Sunday, December 31

Why 3K?

Well, we've finally reached 3,000 dead US soldiers in Iraq. And the right-wing pundits will be stressing all this week that 3,000 is "just a number" like they did when the toll hit 2,000. But it's not a number, it's 3,000 young lives that could have been spent a hell of a lot more productively, not to mention the 20,000+ disabled US soldiers and at least 6-figures of Iraqi dead. And great, they hanged a thoroughly despicable dictator -- but do you feel any safer than you did on September 12, 2001?

Troops home now.

Here's to a better 2007.

Friday, December 29

Saddam Hussein is no longer with us

They don't waste time in Iraq: Saddam Hussein is apparently dead in a quickie hanging. Over at Fox, BillO says: "We all should sleep well tonight knowing Saddam got what he deserved."

Well, sure. I actually slept fine throughout the 1990s when the no-fly zones were in place and the U.N. inspectors were keeping the pressure on. Saddam was cornered and canned.

Now he's a dead man. I am not sure what this execution actually achieves, and it has the unpleasant side effect of putting "Renegade" by Styx into my head. Here are the lyrics in case you have forgotten them.

Thursday, December 28

Behind the Fark

The Washington Post offers this profile of the snarky news site.

Wednesday, December 27

Hating on Saddam and Nixon

The letter issued today by Saddam Hussein is oddly similar to Richard Nixon's farewell speech. Here are the key passages from the doomed men:

Nixon, 1974: "Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."

Saddam, 2006: "I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair, and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking."

Monday, December 25

Sunday, December 24

Happy Xmas, Dullards!

War is over (if you want it).

Friday, December 22

Now there's a shocker.

The Sam Kinnison movie about the girl who felates her dog made John Waters' top 10 list of 2006 movies.

A big giant puddle of cute

TV Guide interviews Tina Fey and Jenna Fischer.

This kraken loves calamari

Japanese researchers film a giant squid at the surface, using squid as bait. Yum!

Thursday, December 21

Whatever happened to Joe Bob Briggs?

Some clues here. Or go straight to the source.

LISTS: Worst album covers of 2006

According to Pitchfork, which has this and other year-end lists for your perusal.

Wednesday, December 20

Let me see your ID

A friend of ours has been in Iraq for much of the year, working in public health. After a recent two-week visit Stateside, he was well on his way to Baghdad when he realized that he had left his Department of Defense identification badge at home. Here's what his wife says happened next, in an e-mail with an expletive deleted and a name changed to protect the forgetful:
jimmy ran into a lot of trouble over the badge thing. they were going to deport him, then adf bribed someone with $600 and he was taken off the plane to leave the country at the very last minute. he was not allowed into the green zone, however, and was forced to take a heavy traffic route to his compound. the convoy was shot at but not hit by any bullets. the only thing i can say is to quote jimmy — "i really f---d up this time."

Bush supports our troops

Matter of fact, he wants to employ 30,000 - 40,000 more of them.

Tuesday, December 19

Why do our troops...

...hate our troops? If you criticize the war, you are only emboldening our enemies, and harming our soldiers.

Monday, December 18

Cruise casting Posh Spice in "The Thetan"

Forget the Tom Cruise boycott. There's no way I'm not gonna see this train wreck.

But then, I'm also looking forward to Rocky Balboa.

Roads to nowhere

The world's most dangerous roads are listed here. Many of them are likely to be termed "so wrong" by Franko.

Friday, December 15

Apple fights war on Christmas!

Look at the "Gift Exchange" ad on the Apple site, and you will see that the Mac guy greets the Windows guy with "Happy Holidays." Why is Steve Jobs trying to destroy Christmas?

LISTS: Ranking the amendments

On the occasion of Bill of Rights Day, here are the Top 5 constitutional amendments:

1. The 1st. This one benefits from being jam-packed with freedoms: Speech, press, religion, assembly, etc. Without it, you wouldn't be reading this.

2. The 14th. The importance of equal protection under the law cannot be understated. This one finished off slavery and became the foundation for other rights, including the right to choose.

3. The 4th through 8th: This could have been grouped into one mega-amendment like the 1st. Taken together, they are essential checks against government power.

4. The 19th. Women need to vote as they generally have more sense than men, and this made it happen. Too bad the follow-up Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified.

5. The 21st. Let's make a toast to the demise of Prohibition.

Now, the three worst:

3. The 3rd. Sure, forcing people to provide housing for soldiers (especially in peacetime) isn't good, but this amendment is not really relevant in the modern world.

2. The 10th. "States' rights" has become a right-wing code, most notably in the 1996 campaign, when Bob Dole rambled about the need to recognize this amendment. He lost.

1. The 2nd. This one needed another round of editing before being approved: "Well-regulated militia" and "not be infringed" seem contradictory. This amendment is also an example of unintended consequences, as Columbine and other bloody incidents show time and again.

Read about all the amendments here.

Wednesday, December 13

Tuesday, December 12

Who doesn't love turtles?

My darling wife is fairly horrified that the two stuffed animals I had as a child were a cotton Frankenstein doll (purchased for me, if I recall correctly, after my nefarious older brother plowed into me on the bumper cars at Six Flags Over Georgia, knocking out a tooth); and a denim-shelled fuzzy lime-colored Tommy the Turtle. Not the two cuddliest toys for a 5-year old, I suppose, but it could have been worse; I'm pretty sure I remember Roy lugging around and sleeping with his shirtless Stretch Armstrong well into his teenage years. And I don't even want to know what went on with that afroed and bespectacled Lester ventriliquist's dummy.

Anyhoo, turtles are cool.

Soy is for girly-men!

This article on the scourge of soy almost reads like something out of The Onion, but it's apparently sincere.

Short version: Soy milk will make your kid gay. It will make you fat and infertile. Soy sauce is still OK, though. Whew!

Mallard Drunkmore

Edward Bruce Tinsley, the guy who created the unfunny "Mallard Fillmore" comic strip, has been arrested on charges of drunken driving. This is Tinsley's second alcohol-related brush with the law this year.

Pauly Shore gets punched out

Don't mess with Odessa, Texas, like Pauly did. (Quicktime, NSFW)

Monday, December 11

The launch of Tom DeLay's blog didn't go too well, as it was almost immediately flooded with anti-DeLay comments. Those have been wiped clean from the DeLay blog, but they live on in a "companion" site, complete with the original comments, many of which are hilariously NSFW.

Cleveland surfs!

The NYT reports on the surf scene along Lake Erie, which crests this time of year.

Saturday, December 9

Merry Xmas

From the cast of Scrubs (NSFW-ish):

Vote early and often...

... in the Weblog Awards. No, we did not get nominated.

Friday, December 8

Truthiness named Word of the Year

That feels about right to me.

Dullard Study Group releases report

The long-awaited findings of the Dullard Study Group (a blue-ribbon panel made up of Ange and Franko) are being officially released. Here's the Dullard take on what to do in Iraq:

INTRODUCTION: We're in a real jam here. What else do you need to know?

RECOMMENDATIONS: We don't have a lot of options, but go like this:

1. Tell the Iraqi government that our military and our money — indeed, our patience as well as the lives of our troops — are exhausted. The Maliki government has a limited amount of time (say a year) to get its act together. That means no more bickering and no more corruption. We need to make it clear that the U.S. will no longer "babysit" (and therefore enable) a civil war. Otherwise, we are out of there. This is not cutting and running; it is requiring accountability from what has become a welfare state. Deadlines will motivate that government to act to end the deadly blood feuds and death squads.

