Friday, June 30, 2006


Oberman skewers O'Reilly

Pet Peeve o' the Week

Poorly maintained homes in the city with "House for Rent" signs in front with a contact phone number beginning with the 636 area code. Hey, Wildwood speculator: Get out of line at Walmart and sell your property to someone who will maintain it, OK? Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, guy-with-the-fake-brick-front vinyl-clad-home.

You Can't Argue With Logic Like This

Here's the crystal clear, shrewdly reasoned logic behind this post.

1) That last post was a little heavy.

2) I need a lighter post.

3) Bobby M and his sassy wife Missy are home now after three weeks in Africa, where all they did was basically drink home brew.

4) "Boris the Spider" is the best The Who song ever!

5) Bobby M is fascinated by bugs and critters, including (but not limited to) spiders.


6) Watch.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Stuff Like This, I Can't Make Up

An editorial yesterday in the Wall Street Journal praises a $30 billion gift from Warren Buffett to The Gates Foundation. This is something eminently praiseworthy.

The Gates Foundation is clearly focusing on issues that deserve and demand attention. In terms of the really big problems in the world (and I'm not talking about flag burning or the pledge of allegiance), they have it completely correct. For example, this foundation is targeting global health threats such as tuberculosis (a bacteria) and HIV (a virus). Please take a pause today and think about this for a moment:

* The World Health Organization estimates that one of every three people on earth today is already infected with the bacterium that causes TB. Approximately two million people (about the population of the St. Louis metro area) die every year from the disease.

* An incredible 70 million deaths from AIDS are estimated in the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization, with almost 40 million people currently infected. Nearly 3 million people died from AIDS in 2003; nearly half a million were children under the age of 15.

Now for the part I can't make up. Near the end of the editorial, the Wall Street Journal writes:

... we'd suggest that they put at least a smidgen of their money back into strengthening the foundations of the free-market system that has allowed them to become so fabulously rich. There's something to be said for reinvesting in the moral capital of a free society and trying to sustain and export free-enterprise policies.

Uh, yeah, well, where do I start? So, in other words, we need to help prop up the free-market system with "welfare" from Warren Buffett. Aren't there better things to worry about? Isn't the free-market system doing very well on its own, thankyouverymuch?

Somewhere in Africa, there's a kid with tuberculosis who is spitting up her lung. I don't think she'd care about "reinvesting in the moral capital of a free society." She just wants a cough drop.

Matthew, Chapter 25, verse 40.

Case closed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Don't Be Snowed: Roving Reporter Gives Advice For Kids (and Adults) in Trouble

1. "Hey everybody, look over here!!!!!!!"

2. Point to, essentially, nothing.

3. Discuss.

4. Discuss some more.

5. Forget about what you were looking at in the first place.

6. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Dare to Break "The Cup of Joe" Code!

... Saw the new Ron Howard movie The Da Vinci Code last night with our dear friend Wally. What's the "good word" from us here at The Cup of Joe?

Every clue you could possibly need to figure out what we think of The Da Vinci Code is included in this blog post. (I swear, on a stack of bibles that includes the "apocryphal" Gospels of Thomas and Phillip, that this is absolutely true!) So grab those keys and start revving the Scooby Doo Mystery Van: there's work to do:

1) I am slithery love-bites.
2) Emotional thievery lesbianism.
3) Undoubted, Oedipean poet or so.
4) Away Wynn!
5) Woebegone, true, adult baud.

For the solutions to this incredible mystery, a riddle that threatens to "enpuzzle" us all, see the comments section of this blog later today.

So step on the gas, readers. This Mystery Van waits for no one.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Important Work Continues

Regular readers of The Cup of Joe, which has an audited circulation of 10 worldwide, know that my friend Elgy recently agreed to take the lead on ensuring that all my old homework and tests from high school would be transferred to microfilm and microfiche (for enjoyment by future generations.) She'll be joined in this important work by that irrepressible married couple I refer to as "Peaches and the Machine."

Just one day later, I'm pleased to be making a second, equally important announcement.

Peaches and the Machine, as a birthday present to me, have agreed to transfer to microfiche (and microfilm) the following addtional items that are in my basement:

* Every canceled check stub since 1987.

* All my saved wrapping paper (birthdays, Christmas, President's Day) since the early 90s. (I know I've been meaning to re-use this paper, but I'm thinking a microfiche archive just might be the better bet.)

* My life's work of poetry, contained in 14 cardboard boxes each filled with up to a dozen spriral bound notebooks (200 sheets each/ 11 x 8 7/8, College Ruled, White Paper, Perforated, with Tab Dividers.) In this poetry I pretty much amplify what have become my life's themes: the horrors of feeling bloated, meditations on gastrointestinal distress, and a series of reflections in homage to the potato and all the lesser vegetables.

