Monday, July 31, 2006

Contextual Recognition

I meant to write about this on Saturday, but I got distracted by watching movies.

On Friday night, I attended a firm-sponsored event in one of the outlying Virginia suburbs, and then went out with some of my coworkers to a bar in the Farragut North-Dupont Circle area. The bar was really loud and smoky and crowded, as expected, and because I drove, I wound up having one drink and then heading back home at about 1:30.

Anyway, when I first got there, I was standing outside with a couple of people, waiting for some of the others to meet up with us from down the street. They walked up to us, and one of the guys said "Dara? I know you!"

I wasn't really paying attention, so at first I'm like, duh, you're one of the summer associates working for my firm. But I looked at him, and he wasn't with us. And I recognized him, but I didn't remeber from where.

He introduced himself, just as I was making the connection. He was a friend of one of my friends -- someone that I occasionally played poker with. I had even been to his house before. I asked if he knew the summers -- since he walked up with them at the same time -- but it turns out that it was just a coincidence that he walked up at the same time.

Of course I was bothered by the whole incident, because apparently, not all of my synapses were firing correctly. I'm generally really good with names and faces, and until this week, I don't think I ever had one of these episodes where I didn't recognize someone out of their usual context. I hope this isn't one of those "getting older" things. I mean, I'm only thirty.

So, my question is whether this has ever happened to anyone else? And if so, were you embarrassed by it?

Identity theft . . .

. . . or something like it.

So, I'm reading the WaPo Express's article about the design of the new metro cars, and after looking at the pretty pictures, I scroll down to post a comment, and lo and behold, I find comment #2:

I don't understand where (short) people (like me) are supposed to hold on, if standing in the aisle? It seems like there are no convenient handrails?
Posted by dara July 31, 2006 04:24 PM

Apparently, not only is there a second Dara in D.C., but she's also short -- and she stole my friggin' comment.*

I am very unnerved.

*If it was really me, I would have linked to my blog. I'm honest like that.

My take on Mel Gibson

So, this Mel Gibson thing really has become a big deal. When I first posted it on Friday, I was of the opinion that something was going to come out disproving the allegations of the anti-Semitic comments.

Alas, it seems to be true, and it now seems that, as Perez Hilton writes, "The fall-out has begun." Everyone's all up in arms about it, and the consensus is that Gibson fucked himself. Although, I don't think it was a particularly far fall from grace, considering that the only really good movie that he ever made was Braveheart, and the English would tell you that it was a load of historically inaccurate crap.

Of course, I wholeheartedly echo Justin's sentiments: Screw him.

I don't really care if he is an alcoholic and made a mistake, or whatever he's claiming. Maybe that excuse flies for the drunk driving, and maybe even for the sexist remark to the female officer. But the rest is inexcusable.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Things to read

The A.V. Club has a great interview with Pee Wee Herman -- er, I mean Paul Reubens.

Check it out, while I go watch more Wonderfalls.

Two-movie day

I saw two movies today -- Lady In the Water and Crash (on DVD).

To me, Crash was ok, but nothing spectacular. I'm probably going to offend people by writing this but, in my personal opinion, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and Good Night and Good Luck were all better -- more groundbreaking -- films, and therefore any one of them was probably more deserving of best picture. I know that there is a purpose to having all of the related stories going on at once -- like Magnolia, Lone Star, or Short Cuts and their ilk -- but sometimes so many characters and plotlines detracts from the story and, ultimately, the point.

Lady in the Water was a disaster. And I really, really wanted to like it. I loved The Sixth Sense, and I think Unbreakable is one of the most underrated movies. I even liked The Village. This was just an unintelligable mess.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Celebrity Legal Watch

You know what's stranger than Steely Dan writing a letter (to Luke Wilson) accusing Owen Wilson of stealing the plot from their song for his movie? Owen Wilson's response, which is either (a) a joke or (b) an indication that he is blissfully unaware that Steely Dan is a band, not an individual.

Mel Gibson was arrested for DUI. It's a good thing he's not in one of those religions that frowns upon hooch.

Lindsey Lohan is one very bad employee, showing up late and calling in sick to work because she was out late partying the night before.

Remember Crocodile Dundee? Well, he's being investigated for cheating on his taxes.

And, even though this is not celebrity-related, check it out:

As far as I can tell, it's real.

Five Songs

I'm not going to have a lot of time to blog today, so I thought I'd do something interactive and fun for everyone.

This is a game, inspired somewhat by the A.V. Club's Random Rules.

Here are the rules:
1. Turn on your .mp3 player, i-Pod, computer, or wherever else you keep your digital music. Or, heck, turn on the radio.
2. Listen to several songe, up to five, in order. Heck, I don't really care if you listen to more than that, but five is a good number for discussion purposes.
3. List those songs and comment on them. I don't care if you list them in my comments section or on your own blog -- but if you do that, leave me a link!
4. Your comments can be anything -- why you hate or love the song or the band, someone or something it reminds you of -- the sky is the limit.
5. Be honest, no editing your song list to make yourself seem cooler.

Here are mine:

  • Wonderwall, Ryan Adams
    Very different from the original Oasis version, much more haunting. I remember listening to it in the car last summer on the way back from picking my best friend up from the airport, just weeks before her house was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

  • Crazy, Alanis Morissette
    Another cover version. I definitely like Seal's original better, Alanis kind of annoys me now -- I liked her better when she was angry, and not all mellow. But this is way better than most of her recent songs.

