Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna Nicole

Even in death, Anna Nicole is still giving the world a show. You have to give this girl credit...I don't know that her death could have been scripted any better than how it's actually played out.

News reports are speculating about the cause of death, while the crazy white trash family members are making the morning news and talk show circuits. Meanwhile, the newest development is just classic Anna Nicole.

Questions are now swirling about the newborn daughter. Supposedly, Anna Nicole's trailer park mama has shuttled herself to the Bahamas to whisk the baby away. (And if you've ever seen this woman and heard her speak about her own daughter, I can't imagine a worse idea of 'safe custody' than with the woman who produced Anna Nicole herself!)

Apparantly Howard K. Stern has hidden the bebe in an 'undisclosed location', while Anna Nicole's perported baby daddy filed legal papers that will prevent the dead woman from leaving government control for another two weeks at least. This is to ensure that the DNA test on the newborn can be conducted with absolute certainty.

But holy hell! Now there's a new claim to the kid, in the form of Prince Frederic von Anhalt. Most of us wouldn't know him by that moniker, so try this one--he's been married to none other than Zsa Zsa Gabor for the past twenty years! This guy must like his woman large and complicated.

While the Prince held his press conference to volunteer possible paternity, he also lets this bomb drop: In his own words, the Prince confesses that he may or may not be the child's father, and says that there are "twenty to thirty" men who could have fathered the kid.

Oh, Howard, no wonder you're hiding. The shit's really hitting the fan at Casa de Fake Marriage.

Okay, here are my predictions for what happens next:

1. Anna Nicole's crazy mama (who was last making the media circuit claiming that Anna must have killed her son Daniel while he was visiting her hospital room) turns up all over the media making more crazy claims against her own daughter.

2. While in custody of the Broward County Medical Examiner, Anna Nicole's body goes missing.

3. Crazy, crazy dirt starts to come out about Howard K. Stern, explaining why he's been babysitting Anna Nicole for so many years.

4. The real baby daddy turns out to be some trucker from Lubbock, who finds a winning lottery ticket in the form of a new baby daughter.

That's what I think, anyway. But who knows what tomorrow morning's news holds.


The Mac Revolution

The Mac revolution is here like never before. Tired with being slaves to Microsoft's vast empire, computer users are switching to Mac's in droves. Windows new operating system, Vista, has gotten a poor response in both technology and user circles. Perhaps fed up with being forced into yet another useless upgrade, PC users are making the switch to Apple's more responsive and user-friendly computers.

Since Microsoft has commanded such a huge chunk of the home and business-user market, they have all but ignored their consumers' request for positive changes. They have instead only charged forward with their own agenda, producing clunky programs that have not evolved to meet the needs and desires of PC users.

I truly believe that there are millions of other PC users out there who, like me, sit and seethe as their computers miraculously download more crap onto their machines while they're trying to work. And as each new Windows product comes with more and more hidden files and dumbed-down features that presume to know what we want our computers to do, rather than us commanding them, our collective patience has reached the end of its tether.

While this is something I have grown to suspect with increasing conviction, the industry has started to anger the gods at Microsoft and agree. This week, a surprising item at Computerworld describes hitting ctrl/alt/delete for the last time. Scot Finnie says it all in his article "Windows Expert to Redmond: Buh-Bye". Here's my favorite quote from the piece:

Microsoft's marketing materials for a past version of Windows used the phrase, "It just works." But the only computer that tagline honestly describes is the Macintosh

Yep. Scot Finnie just confirmed something I've been wondering for quite a while now. With key experts like this coming out in favor of the other side, I predict (with quite a bit of glee) the beginning of the end for fucking Microsoft. Steve Jobs' day has finally arrived to unseat the unscrupulous Bill Gates, and I'm sure he's having his own quiet celebration somewhere. No doubt the rest of us will share in that joy, once we dump our clunky PC's and move to a computer that really is an extension of who we are.


