there is water underground.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Some Kind of Rodent

We all know that movies have dialogue that contains words which can’t be said on television. Hell, George Carlin made a name for himself because of the FCC’s ban of filthy words. The result of said ban is that when movies are broadcast on television, the naughty words are either bleeped out entirely or overdubbed with other, more acceptable words. Recently, upon reading a fantastic book about the making of – and subsequent cult status of – The Big Lebowski, I came to learn that when John Goodman destroys a car using a crowbar and repeatedly screams "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!", the dubbed version claims that “This is what happens when you fight a stranger in the Alps!” In the film's context, this line makes absolutely no sense... of course, one could argue that the whole movie makes little sense, but I'm talking about the Dude here.

In another great slacker movie, the NPH plays a tripping-his-balls-off version of himself. Yep, in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, Neil Patrick Harris - on the apparent ecstasy trip and looking for a few ladies - says "Forget White Castle, let's go get some pussy!" However, in the TV version, he says “Forget White Castle, let’s go get some privates!” Ironically, this option (if "privates" is interpreted as male soldiers) is more likely to be up the NPH's alley.

Al Pacino has plenty of great lines in Scarface, but one of my favorites is when he's talking about Miami and he says "This town is like a great big pussy just waiting to be fucked!" The TV version is, well... interesting: “This town is like a great big chicken just waiting to be plucked!” I mean, it didn't have to rhyme, fellas...

I love The Usual Suspects. Great story, great acting, and a brilliant twist of an ending. There's a scene when the suspects are placed in a police lineup, and they each have to say the line "Give me the keys, you fucking cocksucker!" But the TV censors, in another curious dubbing effort, inserted “Give me the keys, you fairy godmother!” Verrrrrry scary.

An unfortunate character in the first volume of Kill Bill is the ill-fated Buck, an orderly at the hospital where Uma Thurman is lingering in a coma. Buck, well... Buck's not very nice, and he says "My name is Buck, and I'm here to fuck." The man gets his comeuppance - trust me - but the TV dub is "My name is Buck, and I'm here to party." It has the unintentional effect of being a lot funnier than the original (not that raping a comatose Uma Thurman is funny).

What's up with stoner comedies? In the Dave Chappelle vehicle Half Baked, Bob Saget delivers the line "I used to suck dick for coke." While this is probably true, the TV version replaces "dick" with "feet", and suddenly we're into a whole 'nother ballgame.

Finally, one of my favorite movies is Ghostbusters. Rather than subject his film to overdubbing, director Ivan Reitman chose to completely re-shoot select scenes. One classic scene toward the end of the film occurs after the gentleman from the EPA shuts down the Busters' power grid, causing mass hysteria, the dead rising from the grave, dogs and cats living together... you get the point. It goes like this:

Ray Stantz: "The system was working just fine until the power grid was turned off by Dickless here."
Walter Peck: "They caused an explosion!"
Mayor: "Is this true?"
Peter Venkman: "Yes, it's true. This man has no dick."

The alternate dialogue is as follows:

Ray Stantz: "The system was working just fine until the power grid was turned off by Wally Wick here."
Walter Peck: "They caused an explosion!"
Mayor: "Is this true?"
Peter Venkman: "Yes, your Honor… this man is some kind of rodent, I don't know which."

Don't believe me? See for yourself.

And this one's even better:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I Have Twatted.

At the behest of my illustrious place of employment, I have joined the ever-growing ranks of Twitter users in the hopes of increasing the awareness of our franchise opportunities. (yep, I’m serious!) I am not sure what to call myself or those other brave souls who use the service. According to the welcome email I received when I signed up, I am now a “Twitter-er.” I think that’s the least creative name that the company could’ve come up with. Obviously they’re not going to call us all “twits” – although one might argue that we are – and they’re not going to call us “tweeters” despite that being the most accurate moniker (each post on Twitter is called a “tweet”). My inclination is to roll with Mr. Stephen Colbert and use “twat” as the verb for posting tweets. But back to what Twitter-ers should actually be called, my vote is for “Twoots.” It has no other definition, and it incorporates the underused-but-awesome word “woot” (or “w00t” depending on your level of nerd-dom)... and in any case, we’re running out of vowels.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We're Number Forty-Nine!

...out of fifty. That's right, GMAC Insurance gave a test to over five thousand licensed drivers from all fifty states.* From living in New York, Massachusetts, and currently New Jersey, I knew even before reading the article that the Northeast would wind up toward the bottom of the list.

