Saturday, July 15, 2006

Plat du jour

Johnny One Note.

It's July 15!

Happy St. Swithin's day!
St. Swithin (or Swithun) was the Bishop of Winchester back about 1,200 years ago. He was immortalized in the rhyme
St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain na mair
Well, there's no rain in Winchester today, so they can put away the umbrellas over there. At least until St. Bartholomew's Day.

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's July 14!

It's Bastille Day, which marks the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789--their 4th of July.

And happy anniversary to Helen and Betty, and happy birthday to J.!

Me? I'm going to a Bastille Day Ball.

Bad film reviews

I get the little weekly e-mail newsletter from Elliott Kanbar, the president of the Quad Cinema here in NYC. This time he listed some excerpts from reviews for films the critics, let's just say, disliked. My favorites:
HUDSON HAWK (1991). "A solid contender for the longest 95 minute movie in history." Chris Hicks, Desert News (Salt Lake City).

ROLLERBALL (2003). "Say this for the soundtrack, it drowns out the lousy dialogue." Peter Travers, Rolling Stone.

CATWOMAN (2004). "CATWOMAN doesn't belong on the big screen. It belongs in the litter box." Connie Ogle, Miami Herald.

THE BAD NEWS BEARS GO TO JAPAN (1978). "And they can stay there." Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Ashville, North Carolina).
Kanbar said he got them from "The Bathroom Reader." This is a site I think I want to explore.

Living with bears VIII

North Dakota: Black bear spotted in Grand Forks
California: Bear problems persist
Connecticut: Bear in Bloomfield Center draws lunchtime crowd

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Two headlines, one mess

On the 1010WINS site there's a story, Government Emergency Alerts to Ping Cells, Internet, about how the Homeland Security Department is working on a system to send emergency alerts to a wide variety of communications devices. Two headlines below is Connecticut Civil Emergency Message Sent in Error. Great. We'll be able to get erroneous alerts on our cellphones.

Another thing to opt out of.

The idiot is still at it

The stupid anti-choice blogger (see my previous post) is still at it. He still doesn't understand the point of satire. He just digs himself in deeper and deeper.

This is the worst! Bravo!

The winner of the annual Bulwer-Lytton literary parody prize has been announced. It is awarded for the worst opening sentence of an imaginary novel. This year's first place entry:
Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.

Oh, yeah, I'd really go to her for advice

Donna Hanover Offers Love Advice Online
Let's see. Here's someone who's on her third husband. Her second one (former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani) cheated on her, then told her he wanted a divorce via a public press conference. So we know how good she is at picking husbands. Yeah, she's a great one for love advice.

I knew AOL was pretty weak. But is this the best they can do? My advice: stick to Dear Abby.

Anti-abortion stupidity

Forgive me if you've seen this a zillion other places, but this is just too good to pass up. An anti-abortionist stumbled on a 7-year-old pro-abortion satire from the Onion, thought it was real, and wrote a blog entry (WARNING: graphic photo added) ripping it to shreds. The stupidity of his post is funny, but the comments to it (which he seems perfectly happy to leave up) are hilarious. There are hundreds. I didn't get through half of them, but my favorite is
I laughed so hard I aborted my foetus. Thanks for nothing, babykiller.
So after making a complete fool of himself, and instead of quitting while he was behind, he posted another article defending his original one, even after admitting that the Onion article was fake. His theory: he's heard real women say the same sort of thing--never stopping to think that maybe they were pulling his leg, also. Then he goes on to demonstrate that, even after looking it up in the dictionary, he still doesn't understand what "satire" means. I'd tell him to look up "gullible" also, but I doubt he'd understand that, either.

It's good to know that the anti-abortionists have such idiots among their numbers. It's scary to know that he has as many votes as I do. On the other hand, there's a decent chance that anyone this stupid will accidentally do himself in before the next election.

(P.S. Thanks to Betty for pointing this out.)

UPDATE: He has disabled the comments, and added a picture of what he alleges is an aborted fetus.

Plat du jour

Yes, driving an SUV in the city is obnoxious.

P.S. You can't spell, either.

Living with bears VI

Maryland: Black bear sighted in Montgomery County
Norway: Polar bear chased from airport
Oklahoma: Un"bear"able neighbors

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Le Tour de France: Let the race begin!

