I Shall Never Look At a Catalog The Same Way Ever Again

Dr. Crislip’s outdone himself.  He very nearly got me in trouble at work – riotous laughter in the call center isn’t strictly forbidden, but it draws attention.

I dare you to read this title without at least a chuckle: “Sky Maul.”

It’s the best takedown of the products in the SkyMall catalog I’ve ever read in my life, and that’s not just because I haven’t read many.  Even if I read thousands after this, it shall always be among the top 5.  It’s full of tasty bits, but here are the two I forced upon my coworker because they were just too good not to share.

After the segue into a truly hideous Lancet paper babbling about tattoos on ancient mummies and their correlation to acupuncture points, Dr. Crislip says,

“I think they all have it wrong. Look carefully at the location of the tattoo points. There mark the intersections of the webbing on Spiderman’s costume. These are not acupuncture points, but rather reflect the ability of both Ötzi and the Peruvian mummy to see into the future imaginings of Stan Lee. I think it makes as much sense based on the data.”

My darlings, no comic book geek and connoisseur of fine woo can read that and not die laughing.

And while I usually avoid quoting a writer’s closing remarks, preferring to leave those delights for the reader to discover, I cannot as a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fan refrain from quoting his close in full:

I was originally going to discuss the Head Spa Massager, the X5 HairLaser and others, but the Aculife took me down many unexpected pathways and I am the slowest writer at SBM. They did have numerous cool gadgets and products on SkyMall. Me? I really want Voldemort’s wand and the One ring. Both work using the same mechanism as acupuncture and mummy medical tattoo’s. I have ordered them and soon I will be invincible.

I welcome our future Science-Based Medicine overlord! 

I Shall Never Look At a Catalog The Same Way Ever Again

John W. Dean Unleashes the Scorn

There’s nothing quite like a believer-turned-skeptic for wielding the Smack-o-Matic. John Dean, former counsel to Nixon, is able to tear apart conservative arguments from the inside. In one of his recent articles, he adds a heaping helping of scorn to his usual devastating deconstruction:

There is a high-stakes game for the future of the federal judiciary currently underway, albeit, at this time, still quietly being played out behind-the-scenes. Over a month ago, the New York Times revealed the then-imminent selection by the Obama Administration of “a small stream of nominees to the federal appeals courts” throughout the nation. The story even floated a few names of potential nominees. But little has happened since then.


The reason Obama’s judicial nominees have not been streaming forth is that conservatives in the Senate are doing their best to dam that stream, literally and figuratively. To use the phrase coined by former Nixon speechwriter Bill Safire, the Obama Administration is being blocked by what can accurately be described as the new “nattering nabobs of negativism.”


Needless to say, conservatism is inherently negative (see William F. Buckley’s founding motto and mission statement for the National Review: “It stands athwart history, yelling Stop”). But since President Obama’s election, the conservative nabobs have been yelling STOP before anything even starts. They have truly fulfilled Safire’s colorful alliterating appellation for overbearing naysayers.

Well-known nabobs like John Boehner and Eric Cantor have led House Republicans to vote in-bloc against the stimulus legislation, and the half-dozen Republican nabobs serving as governors announced they would reject all or some of the federal stimulus money – until the citizens of their states turned on them.

Not as well-known are the nattering negative nabobs of the Senate, who have laid down a gauntlet to block President Obama’s judicial appointees, before they even arrive in the Senate Judiciary Committee. These are Senators who are having trouble adjusting to the fact that there is no longer a Republican in the White House, and in no area is this truth more difficult for them to accept than with the prospective loss of conservative control, as well, of the federal judiciary. These are men like Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona – to mention but two of two dozen.

These men were part of the effort by all forty-one Republican members of the Senate to warn the new president that if he wanted to avoid a huge fight over the future of the federal judiciary, then he should start by re-nominating a number of Bush nominees who had not been confirmed before the Bush presidency ended. This unprecedented request was chutzpah on stilts.

The demolition continues unabated over at FindLaw. Enjoy.

John W. Dean Unleashes the Scorn

Premium Snark: LOTR Edition

Thank you, John Pieret. This is absolutely the pure Colombian snark:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

I’m hooked.

