Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sorry, Folks, Blog's Closed

... for rest and repairs. The moose outside shoulda told ya.

See y'all in a couple days.

Wally and I have left the tri-city area to spend the New Year's Eve weekend in the BIG CITY.

What's in store for The Cup of Joe in 2007? Look for a possible blog redesign and the first-annual year-end Cup of Joe Awards for 2006, a new competition where we pick the best in movies, books, entertainment and infotainment over the last 365 days.

Have a great and safe New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

SPOILER ALERT: Predictions for 2007

One year ago this week, I made some shocking predictions for 2006, almost all of which came true.

I didn't have a blog way back then, so my predictions were contained in a lengthy email to friends. Subject line: PREDICTIONS FOR 2006!!!!!

Before I get to my predictions for 2007, I want to review some of my predictions for 2006.
* I predicted that Wally would be *even sexier* in 2006 than he was in 2005. I was right.

* I predicted that soybean futures would NOT be the place to put your money. I was right.

* I predicted the firing of Donald Rumsfeld, the election of Felipe Calderon as president of Mexico and the scandal involving Britney Spears not wearing panties. I was right, right and right.
Where did I go wrong? I missed predicting Nicole Ritchie's final year-end weight by 14 ounces.

Now, my predictions for 2007:
* A woman in Idaho wins a large jury verdict after suffering a seizure watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Jurors are quick to blame the writing.

* Viewership of Internet porn rises at a rate two points higher than inflation.

* Minister Ted Haggard is spotted in Provincetown on the Fourth of July wearing a catcher T-shirt and dancing at the A-House with gay blogger Andrew Sullivan. They are both clutching a copy of Andrew's new book, The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back, now available on

* An unnamed member of the cast of the Real World Road Rules Challenges on MTV fills out an application for a real job and doesn't get it.

* A prominent journalist at a major news network is outed. Shepard Smith breaks the story.

* The Bush Daughters celebrate a double wedding! With each other. In Massachusetts.

* Following the president's divorce, Condeleeza Rice-Bush quickly establishes herself as the most-loved first lady in U.S. history.

* A Broadway Musical based on the life of Hugh Beaumont from Leave It To Beaver becomes the national rage, while also igniting a furious debate over a shocking scene involving Jerry Mathers and a string of pearls.

* Dick Cheney shoots 14 people, including the president of Mexico, in a Thanksgiving day massacre before finally being wrestled to the ground by Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

* Andy Kaufman announces to the world he's really still alive, and then kills himself. Tom Shales at The Washington Post praises the stunt as brilliant.

* Dennis Kucinich is elected president of the new republic of Puerto Rico. Troops from Iraq are quickly redeployed as the U.S. leads the coalition invading San Juan.

* The Cup of Joe resumes its coverage of kittens to rave reviews, and doubles its daily readership to two.

One more prediction to bet the house on:
Towleroad lands another scoop and is the first
to report bullet number 3.


Ford Drops Dead

With former President Gerald Ford now dead at the age of 93, I wonder if FORD DROPS DEAD was the headline in the New York Daily News today.

This headline is, after all, a little more accurate and fair than the famous headline at right. Ford never, ever used the phrase "drop dead" when describing New York City -- and this headline probably cost him the 1976 presidential election.

Oh well, what are ya going to do?

My condolences to Betty.

And with 2007 ALMOST here, my wish for the country? A president from the Midwest who came from modest means, whose grandfather wasn't a Senator, whose father wasn't a president, a good and decent man, a man who never really had the ambition to be president, a man who, even after years in politics, lived in a modest middle class home right up until the day he moved into the most famous white house in the world.

I'm talking about Harry Truman. And Gerald Ford. Two midwestern accidental presidents who both left the world on the day after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Effie-ing Great!

There is not a straight man in America who will get through both of the below videos.

And I suspect that male readers who consider themselves merely "bi-curious" may get only about halfway through each video.

It's your loss.

So with Jennifer Hudson drawing well-deserved raves for her turn as Effie in Dreamgirls, we here at The Cup of Joe have a question for readers. Which of the below show-stoppers do you prefer?

