Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer's Slow-Breaking News

We were going to post about the true environmental evils of bottled water today, but decided to let you check out the link for yourself. We're feeling cheerful today! Just stop drinking Fiji water, ok folks? It's a blight. Oh, and Aquafina? It's tap water. And most U.S. tap water is totally fine to drink.

Betty and Bimbo saw The Simpsons Movie last night, and you know, it was fun! We laughed loudly out loud a lot. And there were even touching parts where Betty nearly cried! Although the fast-moving animation made our eyes hurt.

The movie was a little more pointed and Homer-centric than Bimbo would have liked. He wishes it had been more oddball, Springfield-based, and aggressive, like it was in the early seasons. "It will never be the same, it's over" he mused, kicking a rock on the sidewalk as we walked out.

It seems he's not alone in this nagging feeling. At the video store later on, our very own Comic Book Guy told us that only Seasons 4 through 7 are the gold (with Season 6 maybe being the best), and that everything after that is downhill, since the show's original core of writers defected. Betty then asked our bespectacled expert why these writers left - after all, The Simpsons was still wildly popular after Season 7. He told us they wanted to spend more time with their families and just do other things: "TV writers don't see much sunlight," he shrugged.

The Dream

This morning on a crowded subway car, Betty and Bimbo mapped out their future. Tuning out the sleepy ruckus around them, they also forgot all financial and logistical constraints, allowing themselves to dream of a life lorded over by a disinterested benefactor.

As workers shuffled on and off the train, the Bs reached a quick decision about the ultimate fantasy: to own and operate their own chihuahua farm in a Southwestern state. The farm would perform double duty as an adoption center and tourist attraction to which roadsters would flock from far and wide. The chis would roam free over six or seven acres of dry land reminiscent of their Mexican tierra patria. There would be troughs full of water and kibbles and fresh cut carrots. Visitors to the farm could enter the gates and observe the chis in their natural splendor, observe their burrowing from an underground viewing facility (after all, it's hot out there!), and buy t-shirts, stuffed animals, postcards, and other takeaways at the well-stocked gift shop. An eco-friendly theme restaurant would serve the hungry masses, as would as two costlier options - adopt a chi from the farm and walk away with an official certificate too, or camp out overnight on the farm with unlimited snuggling privileges.

We are keeping the dream alive.
Share your dream with us!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Breaking Bonds

[At Left: Hank Aaron on April 8, 1974]
Betty doesn't consider many things to be holy, but among the the pillars in the civic religion of Americana, Baseball is central.

Barry Bonds is about to break Hank Aaron's record for most career home runs, and with it, Betty's heart a little bit.

As you will see in this interesting interview with Bonds biographer Jeff Pearlman, Aaron is not endorsing Bonds' quest. Few would; Bonds is a known steroids user. I can only imagine what Aaron - who received racist hate mail and threats while he chased Babe Ruth's record in the 1970s - must think of Bonds' intense and vocal persecution complex.

BUT soon A-Rod will surpass Bonds, and the earth will resume its rotation, no more off balance than usual.

What do you think about Barry Bonds? To Betty, the saddest thing about this whole ordeal is that Bonds is actually an amazingly great player. She remembers when he was skinny and speedy on the Pittsburgh Pirates. And people are right when they say steroids don't make you swing the bat or see the ball any better; Bonds has real and deep gifts. One baseball statistician has suggested that if we deduct Bonds' steroid-fuel homers from his total, he would still end up 4th on the All-Time list, right behind his godfather Willie Mays.

When the day comes, and let's hope it comes quickly and goes away just as fast, Bond's record-break will certainly go down as the all-time most awkward monumental sports event in history.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pet Peeves 2

I was very impressed when Betty posted her list of pet peeves--somehow it seemed just the thing that blogs are for. I have been wanting to follow up for some time but could only think of ONE pet peeve. That seemed impossible. So I held off posting for months, waiting to think of others. I've now come up with one more.

1. People who incessantly nod their heads in silent affirmation while someone else is speaking.

The height of obsequiousness! This truly gets my goat. Offenders are usually people trying to suck up to their boss or impress someone they consider important.

2. Watery messes around the sink.

I am not finicky about neatness; in fact, my current (finicky) apartment mate would call me messy. But I do think that if you're going to be splashing with abandon, you should wipe things down for the next user.

And that's all...for now.

The Walking Man

I recently returned from an AMAZING cycling trip through the Canadian Rockies. Truly, it was everything I hoped it would be, with winding roads, incredible views of mountains, lakes, and glaciers, exhausting hills and lots of pancakes for breakfast. There were also lots of tractor trailer trucks and mosquitoes. I'd just like to share one thing I became smitten with in Canadian towns....the walking man. Take a moment to compare the Canadian walking man with the American walking man. With whom would you rather cross the street?

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Bath in Reverse

New McCartney Album Actually Good

Betty is used to apologizing for Paul McCartney, but you know what? The Starbucks album is actually awesome!!

