November 30, 2012

Heck of a singer, eh?

Gots to love that Craig Ferguson on the Late, Late Show, eh?

November 29, 2012

Typographical Images

Thanks to Neatorama and Google Type, I have a few new images to post today. The site takes your phrase and searches the web for images of each letter, putting them together at random.

Here's what I got...

November 28, 2012

House Carpenter

I love the song "House Carpenter". It's an old folk song that apparently goes by many different names - "The Daemon Lover", "James Harris, "James Herries", and "The House Carpenter". I'm surprised at how few major, professional artists have recorded the song (at least that I can find on YouTube which has to be definitive, right?).

November 27, 2012

I wish me a merry Christmas

Each year - well, most years, anyway - we hold an Ugly Christmas Sweater Day at Princeton, and I'm getting tired of not having an awesome Christmas sweater for myself. All I have is a sad cardigan in Christmas colors but that has absolutely no Christmas design in the least. At some point I'm going to just break down and buy one of these awesome Christmas sweaters...

My eventual purchase probably won't come from Tipsy Elves because their selection seems to lean more toward the dirty jokes - Santa writing his name in the snow, reindeer mounting reindeer, Santa in black face - most of which I probably couldn't wear to school and still claim it to be professional.

Ultimate Ugly Christmas has some more passable options, particularly (as of the weekend writing) this snowman council sweater. I wish some of their 'sweaters' weren't really sweatshirts - like Be The Tree.

The Sweater Store also offers a decent selection of pullovers that fit the bill, but all of their sizing information seems to be for women, something that doesn't help me all that much.

Ebay, of course, has thousands of ugly Christmas sweaters, but they're thoroughly hit or miss with the titles being misleading, the sizes being wrong, the prices up for grabs. Four of the sweaters, though, did catch my eye.

Vintage Ugly Christmas Sweaters has a few drawbacks - it's Canadian, and their sweaters all lack sizing information - but does have a decent selection, especially in the vest category.

The Ugly Sweater Store does break things down by sizes, and I appreciate that. My three favorite sweaters there, though, have already been sold.

Weirdly, a label called LA Police Gear has a number of sweaters that they're marketing as being ugly Christmas sweaters, but theirs come with a weird little attitude - like this Milk Boarding sweater.

My current favorite sweater, though, comes from My Ugly Christmas Sweater where they have a section they call Vintage Reindeer sweaters where this outstanding option with an Eddie Bauer reindeer on front and back. It's even in my size. If only it weren't $125. That's a bit much for a once-a-year gag. Be careful, though, because this site has a number of sweaters that they have adapted by sewing on fringe, Santa faces, lights, and other non-traditional sweater accessories.

November 26, 2012

Conversation chains

Coach Sullivan sent me the following image of a sign that he found posted to a telephone pole in his neighborhood last week...

The phone number down there would connect you to Silver Creek High School just a bit north of where the Coach lives.

I forwarded the image onward to Calen who commented that, while she appreciated the old-school, subtle joke, she thought the well image would have been better replaced with something like this...

...because it better suggests "the level of curves they’d like for their well cleaner…because, after all, skin shrinks when it’s been removed from its original form."

While I agree that such a thought, I actually like the use of the simple, plain well graphic. It sells the sign as being more real because it seems like what somebody who actually needs a well cleaner would put on such a sign, but not one to be topped, I went searching for a better woman cleaner image. With the search terms "female cleaner", I got a whole lot of images and was amazed at how many different stock images of this woman there were...

I don't always understand the internet or the world of stock photography.

November 24, 2012

Stealing kisses from the lepers' faces

November 23, 2012

November 22, 2012

A Classic

There has not been a better Thanksgiving-themed television episode than this WKRP classic...ever.

November 21, 2012

Update: Update: Realignment

A quick update on my earlier comments about realignment...


Maryland and Rutgers?


I know it's all about money, but sheesh...are we finally done, or is Kansas or North Carolina next for the Big Ten Twelve Fourteen?

Brevity is the soul of wit.

A tale...
A university creative writing class was asked to write a concise essay containing the following elements:
  1. Religion
  2. Royalty
  3. Sex
  4. Mystery
The prize-winning essay read: 
"My God," said the Queen, "I'm pregnant. I wonder who did it!"
The story is, of course, too good to be true. (source - Snopes)

November 20, 2012

Election thoughts...

