Sunday, February 28, 2010
Some genius came up with the concept of "literal videos." It's where you take a dopey music video and replace all the actual lyrics with a literal description of what is happening in the narrative. I've seen a bunch of funny ones, but I think "Head Over Heels" is my favorite. Tears for Fears seemed so deep and soulful in the eighties. Now they just look like a bunch of dorks with funny hair.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.
I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22′
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Not bad! Rest in peace!
- Kurt Vonnegut
Friday, February 26, 2010
"La Grigne: In baking terms, this refers to the little lip of crust that pulls away from the body of the baking loaf right along the score-marks slashed in the surface. In french, this literally means 'the grin.' "
Since they are such a bread-loving country, it makes sense that the French would have a word for that. And "the grin" is usually very tasty too.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
"In 1995-96, Dr. Ruth experienced bullying firsthand. It was at the hands of a female tyrant backed by all the institutional power of a large HMO. The Namies did not go looking for the phenomenon. As every target can testify, bullying came uninvited.
"The Namies authored their first book, BullyProof Yourself At Work! in 1998. Year 2000 was a landmark year. The Namies' second book, The Bully At Work, is published by Sourcebooks, with a second edition released in June 2009.
"In 2002, the Campaign became the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) to better reflect the research contribution made to the international fight against workplace bullying. WBI remains sole North American nonprofit organization dedicated to the eradication of Workplace Bullying through education and research."
Then on Sunday the head of the National Bullying Helpline, Christine Pratt, said the charity had received calls from the prime minister's office - although she said they were not about Mr Brown personally.
The Tories and Lib Dems have called for the situation to be cleared up. But on Monday, Sir Gus said there was no need for an inquiry and a Downing Street spokesman said: "The cabinet secretary would like to make clear that he has never raised concerns with the prime minister about him acting in a bullying or intimidatory manner in relation to Number 10 staff, let alone giving him any sort of verbal warning."
Mr Balls told BBC Radio 4's Today programme Mr Rawnsley's book had been incorrect on every allegation and said he had known Mr Brown for years and "at no point has it ever occurred to me that Gordon Brown is, or would ever be, a bully".
"It is something which personally he feels very upset about because he knows there is no truth to these allegations," said Mr Balls. "I don't think it damages him, it hurts him personally."
He said Mr Brown had "a strength of character and drive" adding: "That's what you want in a prime minister, you want people who are tough and can drive things forward."
His comments were echoed by Lord Sugar, star of The Apprentice and the government's enterprise champion, who told GMTV: "Do you want some docile type of person who is just not going to have any spirit about them or do you want someone who has got a bit of fire in their belly, who will react, who will get a bit emotional sometimes? That is not bullying as far as I am concerned."
And Mrs Brown told GMTV "what you see is what you get" with her husband adding: "Gordon's the man that I know and the man that I love.
Mr Rawnsley is sticking by his book, saying his source for the claim that Sir Gus had been moved to speak to the prime minister about his behaviour towards Downing Street staff was "24 carat".
He said the statement issued on Monday by Sir Gus had been a "careful choice of words" which "still doesn't preclude the cabinet secretary going to the prime minister and warning him about his behaviour".
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"The declaration was drafted by the Salvation Committee elected by the elders of the Estonian Provincial Assembly. Originally intended to be proclaimed on 21 February 1918, the proclamation was delayed until the evening of 23 February, when the manifesto was printed and read out aloud publicly in Pärnu. On the next day, 24 February, the manifesto was printed and distributed in the capital, Tallinn."
This news was brought to you by Beebo Reporter (Special Correspondent For Baltic Issues) John Anderson and his wide-eyed secretary Tiny Miss Fran.
After my last post, I got curious about Kal Penn's YouTube videos, so I took a look at some of them. They're not super clever or creative or anything (at least not the ones I looked at), they are just straightforward and direct appeals to the kids...but from an actor who is familiar and likeable to young people.
Good job, Kumar! Your conservative Indian father should finally be proud of you now, even though you didn't become a doctor like he wanted.