  • Collide, Howie Day
    I love singer-songwriter types. And I love this song. I don't care how uncool that is. "Where I follow, you'll go/I worry I won't see your face/Light up again" and "I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind" just melt my heart.

  • Ball and Chain, Social Distortion
    This song reminds me of high school. Back then, I knew the words, but I don't think I really understood it. I definitely do now: "Well I've searched and I've searched/To find the perfect life/A brand new car and a brand new suit/I even got me a little wife/But wherever I have gone/I was sure to find myself there/You can run all your life/But not go anywhere." Amen, brother.

  • Love and Memories, OAR
    Love it! The first time I heard this song, I would have bet money that it was an older song, from the late 80's or early 90's. It's got that kind of vibe. I couldn't believe that it was new.

Now it's your turn.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Last night's Project Runway

Since I went to the ballgame last night, I'm just getting the chance to watch last night's Project Runway.

To begin with, I'm still in shock that Malan went home last week, and Angela didn't. Poor Malan, he seems so weird and sad. I'm definitely rooting for him to be successful now.

And on last night's episode, Keith was a giant asshole. "There wasn't any good execution on that stage except for mine."

Hello, ego.

His dress might have been good, but he should have been disqualified for not following the rules. And then, he fought with the judges when they called him on it? I'm so hoping it's true that he's the one that gets kicked off next week.

Speaking of Project Runway, did anyone else see the article about the impact of the show on fashion schools (and vice-versa)? Very interesting.

And here's the WaPo Express's list of the 10 Reasons to Love Tim Gunn.

Board games and wussiest songs

Here's a list of the top 10 board games of the 1980's. Growing up with two siblings close in age, I would have thought that we'd have all of them, but there were a couple that I didn't recognize.

What the hell are "I Vant to Bite Your Finger" and "Fireball Island"? I'm so sure that there were better games out there.

Last week, I posted Blender's list of the 25 biggest wusses ever. In similar, but unrelated, fashion, AOL has created a list of the 111 Wussiest Songs of All Time.

I have a couple objections to this list. I think I'm objecting to what really qualifies as "wussy."

There are some songs from bands like Guns N' Roses and Poison, but I think there's some kind of exception for rock bands and their one big ballad. I mean, that's how you reel in the chicks, right? It's not like they mean it. And it's not like singing about a relationship gone to hell is a wussy thing to do. Without breakups, what would writers (including songwriters) use as inspiration?

There are two that I totally agree with, though -- "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams and "Beth" by Kiss. I otherwise like the artists, but give me a break. These songs are just lame.

Then there are a whole bunch where it's not the song, it's the artist.

You know what you're getting with artists like Celine Dion, Richard Marx and Air Supply. Same with "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer is a cutesy, sappy little love song, by a Christian band with a girl singer. Did you really expect it to not be wussy?

And don't get me started on the Smiths, the Cure and Depeche Mode. This is just part of their je ne sais quois. Their entire goth persona relies on the wimpiness factor, along with the black hair, black clothes, and black eyeliner.

Charles Barkley and Michael Steele

Charles Barkley wants to run for governor of Alabama as a Democrat? This goes against everything I thought I knew.

Apparently, it goes against everything he thought he knew, too:
"I was a Republican until they lost their minds," he said earlier this month at a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada.

Maybe he's using the same playbook as Michael Steele seems to be using.

(Or maybe it's all a convenient political ploy? Because, today, it appears that Steele is back to being pro-administration.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

News of the Day: Craziness, Ironies of Fate, and Celebrity Gaydar

In one of the most notorious cases in quite some time, Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murders of her five kids.

I think this was the right verdict. The woman was clearly batshit crazy. Although, with five kids under the age of 8, I'm not sure that it would take a lot to push anyone over the edge.

In completely unrelated news, in Boston, a woman was killed while visiting the memorial to her brother -- at the site of his death, on the anniversary thereof, and at almost the exact same time. Coincidence? Cosmic irony? Either way, it's exceptionally strange.

And finally, the biggest news of the day is that Lance Bass of N'Sync is gay. This, apparently, moved the WaPo Express to write poetry, and caused Defamer to revisit old McDonalds' commercials for tell-tale clues.

Justin, Debby, and I had a very amusing e-mail correspondence on the matter. My conclusion was that "Timberlake and Fatone are not gay. J.C. is questionable, but I think it's just metrosexual. The one with the weird white-boy dreadlocks is clearly asexual. In short, only the music is gay."

Justin thinks that only Justin Timberlake is not gay, because of his dating history. He thinks that the fact that J.C. allegedly dated Tara Reid makes him more likely to be gay because, "Anyone who publicly proclaims he dated Tara Reid is obviously just covering for the fact that he's gay."

Debby's willing to give the married one the benefit of the doubt.

What do you folks think?

Not about shoes

I'm sure everyone's already bored by the shoeblogging. So, I'll keep this light.

Check out the 30-second bunny version of Office Space. And, take The Office Space Movie Test.
One of the guys

Congratulations! You scored 84!

Show me you Ooooo face! You know that works sucks, but that this movie doesn't!

You are just one of the guys, trying to make it in this big world. Great job, next time I bet you will do even better!

And, if that's not enough fun for you, check out this video of U2 and Bruce Springsteen performing "Because the Night".

The last pair

Here they are, in all their resplendent glory:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


In all likelihood, this might be my girliest blog ever.

