Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All gummis great and small

They aren't good for anything, but I love gummis so. Here are some of my favorites:

Trade Joe's Gummy Tummies (at right) - Shockingly good. A workmate shared them with me and I am hooked. Each one has some liquid center in their tummy.... which are super tasty. I recommend leaving them exposed to air for a day - somehow when the gummy hardens a tad it gets even better texture.

Haribo Gold Bears - If you don't know what these are, you're a Philistine. A little harder than yuor average gummi, and high on flavor. Also: The company who makes them has been making them for NINETY YEARS. Nice

Also good: Gummi sharks, Gummi cherries.
Not good at all: That God-awful gummi cola, sour gummi worms

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A nice mantra

Just for today:

Do not be angry

Do not worry

Be grateful

Work with integrity

Be kind to others and to yourself.

- Mikao Usui, "Reiki Principles"

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Jon Rubin Wrinkle-Reduction Method

I've been working on my Photoshop skills recently, and I've done impressed myself. Observe how I took away this woman's crow's feet and other wrinkles about the eyes (double-click to see it more closely). I should charge people to doctor-up their Facebook photos... to create hilarious awkwardness during those first dates.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Don't tell people to smile

Our office is connected to the Department of the Interior via a super-cool underground tunnel with checkpoints! While on the way over there I saw a woman dressed in workman's clothes (heavy overhauls, thick boots, dust all over her).
This wasn't particularly interesting in itself, as they are gutting the Interior and it looks like a warzone. Except that as she walked by she kept her head down almost at her chin, and stared at the ground as if her eyes were lead weights.
At some points in my life in the past, I would have had an impulse to go up to the woman and say something like, "Smile!" or "Whatever it is, it isn't that bad," or even "Allah loves you!"
But no longer. Now, I know that any of those comments are really, really shitty to say to someone.
Here's why: If you are genuinely happy, great! But while happiness and loneliness are contagious, that still doesn't mean you should dish it out to people like servings of porridge. If someone is really sad, there's a reason why. It could be something really big (chronic pain, death in the family, homeless and cold) or comparability smaller (hates their job, is mad at a coworker, feels ugly today). But whatever it is that's wrong - to them, this experience is all encompassing and possibly very embarrassing as well.
It's a safe bet they don't want to be reminded of it any more than they won't to be cheered up. So even if the sight of them makes you sad, let them go on their way unmolested.
Now, if you have a chance to help a person who looks miserable - i.e. hold open a door, help them pick up a dropped package, telling them you like their shoes / sweater / Transformers lunchbox, by all means do. That often works.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If you ever go back in time, this is all you need to rule the world

Like most sensible people, I spend a good deal of time thinking about how I would survive if thrown into the past with just the clothes I had on. I probably won't have a science textbook in my car trunk like Ash did in Army of Darkness, so I'll need to rely on my most unreliable memory. Or, I can use the chart at right.
Thanks Ilan for the tip. The original link and a much larger pic is here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Say Hi to Your Haters

I've spent some time at Toastmasters recently, and heard some great speeches on all topics. This one, written by a colleague, is dedicated to a very important person I know who is dealing with a problem of this sort. Hope it helps.

Say Hi to your haters
by S.S.

Hater is a slang term used when describing a person who is against you for whatever reason... People tend to use the term hater more in the context of a person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. As I grow, I am noticing more that there are a lot of people who are not happy about my happiness or not happy about my success. This used to bother me. Now, today, I expect it. Now, I accept it.

...The truth is, there will always be opposition. There will always be whispers. There will always be rumors and gossip. It’s been like that since biblical days. Jesus had haters. That’s the way it is, that’s the way its always going to be.

In all of the altercations/ clashes I have been in, there is not one that I can say was worth it. You simply cannot fight fire with fire. There is nothing positive, that can come from negative. So if you're Tiger Woods and the world turns against you, retreat. If your coworker is not playing fair, back away. That battle is not yours.

The truth is: that person is unhappy. Their lack of self-contentment is what leads them to throw darts at you. This is not about you. It’s about them. If they weren’t talking about you, being jealous of you, looking at you with one eyebrow up- they’d be complaining about somebody else. It’s not about you. Don’t take it personal.

