Jan 31, 2005

Coallation of the Unwilling

Yeah, I've been drafted into coallating crap for my company, despite the fact that my job description is staff writer. Coallating sucks. My hands are really dry and paper cut to bits.

Jan 27, 2005

Bits and Bobs

Just wanted to apologize for being a bad little blogger. I'm swamped at work, so postings have been/may be a bit sporadic for the time being. Plus, all the news at the moment is so bloody depressing: tsunamis, train wrecks, the Iraq death toll, the return of The Simple Life . . .

Jan 25, 2005

How I Loathe Thee, Maureen Dowd

Okay, I figured I should get this out and on the record once and for all: I loathe Maureen Dowd. While I don't necessarily disagree with her point of view, I detest her writing style. She generally choses an obvious topic, depicts it one-sidedly, and trots out all the SAT prep vocab words she can stuff into one editorial. Whenever possible, she invokes lengthy, overblown metaphors, too. I would sincerely like to know how she managed to secure a regular column at the Times. That's all. And I'd like to gut her like a fish.

Here and here are some recent examples of her spectacularly lousy columns.

Jan 21, 2005

New From the Department of Fucked Up Shit

As if it weren't bad enough that a recent parolee snatched two purses, robbed three banks, raped a woman, and stole a car (all since his release from prison in December, no less), he pistol-whipped a Catholic nun. (Oh yeah-- he stole her pocketbook and her car and broke her nose, too.) Next he's planning on anally raping your mother while pouring sugar in your gas tank.

Jan 20, 2005

Animals on the Underground

Ah, I finally remembered to link to this site. It's silly, sure, but endearing. And who knew that a wombat looked like that?

Jan 19, 2005

Not What Peter Jackson Had in Mind . . .

Even though today is a spectacularly bad day, this made me laugh. So you know it has to be pretty damn funny. (Thanks, Zack.)

Jan 18, 2005

Important Info

If you're half as excited as I am, I'm sure you'll appreciate the following public service announcements:

The new season of Family Guy begins at 9/8c on May 1st (on Fox).

American Dad premieres on Fox at 9:30/8:30c on May 1st, with a sneak preview episode airing on February 6th after the Super Bowl.

Jan 14, 2005

Rusty the Narcoleptic Dachshund

This may be one of the funniest things you'll ever see. Simultaneously hysterical and adorable. (Thanks, Terence.)

Jan 13, 2005

In Case You Give a Damn About Ashlee Simpson

For the many of you who somehow missed seeing this clip, here it is: Ashlee Simpson, sounding like a dying cat and getting justifiably booed at the Orange Bowl. Just wanted to share.

Also, if you, like so many others, find Ashlee Simpson offensive and/or irritating, you can always sign the Stop Ashlee Simpson petition.

Jan 12, 2005

Bound to Lead to Confusion

In a further testament to the sad little life I lead, this is the funniest thing I've seen all day: Pen Island. Lest you not get the humor, look at the URL. (Thanks, Terence.)

Jan 11, 2005

Dear Chester Eleganté . . .

Oh, there's so much to love in Strong Bad's newest email. Not the least of which is the Cadbury Creme Egg omelette. Mmm, Cadbury Creme Eggs . . .

Jan 10, 2005

Kicking It to the Little Lady in the Booty

This short is about as tactful as the abovementioned title. Gotta love the retro '50s styling, though.

Jan 6, 2005

Jon Stewart Knows Best

So Tucker Carlson is going, as is Crossfire itself. Good. Evidently new CNN president Jonathan Klein "agree[s] wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart's overall premise." Good bye obnoxious little bow tie.

Jan 5, 2005

In Defense of Gift Cards

It seems that there has been a lot of controversy as of late over the humble gift card. Slate's Daniel Gross complains that gift cards are evil on three counts:

1) . . . every moment you don't use it, Wal-Mart or some other giant retailer is collecting interest on the giver's cash.

2) When you go to redeem it, chances are you'll end up spending some of your own coin.

3) And it probably reflects the giver's implicit criticism of your poor taste and untrustworthiness.

However, there are obvious rebuttals to each of these points, which does not mean that the information is incorrect, but that Gross's slant on the facts is unnecessarily negative. Here goes:

1) So the retailer collects interest on the giver's cash as long as the gift card remains unredeemed. So what? It's not a secret that retailers are in business to make money and, as long as the retailer neither charges the consumer interest nor devaluates the gift card over time, what difference does it make? If I've somehow misunderstood the economics going on here, please correct me. Thus far, I don't see any harm in the practice.
2) Yes, you probably will shell out some of your own cash beyond the value of the gift card. Not necessarily, but it is likely. I think the issue here is whether or not you have been given a card to a store that you frequent or one where you seldom shop. For example, let's say you've been given a Neiman Marcus card. However, as Neiman Marcus tends to be rather expensive, you virtually never shop there. In that case, you might feel forced to buy something just because you've been given a card. Then (unless it's a card of an extremely generous denomination), you will probably exceed the value and dip into your own funds. If, on the other hand, you've been given a card to a retailer like Barnes & Noble (where, for the sake of argument, we'll assume you often shop), you can use the card to pay for at least a portion of a purchase you otherwise would have made entirely with your own cash. So, while it is likely that you'll spend some of your own money in excess of the card (let's face it-- how many purchases total exactly $10, $25, or $50?), if you've been given a card to a retailer you already frequent, it chops some of the cost off of your purchase. While it may not be an ideal system, it's not bad.

3) And the gift of a card does not automatically indicate the giver's distrust or criticism of your taste. Sure, if it's a gift card from Great Aunt Millicent who hasn't seen you since you were six years old, it's probably going to be a better reflection of her taste than of yours (and of the fact that she still thinks you're six). But, as long as the giver knows you, a gift card is often just as thoughtful, sometimes more logical, and shows as much (if not more) trust in or approval of your taste as any other present. Again, an example: Your hypothetical parents live in a different state. They know you need some things for your new apartment, such as new sheets, some pans that still retain their Teflon coating, and possibly an upgraded blender or toaster. But they also know that there's a Bed & Bath only four blocks from your apartment. So instead of buying you heavy pans that you'll then have to lug across state lines in your suitcase, they give you a highly portable gift card that you appreciate. And, unlike cash, which you might fritter away on groceries or a Metrocard before even realizing that you'd spent it, the gift card is already earmarked for your present.

Essentially, I do think that well-thought out, well-chosen presents are usually more meaningful than gift cards. But I don't think that gift cards deserve the thorough vilification they've been dealt lately. They can be practical, appropriate, and very much appreciated.

Jan 4, 2005

That Not-So-Fresh Feeling

If this is really how guys feel when feminine hygiene product commercials are shown on tv, then it's roughly how I feel during the toenail fungus ads. Rather catchy, though, and I love the Rockette kick-line of ointments. (Thanks, Screenhead.)