Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Good night, and good luck

The "Good Night Show," a children's program on the PBS Kids network, has fired their host, Melanie Martinez. According to the show's website, Ms. Martinez "alerted" them to the "internet posting of an independent short film that she appeared in seven years ago."

Melanie Martinez on the Good Night Show
They go on to say that "the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character's credibility with our audience." Um, would that be the audience of preschoolers who will most likely never see the video?

What they're talking about is a 30-second spoof of a Public Service Announcement for a project called "Technical Virgin". In it, Melanie extols the virtues of using a vibrator as opposed to having sex with boys. (She did another video about avoiding pregnancy by preferring anal sex.)

Melanie Martinez on Technical Virgin
Well of course the dialog in the video is not appropriate in her role as host of a kids' program; that's why she didn't air the video during story time. I'm sure some of the folks at the Sprout network probably have sex on occasion, an activity not suited for young children. Perhaps they should all resign.

"...may undermine her character's credibility with our audience." May. A couple of members of that audience only a month ago deemed Melanie "a wonderful influence for children", and referred to her "helpful, delightful and happy values."

The network didn't cave in to protests from outraged parents (none of whom complained about the obscure videos they didn't see). Instead, the network preëmptively caved in to imagined future protests from some dour puritans.

Garrett Fitzgerald's Blog has many comments on the subject here and here.

To Melanie Martinez: I'd be surprised if your phone wasn't ringing off the hook with new offers.

To the cowardly hypocrites at PBS' children's entertainment divison: grow up.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Professional widow

Yoko Ono was married to John Lennon from 1969 until his death in 1980. Those eleven years are far outpaced by the nearly twenty-six years since his murder. Yoko has had a successful career as grieving widow, mother, and keeper of the flame that has always seemed to puzzle her.

John at Mendips Mendips sitting room

This evening, I watched a program about Yoko's determination to restore Mendips—Lennon's childhood home on Menlove Avenue in Woolton, Liverpool—and have it looked after by the National Trust.


The whole scene was at once uptight and ordinary; ordinary, ordinary, ORDINARY. Yoko was interviewed in the home where John was raised by his Aunt Mimi, as if Yoko would know anything about it. John's first wife Cynthia would have been the one to ask, but alas, she has been written out of the story.


Mendips has been curated; John's tidy little bedroom is sparsely decorated with small posters of Elvis Presley and Brigitte Bardot (according to knowing fans, the wrong posters). The program showed ordinary Brits filing into the shrine, putting their best "isn't this amazing" faces forward.


The fans' underwhelmed yet cheerful demeanor was contrasted with the earnest seriousness of the trustees. One woman spoke of some detail about which Yoko had been pleased, and a brief expression of smugness flashed across her face, with all the warmth of a colonoscopy.

Merkel and the zombie Bush neck rub

The G8 summit is an excellent occasion to get acquainted with other world leaders, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

Ciao, Signora Merkel.  Let us discuss fiscal policy.Ja, Mein Herr.  Und zo...Ahm own give ya neck rub, Angie!Gleek!  Was ist das?Nein!  Zis is creepy!  Get off!Ah thank Ah see smore roast pig!

Bush's blank expression conveys the sense that he slipped into the conference room before his sedatives had completely worn off.

At least Russian President Vladimir Putin was more conscious when he took liberties with a little boy:

Putin finishes inflating life-like doll he bought from the NAMBLA web site

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Neologisms: "festility" and "hostivity"

I present two new words:
fes·til'·i·ty, n.
n. pl. fes·til'·i·ties; adj. fes'·tile

  1. Antagonism or anti-social behavior as a result of overindulgence at an otherwise pleasant event; "Bob had too much to drink at the company party and expressed his festility."

hos·tiv'·i·ty, n.
n. pl. hos·tiv'·i·ties; adj. hos'·tive

  1. Pleasure derived from observing or participating in an altercation; "Ed could not conceal his hostivity as he watched the two girls fighting."

Bad carpool math

Some people are trying to be cute about car pool lanes. A pregnant woman tried to argue her way out of a $367.00 ticket, claiming there were two people in the car; she was not successful.

The purpose of a carpool lane is to reduce traffic and the environmental burden of automobiles. A carpool accomplishes this by encouraging drivers to share rides. It doesn't count if you're pregnant. It doesn't count if you have a car full of kids. If they can't drive, you're not conserving anything.

Don't be a dick.

Stem cells, abortion, and morality

The US Congress is sending a bill to President Bush authorizing the removal of funding restrictions for fetal stem cell research, a bill Bush will almost certainly veto.

The arguments for research come from Science; namely, that dread diseases or conditions may be cured or eased using stem cells, or from some by-product of the research.

The arguments against research come from Morality; namely that all life is sacred, even that of a frozen embryo. Similar arguments are used against abortion.

It is asserted, rather than scientifically proven, that human life begins at conception. It is a moral question to those against, not a scientific question (unless the science agrees with their position, presumably).

Right now, embryos not implanted in a womb or used for research are destroyed; there is no law against this. Right now, an unwanted fetus may be aborted; there is no law against this. If you don't like the law, you can attempt to change it.