You all that have heard me a few times - my speeches are personal. So, you better believe I recently had to handle a situation like this. And I was proud of myself. I love Joel Osteen. He’s a pastor and author. In one of his books, Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day, there was a chapter on handling critics. He said in the Old Testament critics were called Slingers. And when the slingers went to attack another city they took rocks and threw them into the city wells. They figured that if they could clog up the wells and stop the flow of water, eventually the people of the city would have to come out. Do you understand that. You could have a well of peace, good will and intent, victory. Don’t let a Slinger speak against you and clog up your well. Don’t let them “force you out” of your happiness. Keep your well flowing and pure- because I have learned nothing positive and come from negative.

You might want to retaliate. I encourage you to retreat. The battle is not yours. That person has issues within themselves. Don’t put energy into owning their issues. Don’t do any research. If Sally said Susie was talking about you, don’t ask Sam if he’s heard anything. Don’t feed that fire. I believe it is easier to shake a hater off if you don’t know all the details. If someone comes up to you at the family reunion and says your cousin was talking about you - before that person starts with the "he said, she said, they said," tell them stop. Tell them you like to keep your well pure. Don’t allow those negative thoughts to enter into your mind.

So to all the haters out there, I have one thing to say: Hi!

(Note: She changed her ending on the fly, but I think it was something like that. I loved this speech)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ethical question: Did I do the right thing?

Last night was the bocce championship. It was a big deal to our team - we were 6-0 and 1st place in the league. Everyone was jockeying to beat us, and I was the captain.
Our team had four players (one was sick). Their team had two, the bare minimum to play and a strange sight for the finals. The two were: A brawny but smarmy guy with a baseball cap, and a nondescript girl who wasn't wearing a team shirt for some reason.
They were good, very good. This was strange, because they were the LAST PLACE team in the league. We were suspect of the fact that there were just two of them, because they played every frame and got to learn the field while we had to rotate. Also, it seemed as if they sent their best two players to play all night while leaving their crappy players at home.
Also, according to my teammates, apparently they were cheating as well. You are supposed to play behind a line and not step forward - this is pretty important because the field is small and even leaning in a few inches can make a big deal if the play is close. The guy on their team was apparently leaning over so much that our teammate Jemma kicked him lightly and told him to back up.
We were neck and neck in the first few rounds of the game. At one point I asked them where the rest of their team was.
"Oh, they are out of town on business," the guy said.
"I'm not even on the team," the girl said. "I just showed up to play."

I smiled, but inside my mind was churning. When I had a moment to slip away I went over to the refs and asked if a team needs at least two registered players to win. They said yes, and without two registrees they automatically forfeit.

"So," the refs asked me as the captain-in-charge. "What do you want to do about this?"

So the question for you, my readers, is

Should I have:

A. Told them they need to forfeit so we automatically advance to the next round. Rules are rules.

B. Played out the game. Winning is important, but so is skill. We want to win because we're the best, not on a technicality

I'll tell you what happened in a few days.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December is a good time to have a beard if you're homeless

Sure, it keeps your face warm and you save money on shaving equipment, but I'm willing to bet if you have a white beard in December, your panhandling earnings are probably up 200%.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Art of Lady Gaga

Dianna got me interested in checking out Lady Gaga's very strange videos on Youtube.
Bad Romance is a good example. They are visually decadent and disturbing. The lighting is stark. There are also extremely intricate and "fashion forward" costumes and sets - an outlandish science fiction fashion show. Feast your peepers.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Slavery in Rhode Island? You betcha

I was in New England for Thanksgiving. My stepmom was talking about some bad experiences she had in the south regarding racism, and remarked that she was proud that she came from the north where they kept away from this stuff.
Without thinking, I (cruelly?) burst her bubble.
"Phyllis, you know that Rhode Island was a main importer of slaves, right? That's where a lot of the old Newport and Providence money came from."
She was shocked. "They didn't teach that in grade school in Rhode Island," she said.
"No," I said. "I didn't learn it in grade school either."
Turns out I learned it on the job at the Rhode Island Jewish Herald in 2001, where I covered a story by a man named Keith Stokes who is a descendant of Rhode Island slaves (here is his lengthy genealogy).
Brown University, which was heavily indebted to slavery, has some impressive research on the topic. Here is an excerpt:

Rhode Island played a leading role in the transatlantic slave trade. Not only did Rhode Islanders have slaves—they had more per capita than any other New England state—but they also entered with gusto into the trade. By the close of the eighteenth century, Rhode Islanders had mounted at least a thousand voyages from Africa to the Americas...