"Campaign aides said in 2007 the actor called them to offer his unsolicited help for Mr. Obama's then long-shot candidacy. Some were hesitant at first because Mr. Penn's best-known role was playing a marijuana-loving burnout, but he surpassed their best expectations and attracted young voters across the nation.
"He was instrumental in the Obama strategy of getting students as young as 17 to participate in the Iowa caucus, the Democrat's first victory. Mr. Penn starred in at least 14 campaign videos on YouTube and appeared at multiple events on the candidate's behalf.
"He will serve as an associate director in the Office of Public Liaison, coordinating outreach to Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, along with the arts community. He described the office to Entertainment Weekly as “the front door to the White House.” The office was responsible for the recent celebrations in honor of St. Patrick's Day and Greek Independence Day.
"Among the little known facts about the actor: He was a guest lecturer teaching Asian-American studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, and he is doing an online program to earn a graduate degree in international studies from Stanford University.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This is nice but also not-so-nice for people like me who suffer from allergies. I never had any major allergies in New York, but as soon as I moved here, they hit me really hard. When Spring rolls around, my eyes get really itchy and watery, my nose runs (even more than usual), and I sneeze a lot. I haven't found any over-the-counter medicine that helps much. Claritin does nothing for me.
I should probably go to my doctor and try to get a prescription. I did try a prescription nasal spray once, but it didn't seem to work that well either.
When I was in Hawaii, all my allergies disappeared.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Let's face it, it's fun to mock nazis and other extremely evil people (Dick Cheney springs to mind). Guy was very happy to snap up the last available copy of this movie from Amazon. It has now gone out of print. I haven't seen the Mel Brooks remake but I can't imagine it could be better than the original:
From IMDB: "In occupied Poland during WWII, a troupe of ham stage actors (led by Joseph Tura and his wife Maria) match wits with the Nazis. A spy has information which would be very damaging to the Polish resistance and they must prevent its being delivered to the Germans."
Josef Tura: Wait a minute. I'll decide with whom my wife is going to have dinner and whom she's going to kill.
Maria Tura: Don't you realize Poland's at stake?
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: Have you no patriotism?
Josef Tura: Now listen, you... first you walk out on my soliloquy and then you walk into my slippers. And now you question my patriotism. I'm a good Pole and I love my country and I love my slippers.
Maria Tura: Well, I hope your country comes first.
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: So do I.
Maria Tura: This is an emergency! War!
Josef Tura: Look, look, look, I don't know much about the whole thing... but is this Siletsky a real danger to Poland?
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: A catastrophe!
Maria Tura: He must be taken care of!
Josef Tura: Then he will be taken care of.
Maria Tura: Well, who's gonna do it?
Josef Tura: I'm gonna do it.
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: But how?
Maria Tura: Where?
Josef Tura: I'm gonna meet Herr Siletsky at Gestapo headquarters. And after I've killed him I hope you'll be kind enough to tell me what it was all about!
More funny quotes from To Be Or Not To Be can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035446/quotes
While the idea of owning Nazi memorablia is a little too creepy, I would like to own some souvenirs from the French Resistance:
LONDON – Worm hunters, lethal robots and Nazi spoons are in the running for Britain's quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for year's oddest book title.
The six finalists are "Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter;" "Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich;" "Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots;" "The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease"; "Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes;" and "What Kind of Bean is This Chihuahua?"
The shortlist, announced Friday, was narrowed down from 90 entries, including "The Origin of Feces" and "Bacon: A Love Story."
The Diagram Prize was founded in 1978 and is run by trade magazine The Bookseller. The winner, decided by public vote, will be announced March 26.
Previous champions include "Bombproof Your Horse" and "Living With Crazy Buttocks."
