Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Letter Carrier Antics

In a previous post, I talked about my bad experience with a mailman last Saturday. Just picked up my mail today, and guess what? I got four letters in total, none of which was addressed to me, and none of which was mine.


No time to complain now: It's off to Busch Stadium to watch the Cardinals clinch a division championship (tie). Or so we hope.

If not? We'll be calling Tony Larussa Gilligan, and it won't take the Professor to figure out that the Redbirds should be looking for a new Skipper next season.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Racist U.S. Senator Angers Confederates

Sen. George Allen just can't win, can he?

And I hope, come November, that he doesn't.

Republican Resigns For Not Using Contractions and Possessives Correctly

What's interesting about this story, and not just that it involves a six-term Republican congressman resigning over some correspondence he had with a teenage boy, is the level of this congressman's writing ability.

Until the e-mails became public, U.S. Rep. Mark Foley had been considered a shoo-in for re-election. (In December 2003, Foley rated 84% by the Christian Coalition for his "pro-family" voting record.)

Here's a sample of the electronic correspondence he wrote to the boy, according to the AP story:
"he's such a nice guy ... acts much older than his age...and hes in really great shape...i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey now heading to the gym...whats school like for you this year?

Could somebody buy this guy E.B. White's The Elements of Style.

I Guess The Mile-High Club is Out, Too?

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to kiss anyone aboard an American Airlines flight.

It's illegal, and they'll divert the plane.

You've been warned.

Hugs and kisses,


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wait A Minute Mr. Postman

Last Saturday, at 8:30 in the morning, I heard my mailbox rattle. Since I usually don't get the mail delivered until the late afternoon, I went to investigate. When I emptied my mailbox there were four pieces, one of which was actually addressed to me and three of which had the correct number, but the wrong street, and of course not my name: as in "4433 Main" instead of "4433 Spruce." Moreover, my name is not Linda Butterball.

So I took the three pieces of wrong mail, saw the mailman (who was still next door) and told him this wasn't my mail. I handed him Linda Butterball's mail and went back inside my house. The letter carrier seemed nervous, hurried, sweaty. He apologized.

Moments later, I heard another rattle.

Again, it was my mailbox. I went outside, checked the mail and then grabbed two more letters that had just been placed there. This time, it was my mail: two pieces he must have overlooked on the first run. Happy to get this extra mail, including a particularly important bill, I went back inside.

Then, not 30 seconds later, I heard the mailman again, and my box rattled. I went outside, looked in the mailbox and there they were: The three letters that I had just returned to the mailman just one minute and a half before. He had doubled back for the second time and then, in a two-minute period, had misdelivered to me three pieces of wrong mail on two separate occassions, even after I had pointed out the mistake.

My letter carrier was thin and fidgety and seemed hyper, and moved carelessly and rapidly, and I think he was under the influence of crack. I'm being serious.

This all leads to my question of the day: Should I have called the U.S. Postal Service to complain? Isn't it fair to surmise that he is probably misdelivering a bunch of people's mail? What would you do -- be a "narc," or be like my good friend Donna and "donna worry about"?

So I'm seeking your advice about what I should do. Please respond in the comments section. I'm counting on you.

And so is Linda Butterball.

Two Great Tastes That Go Great Together

I'm talking about 1) cats and 2) Shakespeare.

Don't you just love the Internets?

I can't wait to see their production of Titus Andronicus.

We Interrupt This Blog for Important Announcements

Some friends moved out of town yesterday, continuing a long list of people who have moved from St. Louis for greener pastures, better job prospects or possibly in search of cities that have what they consider to be cooler national monuments than the Gateway Arch (if this is possible).

At right is how I envisioned B.H. and D.M. leaving town yesterday, two southern boys not returning home to North Carolina, but at least to a state that's a little closer.

Happy travels.

And Happy Birthday to another friend, M.J., who celebrated a birthday yesterday. Rumor has it that there were 32 candles on his cake, and that he was able to blow out every single one of them.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

MSNBC: A Real Nose for News

You can say that again. You can say that again.

I'm Glad That Campaign Commercials Really Focus On The Important Things

Do you want a Congressman who pays teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia? Be very afraid, people.

Unlike Bambi's Mom, George Allen's 'Severed Head Deer Story' Refuses to Die

More bad news for U.S. Sen. George Allen, and a second source has confirmed a story that, if true, is shameful, hateful, almost inhuman and just simply grotesque. During a hunting trip, Allen is alleged to have placed a severed deer head in a mailbox owned by a black family. The follow-up story is here.

