Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Revelation, Pt. 3

The revelations, they just keep right on comin'!
"BOSTON - More than 10 blinking electronic devices planted at bridges and other spots in Boston threw a scare into the city Wednesday in what turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon. Most if not all of the devices depict a character giving the finger.

Boston police said Wednesday night one person had been arrested in connection with the hoax, and authorities scheduled a 9 p.m. news conference to provide more details.

Highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down and bomb squads were sent in before authorities declared the devices were harmless."

Apparently, no one working in law enforcement in Boston stays up late enough to watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Inignot: Mooninites duplicate, reunite, and unihilate.
Err: Lock in! [Mooninites create huge laser gun]
Inignot: Was this in your plan?
Err: I don't think it was!
Inignot: Square the Quad-Laser and you have, behold: The Quad-Glaser.
Err: I thought it was Glacier, man!
Inignot: Yes, the Quad-Glacier... that's what I said.
Err: Would you just hurry up and fire it, it's getting heavy!
Inignot: You with all the great plans: you shall not see the next decade. You shall never know that turtlenecks will come back... in a big way.
Err: [off-balance] Would you hurry up, I can't hold it up much longer, my legs are gonna... ow! Damn!
Inignot: ...Fire! [a huge laser block is fired]
Err: Why they call it the Glacier?
Inignot: Do you want it done fast, Err, or do you want it done right?
Err: I just want it done! Damn! My legs!

Revelation, Pt. 2

Let me preface this by saying that the local NBC/CBS affiliates (they're owned by the same company nowadays, and share all the same news staff...weird, no?) have been running a commercial for the past week or so that warns the following:

Titillating, no? (haha) Kind of reminds me of those Dateline "To Catch a Predator" promos they're constantly running. (And seriously, NBC, what's the deal with running that show at 7:00 PM, right in the middle of primetime? I'm sorry, but I don't want to hear about what people want to shove into various bodily orifices when I'm in the middle of eating my dinner, thanks. Wait, strike that--I don't particularly want to hear about that at any time.)

So, after my mind had gotten thoroughly blown by there being two Londons (see "Revelation, Pt. 1"), I go home in time to watch the news...and holy balls. HOLY BALLS. Look who's back.

*cue choir of angels*

We're talking George "George Said It Would Be Like This" Kessler, Meteorologist Extraordinaire.

You see, George is a celebrity. A local celebrity, but a celebrity
nonetheless. During the 1990s, he was THE weatherman 'round these parts. Oh, sure, we've had our Kyle Underwoods, our Jack McKennas, our Rhonda Grussendorfs, our Sven Sundgards and our Karl Springs. And they've all done fine work, no doubt. (Karl Spring in particular has grown on me, I have to say.) But George...George is an institution. When George says it'll be like this, oh mama, you bet your britches it'll be like this.

(One of my favorite George-related stories: in college, my friend Maria and I used to go to Renegade Comedy Theater on a semi-regular year, shortly after the Omnimax Theater opened, they had a fundraiser there with a silent auction. And the silent auction was CHOCK-FULL OF KESSLER MEMORABILIA. Oh my god, you'd think the Beatles had walked in. People were ECSTATIC. I remember that Maria won an autographed picture of him in the auction, but I can't remember how much she wound up paying for it...I'm sure it was a fiscally responsible figure, though.)

Anyway, around 2001, George suddenly departed from the airwaves. This brought much sadness and confusion to The Northland--where had George gone...why had he forsaken us? But then, details of what prompted his disappearance came to light: for one thing, he'd started a company that was going to manufacture child-sized computer accessories (keyboard, mouse), and that business was taking off. (Cool, huh?) But, George had an even more compelling (and distressing) reason to leave: he had a stalker. A STALKER!!! I mean, sure, Maria and I had joked about stalking George Kessler (the fact that she owned an autographed photograph of him made it even funnier, to us anyway--I believe there was talk of a mock-shrine at one point)...but this wasn't the funny kind of stalker, not your garden-variety college students with too much time on their hands making a joke. This was a real-live bona fide crazy psychobastard. There it was, on 48 Hours and everything! The Northland gasped a collective gasp. And with that gasp came an understanding--an understanding of why George had to leave.

