Friday, August 31, 2007

The Week in Pictures LXXVII

Random Friday Thoughts:

The holidays are upon us once more with this weekend's Labor Day celebration. Three days off is a wonderful way to wrap up the summer and it makes me proud, as Miss Teen South Carolina might say to be a U.S. American.

Question: Why does Tigger wash his hands so frequently?

Answer: Because he's always playing with Pooh!

Anyway, today is the last of our Summer Hours Fridays and I'm off to take advantage of it, so let's move on to the WiP:


As the tenth anniversary of Princess Diana's tragic death passes, the media is awash with stories ranging from her fairy-tale wedding to Prince Charles to the joy she took in teasing her friends by tossing unexploded land mines at them.


The French Air Force practiced maneuvers this weekend, culminating in their traditional spelling out of the words "We Surrender."


The threat of flooding from days of non-stop downpours was averted when an observant parks department worker noticed that someone had merely forgotten to turn off the giant shower head that had recently been installed on a nearby hillside.


A unidentified woman in Kabul, Afghanistan staged a brief protest by flashing her melons in public.


Meteorologists are trying to increase the accuracy of their predictions by examining clouds more closely.


Vietnamese ballerinas are being taught how to levitate as a way of trying to reduce the stress put on their bodies by dancing.


Though not all of the dancers have perfected their landing techniques, yet.


The Malaysian Transportation Authority is experimenting with new ways to keep their trains running even during power outages.


Elvis fans are rejoicing at news that "The King" may have been reincarnated.


In sports, a man who dubs himself "the world's biggest Maria Sharapova fan" said he was "thrilled" when the tennis star came crashing into his living room while chasing a ball during warm ups on a nearby tennis court.


A high-school soccer match in Spain was temporarily halted when it inexplicably began raining tomatoes.


A rhythmic gymnastics participant was briefly hospitalized after she became entangled in her Slinky during a recent event.


Filming began this week on a science fiction movie about an Icelandic singer who gets caught in a time warp. The working title is "Bjork to the Future."


And finally, a local teen had what he called "the pee of a lifetime" when he emerged from his car after being trapped in a traffic jam for six hours.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

At the Movies

The problem with Hollywood these days isn't that every producer makes a pitch that references at least two other movies (e.g., "It's like The Flintstones meets Jurassic Park but..are you ready for this?...we throw in a touch of Mad Max by setting it in the post-apocalyptic future!") but that they don't rely heavily enough on the movies they reference. If they've already sold the idea, why re-create the proverbial wheel? Why not just take a couple of movies and combine their scripts to create something new? That, my friends, sounds to me like a recipe for success. In fact, I've only been thinking about this for about ten minutes or so and I've already come up with two sure-fire blockbusters.

Movie 1: Dead Again
Movie 2: The Bourne Identity
New Movie: The Bourne Again

Synopsis: In 1949 composer Roman Strauss is executed for the vicious murder of his wife Margaret with a pair of scissors. In modern day Los Angeles a mute amnesiac woman shows up at an orphanage and an amnesiac man who was found adrift in the sea - and who is attempting to discover his own identity - is called in to investigate. The investigation is complicated by the fact that the man, who is proficient in multiple languages, espionage, and martial arts, is being pursued by his former employers at the CIA. Under hypnosis it is revealed that both the man and the woman seem to have a strange and mysterious link back to the Strauss murder.


Movie 1: Shakespeare in Love
Movie 2: Snakes on a Plane
New Movie: Shakespeare on a Plane

Synopsis: A romantic comedy/thriller in which young playwright who is struggling with his latest work "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter" decides to take a vacation to help relieve his writer’s block. During the flight, he meets his muse in the form of a flight attendant named Viola. Their budding love story is cut short when they join forces with an FBI agent to defend the passengers from deadly and poisonous snakes that have been deliberately released in an attempt to kill a witness who is being flown from Elizabethan London to modern-day Los Angeles so that he can testify against a mob boss.

See? It's easy. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section. I promise to include them in my next pitch and to make you to know as it appears.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Week in Pictures LXXVI

Random Friday Thoughts:

Wow, it's been a while since I posted one of these. Clearly I'm out of practice.

This is the first weekend since early April that I haven't had to wake up early on Sunday for softball. It's going to feel like I've gained an extra day off.

I drank a glass of Airborne (created by a second grade teacher) earlier today, and I'm still troubled by the flourescent orange residue that remained stuck to the inside of the cup. Now I'm afraid that I'm going to glow in the dark this evening.

Anyway, let's move on to the WiP:


President Bush held a press conference in which he used both hands to count the number of good decisions he's made since he was elected.


Seal launched his long-rumored comeback by playing played a benefit concert in San Diego.

(Yes, I know that's a sea lion, but I have to work with what I have)


A team of maintenance workers will act as Big Ben's hands for the next thirty days as punishment for damaging the clock during restoration work.


A young man was tossed from an audition for the role of young Thomas Jefferson. "He didn't care about his craft at all. It was all about the money." said the producer "You could almost see the dollar signs in his eyes."


Under a recently passed law, all Turkish citizens are now required to have their head measured at least once a year.


Hollywood gossips are in heaven after Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie engaged in a fight at a beach in Malibu.


Apparently fearful of any additional adverse publicity, Britney Spears was spotted fleeing from the scene.


The first medals were passed out at the annual Stork Olympic games in Argentina.


A local beach-goer was briefly hospitalized after complaining of a splitting headache.


Proponents of safe sex believe they have hit upon a new method for virtually risk-free sex.


A woman miraculously escaped unharmed when a batch of giant marshmallows fell from a fifth story rooftop and struck her head.


And finally, after an intensive manhunt by his elves a dazed and confused Santa Claus was found wandering the streets of Copenhagen in his bathrobe.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Babel-On

After watching my inbox grow to server crippling proportions, its become apparent that my e-mails are far too easy to comprehend and, thus, to respond to.1 As a way of eliminating this overflow of electronic communications, I've decided to put all future email correspondence through a Babel Fish Translation process designed to dramatically reduce reader comprehension.

After much experimentation, I've determined that translating things from English to Dutch to French to Italian to English seems to produce the desired level of confusion while still retaining a (very) slight hint of the message's original intent. To demonstrate, I will use a simple paragraph from an internal memo which, using this process, changes from this:

We announced our financial results for the second quarter of 2007 yesterday, and I am pleased to report that we had a very strong quarter. Overall, we achieved double-digit organic revenue growth (excluding revenue contributions from acquisitions) for the 19th consecutive quarter, and all of our operations around the world contributed meaningfully to this growth.

To this:

We announce yesterday for according to trimester one of 2007 and must contently be unfolds to you that ours turn out to you financial have had much fort. The numbers totals catch up them organic the increase double quantity place of production (except the contributions of production of enrichessement) for diecinueveavo quarter konsekutives and it this has contributed our operations around the essential world until this increase.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Or, as Babel Fish would say, "I will make you to know as it appears."

1 The alternative (and probably more plausible) explanation being, of course, that people would rather write me than speak to me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Still More Bad Jokes

I'm tired. We lost the championship game on Sunday, but yet somehow life goes on. I don't want to turn this into an argument, but I have to say that I was disappointed to see that for roughly the 187th consecutive week, none of you showed up.

Otherwise, I'm in a kind of apathetic mood today so here are some more bad jokes to pass the time until I post again.

Joke 1
A guy walks into a psychiatrist's office.

"Doc," he says, "I keep having these alternating recurring dreams. First I'm a teepee, then I'm a wigwam, then I'm a teepee, and then I'm a wigwam. It's driving me crazy. What's wrong with me?"

The doctor replies, "Relax. You're just two tents."

Joke 2
What did one plate say to the other?

Dinner is on me.

Joke 3
Two pieces of string walk into a bar. The first orders a beer and the bartender glares at him.

"Are you a piece of string?" he asks.

"Yes." says the string.

"We don't serve strings in this bar," the bartender says roughly and throws him out.

Upon seeing this, the second piece of string steps out of the bar, roughs himself up, ties his ends together and walks back in. He steps up to the bar and orders a beer.

"Hey, didn't you hear what I told your buddy?" the bartender says. "We don't serve strings."

"I heard," replies the piece of string.

"Aren't you a piece of string?" the bartender asks.

And the string replies, "No. I'm a frayed knot."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weather 'Tis Nobler

Every time I watch the news, I'm struck by the way in which the anchors seem to blame the weatherperson for any bad weather that may occur. They're forever saying things like "That was some storm we had yesterday, Mike. Sounds like you have some explaining to do." or "The heat and humidity have been brutal, Linda. When are you going to bring us some cooler weather?"

Conversely, the other members of the news team don't have the same level of accountability for what happens on their respective beats.

For example, they never say to the traffic reporter "Good morning, Jill. How long before you clear up that three car collision on the Grand Central?" The sports reporter never hears "The Mets are struggling of late. You're going to get fired if they don't get it together quickly." And they never say "For more on this story, we go to Andre DuBois in Crown Heights. Andre, tell me when you're going to put an end to the crime wave that's plaguing that neighborhood." to the news reporter.

