Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mr. Monotoli and the Monotoli Building

Like a Lollabrigida Over Ethel Waters

A while back, I became happily fixated on Allen and Grier, a duo who produced well-written comedic music in the 60s. Folksy, but altogether good and reminiscent of a more genuine version of those “SNL” skits in which Ana Gasteyer and Will Ferrell played the high school music teachers who covered pop songs.

In his free time, Spencer, the one who introduced me to Allen and Grier in the first place, took the initiative to transcribe the lyrics to “Celebrities Cake Walk,” a name-dropper of a ditty that references a lot of famous people who died before I was born. (For the two other people looking this song up online, it's also known as "Celebrity Cake Walk," "Celebrities Cake Walk" and "Celebrities Cakewalk.") The song lists a lot of celebrities, but does so so quickly that I can never keep up. Presented for your amusement are these lyrics, complete with a list explaining who these people are. (Don't worry — no one young enough to understand the internet should be expected to know them all.) I heartily encourage you to hop on iTunes and buy the track first.


Actually, we're starstruck. But we're embarrassed to admit it. And so we've written a subliminal star song.


While sitting in our Blumgarten
One Fredric March-y day
We heard a Rosalind-Russell
In the Mae-Busch far away
We crossed the Lollabrigida
Over the Ethel Waters
Which was flowing through the Ziegfield
And saw the birds at play-o.

Bristol Cream, a little dab'll do ya;
Bristol Cream, you'll look so debonair.

A flock of Jerry Robbins
Were eating Tewksburys
And flirting with a Betty White
In the José Limón trees
On the Shelley Bennett surf
And off the Dinah Shore
A little Wiley Finley wren
Was Eydie Gorme cheese-o

Racing at Hugh Downs is the top
Feed your dog Bob Newhart too
The Christian Dior is open to you.

With a frightful torrent of Claude Rains,
Gale Storm came from Mae West;
A Merv Griffin with Warren Beatty eyes
Flew to Conway Twitty's nest.
The wind blew through the Natalie Wood;
It snapped the John Birch trees,
It wrecked the Yma Sumac,
And scattered Chuck Berrys.
It whipped along the Tommy Sands
And out across Sean Bay.
It stirred the Beatrice Lillie ponds
On this Dennis, Doris Day.

Have a glass of Balanchine
And a cup of Capucine
Have some sexy Capucine
It's Marlon's favorite Brand...o.

A-root-doot-doot-Rosie Clooney
A-root-doot-Mickey Rooney
A-Rin-Tin-Tin-in-Keenan Wynn
And now we're Irene Dunne-o
And now we're Irene Dunne-o.

As you can see, there's quite a bit of name-dropping here.