This is such a great thing for Peaches and the Machine to do for me! Now I know what Stevie Wonder was referring to when he sang, "That's What Friends Are For."

Keep smilin'... Keep shinin'.

With friends like Peaches and the Machine, how can I not?

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Work Is Necessary, and Important

The photo at right is from my basement. It's some old tests and papers. From high school.

Why I've held onto these, I have no idea. But they do present quite a clutter.

This is about to change! So that I can reclaim my basement, my good friend Elgy has agreed to the tedious, important and necessary step of getting all this data backed up on microfilm and microfiche. (This way I can retain the hard copy for at least 24 months while also having the comfort and security of a film backup.)

Now, I realize that this should take up most of Elgy's weekends from now until the time it gets really cold out, so her gesture is all the more appreciated. She's also providing the entire financial outlay (including a microfilm and microfiche reader for my basement.)

I also understand that dear friends "Peaches and the Machine" also plan on canceling some vacation time to help with this project.

Thanks to Elgy, Peaches and (last but not least) the Machine: You are da absolute best!

Try This At Home. It's Fun

I think the most overused word in the English language is the word "amazing." In the last several years, use of this word has been growing and growing -- particularly on reality television series.

I think the genesis of this increasing use of the word is Simon Cowell from Amercian Idol. (When Fantasia did a show tune or Kelly Clarkson belted out a song like "Feelings," this suddenly became the bar for what was "amazing.")

Nowadays, the word has been overused so much that "amazing" has kind of lost its meaning. For example, all Vern Yip has to do on Trading Spaces is paint a room chocolate and light a candle and he has done something "amazing."

In the next week, if you watch a lot of reality TV or talk shows, watch for the word amazing from reality TV "stars," celebrities on talk shows or broadcast journalists. You will hear the word probably at least once a night.

Frankly, I think this whole phenomenon is really amazing.

So watch, and listen. You'll be astonished!

The Cup of Joe Assails Headline Writers

Have you ever heard anybody use the word "assails" in a normal
conversation? The only time this word is ever used is by headline
writers trying to squeeze a verb into a one-column-length space.

The plain truth is that people who use the word "assails" in headlines
are really lazy.

In fact, I'm calling for all headline writers (except for those here at
The Cup of Joe) to cease using this word immediately. And for those who may want to assail me for my use of the word in my own headline above, I feel the need to assail you right back by telling you to "mind
your own beeswax."

I merely used the word "assails" in my own headline because I couldn't think of anything else, and please don't criticize, critique, bash, berate, vilify, malign, maltreat, revile, lambaste or impugn my work because of my own (admitted) lack of a proper vocabulary.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday Evening Mensa Quiz

Someone in the following clip is brilliant, and someone else is not so brilliant. Watch the clip and judge for yourself!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Real Sorry About This

In advance: I'm real sorry about this. Please don't take this personally.

I will never, ever, ever link to anything like this ever again. Ever.

Thank you for reading.

We're still friends, right?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Better Know Your 10 Commandments

A congressman in Georgia recently advocated mandatory posting of the 10 Commandments in various governmental buildings.

On The Colbert Report this week, he was asked by Stephen Colbert, "What are the 10 commandments." Check out how he answered.


Best Dad in the Whole Wide World

You may have read, in a previous post here at The Cup of Joe, about my friend Timmy Two Shirts, the corporate VP who one day will be able to buy and sell everything I hold dear. Timmy, as you may recall, can only communicate in Powerpoint Presentations, whether he is asking his secretary for a cup of coffee or proposing to his then-girlfriend over a romantical I-talian dinner.

Well, you can add another title for Timmy in addition to his role as a powerful corporate V.P.: "Best Dad in the World."

At right is Timmy's powerpoint message of love to his beautiful daughter, approaching two years of age now, from this past Sunday, Father's day.

Great job, Timmy!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Madonna Concert Review

You know the type of guy that won't dance unless he's had at least three beers at a wedding reception? Well, he wouldn't have needed the three beers for this concert. And, frankly, there weren't a lot of "need three beers to dance" type o' guys at the concert, knowwhatimean?

In the press release announcing the "Confessions on a Dance Floor" tour, Madonna (or more likely her publicist) is quoted as saying: “I’m going to turn the world into one big dance floor.”

This is no lie. From beginning (she burst onto stage from a cat walk in a giant glitter ball that was lowered like the one in Times Square on New Year's Eve) to end (20,000 people dancing to Hung Up, a great song from her new album) -- this concert was a dance party to make Danny Tario (and all the Solid Gold dancers) quite jealous. High Energy Concert + Low Maintenance Friends = One Great Time.