2. Convene an international conference to consider the partition of Iraq into Kurd, Shiite and Sunni semi-autonomous states, similar in shape and size to the "no fly" zones of the 1990s. (This will require assurances to Turkey that a Kurdish state will not be carved into Turkish territory.) Perhaps the U.N. is willing to help implement this if a salesman such as Bill Clinton succeeds outgoing ambassador John Bolton.

3. When that is done and all U.S. troops are home, create a Truth and Reconcilation Commission in Washington (similar to the 9/11 panel, but with prosecutorial powers) to look at the war's planning, execution and aftermath. Possible outcomes include corruption charges and rebates to U.S. taxpayers to make up for fraud and waste.

CONCLUSION: So who is with us?

Thursday, December 7

From the "What could possibly go wrong?" files

Erik Estrada, Jack Osbourne, and LaToya Jackson to be given guns and go on beat with Muncie police for "reality" show.

World's. Worst. Fisherman.

These clips will give you a taste for what my disastrous family vacations were like as a child.

Tuesday, December 5

Ed Asner is ... "Lou Grant!"

Here is the opening to "Lou Grant," from the era of when TV shows had opening titles with music heavy on horn sections — and when journalists were the good guys and people got their news on paper. Those were some crazy times!

Monday, December 4

I like Chinese

Remember that time on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" when Cousin Andy tells Larry that there's no good Chinese food in L.A.? The NYT says Andy was wrong. Here's the list of the best Chinese restaurants in SoCal.

Can you hear me now?

The government can use your cell phone mic to spy on you.

Just so's ya know.

Saturday, December 2

Rush Limbaugh gets catty

Pill-popping motormouth Rush Limbaugh sure knows how to woo the ladies. He has, after all, been married and divorced three times.

Apparently, nowadays he finds companionship with his pet cat — that is, when he's not off to the Dominican Republic with a supply of Viagra. Here's what Rush has to say about women and cats, as noted at Media Matters:
She's smart enough to know she can't feed herself. She's actually a very smart cat. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. She gets fed. And she doesn't have to do anything for it, which is why I say this cat's taught me more about women than anything my whole life.
Again, we ask: What woman would have sex with Rush Limbaugh?

Thursday, November 30

Humans cheat death in brushes with beasts

Happy Holidays

From Billy Idol.

Wednesday, November 29

I got capped

Halfway to work during my 25-mile commute, I noticed that the "check engine" light was on. The car was running fine, but I was still uneasy until I reached my destination.

During my lunch break, I took the car to a local repair shop. Several hours later, I got a call back. The problem? A sensor had detected fuel evaporation caused by . . . a loose gas cap. The car checked out fine otherwise. Apparently, when you fill up, you have to turn the cap so it clicks three times, or the "check engine" light will come on. So don't forget to do that, or you will be screwed.

I'm out $50 for labor. So it goes.

Tuesday, November 28

Buy Syd Barrett's bike

Everything must go! The estate of the Pink Floyd founder, who died earlier this year, is up for auction — mostly furniture but some artwork and other unique items. Some of the proceeds will go to support art education.

Is Borat a homewrecker?

Pam Anderson will soon be single again, filing for divorce from Kid Rock. (High five!) And yes, Borat and his quest for "sexytime" with her may have had something to do with it.

Thursday, November 23

LISTS: Top 5 Keith Moon vocal performances

Inspired by my recent rediscovery of Side 3 of "Quadrophenia." Links go to YouTube clips.

1. "Bell Boy"
2. "Tommy's Holiday Camp"
3. "Barbara Ann"
4. "Fiddle About"
5. "In My Life"

Wednesday, November 22

Beatles' Love

I was the recipient of an early Festivus present yesterday: the Beatles' new remix album, produced by Sir George Martin & son. It's quite amazing. Apart from the fun of trying to sort out which bits are from which Beatle song, the re-mastering is stunning. Even on tracks that haven't been obviously manipulated much, the sound quality on all the instruments and voices is outstanding.

If there's one last thing we can impose on George Martin for before he shuffles off this mortal (reverb) coil, let it be this: Get in the studio with all the Beatle master tapes and give them one more going over. Because, as it turns out, the Love record shows that the recordings of the early Beatle tunes don't HAVE to sound like they're being played on a 1960s am radio. With the advent of cheap, hi-fidelity stereo (and 5.1) systems, the legacy of the Beatle recordings should be a matter of national interest to Great Britain.

I'm not the biggest Beatle fanatic in the world, or even in my immediate family, but their recordings are one of the most important cultural artifacts of the 20th century, and every effort should be made to maintain them for future generations in as pristine a condition as possible.

Tom Waits: New record

Tom Waits talks to NPR about his latest, a 3-disk affair with 2 disks of new stuff and a disk of rarities.

Tuesday, November 21

Sound advice

If you're bothered about getting shot -- here's a thing -- don't join the army."

-- Noel Gallagher, of Oasis, who have a greatest-hits album out next week. Yeah, thanks, I already have it -- it's called "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?"

Hearts & Minds

Christ on a crutch.

Robert Altman is no longer with us

The famed director is dead at 81.

Monday, November 20

Kramer drops n-bomb

Michael Richards, Kramer of TV's "Seinfeld," didn't like the chatter at his stand-up gig, so he went racial.

UPDATE: He apologizes in this somewhat awkward conversation with Letterman. (Google video)

Sunday, November 19

Hopefully this will put a nail in the coffin...

...of the myth that McCain is somehow more centrist than the rest of the Republican party. He may well be in his actual views, but here he clearly confirms that he'll take whatever stance he has to to court the religious-right vote in '08.


Saturday, November 18

Face of matrimony

The Associated Press captured this image of Katie Holmes, new bride of actor/Scientologist Thomas Mapother, also known as Tom Cruise. Given that Scientologist honcho David Miscavige served as best man for the wedding, her expression seems perfectly appropriate.

Will she someday say goodbye the same way K-Fed did? We can only hope, through Holmes could pick more delicate language.

UPDATE: ABC News has posted Ted Koppel's 1992 interview with Miscavige, who was then sporting a hairdo that's part evangelist, part "90210." Nice!

Y'know what's clever?

The Simpsons.

Y'know what's awesome?

Dice stacking.

Y'know what's periodic?

This table.

Y'know who was a smart guy?

Douglas Adams.

Friday, November 17

Thursday, November 16

Larry King has not yet used the Internets

In this clip, the CNN host says he is not sure about "the little buttons and things," but Rosanne (of all people) says she will teach him.

Wednesday, November 15

Just doing my part

A couple years ago, it seems like half our friends squirted out babies on about the same weekend. These babies are now getting to the point where, if their parents are not vigilant, they will start to listen to a lot of Really Sucky Music. I took it upon myself to burn CDs of child-appropriate Beatle songs, of which there are a suprising number, and of which a suprising number come from the White Album (which, if it didn't also include "Why Don't We Do It in the Road," and the sadly Manson-associated "Helter Skelter" and "Piggies" [which continues to freak out my wife to this day], would be perhaps the greatest children's record of all time).

Anyhoo, above is the adorable artwork I was rewarded with for my stageringly kind magnanimousness by the offspring of a co-worker. It makes the threat of financial ruin at the hands of the RIAA seem almost worth it. And below is the playlist I used, if you'd like to make such a compilation for the 3-year-old in your life.