  • Blumgarten = James Blumgarten, the writer of "Mister Rock and Roll" and "True Story." It could also be some famous "Bloomgarten," "Blumgarden" or "Bloomgarden," but I can't yet tell. Not quite a good note to start on, but let's continue.
  • Fredric March = banker-turned-actor who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in both "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932) and "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946). Looks like Darren from "Bewitched."
  • Rosalind Russell = actress nominated four times for Best Actress — "Auntie Mame" in 1959, "Mourning Becomes Electra" in 1948, "Sister Kenny" in 1947 and "My Sister Eileen" 1943. Russel never won. Dead now.
  • Mae Busch = Australian actress known as "The Versatile Vamp" in her silent film days. Mae Busch gained renown for playing the shrewish wife of Oliver Hardy — of Laural and Hardy fame — and her skill at throwing crockery. Just reading through her filmography is probably more fun than actually sitting through her movies would be. I am particularly delighted at how many of her roles were for characters named "Flo." Some examples:
    • "Mable and Fatty's Married Life"
    • "Ambrose's Sour Grapes" (as "second twin")
    • "Beating Hearts and Carpets"
    • "A Human Hound's Triump"
    • "For Better — But Worse"
    • "Fatty and the Broadway Star" (as "actress")
    • "Wife and Auto Trouble" (as "a speedy stenographer")
    • "A Bathhouse Blunder" (as "swimming instructor")
    • "The Folly of Fanchette" (as "Mrs. Rayburg")
    • "The Love Charm" (as "Hattie Nast")
    • "Foolish Wives" (as "Princess Vera Petchnikoff")
    • "Brothers Under the Skin" (as "Flo Bulger")
    • "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" (as "Flo Dupont")
    • "Nellie, the Beautiful Cloak Model" (as "Polly Joy")
    • "Flaming Love" (as "Sal Flood")
    • "Love 'Em and Weep" (as "old flame")
    • "San Francisco Nights" (as "Flo")
    • "Chickens Come Home" (as "Ollie's blackmailer")
    • "The Man Called Back" (as "Rosie")
    • "Doctor X" (as "Cathouse Madam")
    • "Them Thar Hills" (as "Mrs. Hall")
    • "Tit for Tat" (as "grocer's wife")
    • "The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand" (as "Mrs. Paul Gironda")
    • "Prison Farm" (as "Trixie")
    • "Women Without Names" (as "Rose")
    • "The Bride Wore Boots" (as "woman")
  • Lollobrigida = Gina Lollobrigida, an Italian actress once considered the world's most beautiful woman. Now she does things like unsuccessfully contest the European Parliamentary elections.
  • Ethel Waters = a legendary gospel singer. Born to a twelve-year-old rape victim in Philadelphia, Ethel Waters rose through adversity to fame as a vocalist and to be the aunt of Crystal Waters, the the woman behind the 90s dance hit "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)." Don't act like you don't remember.
  • Ziegfield = Florenz Ziegfeld, filmmaker and producer of dance reviews. Yes, "Florenz." And yes, he's a guy. He was responsible for spectaculars as diverse as "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" and "Whoopee!", both of which debuted in the 1930s.
  • Jerry Robbins = a singer, I think. There's a page for him at Allmusic.com, but it's devoid of any information. Damn that history revisionism.
  • Tewksbury = either John Tewkesbury, who shares his name with a famous Catholic martyr and therefore is next to impossible to find online, or Paul "Tax" Tewskbury, a Washington D.C. blues musician who seems to still be alive and therefore not the character being mention in the song.
  • Betty White = not the Betty White who played Rose Nylund on "The Golden Girls," but the younger, slimmer and sexier version of her who rose to fame as a panelist on "The Match Game."
  • José Limón = pioneer of modern dance, whose most famous dance is the unfortunately-titled "The Moor's Pavane."
  • Shelley Bennett = Since the only Shelley Benett I can find recently played a recurring character on "As The World Turns," I'm going to guess that "Shelley" might be a nickname for Constance Bennett, a member of the purportedly famous Bennett sisters who collectively gained fame in early talkies and musicals. I take particular delight in that her first role is as "Unborn soul" in a 1916 film called "The Valley of Decision."
  • Dinah Shore = famed singer, actress and host of "The Dinah Shore Show," a variety hour.
  • Wiley Finley = possibly an artist, though I don't think "Miss Yvette" and "Self-Portrait" represent the kind of art that gets one famous.
  • Eydie Gormé = singer of Steve and Eydie fame. Born Edith Gormezano. Wikipedia notes, slightly snottily, that neither Eydie Gormé nor her husband has made a Top 40 song since 1963.
  • Hugh Downs = longtime co-host of "20/20" with Barbara Walters. In 1985, Downs was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for the greatest number of hours on network commercial television, 15,188 hours. (Today, the record is held by Regis Philbin.)
  • Bob Newhart = the most wonderfully understated comedian alive today.
  • Christian Dior = the well-known fashion designer and perhaps the one name in this song that still has as much pull now as it did then
  • Claude Rains = World War I hero who turned to acting and played Sgt. Renault in "Casablanca." Interesting in that Claude Rains is named both in this song and in that other song that name-drops a bunch of no longer famous celebrities, "Science Fiction Double Feature," the opening theme to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show."
  • Gale Storm = singer best known for the hit single "This Bucket (Has Got a Hole in It)." Later she sang a song called "Lucky Lips." Also, she was born Josephine Owaissa Cottle.
  • Mae West = actress, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol famous for her double entendres, according to Wikipedia. Mae West's filmography, at least according to IMDb, leads me to believe she was less of a sensation than her Wikipedia page would indicate. Also, she's not to be confused with Mae Busch, even if that name better lends itself to double entendres.
  • Merv Griffin = former talk show host who invented "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune." Hence the Merv Griffin Productions logo that displays at the end of those shows.
  • Warren Beatty = actor who I thought was married to Shirley MacLaine until I found out they were siblings. I know him as the man who turned down the role of Bill in "Kill Bill," the schmuck.
  • Conway Twitty = a once-legendary recording star who's all but vanished from popular culture. Wikipedia alleges that the character of Conrad Birdie in "Bye Bye Birdie" is an amalgam of Twitty and Elvis Presley.
  • Natalie Wood = "West Side Story" and drowning, in a nut shell.
  • John Birch = depending on how you think Allen and Grier's interests lie, either John Birch the accomplished recital organist or John Birch the missionary who was executed by Chinese communists in 1942 and in whose name the ultraconservative John Birch society form several years later.
  • Yma Sumac = Peruvian vocalist whose voice may have covered a range of five octaves, depending on who you talk to. Also, Sumac may hold the record for the highest recorded note produced by a human, an honor she captured from the similarly named Erna Sack.
  • Chuck Berry = legendary guitarist and entertainer resposible for such songs as "You Never Can Tell," "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven" and "School Days," the last of which is better known as the "Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll!" song that Bart Simpson covered on that The Simpsons Sing the Blues album.
  • Tommy Sands = a footnote, really. He sang, he acted and he married Nancy Sinatra.
  • Sean Bay = I haven't a clue, honestly. He's evaded IMDb, Allmusic.com and the Wikipedia.
  • Beatrice Lillie = stage actress known for revues and light comedies.
  • Dennis, Doris Day = a conflatrion of Dennis Day, the Irish tenor of his day, and Doris Day, whom I met once at a duck pond in Carmel.
  • Balanchine = George Balanchine, the Russian-born choreographer best known for bridging the aesthetic gap between ballet and modern dance.
  • Capucine = neither the monkey, the monk nor the coffee drink, Capucine was a French model and actress born with the regretable name of Germaine Lefebvre. She starred in several of the "Pink Panther" films, as well as "What's New, Pussycat?" and the filmic adaptation of the "Satyricon." She also nearly married Dirk Bogarde, despite the fact that both of them were apparently gay. She was quite the dish, and she'd have to be to pull off the name "Capucine."
  • Marlon's... Brand... o = the biggest verbal stretch of all for one of the best known in the list. Huh.
  • Rosie Clooney = Rosemary Clooney, well-known, recently dead singer and aunt to George Clooney, mother to Miguel Ferrer, mother-in-law to Debby Boone and in-law to Pat Boone.
  • Mickey Rooney = child star-turned-dwarfish ghoul. You may know him best as the celebrity who pep talks Milhouse in the episode of "The Simpsons" with the Radioactive Man movie. No? Don't remember him? Give Google a break and keep reading.
  • Rin-Tin-Tin = canine star who allegedly died in the arms of Jean Harlow, though since he was actually several different German shepherds, this seems unlikely. Predated Lassie and Benji.
  • Keenan Wynn = a character actor well-known for having a moustache. Seriously. Ask Wikipedia about Keenan Wynn and you'll see.
  • Irene Dunne-o = Irene Dunne, a comedienne who — again, if we're to believe the Wikipedia — had a "surprisingly erotic screen presence." She receieved five different Academy Award nominations, all for movies I've never heard of: "Cimmaron," "Theodora Goes Wild," "The Awful Truth," "Love Affair" and "I Remember Mama."
And that's that. Now it's online, for the world to see — or at least the dozen or so people who have actually heard this song. In retrospect, a better name for it would have been "Formerly Famous People Who Are Now Either Dead or Dying."