I've already blogged about how my closet broke from the weight of too much clothing. Here are pictures of what my closet looks like, although, to be honest, it's missing a large pile of dry cleaning currently occupying my kitchen table, and a bunch of things sitting on top of my washing machine, waiting for the day that I magically have time to iron them.

Notice that, although the closet is jam-packed full of stuff, it is all organized and in color order. That, my dear readers, is clear evidence of OCD.

Here's the hall closet, which contains my coat and jacket collection, and, in the back, where you can't see it, my vast array of formalwear:

Really, though, the focus should be on the shoes. Here they are, in their glorious shoe-ness -- but be warned, this might take a while.

Casual Shoes/Sneakers/Flip-flops/Slippers:

Dress Shoes:


Answers to most likely questions:
1. Yes, that is the side of my foot in the last boot picture.
2. I counted 102 pairs.
3. There is one pair that is not pictured because it is currently under my desk at work. It is one of my favorite pairs, but the heels are about 3", so they are not conducive to commuting.
4. I really do love the Elmo slippers. They were a gift.
5. Favorite sneakers: blue Pumas, but I wore them out, and the ones I now have are not the same.
6. Favorite flip-flops or sandals: brown Birkenstocks.
7. Favorite boots: new Frye cowboy boots, purchased on recent trip to Chicago.
8. Favorite dress shoes: Lately, the black and white BCBG kitten heels. Honorable mentions: black Reaction with flower detail and pinkish-purple snakeskin Kenneth Cole.
9. Least comfortable: green and black Guess, black poie-de-soie Unlisted, and surprisingly, Born Mary Janes, because they give me blisters.
10. Most comfortable: Uggs. No contest.

I might do a handbag blog next.

Famous people do the darndest things!

I think the Bob Dylan musical is going to be bad, but I'm sure it can't even compete with the upcoming David Hasselhoff musical. Especially after seeing that new music video.

I'm going to have to come up with a better word than "suckfest," but right now, I'm drawing a blank.

In other music-related news Steely Dan is writing strange letters about Owen Wilson's new movie. Apparently, the band thinks that You, Me, and Dupree steals its plot -- and it's character name -- from their song. Of course, the weirdest part is that the band directed the letter to Owen's brother, Luke. Seriously.

While you're at it, read about Jeremy Piven on J-Date.

Why would anyone need to make up fake celebrity news whan the real stuff is so gosh darn silly?


Those that read this blog on a regular basis know that I think Gene Weingarten is funny. I don't always agree with what he says, and admittedly, I often think his chats are funnier than his columns, but I generally find him amusing.

Today, his guest post on the Celebritology blog was hysterical. Make sure to click the links.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Political update

I haven't been posting about politics that often of late, but I saw something in today's New York Times that caught my attention. According to this article, the American Bar Association is accusing President Bush of acting unconstitutionally:

The panel acknowledged that earlier presidents, including Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt, had occasionally asserted the right to disregard provisions of a law to which they objected. Under Bill Clinton, the Justice Department told the White House that the president could “decline to execute unconstitutional statutes.”

But the panel said that Mr. Bush had expressed his objections more forcefully, more often and more systematically, “as a strategic weapon” to influence federal agencies and judges.

In his first term, the panel said, Mr. Bush raised 505 constitutional objections to new laws. On 82 occasions, he asserted that he alone could supervise, direct and control the operations of the executive branch, under a doctrine known as the “unitary executive.”

Whenever Congress directs the president to furnish information, Mr. Bush reserves the right to withhold it. When Congress imposes mandates and requirements on the executive branch, the president often says he will read them as advisory or “precatory.”

Granted, this is not news to those who have been paying attention. And, let's face it, we shouldn't be surprised by the administration acting without regard for the law.

In lighter political news, did anyone see South Florida's own Congressman Robert Wexler on the Colbert Report? Wow.

And, while you're at it, check out the A-Z of the Bush Administration.

So much to say

Did you ever have so much to say that you don't even know how to start? That's how I am on this blog lately. I've got stories that I want to tell, but I'm holding back for various reasons. So mostly, I'm just linking to stuff. Not that that's really a bad thing. But if any of you got a glimpse inside my head, you'd be surprised.

Just sayin'.

On with the lunchtime show.

Did anyone read the story last week about the guy who was convicted 17 years after killing his family because he was grounded?

Obviously, this guy is crazy. I was grounded a lot, and not once did the thought of violence enter my mind. My parents once grounded me for 40 days for being 40 minutes late, and another time, grounded me so that I missed the U2 concert where my friend Rani met The Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr. So, once I figured out that no matter how hard I tried, I would still piss my parents off, I figured out how to sneak out of the house. It was that easy.

Here's another person I don't understand -- George Michael. With all his wealth and celebrity, he's out trolling for sex in parks? Seems to me like he just wants to get in trouble.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

More weekend fun

Two whole days off in a row! Reclaiming my weekend was so relaxing, and my cough is now almost entirely gone.

Today, I went to the ballgame. Not only was the weather fantastic, but the Nats wound up sweeping the Cubs for their "grand reopening" of RFK. I don't know that I was really expecting all that much change, but they did some nice new things. They cleaned up the landscaping out in front of the stadium, and apparently, added all sorts of new food options, including Capital-Q and Hard Times Cafe. The live-action "Presidents Race" is better than it was when it was just on the jumbotron, but is still nothing special. I took a picture from my cameraphone, but you still can't really see anything important:

Then I got home, ran some errands, and did some laundry while watching my DVD's of the first season of Gilmore Girls. Now I am entirely relaxed. It's too bad I have to ruin it by going in to work tomorrow.