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I got this recipe from Ted "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" Allen's cookbook, The Food You Want to Eat. It turned out delicious, although it's very, very rich, so it's definitely a special occasion recipe. You slice two pounds of baking potatoes as thin as you can (Guy did that part), and then layer half of them into an 8x8 casserole dish. You sprinkle them with kosher salt, black pepper, a little bit of freshly grated nutmeg, one garlic clove sliced thin, and fresh thyme. You cover this with a cup of grated Gruyere cheese and half a cup of heavy cream. Now you add the rest of the potatoes and repeat the whole process. Finally, you dot the whole thing with a tablespoon of butter, then bake at 350 for one hour and 15 minutes.
The last picture (of the completed meal) doesn't do it justice at all. That photo is disappointing...but the dinner wasn't!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Yes, it's a rogue's gallery of human dysfunction and spectacular personality disorders, but I think Poopy Diapers is ultimately the hands-down winner of the "Who has the worst boss?" contest.
My co-worker Catherine, a sensitive, lovely person, was on the receiving end of Poopy Diapers' wrath for a few weeks. She was giving Catherine the silent treatment--which, I assured her, was actually a blessing. "Now you don't have to listen to her stupid stories about her grandchild," I told her, but Catherine is a sweet, easily intimidated person, and didn't particularly enjoy this experience.
However, when I suddenly became Public Enemy Number One last week in Poopy's diseased mind, I could hear her greeting Catherine on Friday morning with more gushing warmth and friendliness than either of us had heard out of her in weeks. "Hi! How are yooo-oooh doing today?" she gushed weirdly at her. Catherine responded politely, but a few minutes later, I received this email from her: "I'm frightened."
Anyway, Poopy's behavior last week inspired me to order these three books from Amazon. In working for her, I think it will help if I imagine myself as an anthropologist doing field work on the subject of personality disorders.
The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job
Gary, Ph.D. Namie, Ruth, Ph.D. Namie
Toxic Coworkers: How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't
Friday, February 19, 2010
I wanted to post another one of their big hits, Pinch Me, but the embedding mechanism was disabled.
It's funny the way there are always a few comedic hipster groups around at any given time. In the eighties we had They Might Be Giants; the nineties saw the rise of bands like Weezer and Barenaked Ladies. The fifties and sixties had Tom Lehrer. I can't recall any hip comedic musicians of the seventies, but if you can think of any, let me know in the comments!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
For example, I was looking forward to watching the first season of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! so that I could enjoy mocking and hating on Melissa Rivers (daughter of Joan Rivers). But after a few episodes, I found that I was actually charmed by her, and liked her! So now I like Melissa Rivers, a celebrity who, by all rights, should be perfectly hateable.
That same series also made me adore Cris Judd, a pseudo-celebrity who seems undeserving of recognition, much less adoration. (For those who are correctly unaware of him, Cris is the second ex-husband of Jennifer Lopez.) And yet he was so damned sweet and adorable on that show that I became a fan!
One of the weirdest reversals I ever did was in my opinion of Dennis Rodman. He appeared on Celebrity Mole and seemed like such an incredible idiot. I spent the entire season mocking his stupidity, as he seemed totally checked out the whole time, and like he didn't even have a basic grasp of the rules of the game.
Well, what did I know? Turns out Dennis Rodman not only understood how the game worked, but had been paying close attention to every single detail and memorizing it all; he ended up winning the whole damn thing. It was shocking. So while I started out thinking, "what a laughable idiot," I ended up being impressed with Dennis Rodman's intelligence. Yes, impressed with Dennis Rodman's intelligence. I couldn't believe it either!
Now, here we go again. The latest celebrity to turn me into an unlikely fan through his appearance on reality TV is Sebastian Bach, currently appearing on Celebrity Fit Club.:
Sebastian Bach (born Sebastian Philip Bierk, on April 3, 1968) is a Canadian heavy metal singer, best known as ex-frontman of Skid Row."
Decidedly not a fan of heavy metal music as a teenager, I barely had any awareness of this band, though I have heard of them. A quick online search brings up a ridiculous number of very girly photos of Sebastian, with luscious blond 80s hair (and obvious "hair pride.") Today, he has that weatherbeaten look of the once-pretty, now-aged hard-partying pseduo-reformed metal star.