Baby Geishas and a Coin Purse Clam

In an effort to prove that the inspiration for the short-lived TV show "The Oblongs" was funnier than the show itself might indicate, I recently led an associate to the personal website of the show's creator, Angus Oblong. The site, as I correctly remembered, is nicely laid out and fairly funny. Two highlights: the result of clicking a link marked "something you haven't seen before" and the complete story of Helga and the Debbies, in which a fat, ugly girl gets her revenge on those more fortunate.

What He Told the Doctor

Best last words ever: "But I'm not allergic to bullets."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Judi Dench

As soon as I hit the "publish post" button, this will be my 1000th post. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Well, that and thanks for reading.

EDIT: Okay, so technically this is no longer the 1000th post. Sucks, I know. But in going through old blog posts, deleting duplicates and splitting some posts into two or three, I have made the one-thousandth post occur before this one. Just for the sake of keeping records, that post is here.

Squeak and Squawk and Speak and Talk With Us

I’m in an animal quandary. If the nature of the quandary interests you more than how I arrived at it, then skip the part inside the big parentheses. Just so you know, this entire post, at its heart, concerns animals.

A week or so ago, Spencer and I were talking and he asked me if I knew which animal was the one that sweats milk. I laughed. To my knowledge, no animal sweats milk, nor should any animal be forced to do so. It seems like a completely impractical means of cooling any hot mammal body, much less feeding one’s offspring. Debate lasted only a few moments before we ended up at the computer, Googling the phrase “sweats milk.”

If you want the short version of this story, know that the answer is the platypus, nature’s hodgepodge freak show down under. The mommy platypus sweats milk into indentations in her skin and the baby platypi lap it up.


As is often the case, searching for the answer proved more beneficial than actually finding it. Among the sites I saw by looking up milk sweat was an interesting one that documents the notes from the meetings of the Humanist Association of Orange County. During a discussion on the merits of intelligent design as opposed to evolution, the platypus’ tendency to sweat milk was brought up as evidence that not all animals work efficiently. If you scroll down to the section “Design in Nature? Hardly!” — or if you just CNTL+F like a normal person — you’ll note that Frank Farsad uses the platypus and her milk-sweat as an example of a poorly designed animal. Unless anyone yells at me, I’m going to post the entire list here, because I thought it was interesting. (All credit, of course, goes to Mr. Farsad.)
  • Anteaters develop teeth during fetal development and then lose them before birth.
  • Terrestrial salamanders develop gills and fins only during fetal development.
  • Flightless birds possess hollow bones.
  • Cave-dueling animals possess sightless eyes.
  • Male booby birds court females with nesting material, then mate with them, throw the nesting material away and lay their eggs on the bare grounds.
  • Humans have tails during fetal development.
  • Whales possess pelvis and thigh bones.
  • Some insects have useless wings sealed beneath wing covers.
  • Pythons and boa constrictors have pelvis and tiny limbs.
  • Pandas have a sixth digit from a wrist bone.
  • Female platypi lacks nipples. The mother sweats milk.
  • Nipples in human males have no function.
  • Female spotted hyenas have a penis through which sperm swims up.
  • The first offspring of a female hyena is still born.
  • In conifers, male pollen cones are on the lower branches, while the female cones are located on the higher branches.
The other website that caught my eye — aside from the surprising lot that discuss sweat pants and milk in such a way that they popped up in the search as well — would be the Oswego County School District page for Nathan O., a studious lad who writes brief — and, frankly, biased — reports on animals. Nathan O. tackles difficult issues like platypus milk-sweat and why “monkey’s have such a long tail.” (The answer, by the way, is “a magic banana.”)

The site also shows an original Nathan O. work of art titled “My Side of the Mountain.” To look on it is to glimpse God himself.

For your edification, the text reads "I live in a cave. The stones will protect me from the high winds and rain and the fire keeps me warm."


But this research into the strange practices of animals has prompted me to search for a new animal obsessions. As many of my loyal readers know, this lofty spot was once occupied by the noble and strangely beautiful anteater.

Shortly thereafter, I became enamored of the cassowary and its colors, which though they mimic the baboon’s ass, still exude an undeniable natural flair.

When that personal craze died down, I looked to the narwhal — though not too closely, since they’re likely to put my eye out.

Now I’m at a bit of an impasse. I have a few candidates for strange and wonderful animals to become the new focus of my white-hot intellectual intensity, yet I can’t decide on who should get the nomination.

My first thought was pangolins. They’re relatives of anteaters and sometimes called “scaly anteaters.” They look like the result of a drunk armadillo mating with an artichoke, and that comparison would normally be reason enough to win the title outright, but I feel they’re just too similar to the anteaters. And anteaters and I need some space for the moment.

Next up: the axlotl, a Mexican salamander that most closely approximates what I think a real-life Pokémon would look like. I like that its face is basically a generic smiley face. I don’t like that its constant cheeriness could belie inner demons the likes of which I can’t imagine. Also, someone please give this creature another vowel.

Then there’s a little who whose name works in his favor, not against it. Sugar gliders are small, squirrel-like marsupials that make good domesticated pets, as long as your definition of a good pet is an animal that thrives in groups, flies about your ceiling using billowy skin flaps and emits a high-pitched shrieking noise when it’s happy.

And finally, the fainting goat, which I detailed two weeks ago in another post.