One more thing: Beyonce Who?

Private message for Elgie: Yes, honey,
I know you watched the whole thing.
Both of 'em. Twice.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the Beyonce Letterman interview.
She comes off as very likeable. And yes, she's good in the movie, too.

Monday, December 25, 2006

I'm Not Blaming Nick

Happy Christmas to all from The Cup of Joe. I think the screenshot pretty much sums up my wishes for you today.

Like Mrs. Brady on the morning of her Christmas solo, Wally still has a serious case of the sniffles. I've been wishing for a Christmas miracle, but with Old Man Gauer not manning the pharmacy today -- he drank way too much last night at Martini's -- it doesn't look good.

That Nick sure does pour 'em strong.

Thanks for reading. All my best to you and all you love this holiday season.

Some Ghosts From Christmas Past

I love the Internets. These old archived ads can be found in this cool collection brought to you by our friends at this link.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Will Anybody Hear My Plee?

I hope Wally is reading this blog, because all I really want for Christmas is what I ask for every Christmas and never get: the world's finest butter beans.

NBC: Tara Connor is Not a Virgin,
Bruce Jenner is Not a Ventriloquist

Last night, on the NBC show Identity, Miss USA Tara Connor publicly confirmed, as one member of the 12-member panel of "occupations," that she wasn't the VIRGIN. (This proud title wound up belonging to the Asian guy wearing the Linus sweater.) She also confirmed she wasn't a GUITARIST, a FIRE EATER or a CRUISE SHIP PERFORMER, although after looking into my crystal ball I certainly wouldn't bet against the latter.

Other highlights from last night's show:

* The contestant was unable to recognize Jerry "Leave it To Beaver" Mathers as the FORMER CHILD STAR. This may have been because The Beav looks a little bit more like Lumpy Mondello nowadays.

* Are you Tara Connor? On the contestant's first guess she chose the HAS FIVE KIDS woman as the most likely person among the 12 on the panel to have the grace, poise and beauty one would expect of MISS USA 2006. (This must have been a little ego-bruising for our favorite gal-pal in the swimsuit. It also probably means this show was taped before Tara kissed a girl and Trump called a press conference and made her a household name.)

* Earlier in the show, a different contestant was unable to recognize "Skating With Celebrities" sweetheart (and former Gold Medalist) Bruce Jenner, incorrectly guessing (and I'm not kidding) that he was a VENTRILOQUIST. I'm pretty sure the contestant would have gotten it right away had Bruce been described as PLASTIC SURGERY VICTIM.

And who is the shirtless guy at right? He's a U.S. MARINE. I'm only including it because this site draws more visitors whenever I use the phrase "shirtless marine."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Desperately Seeking Dawna

One year ago tonight, Dawna Stone was selected by Martha Stewart to be her apprentice. The stunning news came after a thrilling 16-week job interview in which applicants competed in tasks testing their ability to succeed in upper management, such as picking out napkin colors and deciding which flavor of punch to serve at parties.

If you don't remember the details, Dawna received a one-year-employment contract worth $250,000 at about the same time Martha got her cancellation notice.

Now that 365 days have passed, this has me worried because Dawna may be looking for a job right about now.

If anybody has the current location or whereabouts of MS-Apprentice winner Dawna Stone (or runner-up Bethenny Frankel), The Cup of Joe wants to know! What has she been doing for the last year? Has her contract been renewed? Did Martha's negative attitude about the quality of the contestants on the show result in a needs improvement checkmark on Dawna's six-month performance review?

By the way, here is a link to Dawna's bio on her website and another to her resume. Guess which three words appear NOWHERE on this bio or resume? You got it: 1) Martha, 2) Stewart, and 3) Apprentice.

One more note: Only 300 people have
watched this YouTube election commercial
featuring Dawna from October of 2006.

Tara Won't Be Gone With the Wind

Next year, Tara Connor will relinquish, on schedule, her title as Miss USA when a new young princess is given the crown by a panel of all-star celebrity judges, some of whom whose names I will recognize.

