Friday, November 18, 2005

Things we won't be drinking soon

From Yahoo News:

New festive sodas knock the stuffing out of Christmas dinner

Thu Nov 17, 2:23 PM ET

Forget slaving over a hot stove, fishing out the giblets and peeling the veggies -- this year's Christmas Dinner is coming out of a soda bottle.

It might sound like a bizarre brew plucked from the pages of Harry Potter or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but a Seattle-based firm has a new line of artificially flavored festive drinks in time for US Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Topping the menu is a delicate smoked salmon pate drink, preparing the palate for sodas flavored with turkey and gravy or a dull green liquid masquerading as brussels sprouts.

On the side, try a sip of wild herb stuffing or broccoli casserole garnished with cranberry sauce, then wash it down with dessert -- pumpkin or Pecan pie soda.

Jones Soda Company is known for its unorthodox flavors, and markets its products as "good old soda, with a twist."

This festive season, for the third year running the small independent firm has shipped a limited edition two-box set of five festive sodas to selected stores across the United States.

"We have been keeping it in limited amounts, we sure as hell don't want it sitting around the warehouse for us to drink, in like May!" said Diana Turner, Jones Soda marketing associate.

"The worst one is the brussels sprouts, its horrible, its awful... sadly it does kind of taste like buttery little sprouts in a bottle," Turner said.

"I don't like those in real life... in soda form it makes it just a little bit more weird."

"The smoked salmon is, strangely, very fishy... it is true to what it says it is, it's got the smoky kind of grilled taste to it," Turner said.

Each bottle is distinct, and a good approximation of the festive fare it is supposed to represent, though definitely an acquired taste, especially as the carbonated fizz takes a bit of getting used to.

While the taste might be a challenge, those watching their waists will be please to know that each drink is devoid of fat, carbohydrates and calories.

I'll have a bottle of gravy, and a chaser of Brussels sprouts
- no, make that smoked salmon -
oh the hell with it, where is the bottle of Cheetos?

Global warming? What global warming?

Individual Storm Summary

Winds in knots, pressure in millibars, category is based on Saffir-Simpson scale.

1Tropical Storm ARLENE 08-13 JUN 60 30 -
2Tropical Storm BRET 28-30 JUN 35 1002 -
3Tropical Storm CINDY 03-07 JUL 60 992 -
4Hurricane DENNIS 05-13 JUL 130 930 4
5Hurricane EMILY 11-21 JUL 135 929 4
6Tropical Storm FRANKLIN 21-29 JUL 60 997 -
7Tropical Storm GERT 23-25 JUL 40 1005 -
8Tropical Storm HARVEY 02-08 AUG 55 994 -
9Hurricane IRENE 04-18 AUG 85 975 2
10Tropical Depression TEN 13-14 AUG 30 1008 -
11Tropical Storm JOSE 22-23 AUG 45 1001 -
12Hurricane KATRINA 23-31 AUG 150 902 5
13Tropical Storm LEE 28 AUG-02 SEP 35 1007 -
14Hurricane MARIA 01-10 SEP 100 960 3
15Hurricane NATE 05-10 SEP 80 979 1
16Hurricane OPHELIA 06-18 SEP 80 976 1
17Hurricane PHILIPPE 17-24 SEP 70 985 1
18Hurricane RITA 18-26 SEP 150 897 5
19Tropical Depression NINETE30 SEP-02 OCT 30 1006 -
20Hurricane STAN 01-05 OCT 70 979 1
21Tropical Storm TAMMY 05-06 OCT 45 30 -
22Tropical Depression TWENTY08-09 OCT 30 1009 -
23Hurricane VINCE 09-11 OCT 65 987 1
24Hurricane WILMA 15-25 OCT 150 882 5
25Tropical Storm ALPHA 22-24 OCT 45 998 -
26Hurricane BETA 27-31 OCT 100 960 3
27Tropical Depression TWENTY14-16 NOV 30 1004 -
28Tropical Storm GAMMA 18-19 NOV 40 1006 -Active

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bus Plunge

The Scotsman carried this report:

The Press Association

Sun 13 Nov 2005
Bus plunge adds to quake misery

A bus with 50 people on board plunged from a bridge into a river gorge in quake-stricken north-eastern Pakistan, killing at least three people, police said.

The bus fell several yards into the Neelum River at Ghori, about 10 miles from Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir, the reports said.

Three bodies have so far been pulled from the wreck, said Shahid Hassan Quereshi, a top Kashmiri police official.

Ghulam Ullah Azad, a spokesman for the Islamic charity Jamat-e-Dawad, said members of his group were the first on the scene and had begun pulling out bodies.

"We don't know whether there are any survivors," he said.

Azad said about 50 people had been travelling on the bus.