So there you have it. I know I should be thinking about my impending long-term trip to the crazy continent, but at the moment this seems like the most pressing matter at hand. Questions need answers, and clearly one of these four animals must be intrinsically better than the other three.

Your thoughts? Your votes?

That's the Time I Love Her Best

I got this far with the list and couldn't think of any others.
  • Sex flush, embarrassment or a bad sunburn
  • Cheap, over-the-counter bronzer or eating too many carrots
  • Jaundice
  • Copper jewelry or allegedly seasickness and other nauseating ailments
  • Hypothermia or strangulation
  • An abusive spouse or a boxing match
  • A slight sunburn
  • Too obviously, a suntan
  • Melanin
  • Albinism, working a desk job or living in Seattle
  • Necrosis
If you can’t guess the game, you can’t play.

[ only two more ]


Here, read this list of words I learned from the article “The Woman Who Vomited Frogs,” which some trickster snuck into my Firefox favorites toolbar.
  • pagophagia (ice eating)
  • xylophagia (wooden toothpick eating)
  • coniophagia (a lust for dust)
  • geophagia (clay or dirt eating)
  • amylophagia (the consumption of laundry starch and paste)
  • coprophagia (feces eating)
Don't confuse that last one with "capraphagia," which would be goat eating. Oh, and the article is kind of interesting too.

[ jack, janet and christmas snow ]

Yellow Makes Blue

I maintain that my friend Sanam is good to have around. Formerly known as “Persian Sanam” and “Amateur Facial Sanam,” this one is reliable for cutting remarks, information about obscure subjects and generally good conversation. Back when everybody still lived in Santa Barbara, I always said that if anything ever happened to Jill, then Nate and I could rotate Sanam in without missing a beat.

Even though Sanam moved to the other side of the country — the fool! the foolish fool! — she still fills my dull moments with little bits of interest that I have taken to calling Sanamiana. A perfect example of Sanamiana is a recent note she sent notifying me of a special Mozilla Firefox plug-in that updates you to the status of bygone celebrity Abe Vigoda. Specifically, a tiny icon of Vigoda’s face appears in the lower right portion of your browser with a pronouncement of him as either “alive” or “dead.” (For the moment, he’s alive.) The page where you can download the plug-in includes testimonials from satisfied Firefox users proclaiming how much they enjoy knowing whether Abe Vigoda has died yet. An example from some guy named Paul: “Every time I glance down and see Abe's smiling face looking back at me, I feel like the world is a better place. Thanks Abe!”

I have downloaded the plug-in and am quite happy with it. But an interesting facet of the Abe Vigoda plug-in is that clicking Vigoda’s face opens links to pages on him at IMDb, NNDb and my beloved Wikipedia, the last of which explains why this plug-in is supposed to be funny. Apparently People magazine published an article in 1982 that erroneously declared Vigoda dead. The actor, best known for his role as Det. Fish on “Barney Miller,” took the error in stride and has made it a running joke. (So now you know.) But being the wonderful and needlessly comprehensive website it is, the Vigoda’s entry also includes a link to a whole list of people who have been prematurely declared dead.

It’s quite a list. I have to admit I get a kick seeing people like Jello Biafra and Lousie Flecther and Mara Wilson being grouped together for any reason, not to mention one as ridiculous as being less dead that previously reported. One name especially caught my interest, however: Thuy Trang.

Sound familiar?

It probably has a better chance of ringing a bell if you’re three or four years younger than I am. I just barely missed the “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” craze that erupted in middle schools across the country around 1997 or so. (I was always more of a “Batman: The Animated Series” guy myself.) But I had some familiarity with the series, seeing as how it segued between the afternoon’s cartoons and the subsequent two-hour block during which KCBA Fox 35 would air reruns of “Family Matters” and “Full House.” I’ve seen the opening credits to “Power Rangers” enough to remember them even today: split screen with the actor on one side and the guy-in-the-suit on the other, and with the actor’s name below. Thuy Trang played the Yellow Ranger — a fact which I’m shocked that no one noted as a racist slight.

What grabs me most about Trang’s inclusion in the list is that she was allegedly declared dead from injuries sustained in a car accident four years before she actually did die of injuries sustained in a separate car accident. Yes, part of what throws me is just the “what are the odds?” boggliness of such a coincidence, but I think what catches me the most is that I’m a little sad this actress has died. She didn’t impact me all that much, since I never watched the show. But I feel like hearing that the Yellow Ranger died is like hearing that some kid I remember knowing back in third grade died — the kind of person you would have never really missed unless they had died so long ago that you can’t really even rationalize mourning, if even for a few seconds.

So there’s Sanamiana for you in a nutshell: interesting and a little funny, until it makes you sad.

A Dark Day for Nick at Night

If Death comes in threes, then he should be done hovering about the TV Land crowd. In one weekend: Don Knotts, Darren McGavin and Dennis Weaver.

[ nellie, mrs. goodale and kathy ellsworth's arm ]

Friday, February 24, 2006

I Could Sing About Pancake Batter

A simple game that's been done before but is nonetheless entertaining. I take a writing sample, auto-translate it into another language and then back into English. All praise the awkward grammar.

First up: Spencer's MySpace profile.

In the English:
Well I mean if you want kind of a laundry list of sentence fragments: Hair has life of its own. High school instilled in him a vague horror of visible effort. Voracious reader. Would do anything for his friends. Wears novelty clothing when alone. Has a very very good time regardless of where he is. Can't bear fools, but apparently your mother could. If you think you qualify as "interesting", then by all means hit up the AIM.

