Thursday, September 29, 2005

What? You're kidding!

With Monday's discussion about TV medical dramas (Grey's Anatomy, ER, House), this essay from Slate by Ingrid Katz and Alexi Wright seemed particularly interesting. Get this - doctors don't like these shows!

"We have a professional beef with Grey's Anatomy: Along with House, the other hospital show on the air at the moment, it is medically far-fetched and misleading. Most of all, we dislike the show because it loses sight of the point of any medical enterprise—the patients."

See, I'm not sure I agree with that. You build a show, with a regular cast, and those guys need to stick around. Patients go in and out of the hospitals. Doctors and nurses stay there. That's why these shows feature the staffers.

Besides, we're the patients. We already know what it's like to go to a hospital, right? What would you rather see dramatized, what you don't normally see or what you're familiar with? Sure, some people want to see their experiences echoed on-screen. I get that.

But you can always bring in a special guest star to play a patient when a ratings boost is needed! Like Ray Liotta! And Sally Field! Bob Newhart! Alan Alda! Hey, what about LL Cool J? And there was, uh... Colin Farrell! Wait, he was on Scrubs. That's not a medical drama. And he didn't play a patient. He played a guy who beat up a patient. But that doesn't matter. You get what I'm saying.

You know, I always thought Gilbert Gottfried would be a great guest-star on ER. I would've had him play a guy who gets brought into the E.R. because he got something stuck up his ass. Like a gerbil. C'mon, you'd tune in for the whole hour, wouldn't you? Especially if that surly Dr. Benton had to surgically remove the gerbil. Man, that would've been "Must See TV." I need an agent.

I'm digressing, aren't I?

Anyway, the point of the article was that doctors don't do what these TV shows say they do. Such as hump like jackrabbits, as they do on Grey's Anatomy. I think Katz and Wright's description of that particular facet of the show was probably a bit more tactful than mine.

"Many moments would make the old-time AMA vetters cringe. Instead of asexual father figures, the doctors on cast are hyper-hormonal. Attendings sleep with residents. Interns bed nurses. Even patients are fair game. On one episode, Grey kisses an injured biker brought in to the hospital after an accident involving spokes sticking out of his abdomen. Normally, any of these infractions would be grounds for dismissal. At Grey's hospital, they're all in a day's work."

Hey, you say po-TAY-to, I say pa-TAH-to. It's all about their hoo-hahs in their yum-yums. Whatever. Say it however you want; those doctors are plowing each other like Iowa cornfields, man.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Grand Theft Auto: Ann Arbor

It's always nice to hang out with an old friend. My buddy Pete is in town this week, visiting from Texas, and last night, we tried to hit a few of the places he's missed while living in Austin the past four years. While walking off the beers we slugged down at Ashley's (where Pete out-drank me - but hey, he was complaining about the "cold" weather), we had a baffling encounter with possibly the most insecure, arrogant, or just plain idiotic ass either of us have ever met.

Pete had been taking a bunch of photos of his favorite spots in Ann Arbor during his visit, and wanted to get a shot of the State Theater marquee at night. (This isn't Pete's photo; I'm just providing some visual reference.) As Pete is standing on the side of State St., trying to get the marquee in frame, some jackass about 50 feet away yells at him.

"HEY! What are you doing?"

The two of us turn and give the looks you think we'd make. Mind your own business, dildo.

"Hey! Are you taking a picture of my car?"


"What are you doing?"

"I'm taking a pic-- what do you care?" Pete laughed and turned back toward the marquee.

"You're standing right in front of my car! You taking a picture of it? What are you doing?"

The car in question was a dingy white Ford Escort, okay? Pete wasn't standing in front of a BMW or Jaguar.

"He's never seen a New Jersey license plate before," I say.


"He's taking a picture of the theater, man!"

The dildo stands with his hands on his hips and stares at us. His friend seems to be telling him to relax, patting him on the shoulder. Pete and I look back at him, with our hands raised, wondering what the hell is wrong with this guy. And laughing that he thinks we might want to steal his dirty white Ford Escort. After 30 seconds of awkward, ridiculous, falsely macho staring at each other (I've always wanted to yell "Make your move!" in a situation like that, because it seems so stupid), the dildo waves his hand at us and says, "Whatever."