Quereshi said he didn't know how many were on board.

Muzaffarabad and its surroundings were devastated by the October 8 earthquake, which killed more than 86,000 people.

Many roads were blocked by landslides or disappeared over the sides of cliffs, making land travel in the area extremely dangerous.

Why Bus Plunges?

Here is the Wikipedia entry:

Bus plunge

A bus plunge is a phenomenon in news media, where whenever a passenger bus is involved in a mishap (typically involving injuries or fatalities, but not always), it is almost invariably described as having plunged into whatever it hit, or off of whatever it left. A change in elevation is not required for the term to be applied by a news writer.

On any given day, you can search the news with your favorite news search for "Bus Plunge", and you will find stories about buses that, well, 'plunged' into or off of things.

This is not to say that buses are any more dangerous than other motor vehicles, which crash, slide, bump, fall, roll, careen, plummet, etc. into things so routinely that around 48,000 people are killed and more than three million people are injured in all kinds of motor vehicles every year just in the United States. Buses just seem to be more prone to be described as having plunged than other vehicles.

I do collect bus plunges.

It certainly is an odd avocation, but it is hardly unique.

So did my younger brother, who even composed a song about them (called, oddly enough, "Bus Plunge").

The emotions involved are certainly not Schadenfreude, that most German of emotions. Nor are they at all ghoulish. It is closer to showing Death your Nelson Rockefeller "Mr. Finger Digit Puppet ".

There are web sites devoted to bus plunges.

Practically every newspaper printed in the English language has printed bus plunge articles. The Times of London. The Independent. The Irish Times. The list is seemingly endless.

Even the New York Times has bus plunges. Yes, The Paper of Record( in this country) has archives of bus plunges going back to 1926. Here are a few headlines. They always have the words "bus" and "plunge" linked together in the headline.
  • 35 HURT WHEN BUS PLUNGES TO RIVER, Jul 5, 1926; pg. 2, 1
  • 26 INJURED AS BUS PLUNGES INTO LAKE, May 31, 1928; pg. 27, 1
  • BUS PLUNGE INJURES SIX FROM NEW YORK, Jan 21, 1935; pg. 5, 1
  • MANY HURT AS BUS PLUNGES OFF ROAD, Jul 15, 1935; pg. 1, 2
  • 14 DIE AS BUS PLUNGES INTO RIVER, Dec 23, 1935; pg. 1, 2
There is a haunting similarity running through bus plunges. Each article is just column filler, almost irrelevant in the electronic age, and so small, yet containing hints of unspeakable horrors. Every occasion seems to arise - funerals, weddings, vacations, or just plain business. No country is immune, although third world countries seem to bear the worst of the burden.

Twenty killed in bus plunge
TWENTY people were killed when a bus plunged into a ravine on a mountain pass in South Africa. Fourteen women and six children, including a three-year-old girl, were killed when the driver of the bus, licensed for 65 passengers but carrying 77, lost ...
Bus plunge kills 45 in Bangladesh
Rescue workers and divers searching for bodies in a partially submerged bus after it plunged off a bridge, killing 45 passengers and injuring 15 in Bangladesh yesterday. The bus was carrying workers and their families returning from holidays in the c...

70 feared killed in wedding bus plunge;India
Dhaka - At least 70 people are feared to have died when a bus carrying a wedding party plunged off a mountain road into the Karnafuli river in south-east Bangladesh. The bus was taking about 100 people to a wedding at the hill resort town of Kaptai, ...

60 injured in bus plunge / South Wales (133)
Women and children were among more than 60 people injured when a bus packed with shoppers crashed and plunged 60 feet down an embankment in a South Wales village yesterday. The double-decker bus was carrying about 70 passengers to a superstore in Lla...
Other vehicles plunge as well:
  • trains
    12 dead in train plunge

    12nov04 AT LEAST 12 people were killed and about 160 injured when a train derailed in the dark and plunged down a slope in the Philippines early today, officials said.

    The Manila-bound Philippine National Rail
    ways train with about 400 people on board came off the rails at speed near this town 130km south east of the capital around 2.00am (5am AEDT), the civil defence office said.)

Dean Kirby

PLANE: An Air Transat Airbus, similar to the plunge plane.

AN air stewardess was injured when she fell from an plane as it prepared for take-off. She is thought to have been closing a rear door on an Air Transat jet when she plunged 20ft on to the concrete at Manchester Airport
  • cars

    Bridget Fonda hurt in car plunge

    February 28 2003

    Actress Bridget Fonda was recovering in a Los Angeles hospital today after suffering head and neck injuries in a car crash.