I think we all know the answer to this one. Failing that, anyone else who thinks it would be amusing to score a documentary on sub-Saharan female genital infibulation with the Duff Sisters' cover of "Our Lips Are Sealed." (Even if you don't think it's amusing -- if you even understood that -- then you qualify.)
In the would-be English:
Well I signify if you want the class of a list of dirty clothes of fragments of prayer: Hair has the life of its own one. The prep school instilled in it a vague horror of the visible effort. Voracious reader. It would do something for its friends. It carries the clothes of the news when only. Has a very very good time in spite of where he is. He cannot bear the fools, but apparently his mother is able. If you think that you qualify "interesting" as, then for all he signifies the up the blow the OBJECTIVE.

I think that all we know the answer to this. Failing that, any BUT that thinks that would be enjoying to border a documentary one in the sub-Saharan infibulation genital female with the cover without value of Sisters of "the Lips are Sealed." Even if you be not chirped that entertains -- if you understood still that -- then you qualify.
Sanam's blog post concerning Della Reese, in the original:
Ed and I are holding a singles mixer tonight.

We've been talking about doing it for ages. At some point, the two of us realized that his program is full of socially incompetant/sexually frustrated males, and mine is made up of women who are either (a) foreign, (b) socially inept, or (c) alcoholics.

Which means that, thanks to our devious planning, the two groups will spend hours together at a bar this evening, the young men of the MIT Cognitive Sciences Department making awkward and uncomfortable advances toward the estrogen party known as Emerson's GMCA program, and it'll probably be freaking awesome.

So if you're in the area and looking to meet new people, or just want to survey the scene, or want to watch people make babies, come on by. We'll be there all night.
And in what I turned it into after making it Dutch:
Ed and I they have a mixer of individual this night.

We have been speaking about it to do for ages. In some point, the two of us we realized that its program is full of socially incompetant/sexually the injustices frustrated, and mine are composed of women that are or (a) foreign, (B) socially inadequate, or (C) alcoholicos.

Which media that, thanks to our sinuous planning, the two groups will spend hours together in a bar this afternoon, the ÿjovenes of the MIT the Cognitive Department of the Sciences that does the difficult and uncomfortable advances toward the party of estrogen known as program of Emerson GMCA, and will be variegating probably impressive.

So if you are in the area and looking at to find new people, or only wanted to inspect the scene, or the need for sight to people do to babies, they enter for. We will be there all the night.
A love poem written by a girl I went to high school with:

heron-like species, rare visitor,
most recent records referring to winter months & the tremendous
silence of mid-July; a
quick gasp
very active at dusk but shivering like you — she says
she's done if she drinks again —
how can you hurt her? yours is the same
story: the thoughtless lyric of a storm clouding the sky.


spidery thin, agile, angular;
viewed at a distance, caught with a look
over the shoulder;
a turn of
the head.
lazy when unprovoked.
travels singularly one concrete step
at a time —
a narrow look down,
subsiding into a sharp left corner.
eyes shifting constantly
will she meet him?
two shots in back of the building —
he should know better.
The same poem, into Russian then into English then into French and into English again:

A similar Versions to a héron, the rare visitor,
the reports more recent,
addressing by the months of winter and the huge
Silence of the July environment;
a Quick one very active asthma in a twilight,
but shivering of even to you -
it speaks is done for Him,
if it drinks again
How you can injure it?
The yours the similar history:
neglect lyric of a storm.
The sky.


Neglect thinner, quicker, more angular;
Considered on the caught distance with a view
On a shoulder;
Turn the Head.
Lazy when is not provoked.
Travel especially a
concrete walks the Simultaneous Reduced view,
the Fall in a left corner splitting.
The changeable eyes constantly
It will meet him?
Two blows in a rear party of
a building that it must know better.
And a big thanks to the friendly machines at FreeTranslation.com.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Not Quite Captain Pinchy

He's no crab celebrity, but he's all I've got today. Enjoy him, but watch out — he's ready to pinch.

Substantial post in progress.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Presenting the Lady Argus

As of 10:09 p.m. yesterday, this little bloggie turned three years old. The notion of celebrating anniversaries has always kind of boggled me. "Hey! It hasn't died or disintegrated yet! Let's throw a party!" and all that. So whenever this blog rolls over, so to speak, I struggle to commemorate the event.

This yeah, I thought I'd kick off the celebration with evidence of my latest artistic feat: a chair from what I've taken to calling the Lady Argus collection. This chair, a cheaply manufactured wobble-prone number that I got when I moved into the house and assimilated Amber's left-behinds, has been handsomely upgraded with a coat of paint and some minor additions. The fact that these coats of paint are Pepto Bismol pink and plum purple and the additions are 125 googly eyes and glitter. Yes, it looks like the result of an arts and crafts period for an autistic eight-year-old with a princess complex. I am proud.

(In this third shot, I concentrate on the amount of glitter Spencer put on the chair's seat. I feel the glitter is especially integral to the impact of the piece, and I feel this for several reasons. First, as glitter falls off and attaches to other parts of Kristen's room, she'll always be finding little bits of the Lady Argus to remind her that I love her. Second, the glitter doubles as quick means to add that special something to Kristen's everyday outfits, whether it's a little sparkle to the seat of her work pants or an easy place to mash her face to glitter up before heading out for the night. It's quite versatile.)

Naturally, the chair went directly into Kristen's room. I figured if anybody would like a piece of furniture painted girly colors and smattered with googly eyes, it would be she. She liked it so much that it now sits outside her room, at the top of the stairs. I just know she'd like all her furniture done in this fashion, so I'll be sure to jump on that during my next free moment. I'm thinking orange, turquoise, jingle bells and sea shells.

I feel this news is especially appropriate for an anniversary post because, after looking back at what the first few weeks of this blog were like, I realize that the first post to chronicle my unusual sense of arts and crafts — and, also, one of the first images ever to appear on this blog — was of a similar piece: Ducto, the Chair of Tomorrow. (Again, I was quite proud. Ducto, by the way, has since been destroyed by Jill's fat friend.) For all I've written Â? which, by the way, is 991 posts, as of this writing Â? I guess I haven't progressed all that much.

