Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rugs not bombs

Pick a punchline:
(a) In the first three hours after unveiling, 38 American tourists asked if it matched the world's biggest drapes.
(b) Now if only we can get North Korea working on the world's largest kimchi plate.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Your leader for Minot news

From the home of the Mike and Ike dress comes this gem:

Exclamation Point Costs Texter a Win

MINOT, N.D. (AP) -- Oh, no! Don't forget the exclamation point! It could cost you $1,000! Kevin Taylor, 30, of Minneapolis, lost out on a $1,000 first prize in a text messaging contest at the North Dakota State Fair because he forgot the punctuation mark at the end of a phrase that he and his sudden-death competitor had to enter.

Beth Brevik, 32, of Minot, ended up with the big prize at Saturday's contest, tapping out the phrase: "I hope I win the grand prize of $1,000 so I can buy a new phone. Whoo!"

"I was very lucky," she said.

Brevik and Taylor finished ahead of 38 competitors, many of them teenagers. Organizers said the contest was patterned after a similar event in New York, where a 13-year-old girl won $50,000.


My conclusions? (a) Kevin Taylor needs a copy editor; (b) Beth Brevik <>

Friday, July 27, 2007

Creep-you-out Friday

Nimoy to Reprise Spock Role in Trek Film
AP - Fri, 27 Jul 2007 08:29:58 -0400 (EDT)

Leonard Nimoy isn't through with Spock yet. The 76-year-old actor will don his famous pointy ears again to play the role in an upcoming "Star Trek" film due out Christmas 2008.

"This is really going to be a great movie. And I don't say things like that lightly," Nimoy told a gathering of 6,500 fans Thursday at Comic-Con, the nation's largest pop-culture convention.

He greeted the crowd with a Vulcan salute.

Nimoy was joined by the newly named young Spock, "Heroes" star Zachary Quinto, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Nimoy.

Both Spocks were introduced by the film's director and co-producer, J.J. Abrams.

"This is a series I loved as a kid," Abrams said, acknowledging that he was "more of a 'Star Wars' kid than a 'Star Trek' kid."

"This matters so much to so many people," he said. "I'm honored to be here and do this."

While the character of Captain Kirk has yet to be cast, Abrams said that William Shatner, who played the role in the original TV series, would likely also have a part in the film.

"It has to be worthy, of him and of you," Abrams told fans, adding that production is slated to begin in November.

One fan asked Nimoy what he thought of his "replacement."

"It was logical," the actor said dryly. He then closed with Spock's classic line: "Live long and prosper."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bite force

Does anyone do a better job compiling awesome wire photos than the BBC? I would submit that the answer to that question is "no."

Crazy little thing called postgraduate studies

Queen Guitarist to Complete Doctorate

AP - Brian May is completing his doctorate in astrophysics, more than 30 years after he abandoned his studies to form the rock group Queen.

The 60-year-old guitarist and songwriter said he plans to submit his thesis, "Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud," to supervisors at Imperial College London within the next two weeks.

May was an astrophysics student at Imperial College when Queen, which included Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor, was formed in 1970. He dropped his doctorate as the glam rock band became successful.


Coincidentally, "Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud" was the title of an unfinished Led Zeppelin album.

Seriously, Brian May is handily one of the greatest rock guitar players ever (as if you need me to tell you that), and the thought of him having a doctorate in astrophysics makes him even cooler, if possible. When I am president-for-life, all my subjects will have statues of May in their front yards. They will have motion detectors embedded in them, and when people walk by the statues will play the disco riff from "Another One Bites the Dust."

Monday, July 23, 2007

Where in the world?

We got a new Hammacher Schlemmer catalog today (it says "Mid-Summer Supplement," and thankfully is not tied to the holidays). If you've seen these things, you know that they're always filled with stuff that's kinda cool but (a) wildly impractical, or (b) extravagantly expensive, or both.

But there are frequently things that are such good ideas that they're worth, say, $40, and if you're a geography nerd like me, one example is the Select-a-Map personalized jigsaw puzzle. As the catalog explains:

This is the only custom jigsaw puzzle created for you from a U.S. Geological Survey topographic map when you select any address in the United States. Once you send your selected address, house number, street name, city, and state, to the manufacturer, a 400-piece jigsaw puzzle kit is created using quality 1.5mm millboard and delivered in a gift box that includes an area on the front for a personalized message. The puzzle is created from a 1:24,000 resolution map, and displays an area six miles east-west and four miles north-south of the address provided, and includes details such as main roads, contour lines, water features, and buildings; the center piece of the puzzle is shaped like a house.

It begins.

Today I caught what I suspect was the newsroom's first call of the year requesting information about our Holiday Gift Guide. So, I figured I'd let you all know that there are only 155 shopping days until Christmas.

You're welcome.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Creep-you-out Friday

I'm crossing the Philippines off my list of places to visit before I die.

Things that make me very happy

As if it weren't enough that Hallow-een is finally upon us, I just got this announcement yesterday:

In case you don't have a nostalgic sweet spot in the same place as mine, The State were a sketch comedy troupe who had a show on MTV for a couple of seasons in the mid-'90s. Members went on to create Comedy Central's "Viva Variety" and "Reno 911," and the movie Wet Hot American Summer, none of which quite captured the spark of the ensemble.

In other words, The State specialized in some of the most wonderfully anarchic lowbrow humor you'll ever see - like the Kids In the Hall, but with jokes.