  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles (White Album)

  • Yellow Submarine - Revolver

  • Octopus's Garden - Abbey Road

  • Wild Honey Pie - The Beatles (White Album)

  • Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey - Paul McCartney All The Best

  • Maxwell's Silver Hammer - Abbey Road

  • Rocky Racoon - The Beatles (White Album)

  • Honey Pie - The Beatles (White Album)

  • Good Night - The Beatles (White Album)

  • Blackbird - The Beatles (White Album)

  • C Moon - Paul McCartney All The Best

  • You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) - The Beatles Anthology 2

  • Hello, Goodbye - Magical Mystery Tour

  • Birthday - The Beatles (White Album)

  • All Together Now - Yellow Submarine

  • Beautiful Boy - John Lennon Anthology

  • The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill - The Beatles (White Album)

  • Hey Bulldog - Yellow Submarine

Entertainment Weekly's 10 best and worst Bond girls

Hard to argue with their "worst" list, but I ain't down with their "best," entirely. Me, I'm all about the Famke, myself -- one of the few Bond girls not famous before the film who went on to have a bona fide career (and no, "Caveman" doesn't count, Mrs. Starkey).

Mmmm, Famke....

The rap on Libertarians

Can a Libertarian candidate rap his way to the governor's office in Louisiana? Judge for yourself.

Monday, November 13

In sickness and in clear

The NYT tells us what a Scientology wedding is like. The article comes just a few days before the rumored nuptials between a certain Mr. Mapother and the woman who tried to ruin "Batman Begins." Among the vows:
Know that life is stark and often somewhat grim, and tiredness and fret and pain and sickness do beget a state of mind where spring romance is far away and dead.

Second to last

More scholarship based on our comics pages:

  • This blog offers a pretty good take on the habit of strips to rely on the "silent panel" to set up the punch line. You'd be surprised how often that technique is used.
  • This blog has a take each day on the dreadful Mallard Fillmore.

We like 'Borat' very much


Being a Trojan, I was a bit horrified at the bahavior of the USC frat boys in the film. Until my wife pointed out they were from the other USC, which happens to be Ange's alma mater, which makes it a bit funnier. Now it seems the frat boys have the good sense to be embarrased by their own actions -- either that or they smell a payday.

Interesting to glean from this article and the IMDB FAQ that the setups for some of the situations in the film were staged -- though I assume that the reactions of everyone not in on the gag were real, otherwise the film is almost pointless.

The most I've laughed in a film in forever, but for God's sake, unlike the half-dozen or so families at the Santa Monica theater we saw it at, don't bring your pre-teen children. There is a suprising amount of gay penis in this film. The only reason I can think the far right has not been picketing in droves is that they probably figure all the jew-bashing kind of balances it out.

EDIT: Not everybody likes Borat. High five!

Fading freaks

The NYT reports that the old-fashioned freak show is in steep decline. The reasons:

  • political climate that makes it taboo
  • surgery that can repair deformities, separate conjoined twins, etc.
  • increasing freakiness of American society at large that makes circus freaks seem boring
Step right up and read more here.

Friday, November 10


Republicans and Scientologists have many similarities, Bill Maher writes.

Thursday, November 9

The new Bond is boffo

Early reviews are positive, perhaps even giddy, for "Casino Royale," which opens Nov. 17:

VARIETY: Daniel Craig "comes closer to the author's original conception of this exceptionally long-lived male fantasy figure than anyone since early Sean Connery."

BBC: "Daniel Craig is not a good Bond. He's a great Bond."

Read 'em all here.

Still SOME link-blogging, of course

U2 or REM? Slate's Dan Kois has a great essay.

I come down on the side of early REM, though it's been over a decade since they put out anything I wanna listen to.

Playing Out: Old Towne Pub w/the Running Kind

So the other day I got an email from Matt from the Running Kind asking if I'd be interested in playing with them, as he wanted to try upright bass rather than electric, and knew that Andrea Peterman and the Alternators were kaput due to Andrea's husband taking a job in Seattle (boo, Matt!). I dig the Running Kind, as they're tight and have a real old-school country vibe to them, with lots of Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Patsy Cline covers thrown in to complement some great originals.

Then David Serby (above) emailed Tuesday to see if Ghost Town wanted to open for him at the Old Towne on Wednesday. We couldn't do it due to scheduling problems, but I figured I was game to give it a go with the Running Kind, essentially having my first rehearsal with them on the stage last night. To top it off, the original bassist for the band shows up to take pictures for the band's website, just a day or two after being let go. Nothing nerve-wracking in playing new tunes you've only heard a few times on stage with the old bass player watching you. But I think it went pretty well -- I played most of the right chords in most of the right places, and no one was seriously injured. I did kick over my damn beer, though.

Anyhoo, this is all a long preamble to say that I got a new camera (a Sony Sure Shot 7-megapixel deallie) and will try to start chronicling more Stuff From My Life here, rather than all this link-blogging. I figure if Dooce and the Waiter Rant guy can be so compelling without ever leaving the confines of their respective house and bistro, I might be even more entertaining, since I actually go out and Do Stuff.

Except of course, those guys can write. Which is why I got the camera.

There's a burgeoning rock movement here in LA (which LA actually has a long tradition of, being a launching pad for everyone from Buck Owens to Gram Parsons to Dwight Yoakam) -- and I'll try to chronicle some of it in these Playing Out sections.

And keep an ear out for that David Serby fella -- he has great songs, a good presence on stage, and a crack band. Nice guy, too. I imagine I'll be boring folks with "I knew David Serby when" stories in about 3-4 years.

Wednesday, November 8

Frank Gehry designing watches for Fossil


Welcome to America

With the Associated Press declaring Webb the winner in Virginia and therefore ending GOP rule in the Senate, here's a chance to see where it all started: the "macaca" incident.

Tuesday, November 7

Monday, November 6

Fire hits Gatorland

One of Orlando's venerable pre-Disney tourist attractions, Gatorland, has been hit by fire. Among the casualties is the famed entrance, which dared visitors to walk though the toothy maw of the dreaded reptile.

Saturday, November 4

Freedom '06

George W. Bush meets George Michael. No, not like that. Like this.

Gay or not gay?

Friday, November 3

In search of

A Bigfoot researcher is scorned by his academic peers and may lose his tenured status. Is he getting a raw deal, or is he just a kook?

"Oh yeah, what's YOUR plan!?"

THAT'S how Bush is defending his record in Iraq? What's next? "Yeah, too bad for you guys Nov 7th is Opposite Day, so Republicans get to keep the House and Senate! Pbbbbbt."

Lou Reed answers the question

Is there a worse remake than Don't Stand So Close To Me '86?

Yes. Yes there is.

Tuesday, October 31

Two Years Too Late...

John Kerry gets his balls back from his wife.

"I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won't take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes... It disgusts me that a bunch of these Republican hacks who've never worn the uniform of our country are willing to lie about those who did."

I'd like to think the remarks that Kerry orginally made (what he called a "botched joke") that drew the ire of the White House was bait put out by the Democrats to get the Republicans to engage in this debate and set up John Kerry to come back with these remarks.

I'd like to think that... because then the Democrats would actually be doing something to win.

Barker to cash out

Bob Barker of TV's "The Price Is Right" says he will retire next year at the age of 83.

DULLARD TAKE: All things must pass, but the yodeler game won't be the same without Bob. And what will become of "Barker's Beauties"?

The 29-year-old virgin?

The federal government is extending the target audience for "abstinence only" grants to the age of 29. Congress spent $50 million on this last year.


Favor curry

And perhaps fend off arthritis.

Sunday, October 29

"Dylan!" panned

The new musical based on the songs of Bob Dylan is getting same rough treatment that the "Lennon!" production got last year. Not even Twyla Tharp can save "The Times They Are a-Changin'" from the barbs of critics.

Note to Broadway: Stop making these.

Saturday, October 28

Hope I die before I drink Schlitz

The Who sell out, circa 1982, in this clip from YouTube. To rid yourself of the aftertaste, watch the soundcheck of "Eminence Front" — still better than the studio version.

Friday, October 27

Cheney endorses simulated drowning - Financial Times -

Actual headline. Where is Yakov Smirnov when you need him?

"In Russia, we drown our sorrows about the government in vodka. In America, government ties you to board and drowns you in shallow bucket of water until you confess to all charges! What a country!"

Thursday, October 26

Our lives at 45 rpm

Eleventh in a series on one Dullard's collection of 45s. Read the previous post here.

: "Absolute Beginners"
Artist: David Bowie
Year released: 1986
Highest U.S. chart position: 53
Video available? Yes (extended version)

In the erratic career of David Bowie, the 1980s were especially tumultuous. He began the decade with the masterful "Scary Monsters," essentially the endgame to his Berlin period. He then turned to danceable pop with "Let's Dance" — a commerce-friendly trend extended with "Tonight" (and its silly but enjoyable single "Blue Jean") and through "Never Let Me Down," an ironically titled disappointment that seriously wounded Bowie's status as a Major Rock Star. He then killed off that persona altogether by forming the noisy feedback-fest of Tin Machine, a bookend to the similarly abrasive "Scary Monsters."

Where does "Absolute Beginners" place on this timeline? Think of it as a tangent off that story arc, much as Bowie's flirtation with acting is a tangent off his musical ambitions. "Absolute Beginners" is a soundtrack song, similar in mood and sheen to "This Is Not America," another Bowie song done for a movie in the mid-1980s. "Beginners" is not a cover of the famous Jam song; it's a Bowie composition from the little-seen Julien Temple film of the same name, a tale of Mod love in 1950s England. (The whole thing started as a book by Colin MacInnes.)

As befits a movie theme, "Absolute Beginners" has the tone of a high-cost production number. The team of Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley bring a crystal clearness to the sound that finds its foundation in cool synths and its ornamentation in horn sections. These British producers plot the song out note for note in clever fashion, as a small army of session players (the sleeve lists 14 musicians backing Bowie) prove their chops from start to finish.

Over this formidable yet antiseptic soundscape, Bowie tells a typical Hollywood tale of desperate love. His lyrics here are not his strongest, but they match the content of the story adequately. He starts with humility:
I've nothing much to offer
There's nothing much to take
I'm an absolute beginner
And I'm absolutely sane

He follows through with bravado:

As long as we're together
The rest can go to hell
I absolutely love you

Then, he offers a sop to the "musical" nature of a soundtrack song:

If our love song
Could fly over mountains
Sail over heartaches
Just like the films

Wistful yet full of hope, these "Beginners" make for a memorable Bowie track, with enough emotional gravity to pull the production and lyrics together. As a movie theme, it works. As a part of the Bowie canon, it's interesting, but not essential.

For Pete's sake

What was he expecting? Has he never heard the Howard Stern show?

Shuffle up and deal

Why your iPod shuffle doesn't seem as random as it should.

Wednesday, October 25

i Es un milagro !

Dilbert's Scott Adams writes something worth reading.

Dullard news ticker

View from across the pond

John Oliver, the Daily Show's Senior European Courrespondent, on his experience with the show, and the US.

Tuesday, October 24

Must-have OS X web development apps

Good, small reference.

Searching the Internets

Over on the YouTubes, you can watch President Bush talk about using the Google.

Monday, October 23

Last Chance to See....

I usually only shill here for Ghost Town gigs, but tomorrow night at the Cinema Bar I'm playing upright for Andrea Peterman, a really talented singer/songwriter who's doing her last LA gig before moving to Seattle next week. She has great songs, and the band is pretty good if I say so myself (and I do!)

Also, next Monday, you'll get a chance to hear a double set of Ghost Town at the Cinema Bar. We'll be playing from about 10:30-midnight. Both shows are free, and also feature the ethereally delightful Dafni.

Tues, Oct 24:
8:30 pm Manisha
9:30 pm Dafni
10:30 pm Andrea Peterman and the Alternators

Mon, Oct 30:
9:00 pm Dafni
10:30 pm Ghost Town

The Cinema Bar
3967 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City

Four minutes of Borat

The movie's opening moments are available on YouTube, along with what are supposedly deleted scenes, including some with Minutemen-style border types and a run-in with the Dallas police.

It's pretty good stuff, but it will be interesting to see whether this can be sustained over 82 minutes. So far, the critics say yes.

UPDATE: A nervous studio will release "Borat" on only 800 screens, not 2,000 as planned, amid concerns that the box office will not match the hype.

Friday, October 20

Second Life

I think what's going on in Second Life is fairly fascinating. People have been trying to get stuff like this off the ground for almost a decade now, but I think the bandwidth and web-browser technology is just now starting to be able to support something like this. I went ahead and signed up for a free account this week. It's worth taking a look at, though the universe there is so sparsely populated, it can seem a bit pointless. You almost have to converse with strangers to get anything out of the game. I got married so I would no longer have to talk to strangers, real or virtual, so this is a bit of a drawback to me.

The other drawback is that, playing in two bands, keeping up on pop-culture, and spending time with the few non-strangers my wife and I still like, pretty much takes up all my time as it is. I don't have time for a second life.

On the plus side, I took in one of their virtual sunsets last night, and it was pretty spectacular looking. Sadly, this was right around sunset in real time, and I live five minutes from the beach.

Alright, I have to go tend to my Sims now....

Q&A: Robert Christgau

The former Village Voice rock critic, recently signed to NPR, answers queries on the media and the music.

And Ahmet Zappa shall lead them


Thursday, October 19

First step toward Romulan technology?

Scientists (sort of) figure out a way to make things invisible. Well, kinda.

Wednesday, October 18

Happy Birthday, Chuck

Chuck Berry is 80 years old.

S.F. on the cheap

Where to stay and not pay much in San Francisco — if the embassy is booked.

Ramble on

Rick Santorum, senator from Pennsylvania, on the Iraq situation:

As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.

More here.

UPDATE: Colbert has a take — with action figures.

Come on and let him know

Should he stay, or should he go? Tony Blair "covers" the Clash in this creation on YouTube.

Behind the Secrets of 'Lost'

Lost scribes discuss how to avoid fizzling like the X-Files, and threaten to murder Nightline interviewer.

Monday, October 16

Sunday, October 15

Friday, October 13

Trey & Matt's corporate film

About 15 minutes, but it's hilarious. Somehow, when Seagram's bought Universal, they thought it would be a good idea to have Trey Parker and Matt Stone make a new orientation film for them.

When in India, telecommute

If you think traffic in your city is crazy, check out what it's like to drive in India (via YouTube). Here is the first-person view, and here is how it looks above the fray.

Thursday, October 12

Our lives at 45 rpm

Tenth in a series on one Dullard's collection of 45s. Read the previous post here. (Yeah, it's been awhile.)

Song: "Who Can It Be Now?"
Artist: Men at Work
Year released: 1981
Highest U.S. chart position: 1
Video available? Yes.

For most people, "Down Under" is the iconic Men at Work song. It may be the band's most memorable track, but it's also an overplayed novelty number, its influence in 1980s music overstated.

The real Men at Work is in this song, their first U.S. single. Like the Australian band that recorded it, "Who" is quirky and off-kilter, the music simple and catchy.

The track is a paean to paranoia that is made all the creepier by the flat delivery of songwriter and singer Colin Hay, who may or may not be role-playing an extreme shut-in. He is the ultimate isolationist, so cloistered that he refuses to leave his lair and dreads the idea of anyone else even approaching him:
All I wish is to be alone
Stay away; don't you invade my home.

At the same time, Hay indicates that these unwanted visitors could also turn his home into a prison. Therefore, his own silence is necessary, thus furthering his isolation:
If he hears, he'll knock all day
I'll be trapped, and here I'll have to stay.

The narrator of "Who Can It Be Now" also hints that he is aware that his aversion to "guests" is exaggerated. His fears may be rooted in the idea that if he reveals his presence, he will be sent somewhere that, oddly enough, may or may not be more unpleasant than his own home.
Is that the man come to take me away?
Why do they follow me?
It's not the future that I can see
It's just my fantasy.

Hay's weird vision is expressed over Police-lite pop, with scratchy guitar and knock-knock drumming. Greg Ham's sax playing fleshes out the sound with a sense of urgency that befits the lyrics. Put together, it gels into one of the better three minutes of early '80s music.

Q&A with Terry Gilliam

The Onion A/V Club asks him about the target audience for "Brazil," his flirtation with directing the first Harry Potter movie and his latest project, "Tideland."

Tuesday, October 10

'Bionic Woman' reloaded

The guys who brought back "Battlestar Galactica" are working on a new, modern version of "The Bionic Woman."

DULLARD TAKE: I haven't seen the new "Battlestar" despite the positive word from critics. To me, Starbuck will always be Dirk Benedict. As for the new "Woman," it could work if they made sure to update the dreaded fembots. Those cyborg foes not only battled the Bionic Woman, but also damaged boy-girl relations in my fourth-grade class.

Google adds more for Mac

Google is increasing its options for us Apple people with the debut of its Mac blog. New features include Google widgets for the OS X Dashboard.

DULLARD TAKE: This is a step in the right direction. As for you Windows people out there, I ask: Which will be released first, Vista by Microsoft or "Chinese Democracy" by Guns N' Roses?

Friday, October 6

Michelle Malkin attacks YouTube

... By posting this video on YouTube. In other YouTube news, Google is apparently trying to buy it.

Wednesday, October 4

VWs to ship with free guitar

An odd promotion. But Jody's Jetta is a great little car. And my Mercedes is starting to act up on me....

Public dissent leads to arrest

Charges were ultimately dropped, but a Golden, Colorado man was arrested for telling Cheney his Iraq policies are "reprehensible."

Thank goodness we have a system of checks and balances in this country, where the executive branch doesn't have a blank check to imprison and/or torture folks it deems terrorist sympathisers and lock them up indefinitely without access to lawyers or even having charges filed against them.

Oops, sorry. I wrote that last graf before last week's anti-terrorism bill.

Q&A with David Byrne

David Byrne on the changing nature of the record industry.

Tuesday, October 3

Holy crap.

This NY Times journalist was on the private plane that collided with that Brazillian 737.

Monday, October 2

Ghost Town this Wednesday @ the Cinema Bar

Ghost Town is playing a FREE show this Wednesday at the Cinema Bar in Culver City. The amazing Dime Box Band is kicking off the evening at 9, Ghost Town plays around 10, and trad-country superstars The Running Kind will close the evening at 11.

That's 3 awesome bands for the low-low price of FREE!

We'll be playing the Cinema again later this month, on the 30th with Dafni and Andrea Peterman. We'll be doing a very different set for that one, though, so why not come out to both? It's free!

The Cinema Bar
3967 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City
Wed, Oct 4
9 pm

Not the most articulate review I've seen

But I think Ray Suzuki of Pitchfork Media gets across that he doesn't dig the new Jet record.

Foley and Scientology?

Is fallen Florida congressman Mark Foley a Scientologist? Read this and make up your own mind.

Be your own ticket master

To make gag tickets like this one, check out this site.

Thursday, September 28

Well, it's official

We are Americans. We torture people in secret prisons.

The terrorists have won.

Miss America?

Senator Clinton, speaking against the pro-torture legislation in the Senate, remembers what America once professed to stand for.

Senator Obama echoes some of the same points.

Wednesday, September 27


Here's another adaptation of Google technology, this one charting the smells of the NYC subway system, station to station.

Monday, September 25

Dullard concert review: Roger Waters

Former Pink Floyd maestro Roger Waters is on the road again. We break down the show for you, Dullard-style:

SITE AND TIME: Nissan Pavilion, about 25 miles outside our nation's capital, on a pleasant Saturday evening.

THE CROWD: Predominantly male, as indicated by long lines for the men's room but not for the women's room. Some children in attendance, some as young as 8. Two African-Americans and a smattering of Indians.

LENGTH OF SHOW: Nearly three hours, including a 15-minute intermission. There was no opening act.


THE SETLIST: Waters wisely emphasized the Floyd songbook over his solo material, opening with two tracks from "The Wall." He touched on the band's trippy origins with a feedback-filled take on "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," and images of Syd Barrett accompanied "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." The nostalgia was tempered by the contemporary as a photo of President Bush was on screen during "The Fletcher Memorial Home," as Waters attempted to link his past anti-war statements to today's conflicts. He did so more explicitly with the one new song he played, "Leaving Beirut," an angry blast at Bush, Blair, et al.

THE BAND: Waters has assembled a formidable army of minions, including the obligatory trio of backup singers. They came in handy during "Mother," in which one of the women took on the vocal part sung on "The Wall" by David Gilmour. Speaking of the absent Floyd guitarist, he was replaced by two anonymous players who did their best to mimic the original. Despite their best efforts, they couldn't capture the Gilmour sound.

Waters, his graying mane offset by black pants and shirt, stalked the stage, inciting and exhorting the crowd. At 63, he's only touring now because he wants to, and he was cleary enjoying himself. His weary voice, singed by cigarettes and primal screams, isn't what it once was, but he still managed to bring depth and emotion to the material, both in quieter moments such as "Southampton Dock" and rave-ups such as "Have A Cigar."

THE STAGECRAFT: As noted here, a new version of the inflatable pig made an appearance during a thrashing version of "Sheep." For this show, the "Impeach Bush" message remained on the creature's rear end, with the more cryptic "Kafka Rules, OK" on the side. A similar inflatable, this one of an astronaut, floated above the stage during "Perfect Sense," although the meaning of its appearance was less obvious and effective.

THE GIMMICK: The show's main selling point is a performance of the entire "Dark Side of the Moon." Although it's nice that Waters would acknowledge the importance of this album, the practicality of performing it creates a serious obstacle for him: He doesn't sing much on that album, leaving those duties to erstwhile Floyd members Rick Wright and David Gilmour. For this show, Waters' backing musicians shouldered much of the vocal duty, and that created the impression of watching a talented tribute band playing and singing "Dark Side" with Waters sitting in on bass. Only on the concluding "Eclipse" — in which Waters took the mic — did this performance of "Dark Side" truly shine.

THE ENCORE: Waters went all-"Wall" for the closing numbers, including an extended "Another Brick in the Wall." The show ended with a stirring medley of "Vera" and "Bring the Boys Back Home" — another indication of Waters connecting his previous work to modern times. It worked pretty well, especially as a segue into the inevitable closer, "Comfortably Numb."


Saturday, September 23

Friday, September 22

There's something very wrong with this

And apparently the folks at Sesame Street agree!

When bad things happen to cuddly critters

I like the meerkats, but some people get a bit too wrapped up in Meerkat Manor. I wish my life were so otherwise complete that I could invest so heavily in the fate of feral creature living together half a world a way.

Now, Flavor of Lovee on the other hand....

Do you like voting?

It may only be worth doing if you truly enjoy the sensory experience itself and aren't too attached to the outcome.

Thursday, September 21

Here's a role-model for Ange's journalism students

Possibly not a member of the American Meteorological Society. Though I wouldn't be suprised if those things had a climate system of their own.


Wednesday, September 20

Weird spam

Does anyone know what this means? I sort of like the sound of it.
Call out Gouranga be happy!
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga
That which brings the highest happiness

Monday, September 18

Speaking of mind-boggling...

The US has 14,000 detainees in overseas secret prisons.

Untangle the wires

Titter-pating. The first two levels are easy. The third one is challenging. The fourth one made me cry like a little girl.

LISTS: Pop Music Firsts

Courtesy of

Alvar Hanso's nefarious plot to save the world

And some explanation about those numbers....

You may also want to have a look-see at what Lostpedia has to say about the Lost Experience game, and what clues it's given us about the show's backstory.

Do you want to live like a hobbit?

Then move here.

Sunday, September 17

Why won't Roger Waters support the troops?

That's the tone of this Drudge Report item, which takes the Pink Floyd maestro to task for using the famous flying pig to ask concert-goers to vote Democratic in the mid-term elections. Waters is on a U.S. tour, a show that's said to include the entire "Dark Side of the Moon."

DULLARD TAKE: This is typical Waters. Drudge apparently didn't hear the anti-war message in famous Floyd works such as "The Wall" and "The Final Cut," so this development isn't the big news he thinks it is. (Drudge probably overlooked the same themes in Waters' solo work, but then again, many of us did.)

WHAT'S AHEAD: Indulging in my Pink Floyd fetish, I am going to a Waters show in suburban D.C. next weekend, and I will report back on what he says about Bush, Iraq, etc.

R.E.M. reunited, repackaged

Retired drummer Bill Berry was back for a night as R.E.M. was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame this weekend. They opened their set with "Begin the Begin" from 1986's "Lifes Rich Pageant."

Meanwhile, yet another R.E.M. compilation is out. Titled "And I Feel Fine," it chronicles the band's years on the IRS label in a more comprehensive way than the "Eponymous" collection. It even includes "Life and How To Live It," an under-rated track from "Fables of the Reconstruction" that's a personal favorite. The cover art is pretty cool, too.

Friday, September 15

Patton Oswalt is a comic book geek

And one of the funniest comedians of comedy.

A pint of Jesus

This ad, intended to promote the church over the pub for the upcoming Christmas season, has raised a ruckus in the U.K. (It's reminiscent of the allegedly subliminal ads from the 1970s, which some people are still talking about.)

DULLARD TAKE: They've already got wine in some churches. Why not add beer? Put the pub and the church together, like those hybrid fast-food places that stick Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts in the same building.

Thursday, September 14

Dullard news ticker: Death and birth edition

  • Ann Richards, the tart-tongued former governor of Texas, is no longer with us. Signature quote: "Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
  • Walter Koenig, Chekov of TV's "Star Trek," turns 70 today. Signature quote: "Aye, aye, Captain."

Tuesday, September 12

The mind boggles

We've clearly taken a wrong turn when we're having to figure out how to tell future humanoids 10,000 years in the future to keep away from the deadly radioactive waste.

Mmmmm, lamb.

I felt like this after eating lamb with Jody's parents over the weekend at an Afghani restaurant in San Jose.

Olbermann is a good man

When he was just the local station's snarky sports guy, I never suspected he would rise to the level of this.

Sunday, September 10

LISTS: Cheesiest Sid and Marty Krofft show openings

1. Land of the Lost. "Deliverance" meets dinosaurs. Viva la Chaka!
2. H.R. Pufnstuf. Nightmarish trip to a bizarro universe where the heroes are as ugly as the villains.
3. The Bugaloos. Brit-flavored Velveeta.

Friday, September 8

We still like you. Do you still like us?

The premiere of the Borat movie took a bad turn when the projector broke at the Toronto International Film Festival. Apparently not even Michael Moore could fix it, and fans went home angry, despite the stunning arrival of the mockumentary's star.

The movie, officially called "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," opens at a theater near you in November. While you are waiting, you can see some of Borat's previous "reporting" here.

These analogies are as bad as...

Wait, actually, I think most of these are pretty good.

LISTS: Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances


If you're a House fan

You may enjoy these bloopers.

If you're a Ben Affleck fan, you're probably not reading this blog, but here's an interview that goews some way toward explaining the failure of Jersey Girl and the engagement to J.Lo.

If you're a Star Trek fan and you ARE reading this, you're name is probably Scott, and this one's for you.

Lewis Black is angry

Good interview.

Thursday, September 7

Out of time

I heard "Losing My Religion" twice today, once on the way to work and once coming home, on the local "hits of the 1980s and beyond" radio station. I hadn't heard the song in a while and was pleasantly encouraged that it didn't sound dated as some songs do. That's probably because that R.E.M. track was "out of time" for its day, with its mandolins and string sections set against Michael Stipe's typically twisted view of love.

Then I thought about how much time has gone by since its release in 1991. Yes, it's 15 years later.

In 1991, I would have told you that 1976 was ages ago, a completely different epoch that I was a part of but one that had no real bearing on our current place in time. But now, think about it: 1991 — the summer of the Dullards Across America road trip, which included repeated listenings of "Out of Time" as well as samba mix tapes — doesn't seem so long ago, does it? That was just yesterday. It still matters, right?

This must mean I'm old.

How to write a fugue

With a little help from Britney Spears:

Wednesday, September 6

Everybody loves Scarlett

Woody Allen loves Scarlett Johansson, as noted here previously. Maybe Bob Dylan does too, as evidenced in this new video.

Tuesday, September 5

Christgau canned

Lost in all the recent shakeups at The Village Voice is the dismissal of rock critic Robert Christgau. At least you can still read and search his old stuff.

Monday, September 4

The Crocodile Hunter is no longer with us

Steve Irwin is killed by a stingray barb to the chest.

Friday, September 1

LISTS: Ranking the "Entourage"

With HBO's "Entourage" floated as the successor to "Sex and the City," it's time to rank 'em like we do bands, on impact, originality and intangible coolness:

1. Johnny Drama: The show's best episodes (such as the one set at Comic-Con) prominently feature the struggling "Viking Quest" hero. The aptly named Drama is intense, insecure and unintentionally hilarious. Victory!

2. Turtle: His penchant for porn, X-Box and marijuana notwithstanding, the gang's designated driver works hard for whatever money — and respect — he can get. Turtle likes to give Drama and Eric grief, often with reason, but demonstrates loyalty and diplomacy as needed.

3. Vincent: He is ostensibly the "star" of the show, but Vinny is more cipher than hero. Vinny's essentially a good guy, even if his artistic stands tend feel forced. Is art-house actor really his career goal?

4. Eric: The voice of reason for the group can also be the whiniest when it comes to matters of love. Tiny E should be happy that Sloane (oof!) would give him the time of day. His sincerity in protecting and fostering Vince's career is nearly outweighed by his erratic decision-making in his own personal life.

5. Dom: Thankfully, this annoying character has been limited to a two-episode story arc — so far. Dom, as discussed earlier here, brings the show to a dead stop whenever he is on screen. He has all the vices of the other entourage members, but none of the redeeming charm. Plus, he stole Bruno Kirby's Shrek doll. Dom is the worst thing to happen to "Entourage," at least until K-Fed's cameo becomes reality.

Thursday, August 31

Ah, but first....

Someone requested an XTC puppet show? No?

Well here it is, anyway:

If Mommy or Daddy are in the Nat'l Guard

The Guard would be happy to flatten 'em for ya.

Rather a sad note to start the weekend on, but I, to quote Heidi Klum, am aut.

Auf wiedersehen!

Followup: CRACKED

Funnyboy Michael Ian Black has been named Editor-at-large for CRACKED magazine.

Wednesday, August 30

Why they shouldn't let dorks on planes

I played WoW, I became a terrorist (WoW is "World of Warcraft," an online game, for those blissfully unaware).

Of course, you don't have to drop an electronic device in the John to be branded a terrorist -- you can simply wear the wrong t-shirt.

Tuesday, August 29


The L.A. Times reports that Thomas Kinkade, the so-called Painter of Light, is under investigation by the FBI. Among other things, Kinkade may have used his Christian faith to induce the unwitting into opening Kinkade galleries.

Kinkade denies all allegations, and the investigation, as they say, continues.

Saturday, August 26

George Bush: Biggest threat to American Democracy, ever

I haven't done much political blogging because, well, it's all just gone so horribly pear-shaped that it hardly seems worth talking about anymore. If the Dems can take back the House in the mid-terms, I'll have some hope. But here's a great reminder of everything Bush has done to undermine everything good about America.

The drummer on "My Sharona" is no longer with us

Former Knack drummer Bruce Gary is dead of cancer at age of 55.

Friday, August 25

Shooting squirrels

Having recently witnessed European tourists taking pictures of squirrels in Montreal and New York as if they had sighted Bigfoot, I cannot resist linking to this, which features the rat-like creatures getting on the other side of the camera.

Katherine Harris is nuts

She thinks the separation of church and state is "that lie we have been told," and that "God is the one who chooses our rulers."

What a country.

Slo-Mo Home Depot

Stuff like this tickles me. More people should do things like this for my amusement.

Also, I like pancakes:

Colbert, Jedi knight

Watch this at YouTube. Then watch this. Then imagine how much better the recent "Star Wars" movies would have been if Stephen Colbert had been in the cast.

Wednesday, August 23

Living with war on a bad day

Neil Young takes the "fake news" route for his new "Living with War" video. It's good, though R.E.M. did the same thing with "Bad Day" a couple of years back.

DULLARD TAKE: The R.E.M. clip gets a boost by having Michael Stipe as the anchor and Mike Mills as the weatherman, but "Bad Day" is a second-rate "It's the End of the World As We Know It." Thus, Young prevails on the strength of the music.

'For Better' the Best?

This is redonkulus. I've never met anyone who even likes For Better or For Worse. It's Canadian for chrissakes. I'll take Henry over FBoFW any day. Hell, I'll take Funky Winkerbean over the tedious travails of Lynn Johnston's family of moon-faced Canucks.

Best comic currently running: Mutts. The meticulous drawing and inventive layouts more than make up for the frequent lack of actual jokes. Honorable mentions to Doonesbury for remaining relevant and even touching after 30-odd years, and to Get Fuzzy for being reliably funny, if odd-looking. I also kinda like Frazz, for some indefensible reason.

Best of all-time honors go to the unblemished jewel that was Calvin & Hobbes's 10 year run. There'd be no C&H without Peanuts, which was truly wonderful in its heyday, but didn't finish strongly. Old collections of Pogo are worth picking up, as well. And I also have an odd and abiding affection for Skeezix & co. over in Gasoline Alley.

Not making the grade: Dilbert and Boondocks both started strong but lost energy and direction after the first 3 years or so. The ever-popular Bloom County always seemed a little too directly "inspired" by Doonesbury and Douglas Adams for my taste, and someone needs to put Opus out of its misery, stat. Mallard Fillmore should be nuked while you're at it, as well, along with the usual suspects like Cathy and Garfield.

Pioneer Award: You have to give it up for Wil Eisner's Spirit, which had a huge impact on every comic book artist worth a darn.

Online Comic Award: Achewood, what else?

Single Panel Award: The Far Side (Sorry, Family Circus!)

Most in Need of Reviving, Preferably by Warren Ellis: The Outbursts of Everett True

Urk. I knew I was a funnybook geek, but didn't realize I cared so much about the dailies!

Scarborough: Is Bush an idiot?

Wow. Bush has lost Joe Scarborough.

Bush's crib sheet

Bob Harris takes a look at Bush's podium notes from Monday's exceptionally bad press conference -- the one where he claimed his administration never said Saddam and 9/11 were related.

Secretary of State Xenu?!?

Why was Richard Armitage of the State Department meeting with Tom Cruise and other Church of Scientology "leaders" as shown here?

Tuesday, August 22

F4 Phantom jet hitting a concrete wall @ 500 mph

Wow. That blowed up real good! Worth keeping in mind when conspiracy theorists question what happened to the remains of the plane that hit the Pentagon.

Monday, August 21

LISTS: The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s

Pitchfork has a slightly idiosyncratic, but thought-provoking rundown of the best 60s singles. I think there needs to be more Beatles, Kinks, and Smokey Robinson on there, but that's just me.

Hurricane Spike

Spike Lee takes a hard look at Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in a four-hour documentary that begins Monday on HBO.

Now is as good a time as any to restate our case for the removal of Michael Chertoff as head of Homeland Security. This Dullard editorial from earlier this year still stands.

Friday, August 18

Local reporter ambushes stars at premiere

"Hey, do you like Bruno Kirby? Yeah, well he's dead."


Thursday, August 17

Jenny McCarthy is nuts

And her Crystal child is much, much more special than yours.

Kraken art!

This ancient Peruvian headdress, a bizarre hybrid of human, feline and kraken, has been recovered from a London law firm's closet. It looks like something H.P. Lovecraft would have created, and my money says the tentacles come to life at midnight and rip people's eyes out.

Wear it at your own risk.

What the hell are YOU lookin' at!?

Wednesday, August 16

Cracked redux

Cracked magazine, the poor kid's Mad, is back. The relaunch includes a site that looks like a blend of The Onion and Fark.

Easily one of the best bands named after a marital aid

Steely Dan is on tour, and obviously have a lot of time on their hands. They have some good career advice and a few song ideas for Wes Anderson, including perhaps the best Dan lyric ever:

Cause baby every single time I'm with you
I'd like to have as many arms as Vishnu

Dispepsia: the real Real Thing

Kurt Vonnegut is not in a good mood.

Monday, August 14

Dell's burning sensation

Computer maker Dell is recalling more than 4 million lithium-ion batteries over concerns that they can cause laptops such as this one to burst into flames.

KEY BEAVIS QUOTE: "Fire fire fire."

Ghost Town @ the Cinema Bar this Wednesday

Ghost Town is playing a FREE show
this coming Wednesday at the Cinema Bar in Culver City. The fabulous Dafni is kicking off the evening at 9, Ghost Town plays around 10, and Jason Mandell will close the evening at 11.

We haven't played out in months, and we're raring to go with some new material, so come on out!

The Cinema Bar
3967 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City
Wed, Aug 16
9 pm

Cool things about being married #1756

  • Discovering your wife has the Sex Pistols on her iPod.

Sunday, August 13

Bond and Borat

The latest Entertainment Weekly has a good profile of Daniel Craig, the new James Bond in the upcoming origin story "Casino Royale." As discussed here earlier, Craig is a controversial pick as 007. The mag also has a Q&A with Borat, whose movie also opens in November.

Friday, August 11

Squirrel terrorizes Central Florida!

An angry rodent menaces humans in downtown Winter Park. The creature was apparently not rabid, however, just plain mean.

KEY QUOTE: "They will come after you for something to eat."

Bourdain's Beirut footage to air this month

Should be an interesting show.

Thursday, August 10

Mac vs. Windows

The NYT weighs in on the endless debate.

DULLARD TAKE: We switched to a Mac nearly a year ago and are pleased overall. Now it's time to replace our decrepit Dell laptop. Should we go all Mac all the time, or do we have a Windows laptop around just in case? Yes, the new Macs can in theory run Windows, but it seems complicated.

Wednesday, August 9

'Curb Your Enthusiasm' to Return

That season 5 finale seemed if anyone can make hay out of beating a dead horse I guess it'd be Larry David (and yes, I'm proud of that scrambled metaphor, so there).

Cataract surgery: not as fun as expected

In fact, it had me longing for the happy, care-free days of Lasik surgery. But it's done now, and I can more or less see with binocular vision for the first time in months. My left eye is still a bit swollen from the surgery, and I still need one last round of Lasik on it to correct my astigmatism -- but I have a genuinely usable lens in it now. Pretty cool.

I Was a Junket Whore

If you've ever wondered what goes on at a studio press junket, wonder no more.

Evil Androids unplugged

The sci-fi site Evil Androids calls it quits, for reasons explained here. We will miss you, Gort!

Monday, August 7

Manatee menaces Manhattan!

The ungainly sea creature, usually a denizen of the waters of Florida, swims up the Hudson.

Sunday, August 6

LISTS: What to play after 'I do'

A British site offers a list of popular songs played at wedding receptions. There's plenty of cheese ("Hello" by Lionel Richie), some guilty pleasures ("The Lady in Red" by Chris DeBurgh) and some really clever choices ("You're the Best Thing" by Style Council). And yes, there are tracks that really make no sense to play at a wedding ("Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor).

Friday, August 4

Thursday, August 3

Lasik surgery will freak your sh!t out.

People like to re-assure you about how non-invasive Lasik is.

These people are lying. They are not your friends.

First you are flat on your back while the Robotron6000 sucks on your eyeball and turns your cornea into bubble-wrap.

After a half hour or so to give you time to confess all your mortal sins, Doctor Mengele straps you to a different table and tears the perforated sheet that is your cornea. Peeling it back so that the SharksWirthLaserBeams7000 can make a little lightshow in your eye socket, presumably burning out just the right bits of cornea to correct your vision, as long as you manage to REMAIN CALM, JUST BREATHE, AND FOR GOD'S SAKE KEEP FOCUSED ON THE BLINKING RED LIGHT. Finally Doctor Evil puts the corneal flap back down and bastes it with butter until it stops quivering.

It's only a total of about 20 minutes of terror, spread out over 2 hours. You think, "Oh, Valium, this will be fun." But the Valium only staves off the terror a bit. No flying poodles, dammit.

Man, I'm glad that's over.

Until Monday, when they replace the lens in my left eye.

Oh, and then 3-4 weeks later, when I get to have the Lasik again, on my left eye.

(Seriously, though, the vision in my right eye, apart from the haloing [which should subside] is already sharper at a distance than it has been in 30 years, even with glasses. And my doctor and his staff have been really great. They even offered me a teddy bear to squeeze while the Robotron6000 sucked on my eyeball; I don't think I would have made it through without the help of dear Captain Snuggles.)

Wednesday, August 2

What would Hawkeye say?

Probably something pretty similar to MASH scribe Larry Gelbart's rant in the Huffington Post.

I'm off for LASIK surgery in my right eye, so I'll leave the blogging to others until tomorrow or Friday.

Tuesday, August 1

A Connecticut maverick in King Colbert's court

Senate candidate Ned Lamont met a true test this week: an interview with Stephen Colbert. The Connecticut challenger to Joe Lieberman more than held his own against his inquisitor, as you can see in the clip on YouTube.

Lamont might actually be the best interview on "The Colbert Report" so far. He was witty and articulate, willing to go along with the twisted questioning from Colbert while realizing that he is the straight man and his host is the funnyman. Interview subjects who try to out-Colbert the host always fall flat on their faces. Lamont didn't do that.

Lieberman apparently is too craven to appear on "The Report" — another indicator that he is out of touch.

Months with an 'R', people

This is why oysters really are a seasonal food, despite being available at most restaurants year-round. The simple mnemonic for remembering when you can eat oysters: months with an "R' in them, which is September through April (though, with Al Gore heating up the planet and all, you may be more comfortable pushing that start date back a month or two).

Monday, July 31

The passion of the Mel

Mel Gibson is reportedly in Jacko-like seclusion as he faces the aftermath of a drunken-driving arrest. The actor/director was pulled over Friday doing 87 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway, a bottle of tequila allegedly in his car.

That part of the case isn't nearly as controversial as his anti-Semitic tirade he made at the scene, causing protests from Jewish groups already irritated by "The Passion of the Christ." Now super-agent Ari Emanuel (who's supposedly the model for the Ari Gold character on "Entourage") is calling for a Mel boycott.

DULLARD TAKE: Gibson's career began its decline about 45 minutes into "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," when his character broke a deal, spun the wheel and was cast into the desert. From that instant, Gibson has grown insufferable, tedious and arrogant. In other words, a boycott is moot. The only practical effect of his idiotic comments is to prompt us to cheer for the leather-clad mutants a little harder the next time we watch "The Road Warrior." We still love the kid with the boomerang, though.


A cool Risk-like Flash game. You may want to read the rules first, and then start of with a 4-player game.

Watching Beirut die

Anthony Bourdain writes up his recent experiences for Salon.

Friday, July 28

Random observations from a trip to Montreal

  • When visiting North America, European tourists love to take pictures of squirrels.
  • Mazdas are very popular in Montreal. So is the Toyota Echo.
  • At least one Italian restaurant serves a bowl of unshelled nuts (filberts, almonds, walnuts, etc.) and two oranges as free dessert. A nutcracker is provided for each patron.
  • Above-ground pools are a frequent site in the hard-luck suburbs south of the city.
  • Waste from horses is common in the streets of Old Montreal.
  • The McGill University student center is named for William Shatner. You may remember him as Captain Kirk from TV's "Star Trek."
  • The McGill student center has computers for use by the public. Someone has changed the title bar on the Web browsers to say: "Micro$oft Internet Exploder (Resistance is Futile)."
  • A TV ad for Sears uses "What About Love" by Heart to sell appliances.
  • These are among the U.S. shows that are dubbed in French for viewing in Quebec: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Family Feud" and "The Simpsons."
  • Two young Thai women were taken off our train by Canadian customs officials. The scuttlebutt: They were suspected prostitutes.
  • A Vietnamese woman could not find her bag on the train despite assurances from Amtrak that "red caps" were reliable with checked luggage. She marched up and down the train looking for her black suitcase, which leads us to the question: Why is most luggage black? That sure makes it hard to find your bag among the many.
  • All meals on Amtrak, from pizzas to bagels, are microwaved into spongy submission.