AVOID

If you see this, walk briskly in the opposite direction:

Peggle

A friend of mine recently got a job at PopCap. About a week ago she wrote to tell me that they had released a new game called Peggle.

I’ve played a few PopCap titles in the past, but only the demos–I’m a notorious skinflint when it comes to shelling out cash for computer games. Still, I wanted to support my friend in her new endeavor, so I bought this one.

DO NOT DO THIS!! This game is to free time what whales are to krill. Even now, as I type this, I am trying to resist the urge to go play a few rounds (and my resolve has already faltered a few times since I wrote the first paragraph).

If this game were half as addictive, I would urge you to buy a copy; as it stands, I’m afraid I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Peggle to anyone who has a spouse, a child, a friend, a job, or reservations about wearing astronaut diapers to avoid ever having to leave the PC.

Annotated News

DARWIN’S GOD

In this article from the NY Times, Anthropologist Scott Atran argues that humans are hardwired to believe in the supernatural–a contention I agree with, despite the fact that I’m an atheist myself. But here’s an anecdote Atran cites as proof:

[Atran's] research interests include cognitive science and evolutionary biology, and sometimes he presents students with a wooden box that he pretends is an African relic."If you have negative sentiments toward religion," he tells them, "the box will destroy whatever you put inside it." Many of his students say they doubt the existence of God, but in this demonstration they act as if they believe in something. Put your pencil into the magic box, he tells them, and the nonbelievers do so blithely. Put in your driver's license, he says, and most do, but only after significant hesitation. And when he tells them to put in their hands, few will.

If they don't believe in God, what exactly are they afraid of?

It seems pretty obvious to me what they are afraid of: a painful electric shock and the sudden appearance of Ashton Kutcher bellowing “YOU GOT RELIC’D!!”

Under these circumstances, I, too, would be be wary of the professor’s convoluted reassurances as to the safety of the box. That’s called skepticism, not faith.


CLINTON DEMANDS OBAMA DENOUNCE DONOR’S REMARKS, HOWARD DEAN DEMANDS GOP CANDIDATES DENOUNCE ANN COULTER, etc.

The 2008 presidential race is as engrossing as “Mile two” of the Boston Marathon. “Oh my goodness, Giuliani has pulled within 30 feet of McCain. With only 24.1 miles to go, this has turned into a real nail-biter!”

Presidential campaigns are always ridiculous, but, nearly two years before the actual election, this one has already taken absurdity to a whole dumber level. The latest fashion in manufactured outrage is Candidate A demanding that Candidate B apologize for remarks made by Idiot C.

It’s a trap, of course. If Obama apologizes for one of his donor’s remarks, then he’ll have to apologize for the remarks of all of them. If Romney denounces Coulter’s latest comment, he is, in effect, saying “Coulter speaks for me, except in this isolated incident.”

Several prominent bloggers, on both the left and the right, have made careers of reprinting the stupidest thing ever written by someone on the other side (usually the 113th comment, by someone named “TrueAmericanPatriot71,” in a thread on freerepublic.com or democraticunderground.com) and saying “OMG this is what everyone who disagrees with us believes!!!” This practice appears to have percolated upward.

People said that blogging would transform politics. That prediction looks to be coming true.


CRITICS SAY US ATTORNEY FIRINGS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

I was going to write a Sternly-Worded Email to NPR over a news story they ran last Thursday, but I can’t seem to scare up the audio on their website (apparently “Top of the Hour” newscasts aren’t publicly archived), which means that I have to recreate the offending passage from memory. And as my memory has more holes that 80’s-era acid-washed jeans, my letter would basically come down to “I’d like to call your attention to piece of NPR reporting I have largely fabricated that MADE ME SO ANGRY!!”

Fortunately, I have a place for my wildly inaccurate and unreasonable screeds. It’s called a “weblog,” or, for short, my “eblo.”

