Friday, August 29, 2008

The Silver Bullet claims another

The president of Iowa Central Community College, Robert Paxton, has resigned. Why? I could explain, but it's easier to show you.

That's him on the top left, manning the tap to the Coors Light minikeg.

I don't think I'm alone in my outrage here. The only beer that should be consumed from a minikeg is Heineken. End of story.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Long Overdue Props: Back to School

In today's installment of my long-running Long Overdue Props series, I'd like to remember a dormant rite of fall: Back to school shopping.

I may not have always enjoyed it at the time, but I look now with great fondness on the annual trip to K-Mart, its cramped aisles bursting with the bounty of, as a poetic friend once wrote longingly nearly a decade ago, "new yellow pencils with perfect erasers with nice clean edges unmarred by use."

New locks for lockers, pens of every color, and let's not forget the Holy Grail of back-to-school shopping: College-ruled notebooks. Those narrow lines made me feel so adult. My imagination sped to the future, and I could just see myself in college, festooned in bow-tie and tweed, studiously taking notes amidst the ivy of New England.

New England, yes. Ivy, not so much. If college had only been as intellectual as those college ruled notebooks had promised.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I wish to write of two deaths of note.

He was also the inspiration for the Monopoly Man. Laurence Urdang, who worked on more than 100 dictionaires and reference books, died of congestive heart failure at age 81 earlier this month. I hope that by paying tribute to him here, lexicographers will include some of my new words in their upcoming dictionaries.

The irony is strong with this one. Dave Freeman, the 47-year-old co-author of "100 Things to Do Before You Die," has died. Friends say he only finished about half the things on his list. His collaborator on the book Neil Teplica said, "He didn't have enough days, but he lived them like he should have."


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summertime ennui

I made this greeting card on one of my favorite websites.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Zuma Nesta Rock

Singers Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani have a new son, and as is the law for children born into celebrity in Los Angeles, he has a crazy name.

Please welcome Zuma Nesta Rock, which sounds like "a water park ride or a new energy drink," according to baby name expert Whitney Walker.

That's a little harsh, Whit, especially because that was the name I had hoped to use for my first kid (albeit if my first kid were a girl).

Zuma really reminds me of the chorus from a Wreckx-N-Effect song, which is only kind of safe for work.


Friday, August 22, 2008

You are the Decider: Smooth Edition

It's been too long since my last installment of the NaturalBlog's occasional series on the 2008 presidential race, You are the Decider. Let's dust off that graphic.

Those are bulls pooping, because this is a no-bull zone.

I'm writing today about a phrase that was key in the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama primary fight and has reemerged in the general election fight between Obama and John McCain. The phrase is: Out of touch.

As in, McCain is out of touch because he can't remember off the top of his head how many houses he owns. Or as in, Obama is out of touch because he vacations in a far-off and exotic place that may or may not even be part of America.

With so many people so out of touch, I can only hope that Hall & Oates are getting a cut every time someone uses the phrase.

So smooth. So smooth.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

You can't make this stuff up

I've scoured the news wires to bring you these three stories, which I deem to be today's most important.

Bill Clinton wants to rock your world. Speaking to an audience in Las Vegas, former president Bill Clinton said America would "rock the world" if it could make just one state energy independent. Clinton later added that by "the" he meant "your" and by "just one state energy independent" he meant "sweet love to that dancer over there." I can't believe we passed on a chance to make this guy the First Gentleman.

He glitters, alright. You might know Gary Glitter as the guy who gave us this college basketball anthem. You may not know that the 64-year-old British singer just got out of a Vietnamese prison where he was locked up for molesting children. But don't look for him at a JV game anytime soon -- he left Vietnam for Thailand, but has been refused entry to Hong Kong and England.

No, I'm a yacht. A baby whale mistook a yacht for its mom, and tried to nurse from it in the waters near Sydney, Australia. It's unclear what happened to the mom, but Nancy Grace thinks she went to a sexy party. Unfortunately, there's no way to feed a 15-foot whale baby by hand, so the story will not have a happy ending.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cats and dogs, living together!

Mass Hysteria!

If you'd've told me in April that the Red Sox would have a 6.5-game lead on the Yankees in late August, I would have said something like:
Awesome. Let's rest Big Papi, set up the rotation for the post-season, and remind me to take Oct. 29th off for the World Series parade.
My enthusiasm would be considerably tempered if you finished your thought by telling me the Sox would trail the Tampa Bay Rays by 4.5 games.

Four-and-a-half games behind the Rays? In August? What is going on here.

To give you some idea of the great sea change that has happened, I was out at a bar Saturday and I said to a friend "I know the Sox won, but how did the Rays do?"

"How did the Rays do?"

My whole world is spinning. The only thing keeping my head on straight is my appreciation of this awesome feat at Wrigley Field:


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

File under: Bad ideas

I lived in Florida for almost nine years as a kid, and in that time I had one day off from school because of weather. It was for a hurricane that widely missed us, but was close enough that they used the school as a shelter.

I spent that day using old sheets to make windsails that a friend and I strung between two skateboards, which is what this video of a kiteboarder riding out Tropical Storm Fay reminded me of.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Non-Olympic News Roundup

I know this blog has been kind of hooked on the Olympics lately. You should see how much I've written about it for some other blog, too. Today I'll take a little break and give you some news of the strange.

Coffee makes you perky. There's a flap in Bremerton, Wash., over an espresso stand where the baristas are topless. Well, they wear pasties, so I guess they're not technically topless. The coffee shop's owner has been branded a "purveyor of smut" by a city official. Talk about bitter. I've been unable to find a review of how the coffee tastes.