It's just not fair.

If we're going to make the weatherperson responsible for the weather, then let's make everyone responsible for their beat. In fact, let's take it one step further. They know about stories before we do, which gives them plenty of time to make things right before they report it. I'd like it much better if I heard things like this:

News:
"A bodega in Astoria was robbed at gunpoint this morning. After reviewing the video and questioning eyewitnesses, I single-handedly apprehended the suspect and he's now in the process of being booked by local police."

Sports:
"The Mets were trailing 6-4 late in the 9th and it didn't look good, so I quickly signed a one-day contract and hit a three-run walk-off homer to give the Amazins a 7-6 victory."

Traffic:
"Traffic was jammed up on the Cross-Bronx this morning due to a stalled vehicle, so I had the traffic copter swoop down and drop me off so I could install a new alternator in the 2003 Ford Taurus that was causing the problem. Afterwards, the pilot, the cameraman, and I stopped at the toll booths at the GWB to help with the congestion there and I'm happy to say that traffic is now moving along nicely through the area."

I really don't think it's too much to ask.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Crystal Cove

As I've previously written, the first time I saw SSC I found myself with several hours between the meeting at which she'd captivated me with her beauty, and the department holiday party at which I'd hoped to be able to speak with her. After a restless half-hour at my hotel that afternoon, I jumped into my rental for a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway.

A few miles later I came across Crystal Cove State Park and I pulled into the parking lot to have a closer look. After a few minutes gazing down at the beach from the cliffs high above, I walked down the path to the shore. I spent the next two hours strolling along the sand with the water lapping at my ankles, and thinking about the breathtaking beauty both of nature and of SSC.

During my visit with her last week, SSC and I decided that we needed to take a day for ourselves in the hopes of relieving some of the stress she'd been under since learning of her stepfather's illness. Our original intent had been to drive to Balboa Island, but our lack of directional sense and the snarled traffic that greeted us when we finally found our way conspired to prevent us from reaching our intended destination.

While driving back to SSC's place, I saw Crystal Cove on my right and I once again pulled into the parking lot. We exited the car and stood on the same cliff I'd stood at during my previous visit. We walked along the cliff until we came to the curved walkway that lead down to the beach, and we strolled across the beach to the water's edge just as I had that night.

We held hands as we walked along the beach, we wrote our names in the sand like schoolchildren, we took pictures of the beach and of each other another, we talked to a nice family that we met, we saw what SSC is certain was a rabid crab, but who was actually snacking on a piece of shrimp and probably wondering why were were taking so many pictures of it, and we tried not to think about the fact that in just twelve more hours I'd be on a plane back to New York.

As I shared with SSC the story of my last visit to that beach, I couldn't help but to shake my head in amazement that the woman that I'd only dreamed about meeting the last time I'd stood on that beach was the same woman that had made all of my dreams come true.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Work, Work...um....Blog

I have a sweet story to tell you about my trip to the beach with SSC during my visit to California last week, but given my current workload I have no idea when I'll find time to write it.

So...erm...stay tuned.

Or something like that.

Hey, I just realized that today is Wednesday!

And you know what that means, right?!?

Yeah, neither do I.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Blogservations: Illin'

Ten Thoughts:

  1. I'm convinced that the highway system in Southern California was designed by a conglomerate of oil companies. This much is made obvious by the complete lack of mass transportation options, the traffic jams at all hours of the day and night, and the fact that there are large valleys that force people to drive a mile out of their way to loop around to their intended destination.

  2. On the other hand, the beaches (and in particular the sunsets) almost make up for it...almost. As evidenced by the picture on the right that I took at Crystal Cove, you can't even mess them up by taking a picture with your cell phone.

  3. I'm probably overstating this, but there are few things in life that are worse than having the flu during the summer.

  4. My softball team goes for it's third championship in a row (and fourth overall) on Sunday. Book your plane tickets now so that you can come out and watch. It's history in the making, I tell you.
  5. The other day I saw a story about a warning on a bleach bottle that read "this bottle is not to be used as a drinking container" and I thought, "I'm sure it would be fine if I cleaned it out with bleach first."
  6. Splendiferous, cornucopia, and plethora are among the many tragically underutilized words in the English language.

  7. Whereas Paris, Hilton, Britney, and Spears are among the most over utilized.

  8. A word of advice: Never start a list of ten items if you can only think of eight things.