And that's how it ended. We turned the corner to Liberty, where Pete could take a picture of the Michigan Theater marquee. I looked back a few times to see if Dildo & Robin would follow us, but they didn't. A sweet young Asian girl saw Pete aiming his camera and asked us if she wanted her to take a picture of us together. No, thanks. Pete and I were planning to take our own photos after drinking more at Leopold Bros.

Okay, that last part was a joke. Speaking of jokes, I have to thank Pete for bringing me a copy of some Patton Oswalt. If you haven't listened to Feelin' Kinda Patton yet, do it NOW.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

You kiss your mom with that mouth?

Okay, maybe I got a little carried away with dropping the f-bombs yesterday. It got away from me. I think it was like going to the bathroom; you can't just let a bit out, and then stop. If it's in there and needs to get out, you have to let nature take its course.

Human nature - what a great defense! According to this New York Times article by Natalie Angier, swearing is simply in our nature. We have always been a cursing people, regardless of language, ethnicity, upbringing, or dialect. Writings throughout the centuries - the Bible, the works of Shakespeare - have been littered with "naughty" language.

Cursing may also allow scientists to study how the different regions of the brain - the "higher," more intelligent vs. the "lower," more bestial - communicate. How do our senses and reflexes react to hearing or seeing a swear word? You know, when I said I intended this blog to be a reflection of my thoughts, I'm not sure I meant that literally.

Here are some other tidbits from the article, most of which you probably knew, but they sound so much better when confirmed by a science writer from the New York Times:

♦ Swearing helps relieve stress, anger, and anxiety.

♦ Men generally curse more than women (unless those women belong to a sorority).

♦ The word "golly" was once considered a profanity.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Doctors #$@%ing!

All day with no Detroit Lions makes a Sunday evening quite pleasant. And I certainly spent it productively. Since I didn't spend most of the day watching football (except keeping up on games involving players on my fantasy team - I knew that would happen), my body apparently suffered from TV withdrawal later in the evening, thus forcing me to sit down and absorb hours of the stuff.

Did NBC tell us it was moving The West Wing to Sunday nights? I missed that memo. I don't think I've ever walked away from a TV show for a few years, and then come back to it. (Once you're cut off, you're done!) Have you ever done it?

But I'm fascinated with how this show is preparing to revamp itself, as it follows a new presidential campaign between Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda. I know dramas like ER and Law & Order have changed casts over the years, but to me, they're still the same show. To me, it feels like The West Wing is making itself new all over again.

The show I was really looking forward to, however, was Grey's Anatomy, or as I like to call it, Doctors Fucking. Oh, sure - you're like my sister. You watch it because it's a medical drama; you want to see how the doctors will cure that patient who's having seizures for no apparent reason. Right. (You should be watching this show instead, if that's really the case.)

C'mon, you watch because everyone is fucking everybody on that show. The title character, Meredith Grey, is fucking this guy, Dr. McDreamy. Her friend is fucking this guy. Well, as of last night's episode, it looks like they won't be fucking anymore. Yet this guy wants to fuck Grey, but she's fucking Dr. McDreamy, so he went off and fucked somebody else. But make no mistake, he still wants to fuck her. Meanwhile, it looks like this doctor and this doctor will eventually fuck, but see, they hate each other right now (or at least pretend to). It's the stuff TV romance is made of. So it'll probably be a few episodes before they do what everyone else on the show is doing.

Oh, and I almost forgot - an Entertainment Weekly feature on the show seemed to imply that Grey's mentor and mother may have fucked at some point in their lives, too. ("It'll be very provocative," said James Pickens, Jr. who plays the mentor.)

Hey, I'm just trying to provide a service to you. Television Without Pity isn't writing about Grey's Anatomy, so I'm giving you all you need to know about the show right here. Doctors are fucking, man. This isn't ER, where only Dr. Carter is fucking everyone. And that's why people are watching.

... Or is it just me?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

It's raining, I'm bored...