Before last week, that would have pretty much meant the end of this young beauty's time in the spotlight. After the new winner was crowned, it is very possible that the world would little note nor long remember the reign of Tara.

That is, until she (allegedly) took drugs, drank alcohol before turning 21 and kissed a girl.

In the era of Paris Hilton, Tara Connor is now a celebrity with staying power. And you can thank those sweet lesbian kisses.

No Rosey Scenario

In a move sure to excite much talk in the halls of American medicine and worldwide among thinktanks concerned with matters of public health, Donald Trump has put a public face on America's obesity problem by citing Rosie O'Donnell as a significant example of this growing epidemic.

In other words, he called her fat.

And ugly. And he thinks that all he needs to do is send a car, and a man, over to Rosie's pad and her girlfriend would ditch her "like that." Because there'd be a MAN there. Who wasn't fat. Or ugly.

He also makes clear in the below video that he is not bankrupt, as Rosie apparently has said, while provoking new questions about whether he'll file Chapter 11 under the terms of an apparent moral bankruptcy.

Klassy with a K!

Monday, December 18, 2006

HWAT??!: It's Getting Good Reviews?

Richard Roeper gave Rocky Balboa a glowing, affectionate review on Ebert & Roeper yesterday, as did the guest reviewer filling in for the recovering Roger Ebert. It also made the front page of USA Today today.

This has really piqued my curiosity about seeing the movie. But do I know anybody else who wants to see this film?

Speaking of Sly Stallone, here's an interesting tidbit here about his feud with Richard Gere, and how Gere supposedly blames Sly for all those gerbil rumors.

I'm not joking.

My Message for Time Magazine: Oh You!

I'm delighted to have been selected as among the 300 million or so winners of this year's Time Magazine Person of the Year.

That said, I still think it should have been Harriet Myers or a gay prostitute.

Saturday Night Live:
Christmas Past, Christmas Present

If you haven't yet decided on what you're giving your lover this holiday season, you may want to watch the below video. I think I now have a couple ideas about what I'm giving Wally, my shining star, for Christmas.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Want to See Matt Do Matthew?

This one's for Wally, and features an impersonation of his favorite actor by one of my favorites.

Although Wally and I disagree over who possesses the greater talents -- Wally being a huge fan of Matthew McConaughey whereas I'm partial to Matt Damon -- thankfully we can agree that "Matt doing Matthew" is the type of TV that is making the Late Show With David Letterman better than ever.

And it's "safe for work," too, since this impression only involves the mere suggestion of near-nudity.

My Favorite Seldom Heard Nouns of Insult







Play This When You're Blue

A bit of trivia about the great Peter Boyle: Who was the best man at his wedding?

Answer: John Lennon. Boyle met Lennon through his wife, Lorraine Alterman, who was a reporter at Rolling Stone and a friend of Yoko Ono.

Boyle died yesterday at 71, one year shy of his 30th wedding anniversary.

The below clip from Young Frankenstein is two minutes and twenty-eight seconds of perfection. I've seen it a hundred times, and it will make me laugh every single time, and often out loud.

Question for America: Does the fickle audience in this clip remind you of anything?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

To The Readers: You Complete Me

(Today we turn over The Cup of Joe to reader questions.)

Q: In the last week or so you've blogged about the gnostic gospels and gay sex, about Abraham Lincoln and about What kind of a weirdo are you? -- Elizabeth, Santa Fe
A: I've been asking myself this same question for years.
Q: I don't know why I read this blog. You are really annoying. I don't agree with a single thing you have to say. The site has no focus, is poorly written and you, sir, are one giant asshole. -- Gordy, Casper, Wyoming
Q: Why did you recently eliminate kitten coverage from The Cup of Joe? --- Jeremy, Prairie du Chiene, Wisconsin
A: We simply couldn't compete with the better-funded mainstream kitten journalists and the old guard kitten bloggers who resented my erratic and often unfactual and irrelevant coverage.
Q: Can we look forward to new features on The Cup of Joe in 2007? --Melinda, Westchester County, N.Y.
Why yes, you can, Melinda. New features will include a daily sudoku puzzle, online cooking demonstrations in real-time, a web cam (adult check ID required) and a new regular feature analyzing ancient scripture.