I did not have to work today!

I had my first complete day off from work since July 4th. But even though I'm still not feeling entirely well, I did not spend the day sitting around on my butt. After running all sorts of errands in the morning, like picking up my dry cleaning and renewing my lease, I spent the rest of the day having fun.

First, I went to the Kennedy Center to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company's show "The Complete History of America (abridged)." The show was interesting and funny, even though some of the jokes were of the sort that my grandfather tells. The best part, though, was when people walked into the show late and the cast actually stopped the show to make fun of them.

After the show, Justin and I both remarked that the only thing that would have been funnier was if someone's cell phone rang during the show.

Then, I went out to dinner and to see Clerks 2. It was good, not great. If you like Kevin Smith's movies, I'm sure you'll probably like this one, too. Salon's review is 100% right.

And, for those that read these sort of things, here's the WaPo Express's interview with Kevin Smith.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Best laid plans

I was supposed to be over this damn cold already. I was supposed to be going to the baseball game with Justin tonight.

I was not supposed to be at work until 11 pm.

Now I'm tired and grumpy, and my head aches, and my throat hurts from coughing.

I might have to go in to work tomorrow, even though I really want to go see Clerks 2.

And yes, for those keeping track, I have gone in to work every day -- although, admittedly, sometimes it's only been for a few hours -- since July 4th.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bob Dylan

Justin blogged about Bob Dylan: The Musical earlier today. My gut reaction is that since Twyla Tharp is involved, (a) it will be a ballet and not really a musical and (b) it'll suck. I mean, that woman managed to ruin Billy Joel!

Anyway, I found this neat Bob Dylan Lyrics Quiz. Surprisingly, I got 8 of 10 right. (I missed the last two.)

Check this out

Blender has published a list of the 25 Biggest Wusses Ever. I think the list is spot on -- despite the fact that I like Coldplay and love The Cure.

Venting my anger

I just now found this new website, dedicated to encouraging everyone to take some time each Thursday to tell whomever is pissing you off to fuck off and die.

Generally, I'd jump at the chance to take them up on this offer. But I'm not really pissed off at anyone particular this week -- I'm just annoyed at still having this damn cold.

Hey, wait a second! I guess I should tell whomever gave me this cold to f.o.a.d. So there!

I guess if I really was pissed off at someone, I could start a whole website devoted to my gripe. Maybe it would get listed here.

And speaking of gripe sites, here's the biggest one of all ITMFA -- which is dedicated to impeaching the president. It was started by the funniest purveyor of dating/sex advice ever, Dan Savage.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Not enough time

Work has been very busy. Like nonstop-can't-take-a-day-off-to-get-over-my-cold busy. So no lunchtime today. And, as a result, no lunchtime blogging.

And tonight, I left earlier than I had all week, but only because my two favorite reality TV shows were (or are) on -- Rock Star and Project Runway. I did bring some work home with me, though. And I need to get back to it, pronto.

Speaking of Project Runway, did anyone else read about the controversy caused by the Washington Post's article from last week? Apparently the Post crossed some unwritten line when it published the name of the winner of last week's challenge before the episode even aired.

Anyway, here are a couple interesting websites I've found recently.

And did anyone else read about Kevin Smith vs. Joel Siegel?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Stairways to Heaven

Mad posted the link to 101 Versions of Stariway to Heaven on his website, and it's too fun not to share!

This week in fundamentalism

This is turning out to be a busy week in Jesusland:

First, some scientists apparently managed to accrue actual evidence of evolution. But I'm sure that the fundamentalists will disagree, and dismiss this as more proof of intelligent design or God's brilliance, or whatever.

Then there's yet another instance of an evangelist evading his taxes. (Doesn't anyone remember Jim Bakker?)

And have you seen the latest Jews for Jesus recruitment propaganda?

Today, Ralph Reed lost his primary election, even though he was once considered a sure thing (and earlier tonight, the race was too close to call). And tomorrow? It's looking likely that President Bush is going to veto the bill lifting restrictions on stem cell research.

So, check out Bring it On!, for their list of the top 10 signs you're a fundamentalist Christian.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Not paying attention

I've been so busy that I didn't even know that tonight was the first Screen on the Green. Although it's probably not such a good idea for me to sit outside in the heat -- with all of those people around -- while I'm this sick. I should take medicine and get extra sleep.

I am, however, fully aware that the Cubs are in town to play the Nats this weekend, just in time for the "Grand Reopening" of RFK.

Out, out damn cold! I need to be better by Friday!

Fever thoughts

Despite the fact that I am sick as can be, I still managed to work a full 12 hour day. And I should note that I have not had a complete day off -- including weekends -- since July 4th. Seriously.

Last night, my fever got up to 102°. (Today, it's hovering around 99°.) That's hotter than it is outside. No wonder why I've been freezing all day. When I went out at lunch to get my soup, I thought it was perfectly pleasant outside.

Some of the people in my office seem a little germaphobic, so I felt bad every time I sneezed or coughed. I kept my office door most-of-the-way closed all day, but I still had people looking at me as if I were spreading the Bubonic plague. I wanted to put a quarantine sign on my office door. I didn't do it, though. Maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, when I was getting on the escalator coming out of Metro on my way home, I saw two women, probably in their mid-to-late 20's, who were standing at the top of the escalator seemingly scared of getting on it. At one point, it looked like one of the ladies tentatively put her foot out to catch the escalator and then pulled it back. When I got towards the top, they both finally got on the escalator, and one shrieked, but I'm not sure whether it was with delight or fear.