Allen's Wikipedia entry offers a number of charming biographical details about Allen, including his minor role as a Confederate officer in the 2003 film Gods and Generals, his admission about how he may have displayed the Confederate flag on his car during high school, and how, for three consecutive years while governor of Virginia in the 1990s, he proclaimed April as Confederate History and Heritage Month, calling the Civil War "a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights."

Hmm, I always thought it was a war to save the union and/or free the slaves?

But here's my favorite part of his Wikipedia biograpy:
Allen's younger sister Jennifer Allen Richard alleges in her memoir Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter (Random House Publishing, 2000) that Allen attacked his younger siblings during his childhood. She claims that Allen held her by her feet over Niagara Falls, struck her boyfriend in the head with a pool cue, threw his brother Bruce through a glass sliding door, tackled his brother Gregory, breaking his collarbone, and dragged Jennifer upstairs by her hair.
It's the kind of big brother we all dream of, no?

Allen is also strongly, firmly, fervently opposed to gay marriage as the single most important and dangerous threat to our sacred institution of marriage. It's unclear, however, whether gay marriage was directly responsible for the dissolution of his first marriage, which ended in divorce during the 1980s.

VIDEO HERE of Gods and Generals, as Allen joins the chorus to sing "Southern Rights Hoorah!"

I bet this video gets Allen's toes a-tappin'.

Of Course It's Not a Cheap Publicity Stunt

Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on Saved By the Bell, apparently has his own sex tape coming out soon. Read more here.

Now, I'm no marketing genius, but I think if this tape featured Mario Lopez instead, it might sell a little better?

Gotta run: It's time to throw up in my mouth.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm Glad This Isn't News Today

U.S. Senator Used Bambi to Spread Hate?

U.S. Sen. George Allen, the son of a legendary football coach, and once the front-funner to be the next Republican presidential nominee, just got sacked with some pretty serious accusations, including his liberal use of an offensive racial term used by people who think confederate flags are still cool, and an accusation that he once stuffed a severed deer head into a black family's mailbox.

Read here and (the original source) here.

Oh, deer.

Pressing Matters

The president of Pakistan is going on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight to plug his new book.

In the Time 100 Poll of "The People Who Shape Our World," he is currently ranked at number 13 for 2006.

Pervez Musharraf has been president since 2001 and took power in a bloodless coup d'├ętat in 1999. Since then, and possibly to the envy of Dick Cheney, he has greatly expanded the powers of the presidency in Pakistan and has exiled people who disagree with him, including newspaper reporters and editors, something that (to date) Dick Cheney has not been successful with.

Could a Pakistani Jon Stewart get away with The Daily Show in this country? The answer, I think, is absolutely not.

When people say this is the best country in the world, something that I do agree with, it is because of the freedoms we enjoy here. And it's something you are not likely to appreciate unless you've done much traveling in other countries.

Monday, September 25, 2006

How Old Are You?

Take the test here.

To get the most accurate results of your "biological age," which is based on your lifestyle, you'll need to know (or estimate) your blood pressure and chloresterol levels.

When I first took the test with estimates, I was given a "biological age" of 6 years younger than my actual age, but fresh off from a visit to the doctor, and with a cholesterol level of 86 and a blood pressure of 110-66, I must have shaved off a year. So it turns out, my "real age," biologically speaking, is more than 7 years younger than my actual age.

I can't wait to turn 30!

I sure hope my friends throw me a big surprise party, and that they give me, for my 30th birthday, a big screen, high-definition plasma TV along with two different high definition DVD players in both the competing Sony and Toshiba formats so I'm "good to go" regardless of which format winds up as the eventual standard. Oh, and a video Ipod too, and a vacation (10 days to two weeks) to Barcelona and Paris.

I have no doubt about this, because my friends are the best.

But I do have one minor note: Please don't bother buying me a birthday card; they're such a waste of money.

I Long For A More Innocent America

... when the biggest problem America faced, and the single issue of most interest to the media, and seemingly the most important thing happening in the entire world, was a president getting a blow job.

Why Clinton Got Mouthy With Wallace

"If anything, Clinton understated his own defense." Read more here.

In a related matter, when the Clinton administration very nearly killed Osama Bin Laden on Aug. 20, 1998, there were some conservatives (including some shouting heads on Chris Wallace's Fox News Channel) who cynically said that the only reason Clinton launched the attack was to draw attention away from the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Turns out they were wrong now, weren't they?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Political Operative Gets Outfoxed by Clinton

Chris Wallace of the Fox News Channel is the son of the legendary broadcaster Mike Wallace. Unlike his father, Chris decided to become a Republican political operative rather than follow his father with a career in the world of journalism.