The first thing that endeared me to Sebastian was when he described the Celebrity Fit Club drill sergeant Harvey (who is hilarious and right out of central casting) by saying, "Harvey has no levity."
Levity?? Guy and I looked at each other in surprise, with the same thought: "Did he just use the word 'levity'?" That's kind of....articulate.
The second endearing thing Sebastian did was make fun of Bobby Brown's pants. The pants were a hideous monstrosity of mixed colors and patterns. Even Bobby admitted, "You would have to be high to buy these pants." And then later, Sebastian laughingly interviewed, "Those were the most druggy pants I have ever seen!"
So now I am forced to add Sebastian Bach to the list of celebrities whom I grudgingly admire. Rock on, grasshopper!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Kevin Smith 'Too Fat' to Fly Southwest
By Bob Meadows
Sunday February 14, 2010 04:10 PM EST
Kevin Smith, sitting on a second Southwest Air flight
Kevin Smith's most famous role is a guy who rarely speaks. But he's got a lot to say – much of it profane – after being kicked off a Southwest Air flight because he didn't fit comfortably into the seat.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
These stills from Lady Gaga's upcoming video are off the hook--literally!
Yes, my girl Gaga has further endeared herself to me by writing an entire song about her hatred of the telephone. Genius!
Beyonce makes a guest appearance on the track, so apparently she feels the same way:
Hello, hello, baby
[Beyonce] Boy, the way you blowin’ up my phone won’t make me leave no faster.
‘Cause I’ll be dancin’
"A sea bear is a First Nations creature, part killer whale, part Kermode spirit bear. The third mascot, Sumi, an animal-guardian spirit, is a Thunderbird that wears the hat of an orca. Sumi will be the mascot of the Paralympics.
"René Fasel, Chairman of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordination Commission commented that "The IOC welcomes these imaginative new additions to the Olympic Family as they take their place on the world stage today - a symbol of the Games and of Canada. We know that when Olympians, Paralympians and visitors from around the globe arrive in British Columbia at Games time, they will fall under the spell of these captivating characters."
"Some felt that they were a nice change of pace, from the "regular run-of-the-mill Canadiana that has been recycled over and over again. Vancouver is a new city for new things and fresh faces, a place for experimentation... I think we need to remember that these characters are for the kids and for fun. What kind of a statement would trotting out another red and white beaver and moose make? That we are imaginative with new ideas? They'll grow on us."
"Roughly 1600 designs were submitted. Similarly, the mascot design process was open to all, but there was no word yet on numbers of entrants."
Monday, February 15, 2010
An upstart and cocky potato chip is suddenly promoted to the U.S. Ski Team. He joins the team in mid-season in Europe, and immediately clashes with the team's head coach and more experienced teammates. Leaving his small-town girlfriend behind, he begins a tempestuous romance with the sophisticated but capricious Francesca, personal assistant to ski company owner Heinrich Von Pickleaus.
Partway through training, Chip becomes dispirited by the challenges presented by his light weight and thin, crispy physique. In an Academy Award winning performance, Gene Hackman (as the team's head coach) convinces Chip that he has what it takes to win the Gold.
Chip: Coach, I can't do it. I'm a potato chip. I weigh less than an ounce! I was crazy to think I could become the fastest downhill racer in the world. I can't even use real skis. I have to use these tiny little skis that were custom designed for me. Let's face it, I'm not a winner...I'm a snack.
Coach: I'm surprised at you, Chip. I really am. What happened to that guy I met in Munich? The one who strutted in here and told everyone he met that no one was faster, no one was better, no one else could win it...but him?
Chip: Coach...the other day, when I was waiting for the ski lift. There was this very light wind, see? And...it almost lifted me up and blew me right off the hill, man. [Bitterly] Right off the hill.
Coach: Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Is that so. Well, I'm here to tell you, kid, that you can make it! You can win! I don't care if you weigh an ounce or 10 pounds or 300 pounds. You're the best damn skiier on the team...hell, in my entire career, I never met a kid like you. You have what it takes...on the inside, kid. On the inside.