And I've been drinking. So against my better judgment, I've decided to create something sure to suffer from neglect and/or fail. I've posted my thoughts on last night's Michigan football disappointment over at an all-sports blog titled... Sweaty Men Endeavors.

C'mon, that's a great name for a sports blog, and you know it. ("With a little touch of gay," as Mis Hooz said. And maybe that's a bit disturbing...)

Anyway, it's there. I hope you're inclined to check it out. I might - might - be able to update it three or four times a week. We'll see.

(Image from "Get Fuzzy" ©2005 Darby Conley/ Dist. by UFS, Inc.)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday scramble

♦ One of the more troubling articles I've read recently was last week's New Republic cover story, "After Shock," by Douglas McCray. (You need a subscription to read the article, so type in username john9241 and password trooper - Thanks, BugMeNot!) It details how San Francisco will become the next New Orleans if it doesn't take steps to prepare for the next big earthquake. And if the article is to be believed, San Francisco has a long way to go with disaster planning.

♦ So I watched a tape of Everybody Hates Chris, the sitcom of Chris Rock's childhood, which looks like the critical darling of the new fall TV season. It's definitely funny; Chris's dad could easily become one of my favorite TV characters, with his penny-pinching math. ("That's 49 cents of spilled milk dripping off this table! Somebody's gonna drink this milk!")

But I think its critical popularity speaks to how most current sitcoms are deprived of originality, creativity, and humor. It's a good show, but I'm not sure it's that good a show. But hey, it's either this or Joey (which Everybody Hates Chris beat in the ratings, by the way. UPN beats NBC - there's a headline for you.)

♦ Thanks to Mis Hooz for introducing me (musically, not personally) to the Bloc Party. I'm quite out of it when it comes to music these days, so getting a copy of "Silent Alarm" in the mail was refreshment for my ears. My first impulse when recommending a band is to compare them to a more familiar sound, but that can get reductive - especially when nothing I come up with does these guys justice. So if you're intrigued despite my complete inability to describe Bloc Party's sound, the band's official web site has a few MP3s to sample.

♦ Another somewhat troubling set of articles ran in the Washington Post this week. Sam already touched on this at Blue Cats and Red Sox, but if you're not familiar with this, here's the story: The Sunday edition of the Post ran a feature on Baseball Chapel, and the increasing role that prayer, Bible studies, and worship services is taking in locker rooms all around the major leagues. This article focused primarily on the Washington Nationals. Interesting stuff. And then, there's this passage:

The players not only pray, but they also discuss personal matters -- marital tension, addiction issues, family illnesses, financial stress -- drawing sometimes surprising lessons. Church was concerned because his former girlfriend was Jewish. He turned to Moeller, "I said, like, Jewish people, they don't believe in Jesus. Does that mean they're doomed? Jon nodded, like, that's what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don't know any better. It's up to us to spread the word."

Well, as you might imagine, implying that Jews are destined to eternal damnation caused a bit of a stink. I think Ryan Church, the player quoted in the Post article, is guilty of ignorance, more than anything else. It's difficult for me to criticize him for that, especially when he appears interested in educating himself. But how about the chaplain who reportedly nodded in affirmation? Can we call that irresponsible, to say the least?

Two days later, in response to complaints and protests from Jews and Christians alike, the Nationals suspended the team chaplain (Jon Moeller) and issued an apology from Church.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Still curious

I realize this is pretty damn self-serving (and comparatively trivial), given what the people along the Texas gulf coast are about to experience with Hurricane Rita, but did anyone else jet to the gas station last night or this morning before the price shoots up to $5.00 a gallon? Or was I letting Mr. Newsman scare me?

Judging from the crowds at the gas station this morning, I wasn't the only trying to beat a huge jump at the pump. (Oh, holy $#!+, did I just type that?) And it wasn't just the gas either. Keeping a man from getting his morning coffee (even if it's gas station coffee) is just damn cruel and annoying.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mr. Casselberry, tell us what you like about TV

One of the things I was really excited about in September was the new football season. So far, I have to say, it's been a bit of a letdown. Between my favorite teams being largely disappointing and the absence of my #1 football-watching buddy, football season has been bittersweet for me.

