Posts from December 2002.

Bilingualism

Check out the “Language” entry (under “cast overview”) on the Two Towers IMDB.com page.

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Please Forward

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Yes, George, A Missile Defense System Will Work

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of defective yeti:

Dear yeti,

I am the President of the United States. Some of my little friends say that a missile defense system is unfeasible. Papa says, "If you see it on the yeti, it's so." Please tell me the truth.

George W. Bush

George, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, George, whether they be liberals’ or Democrats’, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, George, a missile defense system will work. Its effectiveness is as certain as love and generosity and your re-election, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas, how dreary would be the world if there were no missile defense system! It would be as dreary as if there were no Republicans. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The endless flow of funds to the military industrial complex would be extinguished.

Not believe in a missile defense system! You might as well not believe that we can lower taxes and keep Social Security solvent! You might fire hundreds of test missiles, but even if not a single one were intercepted, what would that prove? Nobody thinks a missile defense system would work, but that is no sign that it couldn’t work. The most real things in the world are those that intelligent people discount. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? I mean, since you stopped drinking? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

No missile defense system! Thank God, it will be build! And a thousand years from now, Georgie, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, we will continue to pay for this wonderful, glorious dream.

defective yeti

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i saw u

I Saw U at Cinerama
I saw U Tuesday night at Cinerama. Me: blond,
blue eyes, wearing cloak and eating popcorn. You: second in the "Lord
of the Rings" trilogy, 179 minutes long. I didn't catch the name
of your gaffer. Call me? 5099

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Dunkin Do Nots

  1. In a fit of nostalgia I tracked down and listened some Kris Kross songs yesterday. DO NOT DO THIS!!!! Specifically, do not listen to this mp3 of “Jump”. That song is evil infectious — and I don’t mean “infectious” in a good way, like laughter, I mean “infectious” in a bad way, like Pink Eye. You know how your cat, when he senses you’re going to take him to the vet, slinks under the couch, and when you try and fish him out he keeps moving to different, remote, unreachable spots, and then, when you finally move the whole sofa away from the wall and grab him by the nape and try and pull him out, he digs his claws into the carpet so the entire extraction process is accompanied by a loud ripping noise? That is what “Jump” will do to your head. I have been singing the chorus non-stop for two days now, inserting every element of my mundane life into it as I go.
    The Queen: Don’t forget to send your grandmother a Christmas card.

    Me: Grandma’ll make ya: Jump! Jump!

    The Queen: Why are you doing that?

    Me: Kris Kross’ll drive ya: Nuts! Nuts!

    The Queen: You’d better knock that off.

    Me: My wife is gonna: Punch! Punch!

  2. Also! DO NOT SEE WINDTALKERS!! I had the misfortune of viewing this alleged “movie” over the weekend and, lemmie tell ya, it’s terrible. It’s worse than terrible. It’s whatever comes after terrible. It’s petable. The credits said that it took two people to write the screenplay. Presumably one person sat in front of his TV watching every cheesy war movie ever made, while a second guy sat at a typewriter, and occasionally Guy One would shout to Guy Two: “Okay, here’s a scene that’s been in the last dozen films; write this down.” I mean, this had them all: The Placid Scene Just Before The Soldiers Meet Their Doom Where They All Casually Discuss What They Are Going To Do When They “Get Out,” The Scene Where The One Racist In The Platoon Who Constantly Belittles The One Minority In The Platoon Is Saved By The One Minority In The Platoon And Changes His Ways, The Scene Where Some Guy Gets Shot (actually, Windtalkers contained this particular scene approximately one infinity times). It really did a good job of conveying the horrors of war, though, as I am now under the impression that combat is the most boring activity imaginable.
  3. Also! If you read some great idea here on the yeti, and then you later discover a news article about some joker who used that same idea to make a bajillion dollars, DO NOT TELL ME!!! (I’m talking to you, Jonathan Harris). I prefer to believe (a) I am the only one who comes up with these schemes, and (b) the reason I am not a millionaire is because I am a Pisces, and certainly not due to any lack of initiative on my part. I have worked for years to hone and maintain my current state of blissful ignorance, and I don’t need you screwing it up with reality.
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Can’t Buy Me Love

Overheard in the elevator: “I love him. Of course I do. But, you know, it’s not like I four-hundred-dollar-DVD-player love him.”

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Books: Carter Beats the Devil

Prior to our Thanksgiving Extravaganza, The Queen announced that she was in need of a book. I immediately went out and procured a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, the best thing I read in 2002. Then, wishing I could read K&C again for the first time, I looked it up on Amazon and noted the “People Who Bought This Also Bought” section; number one amogst the titles listed was (at the time) Carter Beats The Devil. And since I see no reason to doubt the judgement of a bunch of amalgamated consumer data, I picked up a copy of Glen David Gold’s first novel for myself.