Last Friday, on a local radio station, Wallace was promoting his Sunday show by talking about all the tough questions he was going to have for former President Bill Clinton. He said he had been emailed some great questions from his regular Fox viewers. Wallace had almost an air of bravado about the upcoming interview.

The result? Bill decided he didn't like questions and proceeded to hand Chris his testicles on a platter.


Watch here.

When You Work With Words,
Words Are Your Work

We here at The Cup of Joe believe in lifelong learning, so consider today "new word" Sunday. I'm going to introduce you to some new words, and I'll put them in the context of a sentence so you can derive the meaning.

1) Derricky and Bree-Anne greeted the small plate of cannelloni at Maggioni's Little Italy with significant anticipointment; they were hoping that the waiter would bring them a much larger stuffed noodle.

2) Gi-Gi became verbicidal when he tried to explain the large hickey on his neck; he wasn't able to articulate just how, when and with whom the mark appeared.

3) "We're hoping to invest in a number of high-yield barrybonds in the next six months," the investment adviser to the Auman Brothers was heard whispering to Gi-Gi.

4) Jo-lene and several others ordered the Chicken Saltimboca. "That group is among our best clustomers," remarked one of the wait staff.

5) "After this huge meal," exclaimed Wally, "I'm definitely going on a digital diet."

... And to all who are reading this: thanking you in advance. May your Sunday be a great one, free of annoying typerventilating and yet full of multiple targasms in the very near future.

But I gotta run now: all this Starbucks this morning has given me some serious jitterati.

Theater That Makes You Think

If you live in St. Louis, go see this show. The script is terrific.

But see this one first. The acting is stupendous. And the script in this show is like nothing I've ever seen before on the stage: a show entirely performed in monologues, from three different perspectives, with absolutely no interaction among the actors. This is not an easy thing to pull off.

I always like shows that make you think, rather than shows that merely entertain, and both these pieces are worth a watch, because they do both.

When Legally Blonde opens on Broadway, do you think it's going to spur a lot of deep thought?


This spring, I saw two broadway shows in one day in New York. I only mention this because neither show, by a long shot, is better than the top shows I've seen in St. Louis during this time.

Dirty Rotten Scoundels was fun enough, but the performance we were at was one of the technically sloppiest shows I've ever seen. At one point, they had to stop the performance. Moreover, at some points, the actors seemed to be delighting themselves ... more than they were delighting me. Sort of like those morning radio DJ's who are laughing more at their own jokes than you know anybody in the audience is.

The second show we saw was 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Again, enjoyable to watch, but the minute the show is over, you're not going to give this show any more thought. It's like waffles for breakfast: It won't stick with you very long.


My whole point in this, if I have a point, is that you don't need to go to New York to see good theater. Regional theater and local professional companies can deliver the goods. (And season tickets at either of the companies I link to above are cheaper than a pair of seats to any single Broadway show.)

So support the arts locally!

And especially so the shows that are based on original and challenging scripts, like The Pillowman and Molly Sweeney, and not rewarmed ideas based on old movies.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

'... I Call Everybody Faggy. Why Would Anybody Find That Offensive???'

After winning the Emmy for best comedy series just a few weeks ago, the third season of The Office is off to a very good start, with a funny season premier episode involving the outing of one of the office accountants. Clips below.

A new trend in TV series is the character blog. Characters from Monk, Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother and The Closer all have blogs. And if you've never read Dwight's blog, here's a link.

... And here's an extremely important link, which I have a sneaking suspicion that you just might need after watching the first clip.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thought for the Day

They found the baby. THEY FOUND THE BABY!

Maybe MSNBC can start focusing a little more on covering the War in Iraq now?


Lost in Translation

Did you know that "a large proportion of the male homosexuals enjoy drinking each other's urine"?

Uh, yeah, neither did I.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What Would Jesus Watch?

For the last several days, I've been more than a little dismayed at the amount of time MSNBC (and many other media outlets) have dedicated to airing stories about the abducted baby in Lonedell, Mo.

Sure, it's an interesting story, but, in the news blocks I've watched, these stations haven't spent nearly as much time on either 1) The War in Iraq, including a particularly bloody day yesterday or 2) The genocide in Darfur, which in total has taken the lives, perhaps, of 400,000 people.

Good news: Although MSNBC is still airing frequent live updates from Union, Mo., it did (amazingly) do a segment on Darfur this afternoon. It was from a Today show "exclusive" with Nick Clooney, "activist and journalist," who also happens to be George Clooney's father.