I have never actually seen anyone who was afraid of the escalator before. It was bizarre.

So, of course, I'm trying to figure out other weird things people might be afraid of. I'm scared of getting the chicken pox, but that's only because I've never had it. And I'm a little bit agoraphobic, but that's really only because I'm short and when there's a crowd, I can't see what's going on around me.

I saw this site that claims to treat Arachibutyrophobia, which is the fear of peanut butter. I think that's made up, though.

From soup to nuts

You should have seen the looks I got when I ordered chicken noodle soup for lunch today. I think the folks over at my usual lunch place thought that I might have gone a bit nuts.

Whatever. I'm sick. And I wanted soup. Even though it's 100 degrees outside. So sue me.

Anyway, speaking of crazy, here are two amusing little things for your perusal. First, read just how annoying Barry Manilow can be. Next, we have David Hasselhoff's music video. It is so bad it hurts. (The laughing, that is.)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Weekend stuff

I've been sick since last night, and spent the majority of my weekend in the office. I am therefore not all that motivated to write -- or do -- anything.

I almost missed that Naomi Campbell has been accused of assaulting yet another employee and trashing her boyfriend's yacht. I don't know about you, but I'm sensing that the woman might have some anger management issues.

And, in other stupidity, did you hear about the woman who called 911 because she thought the cop that came to her house was cute?

Other than sleeping, working, and trying to get my fever down, I caught up on some TV this weekend. Earlier today, I finally got the chance to watch the first episode of the new season of Project Runway. I'm not sure if I have any favorite designers yet, but I was really intrigued by Michael's dress made out of coffee filters. That said, I thought that Robert's dress should have won instead of Keith's.

And, in other reality show news, Gene Simmons is getting his own show. This sounds weird enought that I might have to watch.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Look what we missed!

I'll admit it: I love Chick-Fil-A. I am not generally a fast food fan, and I usually don't like fries, but Chick-Fil-A is the exception. And this is in spite of the Christian Fundamentalism.

I even have one of their toys, prominently on display in my kitchen:

So I am quite sorry that I missed the Cow Appreciation Day celebration yesterday. Not that I would have dressed up in a cow suit or anything. But it would have been fun to watch.

Friday, July 14, 2006

How to make the most out of being a complete idiot

1. Write a politically-charged blog post about an article that you do not realize is satire.
2. Attract thousands of negative comments, mostly insulting your intelligence.
3. Unsuccesfully attempt to recast your original blog post as satire.
4. Get mentioned in an online chat hosted by the Washington Post's humor columnist.
5. Have Salon write an article about the whole ordeal, casting you as equal parts silly, sympathetic, and misunderstood.

King Kaufman is my new hero

Only he could take a column about the headbutt heard around the world and use it to quote Monty Python:

It's generally agreed that Materazzi said something really terrible to Zidane, but there's been no end to speculation and debate over what he actually said. Various theories have Materazzi using anti-Muslim slurs or calling him an Arab terrorist. Zidane is the son of Algerian immigrants.


"I did not say anything to him concerning racism, religion or politics," Materazzi said. "I didn't say anything about his mother either. I lost my mother when I was 15 years old and still now nothing moves me more than talking about her. Naturally, I did not know that his [mother] was in hospital and I want to send her my best wishes."

Sounds like he said something about Zidane's mother, doesn't it?


Because while we can all empathize with Zidane's sentiment that it's unfair for the retaliation to be punished but not the provocation, the first problem, just as it was for Mom or Dad when you were smacking your little brother upside his annoying head, is one of enforcement. How are officials supposed to know about the provocation?

It's hard enough to catch the big stuff. Zidane's massive head butt to Materazzi's chest was an obvious red-card foul when it was shown on TV replays, but in the stadium, it was easy to miss. Since it happened away from the ball, it looked to most of the crowd like just another soccer player writhing around on the grass. Nothing to get too excited about.

The referee would have missed it if he hadn't consulted with one of his assistants, who had apparently seen the replay on one of the stadium's giant video screens. We're talking about a -- wham! -- solid head butt to the chest in wide-open space. Almost missed.

And now this enforcement system is supposed to know that, just before the broad-daylight head butt to the chest that it missed, the guy who got head-butted said, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!" as opposed to "Zenadine, my friend, you have always been my hero and I'm sorry about your mother being sick."

What Sesame Street Character are You?

It's been a while since I've posted a quiz, but here's a good one: What Sesame Street Character are you?
You Are Big Bird

Talented, smart, and friendly... you're also one of the sanest people around.

You are usually feeling: Happy. From riding a unicycle to writing poetry, you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy.

You are famous for: Being a friend to everyone. Even the grumpiest person gets along with you.

How you life your life: Joyfully. "Super. Duper. Flooper."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fun with maps

This is a map of all of the states that I have been to:

create your own visited states map or check out these Google Hacks.

Important scientific findings!

I saw this the other day, and meant to post about it, but as those who know me can attest, I tend to get distracted way too easily.

The conclusion of the article is that talking on a cell phone -- even if you're using a hands-free device -- makes you as dangerous as if you're driving drunk. But the actual results of the study show something else: The cell phone users were more likely to crash than the drunk drivers.

Think about that for a second.

Update: Wow, this got mentioned on the Express's website! Neat-o!

Update #2: On a related topic, MTV news just reported on a Korean cell phone with a built-in breathalyzer function -- which also keeps you from drunk dialing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Look at what I did!