In 1652, Rhode Island passed a law abolishing African slavery, similar to those governing indentured European servants, where “black mankinde” could not be indentured more than ten years. The law was evidently never enforced and the demand for cheap labor prevailed. The market for sugar and its related product, rum, was too compelling. During the colonial period, Rhode Island was one corner of what has been named the “triangular trade,” by which slave-produced sugar and molasses from the Caribbean were carried to Rhode Island and made into rum. The rum was then carried to West Africa and exchanged for slaves, to produce more sugar, more rum, and more slaves.

(The complete article is here.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Maybe I'm smarter than I thought

I left journalism for public service / PR for many reasons. They all orbit around one thing - my general disenchantment with journalism as a career, for these reasons:

1. Pitiful pay
2. Limited opportunities
3. High stress
4. Long hours
5. Extremely competitive environment where self-sacrifice is expected but not rewarded
6. Arrogant douchebags / drama queens make up 70% of the workforce

When I took my current job, I met journalists at J-school mixers who told me I had "gone to the dark side" or that I was a "traitor... ha ha." I felt bad at first for working so hard to get such great training and then veering from the chosen path.
But when I read articles like this about "Journicide", I wonder if I hadn't made the right decision all along. I took my good training and years of experience, got my contacts and then went somewhere where I can make use of them without dying of heart failure by 43.
I love journalism, newsgathering and good reporting and writing. But I am not devoted enough to this cause to enter that lion's den and end up living in my parent's basement.
In the end, I guess, I care more about quality of life than the craft.
And I'm OK with that.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Let kids get their prayer on

Even if you think prayer is stupid, kids should still be allowed to do it if they want to.
But not in Lewiston, Maine, apparently:

The family of a 7th-grade Muslim student says she was forbidden to pray inside Lewiston Middle School by school officials. Ismail Warsame says his niece had been praying on her free time ever since school started in September. But he said school administrators told her last week that praying wasn't allowed in school, and that her mother would have to take her outside the building to pray. Warsame says the family contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington D.C., and that his niece was briefly allowed to pray after the organization contacted the school...but that a teacher once again kept her from praying the next day. (More here).

As Freud said: Asshattery.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The U.S. is freakin crazy about landmines...

... which sucks.

U.S. won't join landmine ban, administration decides

My guess is because we're a global leader in landmine manufacturing. And here's a little bit more about WHY it sucks so hard.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Products that don't work

If you have a problem in the U.S., you better bet your ass there's a product that touts to fix that problem.
But how can you find out if it really works?
Well, you could visit Consumer Reports, or sign up for Recall information from us good folks at the Federal Citizen Information Center... but there's a better way.
Why, simply trust the good folk(s) at Rubin on Wry, of course!
For example:

1. If you have mice.... DON'T buy anything from Tomcat. Nothing I've bought from them has ever worked. They sell these at the supermarket.

2. If you have ants... DON'T buy Raid Ant Bait. I saw ants walk up to it, sniff it and walk away. All day. Worthless. Also sold at supermarkets where suckers (like me) buy them.

3. If you have shower scum... DON'T buy the Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Foamer. Dianna used it and it said it basically did nothing. Here are some quality shower-cleaning tips from a trustworthy source.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bishop in RI holds back communion from Kennedy

WOW..... as in... wow.

Bishop bars Patrick Kennedy from Communion over abortion

Kennedy is sort of a so-so congressman by RI standards, but we also kinda love him, like we'd love a troublesome, Dennis-the-Menace sorta nephew who is still good to his momma. But this is ridiculous, sad, and really damning. So he can't WORSHIP because of his beliefs? Isn't that between him and Jesus? Aren't the days of religious institutions excommunicating people over?
And if not, shouldn't they be?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What cigarettes do to the inside of your computer

This was inspired by a story about Apple voiding warranties if your second-hand smoke breaks your computer. Seems harsh, until you see this evidence by Fark computer geeks:

Normal dust (cleans easy)

Smoke damage (doesn't)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Guilt for eating grass-fed meat? Say it ain't so....

From the Washington Post:

Meat that's raised according to "alternative" standards (about 1 percent of meat in the United States) might be a better choice but not nearly as much so as its privileged consumers would have us believe. "Free-range chickens" theoretically have access to the outdoors. But many "free-range" chickens never see the light of day because they cannot make it through the crowded shed to the aperture leading to a patch of cement.