    The Single White Female star was alone in the car, believed to be a new Jaguar, when it tumbled over an embankment on a rain-drenched section of the Pacific Coast Highway early yesterday morning, police said.
  • trucks Thirteen killed in Iran truck plunge
    10/12/2004 - 15:04:10

    A pickup truck plunged into a river amid heavy rains in southern Iran today, killing 13 people, state-run radio reported.

    The truck, carrying 14 passengers, dived into the Dashtestan seasonal river in Bushehr province, the radio said without elaborating

Cow’s suicide plunge destroys woman’s car A 36-year-old Austrian woman was injured when a cow fell on her car, landing on the hood. The cow had wandered onto a hillside near Salzburg and toppled off over the exit lanes of a tunnel as the woman’s car was emerging.

The cow was killed in the fall.

As I read the article from The Scotsman, I saw in a sidebar that one could search the archive - Every issue of The Scotsman from 1817 - 1950. And so I did. Here are a few images.

The Scotsman - 12th September 1927

The Scotsman - 23rd July 1930, page 14

The Scotsman
- 13th September 1938, page 6

It seems to me that, as long as there have been buses, there have been bus plunges. Remarkable.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Early to bed and early to rise...

The Prince of Evil on the Right reports at Townhall

WASHINGTON -- President Bush was furious with the staff preparation for last week's inter-American summit in Argentina where his trade proposals ran into unexpected opposition.

The president was reported as particularly unhappy with the work by his National Security Council staff in getting ready for the meeting. That added to Bush's distress in Buenos Aires, dealing with violent street demonstrators and hostile fellow presidents led by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and including Argentina's Nestor Kirchner.

The crowning indignity for Bush was the Friday night state dinner starting at 10 p.m., an hour when the president normally is in bed. He left the dinner early, but it was midnight by then.

As Nathan Pusey once said, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a person feel virtuous all morning and sleepy all afternoon." - Onymous Guy

Friday, November 11, 2005

Are You experiencing deja écouté?

I have an odd sense of deja écouté, the aural equivalent of deja vu. Sadly No! explains it all [more]

Speech at the National Endowment for Democracy,
Oct. 6, 2005
Veterans' Day Speech,
November 11, 2005
Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus -- and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics. Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; and still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism, subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews -- and against Muslims, themselves, who do not share their radical vision.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Is this a new trend?

This flurry of headlines makes me wonder if I am missing some important undercurrent in contemporary social thought. I am sure that these stories are related.

Hitomi Nishina

Celebrity model Hitomi Nishina has unveiled Triumph International (Japan) Ltd.'s new "Warm Biz" bra.

The bra contains a furry boa that is designed to be used as a muffler. [really? - Onymous Guy]

Lined with infrared thermal fabric, the bra also contains special gel pads made of natural materials that can be heated in a microwave oven or hot water bottle.

And in the cleavage area, the bra has a real chilli pepper and a light that flashes and sets off a buzzer when the temperature tops 20 degrees Celsius.

Japanese lingerie maker unveils eco-friendly bra
10/11/2005 - 13:28:54

Furry, heated bras may soon replace lacy lingerie in Japanese women’s wardrobes as the country gets ready for Warm Biz, a nationwide campaign urging workers to bundle up and save energy on heating this winter.

The Warm Biz Bra, unveiled this week by underwear maker Triumph International, is lined with material that emits infrared rays.

The bra is also fitted with pads that can be heated in a microwave or hot water – as well as long, furry straps that wrap around the neck like a scarf and matching shorts.

“Warm Biz lets you add a little fun and chic to office wear, and prevents global warming,” according to the Tokyo-based lingerie company.
[really? - Onymous Guy]

Chinese Try to Buiild Better Bra

November 10, 2005

BAGUALING, China --The Chinese are serious about building a better bra. There's now a degree in bra studies at Hong Kong's Polytechnic University.

And China's biggest lingerie manufacturer, Top Form, has a bra lab at its factory. The company makes more than 60 million bras a year for well-known labels like Victoria's Secret, Playtex and Maidenform.

The Wall Street Journal reports Top Form has been experimenting with various types of padding to give the bust a boost. They've tried air, but like tires it was prone to flats.

Oil-filled pads were too expensive and heavy.

Now, the company is trying a filling made from a thin type of fiberfill, the stuffing used ski parkas.

Woman arrested for stuffing bird into bra

FORT MYERS, Florida --A Florida woman has been arrested for padding her bra -- with a stolen parrot.

Jill Knispel, 35, is facing felony charges after hiding a rare Greenwing parrot in her bra and stealing it from her employer, Baby Exotic Birds, police said.

Knispel allegedly stole the bird so she could trade it for a vintage 1964 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia automobile. She couldn't resist telling the car's owner how she got the animal, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Turns out the car's owner is friends with the man who owns the $2,000 bird.