In Search of Bad Editorial Decisions:
At U.S. News, It's An Easy Job

Could someone please, please hand me a polo mallet: The new U.S. News & World Report is now on stands, and we here at The Cup of Joe have a message we'd like to send to headline writers and cover designers that won't require the senses of speech or hearing.

If you recall, a few weeks ago over at U.S. News Abraham Lincoln was on the cover in a story about the U.S. Civil War, since editors can't seem to find a current war to highlight. On this cover they declared the Gettysburg address to be "America's greatest speech," which might be an overstatement considering that it probably wasn't even Lincoln's greatest speech.

This week, it's Baby Jesus and Mary Mother of God on the cover, as U.S. News Reporters go IN SEARCH OF THE REAL JESUS so that the faithful can finally get answers to some nettlesome questions.

Moreover, we are told by a headline writer: "New research questions whether he was more teacher than savior."

This is, quite possibly, the dumbest subhead ever to appear on a major U.S. newsweekly. Can't someone be both a teacher and a savior? They are not mutually exclusive.

Is this supposed to be some sort of divine revelation about Jesus based on "new" research? Have these people ever even bothered to read the New Testament, where different books emphasize different aspects of his personality, such as the prayerful and forgiving and very human Jesus of Luke or the emphasis on "Jesus as God" and "Jesus as divine" in the gospel of John. Nor should there be any news flash about the "gnostic gospels" mentioned in this issue, because these really haven't been a secret for, oh, I don't know, decades.

We are sure this issue will sell very well among the faithful hoping for new insight into the texts they hold sacred, just as U.S. News holds as equally sacred the selling of lots of magazines and the generation of ad revenue from the pharameceutical industry.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Give These Manatees A Hand

Earlier this month, I received an email sometime past midnight on a weeknight from a friend -- whom I commonly refer to as The Machine because nobody, including his wife, has ever seen him sleep -- and he was asking whether I was still up and watching Conan O'Brien. The word "manatee" came up several times in the email.

The next day, my friend Peaches, who knows a little something herself about people who don't require sleep, sent me a similar email along with a link to a new website

Now, we here at The Cup of Joe are pleased to report that the New York Times is reporting today on the horny manatee phenomenon, which came about after a Conan O'Brien ad-lib and worries from NBC Legal that you can't just mention a website that doesn't exist for fear of future, er, "exposure." More than 3 million people have now visited the above website, which the good folks at Late Night With Conan O'Brien created because an attorney got nervous.

Real-life manatees, by the way, are very much unlike my friend The Machine in that they spend half their days sleeping, according to a wikipedia entry, their beds being warm and shallow coastal waters.

Also according to wikipedia: "Manatees are slow moving, non-aggressive, and generally curious creatures."

I guess this includes being bi-curious.

Pastors Driven By A Love of Gay Sex

Last Sunday, another Christian leader resigned from his church after admitting that he had sex with men. This time it was mega-church pastor the Rev. Paul Barnes of Denver. According to a New York Times article: "Mr. Barnes said he had often cried himself to sleep, begging God to end his attraction to men."

The Barnes case follows the well-publicized resignation of evangelical superstar the Rev. Ted Haggard, who apparently loved crystal meth and sex with beefy gay prostitutes as much as (and perhaps more than) he loved Jesus.

I think Carrie Underwood and all of America can agree: Jesus really needs to take the wheel of some of these congregations before these pastors drive their churches straight to Ikea, a Cher concert or that "glory be to God" hole at the highway rest stop.


Read more about gay evangelicals who, thankfully, are comfortable with their sexuality at this link.

Also, we here at The Cup of Joe hope that whatever religious faith you celebrate, that it brings you joy, and peace, and hope, and calm, and many wonderful things, and that it helps make you a better person, and that it helps make the world in which we live a little better place, and that it doesn't cause you to cry at night tears of shame and self-hatred, and that the last thing you think about before you go to bed is maybe something nice and kind about the past 24 hours and not begging and pleading to God to change the way he created you.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Morning Questions

Your New York Times delivery carrier sends you a Christmas card (like the one at right) with the Sunday edition, which includes his wishes (to me) for the happiest of holidays along with his home address. Is some sort of Christmas gift in order? Expected?