Chip Salter, Downhill Racing Potato Chip now available in Blu-ray.
Illustration by Guy Foulard
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Tagline: How fast must a man go to get from where he's at?
An upstart & cocky ski racer (Redford) from Idaho Springs, Colorado, is suddenly promoted to the U.S. Ski Team. He joins the team in mid-season in Europe, and immediately clashes with the team's head coach (Hackman) and the more experienced teammates. The assistant coach is played by Dabney Coleman and Swedish actress Camilla Sparv plays the love interest. Karl Michael Vogler plays her boss, a ski company owner.
Lots of good World Cup ski racing action, leading to an exciting climax at the Winter Olympics. The winter scenes were filmed on location in the Alps, mostly in January 1969. Prominently featured are the Lauberhorn at Wengen, Switzerland, and the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel, Austria. Also included were Megève, France and St. Anton, Austria.
The suspected inspiration for the lead character in the film was a composite of Spider Sabich and Billy Kidd. Sabich, a young and attractive Californian, finished fifth in the slalom at the 1968 Olympics, at age 22. Kidd was a U.S. Ski Team veteran from Vermont who won the silver medal in the slalom at the 1964 Olympics at age 20. Those close to Sabich remember him as much more positive and easy-going than Redford's character, Dave Chappellet. While Kidd was more aloof than Sabich, he too was more light-hearted (and had a much better sense of humor) than Chappellet.
The far-fetched notion of an American winning the men's Olympic downhill would be realized fifteen years later, when brash upstart Bill Johnson predicted his victory in 1984 in Sarajevo, and then delivered, besting silver medalist Peter Müller of Switzerland by 0.27 seconds.
A decade later, a humbler Tommy Moe won on a considerably more challenging course in Lillehammer, Norway, taking Olympic gold for the USA in 1994 by a mere 0.04 seconds over the home country favorite, Kjetil André Aamodt.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Saint Valentine's Day (commonly shortened to Valentine's Day) is an annual holiday held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Friday, February 12, 2010
History book will take readers into mind of assassin John Wilkes Booth
"Killing Lincoln" is scheduled to come out in the fall of 2011 and will be co-written by Martin Dugard, whose previous works include "The Training Ground," an account of the Mexican War and such future Civil War generals as Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
In a recent interview, O'Reilly said he got the idea after [reading a blog called Beebo] learning about Lafayette C. Baker, a 19th-century detective and spy who led the investigation into Lincoln's murder and helped track down Booth. Baker claimed later that he had possession of Booth's diary and that someone had "cut out eighteen leaves." Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, to whom Baker had turned over the diary, was accused of taking out the pages and was suspected of being involved in the assassination plot.
"The more I heard the more exciting and more interesting it became, and I said, 'Look, I can do a good book on this,'" said O'Reilly, who added that "Killing Lincoln" will also provide lessons "for today, for contemporary America, [and for Beebo and her history-impaired friends]" but declined to be more specific.
"I want to keep that as a surprise," he said. [He so is writing it for me.]
Many of O'Reilly's books, including "Culture Warrior" and "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity" were published by the Random House Inc. imprint Broadway Books. But after his publisher at Broadway, Stephen Rubin, left to run Holt, a division of Macmillan, O'Reilly decided to work with Holt on the Lincoln biography.
"I know Steve will be able to publish this book in a very effective manner," said O'Reilly, who added that he had not made a long-term commitment to Holt or to any publisher.
Stephanie hipped me to YouTube comedian Lisa Nova's hilariously accurate Keira Knightley impression.
...I was just reading the YouTube comments and this one made me laugh: "hi im from argentina I think you are very funny so don´t listen to the people who say that you must to get a job because they only are fuck people ha."
Thursday, February 11, 2010
In order to be a movie star, I think you should have at least one (although preferably more) of the following qualities:
1. Can act amazingly well (i.e. Paul Giamatti).
2. Is ridiculously good-looking (i.e. Halle Berry).
3. For some reason, is just really likable (i.e. Sandra Bullock).
The very best movie stars have all three qualities, for example, I would claim that people like Helen Mirren and George Clooney have all three, whereas people like Halle Berry or Angelina Jolie really only fulfill the second criterion. But their beauty is so ridiculously extreme, that it's okay. Even when their movies totally suck (as they so often do), you can always just space out and marvel at their inhumanly impossible good looks.