DNA tests confirmed the bird's identity and Knispel was charged Saturday with grand theft.

"The circumstances of the case are the most bizarre I've ever encountered," said veteran wildlife investigator Lenny Barshinger.

Top Ten Questions On The Carolina Panthers Cheerleading Application

From Late Night with David Letterman

10. "You're cool about getting freaky in restrooms, right?"

9. "If you don't get the job, are you gonna punch me?"

8. "Can I see your pom-poms?"

7. "Have you and another girl ever gone into the red zone?"

6. "Would you describe yourself as a 'slut' or a 'tramp'?"

5. "Would you like to participate in a special event with me and my wife?"

4. "Are you willing to stand outside, half-naked in January for minimum wage?"

3. "What's John Madden like in the sack?"

2. "How do you look in a mug shot?"

1. "Would you mind if I tried splitting your uprights?"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

屁 [おなら] (onara) (n) wind; gas; fart

Our son Greg's blog has an amusing anecdote that the Reader's Digest will never publish.

Another suit against Fox! Can I contain myself?

Lawsuit against Fox News for sex bias laced with obscenity

11/08/2005 @ 3:02 pm

Filed by John Byrne

A suit filed by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission against Fox News reveals that the former employee who made allegations against the network said she was routinely party to obscene language and sexist conversation, RAW STORY has learned...

The suit alleges that Fox News Vice President Joe Chillemi regularly made pejorative remarks about women. In part of the complaint, it is said that Chillemi regularly made "derogatory comments about pregnant women (such as regularly stating that a pregnant woman had "tits" that were "fucking huge" and like "cannons" or "melons" and the on-air talent's breasts needed to be "covered" or not shown when the pregnant woman was being filmed)."

Questions we've never been asked

This screen shot from Hannity and Colmes attracted the attention of Vividblurry, Wonkette, Gawker, me, and now you.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Honesty and Dignity in the White House II

The second in this series comes from Wonkette.

The White House's War on Transcripts

Poor Lied To ScottyUsually, the White House just puts words into Scott McClellan's mouth. Last week, the press office tried to wrench them into the transcripts of White House briefings provided by CQ and the Federal News Service. At issue: McClellan's uncharacteristically candid affirmation of a statement by NBC's David Gregory, set forth by CQ and FNS as:

One Version
The White House heard it differently:
Second Version
The thoughtful White House press operation called CQ and FNS to complain. Er, to correct. Media maven Dana Perino told CQ she “just [wanted] to let you know it is not accurate, as you had it in the transcript.” Also, she added, war is peace and freedom is slavery. FYI.

Full CQ story after the jump. DISCLAIMER: We hesitate to rob CQ of their $35K a year per sub by providing this article free of charge, especially since some portion of that fee pays the rent. Another portion goes for the gin. Also, Chris Lehmann is my husband.

Watch for yourself here. The exchange starts about 5:30 into the briefing.

CQ WEEKLY – VANTAGE POINT Nov. 7, 2005 – Page 2956

A White House Word War
By Chris Lehmann, CQ Staff

Semantics can loom large in the history of a White House scandal. Admiral John Poindexter surrendered much of the fast-dwindling public sympathy at his disposal when his mind-bending expression “plausible deniability” came to light in the 1986 Iran-Contra hearings. And “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” are words that will forever haunt the legacy of Bill Clinton.

So it was a matter of some consequence at the Oct. 31 White House press briefing when presidential spokesman Scott McClellan appeared to confirm the premise of a combative question from NBC News correspondent David Gregory. Gregory was reminding the press secretary that he had previously disavowed any involvement by either I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby or Karl Rove in the disclosure of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity to the press — based on assurances McClellan said he’d obtained from both top White House officials. When Gregory said, “We know in fact there was involvement,” and went on to describe special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s findings about Rove and Libby’s dealings with the press, McClellan quickly introjected words that seem pretty clearly to be “That’s accurate.” (Readers can view a video clip of the briefing here.)][I saw no link here - Onymous Guy]

And that is how McClellan’s remark appears in the transcripts sold by CQ Transcriptions, an arm of Congressional Quarterly Inc., and the Federal News Service. However, the White House’s own transcript has McClellan saying very much the opposite: “No, I don’t think that’s accurate.” And when the White House noted the discrepancy, officials asked CQ editors to revisit the wording of McClellan’s reply. This was curiouser still, since while one could conceivably argue that McClellan tripped over his intention to say “That’s inaccurate,” his delivery is far too rapid-fire for the expansive wording “No, I don’t think that’s accurate.”

CQ Transcriptions has declined to alter its account; FNS has not done so, either.