We live in fascinating times...

Our nation is thoroughly, often bitterly divided. It seems like either of the two main parties could put a potato on the ballot and get at least thirty or forty percent support. Half the country would yell that the potato was going to ruin the economy while the other half screamed that the potato's economic plan was the only thing saving us from total economic collapse, and Rachel Maddow and Bill O'Reilly would be alternately extolling the virtues and heaping on the vitriol.

The presidential election was not - in my eyes - a repudiation of either candidate's economic plans, was not a ringing endorsement of moderation, a cry for cooperation, or a changing of the demographic guard. This election was just further proof that we are deeply divided along religious, demographic, racial, regional, and just about every other possible lines.

Overall, Romney carried twenty-four states, and Obama carried twenty-six. Romney has a huge swath of the center of the nation, while Obama took the populous Northeast and West Coast.

Romney carried white males in overwhelming and almost universal majorities...(62%-35%)

The educated voted for Obama, the uneducated for Romney. (source)

Obama won the young, Romney the old - neither by huge margins, though.
All of this data (thanks, CNN, by the way) has been analyzed to ridiculous extents. In the process some of the commentators have bemoaned the future of the Republican party because of the dearth of young, minority support. There is, however, a quote - often misattributed to Winston Churchill - that says "Show me a young Conservative, and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old liberal, and I'll show you someone with no brains." These demographics will shift. The Republicans will pick up support of minorities bit by bit, and Obama will be replaced in four years. So much of what will come in the next election will depend on things that we can't imagine right now.

I will say, however, that one of the more fascinating results of this election was that money did not decide the election. It influenced the election, surely, making competitors of candidates who might not otherwise have been. But the conservative Super PACs weren't able to - in their first attempt - buy the elections outright...thankfully.

Oh, and Republicans who became known for speaking out about pregnancy via rape lost. (source)

November 19, 2012


Skyfall - aka James Bond 23...

I'm gonna have some massive spoilers, but I'll put them after the jump because this is one that needs to be seen fresh. The short answer is that Skyfall is outstanding. It's a spectacular, wonderful capstone to the first fifty years of Bond films, referencing dozens of old Bond tropes without using them in slavish copying, returning James Bond to his roots and setting up another couple of Daniel-Craig-Bond films with the actor, the filmmakers, the writers all at the absolute top of their games.

I don't know that it's the equal of Casino Royale, but it's close. That movie stunned because it was so different from its predecessors, so new, so rough. This movie is more familiar with Daniel Craig owning the part thoroughly and completely at this point, the writers acknowledging Bond's past and role as cold war relic, and the director feeling free to explore the important relationships in Bond's life - family in the past, M in the present, and Queen and Country forever.

This one is an absolute must-see for any Bond fan, shrinking the possible audience more so than did Casino Royale which is still an outstanding film that just happens to be about James Bond. This film is a great Bond film, both a send off to Bond's past and a reassertion of his place in the present - and future. Casino Royale was a great film that happened to be a Bond film.

If you wanna see all my other thoughts, check it after the jump...

November 17, 2012

I have created a monster, and now I have to destroy her.

November 14, 2012

Update: The Stephen Colbert SuperPAC confusion

Man, I do not understand how the courts and Congress could've set this all up...

And, seriously, Colbert Super PAC SHHH really has over $800,000 left?

Good lord...

Just deliver

I read webcomics...I read a bunch of webcomics and have RSS feeds for a whole lot of them.

Some of these webcomics are just comic strips, just chuckles or laughs or little three-panel gifts to the world presented reliably day by day for me - and a few other folks - to enjoy. Those are the ones that I like.

Then there are the ones where the webcomic artist makes little commentaries with the strip, where we learn something about the artist's life, struggles, challenges. Those can get tiresome when, for example, we get notes like these...

From Jeph over at Questionable Content -


Basically what happened yesterday is i drank an entire bottle of whiskey, stabbed myself in the hand (not my drawing hand), had some kind of delirious breakdown in the hospital, got stitched up and sent back home.