Category 3 is kind of a wild card. There are always a few movie stars who have a certain kind of presence and charisma that makes you like them, even when they can't really act and aren't particularly good-looking.
Which brings me to Kristin Stewart. She does not have this quality. I do not like her. To me, she has nothing going for her--no acting ability, very average looks, and inherent dislikability. And yet, she is poised to become a huge movie star, just because of those damned teenagers with their stupid vampire movies. Nooooooooo!
The above clip of Kristin "acting" with William Hurt is so incredibly corny and bad that it almost seems like a parody. Sadly, it is not. It's from an actual upcoming independent film called The Yellow Hankerchief. In addition to her usual terrible acting, Kristin is also attempting a Southern accent here.
From the Daily Mail: Forget the necklace: Lady Gaga wears hundreds of pearls glued to her face at amfAR charity gala
Dispensing with a string, Lady Gaga wore hundreds of white pearls glued to her face, legs and body as she arrived for a charity gala in New York last night.
With her skin painted white she wore just a pearl encrusted bikini, cropped jacket, hat and super high platform boots.
The 23-year-old later gave a typically high-octane performance of her new song Future Love on top of a white piano.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Pixar is introducing 14 new toy characters, including adorable Peas-In-A-Pod, seen here.
Here are the celebrity voices you will hear in the film. John Ratzenberger, you really lucked into a good gig!:
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, John Morris, Laurie Metcalf, R. Lee Ermey, Jodi Benson, Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton, Timothy Dalton, Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg, Kristen Schaal, Blake Clark.
"The definition of a moggy is a cat or kitten that does not belong to any recognised breed...The word was originally a pet name for a cow! The origin of the word moggy is not a corruption of the word 'mongrel', as many believe. It was first recorded in 1911, and was possibly derived from maggie, margie or mog, all short forms of the female name Margaret. It is thought this was first used to describe an ungainly lumbering old cow, and it may even have been a minor rural English name for any cow; since 'moggy' was used in several 1800s English dialects as an 'affectionate name' for a cow.
From the Sun:
BLAKE FIELDER-CIVIL has been romping with a teenage AMY WINEHOUSE lookalike, knowing "she" is a transsexual FELLA.
Junkie Blake, 31, took dark-haired MIA McHUGH on a string of nights out at his favourite haunts and stayed with her at a hotel and a pal's house six times.
He found out she was a pre-op transsexual on their first date, yet insisted he loved her and even TOLD ex Amy that Mia was a bloke.
The pair have since split and frantic Blake has spent the past two days trying to contact Mia in a bid to stop their relationship becoming public. He told her he'd be ridiculed for the affair and feared what pals would say.
Blake linked up on Facebook with Mia, 17, who has had boob implants to give her a 32C bust and is due full reconstructive surgery next January to change her male genitals to female. He met her 24 hours later for an intimate night at a London Travelodge.
Part-time crimper Mia, who first contacted ex-heroin addict Blake in October, said: "He told me, 'You remind me of my Amy. You're so beautiful'."
"Within minutes he was snogging me at the pool table, but he had no idea of my transsexual background. He was taking cocaine in the toilets and would come out rubbing his nose. It was bizarre. I was nervous, but I liked him, so I just went along with it. Then he took me to the hotel. We played games of dare and ended up kissing and mucking about. I was lying there and his hands were all over me. Then he suddenly realised. He stopped, looked at me, and said, 'Are you a transsexual'? I told him yes and he just smiled.
"He kept asking me questions about it - he was fascinated with my Adam's apple - and I was besotted with him."
Over the next six weeks Mia, who has been dressing as a girl since she was four, shared hundreds of phone calls and texts with Blake. They met regularly for hotel sex sessions and he took her back to his friend's house.