A Short Absence

I've been away from the computer for a couple of days.

You know how it is....first I took this mad-dash road trip to Florida (and since I didn't want to stop along the way, was wearing an adult diaper). There's been a whirlwind around my having some innocuous items in my car, like a steel mallet, rubber tubing, a hunting knife and some trash bags. My attorney says he'll get it all sorted out, but I gotta tell you, after running the gauntlet of news cameras with a jacket over my head, I was ready to get a little blotto.

I headed to the Hard Rock (about as far as my court-ordered ankle bracelet would allow me to travel) to get a bit shitfaced with a girlfriend. Truthfully, I was doing that thing where I thought that if I hung out with a friend who's an even bigger trainwreck than I am, I could feel a lot more balanced about the amount of crazy in my own life. And wouldn't you know it...the bitch drops dead. I just know they're going to try to pin this one on me also. Just watch--someone's going to make a big stink about that 55-gallon drum of elephant tranq's I had in my trunk this time.

But really, I'm going for a check-up, and *right now*, because my friend has some kind of death cloud over her head. Otherwise healthy people seem to kick the bucket after just being in her presence...

Holy human madness, Batman! What a week in news, right?!?!?! Not since OJ and the Bronco have I relished nonstop new developments as much as I have over the past few days. Of course, the real reason I've been uncommunicative goes back to my fucking PC-centric world and the disasters and problems that come along with that.

But back to bizarre news.... Has anyone else just been staring at the television, mouth hanging open, waiting to see what happens next in the world?!?! I mean, first the astronaut who just lost the damn plot, to everyone's favorite walking disaster Anna Nicole dropping dead! I mean, no one's going to be really surprised about the Anna Nicole thing, right? If you've ever watched even two minutes of her twisted reality show, you've wondered how this woman's body hadn't given out at any given moment.

But the diet drug industry must be shitting themselves!!! I mean, its ideal spokeswoman--a woman who drank vodka for breakfast, refused to exercise, and had more drug bloat than Elvis--just collapsed dead on the floor of the Hard Rock. And she was bearding married to an attorney and had the craziest trailer-park white-trash family I've ever seen, so I'm thinking that wrongful death suits are already being couriered to tall buildings across the country.

But like I said, no surprise about Anna Nicole. Now Mommy Astronaut is a different story. Aren't astronauts supposed to represent the 'highest and best' of human society? I mean, these folks travel through fucking space!!! Aren't there like only fifty people in the history of mankind who can claim that? And now to find out that an astronaut can be obsessive, petty, jealous, and frankly, insane. I mean, at this point, the population over at NASA is starting to resemble the population of a sorority or soup kitchen.

I'm pretty astounded as I watch her attorney roll his eyes and vehemently deny that she had any intent of bodily harm toward this other woman. That he has the gall to repeat the phrase "trumped-up charges" to news cameras while some other woman ponders how she's probably lucky to be a live is truly insulting to the victim, and to any thinking person watching him.

Imagine...some crazy bitch is stalking you for months; she prints out email directions to your house and thirteen days later (after she's compiled all of her tools) drives across four or five states in a fucking DIAPER and shows up in a wig to disguise herself. The bitch maces you and you somehow manage to drive off for help. Luckily, the cops apprehend her, but you feel a new wave of nausea wash over you as you learn that the contents of her car included the tools to brain and dismember you. Yeah, I think I'd want to see some "attempted [fill in the blank]" filed in this case.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm feeling really fucking good about my own life this week.


Punk Rock Memorabilia

Damn....looking at things like this makes me wish I'd saved a *bunch* of stuff from various shows. There's a Samhain set list on ebay that has a current bid of $71.00 !!!

When I looked a little closer, I realized it was written on a paper bag! I bet there are a bunch of people out there who are going to be emailing this to their parents and screaming at them for throwing out their boxes in the attic or basement.

If you're a fan, check it out soon. It looks like the auction ends on Wednesday night. I totally want to see what this winds up going for.

