Monday, October 31, 2005


What with all the uproar about the "other" John Roberts's "sloppy seconds" comment today, and all the creepy glee on the right and panicked sniping on the left, I think the real Roberts-Alito connection has been overlooked. So let me spell it out for you: Samuel Alito is John Roberts's dark Doppelganger! Consider the evidence:

:: Alito is a dorky-looking white guy. Roberts is a dorky-looking white guy, but handsomer.

:: Alito has a wife, a son, and a daughter (and by the way, since we know no White House picture is taken by accident, are they trying to convey Bill Clinton's ostensible blessing on the nomination?). I can't find pix of Roberts's family, but do you even need the visual reminder? He also has a wife, a son, and a daughter, and they're blond, gorgeous, and charming. As opposed to Alito's family, who might be uncharitably described as blond, cranky, and rigid.

:: Alito is renowned for his modest brilliance. Roberts is renowned for his modest brilliance.

:: Alito is a federal judge. Roberts was a federal judge.

:: Alito is so very conservative on issues of abortion, the death penalty and the separation of church and state. Roberts is so very conservative on issues of abortion, the death penalty and the separation of church and state, but only probably.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture: the Bush team pulled out what's appearing more and more to be their dominant philosophy: stay the course. If you liked Roberts, you'll... well, you won't like Alito quite as much, but he'll do the trick in a pinch.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday Confidential

Today’s Sunday Confidential is a confession: I am the Biggest Dork Ever. Oh, no, you’re saying, that couldn’t possibly be true! Well, it is, and I’ll tell you why: not only am I obsessed with public radio and listen to it approximately 18 hours a day, but I actually love the fundraisers. It's true. I like when, three times a year, they interrupt the programming to lure you by equal measures of guilt and flattery into giving them money, because it’s like they really need you. And it’s nice to be wanted. Yes, I know, it’s sad, I’m looking to the radio for emotional fulfillment. But when else am I going to get a letter from my secret boyfriend Brian Lehrer? When else is he going to tell me how much I mean to him, remind me of how much we need each other? And when else can I be so gratefully appreciated for doing so little? It’s a beautiful relationship, I’m telling you.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Rick Warren, SCOTUS

So long, Harriet. At least we can check one off yesterday's list. Now we can eagerly await the next nominee, who is sure to be a much more suitable candidate who promises to overturn Roe v. Wade and permit exceptions to all manner of torture restrictions. I'm so relieved.

Fortunately, US News and World Report has published a list of America's Best Leaders ( thanks, Kottke), and I think the country would be well served by choosing our next SCOTUS nominee from this list. Look at some of these brilliant options:

:: Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel
:: Rick Warren, Author, Pastor, and Motivator
:: Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks

How could you go wrong? Sure, they're all white men, but look, for example, at Rick Warren's qualifications. Author. Pastor. Motivator. Motivator?? He's a shoe-in! At least he'll give Harriet Miers a run for her money.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The day, in summary

Sometimes the cup just runneth over, you know? There's so much happening now that I don't even know where to begin. But I'll try to do you readers a service and sum up some of the news keeping bloggers in a twitter these days. As if you don't know.

:: Of course the biggie is the impending outcome of Patrick Fitzgerald's Plame leak investigation. Will Rove be indicted? What about Scooter? Will there be nary an Administration official without his hands in cuffs by the end of this sordid process? I'm trying not to get too giddy, because I think the not-even-a-little-disguised glee of many on the left is a bit unseemly, but honestly, it's like waiting for a snow day.

:: Then there's the nearly equally thrilling contretemps between the New York Times and their erstwhile employee, Ms. Judith Miller. While the squirming of just about everybody has a high entertainment factor, the results on this one promise to be less interesting, because it's all so inevitable, so ho-hum, so predictable. Judy will not return to the newsroom, she'll flee with her 1.2 million dollar book deal and an undisclosed but untoward severance package, and she'll retreat to her cabin out west, where she'll write a book about how horrible the NYT is, and the Times will commence with months of self-flagellation and penance until their readers finally cry, "Stop! You're boring us to death!"

:: In other news, there's the floundering Harriet Miers nomination, which would be funnier if it weren't so sad. It's like they pulled Rose off the Golden Girls and made her a Supreme Court nominee. It's just not nice.

:: And lest we forget, there are the indictments of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff, as well as the investigation of the looking-shadier-every-day Bill Frist stock shenanigans.

So, what does all this tell us, children? Well, hell, I don't know. Look both ways before you cross the street?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Indian Points

I have some bad news, some good news, some more good news, and some more bad news.