"Grass-fed" beef produces four times the methane -- a greenhouse gas 21 times as powerful as carbon dioxide -- of grain-fed cows, and many grass-fed cows are raised on heavily fertilized and irrigated grass. Pastured pigs are still typically mutilated, fed commercial feed and prevented from rooting -- their most basic instinct besides sex.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

My girlfriend is a writing machine

She is far too modest for what she accomplishes.
Like her writing, for example. Besides her very busy schedule as Senior Web Producer at Politico, she also somehow finds time to write some articles.
As in, a lot of articles:

Mixed approval for POTUS, policies
- Nov. 19, 2009
Obama, Half-Brother Catch Up - Nov. 18, 2009Chefs, pols cook for charity - Nov. 13, 2009
Do young voters love Obama? - Oct. 14, 2009
Frank on... Frank - Oct. 6, 2009
The Life of a Foodie - Sept. 30, 2009
Taking a hit - Aug. 25, 2009
Dean responds to 'outlandish' claims -
Aug. 13, 2009
VF hearts Obamas -
Aug. 4, 2009
Your evening speed-read -
Jun. 29, 2009
'Fore' in a row -
Jun. 28, 2009
Batter up, Baracklyn Cyclones! -
Jun. 25, 2009
Baracklyn? -
Jun. 24, 2009
Cartographer-in-chief -
Jun. 16, 2009AF1 flap - May. 28, 2009Gallup: Sotomayor strong - May. 28, 2009Clinton and Saberi - May. 27, 2009
Poll: Self-identified independents surge -
May. 26, 2009
Wright, Ayers team up -
May. 18, 2009
A Dem primary foe for Kanjorski? -
Apr. 22, 2009Bloomberg's 'win-chill' factor - Mar. 25, 2009 Obama vs. Palin: Grudge match 2012? - Mar. 20, 2009 Who leads the GOP? - Mar. 18, 2009 Congressional approval ratings rise - Mar. 12, 2009

And her weekly summaries of what politicos are going to be yakking the yak on Sunday talk shows.

Sunday talk show tip sheet - Nov. 14, 2009
Sunday talk show tip sheet - Nov. 7, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Oct. 31, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Oct. 24, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Oct. 17, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Oct. 10, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Sep. 26, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Sep. 19, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Sep. 12, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Sep. 5, 2009Sunday talk show tip sheet - Aug. 29, 2009

You go, girl.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Important questions people ask Google

Dianna just showed me this. I can't believe how entertaining this is...

Go to Google and type in the beginning of a question: Why is, why are, etc. It will show the results of other questions people have asked recently.
My favorite: "Why is there a dead Pakistani on my couch?"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Your bathroom is fucking disgusting

Face it - you probably have mold all over your shower. It may be brown, yellow or red, but it's hooking you up with a mess of spores that you are breathing in like an idiot. Mold can even grow where you least suspect - the ceiling - hanging above you like a freaking bat (albeit a flat bat).

Dealing with mold and mildew isn't easy. Seeing commercials with people spraying their showers after they're done after EVERY shower, or with some weird auto-washing contraption - I figured these people were certifiable crazy hypochondriacs or just suckers. But the stuff never really dies, and if you get lazy, if you turn your back for even a minute to get more toilet paper.... IT'S BAAAACK.

So here's how to kill it a little:

1. Keep a window open. Standing water is always the enemy - it either creates mosquitoes or mold, both of which suck ass. Ventilation will help dry everything, and keep the temperature down. Keep the door open as well.
2. Close the fucking shower curtain. Your mom was right after all.
3. If mold happens (and it will unless you're Martha Stuart), start out first by scrubbing the HELL out of it. Yes, forget chemical, just scrub that sucka. Use a strong bristled brush or steel wool to get at really tough spots that are making you crazy. Some places recommend dipping paper towels in vinegar and sticking those on the wall, but this didn't do much for me. I tried the same thing with OxyClean (which is better for the environment than bleach) but it also didn't do much. The only thing that really DID help was scrubbing my hands raw.
So do that.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This beer sucks

So we all love the MGD 64 Light ads, but the beer?
Watery badness. Tastes like fizzy water with a single hops flower dipped in for .5 seconds.
Still, it goes down easy, and it's cheap. Maybe good for an after work beer when no one is around to scoff.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The truth about 'Truth'