McClellan was with the president in South America at the end of last week and did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment. But one of his deputies, Dana Perino, says that the press office is simply trying to set the record straight. “I was in the room,” she says. “Scott and David Gregory were speaking at the same time, so it was a little hard to follow. But he did say ‘It is not accurate.’ Our official stenographer says that’s what he said.” The press office’s call to CQ was “just to let you know it is not accurate, as you had it in the transcript,” she says. Perino also advises that the topical urgency of the subject doesn’t merit much in the way of public mention: “You’re doing an item on this? I don’t think it’s news.”

Of course, news is in the eye of the beholder — just as complaints about inaccuracy may ultimately depend on what the meaning of “accurate” is.

My Favorite Bumper Sticker

"Would someone please give him a blow job so we can have him impeached."

I have tried to find the origin of this on the web. The earliest reference I can find is to a correspondent, MC, on ZAP2It, who has used it as his handle as early as May 6 of this year.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My-oh-my! What you learn on the web.

I am singing in the chorus of Tosca. I wanted to find out a little more about the politics behind the story, so I googled ("Floria Tosca" subvert) and got three hits, the first of which took me to here, where I looked for "Tosca" on the page, which led me to this:
"Or, if all your friends have merkins and you're after something that stands out from the crowd, artists Floria Tosca and Julia Peddie are holding an exhibition of merkins at Newtown's Two Step Gallery until Friday. They're all priced at $300 and you can commission something as unique as the One In The Bush (pictured) or the Scrubba Dub Dub merkin, which features yellow washing-up gloves that dangle down in all their glory."
I was quite sure that I had never heard the word merkin before, so I looked it up in the OED and found this entry:

merkin, n.1

Forms: 16 mirkin, 16- merkin, 17 merking, 18 murkin, 19- merken. [Prob. orig. a variant of MALKIN n., or < a parallel pet-form of the female forename Mary (cf. the Middle English surnames Marekin, Marykin).]

1. An artificial covering of hair for the female pubic region; a pubic wig for women. Also: an artificial vagina.
1617 J. TAYLOR Three Weekes Observ. in Wks. (1630) III. 94/2 A thousand hogsheads then would haunt his firkin, And Mistris Minks recouer her lost mirkin. 1658 J. ELIOT Poems 60 Those orient teeth, and that her Flaxen hair, One of her legs, a Merkin too it's said Each night commited are unto her Maid. 1660 Mercurius Fumig. No. 7. 56 The last week was lost a Merkin in the Coven-Garden. 1714 A. SMITH Lives Highwaymen II. 151 This put a strange Whim in his Head; which was, to get the hairy circle of her Merkin... This he dry'd well, and comb'd out, and then return'd to the Cardinall, telling him, he had brought St. Peter's Beard. 1796 Grose's Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue (ed. 3), Merkin, counterfeit hair for women's privy parts. 1886 R. F. BURTON Terminal Ess. tr. Arabian Nights' Entertainm. X. 239 For the use of men they have the ‘merkin’, a heart-shaped article of thin skin stuffed with cotton and slit with an artificial vagina. 1916 C. PORTER Finale, Act 1 (song) in R. Kimball Compl. Lyrics C. Porter (1983) 37/1 Though she were disguised in twice as many Wigs Chignons Toupées Transformations Or Early English merkins, My eagle eye would have no difficulty in detecting her as being none other than Sarah Perkins. 1962 E. WILSON Night Thoughts 203 Said Philip Sydney, buttoning his jerkin ‘Allow me, darling: you have dropped your merkin.’ 1973 T. PYNCHON Gravity's Rainbow (1981) I. 95 He wears a false cunt and merkin of sable both handcrafted in Berlin by the notorious Mme. Ophir, the mock labia and bright purple clitoris molded of..synthetic rubber. 1995 Guardian 1 Nov. II. 13/5 David Baddiel omitted to explain the function of pubic wigs, or merkins as they were known, in Charles II's debauched era.

2. slang in later use. The female genitals; = MALKIN n. 1b. Obs.
1656 R. FLETCHER tr. Martial Epigrams X. xc. 95 Why dost thou reach thy Merkin now half dust? Why dost provoke the ashes of thy lust? 1671 S. SKINNER Etymol. Linguæ Anglicanæ, Merkin, Pubes mulieris. a1687 C. COTTON Poems (1689) 189 By these the true colour one can no more know, Than by Mouse-skins above stairs the Merkin below. c1750 in H. Shields Old Dublin Songs (1988) 19 Now as the warm water was working The sea crab did struggle the more And caught her fast hold by her merking. 1874 Hotten's Slang Dict. (rev. ed.) 224 Merkin, a term usually applied to a woman's privities. Originally false hair for those parts.