But something else has come along to bring me joy in September. I've also been eagerly (and somewhat obnoxiously - last night, anyway) anticipating the new season of Nip/Tuck on F/X, and thankfully, last night's premiere was not a letdown. (Okay, the writer in me says it was probably a little slow in places. But he's rather finicky.) If you're a regular viewer, you found out what happened after the Season 2 cliffhanger (and, like me, had to sit down on something soft after the revelation.) And if you were a newcomer, like the visiting Lil' Sis, you realized this show is so much more than it appears to be on the surface.

"Oh my God, what the hell are we watching?" said the naive young lady who thought we'd just be watching some superficial show about Miami plastic surgeons. No, Lil' Sis, give your big brother a little credit. Nip/Tuck is so much smarter, darker, and more twisted than that. How about a storyline about a humongously obese woman who's spent so much time on her couch that she now literally has to be peeled off from it? Or a serial slasher - "The Carver" - who's been slicing the faces of all the beautiful people in Miami Beach? Now you're talking. That is great television.

"Holy $#!+, did you see Nip/Tuck last night?!" could become a weekly feature here at Fried Rice Thoughts - just to warn you. (I probably should've warned you about the football Mondays. Sorry about that.) Man, I slept so well last night. I love TV.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Just curious

Did everyone get through Day 1 of having to pay for the online version of the New York Times Op-Ed section okay? I made it through the day just fine, but if I really wanted to Chinese water torture myself, I suppose I could spend what remains of tonight telling myself that I couldn't have read Paul Krugman today if I'd wanted to. (Um, unless I bought a print copy of the NYT or shelled out for TimesSelect.)

Yet Krugman's column is still the fifth most e-mailed NYT article today, as of 10:45 p.m. Interesting. To me, at least. And maybe Mis Hooz.

Here's a funny take on this from Gawker.

Carry on.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sunday night sucker

Earlier today, the Detroit Lions vomited all over the field in losing to the Chicago Bears, 38-6. (Two words for the Lions: block someone.) I could only stand to watch the first half of the game. There was no sense in enduring the rest of it; every Lions fan knew how it was going to turn out. Miraculous comebacks don't happen in this hellish world we've chosen for ourselves. So I went grocery shopping and then loitered in a bookstore.

While listening to soft pop music and trying to decide whether or not I wanted balsamic vinaigrette dressing again, something occurred to me: Lions fans are trapped in some bizarro football version of the movie Groundhog Day.

You know the story: Bill Murray is forced to live a day - a day he hates - over and over and over again. And that's what today's game was, if you watch the Lions with any regularity. They do this to us every season, sometimes two or three times. The Lions win, their fans get excited, and then they perpetrate an absolute mass of stinky, steaming shit upon those who love them. Even worse, it's against a team that they arguably could've or should've beaten.

Lions fans have watched that game again and again and again. Surely others have already made this comparison. I'm sure this isn't an original thought. But it's the first time, in all the putrid Lions debacles I've witnessed in my years of watching football, it occurred to me. Bill Murray got Andie McDowell at the end of the movie. Is there anything remotely appealing awaiting Lions fans at the end of this agonizingly repetitive day?

Stray football thoughts from the weekend:

♦ Is Michigan State actually the best college team in Michigan right now? (And is Drew Stanton the state's best quarterback?) Against Notre Dame, MSU was everything Michigan hadn't been the week before - namely, aggressive. And when the Spartans let up on the gas, Notre Dame came back to tie the game. It was eerily reminiscent of MSU's collapse last season against Michigan, but this time, the Spartans caught themselves.

♦ Have you ever watched a truck run over a quail egg? I haven't either, but after watching Michigan deconstruct Eastern Michigan 55-0 yesterday, I have some idea of what it might look like. Seriously, what did that game accomplish? If you're EMU, you got a $415,000 paycheck. Not bad. If you're Michigan, you proved you can beat EMU in football really, really badly. Shit, I could've told you that'd happen. How about this: do you think you can beat MSU on Oct. 1?

