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Archives for November, 2006

November 30, 2006

When caption contests and news collide

Daniel Radosh


"Gee, Tommy, and all along I thought it was a gigantic woman holding a normal-sized car."

Reader Tim H found this headline and submitted the related anti-caption. It seemed a shame to let it languish away at the bottom of the comments section.

November 30, 2006

"I just think you're the best"

Daniel Radosh

faggard.jpg Prank 3:16 is the Christian Punk'd. I made a note to check it out last summer and then forgot about it. Now I've watched the trailer and I so wish I'd seen it, say, a month ago. It doesn't look spectacularly funny (though the faking the Rapture scene has promise) but take a look at the second sequence in the trailer where the boys prank Ted Haggard. I have no idea what the joke is supposed to be, but this short clip has taken on new meaning.

November 30, 2006

Amazon has your gift-giving needs covered

Daniel Radosh

B000A3BYE8.01-A3GIICPKM1TL3R._AA280_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg Balls in One Erector Brief

"Designed to fit a man's anatomy perfectly with a cool mesh pouch for your sack and a vertical, tubular compartment that holds your shaft in an erect position."

The best part? Note the title of the automatically placed "Listmania!" list at the bottom of the page: "Keep Kids Entertained"

I'll say!

[Hat tip: Gina]

November 30, 2006

Kurt Eichenwald, call your agent

Daniel Radosh

Nicholas Negroponte on the debate over $150 laptops for the developing world: "It's as if people spent all of their attention focusing on Columbus's boat and not on where he was going: younger, browner camwhores." [Quote mildly embellished for readablity.]

November 28, 2006

Also, he's totally right that 50 years ago that guy would have been hanging upside down with a fork in his ass

Daniel Radosh

If you'd asked me a week ago if I'd be defending Michael Richards on anything, I'd have said you were nuts. But in this post-scandal aftershock, he's getting a bum rap.

Howard Rubenstein acknowledged that Richards had shouted anti-Semitic remarks in an April standup comedy routine... But he defended Richards' language about Jews, saying that the comic "is Jewish."...

As Rubenstein's assertion circulated, Jewish organizations and commentators pointed out that the man who played Cosmo Kramer on "Seinfeld" has not converted to Judaism and neither of his parents are Jewish.

Which makes him ...

"Technically, not having been born by blood as Jewish and not formally going into a conversion, it was purely his interpretation of having adopted Judaism as his religion," Rubenstein told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "He told me, `I'm Jewish,' when I asked him.

"He said there were two mentors who raised him and who had a big influence on his life, and they were Jewish. He said, 'I agree with the concepts and the religious beliefs of Judaism and I've adopted Judaism as my religion,'" Rubenstein said. "He really thinks of himself as Jewish."

Continue reading "Also, he's totally right that 50 years ago that guy would have been hanging upside down with a fork in his ass" »

November 28, 2006

It's alive...?

Daniel Radosh


Like some hot, slutty, fivefour-headed monster that wouldn't die, Huckapoo is ba-aack this week with a star turn on a new Christmas album.... Or are they?

The occasion for the apparent return is a teen pop holiday CD awesomely called No Way! It's Like So Christmas. (What? "No Way! It's Like So Totally Christmas, Biotech" wouldn't fit on the cover?). In a press release headlined Teen Stars Collide This Christmas (I think I saw that on YouTube), St Clair Entertainment — yes, the St. Clair Entertainment — announces that the CD will have "12 complete tracks" (because I hate when you buy a CD and you only get half of each song) by such musical talents as Tahj Mowry, Taylor Momsen, Daveigh Chase, Lynsey Bartilson and, of course, Huckapoo, whose name, at least, sounds a mite less silly in such company.

Since the press release doesn't list the tracks, I checked the Amazon page and — uh, oh. Apparently the CD has only 11 complete tracks. Guess who's not included.

Don't worry, there's a happy ending to the story. Well, if you consider treatment worthy of Idiocracy happy. It looks like Amazon merely misplaced track 12, which according to CD Universe is the Huckapooches', um, idiosyncratic version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, which previously appeared on a similar album two years ago. Meaning that no actual resurrection was required for the making of this CD. Looks like Huckapoo won't be home for Christmas after all.

At the very least they could have used the girls' legitimately like so slammin' original song, Wild Christmas. Not that any teen pop Xmas CD could ever be legit without the best Christmas Song since Irving Berlin, Skye Sweetnam's Why Doesn't Santa Like Me?

November 28, 2006

"Ain't that life? Blaming your pedi when your foot's the problem."

Daniel Radosh

Britney and Paris wait for Godot.

Of course, if he ever shows, it will just be a letdown.

November 28, 2006

Why yes, I am 12 years old

Daniel Radosh

The best news story you'll read today containing the phrase, "well-developed rack."

At least they didn't go with the obvious bad headline, even though it must have occurred to them

November 27, 2006

Read it, then travel back in time one week and really liven up your watercooler conversation

Daniel Radosh

baiterek.JPG.jpg My latest briefing for The Week got held just a bit past its prime, but in case you're still interested, here's everything there is to know about Kazakhstan. Or at least everything that I know. And, yes, I was asked to write this one because of my history on this beat.

By the way, my editors here are always looking for good briefing topics. The idea behind the briefings is to provide background information on something in the news or culture. Typically news articles mention, say, the Geneva Conventions, the Amish, or the morning-after pill, without explaining exactly what those things are and where they come from. Week briefings answer the questions newspapers and TV don't have time or space (or wit) for.

So if there's anything in the news you've been wanting the backstory on, let me know and I'll see if it's briefing material. We're all about serving our non-paying occasional readers.

November 26, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #77

Daniel Radosh

Readers chose the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details.


"Remember, Bobby, all women are monsters." —J

November 21, 2006

Honestly, people, it's not even Thanksgiving yet

Daniel Radosh

Is it just me, or does the War on Christmas seem to begin a little earlier each year? And so commercialized! Maybe it makes me an old fart, but I worry that kids are forgetting the true meaning of the War on Christmas.

November 20, 2006

And by having sex with men

Daniel Radosh

med_keira-knightley-july2-1.jpg "We've already decided to get married in Italy. Tom Cruise is living my dream by marrying in a castle." —Keira Knightley

Related: Doesn't every couple invite the best man on their honeymoon? TomKat was accompanied on their (its?) honeymoon by Church of Scientology prexy David Miscavige.

Also related:

What really riled him, however, were Richardson’s questions about his relationship with David Miscavige. “This question is just off the wall,” Cruise bristled. “We are friends. And how is this relevant to anything? It’s offensive that I should even have to answer this question.” After describing the leader as “a good friend,” the star lamented that they rarely saw each other.

A year later Tabayoyon painted a more revealing portrait of Cruise and Miscavige’s relationship. His affidavit says the two spent a lot of time together on the Hemet base. “Often they would hang out alone in the space designated for L. Ron Hubbard on the clipper ship we built in the desert,” testified Tabayoyon. “This space had a small kitchen, a little dining room, a little bar, and a bed…. On other occasions Miscavige and Cruise would work out in the expensive gym we built for exclusive and restricted use.” The affidavit continues: “Obviously, Miscavige and Cruise have developed a special relationship.”

November 20, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #76

Daniel Radosh

Readers chose the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details.


Winner: "Of course I'm upset. Their people killed the herds of bison for sport, stole our land, and wiped out entire tribes with smallpox." —RichM

November 17, 2006

Why buy the cow?

Daniel Radosh

I recently spent a weekend in a house with XM radio and nearly got hooked enough to consider paying the $12.95 a month. Then I get home and read in the Times that anyone can listen to dozens of XM stations for free on AOL Music.

Unfortunately my favorite station — Frank's Place — isn't one of them (though AOL offers a non-XM SinatraStyle channel). But Deep Tracks is. Deep what? Don't bother with it most of the time, unless you still like classic rock. But on Wednesday at 10 AM ET (with encores on Wednesdays at 12 AM, Fridays at 6 PM, and Sundays at 8 AM and 8 PM) Deep Tracks is the place to listen to Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. That's right, XM is giving away its best programming for free, so you don't even need bootleg downloads or desperate workarounds. The new tech bubble is even better than the last one.

One caveat: The sound quality blows. 16kpbs? Are you kidding me?

[Via VSL]

November 17, 2006

Surprisingly, no one voted for Murtha

Daniel Radosh

As of this moment, last week's anti-caption contest is locked in a tie. Now's your chance to cast a vote that will actually count.

November 16, 2006

Weinsteins to me: drop dead

Daniel Radosh

Bob and Harvey Weinstein have just inked a deal to give Blockbuster exclusive rights to rent its DVDs.

I suppose there's a business rationale to this, but it's a pretty big FU to consumers. I was going to compare it to a publisher only allowing Barnes and Noble to see its books, but it's worse than that, because the distribution models for DVD rentals have changed so much. Many people now -- me for instance -- subscribe to services that charge a monthly fee for movie rentals. So while I could find a Barnes and Noble if I wanted a particular book with no extra cost other than maybe a little time, renting a movie from Blockbuster, rather than Netflix, means paying extra to see a film that otherwise would have been covered under my existing agreement.

Beyond that, the convenience of Netflix means a movie has to be pretty extrordinary for me to seek it out elsewhere. Right now, my queue is maxed out at 500 films. If I watched two a week it would take me five years to get through them all. So I've got plenty on my entertainment plate already.

Weinstein says that among the movies covered by the deal will be Bobby, The Nanny Diaries and The Protector. All three of those are movies I'm not likely to see in the theater, but that would go right into my queue if possible, possibly fairly high up (will The Nanny Diaries show Scarlettboobies?). But none of them are so essential that I'm going to shlep to Blockbuster when I already have 500 other options just waiting to be automatically delivered to my house.

As far as I can see, all Weinstein is really doing is limiting the audience for its films.

November 16, 2006

Obviously what Abizaid really needs to do is an online chat

Daniel Radosh

Hi folks. You may have noticed I've been neglecting this blog recently. I did warn you that was going to happen when I got into crunch mode on the book. But since I don't want to totally abandon you for the next few months, I'm instituting a new policy. Normally I like my posts to be well thought-out, heavily linked, illustrated and at least 75 percent properly spelled. But since all that takes time, I'm now just gonna throw shit up as it comes to me, just to keep the content flowing. I mean, I don't really need to link to every news article I refer to, right? It's not like you can't find it if necessary.

For instance, I wanna know why all those smarty-pants senators never seem to ask the obvious question of experts like Gen. Abizaid who insist that we can't withdraw from Iraq until the Iraqi army is prepared to quell sectarian violence on its own. Here's my question. it's in two parts.

Will the Iraqi army ever be so well trained and equipped that it is stronger and more capable than the US military? If not, why are we even pretending that it's someday going to be able to do what we've spent three years failing to?

November 14, 2006

It's probably just an editing error, but Universal paid $42 million for the film rights just in case

Daniel Radosh

From Yahoo Entertainment


[Hat tip: Steve Hornbeck]

November 13, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #75

Daniel Radosh

Readers chose the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details.


Winner: "It's been a good year for us here at Consolidated Giant Oven Mitt & Microphone, a good year indeed." —TG Gibbon

November 7, 2006

I'd like to believe I was ripped off, but it's much more likely that we're both shameless hacks

Daniel Radosh

"In Borat's Kazakhstan, popular sports include cow punching and 'shurik, where we take dogs, shoot them in a field and then have a party.' In reality, Kazakhs, like most of the world, prefer soccer. But they also like horsemanship, wrestling, and, occasionally, buzkashi (literally 'grabbing the dead goat'). In this popular game (a precursor to polo), players on horseback try to control the "ball"—the headless carcass of a goat or sheep. Then they have a party." —Eric Weiner, What Borat gets right and wrong about Kazakhstan, Slate, Nov. 3, 2006

"The national sport is not shooting a dog and then having a party... So what is the national sport of Kazakhstan? 'The most known ones are wrestling and all kinds of sports that try people in how they master horses,' Vassilenko said... Travel guides mention a Kazakh sport called kokpar, a precursor of polo. When Vassilenko was asked about it, he hesitated, then explained, 'That’s the one where a goat, a dead goat'—a headless dead goat—'is, um, being held as a sort of a prize. And then one rider has it, and he has to run away with it from others who seek to catch it and snatch it from him.' And then they have a party." —Daniel Radosh, The Borat doctrine, The New Yorker, Sep. 20, 2004

Related: The Wikipedia entry on Kazakhstan is locked due to vandalism, but there are still options for the determined Borat fan. [Update: The Wikinerds have cleaned up my improvement to their Transport in Kazakhstan entry, but it lives forever in the history. And, oh, look: here's a previous attempt by another joker. Did somebody say hack?]

November 6, 2006

The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest #74

Daniel Radosh

Readers chose the worst possible caption for this New Yorker cartoon. Click here for details.


Winner: "As you can see, the living room is very roomy, although it needs new carpet. Oh, I see the previous tenant left a small plant on the floor. I'd better pick it up before it falls over." —Francis

November 6, 2006

Please stand by

Daniel Radosh

Just got back to town. Anti-Caption will be updated later today.

November 1, 2006

Come to think of it, I don't miss 2004

Daniel Radosh

By the end of the 2004 elections I was persuaded that John Kerry would make a good president. I still think that's true. But he'll clearly never be a good candidate, and for better or worse, that's a prerequisite. How the fuck did he let this become front page news less than a week before an election the Democrats actually have a shot at winning?

If there's a silver lining, maybe it's that this will convince the party to shut him out in 2008. Now if only Hillary would shoot herself in the foot before the Republicans have a chance to shoot her in the head.

I'm still holding out hope for Edwards -- and I'm even willing to give the New Al Gore of a few months ago a look -- but Blank Obama may be the best bet. I wonder if he'd be as good a president as he is a candidate.

Update: It should go without saying that the Republicans are cynically making a mountain from a mole hill here. That's what they do (or, less partisanly, that's what happens in politics). That's why I blame Kerry fault for making the mole hill in the first place, and for handling the response so ineptly. First, the joke itself was a cheap attempt to generate attention. Congratulations, it worked. Second, if you're not capable of telling a joke, don't attempt it. Third, the joke wouldn't have been funny if it landed, and didn't even have a sound premise. Even if you're of the Bush-is-dumb school (and I'm not), it was clearly not his lack of intellect that got us stuck in Iraq. The chief architects of the war -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al -- are all indisputably smart folks. Then Kerry botched his counter-response, first refusing to apologize, then doing so repeatedly and lamely, setting up the genuinely funny line that he was for the joke before he was against it. But what really pissed me off was his insulting first try at a response. "The White House’s attempt to distort my true statement is a remarkable testament to their abject failure in making America safe. It’s a stunning statement about their willingness to reduce anything in America to raw politics.” Yes, how dare they reduce my joke about the president at a campaign rally to raw politics.

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