I was always equal parts impressed and skeptical about the ballsy in-your-face anti-smoking ads - like this shredder one or this super-memorable one about rat poison.
My skepticism, however, came from the fact that there seemed to be no information at the time about the ad sponsor - someone called "Truth." There was no info about their funding or other stuff, and so rumors circulated that they were, in fact, funding by cigarette companies who were forced to create anti-smoking ad campaigns against their own products (which is ridiculous, but that's another story).
I was at a PR conference a few weeks ago, and they said that the Truth ads were, in fact, sponsored by the American Legacy Foundation, which was created by tobacco $$$ given to the government as part of a settlement.
So AHA!!! I guess tobacco companies are kind of behind it... but not really.... Damn, I thought this article was going to end differently but Wikipedia done steered me wrong...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Diagramming a Disease

Thanks to my pal Melissa for sharing this one. It's a fantastic chart about how smallpox has traveled the world.
Good for book learnin'.

Monday, November 9, 2009


What a fantastic idea - rewrite those ultra-lame airplane safety cartoons into funtastic creations (a.k.a. airtoons)!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Are hand dryers in public bathrooms unsanitary as hell?

My aunt forwarded me this email:

"Everyone in the cleaning industry has always been told that hand dryers in restrooms are not sanitary, they spread germs and bacteria around. I always thought that this just came from the paper companies because they are losing sales to the hand dryers.
A couple of years ago, I was working with a rep...
He told me to take a look under the hand dryer next time I was in a restroom. There is a filter underneath the hand dryer that is supposed to be cleaned on a weekly basis. I looked at one and it looked like it hadn't been cleaned in years. It had layers and layers of caked on gunk (disgusting)...
Now this is where the story gets really interesting. The schools and universities that have had the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak this year are being told by the health department that they have to take out all of their hand dryers and replace them with towel dispensers because the hand dryers are spreading disease.

And some cursory Wikipedia research agrees with this:

"In 2008, a study was conducted by the University of Westminster, London, to compare the levels of hygiene offered by paper towels, warm air hand dryers and the more modern jet-air hand dryers.
The key findings were:

* after washing and drying hands with the warm air dryer, the total number of bacteria was found to increase on average on the finger pads by 194% and on the palms by 254%

* drying with the jet air dryer resulted in an increase on average of the total number of bacteria on the finger pads by 42% and on the palms by 15%

* after washing and drying hands with a paper towel, the total number of bacteria was reduced on average on the finger pads by up to 76% and on the palms by up to 77%."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What I know about landmines

Landmines come in all shapes and sizes - heavy flat discs, little squat things that look like gray beets. They used to be made of metal, but to get around metal detectors people began building them out of plastic, which makes them basically unfindable.
Except by feet, that is.
The worst thing about mines is that they are built to last, as in for decades. So you fight a war, lay mines around your borders or other valuables sites, and when the conflict is over... well, you were so busy fighting you can't remember where you put them.
But people, especially kids, have this penchant for walking around and exploring. And the vast majority of landmine attacks hurt civilians. Often they don't kill - they just blow off a leg or two.
For this reason, they have been considered a scourge against humanity and are are campaigned against by the Nobel Peace Prize Winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).
I've also seen them in person during our "Reporting in Dangerous Areas" journalism excursion, where we learned about weapons and CPR from former British mercenaries (yes, it kicked ass).
All this info is lead-up to this story: It is possible to actually safely locate a landmine with nothing more than a pointy stick and a lot of guts.
If you think you are in the middle of a minefield, you can get safely out (with some luck) by inserting the stick into the ground slowly at a 45 degree angle. If there is a mine in front of you, you will hit the base and not the trigger. You can therefore advance, inch by inch, through dangerous territory.
Now I'd never want to do this, ever. If I found a mine and got around it even once, I would think I was divinely blessed or something. But this guy did it (and does it) thousands and thousands of times, and has cleared entire miles of land by himself.
His name is Aki Ra.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Her Majesty, or, "What's Wrong With This Ad?"