Now that we've gotten a couple of other international sporting events out of the way, my focus is now on Le Tour de France, the world's greatest bicycle race. 23 days long, it goes all around France (with a few little excursions into neighboring countries) for 2,261 miles this year--the ultimate test for cyclists. Each day (minus a couple for rest and travel) is a separate race, or stage, but the overall winner is based on the lowest total time--it is theoretically possible (though highly unlikely) to win the race without winning any of the daily stages. There's a big article in the Wikipedia explaining everything, with a separate one on this year's race.

It's actually been going on for over a week now, though I haven't watched it very much, as the broadcasts conflicted with Wimbledon's. And I haven't missed that much really, because the race doesn't truly start until tomorrow. That's when the first mountain stage occurs. Some of the stages (five this year) go up mountains, and that (along with the time-trials) is usually where the race winner is largely determined.

It is a strange race--the tactics (and the rules) are not intuitive. Though it is primarily an individual competition, the riders are on teams--20 this year. The teams, nine riders each, are there to support their team leaders. This can be as simple as riding in front of the leader, breaking the wind for him. But it gets much more complicated. There are riders who are only sprinters, who are not good at climbing mountains. But they are trying to win the flat stages (there is a competition just for sprints, on a points basis). Their team members will also be helping them, as well as for the main leader.

The real non-intuitive part, though, is the breakaway or "attack". One or more of the lesser riders will speed away from the main body (the "peloton"). A few others may decide to join. They then work together to try to stay ahead, but usually the peloton does catch up. The race overall race leaders will usually not go with the breakaway, saving energy, because the attackers are seldom those with a real chance to win the whole race. The leaders will just stay in the peloton, as it chases down the attackers.

Which is what happened today. I tuned in for the end of the race. The breakaway group was caught within the last couple miles, and the sprinters eventually raced for the stage win. After 105 miles, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 24 seconds, Oscar Freire grabbed it by inches.
As I said, though, the race really begins tomorrow. American Floyd Landis is in second place overall, a minute behind--not that much in the mountains. We shall see.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Living with bears V

Tennessee: Man Shoots Bear That Walked Onto His Deck

A Prairie Home Companion--the movie

The movie got a good review in the New York Times, so my wife wanted to see it. I had heard, a few times years ago, the radio show of the same name upon which it was based. I liked the comic monologues, the music was OK (though country is not my favorite genre), so I agreed to see it.

Garrison Keillor, the creator and host of the radio show, is the screenwriter of and actor in the movie, where he plays "G.K.," the host of a radio show called "A Prairie Home Companion"--which bears some (but only some) resemblance to the real radio show. If you can figure that out, then you'll be able to understand what the movie isn't. What it is, however, is another question.

I hadn't realized Robert Altman was the director. If I had, I would have been a little more prepared for the film's weirdness, its mild surrealism. The movie seems to start out as a tongue-in-cheek spoof, but then you realize there's no real plot. It just sort of wanders through a depiction of the chaotic last broadcast of a radio show before the theatre it uses is torn down and replaced with a parking ramp. Nobody seems to be in charge, people in their own little worlds just do their little thing. A pregnant woman tries to coordinate things, but few pay her much attention. A representative from the corporate headquarters, "the Axeman," arrives to make sure the show is over, but actually does nothing. Oh yes, there's an angel that some people can sometimes see who wanders around, occasionally killing people.

As I said, the radio show in the movie only bears some resemblance to the real thing. Keillor does not do a comic monologue--my favorite part of the actual radio show. The actors do all their own singing--it's fair, but significantly below the actual level.

Altman fans will probably like this movie. Maybe Keillor fans will like this movie. But if you're neither of the above, you should probably give this one a miss.

Plat du jour

They really do love their dogs up there.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Add one to the Lay murder suspect list

There seems to be someone else who might benefit from Kenneth Lay's death, besides his heirs, high Bush administration officials, and Lay himself (assuming he faked it). Now it seems there is a question whether his co-defendant Jeff Skilling might get off because of it (as blogged by my friend, The Lazy Cartoonist). So add Skilling to the suspect list.

Weird websearch of the day

Someone in Venezuela found this blog looking for penis "mail subscriber".

Living with bears IV

Nevada: Bear's last meal: Fresh goat
Florida: 'Repeat offender' bear, cubs trapped in Apopka-area yard
Tennessee: Bear's fate sealed long before attack