Anyway, on a story on the fired attorneys, the reporter said (something to the effect of):

Administration officials claim that that the attorneys were all dismissed for performance-related reasons; Democrats in Congress, however, say that six of the eight fired attorneys had recently received favorable evaluations."

Nnnnnrrrrgh! This drives me crazy!

Dear NPR: Did six of the eight fired attorneys recently receive favorable evaluations, or is this just something the Democrats in Congress "say"? If you don't know, why not do a little research and find out? If you know this to be true, (and you do, if you read the New York Times), why not state this as a fact?

I understand your desire to come across as balanced, but if one side in a debate makes a contention ("they were dismissed for performance-related reasons") and there is evidence that refutes the claim, you can't just ascribe it as an opinion of the other side and call the piece "objective." "Objectivity" doesn't mean "bending over backwards to accommodate both sides," it means "bending over backwards to accommodate reality."

ALSO THE WEEKEND PUZZLE IS WAY TOO HARD PLEASE INCLUDE SOME WORD SEARCHES

Sincerely,

Matthew Baldwin
Professional Ebloer


CLINTON FOCUSES ON WOMEN

Well, nothing new there.

Ohhh, Hillary Clinton …

The Cliche Rotation Project

7/16: The next round of the Cliche Rotation Project is going on now. Submit your entry here.

Rosecrans and I had a weird moment of Baldwinicity last month, as we were both struck by essentially the same idea at the time. I called on my readers to participate in The Cliche Rotation Project, a drive to replace old and worn out sayings with new ones of roughly equivalent meaning. A few days later, Rosecrans unveiled the Contest for Total Idioms, in which readers of The Morning News were asked to submit newly minted proverbs and adages.

Well, the winners of the Contest for Total Idioms were announced today. So it seems only fitting that I published some submissions in the CRP as well.

I got lots and lots of entries, but have narrowed this batch down to 30. I think this might become a reoccurring feature, though, so you’ll see some of the rest later. And you shouldn’t hesitate to send new ones to matthew@defectiveyeti.com.

So: out with the old and in with the new! Or, as I like to say, let’s shed skin and slither in style.

Old Cliche Replacement Contributor Notes
Always a bridesmaid, never the bride I’m not the hero of this story. Nathan Werth “This one is a bastardization from my gaming geek days, when my friends and I would joke that ‘I am so not the PC here.'”
Back to square one Back to World 1-1 Martin Mushrush  
The bee’s knees; the cat’s pajamas The bee’s pajamas Robin Lane “My 14-year-old son, Calvin, shares your interest in giving new life to old cliches. A few months ago, he somehow came across these two old versions and decided to revamp. The droll tone is crucial: ‘Well, that’s just the bee’s pajamas, Mom.'”
The blind leading the blind Enrolled in the Paris and Nicole Academy  
The coast is clear The porn is deleted John Taylor  
Come hell or high water Even if they send in Chinese tanks Rob Cockerham  
Do the right thing Get on the nut foot Dave Yeagar “There’s a story here. Basically a few of us took my buddy out for his birthday and he got somewhat inebriated. He began to talk nonstop about these roasted almonds that this guy sold out of a truck near his place of employment. He literally went on about these nuts for almost 30 minutes. Finally one of us tried to stop the madness by suggesting he talk about something else, but he adamantly slurred: ‘No…. you gotta… you gotta get on the nut… foot.'”
Don’t be a party-pooper Don’t squeeze out your grumpies in public beajerry  
Don’t take any wooden nickels Don’t mistake eggs for oysters Eve Tolpa  
Dumb as a box of rocks. Don’t have the good sense that God gave cabbage Cindy Molitor “This isn’t a new one. My mother used to say it to me all the time when I was growing up. However, it’s one that I’ve never heard anyone else use.”
He’s yesterday’s news He’s a stamp-licker David LaMotte  
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you won’t shake your bootie, get off the dance floor Pam Coughlan  
It’s a win-win situation. Everyone gets ice cream! Alkelda the Gleeful  
Keep your eyes peeled Put your deadlights on high beams Scott Bush I don’t know if “deadlights” is a typo, but I like it — MB
Knuckle sandwich Boot souffle Neal  
Let’s make like a tree and leave Let’s shoot this pig into space. Clint Bishop  
Looking for a needle in a haystack Trying to find a clock in a casino Angus Stocking  
Looks a gift horse in the mouth Wants birthday cake on Christmas. Mud  
More fun than a barrel of monkeys More fun than 20 yards of bubble wrap Diesel  
Nice guys finish last No one remembers Ivan the Wonderful Lung the Younger  
Playing second fiddle Jeeves in a Google world Mud  
The pot calling the kettle black The pot calling the pipe “drug paraphernalia.” Jonathan Hoferle  
Pushing up daisies Tanning the soles of his feet Lung the Younger  
Putting the cart before the horse Putting the “umption” before the ass Julie  
Reinvent the wheel Start a whole new batch of sourdough Bill Braine  
Silence is golden Quiet is currency Susanna  
Sleep with the fishes Flirt with the dirt Southpaw Jones  
Still waters run deep Quiet squirrels have more nuts No Name Slob  
The squeaky wheel gets the grease The squeaky dolphin gets the fish Eric  
Two-faced Verbally bi Chag  
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it We’ll chop that tomato when the salsa runs out Suzanna  
You made your bed, now sleep in it You poop it, you scoop it Reuben  