This was a sub-plot on Family Guy. A 20-year-old man who can only be described as a fool for fuel broke into a California airport and filled his gas tank with aviation gasoline. He was arrested on theft and drunk driving charges. I wonder if he tried to drink the stuff, too.

It's like the opposite of that Beach Boys song. The mayor of Mount Isa in Australia's Outback wants to import some ugly women to his town. "May I suggest if there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa," the mayor said. It's sort of unclear why he wouldn't want to import attractive women.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Swim Fan

While I was looking through pictures for yesterday's wildly successful man-or-woman feature, I came across Australian swimming gold medalist Stephanie Rice, seen at left, who was obviously not fodder for gender bender quiz.

Further study has revealed that in addition to being my type, she and I also have in common a love of costume parties and bowling.

I know this from these photos, which were taken off her once-public but now-private Facebook page.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympics Quiz

One thing I tend to be good at is identifying men from women. But those schmancy new swimsuits that the Olympians wear make it tough. See if you can correctly identify the gender of these seven athletes:

You can click on the image to make it larger. The answers are in the comments.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Separated at Birth: Sunglasses Edition

That's Stewart Copeland, the drummer from The Police, on the left and man-about-town Andy Dick on the right. I think Copeland looks vaguely like John Tesh, too, but I couldn't find a picture that showed the resemblance. I saw The Police a couple weeks back and they were great. It was my first open-air concert, believe it or not.

Making good on my goal to talk about the Olympics each day this week, please enjoy this picture of South Korean archery gold medalist Im Dong-hyun. He's paired with Erik Estrada from the Ponch days.

I saw on one of my news sites that Katie Holmes is looking more and more like her husband Tom Cruise. I'm not even sure which is which in these photos on the right. I cropped those pictures, but click that link above to see how skinny Katie has gotten. You'll also see her outie.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mitt Romney, Olympic Hero

I spotted this picture online of (Omni-)President Bush at the Olympics. It seems former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney always knows where the cameras are.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Beach volleyball is hot, hot, hot!

Finally, President Bush and I have a common interest: We both love Olympic women's beach volleyball.

Take a look at these pictures from over the weekend, where Bush bumped, humped, and sweated his way to Olympic glory.

I will add one final thought: I feel less creepy watching women's volleyball in these Olympics, since I am now a member of a very accomplished advanced-beginner/low-intermediate intramural coed team, The Mini Ditkas.


Friday, August 08, 2008

It's Olympic Time

This will be the first of many Olympic-themed posts, and also the laziest.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

You can't make this stuff up

I've held off for a week, but I can wait no longer. I'm now going to make fun of Clark Rockefeller.

If you don't know who he is, here's a minute summary: He's a wannabee blueblood with almost half a dozen aliases who kidnapped his daughter from Boston, absconded to Baltimore, and is now wanted for questioning in a California murder and missing persons case.

It's hard to pick a favorite part of this story, but if I had to, I'd go with the names that Clark Rockefeller has chosen as aliases over the years. We've got Charles "Chip" Smith, Christian Gerhart Reiter, Christopher Crowe, Chip McLaughlin, and the Cadillac of them all, Christopher Mountbatten Chinchester. (Sidebar: If I were going to use a blueblood alias, I'd pick Thurston Howell III.)

Clark/Charles/Chip/Christian/Christopher won't tell police his real name, but he did tell friends in Boston that he used gold bars to pay for his yacht. (He didn't have a yacht, but a leaky catamaran.) He used to tool around the town of Cornish, N.H., on a Segway. He had 300 gold coins in the Baltimore townhouse he bought before he absconded with his three-year-old daughter, whose nickname is Snooks. His ex-wife Sandra Boss paid him $800,000 to walk away from their marriage, even though no marriage certificate can be found.

And what about those California murders? Well, back in the mid-80s, Chinchester asked if he could borrow a friend's chainsaw and then the next thing you knew the couple he was living with disappeared.

Y'know what -- instead of writing this poorly read anonymous blog, I should be optioning the movie rights to the Clark Rockefeller story. I see Kevin Spacey as Rockefeller, Laura Linney as Boss, and Abigail Breslin as Snooks. I'm hearing a trailer like this:
In a world... where appearances aren't always what they seem. Clark had it all -- a beautiful family, a mansion in the country.

But he also had something else.

A dark past.

Coming this summer.... "Alias"*
*Working title


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Celebrities -- They're just like us

Celebrities are just like us, but only richer and prettier and hounded by the paparazzi. Witness:

They like ice cream. Here's Kim Kardashian showing how she maintains her voluptuous figure.

They forget to brush their hair. Here's Amy Winehouse, just being her wonderful self. I think she might be a zombie.

They downsize for better mileage. What do you be that Shaq weighs more than this Smart Car?


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Long Overdue Props: Vol. XI

I've admired CNN's Jeannie Moos for a while now. She's worked for CNN for a stunning 27 years, and has spent the last 15 or so doing quirky offbeat stories, initially under the branding "Making the MOOSt of It" and now with the title "MOOSt Unusual."

She's clever enough that I'm willing to overlook CNN's disgusting use of puns there.

Here's a representative sample of her humor, for which she has earned broadcasting's highest honor -- Long Overdue Props on the NaturalBlog.

Be sure to check out previous Long Overdue Props with the link at the bottom left.


Monday, August 04, 2008

What might have been

Sen. John Kerry (D-Trousers) has long been rumored to be interested in women half one-third his age, which makes these pictures from last weekend on Nantucket so funny.

It's all on the up-and-up, according to a Kerry spokesman, who says the Senator simply obliged a request from some young constituents to pose in some photos at the Straight Warf restaurant.

I guess that hangdog face is permanent, except for occasions when he's in a ridiculous get-up: