Archive for August, 2007

I’m reading the best book I’ve read in a long time.

I hesitate to say that, because as soon as I start talking about how much I love this book it will turn to suck. I’m about 193 pages into it, however, and so I think it’s safe to say that at least the first 193 pages sing true in a way I haven’t experienced since Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

My only problem with this one is it seems to be yet another “Faith Vs. Reason” deal where Faith comes out looking like a rutting hog next to Reason in her shining locks and satin gown. Of course, there’s really no cause to write a Faith Vs. Reason book where Faith comes out ahead, since the platonic ideal was well-accomplished by John Irving more than a decade ago. (Seriously, if you haven’t read A Prayer For Owen Meany, please drop whatever you’re reading now and dive into that book.)

Anyway, back to this book I’m reading now. It’s called The Last Witchfinder, and is probably selling fairly well on the coattails of Harry Potter, even though it has about as much in common with those books as it does with Highlights Magazine.

For starters, this is a book narrated by another book–the principle action unfolds though the wry wit of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica. How can you NOT love something riddled with that conceit?   The rest of the story is smart, funny, and unique, and all written in a beautiful tone with poetic prose.    Not to spoil it too much, but there is one scene where Hooke poses as Newton and cusses out an entire town with some of the most wonderful profanities I’ve ever seen.    With language like that I do wonder why we’ve limited ourselves to the f-bomb as our most turgid curse, when there are phrases like (take the children into the other room) “twattwaddles” and “pudpounders” just laying out there discarded.

And come on! Who doesn’t want to read a book where Hooke poses as Newton?  That and that alone should intrigue you.

I do own this copy, so as soon as I’m done we can pass it around.  Maybe this time it will end better than that poor Grey’s Anatomy DVD.  (Again, I do apologise for forcing so many of you to get into that show right before it started sucking louder than a thirsty baby on a dry teat.)

Read Full Post »

I love all of you. Okay, maybe not all. But most, anyway.

And I love the events where we all come out of our Fortresses of Introversion and do the whole “I want to talk to you, but I’d rather do so over the computer” thing. Because we always have such a good time. It’s like you WANT to be shy and then you remember you’ve heard all about this one’s surgical procedure and that one’s embarrassing date and Grace’s, er, activities. So what do you REALLY have to be embarrassed about, right?

But I’m sorry. I could not go to the picnic today. I had a good reason, in that medical science has now proved I am part vampire. Or one of those creepy children from that Nicole Kidman movie where they’re all dead but they don’t know it yet. Whichever–I can’t be in the sun for very long.

Oh, and I really don’t like picnics. They make me feel awkward, because there is no food there which isn’t either messy or vaguely phallic. And then there are bugs. It all just makes me want to go inside and read a book.

I was feeling really bad about missing today’s festivities. Because I like you all enough to brave ants and bean stains on my boobs. And then I found out about the kickball.



Next time why not bring clown ventriloquists and Mrs. Miller, my 8th grade typing teacher? Then it would be a perfect re-enactment of Kat’s Own Personal Nightmares Of Hell.

Read Full Post »

Target had a new “body wash” on sale.  (I don’t think they make hard soap anymore, which should make Billy Joel’s Vietnam Veteran from “Goodnight Saigon” very happy.)

I brought home two bottles of this Olay Body Wash because it smells FANTASTIC and it was buy one, get one free.   I generally ignore the rest of the sales copy on my soap because it’s usually just romancing to a silly degree.   There are no actual ‘luxurious silk ribbons’ and normal humans don’t have sexual climaxes from washing their hair.

I should have paid closer attention, because “contains luminous skin brighteners” does mean something.   It means that I am covered from head to toe in glitter.  I feel like a human disco ball.

Read Full Post »

to bring you the single best LOLcat EVER. In the history of LOLcats.dude-smell-this.jpg

Hat Tip: Marc, via Twitter. (Marc is my official LOLCat filter. Thank you, Marc.)

Read Full Post »

  • I had a bunch of stuff to do today which meant I rode around a lot in my car. Is there anything more soothing at any time or any place than Ripple? That came on the shuffle-play and I just had to stop and soak it in. “That path is for your steps alone.” Uh-huh. Absolutely.
  • I’m thrilled beyond belief. My local Kroger has begun importing Coca-Cola from Mexico. Big deal, right? Uh, yes. Yes it is. This Coca Cola is made with pure cane sugar and comes in 12 oz glass bottles. That’s the way God intended for Coke to be. I usually try to stock up on Cane Sugar Coke at Passover (Cane Sugar is Pesach-Kosher; Corn syrup–made from a grain–is not), but this year I was to busy having a sort of legal crisis to bother. So I’m psyched. Actual Coke!
  • There is no way on earth that I will be able to add all the books I’ve read to my Facebook Books application. It just won’t happen. So I’m adding the ones I really recall fondly, but I’m sticking them in piecemeal. I just get so excited to see the little coloured picture of the book cover–it brings it back home. I have this philosophy that books are not meant to be kept, unless you intend to reread them on a regular basis. (Harry Potter, anyone?) So I give my books away to whomever would like to read them. Better out in the world than sitting on my shelf gathering dust. So I like these applications that allow you to “keep” a book in your own way while not hanging on to the actual thing itself.
  • I’m really quite busy grooving on the fun that is Damages on the F/X network. If you haven’t caught it yet, FX is running a Labour Day Marathon, so you can catch it in all it’s backstabbing glory. I will say, though, that there are several of you (Brittney Gilbert, Aunt B., Cheryl Richardson) who might want to skip the last 10 minutes of the first episode. I wish someone had warned me that it was something I would have nightmares about. Because it is, and I have been. Other than that, it’s been a great show.
  • What was the other thing I meant to write about?  Dang.  I can’t think of it now.  Oh well.  It was probably just as pointless as everything else I’ve got up here this morning.

Read Full Post »

I play poker. I have played poker for money. I am a very good poker player. I even wrote a (small) book about poker. And I was a very good poker player before it was cool and trendy and all that stuff. In fact, I no longer play poker because it is cool and trendy, and has changed from a game of probability, skill and analysis into some adult version of a trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop.

My point is that Poker is not “gambling”. So I’ve never really done what would be considered “gambling”. As Val Kilmer’s most-excellent Doc Holliday said in Tombstone “Only suckers buck the tiger; the odds are all on the house.” Of course, he was talking about Faro and not this:

That is Luther. My (fluff)Friend. He is a Facebook version of Tamagochi or those other virtual pets, and he has to be petted and fed on a regular basis. You feed him with (fluff)Food. You buy (fluff)food with “munny”. And you can get “munny” in several ways.
1. By petting a Facebook Friend’s (fluff).  

I’m not spamming all my Facebook Friends with invites to join (fluff).  I’ll invite them to support Net Neutrality, and I’ll invite them to Happy Hour so I can pelt them with White Russians.  But I will not invite them to touch my monkey.  That’s just too creepily Dieter.   (Of course, if they sign up for Fluff on their own, sure, I’ll pet their pets.  But otherwise–uh-uh.)

2. By answering surveys

3. By “running your Flufffriend in fluffraces”

Fluffraces are gambling at its finest.   Just like ponies or dogs, they give you the odds.   Just like a slot machine, you wait for the piece of technology to take your “munny” and then let you know if you’ve won more munny or are out.  You don’t actually see the little fellows race–you just place your bets and click to the next screen.

And I spent like 45 minutes doing this yesterday.   It was like my first hit of Crack or my first taste of nectar from the nipple of Isis.  I was actually yelling “come on!  Munki needs food!”  at my computer.   At one point I ran out of Munny and was frantically looking for surveys to get more.  It was so very sad.

Thank you, Facebook, for introducing me to gambling at its finest.   Clearly I must never be allowed near a bookie.

Read Full Post »

Why I Don’t Like Mad Men

…the TV show. (I shouldn’t have to explain why I’m not overly fond of the clinically, violently insane.)

I had never heard of AMC’s summer series Mad Men until it began showing up on blogs. Sepinwall liked it, and I’m usually down for whatever catches Sepinwall’s eye.  He reminds me of a grown-up version of my old high-school friend Bill H—-s.  Same taste in music, same taste in entertainment and same dry wit backed up by the power of analytical insight into persons and processes.   If Bill had a blog I’d read that, but I don’t think he does.  Although I understand he’s now a pharmaceutical rep, so it’d be way cool if he did blog–then he could call it something like ‘Drugstore Cowboy’.   I’m just sure that name’s not taken.

