznit Bush:
Reacting against what he asserted was the rewriting of marriage laws through judicial activism, President Bush announced earlier this year that he would push for a constitutional amendment to define marriage, effectively banning same-sex marriages nationwide.
Yeah. Like that.

130,000 Condoms in Athens

How does that grab ya, conservative America?

Thanks to the in-depth coverage of ESPN's Page Two, I read this little bit:
Countries: 199

Officials: 3,000

Athletes: 10,500

Condoms, courtesy of Durex: 130,000

Tubes of lubricant: 30,000


"There's a lot of sex going on," javelin thrower Breaux Greer told Men's Journal. "You get a lot of people who are in shape and, you know, testosterone's up and everybody's attracted to everybody."
I guess so.

This is really an hilarious article. Go check it out.


Thinking, and Alienation, and Stuff

Charles Taylor has a really, really, really, really brilliant piece up at Salon. A bit:
It's as if our anxieties about the headlong pace of technology, of living under the threat of terrorism, of an economy that leaves most of us unsettled long past the age when our parents and grandparents had achieved some semblance of security, about being overwhelmed with choices we're not sure we even want to avail ourselves of, had risen from us like a collective ether and permeated the screen. ...

We are schizophrenic toward engaging with the rest of the world. If we're liberal, we distrust globalization as a means of doing business, insist on multilateralism in our politics, and laud multiculturalism in the arts. "World music" and "world cinema" have become by-phrases for the kind of liberal enlightenment once typified by folk music. We're likely to talk excitedly about how the Internet is shrinking the world, erasing boundaries that once impeded communication, putting us in touch with more people faster than ever before.

And yet the world doesn't feel smaller. If anything, the erasure of boundaries can make the world feel intimidatingly large, too large to feel at home in.

There's more, and it's all good. It pulls together strands of thought in ways I hadn't yet done, and puts its finger on the strain of similarities between a number of films brilliantly.

I'll have more on this later, but y'all should read this, digest, and think about it.

The face of a champion, indeed

Hello friends. A dear friend of this blog, Nate Marsh, is particpating in the Mass Red Ribbon Ride to benefit AIDS organizations this weekend. He is a mere $200 away from his fundraising goal and we implore you to donate what you can. This is a paltry sum if enough people contribute! Click here to help out!


You read it here first

Okay, maybe not first, but Degsy is calling the shots as he sees them:

ALCS: Yankees over the A's in 5.
NLCS: Cardinals over the Marlins in 4.
World Series: Cards over Yanks in 6.

AL East: Orioles finish third for ... what, the 12th straight year?

Fuck the Yankees. But to make sure my dear readers know where I stand: fuck the Red Sox, too. Yankee fans don't deserve anything, and there's nothing more satisfying to non-Bostonians than to watch their city fail again and again at sports. Like Philly.


He is Grooming His Poodle

.Miscellaneous Items.

Just a reminder, kids:


-The new album by Cake, Pressure Chief, comes out on October 5.
-The (amazing and beautiful) film about Andy Goldsworthy, Rivers and Tides, (finally) comes out on DVD on September 28.


-Cribbing entirely from King Kaufman (again) - George Carlin and Thomas Boswell are still right.

Kaufman is also entirely right when he says (talking about ESPN):
It's not like I pine for the old days of some jowly ex-jock in a plaid sport coat reading the scores. I like hip, irreverent and funny. And unlike a lot of sports fans I don't particularly miss "The Big Show," which I enjoyed at the time but didn't think it was anything to build a lifestyle around or anything.

But I do want to just once watch a Padres-Pirates highlight without wanting to throw something at the TV, you know?



Crazy in the coconut.


-Speaking of crazy: crazy CRAZY crowds for Kerry/Edwards. 20,000 in Kansas City. Which, either way you put it, is in either -

a) Kansas, or
b) Missouri

Neither of which are, how shall we say, hotbeds of progressive activism. So, there's that.