3. = MALKIN n. 3b. Obs. rare.
1802 C. JAMES New Mil. Dict., Merkin, a mop to clean cannon.
Welcome to Merkin World
Another google search quickly turned up this site.

The History of the Merkin
A pubic wig or merkin as it was earlier known made its debut in 1450. It was used as a device to cover syphilitic pustules and gonorrheal warts in the genital area. In its contemporary form, the merkin is used as a part of erotic play, and it has also crossed over the boundaries of intimate wear into some mainstream genres of dress. The chosen material the wig is made of, usually either: nylon, yak belly or human hair, is woven onto a transparent mesh. This is then applied to the pre-shaved pubic area with spirit gum; alternatively the wig can be attached to a transparent G-string.

The wearing of a pubic wig is a sensory experience. The wig can allow the wearer a certain
"jouissance" as it is made of a fibre/hair that has been selected by the wearer, and it is worn on an erogenous zone. .

So, jouissance aside, an odor of yak is apparently a dead giveaway. Caveat emptor. This was all news to me, but, if the word was good enough for Thomas Pynchon, it is good enough for me. Without apologies then, here is the entire entry from Radar:

Another bush you can't trust
If you're a fan of the Brazilian wax but sometimes feel the c
old, why not invest in a pubic toupee, otherwise known as a merkin?

You can buy a downstairs rug online for about $40 plus postage from providers such as the American Merkin Company, which has been "handcrafting merkins for over 150 years" from "real human hair".

Or, if all your friends have merkins and you're after something that stands out from the crowd, artists Floria Tosca and Julia Peddie are holding an exhibition of merkins at Newtown's Two Step Gallery until Friday. They're all priced at $300 and you can commission something as unique as the One In The Bush (pictured) or the Scrubba Dub Dub merkin, which features yellow washing-up gloves that dangle down in all their glory.

"We used the idea of the merkin as a subvert for wearing something you like about sex on the outside," Tosca says. "This [one] is great for those who are fanatical about cleanliness when they have sex."

Just so you don't need to ask any silly questions, here are the basics: most merkins are fitted with a plug on the back to hold them in place and to give the wearer a thrill; male merkins do exist and are doughnut-shaped, with an elasticised hole in the centre; and yes, they come in a variety of shapes for every occasion.
- Emma-Kate Dobbin

Almost certainly, if she has read of this, Michelle Merkin is ruing her choice of stage name.

The Power of Makeup

This appeared recently on Democratic Underground. Other versions of this have been around for a while.

Never Underestimate the Power of Makeup

Not exactly the best way to raise money from alums

From the Boston Globe

'Dead' alumni walking

UNH report of their demise greatly exaggerated

On Wednesday, 63-year-old Sandra Keans was preparing for her City Council race, folding fliers, licking stamps, and stuffing envelopes.

Yesterday, the New Hampshire Republican was dead -- at least according to her alma mater's 2005 alumni directory.

The directory for the University of New Hampshire mistakenly declared Keans and 500 other graduates deceased in a foible of fatal proportions school officials are attributing to a technician's error at the publishing company.

'There are several people who would like to see me dead, but unfortunately, I'm still quite alive," said Keans yesterday in an interview.

Last month, about 2,000 copies of the glossy, hard-cover book went out to graduates, with the names of 100,000 alumni. On Oct. 18, the first ''dead" alum called to report the mistake. Soon, alumni officials learned the publishing company, PCI in Dallas, had identified hundreds of living, breathing graduates as deceased. Among the living dead are county commissioners, a former mayor, auto dealership owners, and Keans, a state representative seeking reelection to a seat on the Rochester City Council on Tuesday.

The goof has had its perks, Keans said. She has received more attention from local newspapers about the mistake than she might have for a fairly quiet city council race. ''I couldn't have bought an ad this great," she joked.

Brian A. Desfosses, 28, who graduated in 2003, saw an opportunity. ''I was just notified . . . that I am apparently dead," wrote Desfosses in a tongue-in-cheek e-mail to his insurance company. ''I was notified because the University of New Hampshire put me on a list of deceased alumni in their new directory. I was wondering if this would be enough evidence to collect on those insurance policies I purchased two years ago."

University officials, however, are not laughing. They say they are embarrassed and have issued a public apology. PCI has promised to contact each alum and apologize directly.

''We have been in business for 23 years and take great pride in collecting accurate data," company spokesman Tim Waddill said in a prepared statement. ''An error like this has never happened before, and we have reviewed our processes to ensure it doesn't happen again."

Waddill did not describe how the error occurred.

But Gregg Sanborn, executive director of the alumni association, said a technician at the company accidentally coded a file with the 501 names as deceased and then included it in the directory. The 2,000-page book, featuring a picture of the university's Thompson Hall on the cover, was then mailed, Sanborn said. Soon calls began trickling in that the dead were really alive, and officials began scrambling to rectify the error.