Look up at your browser's address bar? See anything different?

You should be seeing my brand new icon! (Well, the source image is not so new to those who read my blog on a regular basis. And if you don't see it, it's because of the crapiness of Internet Explorer.)

Thanks to the Liberal Banana for posting the directions.

These are the sort of things that make my day

1. From Weingarten's chat:

Gene Weingarten: This is delicious . It is from an anti-abortion Web site. I was alerted to it by someone whose Web address is angrypregnantlawyer. This guy is just wildly angry at a pro-abortion screed, and he quotes from it liberally, as it were, annotating it with his own diatriabe. He seems unfamiliar with the nature of the Web site from which this screed was taken. The Onion.

2. Crooks and Liars' clip of The Daily Show.

3. Garrison Keillor's latest column.

4. The ten least politically correct movies ever.

Weird, but sort-of funny

Apparently Wisconsinites have too much time on their hands. It takes an awful lot of time and effort to create a live version of a pointillist masterpiece.

And check out this website. The bilboard alterations, bible stickers, and rap pez dispensers are cool, and the terrorist alert signs are clever, but what you really want to see is the business reply pamphlet. Just imagine if everyone replied with it. (And the mall pamphlet is pretty interesting too.)

Last, but certainly not least, if you haven't seen it yet, check out Justin's post on Kirk Cameron. It might be the most scary, yet amusing, thing you do all day. Seriously.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Typical lunchtime random nonsense

My posts have been too personal lately. It's easier to write about random nonsense. Especially at lunch.

So, here's an article about how Kinky Friedman's nickname will appear on the ballot for Texas Governor this November. (Read more about Kinky Friedman's campaign here and here.)

And, speaking of Jews, Salon ran an interesting article on the lack of cool jews in pop culture. Of course it also negated it's thesis by having a related article about 10 relatively cool Jewish celebrities. It's actually pretty sad when the best we have to offer is Jake Gyllenhaall, who is primarily known for portraying a gay cowboy and a deranged teenager.

Update: Read DCist to find out why, at least in DC, there's no such thing as a free slurpee.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Chicago story

So, folks, here's the long-awaited second half of the Chicago story. It's really long, and somewhat personal and self-indulgent in nature - you can stop reading if you want - and therefore, I'm sure it will not live up to your lofty expectations. But, here goes:

While I was in Chicago, I spent some time visiting with my ex-fiancé.

The backstory is that he was my high school boyfriend. We began dating when I was seventeen, and he proposed to me on my eighteenth birthday, while we were watching the Florida-Florida State game. We broke up right around my twenty-first birthday – because I was in law school at Florida and he was up in Chicago – and then over the next several years, we made some halfhearted attempts at getting back together. Ultimately, they always failed because we were never physically or emotionally in the same place at the same time. The last brief reconciliation was right before my twenty-fifth birthday, when he was back in Florida, but I had just moved up to D.C. After that, we stayed in touch intermittently, but at some point, the conversations became less and less frequent. I think the last time we actually spoke was in 2003, but I could be wrong about that.

The other equally important facts are that he and I were always polar opposites in just about everything. I'm a liberal, he's a conservative – he wore a Rush Limbaugh t-shirt back when we were in high school, when the only Rush that I knew of was the Canadian Progressive Rock band. He's tall (6'4" or 6'5") and blonde, I'm short (5'1" or so) and brunette. He drove a Mercedes when we were still in high school; rather than buying me a car, my parents told me to find boys to drive me around. He's an only child, I'm one of three. He's Christian, I'm an agnostic Jew. He likes classic rock and oldies, I like alternative and 80's dance music. He played basketball, and until then, I generally disliked basketball. He's polite and respectful, I'm an anti-authoritarian smart-ass.

Anyway, during the month before I went to Chicago, he had frequently been appearing in my dreams. The typical scenario was that he was married – or getting married – to a Russian girl, and I was desperately trying to talk to him, but she wouldn't let me. It was pretty weird, especially since I don't really think of him that often anymore. Except when certain random songs are on the radio . . . .

90 miles outside Chicago
Can't stop driving
I don't know why
So many questions
I need an answer
Two years later
You're still on my mind

Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart?
Who holds the stars up in the sky?
Is true love just once in a lifetime?
Did the captain of the Titanic cry?

Someday we'll know if love can move a mountain
Someday we'll know why the sky is blue
Someday we'll know why I wasn't meant for you. . . .

I decided to go to Chicago to see my brother last-minute. Admittedly, I knew that my ex was living in Chicago, and for a moment, I thought that I should call him, but immediately talked myself out of it. Then, over the next several days, everyone who knew the story started asking me if I was going to see him. So, of course, the idea was firmly in my head. But calling seemed somewhat peculiar, so, instead, a couple of days before my trip, I sent him an e-mail. Then I proceeded to kick myself. (Nicole also gave me a telephonic ass-whupping about it.)

Of course, he e-mailed me back right away. And then called me. We had a nice, businesslike conversation, and in a fit of abundant stupidity, I mentioned that I was going to Chicago for the weekend. He told me he'd like to see me. We determined that we'd speak when I got into town.

Honestly, I wasn't on the ground long enough to have done anything when I checked my voicemail and saw that he had called. Since I had opened the can of worms, I felt obliged to call him back. He met us out at a bar that evening. Since we were with other people, we really didn't do much except talk about work. He had to work in the morning, so he left before us. After he left, my wonderful, supportive brother (who never really liked him) said, "Whew. You dodged a bullet!"