Anyway, back to the TV show this blog entry is ostensibly about.   I tried to get caught up on Mad Men this morning, catching a few backlogged episodes on Comcast’s nifty OnDemand service before work.

In all the time I’ve watched TV and movies I’ve only ever seen three other works which have the same utter strength this show has.   The Godfather; The Godfather Part II; and Zodiac all share one unique trait with Mad Men.   With most TV shows and movies you feel a certain remove.  There’s always a part of your brain which understands that “this is ostensibly set in NinteenWhenever, but it was really filmed in this year on a set of some type.”   It’s that scrim of disconnect which allows most viewers a bit of comfort.   It allows your subconscious to reconcile any good or bad events as mere things of the play, and not intrusions onto reality.   But those three films, and now Mad Men as well, lack that.   The creators of those movies have worked a hard spell and actually take you directly to 1946 New York, a 1970s California newsroom and Madison Avenue.    For better or worse you have fallen into the story completely; so much so that it in many ways ceases to be story and becomes immersive experience.

Which is the problem with Mad Men.   I’ll be honest, of the four episodes available to me, I could only make it through two and a half.   Because it is so completely immersive–and there is not one single truly likeable character to serve as the viewer’s Virgil.    Every character is craven or crazy.   They are liars and cheats driven by self-interest.  Every piece of dialogue is a tug-of-war between Angry and Confused.     Added to that dearth of likable characters is the fact that part of the Total Immersion requires a complete abandonment of 2007 sensibilities with regard to ethnic relations and feminism.   One exchange:  “Have we hired any Jews?”–“Not on my watch!…Want me to go down to the Deli and get one?”   Yeah.  That’s entertainment!

Which I suppose is what I’m trying to say.   Mad Men may very well be a masterpiece.  It’s artfully designed in the way that so few things are.   Everything seems painstakingly assembled.   But the world they take you to, the world the creators have gone to such trouble to replicate, is not entertaining.    I would show this program to a class as part of a lecture series.   In fact,  I’ve spent much of today pondering how my parents dealt with a world like that and how they and others worked to make my life experience so much richer than what seemed to be available in 1960.   But to sit down and watch this after a hard day’s work, dog in one hand and a snack in the other?   Not in a million years.

Read Full Post »

I’m having a lot of long discussions about the mortgage industry here and here.

I don’t want to repeat myself HERE, because this is already a looong conversation that has erupted into at least three mini-fights.

But one of the things Jim V. said here reminded me of a thought I’ve had before.

I went to a how to buy your own home class. It was run by a realtor and a mortgage broker

We really need people who can TEACH these days. People who understand things like mortgages and insurance and computers and finances–who AREN’T selling those things. We need General Counselors.

Read Full Post »

One of the 82 thousand Death Of A Princess shows I’ve watched in the last two weeks had some person–Dodi al Fayed’s masseuse, I believe–saying that if you’ve ever bought a tabloid you have Diana and Dodi’s blood on your hands.


I suppose appearing on a tabloid-like show about them doesn’t encourage ongoing fascination with celebrity in any way, does it, Ms. Holistic Touch Healer?

I don’t buy tabloids anymore. Why? Because I’m not generally interested in the people they feature. I like Poor Lindsay Lohan, and I don’t want to see her drunk. Beyond that, I’m still not clear on who’s who among the tabloid fodder set. If there were a “match this name with that picture” I’d probably score an 11%. I know the words “Beyonce” and “Fergie” and “Justin”, but I have no idea which of the various heroin-chic shiny people go with which moniker.

I do have people that I really like, whose work I really enjoy, and whose careers I’ve followed, though. Funnily enough, they don’t seem to draw a lot of press usually. Except for this week. I have to say I do feel a little bit sorry for Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts. All they want is some dinner with their kid, and they’ve got these monstrous folks chasing them with cameras. (Dudes, that second link is VIDEO.)

Then again, they were taking a 3-week old baby into a restaurant. And that’s a whole other kind of annoying.

Read Full Post »

Why Newscoma Rocks


Any woman who deftly pays tribute to both my recurrent insomnia and my coulrophobia while bringing me tokens of joy is the utter bomb.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »