March 2009 minutiae

  • I still spontaneously laugh at my favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 joke sometimes. It's the part in Girls Town when the younger sister whimpers, "Fred's trying to send me to Tijuana!" and Crow adds, "—and trade me for a chicken!"

  • It occurred to me that I've always imagined testicles as light purple. I guess in reality they're probably the standard internal organ color.

  • Saw a vanity license plate reading DNDGIRL. I wonder how often her car gets tailgated by lonely geeks.

  • Going by the culinary definition rather than the botanical one, if all fruits were to disappear except for one of my choosing, I would elect to save lemons. (If it were by the botanical definition, I'd save tomatoes.)

  • I've heard excerpts of conferences at The Onion in which writers pitch headlines and those that get approved get turned into stories... which helps to explain why I've never found The Onion all that funny. Namely, if the headline is the joke — and since that's all the writers are pitching at the conferences, it has to be — any additional material is by definition just beating that joke into the ground. Example: this month one of the headlines was "Panicked Agriculture Secretary Momentarily Forgets What Corn Is." That's hilarious! And yet even though the accompanying "story" was only a paragraph long, by the end of that paragraph, the headline had become retroactively unfunny.

  • New weird quirk/phobia/whatever: Every time I send an email lately I have a little flash of panic that I might have blacked out in the middle of writing my intended message and instead banged out a screed of profanity-laden invective.

  • The sides of Girl Scout cookie boxes say "COURAGE" and "CONFIDENCE" on them, which may have been appropriate back when the kids sold them door-to-door or at least when they interacted with customers at booths. Now that the mothers handle every step of the process while the actual Girl Scouts look on passively, not so much.

  • Time via The skull is designed to be especially rugged — the permanent home and helmet for the brain. Isn't that sort of like saying that eyelids are nature's sleep mask?

  • I showed Elizabeth the new Dora the Explorer (a.k.a. "Dolita") and she in turn pointed me to the new Strawberry Shortcake. Good heavens! They turned her into some sort of fruit nymph!

  • One of the big streets near my house is called Hesperian Boulevard. Often signs get put up nearby to announce road work. These signs are usually eight characters long by three lines high. "Hesperian" has nine letters. And so these signs invariably refer to the street as, not "HESPERIA" or "HESPERIN," but HESPARIN. I wonder whether this is related to that old Internet meme that as long as you have the first letter and last letter of a word in place, and all the other letters in the word appear somewhere, you can scramble the order... something like, "We don't need the second E, and we don't need the second vowel between the R and the N, but we do need to get that A in there somewhere..."

  • Did you know that there's a Swastika, Ontario? Now you know!

  • I linked the Bunny Burgers article in my Iron Man writeup just because I've always liked the phrase "we change their brains," but I was amused to reread it and discover that one of the PR guys taken in was Hillary Clinton's disaster of a campaign manager, Mark Penn.

  • One thing I forgot to mention in my Iron Man article was that there was a bit in which Pepper Potts replies to Tony Stark's assertion that he can manage his own life by asking him, "What's your Social Security number?" at which point he just stares at her. I thought to myself, "Heh — if I were writing this I'd have him say 'five.'" Then he said "five"! I was dumbstruck because I used that joke waaaaay back in "Warrior Needs Food, Badly" and thought it was original. But if it's a standard joke, where did I pick it up?

  • While waiting in line at Berkeley Bowl I flipped through a copy of Cook's Illustrated and was suckered into trying its ziti recipe. It was needlessly complicated, took forever, and the result was no better than the mediocre dishes in The New Best Recipe. They put so much effort into calibrating recipes to a palate that is apparently very different from mine.

  • Lunch companion: "What is 'bavette'?"
    Eccolo waiter: "Eet eez lahk sare-loo-wenh."
    Companion: "Excuse me?"
    Waiter: "Sare-loo-WENH."
    Companion: "Sorry, I'm not—"
    Waiter: "SARE...LOO...WENH."
    Me: "(sirloin)"
    Companion: "OH! Sirloin!"
    Waiter: "Hmph."

  • I noticed that Pandora lists Scarling as a "similar artist" to Made Out of Babies, which made me wonder how on earth it made a connection between two such obscure and dissimilar bands other than by reacting to me voting them both way up.

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