Oh, and in case you ever doubted the power of words, try explaining googly eyes to a Michael'?s employee who clearly does not speak English well. "They're little eyes you use for toys or dolls or crafts and they're plastic and they move around and I swear I'm not crazy." It took a second Michael's clerk about two syllables of that preceding phrase before she responded with "Oh, you mean googly eyes." Ah yes.

Thoughts into vague words into artistic brilliance. I honestly can't think of a better way to celebrate this blog than with that transformation. Now please shut down your computer and step outside to witness the cross-country Back of the Cereal Box Three-Year Anniversary Extravaganza Parade.Also of note: Wikipedia has an entry for googly eyes.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Where the Subject of the Previous Post Stays When She's Passing Through Hollister

Another item from the ever-growing backlog of things deserving an appearance on the Cereal Box, the Cinderella Motel is an establishment offering rooms at modest prices to travelers making their way through my hometown, Hollister.

Like many things in Hollister, the Cinderella Motel sucks, or so I’d imagine. I’ve actually never been there. Having lived the first eighteen years of my life in that diseased mule of a town, I’ve never had a reason for a stay at the Cinderella. However, I have to give it credit for being the girliest, most gaudily fancy thing in a tri-county area full of conservative Catholics who shun anything that strays from their world of trucks, agribusiness and KTOM.

I snapped some photos of the Cinderella Motel the last time I was home. I had been meaning to do so for some time now.

Nighttime photography really helps to showcase the Cinderella’s flashy neon sign and its ornate carriage sculpture made from Christmas lights. You can’t tell that the building is also painted bright pink, so please take my word for it. (Also, I was as shocked as anybody when I was searching around on Flickr and found two other people who also have photographed this marvel — this guy and this guy.)

I don’t know why anybody ever though this was a good idea for a motel anywhere, much less one in Hollister. Personally, I’ve always thought of the kind of place where little girly girls go to score illegal femininity injections to make themselves girlier. Anyone who can confirm my suspicions will be handsomely rewarded.

The illegal femininity injections, of course, smell like strawberries.

The Girl Who Punctuates Her Sentences With Little Hearts

Christ. I guess if Barbie can become a doctor, then this was a long time coming. Turnips be damned, I hope she can still float.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What the Whale Did

In the wake of the Goleta post office shooting a few weeks ago, most other news stories Santa Barbara news stories had to struggle to get national attention. One noteworthy event did occur, however, just off the coast on February 2 — a gray whale kerslapped a boat with a finny malice I haven’t heard of since Monstro went after Gepetto and Pinocchio. It’s true. The story ran in the Associated Press and made it into papers all through California, though, more often and not in abbreviated form or some “news of the weird”-type column, as even whale attacks don’t compare to history’s worst office place shooting spree perpetrated by a woman.

The San Jose Mercury still has the story up. You can see it here. From what the article says, I envision the whole incident like some kind of marine bitchslap that ended with the whale merrily swimming away without a second thought. I think my favorite part of the write-up involves the victims describing the whale as indisputably and deliberately vicious.
“You can look into most animals’ eyes and see nothing,” said Gormley, who estimated the whale was 30 feet long. “But not this one.”
“It wasn't like the whale didn't know we were there,” she said.
I wish they had conjectured that the whale was just having a bad day or maybe that he was one of those dumbly destructive lugs like Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Whatever the reason, the people involved come off like dipshits. Yeah, the whale wrecked your boat, but you don't hear about people sticking their hand in a bee hive and then saying "Wow, those bees really had it out for me for no reason. What psychos." The whale was most likely just doing what whales do — being massive and powerful and kings of the sea and all that. If you don't like it, move to Colorado.

In any case, news of whale carnage made the local news in Hollister shortly before my parents came down to Santa Barbara two weekend ago. Now, I’ve been here a while and there’s really nothing too exciting left for them to discover here, so they were especially amped on going to see exactly what becomes of a boat that motors on the wrong side of an angry whale. So we agreed that we should go to the marina and see if the boat was still docked there.

I understand this isn’t the typical family outing, but my family isn’t all that typical. Honestly, I initially just was happy to have an activity that everybody agreed would be interesting. So just think about how stoked I was when the nice sea marshal explained that the boat remains were, in fact, available to be gawked at and that my father, my mother and I could be those very gawkers if we could get passed a gate that keeps nobodies out from the part of the harbor where the nicer boats reside.

The short version of the story is that we made our way past the gate like we owned the place and found the wrecked boat in short order. I took pictures, of course. And here, for your viewing pleasure is the result of the collision between a hapless sea vessel and a careless whale.

Hi Mom. Hi Dad. Hi wrecked boat, which upon closer inspection isn't all that wrecked. The canopy is definitely smashed, but considering that this tiny tugger met a whale, I'd say it looks pretty damn good.

Then again, there is some evidence to suggest that the experience wasn't a total cake walk for the passengers. As you can see, they haven't touched the boat since the incident, not even to clean up the blood, which I imagine came from the people when all the wrecking and shattering and snapping happened.

The inside suffered considerable damage as well. This seat snapped like a carrot stick. Or at least that's how I'll picture it in my head. This is all a little scarier when you think about how these seats are likely where the passengers were seated when the whale said hello.

Again, you can tell the scene hadn't been altered at all, since the glass was still in shards and falling everywhere. I'd think broken glass in the water would violate some kind of marina ordinance, but maybe the officials felt the boat owners had been through enough.

This one disturbs me most. It's hard to believe that something so thin-looking as a whale tail could do this. Their tails are large, I'll admit, but not necessarily the most imposing part of the whale. I've been on boats enough to know that that fiberglass is study stuff, but this tear proves that it could stand to be sturdier. Just a little scary, but scary nonetheless.