Would they have given two whiffs about this story if the father of a celebrity wasn't involved? At least they are paying attention a tiny bit by re-running a report that already had aired on The Today Show. (I know MSNBC couldn't possibly actually send a reporter to Darfur, not with at least two reporters on the scene in Union.)

The segment immediately following the one on Darfur was titled "What Would Jesus Watch," complete with big screen graphic behind the anchor. It was about Christian-based films.

I'm not sure what Jesus would watch, but if he walked the earth today, I know he'd be a lot more interested in what is going on in Darfur that he would be in the type of piddle this network usually airs.

I also think he'd be a little disappointed in what certain Christian politicians do in his name.

My Fear of Pickles (And Mustard)
Is Ruining My Life

Personally, I find this a little hard to swallow.

This School is HOT

When my kids are old enough to attend college, and if they are fortunate enough to get accepted, I know exactly where I want them to attend.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rachel Ray's New Show

A few years ago, at the peak of its popularity, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire started airing four nights a week. This programming mistake basically killed the show that had saved ABC.

Contrast this with the producers of American Idol, who made the deliberate decision to air the show only once a year, starting in the cold winter months when you have a more captive audience. Last season, the show was more popular than ever. There's no reason to believe that this won't continue.

Having just watched the first episode of the new Rachel Ray talk show, I'd have to say that while Rachel may look like a million bucks, she is, as of 10 a.m. Monday central time, officially overexposed. Mark the time.

Sorry, sweetie pie.

Call Police If You See This Woman

... The phone number to call is in on the picture of the lottery ticket in my last entry.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

MSNBC: Scared of The Female Moustache

Yesterday, on MSNBC, there were frequent mentions of the abduction of a baby in Lonedell, Mo. What the cable news outlet didn't mention, and what's been frequently mentioned in local media accounts of the kidnapping, is that the suspect has a female moustache.

Why didn't MSNBC mention (during the period I was watching yesterday afternoon) the female moustache? Isn't this pertinent to the description of the suspect? There are not many women out there running around with moustaches.

If it were my child who were kidnapped, I'd want the information about the female moustache to be out there. In reporting, it's all about the who, what, where, when, how and (more difficult to answer) the why. In this case, the WHAT in terms of the suspect is "woman with female moustache."

I watched MSNBC again this morning. Reporter Michelle Hofland, reporting live from Union, Mo., had a three-minute segment from 9:01 CT to 9:04 CT that included questions from the anchor. Was the female moustache mentioned? No. They did another segment one hour later, and again there was no information about the female suspect's moustache.

Shouldn't we all be on the lookout for women with moustaches buying Lady Bics?

Yesterday, with the Powerball drawing close to $160 million, Wally and I decided to buy lottery tickets. We noticed that lottery tickets are now including information from Amber alerts on the ticket.

We were also pleased to learn that the lottery ticket did include all the salient information, including information about the suspect's female moustache.

I wonder if it's well-groomed?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Martha Stewart to June Cleaver: Drop Dead

In today's Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart comments on some of her favorite portrayals of homemakers on TV -- "some of whom even helped teach her a few things," according to the article.

They are:

* Clair Huxtable, "The Cosby Show." "She's the first homemaker to truly balance home and a career," Martha says.

* Caroline Ingalls, "Little House on the Prarie." She had "steely resolve," Martha says. "Homemakers shouldn't be pushovers."

* Mr. Hudson, "Upstairs, Downstairs." "I polish silver with white cotton gloves to this day because of him," the paper quotes Stewart as saying.

* Alice Kramden, "The Honeymooners." Because she "managed a totally unmanageable husband."

* Lucy Ricardo, "I Love Lucy." According to the article: "Stewart favors the 'entrepreneurial' episodes, such as 1953's 'Million Dollar Idea,' where Lucy starts a salad-dressing business."

I think these are great choices, especially Mrs. Ingalls, but may I suggest two additional?

* Carol Brady, "The Brady Bunch." For never noticing the way Mike Brady would look at Sam the butcher. It's a good thing the Internet wasn't around then: Mike would have spent all his time in the den on

* June Cleaver, "Leave it to Beaver." In the 1961 episode, where she caught Eddie Haskel masturbating with Gilbert Bates and Larry Mondello, she handled the situation with grace, dignity and steel-mitten resolve.

Clip The Wings On Those Broadway Movies

"Urban Cowboy: The Musical" ran on broadway for only 60 regular performances, and I was at one of them. It's the worst musical I've ever seen.

Although the music in the show is unmemorable, I do remember that the producers had worked in product placement for Anheuser-Busch. (The cowboys were swilling Budweiser during the bar scenes.) If the only thing you can remember about the show is its sneaky advertising, this is not a good thing.

My second least-favorite musicial is also based on a movie. "Sleeping Beauty" received its "world premiere" at the Muny in St. Louis in the 1980s. Truth be told, this is actually the worst show I've ever seen, but because it was meant as a kids show, I graded it on a curve. So it's the second worst.

So these pieces of terrible theater ... were both based on movies. This, today, is a trend on Broadway. The Wedding Singer. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Tarzan. Mary Poppins. The Lion King.

What can we look for next? "Shrek The Musical" will be coming in 2008, as will "Legally Blonde" next April. And DreamWorks has plans to bring the musical version of "Catch Me If You Can" to Broadway.

Might it not be better if these producers came up with something original -- the shows that will be remembered and sung 50 years from now? Would producers in 1975 have opted for musical versions of The French Connection and The Godfather instead of A Chorus Line and Chicago?

This week, in St. Louis, the world premiere of a new musical is taking place at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. And it is a completely original idea. The name of the show is "Ace." The show is now in development, and it's not perfect yet, but it's good. Very good.

This show has a terrific score and deserves a broader audience. Go see it.

If we support original shows like this, maybe we can help prevent "Silence of the Lambs: The Musical."

Or do you want "The Bridge on the River Kwai: The Musical?"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Heche Sasses With Letterman About Ellen

Oprah Winfrey's advice for people interviewing celebrities is to always ask the question you are really interested in knowing the answer to.

David Letterman did this on his show on Thursday night when Anne Heche was a guest for two funny segments.

So if you wanted to know if she and Ellen were still friends -- "define friends" -- and if she'll be promoting her new show "Men in Trees" on Ellen's show, you can read a transcript of their conversation below.

: What about Ellen Degeneris. Are you still in touch with her, do you --
HECHE: -- I am so glad you asked, Dave. I've been dying to talk about this.


DAVE: Ok. She has a show.

HECHE: (laughing) I'm actually going home to be on her show tomorrow, which is interesting.

DAVE: You're going to be on her show?

HECHE: Everyone wants me right now.

DAVE: Wow, that's exciting.

HECHE: No, I'm not going to be on her show.

DAVE: You're not going to be on her show?

HECHE: NO, I don't think I am.

DAVE: That would be quite a show. I think people would --

HECHE: -- I think people would tune in, yeah. I, uh --

DAVE: Yeah. Are you still, you must be friends, probably, friends right?

HECHE. Uh, friends. (PAUSE) Define friends.

DAVE: Well, friendly.

HECHE: I have run into her and we have been friendly.

DAVE: Yeah, well that's good.

HECHE: Yeah, sure.

DAVE: That's very good.

HECHE: Are you friends with your exes? (LAUGHS)

DAVE: Wow. Uh, uh. (LAUGHS)

HECHE: Do you like when people bring it up? Do you enjoy a conversation, a nice conversation about a couple of your exes, cause I have some names. (she smiles, Dave laughs.) ... No?

DAVE: Well, I see. You make an excellent point. (Dave laughs)

HECHE: Thanks, Dave.

DAVE. But, but you know what it is? --

HECHE: -- What is it?

DAVE: -- Well, it's just that I, uh ... I love lesbians. (laughter and applause.)

HECHE: I can see that.
Dave really is fascinated with lesbians. Remember his interview with Dick Cheney's daughter?

Read the Tom Shales Washington Post review of Heche's new show here (he hates it), and the New York Times review here (the reviewer doesn't hate it as much as Shales).

Maybe I Just Need More Salad?

I'm sorry to report that we here at The Cup of Joe are feeling a wee bit under the weather today. I wonder if it has anything to do with my new all-spinach diet?

I wish I lived closer to the Ozarks, because right now I'm burning up, and could use a cool, refreshing dip in the Jacks Fork River.

Could somebody, anybody bring me over some raspberry vinaigrette? My head hurts too much to leave the house, and I'm getting a hankering for some spinach dip, too.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

But I'm Hungry Now

Do you want to eat at the best restaurant in the world? Make your reservations now, because they can squeeze you in 2056.

I wonder if it's better than Imo's pizza?