The association placed a notice on its website explaining the error and included a link to a list of the 501 graduates.

Those who purchased the directory -- $69 for association members and $79 for nonmembers -- will receive a refund from PCI, a corrected CD version of the book, and an addendum to the printed directory with the correct information, Sanborn said.

Since the error was noticed, the association has learned that two of the graduates have actually died.

Now the association is reconsidering whether to send out a published directory in the future or use a CD-ROM version that can be easily corrected, Sanborn said.

''We just can't have this sort of thing happen again," he said.

Some alumni were forgiving, even Bernard W. ''Buck" Corson, 85, from the class of 1947, who was listed as dead even though he donates annually to the university and set up a scholarship fund with his wife for local high school students.

''It sounds like the university isn't keeping track of some of us who are rather active," he quipped. ''Honest mistake, I guess."

Others on the list are trying to recover from their surreal brush with mortality.

''I hope it's not predicting the future," said 81-year-old Roberta Window, class of 1947. ''I know I'll die sometime of course. I just didn't realize it was going to be right away."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The march of science

My Science Project has answered one of the big questions:

How Many Condoms Can You Wear at Once?

The Experiment
Some of you may have heard of the practice of “double bagging” – wearing two condoms during sex for extra protection (something not recommended by most condom manufacturers) . Taking this idea to its ultimate extreme, we set out to answer the question “How many condoms can you put on your dick?” However, since we were unable to find anyone with a penis willing to undertake this assignment, we had to settle for answering the question “How many condoms can you put on a dildo?” The answer: a lot. Hundreds. Tons. Or at least a couple of pounds worth. See what happened as we layered on the latex.... [read more]

Friday, November 04, 2005

The rich tapestry of life

Who knows where one will find an interesting story? I love the irony here: a guy gets a pair of pants so HE can get into a girl's pants!

This item was recently sold on eBay

You are bidding on a mistake.

We all make mistakes. We date the wrong people for too long. We chew gum with our mouths open. We say inappropriate things in front of grandma.

And we buy leather pants.

I can explain these pants and why they are in my possession. I bought them many, many years ago under the spell of a woman whom I believed to have taste. She suggested I try them on. I did. She said they looked good. I wanted to have a relationship of sorts with her. I’m stupid and prone to impulsive decisions. I bought the pants.

The relationship, probably for better, never materialized. The girl, whose name I can’t even recall, is a distant memory. I think she was short.

Ultimately the pants were placed in the closet where they have remained, unworn, for nearly a decade. I would like to emphasize that: Aside from trying these pants on, they have never, ever been worn. In public or private.

I have not worn these leather pants for the following reasons:

I am not a member of Queen.
I do not like motorcycles.
I am not Rod Stewart.
I am not French.
I do not cruise for transvestites in an expensive sports car.

These were not cheap leather pants. They are Donna Karan leather pants. They’re for men. Brave men, I would think. Perhaps tattooed, pierced men. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say you either have to be very tough, very gay, or very famous to wear these pants and get away with it.

Again, they’re men’s pants, but they’d probably look great on the right lady. Ladies can get away with leather pants much more often than men can. It’s a sad fact that men who own leather pants will have to come to terms with.

They are size 34x34. I am no longer size 34x34, so even were I to suddenly decide I was a famous gay biker I would not be able to wear these pants. These pants are destined for someone else. For reasons unknown - perhaps to keep my options open, in case I wanted to become a pirate - I have shuffled these unworn pants from house to house, closet to closet. Alas, it is now time to part ways so that I may use the extra room for any rhinestone-studded jeans I may purchase in the future.

These pants are in excellent condition. They were never taken on pirate expeditions. They weren’t worn onstage. They didn’t straddle a Harley, or a guy named Harley. They just hung there, sad and ignored, for a few presidencies.

Someone, somewhere, will look great in these pants. I’m hoping that someone is you, or that you can be suckered into buying them by a girl you’re trying to bed.

Please buy these leather pants.

O'Toole torques tool

Note this fine journalism from the New York Daily News:

Lover really stuck it to him - twice
Friday, November 4th, 2005

A Pennsylvania man yesterday testified that an ex-lover really stuck it to him - using Super glue to attach his penis to his belly and then sealing his rear end shut.

Before a Westmoreland County jury, Kenneth Slaby detailed the shock of waking up with a misplaced member and a burning sensation in his nether regions.

"I woke up in extreme pain," he said. "My whole groin area was on fire."

The 58-year-old grandpa pressed charges against ex-flame Gail O'Toole [it is taking joy in the little things in life - like this morsel of irony - that weaves our meager existence into a rich tapestry- Onymnous Guy ]after she manhandled his manhood [I love the aliteration - Onymous Guy ] during their May 2000 encounter.