Blake often travelled to London from Sheffield to stay overnight, in clear breach of his prison licence - which was granted following his early release from jail, where he was serving time for assault and trial-fixing.
After several weeks confused Blake told 26-year-old Amy, from whom he was divorced last July, about the liaisons. The Back to Black superstar then telephoned Mia. And in a taped conversation obtained by The Sun she said: "I don't care what Blake does. I want to thank you. I mean it, thank you, because I haven't been around.
"You're a beautiful girl. But Blake and I are best friends - we're the same person. He loves someone else and there is only one me."
He snarled at Mia: "What the f*** are you doing here? I can't talk now."
He said in a text: "I ain't ashamed, but you have to leave me alone now."
Mia said: "We had a special relationship for months, but it turned sour when I wanted a full commitment. I realise now he won't be happy till he and Amy are married again."
Blake could now face a return to jail for breaching his licence. He also broke the rules by taking cocaine and smoking weed in front of Mia.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
"The bottom seven of this year’s rankings, first to last, are Bank of America, Chase, Capital One, TD/Commerce, Fifth Third, Citibank, and in last place, HSBC.
"To put the rankings in perspective, large banks have generally been at the bottom of the list since the survey was initiated seven years ago...In fact, the more customers a banking institution has, the lower its customer advocacy ranking is likely to be, according to Forrester.
"Why the poor rankings for the big banks? “Part of it is that the banks are preoccupied with their bottom line. They are public institutions who are in business to make money for their shareholder and inevitably, that shows to customers,” Mr. Doyle said.
"A high customer advocacy ranking means that customers tend to believe their bank takes their side in disputes, does what is right even if it’s not required by regulation to do so, gives fair rates or performance comparisons and is clear about charges and fees, Mr. Doyle said."
My bank is Chase. Recently, they did something really assy to me, which the branch manager defended. When I called back to talk to him, some teller incompetently fielded my call, telling me, "Why should we take the hit?" Apparently, Chase experiences "not being able to fine you unfairly" as a personal attack on them.
Anyway, unluckily for the branch manager, I actually enjoy writing angry letters, so I wrote one to the CEO, who passed it along to the branch manager's manager...who called me personally and literally could not stop apologizing. It was almost embarrassing. She reversed the fines and followed it up with a letter of apology.
"Needless to say, I had the last laugh."
Chase's new promotional poster by Guy
Minister Luca Zaia has argued that McDonald's new McItaly burger — using all Italian beef, Asiago cheese and artichoke spread — will pump (EURO)3.5 million ($4.8 million) more a month into the pockets of Italian farmers grappling with tough economic times.
But for a country that gave birth to the Slow Food movement a quarter-century ago and prides itself on its varied, delicious and healthy cuisine, Zaia's enthusiastic support of McDonald's has been hard to swallow.
It didn't help that Zaia and McDonald's executives launched the new burger last month at McDonald's flagship restaurant in Rome's historic center near the Spanish Steps, the chain's first Italian outpost.
The opening of those Golden Arches in 1986 famously inspired a relatively unknown Turin foodie, Carlo Petrini, to launch what became Slow Food — the international movement that embraces local, organic food and home cooking over fast food and the industrialized food chain.
In a recent front-page opinion piece in La Repubblica newspaper, Petrini challenged Zaia and McDonald's to back up their claims of helping Italian farmers with a kilo-by-kilo accounting of how much farmers are actually getting paid out of the deal.
And he chafed at Zaia's suggestion that the all-Italian menu would "globalize the identity of Italian agriculture."
The opposition Democratic Party has also slammed Zaia's use of an official government seal of approval for the new burger. On the McItaly's promotional material is a seal saying "Under the patronage of" the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry — a highly coveted government endorsement that is more often seen on museum exhibits and cultural initiatives than fast-food containers.
"I think it's legitimate to ask if Minister Zaia is working for Italy or McDonald's," Nicodemo Oliverio, the top Democratic Party lawmaker in the lower Chamber of Deputies' agriculture commission, quipped Monday.