But now, six years later...George is back. And the weather had best watch its back

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Revelation, Pt. 1

So I'm over at Sarah's house tonight, watching one of those E! channel "the top 101 something-or-other!" shows (why is it always 101 things, I wonder?), and they've got the usual weirdos doing color commentary. Kind of your second-stringers, the ones who generally aren't quite good enough to have made it onto the color commentary teams for those VH1 I Love the 80s/90s shows. All of a sudden Jeremy London (from Mallrats) is on there, talking about something or other. (It doesn't really matter what it was, does it? haha) Twenty minutes of riveting celebrity "before they were stars" profiles later (but we couldn't turn away!!!), all of a sudden Jeremy London pops up on the screen again. Only the caption under his head reads, "Jason London."

"Wait, isn't that just Jeremy London wearing a hat?" I say.

And then, Sarah and I turn to each other, stunned, and say..."Wait--there's TWO of them?"

Yes, that's right, folks. Apparently they're twins.

Jeremy London, and Jason London.

Consider our minds BLOWN. It's like a little piece of the universe just collapsed in on top of itself.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Police blotter.

(Culled from The Daily Press over the past few months.)

Saturday, 12:10 AM: Highly intoxicated caller reporting something about kids stealing chainsaws.

Saturday, 6:20 AM: Caller reports he has just left his residence and is angry and intoxicated; called back to report he is at his father's house and is going to bed.

Saturday, 9:45 AM: Report of a cow in the road.

Saturday, 11:02 AM: Caller requests help for her daughter who was changing a lightbulb and now cannot get down.

Saturday, 2:07 PM: Caller reported someone stole his 500-gallon gas tank.

Saturday, 8:44 P.M.: Caller reported returning home to find back door covered in ketchup.

Sunday, 2:38 PM: Report of possible bear in tree near children's birthday party--"bear" turned out to be a pine tree with a dark spot.

Sunday, 5:24 PM: Caller requests to see an officer, stating her mother is "psycho."

Monday, 7:49 PM: Report of an intoxicated male who left a bar and passed out near a river.

Tuesday, 10:20 AM: Caller reports that overnight someone placed "thousands and thousands" of forks on the fairway at the golf course.

Wednesday, 8:53 PM: Report of a disturbance in the apartment belowcaller's. Update, 11:38 PM: The disturbed party was angry at and reactingto the Nightly News.

Wednesday, 11:58 PM: Report of two intoxicated males shooting guns at a fire in Iron River.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Random Rules.

An idea lifted from Perfect Duluth Day, which was lifted in turn from The Onion. But hey, if you're gonna lift ideas, those are two fine places to lift them from.

1. Montana - John Linnell
I have no idea what this song is about from a lyrical standpoint. And yet, somehow, it's always made sense to me. "Now I get it."

2. Chinese Baby - Clem Snide
"Rub my stomach for good luck/to pass that driving test." Primo Clem Snide there. One of my favorite bands that nobody's ever heard of.

3. Suspicion - R.E.M.
This song takes me back to college...late nights up watching Baywatch reruns...making movies about killer Furbys...incessantly scraping melted cheese off the countertops...wait, no, strike that last bit--my "angry cleaning" album wasn't Up, it was Monster. Instead, this album accompanied many, many late nights of reading. Thankfully, there were more nights of that than angry cleaning.

4. Sons & Daughters - The Decemberists
It's songs like these that make me wanna whip that damn accordian off the shelf and get cracking. "By land, by sea, by dirigible/We'll leave our tracks untraceable."

5. All Shook Up - Elvis Presley
Sometimes when this song comes on, I notice that my fingers are moving like there's a phantom bass clarinet in my hands. I guess we must've played this one a lot in pep band back in the day.

6. Ghost Tarts of Stockholm - The Minus 5
Off one of my favorite albums ever (Let the War Against Music Begin)--the "stereotypically straight blonde hair" line always reminds me of when I flew home for Christmas in '01, and how it seemed like every single person in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport was blonde, and wearing a sweater.

7. Vengo! Vengo! - DeVotchKa
Another one that gets my accordian sap risin'. Also, it makes me picture Stevie Nicks whirling around flapping a bunch of veils & scarves around her.

8. Us - Regina Spektor
I love the lyrics to this one. "They made a statue of us/And put it on a mountaintop/Now tourists come and stare at us/Blow bubbles with their gum/Take photographs for fun/For fun."

9. The Devil & the Deep Blue Sea - George Harrison
If I ever master the accordian, so help me, then the ukulele's next on my list.

10. Take the Skinheads Bowling - Teenage Fanclub
I first heard this during the credits for Bowling for Columbine, but my appreciation for it has only grown with the passing of time. "Some people say that bowling alley's got big lanes/Some people say that bowling alleys all look the same."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A little glitter goes a looooong way.

