Friday, February 24, 2006

Coalition of the Caped and Willing

For those of you who don’t follow the world of comic books (and, really, who over the age of 14 should), news broke this week that the caped crusader, Batman, has enlisted in the fight against terrorism. That’s right, writer Frank Miller announced that Batman will join the Coalition of the Willing (which currently comprises Poland…and?) and help fight the war on terror. According to Miller, the new comic, entitled “Holy Terror, Batman,” is an intentional piece of propaganda that will depict Batman “kicking al-Qaeda’s ass.” Because, as Miller sees it, "it just seems silly to chase around the Riddler when you've got al-Qaeda out there."

Now, I have some misgivings about depicting the war in Iraq in cartoon form as it seems to almost trivialize the horrors occurring daily. But I’m sure Miller’s heart is in the right place for wanting to combat terror in the pages of his trusted comic book. And with recruiting stations about as popular as a weekend tax seminar these days, we could use all the help we can get. But, why stop at Batman? As a former Saturday morning cartoon junkie (firmly planted three feet away from television, cereal bowl in hand, and no, mom, I don’t want to go outside and play), I’m well aware of the many superhero resources we have at our disposal. So, Miller, how about employing the entire League of Justice in our struggle?

Wonder Woman: Throw that Lasso of Truth where it’s needed most – at our Commander-in-Chief. Dig in those red hooker boots and demand the answers we’ve all been seeking for the past five years: “Where the hell are those weapons of mass destruction?”

Wonder Twins: Although only teenagers, there appear to be no more age restrictions for enlisting. So welcome aboard, kids. Wonder twin powers activate! Form of… proper body armor! Shape of…a coherent post-invasion strategy!

Robin: Oh, wait, not you Robin. Sorry, Boy Wonder. No one’s asked, but, really, does he even need to tell? Rules are rules and I’m afraid he’s going to have to sit this one out.

So best of luck Super Friends. Because if you can't do it, Scooby-Doo and the gang better start outfitting the Mystery Van with bulletproof glass.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

THIS is what a girl's supposed to look like?

Screw you, New York Times.

This is the picture on the front page of the Styles section in today's paper of record. The headline screams "Seduction, Revived"

The caption reads " A girly-girl look from Marni."

This is a girly-girl look? Really, that's what you call it? Cause I think it's more Skeletor-meets-meth-addiction. And honey, if anything is being revived here it's this little lady after she collapses in the hallway as soon as the flashbulb goes off.

It's upsetting, it's unsettling, and wrong, wrong, wrong. Back to a more positive role model for young girls... uh, Barbie, anyone?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

From Martha to Donald

If you, like me, are so way over Nicole and Paris, Angelina and Jen, Fitty and Ja, and all the other feuding celebs, you'll be psyched to know that there's a New New Duo of Dueling Celebrities: Martha v. Donald! It appears that the Donald took poorly to some comments Martha made about him in a Newsweek story published this week.

Martha, who is well-known for her contrition and her integrity, as well as public displays of warmth, is also, clearly, a diva of diplomacy. Which is why she decided to blame Trump for the failure of her version of The Apprentice. She says that she was supposed to have fired Trump on the first episode of her show! Trump, confused by Martha's mixed signals--I thought she loved me!--and possibly stunned that she could be so phenomenally stupid as to alienate someone as volatile and crass as himself, naturally fired back today in a letter, with his usual class and good taste. About her show: "I knew it would fail as soon as I first saw it"..."Despite this, I did nothing but positively promote you"..."you made this firing up just as you made up your sell order of ImClone."

Well, Martha, who can't bear to feel she's hurt a friend, responded with a letter too, which R&R have procured and printed, in full, below.

Dear Donald,

Your letter is so mean-spirited and reckless that I almost can’t believe my long-time friend Donald Trump wrote it. I am very proud of the work I did while on trial downtown, and while relaxing in the clink. I did nothing but obstruct justice, scowl, look aggrieved and generally display an arrogant indifference to, well, the plain old fucking law. Many young entrepreneurs learned so much from my performance and enjoyed it.

In my version of The Apprentice, I brought that same can-do spirit of chilly superiority. I was nothing but condescending and, worse, boring. Many families sat their children down weekly to watch it.

We are even more pleased with our excellent daytime show Martha—syndicated by NBC Universal—which has just been nominated for six daytime Emmys, including best show and best host. While this is utterly dumbfounding, both to me and to you, it must be that enough psycho Alias fans tuned in to watch me teach Jennifer Garner how to make yogurt that the ratings just went bonkers.