I'm sure Sandra Robinson is an excellent lawyer. She may even be a "Super Lawyer," as she confidently claims.
However, she may want to rethink her marketing slogan:

"Queen of Malpractice"

Is this a good idea, even a little bit? The "Queen of Malpractice" sounds like a scary, scalpel-wielding M.D. who happens to be the sister of the Black Widow.
Man, if I saw someone called the "Queen of Malpractice"coming my way I would be hightailing it out of there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I've probably spent a lot more time in cemeteries than most people my age, and I've enjoyed most of it, too.
A great wooden area in Pawtucket, Rhode Island led into Swan Point Cemetery, a large and very old place where, among others, horror writer H.P. Lovecraft is buried. The area was beautiful and serene - joggers were encouraged to use the area, and it was near a river and full squirrels, birds and other fun critters. I spent whole summers in those woods, looking for the oldest, oddest or most regal grave.
We also have a family burial plot where my great-great-great-great grandfather is buried in Massachusetts, and once a year we would pay respects in what my dad called "Visit the dead Rubins" day.
Finally, my dad worked for a few years as the owner of a monument company (a.k.a. gravestones), and his office was filled with stones, plaques, urns and other cool stuff for a young boy to check out.
Recently, Slate did an article about people who spend a lot of time at graveyards called "gravers." It seemed like a bullshit non-existant trend story, until my coworker told me he is totally a graver and visits graveyards all over the world. My Dad also claimed to be a proud graver - he used to do rubbings of graves so he could collect imprints of their text and artwork.
I never really found graves or cemeteries creepy for some reason. Maybe because I went there so often, or because I read lots of comics, or maybe there is just something soothing about stone, grass and the outdoors.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Imparting the lesson

At the voting booth at 6:40 a.m. this morning, there were the usual group of Democrats and Republicans handing out "instructive ballots" telling you exactly how they wanted you to vote. My vote was digital, painless and took all of 3 minutes.
When I got out, I noticed that the Republican flyer-hander-outer was about 70, and the Democratic ones were spunky folks in their 30's. I imagined a scene in my head, talking to my future son:

Me: Son, see these two groups. This one (pointing to the old man) is the Republican. He believes in tradition, and that people should find their own way in life. He is scared of the future and new ideas. He believes the old ways are best and the new ways will take us into darkness.
This one (pointing to the young folks) is the Democrat. He believes that the old ways are wrong and that we should give power to as many power as possible. He believes that we are all responsible for each other, even for the irresponsible among us. He sees the past as a mistake and wants to leave it behind forever.
So, which do you think has the right answer?
Son: (hesitant)... I don't know.
Me: That's a good answer. No one has all the answers. Life isn't about extremes, it's about the gray areas in between. Each can learn from each other if they only talk and look for what's right, not what their interests are.
Son: Dad, I'm three. I have no idea what you're talking about.
Me: Oh... I see. Well... you're grounded.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: A free GI JOE mug from 7-11

There is nothing more valued and cherished than free bullshit / merch.
So when I received my free GI JOE: RISE OF COBRA official commemorative slurpee cup from 7-11, my heart surely did thumpeth in my chest.
I enjoyed the orange molding. It felt right in my hand, like I imagine a katana would. One demerit that was quickly noticeable: the size what something less to be desired for regular office drinkitude.
It served me well for months as the movie hype came and went. Never did I see the movie, but I saw the cup daily, and gladly.
Until today. I noticed a strange taste in my cup. I knew it couldn't come from the water, since I shell out a few bucks a month for unlimited Poland Springs at work. I looked into the bottom of the cup and noticed a discoloration; the orange at the bottom of the cup had turned white. And there was a bitter, plasticky taste that could not be ignored.
I gave my cup a 12-gun salute (in my head) and chucked it in the garbage near the coffee filters.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How quickly we forget... Susan Boyle

Remember Susan Boyle? The matronly sleeper-hit of some British sing-song show?
I do, but barely. She doesn't get the headlines, or the eyeballs.
I was so moved by her performance that I became a fan of her on Facebook, and I've been steadily losing interest and caring less and less about her exploits, even though I think she's great and I'm happy I know about her.
And it's interesting to see the numbers of people commenting on her FB messages generally decreasing, as if she's become someone we invited to a party on impulse, and is slowly losing their appeal by trying to sell us shower curtain rings....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

VISA Application question: Ever hang around any Nazis?

Thanks Mel for the tip off here - I think this is just incredible. She lives in Brazil, and passed on this VISA Application questionnaire (click to enlarge).
I guess The Boys From Brazil wasn't that off after all.... except for the whole cloning Hitler's brain thing....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Muliye Gurmu, I'm sorry

I wasn't suprised when I heard that the woman who placed first in DC's 22,000 Marine Corp Marathon was Ethiopian, since it seems that East Africans have this stuff in the bag. However, the Post's comment that Muliye Gurmu:

"...usually only competes in races with cash prizes, but entered Sunday's race as a favor to [her trainer] Bozgoz, who was in the Army"...

left me feeling... petty. My mature reaction was, "Ohhh... thanks so much for honoring us with your presence, Ms. Gurmu. I know you usually only do this for the money, so thanks for brining your $100,000 feet onto the road with the rest of us plebians." (Well, not me since I didn't run it, but the actual athletes)

I brought this up to an active runner friend of mine, and she told me that for many Ethiopians races are their sole source of income. So, like, they need to run to survive, to eat and to pay bills. I found this pretty shocking.