I was right. The esteemed Garden State ranked 49th, just above the state with the worst drivers... New York. Massachusetts ranked highest among the states in which may various automobiles have been licensed, coming in at a whopping 46th place. Those Idahoans and Wisconsinites out there are apparently the smartest drivers, but I attribute this to the fact that they live in states with more cheese & potatoes than the rest of us. There's logic in there somewhere. Anyway, it's an interesting article if you'd like to read it. The kind people at GMAC have also posted the exam for all to attempt. I scored an 85, which betrays my brand-new Jersey plates.

*the District can suck it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Exercises in Procrastination

Links that I like:

Have you ever wondered where you’d wind up if you drilled a hole straight through to the other side of the planet? This link can show you (and the answer is often “in the middle of some body of water”). As you move one map, the other map moves as well, so it’s a little trippy to maneuver.

Make sure you have a printer, because this site has “tickets” which you can print and place on poorly parked cars. Living in New Jersey, I print out a lot of tickets.

Whenever you need randomly created jazz scales or dice throws, these will save the day. (In a related story, number of days saved = zero)

There’s a bear who shits prime numbers. The longer you stay on this page, the larger the numbers become (and the more sore the bear’s asshole becomes). One person apparently navigated to this page and then left his computer on for several months. His computer eventually became self-aware and – upon realizing that it was leading a pointless existence – subsequently self-destructed.*

The greatest webcomic ever. It’s the best thing since Calvin & Hobbes. It’s esoteric, funny, perverse, geeky, and heartbreaking.

If you’re planning to travel by plane and you have the option of selecting your seat when you book your ticket, you might want to check out this site. Seating charts for most airlines’ entire fleets are shown, and it’s definitely helped me to choose better seats (especially on longer flights).

Six degrees never tasted so easy.

This game is called GrowCube. There are ten objects which must be placed on the cube in the correct order. Math people know that this means there are over 3.6 million ways to place the objects (there’s a hint somewhere in the users’ comments that gives away the correct order, or just google a solution). It’s pretty weird – the “level up” comments are meaningless, and definitely mute the horrid music – but the ending is pretty cool.

This site will take any words, names, or phrases and find all the possible anagrams for them. Most of the results are pretty stupid, but it’s comforting to know that one anagram for my name is “renewed bran.”

Old episodes of “Celebrity Jeopardy” from SNL can now be found at Will Ferrell’s website. Can you believe that it’s been ten years since “Febtober!”?!? This is my favorite of the bunch, but the one where Burt Reynolds (played by Norm MacDonald) decides that his name is “Turd Ferguson” is also fantastic.

Finally: What happens when sheep herders have far too much time on their hands? ….no, not that. Get your mind out of the gutter.

*this might not be true.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Walden is a place for all seasons, but it carries its beauty best in winter. Last year, I visited the pond in early February on a clear, frigid day. It was completely frozen over, and the lone ice-fisherman in the middle of the pond was a speck on the horizon. I steeled myself and proceeded to walk straight across the pond, knowing that if the ice cracked I was probably screwed. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and by the time I reached the middle the fisherman had headed off to the shore for a break. I was standing alone in the middle of Walden pond. The actual temperature betrayed the clear sky and radiant sun, but I took off my hat and felt the wind freeze my hair. I felt close to nature, as close as one can get within twenty miles of Boston.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

In Honor of National Grammar Day

Our language has over 400,000 words. That’s a lot of words. Many are commonplace, like “sandwich” or “cable.” Many are used very infrequently, like “cloaca” or “subterfuge.” My favorite word is “effervescence” – the only word with five es each separated by two consonants. Words are amazing. And yet, there are some words that – while they are not dirty in and of themselves – well, simply sound dirty. They’re the kind of words that make educated Beavises and Buttheads snicker. Here now is a far-from-complete list of some of the words that just sound dirty.

• Doppelganger
• Mumps
• Finagle
• Mastication
• Spelunker
• Flagella
• Kumquat
• Moist
• Dangling Participle
• Pinochle
• Carpetbagger
• Flugelhorn
• Sloop
• Stimulus
• Package
• Stimulus Package
• Moist Stimulus Package (okay, now we’re getting ridiculous)
• Smorgasbord
• Nebbish
• Plethora
• Thwart

Special thanks are due to Kathy for assistance with this project. And Robin Williams too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Unclear on the concept of "All You Can Eat."