Until then, I've got a call to make....

***A long overdue follow-up to this post: The paper bag eventually sold for $330! According to the seller, "The best part of it is that I only took it to have something to write directions to a party on."


More Closet Cases In the News

Today's first appalling story comes from the aptly-named Rev. Ted Haggard. You might remember this paragon of virtue: Heading up a stadium-sized church in Denver, married (with kids, I believe) yet having a long-term affair with a gay hooker who also sold him meth.

In the Funniest Headlines of All Times category, the latest news on good ol' Ted proclaims "Haggard Now 'Completely Heterosexual.' " Holy shit. WHAT?!? Did the evangelical church develop some sort of magic wand to replace the one he'd been sucking? Did they pray the dick out of his ass?

The church, sincerely, cites as proof of this...well, I'll call it the Immaculate Heterosexualization... the fact that the gay hooker was the only one who came forward to admit to sweaty flesh sessions with the Rev. So this is, for them, proof positive that he has mended his sinful sodomizing ways.

Sorry if I'm not so gullible.

The church, in this case, reminds me of the girls who fall in love with gay men and believe that they can change them into being their boyfriends. I call this the Magic Pussy Syndrome. As in, "Miss Thing thinks that she's the one bitch on the planet that possesses that magic pussy shit that's going to turn him straight."

You know how I know that guys who suck cock are gay? Let me clue in the evangelicals and magic pussy girls: Because they suck cock. Now, I know, you and your drunk girlfriends might get drunk at parties and kiss each other. But those lips and *those lips* are two different things. And admit it, ultimately, you're kissing your girlfriend to horny up some guy who you know is watching.

Besides that, while "lesbian chic" has replaced the "Cosby generation" in terms of folks we collectively decide to accept, the last group of men who were socialized with acceptable levels of experimentation were in their twenties during the '70s. These days, it's highly unlikely that you're going to find your boyfriend or husband with a cock in his ass. Oh wait....unless he's GAY.

The second funny headline of the day comes courtesy of America's favorite homoerotic high school sport: Wrestling. It seems that a Herpes outbreak has hit the wrestling community in St. Paul, Minnesota.

They're blaming the mats.

Let me just tell you how my parents would not have bought that if I had come home with herpes in high school. I would have been in stirrups with some latex glove checking for a hymen before I could finish that bullshit sentence. But St. Paul must be closer to Denver than I'd originally thought, because a herpes outbreak in the most closeted sport in the world can now be explained away with a lack of Lysol and a press release. All settled. Nothing to see here, folks.

"Nobody's Watching" ???

In just one more display of the powers of sites like YouTube, rumor has it that television networks might be reconsidering its decision to not air the sitcom "Nobody's Watching"

For those of you who have never seen it, "Nobody's Watching" is written by Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, who have previously written for "Scrubs" and "Family Guy." The pilot shows were developed for the (now defunct) WB network, who passed on the show after its testing phase.

But the pilots were put on YouTube....and you can guess the rest. Here's a clip that I especially enjoy:

Millions of views later, NBC expressed interest in developing the show. So far, they have only committed to 'webisodes', which might actually be the best format for "Nobody's Watching." After all, its overall plot is a little watery...a sitcom with a reality show format, where two young Midwestern guys bumble their way through the studio lot on a desperate mission to create hilarity.

What actually surprises me here is that NBC didn't leap at the chance to put "Nobody's Watching" into production. The internet's ability to turn 'just some dude' into a celebrity with a cult following of millions is the stuff of legend. The Old Media people don't always understand what their target market will buy into, and use the web as an indication of popularity.

Just yesterday, I heard a story about two students who created a sitcom. They took it off to Hollywood and in every meeting they took, were told to, literally, rip up the treatment. It was just that bad. Not unlike "Nobody's Watching", the thing made a splash online and otherwise reticent producers reverse themselves immediately.

We've seen the same transition in print media. Frankly, I just sit back and laugh as this all unfolds, waiting for the next "Million Little Pieces" debacle to unfold. After all, in the gray area between Old Media and New Media, what folks on both sides of the line seem to forget is that pesky little thing known as format.

I've got some favorite blogs that I check out almost daily. But I truly don't know that I would want to read anything longer than a couple thousand words at a time. After all, we don't expect poets to write fiction novels, why the push to see bloggers do it? Hey, because I wrote a piece today on food puzzles for pets, should I now cross over into becoming America's most authorative source on pet nutrition? Should I hire a publicist to squeeze me on the couch between Oprah and that pet whisperer guy?

In much the same fashion, a funny two minutes from "Nobody's Watching" or similar online phenomenon doesn't mean someone should turn it into a thirty-minute sitcom. This certainly doesn't mean that I don't find my favorite bloggers or the "Nobody's Watching" folks to be incredibly talented. But the other overlooked element in trying to convert the formats is user preference. I don't normally have a book sitting next to my computer, to amuse myself with a quick couple of pages. Instead, I'll click open a blog.

Perhaps everyone should adjust their expectations. Maybe folks in New Media should do what they do best--push the envelope in a format in which they thrive--rather than try to achieve acclaim in a parallel universe. Ask the majority of SNL's most popular alum's about how their movie cross-overs went. Most of those stories won't be pretty.

What do you think, o esteemed internet community?

Food Puzzles for Pets

Pet owners...here you go. I came across an article about feeding pets that I found totally amusing at first. But it was one of those things that stuck with me for a couple of days. Usually when that happens, I know it's something worth researching further.

Pets are getting fatter. Like their human counterparts, American pets are now packing on extra pounds. And like humans, this can result in a wide variety of ailments, from kidney failure to premature death. And if there's one thing I know, it's that pet owners would do anything they can to keep their companion(s) with them for as long as possible.

For me, I worry about my cat's recent lethargy. When we're on the west coast, he's an indoor/outdoor pet and he loves to climb trees, antagonize the neighborhood dogs, and actually follows at my heels when I go for a run on the beach. (And yes, it's a little embarrassing...god only knows how many tourists take photos of us home from their vacations.)

But we're spending more and more time on the east coast. And here, we're in a more urban environment, many floors up off the ground in a fairly small space. There's nothing here to stimulate the cat, and as a result, he spends a lot of time napping.

When I read the article about fat pets, it briefly mentioned "food puzzles." I had never heard of such a thing. The article itself focused on dogs, and using food puzzles to stimulate canines. Further research showed some pretty interesting stuff:

Because animals in the wild hunt for their food, it is counterintuitive to most dogs and cats to be fed from a bowl. More importantly, since most dogs and cats would spend a huge part of their day hunting for food in the wild, it leaves their internal clocks with a lot of free time. Makes sense, right? That's why we as pet owners spend some serious dough on buying toys to keep our dogs and cats occupied.

Enter the food puzzle. It's basically a cross between a toy and a feeding dish. It makes the dog or cat work to get to their food. After viewing a number of sites for kennels and veterinarians, it looks like the best candidates for a food puzzle are animals who tend to be hyper, or pets who need stimulation because their owners are gone all day. They liken it to humans playing video games or gambling. For these pets, the intermittent reinforcement of the food reward keeps them engaged.

Obviously, it's not a good engagement tool for all pets. Vets say that pets who are normally poor eaters (this one seems obvious enough) or those who have a short attention span (they will get frustrated with the 'hunt' and just bark or otherwise freak out instead) should not have this tool. So I'm thinking that this is probably a weekend project, where you can supervise how your pet responds to the food puzzle.

I definitely think I'm going to give this a try. As I type this, the poor cat is on probably his sixth extended nap of the day. He's not burning any kibble calories and is just a breathing lump of fur curled up on the bed. I'm curious to hear from anyone who's tried these food puzzles before. I wonder if this is actually a useful thing for pets, or if it's one of those "sounds good in theory" options.