I thought it was over, but no, the ex called me the next afternoon, wanting to see me that evening. I was going downtown with my brother to see the fireworks, so I told him I'd see what our plan was. My brother – smart boy – indicated in no uncertain terms that he did not want to be a party to the weirdness, and that he would get me to wherever I needed to go, but wouldn't hang around. So, after the fireworks were over, I hopped on the subway and went to meet the ex. Again.

We went to a couple of bars, had a couple drinks. But still, all the conversation was superficial. At one point, he left to settle up the tab, and some boys came over to talk to me. They asked me where "my man" had gone, and I laughed and said, "Not my man." They left when he got back to the table.

He invited me to his apartment for some drinks, but I declined. Instead, we walked around downtown Chicago for a little while, and then sat out by the lake, watching some kids play volleyball. We sat and talked for a couple hours. He does have a Russian girlfriend, and I found out that they're living together – actually, they had recently bought a condo together. (This, of course, means that they will get married.) I did not, however, tell him about my dream. Instead, I talked a little about existential philosophy – Kierkegaard, actually – and told him a little bit about my trip to Israel a couple years ago, but I somehow managed to never really say anything of significance. In the middle of it all, my brother sent me a text message, "RUOK?" to which I responded "Yup."

My ex asked me what I was doing the next day, and I told him I had to get to the airport early, which was not entirely true -- my flight was at 5. He offered to drive me back to my brother's house, and at first I declined. He was somewhat insistent, so eventually, I acquiesced. In the car, he flipped through the radio stations until he stopped on a Nirvana song. I said, "I didn't think you liked that." He said, "Not really. But I know you do." It was kind of poignant and sweet and sad.

He pulled up in front of my brother's house, and I said a quick goodbye. I got out of the car knowing that, in all likelihood, it will be the last time I ever see him.

So, this experience really disturbed me. Not that I'm still in love with him, or anything of the sort, but because I think for the first time, I'm fully cognizant of the way that your life changes based on the choices you make – no matter how small you think they are at the time. It also made me aware of how different I am at thirty than at eighteen – and not entirely in a good way. I used to be open to the universe and to possibilities, and perhaps to falling in love with someone whose entire life is different from mine. That's not really true anymore.

And even though I generally don't pay any attention to my horoscope, over the past several days, when I've gone to check my e-mail, it has been things like "Remember the one that got away? Suddenly, they want another chance." and "When someone from your past makes an appearance in your life today (either directly or through a story a mutual friend tells you), try not to react too emotionally." How crazy is that?

Ernest and Bertram

This might be the most disturbing thing that I've ever seen on YouTube:

(via Gawker)

Parody of a student film

If you like Gilmore Girls, 24, and Eraserhead, this is the film for you:

Another busy day at work . . .

. . . so here are a few random things, which may or may not be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

The protestors were back outside at lunch. I have it on good authority that they're protesting the building's management company for not using union carpenters. I'm just glad that they're not protesting us.

An aside: Recently, I've been referring to the place I work as the anonymous law firm, but others have suggested I start using Wolfram & Hart. I originally thought this was unnecessarily snarky, but since people keep bringing it up . . . . Any thoughts?

This week, I am looking forward to the return of Project Runway. Man, I missed that show. And just as I was wondering what happened to the contestants from last season, the L.A. Times has given me the answer.

Finally, everyone should read this great article on baseball -- even if they're not fans.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Busy weekend

We went to see a minor league baseball game yesterday. Specifically, the Harrisburg Senators v. Bowie Baysox.

We even got free Brian Roberts bobblehead dolls.

Afterwards, they put on a delightful fireworks show. Here are some pictures and some short videos:

Today, I had a lovely day of sailing on the Chesapeake.Here are some pictures:

Now I am very tired. So tired that I will only mention in passing that I got to watch the tail end of Italy's victory over France. So tired that I can't even come up with anything snarky to say about the Post's profile of Congressman Ron Paul.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rollin' on Shabbos

Actually, I'm just in the office. So here are two quick random thoughts:

A while back, Justin posted his witty response to the Jews for Jesus handing out pamphlets at the baseball games. Unfortunately, it's harder to respond to the new subway ads.

And, here's a fun video -- President Bush's rendition of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday":

It's even better than his dad's version of "We Will Rock You":

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday lunch wrap-up

For the second day, there is a VERY LOUD PROTEST going on outside my office. And, like yesterday, I am too busy to post anything of consequence (read: the rest of my Chicago story). Which is a good thing, because I need to figure some stuff out in my head first.

Instead, just for fun, why don't you find out your exotic dancer name?

Exotic Dancer Name Is...


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Religious intolerance rears its ugly head

The more I think about it, the more this story really bothers me:

At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in the small town of Fernley, Nev., there is a wall of brass plaques for local heroes. But one space is blank. There is no memorial for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart.

That's because Stewart was a Wiccan, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion -- a five-pointed star within a circle, called a pentacle -- to be inscribed on U.S. military memorials or grave markers.

The department has approved the symbols of 38 other faiths; about half of are versions of the Christian cross. It also allows the Jewish Star of David, the Muslim crescent, the Buddhist wheel, the Mormon angel, the nine-pointed star of Bahai and something that looks like an atomic symbol for atheists.


Wicca is one of the fastest-growing faiths in the country. Its adherents have increased almost 17-fold from 8,000 in 1990 to 134,000 in 2001, according to the American Religious Identification Survey. The Pentagon says that more than 1,800 Wiccans are on active duty in the armed forces.