♦ I think I'm in love... with fantasy football. Thank you, Donovan McNabb.

(AP Photo/ Jeff Roberson)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Cranky Old Man? Or Master of My Domain?

The following events took place yesterday between 6:00 and 6:30 pm.

6:01 - A knock on the door. I try to ignore it while exchanging instant messages and e-mails, along with watching SportsCenter.

6:02 - Another knock. I get up off my sick butt and open the door. Two 10-year-old boys look up at me, smiling.

Little Kid #1: Hey Mister! Can we rake your lawn for ten dollars?

Me: Ten dollars?

Little Kid #2: Yeah! We'll bring 'em to the road for ya. Ten dollars!

Me: Okay, we're not allowed to put leaves on the side of the road right now, so I can't do that. But if you rake the leaves and put 'em in a big pile next to my garage, I'll give you five dollars.

Little Kid #1: Five dollars?

Me: Hey, take it or leave it.

The Little Kids look at each other and shrug their shoulders.

Little Kid #1: Okay! Five dollars!

6:05 - I head back downstairs to my computer and TV. Outside my window, I hear leaves rustling, and the Little Kids laughing and yelling. My head throbs. Did I mention I'm sick?

6:07 - I peek outside. The Little Kids are running and jumping through the leaves. I get their money. Two one-dollar bills and two quarters apiece.

6:11 - A little less rustling from outside, a little less laughing and yelling.

6:15 - No more noise outside my window.

6:16 - A knock on the door. I get up off my sick butt and open the door. Two 10-year-old boys look up at me, not smiling anymore.

Little Kid #1: We're done, Mister!

Me: You're kidding.

Little Kid #2: No, we finished! Can we have our money?

Me: You guys are done? In ten minutes? Right. Let's take a look.

6:17 - One of the kids (I don't see which one) sighs. The three of us walk around my garage. I see 10 little piles of leaves, scattered all over the lawn.

Me: What is this?

Little Kid #1: You said put the leaves in piles.

Me: I said put the leaves in a pile. One. One pile. And next to the garage. These are all over the place.

Little Kid #2: The lady next door said she didn't want us touching her leaves in her yard.

Me: The lady next door?

Little Kid #2: Yeah.

Me: What does she have to do with me? All these little piles, I gotta rake 'em up. That means work for me. After I paid you to rake my lawn? I'm not paying you.

Both Little Kids: What?!

Me: I'm serious. I'm not paying you for this.

Little Kid #1: C'mon, man!

Me: "C'mon, man" what? You guys didn't do what you said you were gonna do.

Little Kid #2: You said you'd pay us!

Me: Okay, here's the deal. You guys help me put all these leaves into bags, I'll pay you.

Little Kid #1: Okay.

6:20 - I bring out four tall leaf bags. I begin to put leaves into one of the bags while the Little Kids watch me.

Me: Hey! C'mon. Let's do this.

6:21 - The three of us start filling the bags. I begin to wonder how long we'll be at this since neither kid can fit many leaves between his 10-year-old arms.

6:22 - Little Kid #2 displays some ingenuity by using his little shovel to scoop leaves into the bag.

Little Kid #1: Hey, you got another shovel?

Me: Sorry, kid.

6:25 - Little Kid #2 says, "Man, this is a lot of work!" I have to laugh. Then cough. Did I mention I'm sick?

6:28 - After we fill the fourth and final leaf bag, I say "Okay," and give each kid his money. They weakly slide the cash into their front pockets and walk with a stoop toward the front of the house. Both of their shoulders are slumped as they pick up their bikes.

Me: Have a good night, fellas.

Little Kid #1: You, too.

6:29 - The kids pedal their bikes down the street. I stand at the end of the driveway, waiting for one of them to turn back and give me the finger. But they just disappear around the corner. I go back into the house to watch TV.

On the next episode of "30": Will the kids' parents be coming over to have a word with Mr. Ian about how he treated their children?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

So hard to say goodbye

It's time I finally faced reality and stopped avoiding a cold, hard fact that's been staring me in the face for quite some time. But I've talked it over with close family and friends, and we've all drawn roughly the same conclusion.