Homework for Today

Go over to Eschaton and tell Atrios how kick-ass Run Against Bush be (i.e., make a comment in the thread I linked to).

And happy Monday everyone!


Phantom Post

There was to be a very interesting post up here, discussed in detail last night, but...well, suffice to say I can just replace it with a plug for the Margarita Man.


On the Importance of Copy Editors

Apropos of this column (and this item) by King Kaufman, the WaPo.com front page shows just how important copy editors are:
Neglected Market's High End
$930M Tudor house shows how upscale mortgages used in affordable housing goals.
Wow. That is an expensive house. Click to the article, and it makes more sense:
The $930,000 Tudor house Jeffrey and Lisa Stegman bought on nearly two acres in Cincinnati in 2001 probably isn't what lawmakers had in mind when they ordered government-sponsored housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help disadvantaged home buyers.
Ah yes. 930,000, as opposed to 930,000,000. What's three zeroes, or a K or M, between friends?

Short semi-related convention anecdote - one of the Run Against Bush founders is at one of our parties, and gets asked about the organization by another young woman. She starts talking, giving the schpiel, talking about how all the cute guys are Democrats, etc., and then the woman in the middle of this pulls out a tape recorder.

Run Against Bush says, what are you doing with that tape recorder? Young woman says, oh, I just want to make sure I remember all these quotes for the story. Run Against Bush says, don't use anything I said before you made it clear you were a reporter.

Can ya guess how this story ends? (Hint: it's with the reporter using what she said before she made it clear she was a reporter).

Seriously kids, I had more scruples than the mainstream media when I was editing a freakin' college weekly newspaper.

Other people think I'm funny, apparently

I wrote something and McSweeney's put it up. JKD had an excellent addition (or several actually) which I will post in the comments section so as not to distract you from your clicking and going elsewhere.


Best (worst) Bushism ... ever?

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
Thank you, Mr. President. This quote can now be found on innumerable news sites, and it is also on the White House website.

The big bad beer blind taste experiment

The candidates:

Miller Lite
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Rolling Rock
Amstel Light
Natural Light
Milwaukee's "Best"

Three blind tasters. Random draw to determine order of seeds. Best out of three. Complete consolation rounds to get full rankings.

Mix up the order in which you present the beers to the individuals. This wouldn't be a double-blind experiment, simply because that's too much work. Me handing 4 oz. of PBR to Will Singer isn't going to sway him at all. (Or ... will it?) The only thing we would possibly do is not tell the participants what beers were involved.

Also, every beer must be served at the same temperature. Perhaps 36 hours in the same refrigerator. And every 4 oz. pour must be made at the same interval from refrigerator removal. Am I forgetting anything?


Update on The State

Perhaps the best thing I am proud to stay abreast of... The State updated their webpage on Sunday, but there is not much in the way of news. Keep your eyes peeled.


So in the changeover, it seems we also lost a week or so's worth of posts. Strange.
Looking back over them, though...well, worse things have happened.
I've been suffering something like information overload lately - not where it makes me anxious (consumer society and politics take care of that - more on that topic to follow), but just to the point where words kind of whiz by without leaves imprints or effects.
I've also been reading, lately, books that take place in the early-to-mid 20th century, and there's probably a twinge of regret for things lost there.
One thing I do wonder - I always romanticize the 1930s American tub-full-of-beers (a la The Shawshank Redemption), but then I think about it, and that was pretty much before preservatives (I think - right? correct me if I'm wrong about this), so beer probably got skunked pretty quick. And maybe Miller Lite really isn't that bad? I dunno. This thread fell apart from lack of care. Carry on.

Seriously though

As I alluded to before, if I wanted to write a parody show about a public transit system, it couldn't be any funnier/worse than Metro already is.

Almost there

We're almost there... not sure if we'll see any of those HaloScan comments, ever again, but worse things have happened.

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