The one thing most people may have heard about this show (out of context)is the part where Madonna is crucified on a glittering cross before singing "Live to Tell." For this, she is getting "crucified" (ha ha! get it???) by the religious right. The imagery in this number included photographs of children in Africa and was actually a statement about what AIDS and other ills are doing to an entire continent.

I'm fairly certain that if Jesus walked the earth today, he would be much, much more concerned with Africa than he would be about clammering in the press about what Madonna is doing on a concert tour. Can many "religious" conservatives say the same? Focus, people.

After the concert we were tipped off by a friend about a small dance club with a great DJ. Wally was quite popular here, with many trying to "cop a grind" from his well-placed perch on The Box. These affections were not unappreciated, even if not reciprocated!

We had high expectations for this concert, and Madonna did not disappont.

Who wants to GET TOGETHER and do this again?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Vote for Bunky

Big Brother returns this week, in an "All Stars" edition, and America gets to chose half the cast. I pray America choses wisely, and includes our old friend Bunky in the final cast. Bunky captured the heart of America when he was on the show in 2001. How can you not love a guy who has back hair thicker than Zoysia grass?

Voting begins after the casting show airs on Wednesday, June 21.

Vote for Bunky!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Birthday Shout-Outs

Some of our favorite people here at The Cup of Joe -- and possibly a part of this blog's worldwide audited circulation of "10" -- are celebrating birthdays this month. Some are native St. Louisans; some have moved here; some have moved from here; and some (I'm sad to note) are moving from here.

Before I continue, an aside:

During an American Film Institute program Wednesday on CBS, the 100 most inspirational films of all time were listed. At the top of the list, and one of my all-time favorite movies, was It's a Wonderful Life. It gets me everytime.

And one of my favorite quotes from the movie is this: "Remember, no man is a failure who has friends."

So, to my friends with June birthdays (and I know I'm forgetting someone) -- T.R., M.M., B.M., J.R. and B.H. -- here's a birthday shoutout. Cause you know "I don't do cards."


That Guy With the Radio Voice

I heard him today. You know, that guy with the deep voice that is both menacing and reassuring. The one who'll do radio and TV commercial voice-overs for both Democrats and Republicans. The one who'll say anything, whether it's true or not. The one who probably never served in Vietnam but loved back in 2004 talking (and by talking I mean lying) about how John Kerry was a coward in Vietnam? I heard one of his ilk today, the man with the voice, on the radio today voicing a commercial for Missouri's Boy Governor.

Do you think this guy has a soul?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What Madonna, Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra Have in Common

I've ALWAYS wanted to see each of these performers in concert. Luckily, I've been able to fulfill one-third of this dream.

Frank Sinatra, then in his late 70s, was in St. Louis in October of 1994 on one of his last-ever tours, at what was then the "new" Kiel Center. He sang maybe 45 or 50 minutes minutes and had at least five teleprompters, but still managed to forget the lyrics to New York, New York.

Nevertheless: It was some of the best money ($75 to be exact) I've ever spent. I still love Frank and just bought one of his best-ever CD's, "Songs for Swingin' Lovers." (Listening to this CD reminds me of a certain special someone who, I'll give you a hint, has Frank's same eye color!)

Johnny Cash canceled his last tour when he got sick, so I wasn't able to catch this great artist who could combine rock, folk, gospel, blues, rockabilly and country in one unforgetable combination. If you had to limit me to one CD if I were stranded on a desert island (or falsely imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for seditious libel), I'd choose something by Johnny Cash.

This weekend I'm fulfilling the Madonna dream by trucking it to Chicago with three friends. I don't care where our seats are. I don't care if she forgets the words to Vogue. (Well, maybe a little.) I don't care if she plays way too much from her CD I like least (which is Music, a disappointing follow-up to Ray of Light.) ... I can now cross this off the list of things I've always wanted to do.

Next stop: Chi-town!


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Coffee Yoga

There are many different types of Yoga, an ancient form of meditation and spiritual practice designed to help you relax and improve your flexibility. This includes Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga. As my friends know, I try to do yoga at least once a week.

This morning I practiced a new form of Yoga that I call Coffee Yoga. Here's how you do it:

* Go to Burger King and grab a large cup of its new "BK Joe" Coffee. Make sure you insist on the "turbo blend." (I found out that Burger King is offering this new line of "turbo powered" coffee after reading this New York Times article.)

* Find your nearest gym, yoga or pilates center featuring a certified instructor.

* Practice the Yoga, enjoying the meditation, the breathing exercises and the caffeine rush.

* Do 60 or 90 minutes of yoga and then return to Burger King for another large cup of turbo-blend and a chicken sandwich.