Pretty magical ice crystals! That, or the sharp remains of someone wealthy local's pleasure craft. Either way, I like this picture immensely. It or some Photoshopped version of it may soon show up as a new blog template background.

So that's the story of the whale. I'm glad I finally got around to typing this up before it became too old to be relevant anymore. But when is anything not relevant enough to be mentioned on this blog?

Along those lines, please also note this picture of a golden retriever that was leashed to a fence outside Brophy Brothers'. He had to sit a watch a family of four enjoy deep friend sea critters and consequently was surrounded in a puddle of his own drool.

You've seen it. Now you can't un-see it.

I Was Talking to Peachy Peach About Kissy Kiss

The next time you see my little pink mouth, expect to notice something special on it: a big fat smile! Things are looking up for your old friend Drew!

As of this morning, I am officially slated to be boarding a plane bound for Auckland, New Zealand on March 4. Somehow, I never thought this trip would ever be more than a vague wish wrapped in longing and hope and tied in a bow of anticipation with a card signed to me from desire. But, with my dad’s help, all this imaginary present has actually materialized into a plane ticket — or at least a PDF file depicting a plane ticket, which I can’t actually hold in my hand but I’m sure will still get me on the flight. (In the meantime, I’m caressing my laptop screen.)

The trip won’t be as long as I had initially envisioned, but I’m okay with that. It’s long enough that I can appreciate the there and then be happy about returning to the here. Trusted associates Kristen and Dina will be accompanying through New Zealand’s north and south island for about two-and-a-half weeks before fly over to Vienna, Australia. It’s funny, I always thought Vienna was in Europe or something, but the confirmation email I just read said we’re flying from Christchurch to Vienna, so I guess Australia has a Vienna too. Also, it’s extra weird that the flight would be on Lufthansa, because I don’t even know what that word means, but I’m sure my dad figured everything out okay.

Anyway, I think I’m just not going think too much about this whole trip, now that the hard part is over. I’ll just sit back at let the departure date creep up on me and assume everything will be perfect. Because it will! When I’m this happy, I just know that nothing could go wrong!

Auckland, New Zealand and Vienna, Australia better watch out for me!

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Martian Invasion

I'd like to consider myself someone who pays more attention to television than the average person. And it's with that conceit that I can present my newest TV obsession: a little UPN hour-long called "Veronica Mars." I'd heard last year that this show was supposed to fill the Scooby gang-shaped void that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" left when it went off the air in June of 2003. And though I liked "Buffy" a lot, I was skeptical of some other show starring some other diminutive blonde solving some other mysteries in some other thinly veiled California city. After all, this Veronica bitch was on UPN, which sags even below the WB in terms of programming quality.

I was wrong.

Last year, this show ousted "Arrested Development" from the number one slot in the results of Kristin Veitch's online "on the bubble" poll, in which E! Online users — TV fanatics, all of them — vote for which low-rated show least deserves cancellation. And I feel like the coach potatoes-in-the-know voted correctly. "Arrested Development" is a good show, for sure, but "Veronica Mars" might be a better one, in that it's based around real, human characters and thusly has a chance at appealing to a broad audience. The show expertly sews together plot threads from some of my favorite shows — "Buffy" and "Twin Peaks" among them — and then pads the whole creation in this imminently likable high school drama facade.

And while the show is generally excellent, I feel that one would have to praise its lead, Kristen Bell, in particular. This girl delivers lines that would have dropped like a brick out of other actresses' mouths. She plays Veronica just like she should — alternately intrepid and sarcastic and mopey and sweet. A Nancy Drew updated for life adolescent life in the new(ish) millennium. She also has the odd talent to resemble a handful of other petite blondes, depending on the lighting provided in a given shot.


Actresses resembled so far:
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • The girl who played Anya on "Buffy"
  • Maggie Grace
  • Naomi Watts circa "Mulholland Drive"
  • Rachel MacAdams (blonde version)
  • Lela
  • Joanne Nail of "Switchblade Sisters"
  • Julie Benz

And maybe it's that she can emulate the best qualities of these other actresses that Bell can make a high school student's investigation into her best friend's murder seem plausible. For the moment, the hours I would have otherwise spent writing for this blog has been whiled away watching Veornica trot around Neptune, California, the show's fictional take on San Diego. And I've really been enjoying my time there. I only have a few episodes left before I discover the identity of Lily Kane's killer in the season finale, so while my enthusiasm is still an explosive levels, let me recommend this show to anybody who enjoys engrossing, well-written television.

Go out. By the first season on DVD. You owe yourself a good mystery.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Pink Hearts, Pink Hurts

I honestly hate this holiday enough that I can't even muster angry words this year. In place of a fresh diatribe, please review my anti-Valentine's Day blather from previous years.
And if you only have time for one, please click on the third link.

[ candy colored unicorns are quite hard to find. ]

Rock Mathematics

What bands were initially purported to perform at the 2006 Coachella, per the info I swiped for a January 11 post titled "Shame on Ewe."