Best caption for this photo gets a prize. The actual story behind this is as follows: there is a festival in Japan where sumo wrestlers try to scare babies. The baby who cries the loudest wins a prize. I think the "prize" should be having the parents taken to a field and beaten severely with sacks of potatoes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Smashy Smashy

Earlier this month the world’s largest particle accelerator went online in Europe. It consists of a ring of superconducting magnets 17 miles in circumference that must be kept at a few degrees below absolute zero. The magnets are designed to move protons around the ring at speeds approaching the speed of light, eventually smashing the protons into one another. This collision at near-light-speed will hopefully produce evidence of the Higgs Boson, one of the elemental particles of the universe that has been theorized but never observed. It’s amazing that humans have constructed something so immense in order to detect something so minuscule. The Higgs Boson is one of the strangely-named particles (it’s actually not that strange – the scientist who theorized it was named Higgs – but there are particles called the Charm Quark and the Gluon (which has to be the one that makes everything stick together)) that are described as having “colors,” “flavors,” and “direction.” These tiny little particles are thought to be the building blocks for atoms, and therefore they’re supposed to be the most basic things in the universe.

I have no idea what the hell I’m writing about, but I hope that I’m composed primarily of red gluons. Anyway, this experiment – many years and billions of dollars in the making – will hopefully reveal some more details about life, the universe, and everything. I find it interesting that there is a contingent of people out there who believe that when the particle accelerator is brought up to full capacity, it will create miniature black holes and rip the world apart. This notion – other than sounding like a really cool premise for a science fiction movie – seems absurd. But really, what the hell do I know? It’ll probably generate more questions than answers, which is the sign of a good experiment. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll give scientists some insight as to how to start working on beaming technology. But my guess is that we won’t be any closer to knowing why, inexplicably, all day Wednesday you keep thinking it’s Thursday… and Thursday comes and you’re alright again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fucking Brilliant.

Garfield Minus Garfield. It is self-described as a "site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of Mr. Jon Arbuckle." It's completely bizarre. Without the fat cat or his foils Odie and Nermal, we are thrown into the midst of an unfinished world. And yet it somehow works. It becomes something vastly more interesting and irreverent than the original. Jon is no longer the lonely, bumbling caregiver and provider for his pets. He is downright SCARY. The concept is unique and perfectly executed. See for yourself.

Apparently Jim Davis, the creator of the Garfield comic, is a fan. Ballantine Books is publishing a collection of the "revised" comics later this year; the book is purported to have the original comics side-by-side with the edited versions.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The First Eight Thousand Are Tough. After That, It's Easy.

Only in this country would someone claim that his obsessive-compulsive disorder led him to the practice of eating at least one Big Mac every day for 36 years. Some dude from Wisconsin (of course) has consumed 23,000 Big Macs since May 1972… and he has the receipts to prove it. Using my handy calculator, there are just over 13,000 days in 36 years. Therefore, it follows that this burger fiend ate 1.75 Big Macs per day on average FOR THIRTY-SIX YEARS. At 29 grams of fat per burger, the guy must resemble an enormous land-bound dugong (or he could be one of those freaks of nature who eats and eats and never gains a pound). It boggles the mind. My favorite part is that he wrote a book about his “achievement.” The book is two hundred pages long. Given that a) he has OCD and b) he ate the same thing every day, one can imagine what a page in the book might look like. My guess:

• July 19, 1983. McDonalds in Wausau WI. Two Big Macs. Tasty.
• July 20, 1983. McDonalds in Wausau WI. One Big Mac. Tasty.
• July 21, 1983. McDonalds in Wausau WI. Three Big Macs. Still tasty!

I think you get the picture. I’m sure that the book (which he apparently typed with one finger) delves into his history and his reasons for the love of the ubiquitous burger. Of course, if it does, then I question the reasoning that his OCD was the cause for his eating accomplishments; it seems that it’s much more likely that the guy is the perfect storm: can’t cook, lazy as shit, addicted to junk food, and really boring. The OCD probably doesn’t help matters much. But my reaction was kinda like this when I heard about the whole thing: “…really???

Monday, September 08, 2008

Journey at the Center of the Earth

It's, uh... it's not a typo. They really should have gone with this idea.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

My House Used To Be A Crack Den*

Yep, it's true. I'll explain. Max, Katie and I rehearsed at my place prior to playing a private gig on Saturday night. They came over with their significant others. David, Katie's boyfriend, grew up down the street from where I currently live. Upon entering my apartment (I have the first floor of a house), he told me that when he grew up it used to be a very sketchy place with lots of drug dealers. He was visibly creeped out by being in the house where he saw drug deals taking place many years ago. Times have changed, and I've never seen anything like that in the nearly four years (!) I've lived there - the occasional marijuana smell sometimes wafts over from the neighbors, no big deal - but still, I feel a bit weirded out myself.

*I wanted to call it "House of Crack" and style the posting after the Danielewski book "House of Leaves," but it would've been waaaay too much trouble. Besides, XKCD did the best sendup of that book ever.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Dear Rudy (In Defense of Community Service)

There are ways to criticize a person and his or her record without denigrating the role that many people proudly take on every day. However, regarding Senator Obama, you said the following at the Republican National Convention: “He worked as a community organizer. What?? Okay, maybe this is the first problem on his resume. …He has never led anything. Nothing. Nada.”