Today I go to see the hand surgeon about my hand and a therapist about my emotions.

I guess something like this was bound to happen eventually. The monsters finally caught up. But at least I am ok. I feel very, very bad about all of this and would really like to apologize. I'm sorry.

There will be some guest comics for a few days. Thank you again for your patience.
Rob and Xin of Erfworld give us posts from time to time that one or the other's health or other issues impacting their self-defined once-weekly schedule and - unintentionally, I'm sure - significantly mucking up the reading experience.

We missed last week's Nonadventures of Wonderella (site currently down and replaced with a two-word vulgarity from what I can tell) because the writer's all laid up.

I would like to think that I'm solidly in the thirtieth or fortieth percentile for empathy among people, but in the long run I just don't give a crap. Yes, I'm sorry Jeph is suffering. Yes, I'm sorry that Xin's having family/health/something problems. Yes, I hope Wonderella's creator (still tweeting) gets back on the horse.

But in the end, I want my daily (or thrice weekly or whatever) chuckles (and occasional pathos), and I just don't want to hear why you can't get them to me. Dance, monkey, dance.

November 13, 2012


Spider-Man: Blue - The partnership of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale has produced some pretty impressive comics: Catwoman: When in Rome, Batman: Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory, Superman: For All Seasons, and a few lesser lights. Luckily you can add this title to the big victories.

Spider-Man: Blue sees Peter feeling melancholy on Valentine's Day, relating into a tape recorder a letter to Gwen Stacy, retelling how they fell in love or how - in his words - "they almost didn't fall in love." The story he tells over the six collected issues here is a story long told, of Peter's first meetings with Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy, of the flirtations between Peter and the two girls, and of his choosing Gwen. The tale doesn't follow up to her death at the Washington Bridge, but it does acknowledge the event as Peter tells Gwen how much he felt bad for being unable to save her.

The story is a moving one, seeing Peter recount his first love, particularly now that Peter isn't with Mary Jane - but rather Carlie Cooper now - and as the events of this run have been maybe retconned out of existence. The artwork is also gorgeous, providing emotional resonance to the story...

Well worth a read...

Teen Titans: Deathtrap - This comic, on the other hand, is awful...horrible...hard to follow...overcrowded with characters...requiring lots of prior reading...drawing characters in thoroughly unfollowable similarity...

Avoid this one like the plague - mostly like the entire run of the late-pre-52 Teen Titans run...awful ending for what was previously a very good series...

Invincible: Ultimate Collection 7 - PLCH, you're killing me. See, you have the first six Ultimate collections of Invincible, but you haven't gotten the seventh in yet (though the catalog does say that they have eleven copies of some Ultimate Collection edition on order now). So, I broke down and bought a copy of Volume 7 to see what there is to see.

I continue to be impressed with Invincible in that it is one of the few ongoing series that really allows its characters to change, to mature, to age, to die. The heroes in this series are people, real, human, fallible, prone to overreaction, complete with all the foibles and faults that people have. The heroes get beaten up, nearly killed, and sometimes killed, and the world gets thoroughly trashed when the heroes fight.

By the end of this volume, we've seen eighty-four issues of this universe (plus lots more in the related Image comics Science Dog, TechJacket, The Guardians of the Globe, and more), and we've lost Paris and Las Vegas entirely and have seen the world nearly wiped out in the repeated Viltrumite conflicts. We've seen Rex Splode and other heroes killed without hopes of resurrection. Heroes have gone mad and deals have been made with the devil (often the governmental Cecil in the Devil role).

This volume sees the Viltrumite empire nearly wiped out when the Coalition of Planets' forces - Space Racer, Omni-Man, Invincible, Kid Omniman, Tech Jacket, and the assembled forces from Omni-Man's books - attack their home planet, but the forces take huge losses, as well. Mark - after spending months in a coma recovering from his wounds then rejoining the battle - eventually makes has way back to Earth and finds a changed Atom Eve as she spent their months apart in semi-deep depression after making an unpleasant choice with Mark possibly dead in space. Mark begins to see Earth and its problems in very different ways, realizing that his constant punching of the bad guys doesn't seem to be making the world any better in the long run. Instead, by the end of this volume, he has begun to take a more proactive approach to solving the world's problems.

Hopefully we're finished with the Viltrumites for a while as this storyline has dragged on with Earth - and specifically Mark - being attacked too many times for my tastes. There's only so much worst-fight-ever that we can read over and over again - whether it's Mark against one or two or a dozen Viltrumites. The Atom Eve and Mark relationship, though, is beginning to be even more interesting with the two trying to make a living from Mark's powers and Eve trying to work off the weight she gained during her depression - in spite of Mark's appreciation for her new-found curvaceousness.

As I said, I appreciate that this comic actually allows things to change, and because of that, I'm curious as to where they're going. I'm along for the ride for as long as Robert Kirkman wants to string me out.

Tomorrow, Skyfall...

November 12, 2012

Lonnieburger Baskets: Smashburger BWF

In general we're kinda done with the whole burger review thing. Every now and again, though, something might come up that clear necessitates a return to the Lonnieburger Basket world.

Calen has mentioned that her family enjoys a burger from the Bridgewater Falls SmashBurger, and The Best Man and his wife mentioned the same thing. When we checked out SmashBurger, we'd gone to the one on Cox Road and found it a little greasy. At the recommendations of our friends, though, we gave SmashBurger another try...but at a different location.

Did things come out any differently? Let's see...

  • Last time I commented that the burger was a loose-meat style burger reminiscent of a thicker Steak 'n' Shake burger. The Cox Rd SmashBurger burger was more well crusted than this BWF burger, Neither was spiced to my preference, but they had gotten at least a bit of salt and pepper on the patty. The meat is too fatty for my tastes. I don't know whether this is a product of the cut of meat that the chain chooses to use or if it's a product of their cooking method - too much oil on the griddle, perhaps? - but we've seen it on all four of our burgers now, so I'm thinking it's not a fluke. This is a plain, decent, but greasy burger. Burger - 6 


  • It went for the standard mustard, ketchup, pickle, fresh onions, bacon, and cheddar with the addition of haystack onions. The girl went for the same thing. The mustard, lettuce, onion, and ketchup were nothing of note. The tomato was nicely fresh, particularly for early winter/late fall. The haystack onions were outstanding, nicely seasoned and peppery, crisp and good. The bacon was crisp and decently flavorful. The cheese was melted nicely. Toppings - 7 


  • The fries are thinner than I would care for them to be, and they're not as dark as I would like. That being said, they were served hot and crisp, clearly freshly cooked to order. Again I went with Smashfries which include olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. The garlic taste was thinner than I would have liked it, but I'm the guy who eats the garlic out of the bottom of the garlic fries at Great American Ballpark. The rosemary was tasty and a strong flavor. The olive oil is a little over-applied and left a puddle at the bottom of the wrapper/metal container. I still haven't tried their plain fries or the sweet potato fries, either. Fries - 6 
  • The Bridgewater Falls SmashBurger is pretty solidly identical to the Cox Rd location: white walls with black, industrial, exposed ceiling. The restaurant has red accents and a mix of appreciably private booths and open tables. The one attractive accent is a wall of iridescent tiles behind the ordering counter. Ambiance - 6 
  • My bacon, bbq, and cheddar (bbq held) was $5.99 (the Big Smach would've been an extra buck). The fries were $1.99 - the same cost whether you went for garlic and rosemary or not. Sweet potato fries would be an extra quarter and a nickel. The coke - serve your own - is $1.89. That's a total of $9.89 plus tax. That's average as far as I'm concerned. Cost - 5

Other stuff 
  • SmashBurger now offers an option of a pretzel bun for no extra charge. The Girl went for the pretzel bun and reported that it was tasty, fresh, and sturdy. +1
  • Seriously, the greasy feeling on my hands and in my mouth from the burger and fries was gross. -1
  • The burger and fries are served on an open piece of paper - butcher-ish paper, I guess - on top of an open-mesh metal tray. The fries in a paper in a metal cone/bowl. Both left the food touching the metal which The Girl and I found a little displeasant. -1
Overall point values...
  • 1 -1 -1 + 5 + 6 + 6 + 7 + 6 = 29...not bad but in a very crowded part of the world...