Premium Snark: LOTR Edition

Ebert vs. O'Reilly: No Contest

Ladies and gentlemen, the incomparable Roger Ebert (h/t):

To: Bill O’Reilly
From: Roger Ebert

Dear Bill: Thanks for including the Chicago Sun-Times on your exclusive list of newspapers on your “Hall of Shame.” To be in an O’Reilly Hall of Fame would be a cruel blow to any newspaper. It would place us in the favor of a man who turns red and starts screaming when anyone disagrees with him. My grade-school teacher, wise Sister Nathan, would have called in your parents and recommended counseling with Father Hogben.

Yes, the Sun-Times is liberal, having recently endorsed our first Democrat for President since LBJ. We were founded by Marshall Field one week before Pearl Harbor to provide a liberal voice in Chicago to counter the Tribune, which opposed an American war against Hitler. I’m sure you would have sided with the Trib at the time.

I understand you believe one of the Sun-Times misdemeanors was dropping your syndicated column. My editor informs me that “very few” readers complained about the disappearance of your column, adding, “many more complained about Nancy.” I know I did. That was the famous Ernie Bushmiller comic strip in which Sluggo explained that “wow” was “mom” spelled upside-down.

Your column ran in our paper while it was owned by the right-wing polemicists Conrad Black (Baron Black of Coldharbour) and David Radler. We dropped it to save a little money after they looted the paper of millions. Now you call for an advertising boycott. It is unusual to observe a journalist cheering for a newspaper to fail. At present the Sun-Times has no bank debt, but labors under the weight of millions of dollars in tax penalties incurred by Lord Black, who is serving an eight-year stretch for mail fraud and obstruction of justice. We also had to pay for his legal expenses.

There is a major difference between Conrad Black and you: Lord Black is a much better writer and thinker, and authored a respected biography about Roosevelt, who we were founded to defend. That newspapers continue to run your column is a mystery to me, since it is composed of knee-jerk frothings and ravings. If I were an editor searching for a conservative, I wouldn’t choose a mad dog. My recommendation: The admirable Charles Krauthammer.

Bill, I am concerned that you have been losing touch with reality recently. Did you really say you are more powerful than any politician?

That reminds me of the famous story about Squeaky the Chicago Mouse. It seems that Squeaky was floating on his back along the Chicago River one day. Approaching the Michigan Avenue lift bridge, he called out: Raise the bridge! I have an erection!

Snark of caliber needs no additional commentary, only applause. Bravo, Mr. Ebert! Bravo.

Ebert vs. O'Reilly: No Contest

I Have Been Called Out

STEVEinMI writes:

Dana, I love your writing, but I have to take you to task for this post. There are PLENTY of details in the Republican “budget” “plan”. And there are numbers too! Real numbers! So many that I couldn’t fit them here!

Read ’em and weep: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/3/27/91658/3389

I’ve read Steve’s post, and I am weeping. You will, too:

Right out of the gate, 5 of those 19 alleged “pages” are actually content-free title pages. So before we even get started, that’s only 14 pages; a big difference, I would say, when setting expectations of how many actual numbers are in there. And those fourteen pages had to make room for eight (8) pictures of Tinkertoys(tm), leaving room for only about 12 pages of content. It’s just like the left to try and raise expectaions falsely on Republican proposals.

There most certainly are graphs. Three of ’em. They reverse the traditional color scheme and use blue for Republican numbers and red for the Democrats’. That’s important, because the graph on Page 7 clearly points out the Nixon recession, the Reagan recession, and the financial impact of the Bush wars. If we’d shown those parts in red, people might be misled into thinking that Republicans had something to do with them. The graph on page 16 clearly points out that former president Bush/43 did not spend any money on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which frankly is the way we want him to be remembered. And the graph on Page 5, even though we tried to crop off the really bad bits, does point out which recent president (cough43cough) has done the most to “grow the size of government”.

And, let me be clear about this, THERE ARE NUMBERS. Twenty-eight (28) of them, by my count. And these are numbers that are easy to understand: 26 of them are actually the numbers from the Obama budget, included to show how bad they are. The other two are the number of barrels of oil we think might be in ANWR, if all those fucking lefties, polar bears, and caribou would just get out of the way and let us start drilling.

Maxima mea culpa. I should have known better than to trust all those damned reality-worshipping librul blogs. I mean, obviously, the Cons aren’t going to present a budget without numbers or graphs. In this case, they have numbers and graphs, so it’s obviously a very thorough budget indeed. Wow.

Thank you for setting me straight, Steve. I owe you one.

I Have Been Called Out