The Works: Celebrity Blogs

I’ll be on The Works tonight talking about “The Huffington Post” and other celebrity blogs.

Here are the sites we discuss:

Just Wait Until Your Chaotic Evil Father Comes Home

The Squirrelly is entering The Age Of The Tantrum, so The Queen and I went to a seminar on “positive discipline” at our local community college. When we entered the auditorium we passed a table in the back where some people were selling puppets. Apparently puppets all are the rage in child discipline these days. See, what you do is put one of these thick, soft puppets on your hand before spanking your child, and that way you won’t hurt your hand.

Hah hah! No, I’m just kidding: I would never spank my child with one of those puppets. They cost, like, twenty-five bucks.

Anyway, I’ll admit to being pretty skeptical about the whole enterprise when I saw the puppets, since I reflexively associate puppets with hippies and Fraggle Rock, neither of which I much care for. But the lecture was really pretty good. It was given by Jody McVittie, and based on the principles outlined in this book. A reoccurring theme was to give your child actual praise, instead of a bunch of meaningless rah-rah hyperbolic ‘you’re the bestest best kid EVAR!!!!1!!’ bullshit (I’m paraphrasing), which I appreciated because that’s how I’ve always intended to do it. So, in a sense, Dr. McVittie was telling me “you’re the bestest best parent EVAR!!!!1!!,” and I have no objection to meaningless rah-rah hyperbolic bullshit when it’s directed at me.

My favorite part of the lecture was when she talked about the four different types of discipline styles, as determined by the parameters “order” and “kindness”:

This really resonated with me. I like the idea that picking a parenting style is essentially the same as picking your character’s alignment in Dungeon’s and Dragon.

Man, it’s too bad they didn’t have class selection, too. I’d love to be known as “Paladin Dad.”

Week Off

No posts this week — I am devoting every spare moment to reading House of Leaves.

That said, I will have a piece running in The Morning News on Thursday, and will probably post a review of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy sometime tomorrow. Both are exempt from my “don’t do anything until you finish House of Leaves” program because they are already written, and only require formatting.

Crisis On US’s Earth To Address GOP Continuity Errors

At a press conference earlier today, Ken Mehlman, chairman of the The Republican National Committee, announced "Crisis on US's Earth," an ambitious, year-long initiative to address the multitude of continuity errors George Bush and the Republicans in Congress have introduced into the GOP Universe.

"We're very excited", Mehlman said, speaking with reporters. "It's going to be a major crossover event, involving all the branches of government we control: legislative, executive and judicial. No checks and balances here -- we're pulling out all the stops."

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who was also at the conference, spoke of the need for the program. "We have way too many divergent storylines right now: we're 'fiscal conservatives' spending like drunken sailors, we're against their activist judges but for our activist judges, we're for smaller government while presiding over its expansion ... We need to eliminate all the old plot threads, like the notion that Republicans stand for state's rights and whatnot."

Mehlman agreed, especially in regards to the President. "You got your Compassionate Conservative of the 2000 campaign -- the 'Golden Age Bush,' we like to call him; then there's Bush II, the wartime president; and now the modern-age Bush, obsessed with social security and beholden to the Religious Right. We need to hammer down his character and completely relaunch this guy."

Industries insiders say that the overhaul was precipitated by Bush's increasingly reliance on "parallel universes" (such as the one where voters gave him a mandate in 2004) and "imaginary stories" (such as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction). The Iraq war has been particularly vexing for Republicans, with no less that three "origin stories" (WMDs, liberation, democracy promotion), each of which is considered canonical. In addressing this issue, Crisis On US's Earth will introduce the "Anti-monitors" -- a second set of UN weapons inspectors who actually found stockpiles of chemical weapons in early 2003 and urged the president to attack immediately. When asked how these new characters will be integrated into the existing timeline, Mehlman shrugged and said, "we'll just casually mention them of FOX News. Americans have always been very accepting of our retcons."

Though not slated to begin until June, Mehlman's announcement that the initiative will "involve all the superstars of the GOP Universe, but not all will survive" has set off a flurry of speculation as to who will be written out of the post-Crisis world. The most prominent rumor states that Majority Leader Tom Delay will perish of a heart attack after running wildly around the floor of the senate, heroically disrupting a democratic filibuster.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

On this day in 1862, the fine people of Puebla invented mayo — or, as we call it in English, “mayonnaise.”

Thanks Mexico! Without you our turkey sandwiches would be a lot drier.

Tragedy Of The Commons

In the lunchroom at my work there’s a quarter-full bottle of Diet 7-Up that’s been sitting on the counter for two days. On it is a post-it note reading “Free Soda! Help yourself!”

Why communism doesn’t work, in a nutshell.


Just for the record, I, Matthew Baldwin, as of 7:30 AM, May 04, 2005, still do not own a cell phone.

I want to document this fact in case, at some future point, there’s a dispute about who exactly was the last person on Earth to acquire one.