Second question: You are a cleaning off your hard drive, and you find the below picture of Jesus. You don't know how it got there, and you absolutely don't remember placing it in "My Documents." How does one solve this riddle? Should one call the police? The National Rifle Association? Your local priest or rabbi charged with investigating potential miracles? The Walmart gun counter?

The Guggenheim?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fears About the Democrats

1. Taxpayer-funded gay marriage on demand.

2. Federally funded abortion kiosks inside every mall in America.

3. Special tax credits for those who practice sodomy.

4. New Medal of Freedom winners include Donna Summer and Cher.

5. Special "prayer taxes" assessed against those who pray the Our Father!

6. Clones of Mary Cheney's baby EVERYWHERE.

Now read this. And this.
And have a phone handy.

Paid for By Mary Cheney's Party

From now on, I propose that the Party of Lincoln be renamed the Party of Cheney, as in Mary Cheney. On its agenda: neither freeing the gays to marry nor saving the civil unions.

No Joke, and I'm Not Kitten Either

The whole economic model for modern journalism seems to be collapsing.
The New York Times (ad sales down 4.2 percent in November) is experiencing record losses, and one of its properties, The Boston Globe (ad sales down 11 percent in November), is bleeding millions and is on the sale block.

The Wall Street Journal has been accepting front-page ads for some time now, and in January will "right size" its paper by reducing its width by an entire column length, resulting in 10 percent less space for news.

Hundreds of job losses are coming at the NBC news division and MSNBC and, unfortunately, one of those jobs does not appear to belong to Tucker Carlson.

More job losses have happened this year at the LA Times, which has lost 25 percent of its editorial staff in the last five years. The paper is also on the sale block, and the editor was fired by his Tribune Co. bosses because he made the mistake of caring.

I'm sad to report that we here at The Cup of Joe are not immune to these economic forces.

Effective immediately, The Cup of Joe -- known since May 2006 for its tightly focused coverage of movies, TV, politics and kittens -- will cease all coverage of kittens.

This should come as no surprise: Critics have assailed The Cup of Joe's past coverage of kittens, calling it sloppy, erratic and decidedly unkitten-like.

It's clear that we were never fully accepted by mainstream kitten journalists, and the old guard kitten bloggers never took us seriously. The stodgy old guard treated me like I was the ball of yarn, and each and every time they sunk their claws inside my soft, gentle and rotund exterior with a blistering email or cruel anonymous comment, it was as if I was pierced by a thousand tiny daggars.

Sometimes you buy a $25 kitten toy and all Muffin wants to play with is the milk carton ring.

And so it goes for The Cup of Joe and the modern newspaper.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Coffee Made Me Mouthy

I'm just thankful, during this holiday season, that all of Wally's coffee is fresh-brewed AND dated. I don't know what I'd do if he acted more like Helen.

The ad, by the way, is from 1944.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What Makes You Cry?

I saw the below video weeks ago, and I love it, and I wasn't going to post it to The Cup of Joe because 4 million people have already seen it, and you probably have too, but the thing I find interesting about this video, in which the flightless Kiwi bird of New Zealand tries to realize his (or her) dream of flight, is that at one point in the movie this little bird starts to cry.

I don't know why, but I thought of these tears when I saw former President George H.W. Bush cry about his son Jeb the other day. It's such a complex emotion, crying is, brought on by happiness, sadness, shame, fear and a million other things.

Watch this film. Some viewers think it's cute, and others think it's sad. Is Kiwi crying tears of sadness, or tears of joy?

More Immigrants = Less Crime?

Last weekend, I watched the 1983 Al Pacino film Scarface. It's about one man (Pacino) and his compadres who were part of a wave of Cuban immigrants dumped on the United States by Fidel Castro in the early 1980s.

The result? Higher crime rates in south Florida, and, after 1983, lots of people with affected accents trying to act like Al Pacino trying to act like what Cubans are supposed to act like.