Wiccans still suffer, however, from the misconception that they are devil worshipers. Some Wiccans call themselves witches, pagans or neopagans. Most of their rituals revolve around the cycles of nature, such as equinoxes and phases of the moon. Wiccans often pick and choose among religious traditions, blending belief in reincarnation and feminine gods with ritual dancing, chanting and herbal medicine.

Federal courts have recognized Wicca as a religion since 1986. Prisons across the country treat it as a legitimate faith, as do the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. military, which allows Wiccan ceremonies on its bases.

"My husband's dog tags said 'Wiccan' on them," Stewart noted.

But applications from Wiccan groups and individuals to VA for use of the pentacle on grave markers have been pending for nine years, during which time the symbols of 11 other faiths have been approved.


But letters printed by Nevada newspapers indicate how much hostility Wiccans face. "I don't see how anything that supports witchcraft and satanism can legitimately be called a religion," one reader wrote to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

So, let me get this straight:
This random symbol is acceptable, but this one is not.

That seems a little arbitrary to me. I mean, I might not get Scientology, but to the extent that it's considered a religion, it should be treated as any other religion. Wicca is no different.

And, hey, if the IRS grants you tax exempt status, well, then you've passed the biggest hurdle.

Just for the record, I am neither a Wiccan (although I do have some books on witchcraft) nor an atheist (although I have some of those tendencies, too).

Update: Here's an interesting story about an 18th Century Virginia witch.

Busy week

After the busy long weekend, I had clients in town today, and this evening the firm had a wine tasting event at Zola, featuring Michael Green. It was really interesting, and I learned a lot.

Tomorrow, I get sworn in to the D.C. Bar. Saturday, we're going to minor league baseball. Sunday, I'm going sailing, another firm-related summer event.

Alas, I don't think I'm going to have time to see either Pirates of the Carribean or A Scanner Darkly.

I think I'm going to have to schedule myself more downtime in the not-too-distant future.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Priorities, priorities

Before North Korea's missile test, Ken Lay's death, and the shut-down of New Jersey made it an interesting news week, CNN's top story was the push to eliminate the penny.

Fun with dialects

I've got a lot of stuff going on over the next 36 hours or so, so maybe I'll be ready to tell the rest of my Chicago tale on Friday or this weekend. But in the meantime, here's a fun toy.

Garrison Keillor on Ralph Reed

Chris posted his reading assignment yesterday; today I'm posting one.

Update: While you're at it, check out Slate's recent article on why Christian Conservatives are souring on the GOP.

Fireworks all around

I got back from my trip to Chicago last night, just in time to join Justin, Inbal, and Debby, amongst others, to watch the Fourth of July fireworks over the Mall.

Here are two (very bad) videos, one of the real fireworks, and then one of the random fireworks going off all around:

Speaking of fireworks, I got to see some in Chi-town on Monday night. The show there was pretty awesome. Here are some pictures:

And here's a video of the fireworks:

During the trip, I found out that both my brother and I are quite similar: "Kiss Off" is our favorite Violent Femmes song, we both sing when we like the music playing in restaurants, and we both detest crowds. And, everyone kept saying that we look alike. Weird.

My favorite part of the whole weekend, though, was this amusing exchange:

Brother's Friend at Taste of Chicago: I just got some catfish, so everything is right with the world.
Brother: Everything's not right with the catfish's world.
BFaToC: What, are you a vegan or something?
B: No.
BFaToC: Just an asshole?
B: Yup.

I actually have a lot to say about a large undisclosed part of my Chicago trip, but I'm not sure that this is the right forum, or that I'm in the right frame of mind. Maybe I'll write more on that later. At this point, the important thing is to note that I got to spend some time with my brother, see some of Chicago, and relax a bit. Oh, and I got to buy cowboy boots. Rampant consumerism strikes again.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Chicago trip starts . . . now!

In just five short minutes, I am on my way to Chicago to see one of my two favorite siblings, who goes by the self-appointed alias Def Leppard. (Why? I have no clue. Ask him.)

For those that don't know, I am the oldest of three children. I am four years and six weeks older than Def Leppard, the youngest. We have a sister precisely in the middle.

Coincidentally, earlier today I read this article on CNN about the study of sibling relationships. It's a popular topic.

I like to think that I had a positive effect on my siblings. They'd probably disagree.

On an unrelated note, Slate also had a topical article about how to plan a fireworks display, which apparently is was way more complicated than it seems. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll be back in time to see the always impressive Fourth of July fireworks over the Washington Monument.

Have a good holiday!

Random pre-vacation thought

Now might not be such a good time to take a summer vacation to Acapulco. Apparenlty, they're having a problem with decapitations:
Authorities on Friday found two human heads in front of a state government office in the Mexican resort of Acapulco, a day after a similar grisly discovery was made outside the main entrance to City Hall.

The heads were accompanied by a note that read, "One more message, dirtbags, so that you learn to respect." They were dumped in front of the Guerrero state Finance Department where the heads of two decapitated police officers were left in April with a similar note that warned, "So that you learn to respect."

A night at the movies

I went to go see Superman Returns last night.

The movie itself was pretty good -- but there were these 4 pre-teen boys sitting behind us without any adult supervision -- despite the fact that this was a PG-13 movie. Not only did they kick my seat and talk all through the movie, but they spilled food and kept noisily going in and out of the theater. It was really annoying.

The only good thing: At one point, one of the kids fell down the stairs.