You have implied that community organizers are not men and women of the people. I find it hard to believe that you would stoop so low as to insult citizens with the best intentions, biggest dreams, and – far too often – too few resources. People who want to see improvement in society and are tackling it one problem and one person at a time. People who take it upon themselves to organize, inspire, and lead others. Worst of all, you have implied that someone who does these things is unfit to have a larger leadership role, such as that of President.

To be sure, Senator McCain has endured trials that no person should ever have to experience. He is a good man, and he has given more than his share of service to this country. I don’t think there is a person in either party who would deny that. But to insinuate that the only method of service to one’s country is via the military is to condescend toward the 99% of Americans who are not on active duty or on reserve.

As a New Yorker, I am ashamed that you would consider community service as something to be scoffed at. You of all people should know that a city (which, by definition, is a large community) is only as strong as the people who comprise it. A city is bolstered by the people who do the right thing in times of crisis and in times of peace. A city is only as healthy as the people who work at every level to ensure that streets are safe, parks are clean, schools are respectable, and civility is the norm. You appear to be in contradiction with many of your party supporters who raised their “Service” signs in the rear of the convention hall. You seem to have forgotten your roots as the head of a narcotics unit, and later as the leader of a large city. You seem to have forgotten that people who are involved with their communities often go on to do great things just as often as those with military experience.

So Rudy – if I may call you that, being that I apparently exist at the lowest level of your totem pole (read: someone who aims to improve communities through education) – I have lost what respect I had for you. I have no real quarrel with your attacks on Senator Obama or the Democratic party; this is a political game and I know that mud must be slung, barbs must be leveled, and facts must be altered. But your condemnation of community service is unfair, crass, and beyond reproach. You have disappointed me and insulted many of the people whom I know, work with, and care about. And therefore, I feel justified in leaving you with the words of the late, great George Carlin (another proud New Yorker who did his community service by bringing rays of laughter to the city, I might add): Go fuck yourself. And go Mets.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The World Is Just Awesome

I don't have my coffee until I get to the office, so my morning routine is exactly that: routine. Although I have no trains to catch or overbearing bosses watching the clock, things happen at generally the same time each day. Once in a while, however, I see something on the way that simply makes me smile. On my way to work, I pass a row of houses on a relatively quiet street. In one of those houses live two elderly women who have to be twin sisters. They've gotta be at least 85 years old. I sometimes see them taking a walk together, arm in arm, dressed in identical clothing, strolling slowly down the sidewalk. That sight brightens my day a little bit.

Oh, and watch this video. Please. My brother showed it to me recently, and, well... it's just incredible. And totally safe for work.

I want to go everywhere in that video (especially the DMZ in Korea). If you want to watch it in high quality, go here and click the link underneath the video feed that says... 'watch in high quality.' (duh) It's such a simple concept, but it's perfectly executed. And the song is beautiful!

Friday, July 18, 2008

List Time!

These are great single lines from songs. No particular order or theme... just for fun. Feel free to add.

• “It’s just the daily grind to bring the daily bread, I wasn’t born rich – I’m good looking instead” (Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Cowboy Coffee)
• “I don’t have trouble with you fucking me, but I have a little problem with you not fucking me” (Ol' Dirty Bastard, Got Your Money)
• “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” (Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues)
• “Some balls are held for charity and some for fancy dress, but when they’re held for pleasure they’re the balls that I like best” (AC/DC, Big Balls)
• “I thought about the army, Dad said ‘Son, you’re fucking high.’” (Ben Folds, Army)
• “All the other girls here are stars, you are the Northern Lights” (Josh Ritter, Kathleen)
• “Girl, I only wanna get with you, only you… and your sister, I think her name’s Debra” (Beck, Debra)
• “I love you like a fat kid loves cake” (50 Cent, 21 Questions)
• “You think you’re so smart but I’ve seen you naked, I’ll probably see you naked again” (Barenaked Ladies, Blame it on Me)
• “Never let me slip ‘cause if I slip then I’m slippin’” (Dr. Dre, Dre Day)
• “That is Bach and it rocks, it’s a rock block of Bach that he learned in the school called the school of hard knocks” (Tenacious D, Rock Your Socks)
• “I absorb trust like a love rhombus, I feel I must elucidate, I ate the chump with guile. Quadrilateral I was, now I warp like a smile” (Soul Coughing, Bus to Beezlebub)
• “Will Smith don’t gotta cuss on his raps to sell records. Well, I do, so fuck him and fuck you too.” (Eminem, The Real Slim Shady)