A quick lesson in civics: it is the job of the Legislative Branch to make law, the Executive Branch to carry out and enforce the law, and the Judicial Branch to interpret the law.

Therefore, I propose that Congress decide at what point life begins; that is, when an American life begins, when that life is entitled to be protected by the Constitution and the laws of the land.

The de facto ruling at present is "live birth". If those who complain about the immorality of it all decide in great enough numbers that an American life begins in the third trimester of pregnancy, or when a viable embryo is produced, or at conception, then let the law reflect this. Any action taken to the detriment of that American would be punishable by law.

Until then, let the moralistic whining cease. Stop pandering to the electorate. Contrary to the popular sentiment, we legislate morality all the time. It's against the law to kill, rape, steal, swindle; aren't those moral issues?

So, fine, lay your cards on the table. Pin it down. But beware the principle of unintended consequences. If a pregnant mother is arrested, could the fetus' attorney sue for false imprisonment? If a woman has a miscarriage, is she liable for manslaughter?

Change the law or shut up already.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Movie terms

This handy guide will help you make sense of movie terms:

  • Bittersweet = someone dies
  • Tear-jerker = someone dies a long, drawn-out death
  • Gritty = a lot of people die
  • Mystery = one or more people die mysterious deaths
  • Thriller = one or more people die gruesome deaths
  • Tour de force = a long movie by a famous director
  • Epic = a very long movie by a famous director
  • Farce = a funny European movie
  • Romp = a funny, sexy European movie
  • Screwball = a comedy made in the 1930s
  • Nutty = a comedy made in the 1960s
  • Hip = a comedy made in the 1990s
  • Film-noir = a black and white movie featuring men with hats and guns
  • Western = a color movie featuring men with hats and guns
  • Cult classic = laughably low-budget, but with some good performances
  • Blockbuster = an expensive movie with a lot of explosions
  • Critically acclaimed = the public hated it
  • Box-office favorite = the critics hated it
  • Romantic comedy = chick flick
  • Summer fare = try not to think about the plot holes
  • Family fare = the smartest person in the film is a kid or an animal
  • Action = people run and sweat a lot
  • Action-Adventure = people run and swear a lot
  • Auteur = a director that no one likes, but who has had undeniable success
  • Genius = a director that no one understands, but who has had undeniable success
  • Legendary = a director whose best work is behind him
  • Wunderkind = a director who is far too young to be paid so much money

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

French phrasebook

Confused by snobs who like to drop French words into their conversations? Tremble no more! Here is your handy guide to keeping up with the Jeanses:

  • à la carte = my way [ah lah cart]
  • à la mode = with ice cream [ah lah mode]
  • apéritif = booze [ah pair a teef (all I want for Christmas is...)]
  • au gratin = cheesy [oh grah tan (don't say "og rotten")]
  • au jus = juicy [oh zhu]
  • au naturel = naked [oh natch er el]
  • au pair = live-in maid (jailbait and/or mistress) [oh pair]
  • avant-garde = crazy [ah vahn gard]
  • bête noire = stumbling block [bet nwah]
  • billet-doux = love letter [bee lay do]
  • bon appétit = eat! [bone ap eh tee (don't pronounce the final "t")]
  • bon mot = just the right word [bone moe (sorry, Larry and Curly)]
  • bon vivant = party animal [bone vee vahn]
  • bon voyage = go away [bone voy ahzh]
  • carte blanche = blank check [cart blonsh]
  • c'est la vie = that's life [say lah vee]
  • chaise longue = long chair [shayz long (don't say "chase lounge")]
  • chef = chief cook [shef (no word on "bottle washer")]
  • chic = stylish [sheek]
  • critique = review [crih teek]
  • cuisine = food [kwih zeen]
  • debutante = jail bait [deh byoo tahnt]
  • décolletage = cleavage [deh ko leh tahzh]
  • demimonde = freaks [deh mee mond (as opposed to "Demi Moore"; on second thought...)]
  • demitasse = not enough coffee [deh mee tass]
  • de rigueur = obligatory [deh ree guhr]
  • dernier cri = trendy [dare nee ay kree]
  • double entendre = pun [doob lahn tahn (don't say "double intender")]
  • eau de toilette = perfume [oh deh twah let (for God's sake, don't say "oh deh toilet")]
  • encore = do it again [on cor]
  • enfant terrible = brat [on fon tare ee bleh]
  • en garde = watch out [on gard]
  • en masse = mob [on mass]
  • en route = on the way [on root]
  • esprit de corps = team spirit [ess pree day core]
  • fait accompli = too late, it's done [feht ah com plee]
  • faux = fake [foe]
  • faux pas = embarrassing mistake [foe pah]
  • femme fatale = bitch [fahm fah tal]
  • film noir = black and white crime movie [film nwah]
  • finale = end [fih nahl ee]
  • flambée = burn [flahm bay]
  • fondue = melt [fon doo]
  • force majeure = kick-ass-ness [force mah zhoor]
  • gauche = uncool [goesh]
  • genre = type [zhahn ra]
  • haute couture = pricy clothes [hote coo toor]
  • haute cuisine = pricy food [hote kwih zeen]
  • hors d'oeuvres = snacks [or derv]
  • je ne sais quoi = whatsit [zheh neh say kwah]
  • joie de vivre = enjoying life [zhwah deh veev]
  • laissez-faire = apathy [lay zay fare]
  • maître d' = male restaurant greeter [may ter dee]
  • mal de mer = seasickness [mal deh mare]
  • matinée = early show [ma tih nay]
  • nom de plume = alias [nom deh ploom]
  • née = formerly [nay]
  • nouveau riche = lucky bastards [noo voe reesh]
  • papier mâché = paper mashay, strips of newspaper plus glue [pap ee yay ma shay]
  • pas de deux = two step [pah deh duh]
  • petite = little [peh teet]
  • pièce de résistance = big thing [pee yes deh ray zeece tahnce]
  • pied-à-terre = flophouse [pee yay dah tare]
  • pirouette = turn around [pir oo eht]
  • protégé = flunkie, lover [pro teh zhay]
  • purée = crush [pyoo ray]
  • raison d'être = why you exist [ray zahn deh truh]
  • rendez-vous = meeting [rahn day voo]
  • repartee = wit [reh par tay (as opposed to "par-TAY!")]
  • risqué = sexy [riss kay]
  • rouge = blush [roozh]
  • RSVP = answer me, goddammit! (stands for "respondez, sil vous plait", or "respond, if you please")
  • sang-froid = steeliness [sang frwahd]
  • sans = minus [sahnz]
  • sauté = fry really hot [so tay]
  • savoir-faire = grace [sa vwah fare]
  • séance = sitting [say ahnce]
  • soi-disant = so-called [swah dee zahn]
  • soirée = party in the dark [swah ray]
  • soupçon = tad [soup's on]
  • sous-chef = gofer [soo shef]
  • souvenir = clutter [soo veh neer]
  • tête-à-tête = head to head [tet ah tet]
  • touché = Dude! Burn! [too shay]
  • tour de force = cool thing someone did [toor deh force]
  • trompe l'oeil = painting that fakes you out [tromp loy]
  • vis-à-vis = with respect to [veez ah vee]
  • vol-au-vent = meat/fish + pastry [vol oh vahn]