So, Muliye Gurmu, I'm sorry I talked some trash aboutcha.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chirp chirp

This incredible video by the great folks at TED shows up how good and bad sounds effect and impact our lives.
Most interesting to me if when he says that bird song calms us physiologically because we have been trained for thousands of years to equate birds singing with the absence of danger. It's when birds stop singing that we get nervous. "It's quiet... too quiet..."
If this is true, than this might be the best thing ever - streams of bird song, 24 hours a day.
I actually feel like I'm sitting in a park when I hear this...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ted Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery

I'm really, really lucky to live within walking distance of Arlington National Cemetery, America's most famous resting place for members of the Armed Forces. I went recently with friends, and I checked out the recent gravesite of Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Growing up in New England, to me Ted was almost like a political superhero. I didn't really know too much about him or his policies, but I knew we were really, really lucky to have him in our backyard.
And now, strangely, he's in my backyard again. Is that a grim observation, or poetic? I can't tell.
In any case, here are some pics of the gravesite. He's buried at the foot of the hill where JFK is buried. Robert F. Kennedy is at the foot as well, and both his and Ted's graves are identical and understated - a simple white cross and a floor marker (click to enlarge the bottom photo).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Prostars, Biyatch

Thanks Colleen for making me crack the hell up about this.... Good ol' childhood cartoons. I love it how the come out of the lockers to fight crime. If I recall this show - starring the voices of Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretsky and Bo Jackson - actually rocked.
Bonus: Some of the comments in the Youtube clip are fantastic, including:

abergeron (1 week ago) WTF why did Bo Jackson have to kill the dude in the saw truck he's just making a living

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Scary Convention - Value Voters Summit

Normally when people say, "I'm all for freedom of assembly," they immediately follow with something they wish would never assemble again.
That's exactly what I'm gonna do, too.
Observe the Value Voter's Summit, which took place last month (OK, I'm late). The event was put together by a variety of conservative orgs, including Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and American Values. ( Fun tip - create your own conservative lobby by just including as many of the following words in your title as you can: Family, American, Values).
It's the schedule of the event that gets me. Most of the events are just conservative economic and policy discussions. That's fine.
Then there's this:

Dr. Calvin Beisner, National Spokesman, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

Huh? How the hell did this get tossed in there? Can you imagine a liberal lobby event where a Kaballah teacher taught about why recycling was God's will, or a Rastafarian taught about the economic and religious benefits of growing weed???
It continues:

Ultimately, climate change hysteria rests on an unbiblical view of God, mankind, and the environment. Come and hear how the Cornwall Alliance is pushing back--producing ground-breaking studies on Biblical environmentalism, educating pastors and churches across the country, and activating thousands of Christians to rally against the hype through the Campaign...

And another one:


Casey Smith, Jr., Executive Assistant to the Chairman and President, American Family Association

Americans are at a greater risk of losing their basic freedoms today than ever before in the history of this nation. Political correctness and the voice of the liberal minority are undermining the morals and values of main-stream America. Christians are being silenced all across America: in the political debate, the public square, the schools, the workplace, and even in the sanctuary of their own churches....

And finally

Mark Bucher, Bucher & Palmer, LLP; Lila Rose, President, LiveAction


Monday, October 19, 2009

Photography tips

As a former professional photojournalist for 6 years, I know a few things about cameras. I thought this graphic about artificial light projection would be helpful for the neophyte.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fashion victim?

What is the deal with these cuffs, and are they really appropriate for a stroll in Arlington National Cemetery? Or, really, a stroll anywhere outside of Eastern Europe?

Friday, October 16, 2009

A blight upon my eyes

Sometimes, a music video is so bad, we become confused:
Was this artistic nightmare intended? It is a self-parody?
Or is this the first salvo in a vengeful, merciless Judgment Day? Because I feel like I'm being judged by a divine and angry being whenever I see Shakira's She Wolf video..
Also, now that she did away with her curly hair she looks like one of the Desperate Housewives or something....

Thursday, October 15, 2009