Remembering Stories from the Past

I got an email today that talked about spam bots and how certain words indicated to him the absence of said bot. (In this case, it was the word epicurean) It made me laugh, and I remarked that it must be like a secret handshake to use words that bots wouldn't know.

That, of course, reminded me of the truly ingenious plan I developed for homeland security. Back in the day when there was almost constant talk of sleeper cells and the like hiding out in America, I had a sure-fire plan to weed them out of our neighborhoods. (And at the time, to hear Fox News tell it, every one of us had a terrorist living next door.)

The problem with finding those who would do us harm, was that they were clearing normal American society too well to be discovered. So I thought that the feds should conduct a simple door-to-door search, asking only one question. To prove that you're a true American, you would be required to complete this phrase:
"Conjunction Junction....." Anyone who did not know the next line would be immediately put on the next plane to Guantanamo.

My idea thoroughly amused me. And pretty much only me. So I found that it had a secondary purpose....sussing out people with no sense of humor. This just made me tell the story even more, and I found myself in a variety of social settings repeating those lines. Most of the time, I saw shock (horror?) on the faces of those standing in front of me. Often, they would launch into their own political diatribes. Once in a while, the other person laughed. And then I knew I could and should continue the conversation.

Now that I'm thinking about it, we must have spam bots in real life, also. The drones who chip away through their day, only picking up fractured information cues to tell them where to shift. They wouldn't necessarily use 'epicurean' and they don't get the joke. But there are some people out there who understand subtext and know it's okay to laugh.

What's your function?

Late Bloomer

Sometimes I really feel way behind. While it would seem like a normal outpost for a writer to have a blog, this is my first foray into such a thing. Because writing and technology are two separate disciplines, and I guess in my mind that kind of takes me back to my "good in languages and history, not good in math and science" days of school.

Because of that, I have these strange coping mechanisms for learning new things. When I had to study econ in college, I told myself it was the philosophy of money, not a series of math equations. Similarly, I'm approaching the learning curve of html with the concept that I'm learning a new language, not trying to scale a frustrating wall of technology. I've always prided myself on knowing how to say three phrases in native tongue within the first few hours of being dropped in to a new country: "Please", "Thank You" and "Fuck Off".

For a girl traveling solo, please and thank you will cover 90+ percent of situations. The rest of the time, you'll need to know how to shock the hell out of someone.

Sure, I could approach this new technological environment the same way many Western tourists approach their travels....a good portion of the rest of the world speaks english, so they can "wysiwyg" their way through. But aren't those folks missing out on the richness of words and phrases that don't translate into our tongue? The closeness of the bond that is formed when two strangers meet and one struggles but sincerely attempts to work within the framework of the other's world?

(I must pause for a moment to revel in the moment of actually using wysiwyg in a sentence. There, I'm better.)

Of course, in my travels, there are a couple of necessary crutches. There's always going to be a Lonely Planet guide in my backpack or suitcase. And I'm equally grateful for the wealth of online resources that I can call on in blogging. Then, there are people. Whether natives or fellow travelers, this is where you're always going to get your best information. Because as much as Lonely Planet knows about the world, they're just not going to be able to tell you as much about Kathmandu as the South African girl you meet who's just been there last week.

So I've really been thinking of other bloggers and site visitors as fellow travelers. I'm so thankful to those who have helped me hunt and peck my way through getting this set up. And I'm beyond happy when people actually come here and play in this little environment I've created. Please share your comments and questions, and I look forward to hearing from all of you.


Here's a disturbing headline:

12-Year-Old Infected With Mutant Superbug Dies

The words "mutant superbug" ..... Not good. Not good at all.

Pillow Fight League

A new pseudo-sport has been created for attention whores and Fatty Page girls. One can only wonder, "Will a roller derby exodus ensue?"