Necesito una mesa para dos personas ahora, por favor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dancing & Sitting Down Are The Same Thing

When Tucker Carlson was on CNN, and later on PBS, I kind of liked him: he was conservative, yes, but a thoughtful conservative who was not always in lock step with All Things Bush. He also seemed consistent in that if he opposed something, say the War in Iraq, it wouldn't have mattered whether it was a Democratic or a Republican thing, he'd follow some sort of consistent principles that transcended political parties.

Tucker is dancing to a new tune today. The few times I've seen his new afternoon MSNBC show, I've been embarrased as he has risen to a new level of parody-worthy self importance. So I can't watch the MSNBC show and the new sans-bow-tie Tucker; it's the type of piddle-disguised-as-news that we here at The Cup of Joe just have no patience with any longer.

So when I heard that Tucker was going to be on Dancing With the Stars, I was surprised because 1) I don't think he's a star; he's supposed to be a news anchor and analyst and 2) I couldn't possibly picture him dancing.

However, after watching Tucker last night on the ABC show, he's gained some major points back in my book. I think I prefer "Tucker the Dancer" to "Tucker the Self-Important Shouting Head on A Piddle-Riddled MSNBC Show."

Dance, Tucker, Dance.

... And He'd Make One Heckuva President

Cuz Little Richard tells it like it is:

Some People Aren't Warmed By Love

Do you think it's true that people give the type of gift that they truly covet themselves? I believe this to be true.

Twenty years ago, for his birthday, I gave my friend Bobby M a book of poems by Leonard Nimoy called "Warmed by Love." To this day, I regret that I didn't buy two copies, so that I could have a copy on my coffee table for all my friends to enjoy.

My friend Bobby M, however, keeps his copy hidden away, for no others to see, not wishing to share Mr. Nimoy's poetry, selfishly hoarding every metaphor, couplet, image and epigram for "him, himself and he." To what do we owe this conceit? Why be so miserly about Spock's stanzas, sonnets and similes; his use of assonance, anapest and alliteration?

This, to me, is selfish. Does Bobby M not understand the true lessons of Warmed by Love?

Monday, September 11, 2006

This Mike is Right On

Mike Luckovich with the Atlanta Journal Consitution won the Pulitzer Price last year for his editorial cartoons. And he has a new book out, "Four More Wars," which isn't exactly kind to certain people with the last name of Bush and Cheney.

If you are interested in seeing what won him this award, and what this church-going Catholic and family man has to say, you can click this link.

You can buy his book here.

What 4 in 10 Americans Think They Know

Do you think that Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, was personally involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center?

The answer, according to a poll on page 48 of the Sept. 11, 2006, issue of Time magazine, is that 38 percent of people answer this question with a YES.

So, almost four in 10 Americans think this is true, even though Dick Cheney admitted on Meet the Press yesterday (as George Bush has acknowledged as well), that there was absolutely no connection.

This ignorance is a little scary, no?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Turn Down the Stereo-type

It turns out that Toby Keith and Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks don't cancel out each other's votes after all.

It's true: Toby Keith is a Democrat.

With the 9/11 five-year anniversary tomorrow, he just said so on TV.

What's the lesson to be learned here? Being hyper-patriotic (or just plain vanilla patriotic) doesn't mean you are automatically a Republican.

Most of us non-Republicans already knew this.

The same goes for drawing conclusions about people who are religious. Of all the people I know who were raised Catholic, the only pair in a relationship who consistently go to church together every weekend ... is a gay couple. And they're Democrats, too.

What about Keith's opinion on the War in Iraq? "We won't know for probably 20 or 30 years whether it was the right thing to do or not," Keith says.

This contains more truth than 99 percent of what the shouting heads on MSNBC say. So although I suspect George Bush will go down in history alongside James Buchanan and Warren Harding as one of the worst presidents ever, this is really something that can only be determined over the long term.

See the CBS Sunday Morning Profile of Toby Keith here.

Are you proud to be Merican?

Friday, September 08, 2006

TV and Movie Fun Facts

Here goes:

* Did you know that on NBC's The Office, the woman who plays "Carol the real estate lady" is Steve Carell's real-life wife?

* The season premiere of The Simpson's is Sunday night, and it's an episode featuring Springfield's mob boss Fat Tony (Joe Mantegna).

* When Bravo's Top Chef returns on Oct. 18, it'll have a new host. Cookbook author and actress Padma Kakshmi is joining the series for its second season.

* The person in the above photo at left is John Travolta playing Edna in Hairspray.
... I wonder if he's ever kissed a man dressed that way?

Join the Parade in Giving Thanks to Macy's

Macy's is doing some things right.

When the store bought out its largest competitor, St. Louis-based May Department Stores, in an attempt to become a national chain, the critics said it was a bad idea.

Now the chain is riding a wave of positive publicity, such as this article in the New York Times (which mentions St. Louis and quotes the Mayor) and this article in the local daily paper. It's also doing some smart marketing moves, including product placement for its women's line on Bravo's Project Runway.

From the Times article:
Terry J. Lundgren, the chief executive of Macy’s parent company, Federated Department Stores, flew to Los Angeles, where he agreed, at the mayor’s reuest, to build a Macy’s at a mall in North Hollywood. In Chicago, he promised to resume local manufacturing of the famed Frango mints at Marshall Field’s. In St. Louis, he vowed to keep the downtown Famous-Barr store open, despite years of poor sales.

“When you are a company of our size, trying to make the changes we are making, you need a close relationship with local officials,” Mr. Lundgren said in an office at Macy’s Herald Square store in Manhattan. “You have to get off on the right foot.”

The company could have very easily closed its store in downtown St. Louis; but it chose to keep it open, and to keep it stocked with better merchandise. This is great news for our city as the downtown area continues its rebirth.

Today during lunch, Macy's was sponsoring a block party with music and food to celebrate the opening of their stores in town. I stumbled upon it during lunch. Downtown seems so alive nowadays: I'm very jealous of my friend Miles O'Malley who just bought a loft downtown.

Side note: I don't know the name of the band that played the Macy's Block Party, but the lead singer had hair similar to a wig I've worn for 4 out of the last 7 Halloweens. Very cool.

Boogie Boo

If you are watching Big Brother 7, this is a must read.

Are there actually women out there who find this schmuck sexy?

If you want to read this phoney's Wikipedia entry, here it is. Here's hoping his fame clock is at 14:59:59, and with half a tick left.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Recommended Reading on the Web

John Adams (you know, the guy who used to be President) was fond of writing in the margins of his books. What did he say? A lot. You'll soon be able to see it online. LINK.

Disgraced reporter Judith Miller is back writing in one of the country's best newspapers. She has an opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal on a case involving AIDS and Libya and five nurses and a doctor falsely accused of intentionally infecting people with HIV. LINK (Subscription only.)

The composer of the movie Titanic is writing the new jingle that will open up the CBS Evening News for Katie Couric. You can listen for yourself starting tonight. But will Cronkite's voice be in the intro? LINK.

Shoppers at Macy's won't be seeing double at some malls, because 85 malls in the United States will now have two, count 'em, two Macy's in the same mall. They are mulling different ideas: make one Macy's more upscale or turn it into a Bloomingdale's; operate both with the same goods; expand into furniture; or sell one of the stores. LINK.

So scientists say that dogs are actually capable of laughing. But do only cats get the joke? LINK

Loves me or loves me not? The science behind sexual cannibalism. (I'm no expert, but I'd hazzard a guess that the answer is definitely "Loves me not.") LINK

This Week's CBS Evening News

Tonight is Katie Couric's first night as anchor of the CBS Evening News. I predict that in her first week on the air, we are going to see ...

* A really fun in-studio cooking segment with Wolfgang Puck demonstrating how to cook healthy, great-tasting food that will give you great abs.

* Some dish with Steven Cojocaru on "what's hot and what's not" in the world of celebrity fashion.

* A spin around downtown Baghdad on the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Good Night, and Good News

Tomorrow, when she takes over anchoring the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric will be sitting in the same seat as some legends: Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather ... and Arnold Zenker.

We here at The Cup of Joe wish her the best of luck.

Cute Kitten of the Week

This morning, we here at The Cup of Joe are unveiling a new feature: "Cute Kitten of the Week." Look for it weekly and on major secular holidays.

We hope you find it as delicious as the Newman's Own Organic Turkey and Vegetable cat and kitten food that this little slice of heaven seems to be enjoying.

Remember: If you're not boning up the extra bucks to buy your pets organic food, then you don't really love them now, do you?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Stew on This

You may have watched William Shatner sing Rocket Man in this previous post.

... Here is another artist's take.

The Breakfast Nook is Sunny

Want to buy a house? The one at right is Herb Clutter's house. He and his wife and two kids were murdered inside in 1959. You might have read about it in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, or saw the story in last year's best picture nominee Capote.

It is being sold by private auction, and you can find it advertised on Ebay. They're having open houses on Sunday, Sept. 17, from 2 to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 8, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Here are some descriptions of the property by the selling agents:

* "The sunny breakfast nook with dining bench boasts the original fabric."