I don't think I can eat sushi anymore.

"Gee, Ian," you might say. "That's easy. Sushi's raw fish. Eew! Go eat something cooked - like a hot dog." And hey, I like hot dogs. But I like sushi too. A lot. And maybe that's why I've been in such denial over these past couple of years.

I've been rather miserable over the past four days, the beginning of which can be traced to a sushi dinner I had at an unnamed restaurant in Ann Arbor. I'm not saying this particular place's sushi made me sick, because I've eaten there plenty of times and I haven't always woken up with my throat pinched tight the next day, my sinuses pounding, and - to put it delicately - bathroom issues. The same thing happened to me three months ago, and it's now clear I was wrong to blame the backwater "steakhouse" in Knoxville, TN where I had dinner.

No, I'm guessing it's a certain kind of sushi, or more specifically, sashimi. How many times do I have to look at two and two to figure out what they equal?

Tuna, why have you done this to me? It has to be you, in all your red rawness. It wasn't the California Rolls, dude. I eat those things all the time and feel fine afterwards. And there's nothing raw in those. It's you, Tuna. Don't keep waving that Charlie the Tuna puppet at me. He's cute. His glasses make me chuckle. (A fish! HA! With glasses!) But he's also cooked. I put him on sandwiches all the time. He's not the reason I've been bed-or-bathroom ridden the past four days. (Although I did manage to finish Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs thanks to the near-immobilization. Always happy to scratch something off my reading list.) In other words, he's not you.

I'll admit it took a two-by-four across the face from Mis Hooz before I finally caved in to sheer, cold logic. Here's an excerpt from our conversation the other night:

IC: You know, I wonder if I feel this way because of sushi? I think the last couple of times I've been really sick, I ate sushi.

MH: What? Of course it's sushi, you freaking 'TARD!

IC: Really? You think?

MH: No, I think it was the ice cubes - ppfffftttt!! That $#!+ is raw, yo! That means it's not cooked, Mensa Man! Why don't you change the name of your blog to Fried BRAIN Thoughts?!

IC: Fried "Brain"? But that messes up the whole--

MH: You should just be a vegetarian! Like me! I'm healthier than Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2! I'm doing one-handed push-ups as we're talking! Do you hear me even breathing heavy?

IC: Yeah, I see your point...

Well, to a point. She is very persuasive, but I can't give up the steak and chicken just yet. Especially not while it's still grillin' weather. But I am currently on the Mis Hooz-recommended remedy of "Three Hot Toddys and I'll call you some other morning." I don't know if they're workin', but I'm feelin' al-right.

(Image from "Get Fuzzy" ©2005 Darby Conley/ Dist. by UFS, Inc.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tuesday twirl

♦ The only thing less surprising than this was the ending to Star Wars: Episode III. You're a blockhead, Michael Brown. (I wonder if that whole FEMA thing will be left off his updated resume?)

♦ Okay, so I've been watching Prison Break - wanna make somethin' of it? I haven't yet figured out if this is actually an interesting show or one of the stupidest things ever put on TV. After all, the main character has the blueprints to his prison tattooed all over his body. I should've stopped watching the moment that was revealed. Another problem is I can't get past is Dominic Purcell, who was the worst movie villain EVER in Blade: Trinity.

♦ Found this at the Detroit Tigers Weblog. Note to the Tigers' Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez: Shut up. Please, just shut up. I'm willing to bet the majority of Tigers fans now hate you and can't wait for the team to trade you. Or drop you into a pothole on I-94, topped by a flaming oil tanker truck. Your whining might be accepted as leadership if you weren't so clearly part of the problem. Your recent baserunning mistakes that seem like a deliberate attempt to sabotage your team's chances. Your inability to draw a walk. Seven walks, Pudge. Here's a favorite comparison: That's only seven more walks than I've drawn. And the only walking I do is from my front door to my car. Go take your vacation and shut the #@$% up. I'll be burning my Pudge t-shirt any day now.

Monday, September 12, 2005

It loves me, it loves me not, it loves me...