So, Donald, what can I say? you really let me down and hurt my feelings.

Fuck you.

Warmest regards,

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Write Back Soon!

Here's my favorite line from the "To" story in the NYT today: "One of the rules that I teach my students is, the less powerful person always has to write back," Professor Worley said. Though the story initially caught my attention because my kids and me (and NB when I say 'my kids,' please note I use that in the "I didn't birth them, i only learn them" sense), we e-mail all the time. But it was Professor Worley's kicker that really got me thinking: The less powerful person always has to write back.

Is this really true??? If so, I think I'd be returning e-mails all day and all night long. I'd be saying "thank you for the thank you for the thank you for the you're welcome for the thank you." If this applied to brute strength, the powerhouse R&R girls' ink wells would run dry. If this applied to romantic relationships, I just might get myself brought up on stalking charges (i know what you're thinking... and shut up.)

So Professor Curly does not necessarily agree with her colleague Professor Worley. Then again, Professor Worley is probably a distinguished scholar of some sort and I... I think I need to go write her a little note right now.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Torino City Bombers

Good morning' R&Rers. As the ladies have decided to start their weekend benders much earlier these days, their trusty little sidekick is back again. (Note to Robin: please stop sending me mid-week emails with the header "Bitch better have my Friday post!")

So, if the rest of you are like me -- shudder -- you've also taken a two-week vacation so you could stay home and absorb every minute of the Winter Olympics. Now, I realize that some people would rather watch "Simple Scrapbooking" on QVC than suffer through even a minute of the Torino Games, but, really, where else are you going to see a sporting event that prominently features a "kiss and cry" section or watch men and women in a lycra one-piece sweep an ice floor with the intensity of Joan Crawford. (And frankly, I think all sports should incorporate the kiss and cry booth.) But the absolute highlight of the Games thus far? Snowboard Cross, hands down. This is the greatest sport ever invented. For the uninitiated, allow me to draw a picture: four snowboarders hurtle down a weaving mountain track in a kamikaze race to reach the finish line first. That's it. As far as I can tell, there are zero rules in Snowboard Cross. It's a mix of fearless will, peak athleticism, cunning strategy and several Class C felonies. Seriously, these guys absolutely mug each other on the way down.

But, watching American Seth Wescott outlast the prison riot closing quickly behind him to take the gold medal, I realized why I love this sport so much. Basically, Snowboard Cross is alpine roller derby. And, to me, roller derby is up there with democracy in terms of America's contribution to world culture. Growing up in the Bay Area, following the Bay City Bombers was one of my many, many television obsessions. And from this craze was born one of the greatest movies ever made: Kansas City Bomber. Starring a down-on-her-luck Raquel Welch as K.C. Carr, the movie is to roller derby what Hoosiers is to basketball, Pride of the Yankees is to baseball, Ladybugs is to girl's soccer. In a word, perfection. Really, I can't recommend it enough. The final scene, a winner-takes-all skate-off between K.C. and Big Bertha Bogliani, played by Patti 'Moo Moo' Cavin (did they really need to change her name for this role?) is more poignant and compelling than anything in Sophie's Choice.

But I digress. Back to Snowboard Cross. As this is the sport's first foray into the Olympic Games, I think there is room for improvement. Seriously, they should take the next logical step and just arm everyone at the top of the hill. Before each race they could haul out a canvas sack filled with all the Clue weapons and make it a big grab bag. Noose, candlestick, lead pipe. Play along with your friends! I'll take Colonel Canada, with the revolver, by 2 seconds.

So rumble on, athletes. And someone get Dick Cheney a snowboard. Stat.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rich Daddy

We all know that schadenfreude is an ugly thing, a nasty little symptom of our inherent pettiness as a species. It's wrong and mean and small-minded. And we all know that it tastes delicious. So I thought I'd serve a little dish of it today.

Let's say you're a big rich man--a big mogul even--who makes ungodly money, wields obscene power, enjoys strapppingly healthy older age, and has recently married a woman--a newbile schoolteacher, no less--about, say, 1/3 of your age. Let's say that because your money is in media, because you are the billionaire who controls one of the world's biggest media conglomerates, you appear often in Page Six, your bald pate gleaming as brightly as your megawatt grin (dentures?), as you squire around your schoolteacher plaything-cum-wife to various benefits. (Just some fun facts, because who doesn't like a girl who knows a boondoggle when she marries one? Check out a few items the schoolteacher chose for her wedding registry: Nespresso espresso machine ($399), an Arte Italica wine ice bucket ($320), a Steuben Minoan bowl ($1,500), and a Moser wavy vase ($1,175).)