(day one)
Depeche Mode -*- The Strokes -*- Portishead -*- Franz Ferdinand -*- Fatboy Slim -*- Massive Attack -*- Infected Mushroom -*- Royksopp -*- Kings of Leon -*- Doves -*- Sufjan Stevens -*- Broken Social Scene -*- Atmosphere -*- Blackalicious -*- Super Furry Animals -*- The Buzzcocks -*- Primal Scream -*- Supergrass -*- Ladytron -*- DJ Peretz -*- The Shins -*- Dieselboy -*- Tortoise -*- Sleater Kinney -*- Richard Hawley -*- Grooverider -*- Death From Above 1979 -*- Yesterday’s New Quintet -*- The Walkmen -*- Son Volt -*- Will Oldham -*- The Clientele -*- Lightning Bolt -*- Cage -*- The Crimea -*- OK Go -*- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -*- John Kelly
(day two)
The White Stripes -*- Roxy Music (featuring Brian Eno) -*- The Arcade Fire -*- Sigur Ros -*- Yeah Yeah Yeahs -*- Boards of Canada -*- Underworld -*- Ween -*- Death Cab for Cutie -*- Armin Van Buuren -*- Built to Spill -*- De La Soul -*- Big Star -*- Iron & Wine -*- Uberzone -*- Happy Mondays -*- Dinosaur Jr. -*- TV on the Radio -*- Elbow -*- Eagles of Death Metal -*- The Tears -*- Esthero -*- T. Rauschmiere -*- Cat Power -*- The New Pornographers -*- Carl Cox -*- Grandaddy -*- Calexico -*- Explosions in the Sky -*- The Wedding Present -*- Andy C Fatlip -*- DJ Icey -*- The Notwist and Themselves performing as 13 & God -*- Devendra Banhart -*- The Coral -*- Stateless -*- 65 Days of Static
What bands will acctually be playing at Coachella, according to the official website:

(day one)
Depeche Mode -*- Daft Punk -*- Franz Ferdinand -*- Sigur Ros -*- Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, -*- Common -*- Atmosphere -*- Carl Cox -*- My Morning Jacket -*- TV on the Radio, -*- Ladytron -*- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -*- Tosca -*- Cat Power -*- Animal Collective -*- HARD-Fi -*- Derrick Carter -*- Devendra Banhart -*- She Wants Revenge -*- The Walkmen -*- The Juan Maclean -*- Imogen Heap -*- Audio Bullys -*- Lady Sovereign -*- Deerhoof -*- The Duke Spirit -*- Eagles of Death Metal -*- Lyrics Born -*- Matt Costa -*- The New Amsterdams -*- The Zutons -*- Platinum Pied Pipers -*- White Rose Movement -*- Chris Liberator -*- Colette -*- Joey Beltram -*- Hybrid -*- Living Things -*- Wolfmother -*- The Like -*- Nine Black Alps, Celebration -*- The Section Quartet -*- Shy FX & T Power -*- Infusion
(day two)
Tool -*- Yeah Yeah Yeahs -*- Bloc Party -*- Paul Oakenfold -*- Scissor Sisters -*- Matisyahu -*- James Blunt -*- Sleater-Kinney -*- Mogwai -*- Coheed and Cambria -*- Wolf Parade -*- Coldcut -*- Phoenix -*- Digable Planets -*- Amadou & Mariam -*- Little Louie Vega -*- Mylo (DJ Set) -*- Seu Jorge -*- Gnarls Barkley -*- The Go! Team -*- Kaskade -*- Metric -*- Editors -*- Art Brut -*- Dungen -*- The Dears -*- Jamie Lidell -*- The Magic Numbers -*- Los Amigos Invisibles -*- Jazzanova -*- stellastarr* -*- Michael Mayer -*- Murs featuring 9th Wonder -*- Mates of State -*- Gilles Peterson -*- Infadels -*- Gabriel & Dresden -*- The Subways -*- Minus the Bear -*- One Republic -*- Be Your Own Pet -*- Youth Group -*- Giant Drag -*- Kristina Sky -*- The Octopus Project
The only acts the fake line-up got right were Atmosphere, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Eagles of Death Metal, Franz Ferdinand, Ladytron, Sigur Ros, Sleater Kinney, the Walkmen, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Depeche Mode — all of which represent the most obvious picks for this year's festival and the last of which was the only band officially announced at the time the rumor was "leaked." Sure, on a few points the fake line-up looked better — the New Pornographers, Roxy Music, Sufjan Stevens and the noticeable lack of Tool — but the real line-up has enough of its own virtues that I can once again be excited about Coachella.

As soon as I get back from Australia, that is.

By the way, the fake line-up's test grade: ten out of a possible eighty-eight — a failing grade and about as good as any of us could have done if we had invented a phony Coachella.

A Jerk in Progress

I lieu of anything particularly lengthy, I thought I'd cap off today with an entry illustrating my wonderful new apartment. Here's an image of what my place looked like a week ago, just after my parents dropped off the last of my boxes.

Eventually, I opened the blinds and unpacked the boxes and made the place not look like low-income camping grounds.

Other novel features in my apartment include the following: (a) blue faucets in the dining room

(b) a green shoe clock

(c) shiny, hardwood floors

(d) a bowl containing a single cooked pea

and (e) plentiful photo opportunities

Monday, February 13, 2006

Here's to You, Fonseca Wellington

What can I say? I promise to blog and then I fail to follow through. It's tough when the the largest collection of Legos in all of northern central California falls into you possession. But rest assured — even if I don't blog about it, I will build a multicolored brick tower to the sun from my new downtown apartment.

In the meantime, please accept this link to my first-ever pride-worthy article in The Independent. Third article down from the top. Not great, but definitely not terrible.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Development Arrested

The single best pun in all of "Arrested Development," which in appeared in last night's series finale: GOB's boat is named "C-Word."

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Okay, so I'm finally moved into my new bedroom. And I've finally corrected the bad layout decision I made with the blog template a few days back. It took some doing, but this should look like how it used to.

It does, doesn't it?

Regular bloggery resuming tonight or tomorrow. Thanks for staying tuned.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Quick post: I moved the template around a little. If the blog now appears wonky to anyone, please tell me.

Bathed, Shaved and With a Roof Over My Head

As the title implies, I am no longer couch surfing. It makes me so happy I don't want to blog. However, I did have to post a link to the manliest female athlete I've ever seen and another to a gallery containing too many pictures of shiny gold pants. Both links come from Dina's blog, which is being updated without regard to my home-having/homeless status.

Mildred "Babe" Didrikson and Leslie Hall, we are all in your debt.

[ a score, and not the sexual kind ]