:: The bad news is that radioactive materials have been found in the groundwater at Indian Point, the nuclear reactor in Westchester County. This might have something to do with the cracks in the pool where the spent reactors are kept. Also bad is that
A large radioactive release triggered by a terrorist attack on or accident at the facility could have devastating health and economic consequences, rendering much of the Hudson River Valley, including New York City, uninhabitable.
:: The good news is that I have a Brita filter, and I'm pretty sure it will take care of all that radioactive shit in the water.

:: The more good news is that I checked out Westchester's handy-dandy emergency planning guide, and although I live in Westchester (shh! don't tell anyone), I don't live within the 10-mile super duper serious emergency evacuation radius. So I figure, the bizness goes down, I'm fine. I'm like twenty miles from the reactor. No problem.

:: The final bit of bad news, well, I'm not actually sure if this is good news or bad news. You know what? I'm going to call this one. Good news, plain and simple. Out in the Pacific Northwest, some rare and elusive species, including the tree octopus and the mountain walrus, have recently been captured on film for the first time. I think if enough radiation gets into the ground water, we can expect the emergence of equally wonderful and strange animals on this coast. Perhaps the Hudson River Sloth? Or the Great Pointed Archer?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Whisper Down the Alley

Um, oh.
I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.
So... that's not good. It's very Nixon-era, though. Kind of got that old-school, ain't-no-party-like-a-pocket-lining-party, you-think-this-is-bad-you-should've-seen-what-I-did-to-Christie-Whitman's-husband, yes-Jack-Abramoff-is-hiding-under-my-bed-why-do-you-ask type of flavor.

So Tenet - perfectly legally, I stress, because I am an honest(ish) blogger and I feel compelled to emphasize that - spilled the beans to Cheney. And all this time, you were wondering what Tenet did to deserve that medal.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday Confidential

Hello friends, and welcome to Sunday Confidential. Today's topic: ch-ch-ch-ch-changes...turn and face the strain. (Side note: a few years ago I saw Bowie in concert. We are so in love.) Anyway, I hate change. Some examples:

:: I tend to eat the same thing every day for about a year at a time: most recently it was yogurt and granola, but before that there was a year of peanut butter and jelly with an ice cream sandwich, one of french fries, one of pizza - you know, really healthy stuff.
:: As previously mentioned, I love Law & Order. And the reason I love L&O is because the plots precisely follow a structure that is consistent from show to show. You can often tell if the detectives are on the right track by what time it is: if they've arrested a suspect and it's not the last ten minutes or so, you know there will be a twist.
:: I don't like the seasons, especially fall and spring, because I don't like all the changing. I don't like the wind, or the weather getting colder and warmer, or things dying or pushing out of the ground. It's just so stressful.

So one possibility would be to move to Los Angeles, where at least the weather is a constant, but of course that in itself would involve a big change. I could get a job writing for Law and Order, but I don't think they're hiring. So that leaves the food. Right now I don't have a daily food, although I eat a lot of oatmeal. If you've got a suggestion for a yummy daily food that will provide my life with a modicum of stability, leave me a comment and let me know!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Like a Pray-er

An Indian astrologer incorrectly predicted his own death, surviving his anticipated demise yesterday in the company of hundreds of well-wishers (if by well-wishers you mean people hoping to see a man kick the bucket on cue). Hard to say if the astrologer considered this good news or not. But what undoubetdly is good news is the following:
A police official confirmed the astrologer was fine and quoted his family members as saying the prediction failed because many of those gathered had prayed for him to live.
I, for one, am relieved to know that if only people prayed harder, bad things wouldn't happen anymore! No more hurricanes, no more earthquakes, no more zombies! I'm so happy!

Photo by Web5ter

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Harriet and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Questionnaire Response

Oh, Harriet, Harriet, Harriet. I'm afraid you've taken their instructions too literally. When they said to play hard to get, be coy, say as little as possible without appearing to dissemble, they didn't mean this:
One inquiry in the original questionnaire pointedly asked her about reports that in conference calls with conservative supporters the administration and its allies had offered private assurances about her views on abortion and other matters.

The first part of the question asked if she had made any statement to anyone about how she might rule from the bench, and a second part requested information about "all communications by the Bush administration or individuals acting on behalf of the administration to any individuals or interest groups with respect to how you would rule."

Ms. Miers's one-word answer to both was "No."