Then what happens, motherfucker, is that your bitter, rancorous, emotionally crippled and angry son sues you. Oooooh, awkward.

That's what's currently happening to Sumner Redstone, billionaire media mogul who controls Viacom and CBS, who appears to have been a bit of a motherfucker in real life, too. Sumner is 82--his wife is younger than I am--and his daughter, in her 50's, has been designated as the heir to control of the company. But his son Brent, little wanky Brent, Brent who probably threw a girly football pass, who didn't make the lacrosse team, and who undoubetdly got kicked out of Milton for failing to show charisma and have sex with co-eds, is angwhy. Very angwhy. Anghwhy because he feels he has not been treated as fairly as his sister. Brent is now 55, and is suing for the dissolution of his daddy's company, so he can have access to his one-sixth interest in the company...which cashes out at $1.3 billion. That would be a nice Fuck You to Daddy.

Daddy sensed early on that there might be some filial bonding issues, and he tried to take care of the matter discreetly, by sending Brent to South America in the 90's to run the family's "theater business" down there--which seemd both out of the way and, well, probably just right for Brent. But Brent had a love for Colorado--and cowboys--and he insisted on wanting to come back. He now lives on a ranch in Evergreen, Co., gets at leats a million dollars a year in revenue just from having the last name Redstone, and evidently seethes in resentment.

Wouldn't it be super-funny if pansy-boy actually made his big daddy pay out?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney Takes Gold in Lawyer Shooting Competition

Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick. Sure, everyone knows the joke "What do you call 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?... A good start." But not everyone goes and shoots themselves an attorney at law. Well, that's how our Vice President is different from you and me, I suppose.

On Saturday the Prince of Darkness rustled himself up some lawyer meat whilst on a hunting expedition in Texas. Veep Cheney, an "experienced" hunter according to the New York Times, was on a ranch in Texas when he shot Harry Whittington, a lawyer and former member of the Texas Board of Corrections (who says God doesn't have a sense of humor, eh?) in the cheek, neck and chest. So, yes, Virginia, it turns out the Second Amendment is more than just a photo opportunity!

Let's think: on how many levels is this story disturbing and wrong? And let's assume for a minute that the man shooting was unintentional...

Okay, so Our Vice President chooses to spend his down time shooting at things. This is how he relaxes. (Sounds like the beginning of an H.G. Wells story, doesn't it?) Here's another thing: I'm not saying hunting--the shooting at defenseless creatures with a big bad ass gun--is an undignified sport (okay, wait, yes, that's EXACTLY what I'm saying). I'm also saying is that you'd think Cheney would be able to get his rocks off knowing that he's been torturing defenseless creatures on a global scale at least since the reign of GB-I. Also, uh, I don't want to give advice to the NRA, but is this really the best way to show to the country/world that gun ownership is a good idea/doesn't lead to accidents/doesn't cause unnecessary suffering? I'm gonna go with "not so much."

But being a girl, I suppose I don't understand much about the world of men and their firearms. Sure, I know "guns don't kill people, bullets kill people." Yet in this instance (and in so many others I think we can cite) we just might be able to tweak that phrase to "guns don't kill people, our Vice President does."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Man Nibbles Dog

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this post are entirely those of the author Jay Dyckman--who still hasn't figured out how to post by himself--and do not necessarily represent those of the eminences Robin & Renee, especially not the one of us who works for CNN.)

I love There could be news of a nuclear attack, presidential assassination and a cure for cancer all released on the same day and CNN, god bless 'em, would still lead with a story about a cat who nurses puppies after the mother is hit by a car. [N.B. This is an actual headline posted today.] Frankly, the CNN website makes the National Enquirer look like the Economist. So, true to form, what was a recent headline of the (Anderson) Cooper News Network? "Kiss of life makes Boo Boo the chicken better." And the dek? "This chicken had lips, just not her own." I regret reading this at work as, in all honesty, I peed a little when I saw this.

For those of you who are too high-brow for these types of stories, here's the scoop: a retired nurse in Arakadelphia (?!), Arkansas administered mouth-to-beak CPR to a chicken found floating face down in the family's pond. According to Marian, the nurse, she was interested to see "if she still had it." Hmmm. When most people ask themselves this question, they slide on a pair of snug jeans and hit happy hour at P.J. O'Houlihan's. Not slip the tongue to their nearest livestock.