He charged that giving McDonald's such a designation creates a disparity with Italian food companies that may require Italy's antitrust authority to intervene. Zaia shot back saying the government had long been in partnership with McDonald's to promote other "Made in Italy" products such as parmesan cheese and smoked beef.
Zaia, who relentlessly courts publicity for Italy's agricultural products, has defended his partnership with McDonald's as an important new market for Italy's farmers and a way to reach young Italians who make up the bulk of McDonald's customers.
He said Monday the first week of sales — some 100,000 burgers — had exceeded expectations. In the coming weeks, a new burger featuring smoked bacon and grilled onions, as well as an all-Italian ingredient salad, will be rolled out in McDonald's 392 Italian restaurants.
Monday, February 8, 2010
"Alki (or Al-ki) is an Indian word which means "bye and bye." The motto was originally used on the territorial seal which on one side displays an immigrant wagon and a log cabin with a fir forest background; the other side pictures an anchor and the Goddess of Hope in the center (the goddess points at the word "Alki"), a sheet of water in the background with a sailing vessel, a steamer, and a city in perspective.
"Early settlers from the schooner Exact named their settlement on Alki Point "New York." However, as the settlement was slower to grow than the east coast NY, the name was changed to "New York-Alki" (the 1850s term for "bye and bye" or "I will see you, bye and bye")."
Below, a comprehensive list of all of the state mottos. I like Texas's--"Friendship"--it's sweet. Oklahoma's ("Labor conquers all things") sounds a little too much like "Work will set you free" for my liking--creepy. Ohio and South Dakota: you are lame. I like North Carolina's ("To be, rather than to seem")--it's kind of intellectual. Also, it reminds me of "Don't dream it, be it" from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Probably not what they intended, but I like it.
Alabama: We Dare Defend our Rights(Audemus jura nostra defendere)
Alaska:North to the Future
Arizona: God Enriches (Ditat Deus)
Arkansas: The People Rule (Regnat populus)
California: Eureka ... I have found it!
Colorado: Nothing without the Deity (Nil sine Numine )
Connecticut: He who is transplanted still sustains(Qui transtulit sustinet)
Delaware: Liberty and Independence
Florida: In God We Trust
Georgia: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation
Hawaii: Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono(The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness)
Idaho: Let it be Perpetual (Esto perpetua)
Illinois: State Sovereignty, National Union
Indiana: The Crossroads of America
Iowa: Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain
Kansas: To the stars through difficulties(Ad astra per aspera)
Kentucky: United we stand, divided we fall
Louisiana: Union, Justice, and Confidence
Maine: I direct (Dirigo)
Maryland: Manly deeds womanly words(Fatti maschil parole femine)
Massachusetts: By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty (Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem)
Michigan: If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you (Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice)
Minnesota: The star of the north (L'Etoile du nor)
Mississippi: By valor and arms (Virtute et armis)
Missouri: The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law (Salus populi suprema lex esto)
Montana: Gold and Silver (Oro y plata)
Nebraska: Equality before the law
Nevada: All for our country
New Hampshire: Live free or die
New Jersey: Liberty and Prosperity
New Mexico: It grows as it goes (Crescit eundo)
New York: Excelsior
North Carolina: To be, rather than to seem (Esse quam videri)
North Dakota: Liberty and Union Now and Forever, One and Inseparable
Ohio: With God, all things are possible
Oklahoma: Labor conquers all things (Labor omnia vincit)
Oregon: She Flies With Her Own Wings (Alis Volat Propiis)
Pennsylvania: Virtue, Liberty, and Independence
Rhode Island: Hope
South Carolina: Prepared in mind and resources /While I breathe, I hope
South Dakota: Under God the people rule
Tennessee: Agriculture and Commerce
Vermont: Freedom and Unity
Virginia: Thus Always to Tyrants(Sic Semper Tyrannis)
Washington: Bye and Bye (Alki)
West Virginia: Mountaineers are always free (Montani semper liberi)
Wyoming: Equal rights