Missed Connections

When: Last Saturday morning, Whole Foods checkout.

You: Hot blond babe, blue eyes, sweet body, hemp jeans, hair that smelled of tangerines.

Me: Nerdy, intense, obese guy with a goatee in the checkout line two over from you.

Although we didn't speak or make eye contact, you took my breath away. I can tell your are a caring person, because you bought recycled toilet paper. And I like how you lingered over the produce, selecting just the right ingredients for your salad.

I see your into gaming as much as me from the way you glanced at that copy of Wired in the "impulse buy" rack (damn the Man!). I think it was Wired. It could of been Mother Jones. I know I'm "Jonesing" for you, my Queen! LOL! Just kidding! (but not really ;)

Seriously, I feel sure that if you met me, you'd realize I was the perfect guy for you. Not like those pretty, muscular boys that treat you badly (I'm guessing). They (probably) don't appreciate the special qualities (I imagine) you have. And hey, you know I'd never cheat on you! Ha ha!

dmvAnyway, all's I'm saying is think about it. I'll call you in a few days. How do I have your number? Let's just say that you'd be amazed what you can learn from Google, MySpace, and a backdoor into the DMV computer. (btw, your driver's license picture is AWESOME! I'm using it as my wallpaper! ttfn)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ted Stevens: Internet Superhero

Super Ted (05/25/2005)OK, so Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has gotten a lot of flak over his Internet Neutrality speech, specifically over his description of the Internet as a "series of tubes".

Granted he's a windbag, but really, is this so different from a typical geek description of the network as "pipes"? Stevens goes on to describe, in his own special way, the concept of network congestion and delays in response.

Hulk TedStevens' long, stammer-filled lecture about the Internet seemed to suggest that the commercial use of the Internet was fucking things up for the consumer, what with streaming movies and other information. He doesn't appear to make the connection between businesses who stream content, and the users who consume that information. I thought Republicans were up on the whole "supply and demand" thing.

Stevens suggests that it's OK for companies like Netflix to clog up the mail by shipping DVDs to and fro, but it's not OK for on-line companies to stream content because it delays the receipt of his e-mails (what he misspoke of as "internets").

Hulk tieHe says we consumers don't use the Internet for commercial purposes (aren't consumers by definition engaged in commerce?), but for communication. The fact that we consumers are not making money by checking our e-mails leads him to express his support for a separate network for commerce that would leave alone the network that supports small businesses and families.

Am I dreaming? Is a blowhard Republican arguing for a commercial-free Internet? Like the hippies were doing in the early days of the World-Wide Web? Is he coming down against big business, arguing that it shuts out the little guy? Does that mean he's against Wal*Mart?

What a waste of gunpowder and sky

Aimee Mann
Today's the 4th of July
Another June has gone by
And when they light up our town I just think
What a waste of gunpowder and sky

©1993 Aimee Mann

Happy 230th.