March 31st, 2003

Theological porn, delivered to your inbox

There’s nothing like the Christian fringe to turn any day into Aneurism Day for me. So imagine my apoplexy at seeing, on the MSN home page this morning, the question “Is the Rapture upon us?” No, Billg’s house organ is not stumping for apocalypse… but some very wealthy Christofascists are. It was a banner ad
for Left Behind – Interpreting the Signs, a/k/a the Left Behind Prophecy Club.

I took at deep breath and clicked the link to find, in screaming type, “Will WAR IN IRAQ launch an unstoppable chain of events that lead to ARMAGEDDON? Find out when you subscribe to the Left Behind Prophecy Club.” (Note the lack of subject-verb agreement there.) In other words, it is yet another revenue stream for Tim LeHaye and Jerry Jenkins, who must be God’s favorite moneychangers in the temple. For just $29.95 a month, you can get even more dangerous twaddle about world events piled into you inbox!
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March 28th, 2003

“Calibrate me.”

I’m hitting the Slate pretty hard today– in the midst of being wildly productive at work, I assure you. And I just found my new favorite phrase: “Calibrate Me”.

While I technically agree with Timothy Noah that this Rumsfeld coinage is a bit arrogant, I’m going to use it anyway. I am, after all, in need of frequent calibration. (Hey Paulette and Julie: “You know who else is in need of frequent calibration? I am.”) And I often depend on it from those around me.

Saying “Calibrate me” is way better than, say, insisting (like I did last night) that “Every Day is Like Sunday” is a Smiths song, not a Morrisey solo song. I even tried to bet David $50 (that I don’t have!) that I was right– thank God he wouldn’t shake on that. Truth is, I needed calibrating. Which he did, as soon as we got home.


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March 28th, 2003

The War or The Core?

It’s official. David Edelstein is now my favorite movie reviewer. I can’t bring myself to say “film critic” as he just seems miles away from the Cahiers du Cinema crowd. And this is despite the fact that my college friend Michael Agger writes about film for The New Yorker (and apparently also Slate sometimes).

But this is about Mr. Edelstein. After my post yesterday, I now have to follow it up with a link to this hilarious review of The Core. He makes the excellent point that jitters about scary things going on in the world are perhaps best treated with movies about even scarier things going on in the world. (On that note, anyone up for watching Signs on DVD this weekend? Oh, here’s a better link– to Signs on my Amazon Wishlist!)

Anyway, how could you not love a review like this?

Here’s the scariest stuff in the world organized according to the age-old rules of melodrama, complete with cartoony special effects. Here’s a chance to empathize not just with the guy who has the bad fortune to be on the bridge as it collapses (i.e., the guy that most of us would be), but with the genius scientists and stalwart astronauts who pilot their super vessel (here a giant phallic drill made of something called “unobtainium” and nicknamed “Virgil”) into Mother Earth. In the great tradition of Armageddon (1998), The Core spells out the American resolve in the face of disaster: Drill That Bitch.

Anyway, sounds much better than watching GWII on CNN all weekend.


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March 27th, 2003

Asstobust non disputandum est

While studiously not commenting on the (as it were) underlying issue, I do love the title of David Edelstein’s Slate review of Dreamcatcher: Little Brown Men – The aliens of Dreamcatcher have a taste for human rectums. He actually manages to (ahem) top that in his review:

The FX guys have devised some great squiggly thingummies, and the pivotal toilet-bowl scene has a black-comic charge you’re not likely to forget. Maybe that’s appropriate: I am tempted to say that what King has concocted, consciously or not, is an elaborate allegory for homosexual panic, complete with anal intrusion by toothy phalluses and a resulting (Mr.) Gay Plague. There are practically no women in the picture: It all comes down to four buddies, a frail momma’s boy with a terminal disease, and a bunch of “blue boys” devising a sort of catcher’s mitt for killer eels and worms—

No, sorry, I can’t go on. As Bill Murray put it in Tootsie (1982), “We’re getting into a weird area here.” Maybe Gus Van Sant could have run with it. But Kasdan is boringly straight, so whatever is really at the core of Dreamcatcher remains well, er, impacted.


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March 27th, 2003

More from Lisa in Moscow

My aunt Lisa in Moscow has just posted another item appropriately titled It’s So Sad. I think she may need to get away to Seattle for a while!


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March 26th, 2003

Explanation for Albin

With entries like the one Paulette just wrote (following those links resulted in uncontrollable spastic laughter, in my third day on the job), f.a.n.s. is sure to be a huge worldwide hit by, like, next week. Until then, we apparently have a huge readership at the Williams-Sonoma call center in Oklahoma City.

That is, of course, where The Judy works. The Judy is, of course, my very own personal mother, the woman who gave birth to me lo these (almostbutnotquite) 30 years ago. So you can imagine The Judy’s pride (The Judy’s Pride being one of The Judy’s great and unassailable qualities) at her very own personal son’s very own personal blog with the son’s very own personal writing up there on the World Wide Web for anyone with a browser to read.

I mean, it’s not like her very own personal son is an actual published writer with a loving remembrance about a mother bearing an unmistakeable resemblance to The Judy on the New York Times Best Seller list for 87 weeks in a row, but clearly having a weblog is really really close to that kind of literary mega-celebrityhood– just with no royalties, no publicist, and no pied-a-terre overlooking Central Park.