It's a little late in the day for football thoughts from the weekend, but I had to write something about the emotional roller coaster experienced in front of the TV at Casa de Casselberry over the last couple of days. I've been feeling a little cruddy today, and I think my favorite football teams are to blame.

Following the University of Michigan's extremely frustrating 17-10 loss to Notre Dame (along with Iowa's inexplicable spanking from Iowa State), I was in a rather melancholy mood on Saturday.

I'm often surly when Michigan loses a game it should've won. I won't say could've won, because I don't think the Wolverines played well enough to deserve such an outcome. (Evan breaks down all of the reasons really well at Orotundity.) Yet I still think they're more talented than Notre Dame, which is where my frustration comes from.

That doesn't mean I think head coach Lloyd Carr should be fired, which is a lot of the noise I heard on sports talk radio after the game. That's just idiotic talk. Show me a coach who's done a better job than Carr. Has he ever lost to schools like Texas Christian University, as Oklahoma did last week? Has the Michigan football program ever fallen off the table, as Nebraska's or Penn State's has?

In the past, I wouldn't listen to sports talk radio after Michigan football games. Why? I was usually talking to my dad, either while watching the game with him or on the phone afterwards. We'd go over every little detail of the game, the two of us trying to figure out why they lost. Offense, defense, special teams, officiating, that dropped pass in the second quarter, that fumble in the third, etc. I knew watching Michigan football games without my dad would be tough. But this was the first time I really felt it. That throw of the remote control was for you, Dad.

(Image via John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)

♦ Is there any chance we can blame the loss on former Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman? Last week, Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis asked Bowman - who was on campus for a banquet - if he could give a speech to the football team. Did some of that Stanley Cup-winning magic rub off on the Irish? Maybe Lloyd Carr should ask Bowman for equal time.

Hawkeyes and Lions? Oh no, oh my! Read more:

But hey, Michigan shouldn't feel too bad. At least they didn't produce a giant, steaming bag of stinking cow dung against their in-state rival. Iowa State 23, Iowa 3. So much for the popular "sleeper" pick of Iowa contending for the national college football championship.

Three points? Five turnovers? Sweet Jesus, what the hell was that? Did you guys think those dorm windows were a hypnotic suggestion when you arrived on Iowa State's campus Friday evening? Coach Ferentz, if you want me to take the blame, I can do that. If that makes your job easier, go ahead and flog me. My leaving the Iowa campus has apparently brought some bad, bad ju-ju to the football team. (Football record while Ian attended Iowa: 20 wins, 5 losses. You're welcome, Coach Ferentz.)

(Image via Associated Press)

Who would've guessed that the Detroit Lions would be my football angel, making it okay for me to watch and enjoy the sport again? Lions 17, Packers 3. Thank you, Detroit Lions, thank you.

Maybe the Packers are really that terrible of a football team. Quarterback Brett Favre probably had many other things on his mind, such as his hurricane-ravaged hometown. But c'mon, a win is a win. Ask any Detroit fan whether he or she will take it, especially against a team that's consistently beaten the Lions like a hammer treats a nail.

Two weeks ago, the Lions looked like they seemed truly intent on torturing their forever-suffering fans for yet another long season. And that might still happen. Sunday's win over Green Bay might just be a big tease. But it sure felt good. And that's exactly what Lions Country (I'm not sure I like it, but I'll use it) needed.

At the risk of sounding like a sore winner, however, I'd like to pass a note to Coach Steve Mariucci. Mooch. Dude. The rules of professional football actually allow you to throw the ball farther than 10 yards down the field. That 31-yard pass to Charles Rogers late in the game wasn't cheating. And it led to a touchdown, didn't it? See, good things can happen when you let your quarterback throw the ball. So no more of these running plays up the middle on third down, with 15 yards to go, okay? Those don't work. They never do. There's a reason the whole stadium boos and your quarterback looks like he smelled a fart when you call those plays, Mooch. It's because they really, truly suck.

♦ Signing tight end Marcus Pollard was a really savvy move by Lions General Manager Matt Millen. It might turn out to be the best one he's ever made. Yesterday's five catches for 58 yards and one touchdown were just the beginning. A big guy who can catch passes when the Lions are close to the end zone (along with speed to run past the linebackers covering him)? He's going to be Joey Harrington's best friend by the end of the season.