I mean, you're a lawyer! Can't you turn "No" into a five page disquisition on the nature of binary reductiveness? Or something? What about some hard-nosed bargaining, like, "I'll only tell you if you promise to elect me to the Supreme Court!" I guess the Yes/No format of that Texans United for Life questionnaire must've gotten her all flummoxed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Atlantic Canards

Tonight's the big night, everyone, the first hearing about the proposed Ratner development of the Atlantic Yards. I haven't seen any reports yet, but I think we can fully expect lots of shouting, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth.

For those who could use an only somewhat-informed recap: Bruce Ratner of the Forest City Ratner Corp wants to build a stadium for the Knicks Nets [Ed note: yes, I'm an idiot], mainly so that he can throw up a bunch of 40-story apartment buildings around it. The people who live in and around the propoosed arena are generally not so keen on the idea, because of the seizure of homes, massive traffic problems, and destruction of the modest brownstone scale of the neighborhood.

It's so cute how all those people in Brooklyn think they can actually control their neighborhood! They're like, "You can't seize our homes through eminent domain!" "We don't want permanent gridlock outside our doors!" "We moved to Brooklyn because we don't want to live in the shadow of skyscrapers!" Brooklynites pick up their doggies' poop; they hold block parties; they have stoop sales. And now a scrappy bunch of neighbors band together to fight the power of an evil developer who wants to spoil their home. But will their spunky determination be enough to defeat...THE DEVELOPER?? Stay tuned.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mmm...baked uranium

Some neato scientific research led to the reonstruction of the genome of the 1918 flu virus that killed perhaps 50 million people. Golly! At first that seemed like good news, what with our impending doom by H5N1 and all, but now there's this, published in the New York Times today:
To shed light on how the virus evolved, the United States Department of Health and Human Services published the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus on the Internet in the GenBank database.
Huh. That's cool, I guess. I mean, this could really help middle school students with science projects and stuff, right?
This is extremely foolish. The genome is essentially the design of a weapon of mass destruction. No responsible scientist would advocate publishing precise designs for an atomic bomb, and in two ways revealing the sequence for the flu virus is even more dangerous.

Oh. That's not that good. Especially because my planned blog post for today was the precise design for an atomic bomb. But I don't know what else to write, so here goes!

5 pounds of enriched uranium. You know it's fresh if it has a sunny egg yolk color.
15 aluminum tubes. I think there's some at Home Depot.
1 circumvengelabulator. If you don't have one of these at home, just ask your neighbor!
15 drops atom splitter. Available through the Martha Stewart catalog and finer stores for chefs everywhere.

1. Preheat circumvengelabulator to 500,000,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Mix 1 part uranium with 1 part water until it makes a floury paste. Save a dash for garnish.
3. Use a rubber spatula to insert the uranium into the aluminum tubes.
4. Put the aluminum in the circumvengelabulator and cook for 45 minutes or until tender.
5. When the tubes are ready (be sure to wear your oven mitts -- they'll be hot!), add one drop of atom splitter to each one. Let the tubes sit for 15 minutes and fluff with fork. Serve immediately.

So there you have it. On the one hand, the complete genome for the most deadly disease to ever strike the earth. On the other hand, precise insructions for an atom bomb. Both freely available on the Internet. If the world ends because of me, sorry in advance.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday Confidential

Let me tell you, you haven't experienced New Jersey until you've driven along Route 38, past the Applebee's, the Big & Tall Casual Male and Flower World on the way to Benihana while listening to the Black Eyed Peas singing My Humps, which goes something like this: "My hump, my hump, my hump my hump my hump. My hump my hump my hump, my lovely lady lumps, in the back and in the front." Music just keeps getting better and better.

Anyway, I went on a whirlwind tour of the Philadelphia metro area this weekend, starting with a visit to two old friends from college, whom for the sake of convenience I will call Enrique and Gianni. We went to the Miami vs. Temple football game and it was such a wonderfully warm, beautiful, finally sunny day, and of course the 'Canes whooped the Owls and a good time was had by almost all, including the birds who seemed only slightly put off by all the kerfluffle on the field, which they steadily ate throughout the game (the field, not the kerfluffle).

Next up was lunch in the Old City today with my bro and his gf, who are full of youthfulness and vigor and other nice stuff. And more grown up than I am, I think. We munched and chatted and observed the historicalness of Philadelphia, which has some colonial type folk running around in top hats and offering carriage rides.