The day after viewing the movie, the New York Times Magazine ran an interesting story addressing the question about whether immigration leads to higher crime rates. There's good data to indicate that it doesn't.

Lou Dobbs can't be happy about this.
Ramiro Martinez Jr., a professor of criminal justice at Florida International University, has sifted through homicide records in border cities like San Diego and El Paso, both heavily populated by Mexican immigrants, both places where violent crime has fallen significantly in recent years. “Almost without exception,” he told me, “I’ve discovered that the homicide rate for Hispanics was lower than for other groups, even though their poverty rate was very high, if not the highest, in these metropolitan areas.” He found the same thing in the Haitian neighborhoods of Miami. In his book “New York Murder Mystery,” the criminologist Andrew Karmen examined the trend in New York City and likewise found that the “disproportionately youthful, male and poor immigrants” who arrived during the 1980s and 1990s “were surprisingly law-abiding” and that their settlement into once-decaying neighborhoods helped “put a brake on spiraling crime rates.”

The most prominent advocate of the “more immigrants, less crime” theory is Robert J. Sampson, chairman of the sociology department at Harvard. A year ago, Sampson was an author of an article in The American Journal of Public Health that reported the findings of a detailed study of crime in Chicago. Based on information gathered on the perpetrators of more than 3,000 violent acts committed between 1995 and 2002, supplemented by police records and community surveys, it found that the rate of violence among Mexican-Americans was significantly lower than among both non-Hispanic whites and blacks.

One not-so-fun-fact in the story: First generation immigrants mired in poverty don't turn to crime, but it is the second-generation immigrants -- the ones who have been discriminated against, beaten down and been here long enough to start imitating their American counterparts -- who are more likely to turn to crime.
Second-generation immigrants in Chicago were significantly more likely to commit crimes than their parents, it turns out, and those of the third generation more likely still.

Opponents of immigration frequently charge that Mexican immigrants threaten America’s national identity because of their failure to assimilate. A more reasonable concern might be the opposite of this: not that foreigners in low-income neighborhoods refuse to adopt the norms of the native culture but that their children and grandchildren do.
Isn't that a little sad?

I wish we could all start acting like Canadians, or at least acting like Al Pacino acting like what he thinks a Canadian should act like.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

His Other Son Makes Me Cry

From the AP news wire:
Former President George H.W. Bush broke down in tears as he cited his son, Gov. Jeb Bush, as an example of leadership.

Bush was addressing lawmakers, his son's top administrators, and state workers gathered in the House chamber Monday for the last of the governor's leadership forums.

He said he was proud of how his son handled losing the 1994 governor's race to popular incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles, and vaguely referred to dirty tricks in the campaign.
Now, as a simple laborer I'm certainly no psychoanalyst or psychiatrist, but do you think, just maybe, that some of those tears had to do with the fact that Jeb was the one who was supposed to be president, that he was and is the cream of the crop in this family, and that his loss in the governor's race is what killed his presidential hopes? And that maybe, just maybe, the former president knows what a complete mess his other son has created?

Just thinking out loud here.

Here's some more data for you amateur psychologists/sleuths to consider as well. In an interview a few years ago in which Bob Woodward was promoting his book Plan of Attack, there's a very revealing segment. It describes W's reaction about whether he sought advice from his father, Bush the Greater, before making the critical decision about going to war in Iraq. Here's the description from a CBS News story:
Did Mr. Bush ask his father for any advice? “I asked the president about this. And President Bush said, ‘Well, no,’ and then he got defensive about it,” says Woodward. “Then he said something that really struck me. He said of his father, ‘He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength.’ And then he said, ‘There's a higher Father that I appeal to.’"
So Bush the Lesser didn't ask his dad, a man who was president for four years and vice president for eight years and who used to be in charge of the CIA, and who had orchestrated the first Persian gulf war during the early 1990s, for any sort of advice before he decided to go to war in Iraq?

Doesn't it just make you want to cry?

LINKS: The full story on Bush I crying here and, from a few years ago,
a story with info about the prodigal son who didn't ask for dad's advice.