But, the story prompts an important question. Namely, would you? Take a long look at your beloved basset hound and truly confront the depths of your affection. Frankly, I'd give my pooch the Heimlich, maybe even floss its teeth. But a French kiss? That's a tough one. Everything would change. Could he still sleep in the bed? Would snuggling feel different? It's not as if I can tell him "I'll call you" and leave it at that.

Or who knows. Don't be surprised if you get an invite this spring to our commitment ceremony. We'll be registered at Tiffany's and Petco. I mean, it beats spending another Valentine's Day alone.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

So Didja Miss Me?

Inspired not a little by my co-author and co-chatter, Robin, who has been known to book a flight the day before leaving, get her visa on the way to the airport, and read the guidebook in the cab on the way to her hotel, I took a little impromptu vacay last week.

And, gente--it was Barcelona--que favoloso! After tossing around Sicily, Panama, and Saint Maarten as possible destinations, I settled on this allegedly delightful city that I had not visited since 1981. At the time, my brother and I wore matching navy-blue jackets, my father had a lot more hair, and my most vivid memory was of the monkey in the botanical garden who pulled my hair. Nasty animal. Also, falling asleep in my plate at dinner, which was invariably a little bit after my bed time.

Let me tell you that Barcelona in February as a grown-up is just a super-duper blast. It helped that it was the cheapest flight to Europe that I've ever purchased in ym life. It helped that it was the last days of those craaaaaaazy winter rebaixes--that's "sales" in Catalan for those of you who aren't fluent in the world's weirdest Romance language--and that I was able to acquire the definitive black boot. It helped that our friend and college classmate, Tom Downey (freelance writer and author of the incredibly compelling non-fiction book The Last Men Out) hooked me up with is his friend in Barcelona, Gonzalo Escuder, filmmaker and philosopher, and an unbelievably gracious guide to the all the dark-wood, vino-drinking, pinchos-eating spots of the city. It also helped that Tom gave me a sneak preview of his upcoming travel piece on barcelona in Conde Nast Traveller magazine, and thanks to him, I ate my weight in anchovies, boquerones, tortillas, codfish tapas, and ensaimadas, and drank my weight in the obscenely divine hot dark goop known as xocolate. If I tell you that the waiter was impressed when I finished all the hot chocolate-cum-mud soup and the whole mountain of whipped cream, I would be selling short his stupefaction.

So I'm fat, poor and happy. Back to work, now--I know you missed me just a ton. Or you would have, if you'd noticed I was gone.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Make Grandpa Stop Dancing!

Forgive possible typos in this post, but after watching Grampy Jagger prancing around the football field last night during half-time show of the Commercial Bowl, I plucked the eyes straight out of my head with the business end of a Spray Cheez can.

I couldn't help wondering as I watched these ridiculously skinny old men playing their guitars if it was some sort of Diet Pepsi spoof ad. Like that one when the delivery of Diet Pepsi went to the nursing home and the old folks went wild, and the Diet Coke went to Spring Breakers who started playing bingo.

Though AARP-member Mick didn't look all that horrid facially (kudos to you, Dr. 90210, ace needle work!) I thought the poor old man was going to need an oxygen tent by the end of the first song. Or if not oxygen, something to stop the seizure that animated those little pixie stick legs. I mean who knew the chicken dance was a product of the Sixties?

Fortunately since I've recently gotten a DVR, I had the pleasure of fast forwarding through the useless crap surrounding the commercials and half-time show, and was able to dispatch with the whole production pretty rapidly. My favorite part of the game was the first FedEx commercial with the cave men (best line: "Not My Problem"). Another commercial that made me laugh was... huh, that's funny, I don't remember what it was advertising, but it was a football game between friends in which a girl is saying "throw the ball to me, I'll be open," and after she catches it, the guy on the opposing team body slams her. I guess Super Bowl Sunday really is a day for violence against women! I also greatly approved of the great sheep streaking beer commercial (Miller? Bud Light? Busch? Who knows?) that seemed slightly pornographic. But interestingly, there didn't seem to be too many gratuitously sexy commercials beyond that, and I wonder if we have our Concerned Families to thank for that?

Curious to hear your favorite commercials... or would be even more interested to hear thoughts on what went on in the meeting where the idea of the Very Geriatric Super Bowl Show was pitched...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Jay hasn't quite figured out how to post this himself yet...