"Timmy Two Shirt's" Marriage
Proposal By Powerpoint

As I mentioned in my last entry, my friend "Timmy Two Shirts," the corporate VP who will one day be able to buy and sell everything I hold dear, prefers to communicate everything in powerpoint presentations. This includes even simple queries from his secretary regarding how he likes his coffee prepared.

I think Timmy may be on to something. He has a beautiful wife and absolutely adorable daughter, and it was all made possible by this powerpoint slide that he shared with his then-girlfriend over a romantical dinner at St. Louis' finest I-talian restaurant.

Global Warming Movie From
Al Gore Can't Melt Ice Princess

We here at The Cup of Joe finally got a chance to see the Al Gore movie "An Inconvenient Truth" last night. We saw the movie with our dear friend Elgy, who has been known in the past to sport right-wing political yards signs in her front yard, and her brother, "Timmy Two-Shirts," a corporate V.P. who, I predict, will be able to buy and sell me (and all I hold dear) in just a few short years. Also in attendance was our dear friend Wally.

Our friend Elgy, who actually voted for Al Gore, was lukewarm about the movie. She thought it was too long, and too political.

I don't think I agree. Now, don't get me wrong. I hate powerpoint presentations. I think corporate America has totally forgotten how to communicate during meetings, and everything nowadays is a powerpoint presentation. In fact, I'm sure Timmy Two shirt's secretary doesn't ask Timmy how he wants his coffee in the morning because Timmy prefers all communication to be in the form of a powerpoint presentation. (See sample slide from 05/04/2005 above.)

Back to the movie.
As I mentioned, I saw the movie with my dear friend Elgy. Now, I'm not calling Elgy an ice princess, but I also saw Forrest Gump and some other sentimental movies with her and her reaction was sort of like that flat line on the monitor when someone goes into shock and dies in an Emergency Room.

I thought the movie was superb and, well, chilling. And though Al Gore has denied in a New York Times article that he is running for president, how else could he really effect more change on this issue: as president of the United States or delivering a powerpoint presentation to students around the world?

Run, Forrest, Run!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

News Organ in Des Moines Registers Scoop on How Iowa Engineers Take the Load Off

The Des Moines Register recently had a story about this Iowa flood control development. The smaller photo is from the Polk County assessor's office, and the bigger photo is from Google Earth. According to the paper:

The nearly four-acre basin was constructed about two years ago and "took some of the load off of the pipe downstream" and helps prevent flooding, according to Des Moines City Engineer Jeb Brewer.

Some things you just can't make up.

We here at The Cup of Joe fully appreciate the cutting edge design sense of our engineer friends in neighboring Iowa, and we are looking forward to your next project. This corncob is for you, mis amigos!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Strangers With Bobby M

Here's a big birthday shout-out to my friend, Bobby M. I think it's finally time for me to admit to Bobby M. that I know his secret, that when we went to high school back in the 1980s he was 1) already well into his 40s and 2) coming off a good amount of time in prison.

Your secret is safe with me, Bobby M, as it is with discerning readers worldwide of The Cup of Joe!

Happy Birthday!

Friday, June 02, 2006

National Public Radio

My last post talked about "unintended consequences." It's really a fascinating part of life, how sometimes things can go so totally wrong, in such unexpected ways, and in ways that could not have been planned or predicted.

Listen to this link for a terrific NPR report from this morning. It shows how the greed of one African politician -- who gave land to his friends and political supporters as part of a "land reform program" -- spiraled out of control and destroyed the economy of a formerly prosperous nation in a "rapid and spectacular" way.

It is fascinating.

And listen here for an interview with the reporter, who talks about his difficulties in reporting this story due to press restrictions.

Oh, and if you do nothing else today, spend five minutes to watch this!

Leaving No Child Behind Without Body Lice

Sometimes even the best-intentioned things -- and even some ill-intentioned things -- can have interesting, and harmful, consequences. For example, the Bush Administration's Clear Skies Act actually makes things easier for polluters.

A front-page story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal demonstrates that even though George Bush has record low poll numbers, he is actually enjoying record-high popularity with blood-sucking body lice.

The story, "Kink in Federal Law Is Prompting Schools to Stop Picking Nits," explains how the No Child Left Behind Law benefits the critters:
Schools use to take a hard line on the sesame-seed-sized parasites, which suck human blood and glue their eggs to individual hairs. At the first sign of an outbreak, pupils got scalp checks. Those with lice were immediately banished from the classroom until all lice and eggs -- known as nits -- were gone.

But to the dismay of many parents, these "no nits" policies are disappearing as school districts face state and federal pressure to reduce absenteeism and boost academic achievement.
I have only one comment on this whole matter. George Bush is soft on body lice!