Last but not least was poetry in Chestnut Hill at a lovely coffee shop with a very sunny sensibility and a reading organized by my dear friend, here called Sparrow, and featuring two poets with whom I am also friends. There was good poetry, cameraderie, and delicious coffee, followed by bar food, wine, and a smooth drive home. The best poem went something like this: "My hump, my hump / my hump my hump my hump. / My hump my hump my hump / my lovely lady lumps / in the back and in the front."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bush TV

Remember when the right wing got all up in arms when the soldier questioned Rumsfeld about insufficient armor for their tanks, and it turned out he'd been prompted by a reporter, and his question was therefore considered both invalid and sinister, even though it was true?


So today President Bush held a totally staged, yet TOTALLY valid, press briefing in which he and the troops in Iraq "rapped" about the security situation in Iraq, the upcoming elections (BTW, the troops are apparently not allowed to say the word "election" to the Iraqis, so as not to appear to be influencing them unduly) and you know, other down-home stuff to gloss over the fact that there's only one fully capable Iraqi batallion.

Let me offer you some of the choicer tidbits:

BUSH: One of the things, Captain, that people in America want to know is, one, do the Iraqis want to fight, and are they capable of fighting?
CAPT PRATT: The Iraqi Army and police services, along with coalition support, have conducted many and multiple exercises and rehearsals.

They should be fully prepared for Thursday's 8:00 curtain of "Naked Boys Singing."

BUSH: We got a strategy and it's a clear strategy. On the one hand, we will hunt down these killers and terrorists and bring them to justice and train the Iraqi forces to join us in that effort.

Wow, Mr. President, that DOES sound clear! Hunt down killers? Train Iraqi forces? Who comes up with this shit? They should get a fucking Nobel Prize in physics or something, because this plan is freakin genius.

BUSH: That's a pretty interesting concept for the people of Tikrit when you really think about the fact that Saddam Hussein's hometown -- they didn't get to vote too often when he was the leader there.

Heh-heh. Good one, Mr. President.

BUSH: You got something to say, Akel?

Wow, he's kinda tough. It's almost like he actually served in the military.

BUSH: And when you get back to the States, if I'm hanging around, come by and say hello.

Goll-lee! I shure would like to stop by yer place, Georgey! Mebbe we could have a cold beer or sumpin.'

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fuzzy Bunny Madness

Today is one of those special days when I'm just not sure what to write. So here's what we're going to do: I'm going to give you a very nice picture of a very tiny bunny. You can look at the picture for a while and appreciate littleness, cuteness, and fuzziness. Then you can turn to the person sitting next to you and say, "I'm awfully glad you're here today." Oh, don't be shy...go on, go ahead... who knows, maybe they're reading Gurgly too and they're just working up the courage to turn to you! See, wasn't that nice? Have you made a new friend? Now have a nice day, boys and girls!

Photo by Nic Dafis

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Apple Core

If you don't have the "inside track" on "technology" like I do you may not have heard about this, but Apple is having a press conference tomorrow, at which some major announcements are expected. I know you're feeling jaded, tricked, because the last time someone told you he was going to make a major announcement, all you got was more of the same old schlock. But this is Steve Jobs. It's different. And I think we can expect that he's telling us the truth, if you consider the news that Apple is going to produce more groovy gadgets that play noises and make pretty pictures and inexplicably die after three months a major announcement. I know I'm breaking some blogger code of ethics here by saying this, andilovemyibookdon'tgetmewrong, but I. Don't. Care. I like quiet every once in a while. Sorry.

But all that is beside the point, because my double super secret source inside the Apple lair has leaked the content of tomorrow's announcement:

The iScort is a pretty lady robot who can accompany wallflower Apple geeks to social functions. She talks, walks, computes, reboots, and has hi-def lady parts. Hair color optional; body available in brushed metal only.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Odds on Armageddon

Will Harriet Miers be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice by the Senate? I checked in at TradeSports to, you know, get the pulse of the nation or whatever and, vainly attempting to overcome my visual/spatial disfunctionality, came to the conclusion that I can't read graphs. As far as I can tell, though, it's not looking too good for old Harriet. Either that or she lost her car keys. But honestly, who cares, when the world is obviously coming to an end any day now?

I'll spare you the detailed list of natural disasters that are freaking me out at the moment, but suffice it to say that there's been too much water in all the wrong places, not enough water in all the other places, and late-breaking evidence that the earth is actually made of shifting plates that crash into each other from time to time.