Well, a big hello to the tens of readers out there. I was a little nervous jumping into the Chattersphere so I asked big sis Robin for some advice. And what was that advice? Picture them in their underwear. (Actually, that's Robin's advice for pretty much everything.) But, considering that I'm writing this in my underwear, her advice seems particularly apt.

So, according to Robin, her and Renee wrote a book sometime ago. News to me. I think it's called "Are You There God, It's Me... Robin and Renee." Since I'm not much of a reader, I'll wait for the movie version. Or Lifetime special. (I hear Meredith Baxter-Birney will play Robin, but that's not confirmed yet.) But I'm pleased as punch to throw down with the ladies every Friday. Unfortunately, I have almost nothing to add so I'll have to get my shots in early before I'm booted off. And, since all I do with my time is watch bad TV, that's mostly what you'll be treated to. And the top of my list right now? That Geico Gecko with the British accent. He's mesmerizing. The mellifluous tone, cheeky cadence. I'm hooked. I even bought car
insurance because of him and I don't have a car. Pie and Chips? I don't know what that is but it's pure gold. Frankly, if he turned those big, moonish eyes at me and suggested I kill my neighbor, I'd be reaching for the steak knife.

Damn. I wish I could quit him. (Ok. That's the last and only Brokeback Mountain reference. I promise.)

Introducing Jay Dyckman

Gentle Readers, have we got some good news for you! Starting today and every Friday here after ad infinitum, our friend, college chum, drinking companion, poker instructor, water polo captain and all around hottie funny man, Jay Dyckman, will be guest blogging for us. Wait, no, not guest blogging. Guest blogging implies that a certain amount of social nicety and grace will be on display, and that's not really what we're expecting from dear Jay.

Frankly, we don't really know what to expect from dear Jay. He's a bit of a loose cannon that one, but surely that's part of his appeal. So we've asked him to blog about anything that comes into his pretty little head and to do so in a manner Chat with R & R readers have come to expect over the past year. He replied, "Through a haze of booze and the purest Colombian cocoa?" We think our heads bobbled back and forth and we spit chocolate in agreement before we passed out.

If you're a reader of McSweeney's you'll already know some of Jay's writings. If you haven't, you really should check them out at some point, they're hilarious, and we're not just saying that because we're on the pay roll, even though we are:

Refreshingly Candid, Yet Admittedly Less Traditional, Pet Notes That My Neighborhood Animal-Adoption Center Would Probably Find to Be More Effective: A Comparison

Responses in an Interview for a Nanny Position That Will Almost Certainly Sink Your Chances of Getting the Job

Strategic Attempts to Deflect Attention by the Most Obviously Overweight Member of the Donner Party

A Wedding Toast by Katie Holmes's Former Best Friend

Re: Hardy Boys Manuscript Submission

Anyway, from this point forth, we'll let Jay speak for himself. (Cue: Chelsea Boy) We hope he tickles you as much as he tickles us, particularly when he's feeling handsy.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dei Sub Numine Viget

The following letter was sent to The Daily Princetonian by F.T. Chalmers, a member of the great class of '47:

It has come to my attention that the ancient and honorable tradition of the 11 pm break during finals is no longer observed. For the sake of those who are too young to remember the benefits of this emotional catharsis, the rules of procedure are repeated below in the hope that their obvious value may once again be invoked by the student body:

1) The period from 11 to 11:10 pm shall be given over to total pandemonium.

a) At precisely 11 the cry of "take ten!" will be taken up and repeated by all members of the undergraduate body.

b) All radios, phonographs, pianos, saxophones, trumpets, etc. are to be played at full volume.

c) Grinds will be routed out by seniority.

d) Firecrackers to the diameter of three inches are to be set off in strategic areas and all ice-box pans will be emptied and beaten vigorously.


F. T. Chalmers '47

Another alum provides an update:
In response to Chalmers' letter in yesterday's Daily Princetonian the Campus went crazy at 11 pm last night. Championship for the evening's activities definitely goes to Holder Hall. Having spent half the day planning every conceivable mode of fireworks and noise, the inhabitants not only let the entire borough know that they had discarded their textbooks but practically burned that famed building to the round. Their "court show" included the dazzling performance of a number of flaming tennis balls, a mock war replete with blank shells and falling soldiers, and a huge shower of bone-dry beer cans.

NOTICE: The Proctors have requested that undergraduates refrain from the use of flamable materials during "11 P. M. breaks". The utilization of kerosene-soaked tennis balls and burning newspapers causes serious fire hazards.

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