It’s easy to see why fans of K&C would also enjoy Carter, because both books are aimed squarely at the Houdini-phile. Set in the 1920’s, the story traces the career of Carter the Great, a professional prestidigator in the Golden Era of Magic. Carter begins as a second-rate act in a third-rate circus, but soon claws his way to the top, making lifelong friends (and enemies) along the way. As Carter grows in popularity, he finds himself grappling with love, rival magicians, the FBI, and even a band of pirates. And, at some point, Carter the Great finds himself in the middle of an war for the biggest technological advance of the age.

The detail that Gold uses in describing the mechanics and execution of the protagonist’s illusions are a real treat, making the reader feel like he is sitting in the theater and watching a master of the conjuring trade at work. In a few cases the author reveals how certain tricks are done, but he’s usually content to simply report what a viewer would see, allowing you to be another bedazzled member of the audience. The whole tale is infused with the excitement and wonder that magic itself generated at the time, before TV showed up and turned us into a nation of jaded bores.

Although I enjoyed Carter Beats the Devil, my impression, two-thirds of the way through, was that Glen David Gold had read Kavalier and Clay, exclaimed “I want to write that book!,” and then took a stab at doing so. As Carter was published only one month after K&C this could hardly be the case, but that didn’t stop me from thinking that this was a Solaris to Michael Chebon’s 2001. Although it evoked the same general atmosphere as K&C, it seemed somewhat thinner and less authentic. By page 400 my main complaint was that, while the plot was engaging, the world and people were a bit two-dimensional.

But the advantage to using slightly abstracted characters is that you can put them in larger-than-life situations and still pull it off. This is what allows Gold to give his novel what both Solaris and K&C lacked: a rollicking, action-packed finale. The final 150 pages of Carter were spectacular, and so cinematic that, while reading it, I was already eagerly anticipating the movie which will inevitably be based on this work. [Google says … well, nothing on IMDB.com, yet, but I did find this.]

If you’ve never read either Carter Beats the Devil or The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, the latter gets the nod. And if you’ve read K&C recently you might want to wait a spell before digging into this one — they are similar enough in tone that you would be plagued by literary deja vu. But if you enjoyed Kavalier and Clay when it first came out and are looking for something in a similar vein, Carter Beats the Devil is as fine a read as you’re likely to find.

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Monday Morning Yada Yada Yada

One of my favorite lunchtime eateries is a nearby deli called Honeyhole Sandwiches. They have great food, but I think we’ll all agree that “Honeyhole” is the dirtiest sounding name of all time. I’m even embarrassed to tell my coworkers I’m going there. “Hey boss, I’ll be in the Honeyhole for an hour …” — yeah, not likely. The worst thing about the joint is that it puts me in this mode where everything sounds dirty. I was there last Friday and, looking over the menu, phrases like “Skirt Steak Sandwich” and “French Dip” were making me blush. After lunch I stopped at the pet store an picked up a “Sparkle Tickler” for my cats. For an hour after my return I had to sit at my desk and meditate before I could concentrate on work again.

Speaking of work, our break room suddenly contains “Butterfinger Hot Cocoa Mix.” “Chocolatey!” the box boasts. “Peanut-Buttery!” Yes, this is what America needs: an even easier way to injest candy. Now you don’t even have to expend calories to chew.

I saw an A.P. Headline over the weekend: Rumsfeld Says No Doubt, Iraq Has Banned Weapons. Oh my dear God! It’s bad enough Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, but now Gwen Stefani has them as well?!

I have fallen way behind in book reviews, making this Super Magic defective yeti Book Review Week … of Terror! So brace yourself for that.

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Brew Haha

Spam:

Date: Fri, 13 Dec 02 16:22:34 GMT
From: Evan Armstrong <schwinnxsx@classictruckshop.com>
Subject: Wish you had lager Breasts?

“Lager breasts”? If that’s the upper-torso equivalent of the beer belly then, no, I’ll pass.

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The Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers

The Morning News is today carrying an essay of mine entitled Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers. I was able to work some squirrels into it, so you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Credit Where It’s Due:

*Update: Have you ever had that moment in your life when you suddenly discover that one of your lifelong heroes is, in fact, a run-of-the-mill weasel, like when you found out Jimmy Carter had lust in his heart, or when Jim Henson let us all down by dying? Well, that happened to me today when I discovered that DAVE BARRY TOTALLY RIPPED ME OFF!!! His so-called “Gift” “Guide” contains the very same book as mine does! This is a scandal of pre-Subway Jared proportions!!

Oh sure, you could argue that I stole the whole “gift guide of stupid things” concept from him in the first place. And you could point out that his guide appeared nearly two weeks before mine. And you could suspect that I, Asshole first heard of The Book via Dave Barry’s column, so, in a convoluted sense, I ripped him off. Yes. Yes, you could do that. OR YOU COULD GO START YOUR OWN FREAKIN’ WEBLOG YOU BACKSTABBING BASTARD!! You’re either with me or against me.

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