And I'm not even going to get into the impending worldwide flu epidemic, not being allowed to drink coffee on the subway, or the miniature Tom Cruise cyborg replica being surgically inserted into "Kate" Holmes's uterus as we speak.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sunday Confidential

I've never really been much admired for my hand-eye coordination or my gross motor skills, like, say, walking, standing upright, swallowing food, you know, stuff like that. But still, you'd think I'd be able to make myself a piece of toast. Today I was preparing a little breakfast, as I sometimes like to do, and there was a slice of bread involved, which I had for no particular reason pushed all the way to the back of the toaster oven. So when I went to pull it out, I had to stick my hand all the way into the toaster - naturally I couldn't use a fork or a knife or anything like that. Anyway with my hand all the way inside the toaster I began to worry that when I lowered my fingers onto the toast I wouldn't reach it and I'd inadvertently put my hand onto the rack and burn my fingers. My concern about this problem impelled me to take immediate action, and I jerked my hand up and back, thus giving myself like an eighth degree burn on the top of my hand. It's okay, though, I didn't really need that middle finger. Except for obscenities. Which I guess I'll have to cut down on.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Today I saw one guy punch another guy in the butt. In a friendly way. Then I heard about the new terror alert. Then I saw about the 10,000th ad in which the actors talk about themselves in the future tense: "I will buy the most expensive cell phone plan on the planet," "I will climb to lower middle management," "I will have sex with your girlfriend tonight." And suddenly, unlike this post, it all made sense:

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ozzy and Harriet

Look, I know that Harriet Miers is not an attractive woman. I know that she resembles Ozzy Osbourne, Jerri Blank, Emperor Palpatine, and Salacious B. Crumb. But why can't we make fun of her dubious qualifications, the eerie confidence of Focus on the Family's James Dobson, or her apparent commitment to letting Bush do whatever he wants?

I'll tell you why: because it's not as funny as her eyeliner. The thing is, though, you don't hear people saying, "Max Baucus is so ugly he has a picture of a horse instead of himself on his homepage," or, "Dennis Kucinich looks like a little elf." Okay, maybe that's a bad example. My point is not that we shouldn't make fun of women for being Ugly People. My point is that Ugly People have a hard time getting elected to national office, and so, with his broad commitment to diversity, the President has no choice but to appoint them to maintain the beautiful rainbow that is the United States government. Don't stand in his way, people, don't stand in his way.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hey Judy

Did she...or didn't she?

She (Judy Miller) is really annoying pretty much everyone: the right automatically hates her because she writes for the Times, the bastion of liberal media bias; the left hates her, because they were pissed for her false WMD stories and then they actually started feeling sorry for her when she went to jail, and now it turns out she had a confidentiality waiver the whole time; and the New York Times probably hates her, because they keep having to apologize and make excuses for her ass.

I mean, for serious, what's going on here? Is she the leak? Is she a liar? A lunatic? Is she Tom DeLay's love child? I'm trying to start some rumors here, help me out.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Oh, the shame of it all.

Oh dear lord, what a disgrace. This is our Supreme Court. This? is our Supreme Court? I mean, for crying out loud, look at them! They look like a high school production of the Sound of Music. With masculine, elderly nuns. Anyway, Rehnquist would be turning over in his grave. If he were still in charge of this operation, he'd make sure their blacks matched; he'd tell Sandra D. to stop looking at the new Chief Justice like he had cooties; their hems would be of similar length; hell, he'd be after John Paul Stevens with the Bedazzler, saying, "Cheer up! You're a Supreme Court justice, for chrissakes. Someone's got to be the most obscure." They'd be standing in a straight line with their hands in front of them like Ginsburg and Stevens, none of this mish moshed "I'm a Supreme Court justice and I'll stand however I want" posing going on. Oh, man, the good old days.

Photo: REUTERS/Ken Heinen/Pool

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sunday Confidential

It's fall... I woke on Saturday wanting to spend some time alone. After drinking so so much wine on Friday night and having a great evening with friends, I was feeling solitary. So I went into the city to spend a little time with someone I love and don't get to see that often, and then I decided I'd go see a movie by myself. I've never done that before. I wandered to the Sunshine; I bought a coconut ring after trying on every single one and driving the guy crazy; I got to the theater not knowing what I was going to see. The War Within was starting in two minutes, and though I'd never heard of it, it seemed as good a bet as any of the other movies I'd never heard of. And it was good. About a Pakistani man, Hassan, who moves to the U.S. to join a terrorist cell and blow up Grand Central Station. While he is here, he lives with his best friend from his youth and his family, who appreciate the benefits of life in America, and he develops feelings for Duri, his friend's sister. Cue wrenching internal struggle.

This morning I still had this desire for solitude, so I went for a long walk and got my favorite movie to watch alone: Donnie Darko. So now I'm off to indulge in my mild morbidness and my appreciation of the so-fine Jake Gyllenhaal.