About once a week, I go to McDonalds for lunch. I get an hour off for lunch from work, which is nice, but when I was going home every day to eat I found that I was using up most of my break time driving back & forth and in food preparation. And frankly, I need my space-out time or I get...punchy. (Plus, now that my dad's basically retired--he's home all the time but it's not "official" yet--when I do go home, he's usually pretty chatty so my chances for zoning out are slimmer than ever. If only I could get him into watching
Passions, maybe then everyone could win...)

Anyway--so as I was saying, once a week or so I pick up some fast food from McDonalds, despite the lingering images charred into my brain from
Supersize Me that haunt and heckle me every time I pull up to the drive-thru. (The French the glass cannister...that never decompose....bleeeeeh. ) But damn, on really cold days like today (15° right now, which ain't bad, but it was below-zero all morning long and my feet have permafrost), a cold-cut sandwich from Subway just isn't gonna cut it. Give me those warm, deadly McNuggets, cardiovascular system be damned! Warm me to the cockles of my heart, McNuggets, WARM ME!!! I want to FEEL again!!!!!!!!!

When I hit the silent but deadly drive-thru, there's one lady who's almost always on duty--I don't know her name, but she looks to be in her mid-20s or so, tall, thin, with blonde hair. She's a personable sort--friendly, always up for making chit-chat with the drive-thru customers, quick & efficient & most importantly, she never forgets the straws or napkins. (This is especially important when one's cafeteria is their car, and one's home supply of straws and napkins is woefully out of reach.)

But Drive-Thru Lady doesn't seem content to rely on her personality, her skills or her enviable short-term memory to get ahead (god knows if I worked a drive-thru window, I'd be hard-pressed to remember to hand people their bags of
food, let alone their accoutrements). No, instead, Drive-Thru Lady has chosen to augment those qualities with...roughly, a half-gallon of body glitter poured on her face. Daily.

Seriously, I'm barely exaggerating here--the first time I saw her, I think I did a visible double-take. We're talking MADE-UP. And she doesn't stop with the body glitter, although I think anyone who has seen her would agree that's the pièce de résistance. No, there's also a layer of caked-on eyeshadow, a tube's worth of lipstick (the brighter, the better!), and oh mama, a heckuva lot of blush. (Which always reminds me of Marge Simpson's mother saying, "Ladies pinch. Whores use rouge.")

It looks a little something like this:

Today, I pulled up to the drive-thru, fully expecting to see my week's quota of body glitter...but when the drive-thru window jerked open to delivery me a bag of piping hot deliciousness, there was Drive-Thru Lady...WITHOUT A STITCH OF MAKE-UP ON.

And now, she looks a little something like this:

I don't know what the impetus was for this dramatic shift--were they out of 50-gallon tubs of body glitter at Sam's Club or something?--but oh my god, she is so pretty. Seriously--she looked about a billion times better. Features once shellacked in sparkles stuck out of their own merit--her skin is gorgeous, despite the deep fryers gurgling all around her, and I don't know if it was just due to standing by the cold window all afternoon or what but her cheeks were this natural, rosy pink, the kind of pink that cosmetics companies spend years and millions of dollars at recreating in powder form and yet never quite succeed in matching. Ugh, I could've just eaten her up with a spoon, she was so cute.

As with the first time I saw her, I did a double-take--but this time, for better reasons--and found myself blurting out, "Wow, you look really nice today!" She laughed, and pointing at her McDonalds visor, said, "Yeah, it's probably the new visors. Easier to keep our hair back." I wanted to say, "No, no! It's because you aren't covered in make-up like a deranged Bratz doll!", but I thought that might
be a little too weird. And far be it from me to jeopardize future McNugget and straw deliveries.

Coco Chanel always said to look in the mirror before leaving the house and remove at least one piece of jewelry. I like to think Drive-Thru Lady has finally taken that to heart, and has loosely interpreted that "one piece of jewelry" as "one gallon of body glitter."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Zombie Redenbacher!

Reanimated Orville Redenbacher + disturbing resemblance to the Crypt Keeper = scariest iPod commercial EVER.

The horror...the horror.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The New 7 Wonders of the World Contest.

I think this is pretty darn cool.

Name the New Seven Wonders of the World Contest

A global competition to name the new seven wonders of the world is attracting widespread interest, with more than 20 million people voting so far, organizers say.