Sir Paul has been through a lot in the last few years - re-marriage, fatherhood, divorce, plastic surgery - and all that comes through in his newest music. Not the events themselves (Paul is famously oblique, and we love him for this), but rather the tumult and the chaos and the soul-searching. And it's in the music as much as the lyrics.

Consider "Gratitude", with its unpredictable melody, dual-personality singing, and synthetic stylings (and this is the album the Radiohead guy DIDN'T produce!). It's enough to undermine an otherwise touching message of loyalty and devotion. You hear that, Heather?

Or take the crunchy, Strokesy guitars on "Ever Present Past" and "Nod Your Head" -- why does this 64 year old rock my headphones more than most anybody else??? Grandpa clearly just ROCKS.

But then again, there is something working beautifully on this album that has never been contemporary. In fact, it is rooted squarely in McCartney's early 70's period, mainly pre-Wings but spilling over into "Red Rose Speedway" and "Band on the Run". And this is a factor I'll call HEAVY WHIMSY.

HEAVY WHIMSY is not to everyone's taste, and some call it a failure of discipline on McCartney's part, but I take it seriously. How could any Paul fan not? Heavy whimsy is all over the "Ram" album on tracks like "Ram On", "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" and "The Back Seat of My Car". Simply stated, McCartney's Heavy Whimsy involves a straight-faced account of the improbable, the surreal, or the ridiculous, and the songs usually take the form of collages, episodes, or medleys (e.g. "Band on the Run", "Silly Love Songs", "Lazy Dynamite").

On the new album, McCartney is able to focus this characteristic heavy whimsical energy in a new way - telling stories with music and only a few words on songs like "Only Mama Knows" (about a baby being abandoned in an airport) and "Mr. Bellemy" (about firemen trying to rescue a hermit from a tree). The single "Dance Tonight" is a perfect example of this new, more sparse incarnation of 1970s Paul. Good thing his voice, amazingly, still sounds like it did in the 70s, and still does everything it ever could.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter and the Big, Inexplicable Crush

Betty fell asleep on Bimbo's shoulder during the Harry Potter movie last Friday night. The movie was a big, boring, crasscapade full of famous British actors doing their best to ham it up without losing face. They should make a movie about this whole series starring Will Smith and call it "The Pursuit of Medyocrity". Also, as others have noted, the idea of grown-up people who never read salivating and slapping each other to buy the new 8 billion page Harry Potter book is a little pathetic. But anyway, the next morning Betty woke up needing to watch everything Daniel Radcliffe has ever done on youtube. What's with that?!?!

I'll tell you what's with that. Dude is not only sexy as all get out (and only 17!) he's also extremely posied, intense yet soft, and more good humored and gracious than anyone really should be who is daily faced with a torrent of stupid questions from 10 year olds who worship him. Check out his recent appearance on Larry King Live to see what I'm talking about. [Note Radcliffe's magnificent recovery after Larry asks him "If you had Harry Potter's magic wand, what would you do to change the world?"] Also, he's a good actor. Granted, I only saw the first hour of the new movie, and none of the other movies, but he's the real thing. His scenes with Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton, etc. etc. show he's on their level, and not so much on Hermione's. Somebody back me up here???

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Internet Radio

Hello bloggers. For the next three weeks, I will be solo producing a daily 7-minute radio news show for the community radio station in Point Reyes Station, CA. If the spirit moves you, you may listen to the shows here. I am working on my delivery, so comments about tone and speed are welcome. If you would like a sampling of my work, my stories in the July 5th and July 9th shows, before I assumed hosting duties, are so far the highlights. If all goes well, I will soon mold an identity as a radio "personality."

Monday, July 09, 2007

La la la I'm in Love with a Jersey Girl...

Yesterday Betty and Bimbo beat the heat by defecting to the Garden State with their little dog. The DeCamp bus takes you straight from the awesomely grimey and cinematic Port Authoriy to the heart of pretty green New Jersey. We oohed and ahhed (and in Cocoa's case, panted) out the window at pretty, quaint, independently-businessed Bloomfield and Glen Ridge. We then went to a park designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead (of Central and Deering Oaks Parks fame) and played baseball with a six-year old and his family. Betty made some beautiful plays in the outfield, and Bimbo was a rock at first base. Cocoa enjoyed her Fresh Air Fund experience, and joined the wildlife with aplomb, and poos.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Go Yankees!

Betty, Bimbo, and special guest Little Hun attended the Yankees-Twins blowout (We won! 8 to 0!) on Tuesday, July 3. It was a great game, and we'd like to think our enthusiastic, at times bellowing, cheers had something to do with the Yanks' success.

We're still 12 games out of first place at the time of this writing, but we think the second half of the season is going to be amazing. Hoorah for Pinstripes!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

venus in venice

the biennale cocktail parties were drying up, but not so the channels.