 

Update: Theresa writes:

Some time ago, my brother-in-law decided to teach my daughter, N., the phrase, "That dog don't hunt," to be used after any sentence that had a lie or tall tale included in it. N. used it quite often at first and even would ask me to make up some untrue statement just so she could respond with, "That dog don't hunt!". Having a three year old armed with this phrase and knowing when to use it was a great ice breaker and/or party trick. The phrase eventually wore out of it newness and was not used. Recently, N. and I were visiting a friend, and when someone made a random, nonsensical comment, N. responded with, "That spoon don't scoop!" My jaw dropped and I had to ask her, "Where did you learn that?" and she responded, "I made it up!" Either she is pretty darn smart or a pretty darn good liar...That dog don't hunt, N.!

Yeah, along with the kid activities Heather previous classified here as “cute the first time, obnoxious the 65,000,000,000th,” add “using a catchphrase.” I taught The Squirrelly to use the phrase “down the hatch!” when eating. Hilarity ensued–until he started bellowing it before every forkful of Veggie Dog during every single meal. That’s a cliche in dire need of rotation.

The Bad Review Revue

The Hitcher: “All thumbs.” — Desson Thomson, WASHINGTON POST

The Messengers: “A screenplay that has the sophistication and complexity of a college dorm message board.” — Tirdad Derakhshani, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

Epic Movie: “Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer must be stopped. For the last two years, this filmmaking team has created a series of spoof movies so feeble, shoddy and unfunny that they may be part of a diabolical, Manchurian Candidate-like plot to stunt the intellectual development of American adolescents.” — Jason Anderson, THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Because I Said So: “Not so much phoned in as it is auto-dialed with a text-to-speech prerecorded message in one of those creepy robotic voices.” — Carina Chocano, LOS ANGELES TIMES

Norbit: “If I thought hijacking a plane carrying prints of the film and crashing it into [Eddie] Murphy’s house would put a stop to it, I’d go out and buy a box cutter right now.” — Pete Vonder Haar, FILM THREAT

Blood and Chocolate: “Werewolf flick that seems to have used up its entire special-effects budget on canine contact lenses.” — Kyle Smith, NEW YORK POST

Ghost Rider: “All the sugar-injected horsepower of a 6-year-old on a Big Wheel. ” — Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

The Number 23: “Grips hold of one stupid idea and runs so far with it, in so many directions, to such little purpose, that it nearly won me over from sheer berserkoid effort.” — Nathan Lee, VILLAGE VOICE

Odds and Ends