None of the info I've seen gives a release date, but do me a favor and Netflix it at very least. Mind you, it's possible my recollection is off 14 years later, but I think you'll be in for a treat.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter and the Excruciating Wait

Dear Porkchop:
With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows so close, why are you being silent on the matter? Does all the other weird stuff you write about require you to live under a rock or something?

Dear Reader:
No. It's just that the anticipation is making me sweaty and nauseated, and my doctor says I should stop thinking about the book. But if you must have some HP-related esoterica, I suppose my health is of no importance - so I trolled Amazon for the most bizarre toys I could find (for those keeping track at home, there are 490 hits in the "Toys & Games" section. I hope you're happy.

Pictured above is the plush Monster Book of Monsters, which can be yours for $18.95. It's especially awesome because one of the bullet points under "Product Features" is "Stroke the binding and it will open right up, but try and force it open and it just may attack!" - presumably not a feature of the actual cuddly plaything.

Also available is a Deluxe Sorting Hat, perfect for pretending repeatedly that you're being herded into Gryffindor (really, people, there are three other houses). Or you could get a Harry Potter Lantern, if you'd rather pretend that... um... you've forgotten the lumos spell.

One thing that I might actually get if it wasn't $50 is the Triwizard Cup. I can only imagine the hours of fun... uh, clutching the body of a dead young acquaintance while pulling the Cup toward me with a string because I'm not really a wizard.

Can we get the freaking book already? I'm starting to feel faint again.

Friday, July 13, 2007

More from the Beeb

The headline drew me in:

Czech castration raises worries

As it happens, the story is one of those really interesting, ethically tricky ones, about treating sex offenders with surgical castration. This, though, is the Porkchop blog, so my question is a different one:

If you were to sing the words "Czech castration" to the tune of a popular song, which would be funniest?

(A) "Good Vibrations"
(B) "New Sensation"
(C) "Celebration"
(D) "Just My Imagination"

My answer is (A), so long as you use it to replace the word "excitations." I'm open to other suggestions, though.

Creep-you-out Friday redux

How often can you tell in advance exactly what will be in your nightmares tonight?

Several of the other BBC pictures du jour are at least vaguely unsettling too - though it's totally worth it to see Darth Vader sneaking a smoke.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Gone "fishing"

OK, the infidelity lady is swamping us with press releases again. Over the course of a year, they serve as a sort of how-to guide.

Ruth Hudson, founder of InfidelityAdvice.com, send 'em. Every holiday, every season, every sports playoff seems to spark a faxed press release linking seasonal actions and infidelity.

Affairs du jour? Summer vacations! "Some men routinely send their wife and kids to a time share or vacation home for the summer ... Once their partners are conveniently out of the wya, the summer fun begins."


"Other summer cheaters ... invent bogus business trips, counterfeit conventions, or fictitious fishing, camping or rafting trips." How Brokeback.

"Men know that by misrepresenting a trip as a 'guys-only' extreme sports or outdoor adventure, it's unlikely to be questioned by the women in their lives."


Take your cues, guys and gals. If your lover suggests separate vacations or - ack! - buying a vacation home, look out!

But what do I know, I'm not married. Maybe this is old hat to the rest of you. Do tell.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Interesting list week

As noted in today's Gazette, Merriam-Webster has just released a sampling of new words and senses in the 2007 edition of the Collegiate Dictionary - "available this fall at bookstores everywhere." Shall we?

The biggest disappointment from where I'm sitting is #13. I can go on for some time about why we need an indefinite moratorium on the phrase "perfect storm." Mind you, I can also state my case succinctly: it's obnoxious.

Also, regarding #14: the new sense being added is "rocket-propelled grenade." Still not in there is "role-playing game." Where are my multiple-dice-owning homies on this one?

Finally: "Crunk?" Haven't we moved on yet?

Monday, July 9, 2007


Dear Porkchop: Why don't you ever post about cars? Cars are cool.

Because cars.com doesn't release awesome lists often enough, that's why. In honor of the release of the "Transformers" movie, they've been kind enough to fax us the 2007 edition of the Top 10 Movie Cars. Enough introducing; let's get to it.

10. 2003 Mini Cooper S, "The Italian Job"
9. 1959 Cadillac Ambulance, "Ghostbusters"
8. 1974 Dodge Monaco, "The Blues Brothers"
7. 1932 Ford coupe, "American Graffiti"
6. 1976 AMC Pacer, "Wayne's World"
5. 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390, "Bullitt"
4. 1964 Aston Martin DB5, "Goldfinger"
3. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
2. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am, "Smokey and the Bandit"
1. 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, "Back to the Future"

Honorable mentions:
1958 Plymouth Fury, "Christine"
1973 Ford Falcon, "The Road Warrior"
1975 Lotus Esprit, "The Spy Who Loved Me"

So, it's good to see the Mirthmobile up there, and I'm definitely getting a chuckle out of the description of No. 1: "1.21-gigawatt nuclear/electric hybrid with five-speed manual transmission."

My only question: where the hell is the 1969 Volkswagen Bus T2 from "Little Miss Sunshine?" They missed a gimme right there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Obscure passing, questionable profession

AP sez:

"Lyricist Hy Zaret, who wrote the haunting words to 'Unchained Melody,' one of the most frequently recorded songs of the 20th century, has died at age 99."

I can't say I didn't see it coming. After all, he had hungered for your touch a long, lonely time.

Meanwhile - have you ever paid attention to the subject lines of the... erm... adult spam e-mails you get? I always do, because they're usually pretty funny. Today I got one advertising an "appealing flu prostitute."