Friday Freakshow

27 03 2009

No jokes, no commentary, just this guy:



The sartorial equivalent of ‘I have a headache’

25 03 2009

Listen up, ladies! We might be in a recession, but everybody’s favorite shrieking loon Elisabeth Hasselbeck has come to our rescue with a new line of “pretty and polished separates” available for purchase via your very own tee vee machine!

Cut from fashionable polyester and starting at just $44, Elisabeth’s roomy tops and quirky capris are perfect for every occasion, from carpooling to Bunco night to restricting access to contraceptives.

Plus, because the line is only available via notorious craphawker QVC—shit, they let a drunken Paula Abdul on the air—you will have more adorably vacant Hasselbecky goodness beamed into your living room than ever before.

You’re welcome, America.

The Recession Garden: Seeds of Discontent

16 03 2009

A Google News search for the phrase “victory garden” turns up 145 stories over the past month alone. Evidently, America’s intrepid Trend Journalists allege, the economic crisis has hit many families so hard that they are now cultivating their own fruits and veggies, as a way to “cut costs.” How compelling! How heart-warmingly American! I practically just Norman Rockwelled all over myself thinking about it.


Except, of course, that the entire concept of a “recession garden” is totally bogus. In purely economic terms, you could hardly make a worse investment than growing your own food. Even if you are blessed with a reasonably large yard full of rich, fertile soil, the cost of irrigation and basic gardening tools alone vastly outweighs the cost of buying a rutabaga at the supermarket, and that’s to say nothing of the often several-month delay between planting and harvest. Yes, it’s great that you’re expecting a fantastic crop of kale in June, but what are we having for dinner tonight?

Then, of course, there’s the cost of labor. Large-scale farming exists for a reason: It’s more efficient for a few people to devote 100 percent of their time to farming than for everybody to spend a little bit of time on it. That’s why we also don’t make our own soap, sew our own clothes or even change our own oil. It pays to specialize.

And spare me the bourgeois drivel about reconnecting with the earth and the spiritual value of growing your own food. You live on a cul-de-sac, for chrissake, you’re not Alexis de Tocqueville.

Thanks to advances in biotech and economies of scale, food—even fresh food—is cheaper than ever before. If you want to get your hands dirty cultivating your own beets, go right ahead, but save the piety. Any consumer really interested in cutting costs would trade the weekly trip to Whole Foods for one to Wal-Mart, or even 99 Cents Only.

Now THAT would be revolutionary.

Race to the Bottom

12 03 2009

Normally I just leave my nightly MSNBC liberal porn on as background noise in the apartment while I attend to more important things, but last night I couldn’t help but get drawn in to this mud-slinging deathmatch between adorably insane pumpkin-head Chris Matthews and GWB acolyte Ari “Under the Bus” Fleischer. I don’t think anybody expected it to be a love-fest, but I swear if they’d been in the same studio it would have come to blows. I haven’t seen hate this deliciously palpable in a while:


Dora the Exploiter

6 03 2009

According to our friends over at FishbowlLA, there’s a bit of an internet fracas brewing between Mattel and a coalition of worked-up mommybloggers over the company’s decision to “magically transform” girl-hero Dora the Explorer into, well, something of a slut. 


The mommymob fears that the new, skankified Dora will influence their daughters to develop body image issues, eschew books in favor of makeup and spread their legs for every two-bit SpongeBob on the block, which is probably true since I grew up playing with stuffed animals only to become an unrepentant furry.

Anyhow, the Concerned Women for Chaste Cartoon Characters (CWCCC) is sending around a petition demanding that Mattel suspend Dora in her pre-pubescent glory, forever. Sign up here.

Amazon Kindle = Privacy FAIL

9 02 2009

Everyone’s abuzz about the Kindle, Amazon’s handheld reading device that lets users read “what you want, when you want it” by getting books, magazines and newspapers delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds. The second incarnation of the Kindle, released today, weights 10.2 ounces and can hold more than 1,500 books. “No longer pick and choose which books fit in your carry-on,” the Amazon site exclaims. “Now you have your entire library with you.”


Not so fast. Leaving aside for a moment that the Kindle’s very name is weirdly evocative of book burning, consider that for everything we gain with a Kindle—convenience, selection, immediacy—we’re losing something too. The printed word—physically printed, on paper, in a book—might be heavy, clumsy or out of date, but it also provides a level of permanence and privacy that no digital device will ever be able to match.

In the past, restrictive governments had to ban whole books whose content was deemed too controversial, inflammatory or seditious for the masses. But then at least you knew which books were being banned, and, if you could get your hands on them, see why. Censorship in the age of the Kindle will be more subtle, and much more dangerous.

Read the rest of this entry »

No more human litters

30 01 2009

As a card-carrying, lily-livered, bleeding-heart, bed-wetting liberal, both reproductive choice and social welfare programs are at the core of what I believe in. So I feel like I should be a lot more comfortable with the recent birth of octuplets in Bellflower, CA.

But I’m not. Choosing to carry eight babies to term is tantamount to neglect. Even if the mother, who has not been identified, did have the resources to provide for her brood of 14—estimates for absolute basics for the octuplets alone range from about $2.5 to $3 million—it is simply not possible for one person (or two people, it’s not clear if the mother is married or has a partner) to simultaneously nurture eight infants to the extent they need to develop normally.

That’s the thing about “choice”—Your right to chose ends when it starts taking choices away from somebody else. In this case, the mother’s choice to have eight viable embryos implanted invariably limits the choices of her friends and neighbors, her extended family, social services providers, her six older children who will inevitably be the ones caring for these babies, and of course the octuplets themselves.

No one, in the primate family at least, has octuplets by accident. This is not a matter of a young woman who makes some poor choices and ends up needing food stamps to get by. Instead, it is the case of a person who, for whatever reason, has insisted on having her way, regardless of the consequences and at everyone else’s expense. Her children have my sympathy.