O'Toole pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and has already served six months' probation.

Now Slaby is looking to score $30,000 in a civil suit that accuses O'Toole, 56, of "outrageous and inhumane" acts after a night of dancing.

An attorney for O'Toole said Slaby consented to having his genitals glued and that he suffered no permanent damage.

"This is a case that should have been left in the bedroom," said attorney Chuck Evans.

But Slaby contends O'Toole was dishing out some painful payback for their earlier breakup. The couple dated for 10 months in 1999.

He said O'Toole waited until he was asleep to put her Super glue scheme to work. He said she smeared gobs of the sticky substance onto his penis and backside, and applied nail polish to his hair.

Slaby said he woke up to a horrifying discovery - and a screeching woman.

"'I'm tired of your lies,'" Slaby said O'Toole screamed at him. "The veins were popping out of her neck."

Stuck without a ride home, Slaby said he walked a mile to a convenience store to call 911. He then had to wait four hours at a local hospital before medical personnel could put his penis back in its proper position.

But at least Slaby got off a lot easier than John Bobbitt, whose penis famously was hacked off by his wife in 1993 as he dozed.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Honesty and Dignity in the White House

Yesterday's press gaggle at the White House. Transcript from ThinkProgress.

[image from here]

Q Kind of a housekeeping question. You repeatedly say that you’ve been instructed not to comment on the CIA leaks case, because there’s an ongoing investigation. Can we infer from that that when Fitzgerald announces his investigation is completed you will be in a position to comment?

MR. McCLELLAN: I said I’d be glad to talk more about it after it’s come to a conclusion.

Q Well, would that mark the conclusion?

MR. McCLELLAN: Would what?

Q The end of the Fitzgerald investigation.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there’s an investigation and legal proceeding. And the comments I make –

Q So now you’re adding court cases.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Bob, I think any time there’s been a legal matter going on, we’ve said, that’s a legal matter.

Q No, what you said is, you can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think what I said last — and look what I said –

Q So you’ve added the words, “legal proceeding.”

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, now there is a legal proceeding.

Q So you’re adding the words, “legal proceeding,” to the formulation.

MR. McCLELLAN: That’s not — any time there is a legal proceeding such as that, we don’t discuss it. I mean, I think you can look back at –

Q Because –

MR. McCLELLAN: Because it’s a legal matter, and it’s before the courts.

Q The world is crawling with legal matters that the White House comments on all the time. What sets this apart?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, there are legal matters that occur all the time that we do not comment on, because they’re ongoing legal matters that are before the courts. Remember, numerous times we’ve referred stuff to the Justice Department because it’s an ongoing legal proceeding.

Q What is the concern of the White House, they’re not commenting?

MR. McCLELLAN: Exactly what I said. Maybe you want to go back and look at my remarks, but we don’t want to prejudice the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial.

Q Okay, because your remarks earlier had suggested that you didn’t want to influence an investigation that was ongoing.

MR. McCLELLAN: We don’t want to do that, either. We want to do our part to continue to cooperate, and that’s what we will do.

"Heck of a job" Brownie rolled up his shirt sleeves

from the Washington Post

Brown Discussed Wardrobe During Katrina

The Associated Press
Thursday, November 3, 2005; 12:48 PM

WASHINGTON -- Newly-released e-mails show former FEMA director Michael Brown discussing his wardrobe during the crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina.

A House panel has released 23 pages of internal e-mail offering additional evidence of a confused and distracted government response to Katrina, particularly from Brown, the former head of Federal Emergency Management Agency, at critical moments after the storm hit.

The e-mails show that Brown, who had been planning to step down from his post when the storm hit, was preoccupied with his image on television even as one of the first FEMA officials to arrive in New Orleans, Marty Bahamonde, was reporting a crisis situation of increasing chaos to FEMA officials.

"My eyes must certainly be deceiving me. You look fabulous _ and I'm not talking the makeup," writes Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs to Brown on 7:10 a.m. local time on Aug. 29.

"I got it at Nordstroms," Brown writes back. "Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?" An hour later, Brown adds: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god."

A week later, Brown's aide, Sharon Worthy, reminds him to pay heed to his image on TV. "In this crises and on TV you just need to look more hardworking ... ROLL UP THE SLEEVES!" Worthy wrote, noting that even President Bush "rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow."

Some lawmakers immediately decried the e-mails.

The e-mails "depict a leader who seemed overwhelmed and rarely made key decisions," said U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La. He criticized Brown for addressing "superficial subjects _ such as Mr. Brown's appearance or reputation _ rather than the pressing response needs of Louisiana and Mississippi."