By Elaine Engeler and Alexander G. Higgins, Associated Press

The Egyptian pyramids are the only surviving structures from the original list of seven architectural marvels. Long gone are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria. Those seven were deemed wonders in ancient times by observers of the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Candidates for the new list have been narrowed down to 21, including the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal and Peru's Machu Picchu. The public can vote until July 6, 2007, by Internet or phone. The seven winners will be announced July 7 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Choosing world wonders has been a continuing fascination over the centuries. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, keeps updating its list of World Heritage Sites, which now totals 830 places.

The "New 7 Wonders of the World" campaign was begun in 1999 by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber, with almost 200 nominations coming in from around the world.

Weber "felt it is time for something new to bring the world together" and to "symbolize a common pride in the global cultural heritage," said Tia B. Viering, spokeswoman for the campaign.

Weber's Switzerland-based foundation aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments. It relies on private donations and revenue from selling broadcasting rights.

Nominations were whittled down by public votes to 77 last year. Then a panel of architectural experts, chaired by former UNESCO chief Federico Mayor, shortened the list to 21. Interest has grown as Weber and his 10-member team visit the 21 sites. Their final visit will be March 6 to New York's Statue of Liberty.

In addition to the Statue of Liberty, Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu, the finalists are the Acropolis; Turkey's Haghia Sophia; the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral; the Colosseum; Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle; Stonehenge; Spain's Alhambra; the Great Wall; Japan's Kiyomizu Temple; the Sydney Opera House; Cambodia's Angkor; Timbuktu; Petra, Jordan; Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer; Easter Island; and Chichen Itza, Mexico.

To vote, go here.

(And for descriptions of the candidates, check out the website.)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sign of the impending apocalypse, No. 734:

Not only did I download "SexyBack" yesterday...I paid 99¢ for it.

Yes, that's right--I paid for a Justin Timberlake song.

*not sure whether to laugh, or to weep*

Thursday, January 04, 2007

When Christmas attacks.

I meant to post these last week, but then the flu attacked ("coming soon on FOX...When Flu ATTACKS!")...anyway, here's a few pictures from our Asbach Family Christmas™.

For starters, there was no snow on the ground. Other than that teensy tiny pile of residual snow by the "pond" you see there. The lack of snow was both highly unseasonal and slightly unsettling...and yet, it sure was nice to be able to walk out to our cars in the morning without looking like rejects from the Ice Capades.

A little brighter.
I also dig my mom's Dr. Seuss-esque tree on the deck this year--plus, it was already dead when she found it, so that was one less tree led to the slaughter.

A few years ago, although I haven't pinned down when it happened exactly (maybe it was "Whiskey Christmas '02" when I stayed out in Helena?), our family made the drastic switch from Christmas-morning-present-openers to Christmas-Eve-present-openers. This represented a major seismic shift in the Asbach Family Christmas™, but a welcome one since (A.) none of us are morning people and (B.) if opening presents at night means we get to sleep in, then that's a present in and of itself and well-worth a small break in tradition.

On Christmas Eve, we had my Grandma Rosie over for dinner. Turkey? Ham? No. This year, we opted for that most celebrated of Christmas Eve feasts...ribs. It wasn't quite as good as the years we had Frankie's Pizza, but still, it was pretty damn good.
After we ate, Grandma opened her presents. With help from Alan Jackson.

(If you are at all familiar with Grandma Rosie, then you can probably surmise that she didn't find this nearly as amusing as the rest of us did.)

After Grandma had gone home, we gathered around the pile of boxes in the living room and had at it. Paper was shredded, bows were tossed to Toivo the cat. And Alan Jackson helped.
Jane, with Alan.

Whitey and Dewey were both quite taken with the lucha libre masks I got Whitey. As you can see. (Dewey was also quite taken with the beer hat I got him--now, at last, he can enjoy hands-free drinking!)
El Dewey, again!
El Nikko!
El Dewey, with beer hat.

And I was much taken with the J.C. Penney portrait my mom saved from the dumpster at work (another in a looooong series of treasures she's saved from the dumpster over the thirty-odd years she's worked there, off & on), and the festive bag of treats Whitey made for me at the grocery store he works at with the giant plastic-wrapping machine.
J. C. Penney.
A gift that keeps on giving.
(Yes, that's a bag of candy...with a potato.)

All in all, a most merry little Christmas, indeed. Of course, less than 48 hours after this, we'd all be tossing our cookies and lying around, groaning a la the "bring out your dead" scene, but yes, it was nice up until that point.
O, Tannenbaum.