* "The utility room and basement provided ample space for the children to work on 4-H projects and school activities."

* "The savvy investor knows that this home made internationally famous by the tragic death of the Clutter family and the genious work of Truman Capote, in his book IN COLD BLOOD is an ideal investment."

Read more here. It's a press release announcing the sale. DATELINE: Holcomb, Kansas.

Who wants their eggs sunny side up?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What I'm Talking About, Willis, is Great TV

On Monday, 20 years after the show was canceled, NBC is airing a made-for-TV "movie event" called "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Diff'rent Strokes."

NBC describes this special movie presentation this way: "When the show went off the air, the story was just beginning. This original movie event follows the lives of Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana Plato as their lives became the stuff of tabloid legend."

Coleman and Bridges worked closely with the producers and will be interviewed on-camera during the show.

This movie has the potential to be as touching as the very special episode when Kimberly had bulimia, or when Nancy Reagan guest starred to "just say no," or even the one where Arnold's friend Dudley falls victim to a child molestor played by Gordon Jump.

Best. Labor Day. Ever.

Who Wants to Go to School With Me?

It's that time of year again: I just got the Fall 2006 brochure for Community Education classes right here in town. Who wants to take a class with me?

Pencil Making, 7 to 9 p.m., Thursdays: "Make unique, one of a kind pencils to impress your friends and family. A fun activity for all ages." I bet I could make some really cool new friends in this class!

Rubber Stamping III. 6 weeks, 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays: "For students who have already taken our basic and intermediate rubber stamping class. Learn new cuts and folds to create unique cards." I'm hoping to quiz out of rubber stamping I and II.

Sit & Be Fit: 8 weeks, Wednesdays, 3 to 4 p.m.: "An easygoing workout using a chair (no floor exercise). Perform exercises to help maintain your health, independence and vitality while you regain or improve movement, strength, balance, flexibility and muscle tone." Next stop: Washboard abs!

Middle Eastern Belly Dancing, 8 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. I want to take this class so I can impress family and friends during wedding receptions.

Adult Dancing. Six weeks, Wednesdays, 7 to 8 p.m. "This no pressure dance class is designed for adults of all ages with or without dance experience. The emphasis will be on having fun while you learn a few new steps that would impress even Ginger, Justin or J Lo." This should be an excellent class for that large number of people who love Ginger Rogers as much as they do J Lo.

Home Composting Made Easy: Goodbye Waste ... Hello Black Gold. Thursdays, 6 to 6:50 p.m.: I hope this class is as good as my previous, 100-level class in this area: Home Composting Made Easy: Goodbye Waste ... Hello Texas Tea.

French Renaissance Rapier, Beginning. 8 weeks, Thursdays, 7 to 8:30 p.m.: "Class will teach basics of Renaissance Rapier Swordsmanship, based on the use of the Single Rapier. Limited equipment available." I'm hoping Wally lets me borrow his equipment so I can do lots of homework.

Julie Chen is a Buffoon

"Watching you play, you know, you are a 47-year-old man, and a father of three, but sometimes you dress like a 10-year-old on Halloween night. What do you say to the people who think sometimes you are acting like a buffoon?"

-- A question "news woman" Julie Chen posed to "Chicken George" after he was evicted on Big Brother.
Honestly, I think it could be argued that when news women host "reality" TV shows, and take it so seriously, that they've been turned into a bit of a buffoon themselves.

Julie's tactless question has motivated my next post on the great buffoons in TV history.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Great Buffoons in TV History

... I can think of four really good ones, two of whom won supporting actor Emmys, and two who didn't.

The role of Colonel Klink on Hogan's Heroes won Werner Klemperer (a Jew who fled from the Nazi's as a child) two Emmy awards and five nominations for best supporting actor. And Don Knotts won five Emmys for playing Barny Fife on The Andy Griffith Show.

But what about two great TV buffoons who were never or have never been recognized?

The late Larry Linville (who in "real life" cast members described as well-read and courteous) played Frank Burns on M*A*S*H for five seasons but never won an Emmy, and I don't think he was ever even nominated; Alan Alda, Loretta Switt, Harry Morgan and Gary Burghoff all won Emmys for M*A*S*H.

Rainn Wilson plays Dwight on The Office. His performance is a mix of scripted material and what I'm sure is some improv. It's Emmy-nomination worthy.

Dwight Schrute and Frank Burns are characters that will be remembered 25 years from now. Can the same can be said about some of the performances nominated in their place?

No doubt about it: These four buffoons glow.