Anyway, having told several coworkers about this website that is really much better than filial megacelebrity what with all the lurking media attention that would entail, The Judy found herself having to explain this week why her very own personal son referred to her as The Judy in this post. Which was a challenge, as The Judy has never really understood this particular nomenclature system and has (on occassion) seemed fairly nonplussed by it. One coworker in particular, Albin, whom The Judy adores immensely, took some umbrage to The Judy being called The Judy (by her very own personal son, no less). According to The Judy, he said something along the lines of, “Don’t they know that Judy is this sweet little thing we all have to protect and take care of?”

So here’s the explanation, for Albin, and others. It’s well timed, as The Judy is about to visit Seattle for her very own personal son’s 30th birthday (which hasn’t happened yet, not quite).
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March 25th, 2003

nonedible nonfood

Not since the heady days of my mother’s infamous creation “hot dog soup” have I been so frightened by the appearance of something purporting to be dinner. Well, there was also Doctor Zabdiel Boylston’s Honeycomb Pudding, which had too long a name not involving food products that I should have been suspicious well before making it, but I was young, my dad was the head chef that day, and all I know is that the name was only descriptive if either the good doctor or a honeycomb generally resemble the title creature from the Blob. And can move by it’s own willpower. Yeah, it really did that. Right off the cutting board and across the counter. I still get nightmares about it.

But I digress, which I do a lot, because, well, probably because I’ve got a serious and undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. Or because I’ve killed enough brain cells with alcohol, stress, and other such nonhealthy nonsmartening pursuits, that I’m incapable of staying on point for more than the first four or five words of a given sentence. See?

So where was I? Oh yes, I was being disturbed by food. Which is hard. I’m the kind of gal who actually seeks out such generally frightening dishes as sweetbreads, tripe, salt cod, and pickled fish. Hell, I ate a wide array of unidentifiable floral and faunal squiggly items in Japan without flinching. I ate fish face, eyeballs and all. So, you know, I’m hard to freak out when it comes to food. Unless, of course, the food in question is hot dog soup which is just sick and wrong, or something called Fluffy Mackeral Pudding which is even sicker and wronger. Yeah, the name is scary ok, but not half so scary as the image of “onion sauce” which really looks more like A Fish Named Carrie if you ask me.

What the hell? That’s what you’re thinking, isn’t it? Well, I mean, unless you’ve already seen this site and know what the deal is. But basically, some guy posted all these recipe cards that Weight Watchers put out back in the ’70s with amusing commentary, which couldn’t have been that hard to come up with because, well, the cards are pretty fucking disturbing on their own. I mean, do you really need someone to tell you that anything called inspiration soup would be anything but to the tastebuds, or that rosy perfection salad must have been created by someone who understood the meaning of the word irony much better than Alanis Morissette?

Now, I’m a fan of Weight Watchers. I recommend them like crazy because, well, you know, they kind of saved me and all, got me back on the straight and narrow, or at least, thinner, and I never really thought of them as some weirdass “Here drink this…uhm…Kool-aid” kind of an organization that pulls you in and exerts weird mind control over you, but these cards are kind of making me wonder if Jim Jones didn’t go on to take over their culinary design division after making such a mess in Guyana.


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March 24th, 2003

Wine me, dine me, put me on the Web!

Nothing like a trip to the Continent to wake up one’s inner wine snob (which, truth be told, wasn’t sleeping too heavily)… Some web searching today led me to a great site onWA, Seattle Wine Dinners, Tastings, Classes And Education. What I was– and still am– really looking for is a decent wine club, but this works. The weekend of my birthday there is a fabulous Washington Wine Event at the Stadium Ex, but $85 a person sounds kind of high. Still, a great list of participating wineries and restaurants, and it sounds like something The Judy would love.


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March 24th, 2003

Bizarre Schwab spot

Just to vindicate a comment I made last night during the Academy Awards, I’m not the only person who found the new Charles Schwab add freakish. Slate’s Rob Walker (always astute) had this to say in this wrap-up of how advertisers are dealing with the war:

Be vaguely inspirational: By far the strangest ad of the night was a spot for Charles Schwab, the discount broker. Shot in black and white, it showed people filing out of Wall Street buildings, forming a huge crowd, and marching away from lower Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge as the announcer talked about Schwab having sparked a “revolution.” Last time we saw people streaming out of downtown on foot was, of course, Sept. 11. To echo that image, at any time, is bizarre in the extreme.

But I totally disagree with this estimate:

And Washington Mutual hit all the wrong notes with a couple of Jackass-esque ads. In one, a dirt-biker flies off a cliff and smashes into the rocks below. In another, a guy endures a bad drill job by his dentist, then gets hit in the crotch with a bowling ball. What does this have to do with Washington Mutual’s services? Actually, what are Washington Mutual’s services? These spots were pointless in a way that transcended current events.

We were all howling at the WaMu ads– maybe they’re just a hometown favorite, but I love all their recent ads.


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March 24th, 2003

Where is Raed?

A citizen of Baghdad who calls himself Salam Pax is somehow still updating his blog Where is Raed ?. As the Guardian reports, speculation among the worldwide blog community (and now even mainstream journos) is rife. Where does he live? Is Raed his gay lover? Who knows, and who cares? It’s a fascinating read.


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