(Image via Rashaun Rucker/ Detroit Free Press)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Toot, toot?

If you read my thoughts on Hunger's Brides, the near-1,400 page debut novel by Paul Anderson, two weeks ago, you might be interested to know that the author read the blog and posted a response here on Thursday.

If you really do think it'd be funny to start a book group with Hunger's Brides as your first selection, Mr. Anderson would like you to know that the book's official website has several discussion and study guides.

Since the original post is no longer on the Fried Rice Thoughts main page, I didn't think anyone would see Anderson's comment and wanted to make note of it here. Or maybe I just wanted to toot my horn on a Saturday morning.

Thanks for reading, Paul.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Brownie, that's a heck of a resume!

"Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I'd ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt."

-- Former Edmond, OK city manager Bill Dashner, speaking of his former employee, Michael Brown

So is anyone else reading Crooks and Liars a hell of a lot more these days? I found this over there.

Okay, we already knew that FEMA director Michael Brown was "asked to resign" from his previous job as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. (Strangely, that's not mentioned in FEMA's official bio...) What we didn't know is that "Brownie's" resume, according to this article in Time magazine, has taken a few liberties with the truth.

That is to say, it's padded. Padded worse than a drag queen's bra. Hell, it's padded worse than mine. My resume, not my bra.

Among the highlights from Time:

♦ When he was hired, the White House credited Brown with "overseeing the emergency services division" for Edmond, OK. A city executive says Brown was actually an assistant to the city manager, with no authority over employees.

♦ In his profile at, Brown lists "Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University" among his honors. However, a director in the University Relations office at the University of Central Oklahoma (which used to be Central State University) says Brown "wasn't a professor here, he was only a student here."

♦ The profile also says Brown was director of a nursing home in Edmond. Yet an administrator with the Oklahoma Christian Home says Brown is "not a person that anyone here is familiar with."

By the way, to any prospective employers who might be checking out this blog, I was totally kidding about my resume.

But you don't have to call the University of Iowa and ask if I was a "Seriously Tenured Professor of Writing Stuff." That position, like, doesn't really exist anymore. You know, budget cutbacks and stuff. Yeah. And the people in the English department are really busy, so they probably, like, don't even have phones right now because they have so much work.


Addendum (11:15 am): This comes via our New York correspondent Mis Hooz. Today's "Pearls Before Swine" is uncannily appropriate.

She's in the media capital of the world, folks. Are those headphones are tuned in or what?

(Image from "Pearls Before Swine"
©2005 Stephen Pastis/ Dist. by UFS, Inc.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Memo to the guy at Kinko's

Listen, jacko - just because I'm standing in front of your fax machine, waiting for it to connect, doesn't mean I'm a complete idiot and don't know how it works. But hey, that was really impressive when you pressed the stop button to start all over after the fax machine had finally connected and already sent the first of my three pages. It's a good thing they're paying you to work there, because I was clearly helpless. (Gee, does the busy signal mean the line is busy? Oh, thank goodness for you, Mr. Kinko's Man!)

Did your nametag say "Assistant Manager", or "Head Micromanager"? I didn't quite catch that. Anyway, thanks for drawing out what would've been a five-minute task (at best) into nearly twenty minutes. That was great.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FEMA's still on a roll

Hey, I have funny things I want to blog about. Stories, anecdotes, observations - you know what I try to do here every day. But FEMA just won't let me. Today, the federal agency most in apparent need of an enema announced that it doesn't want the news media taking photos of the dead bodies being recovered from the flooded areas in New Orleans. Journalists who have requested to accompany rescue boats have been rejected. (Space is needed on the rescue boats, you see.) No idea if "Brownie" signed off on this one or not.

Look, I understand (more than you may know, in fact) that those who have died warrant our respect. They don't deserve the indignity of being plastered all over newspaper front pages, magazine covers, and web sites for sensationalistic (or politically opportunisitic) gains.

But I don't think it serves a purpose to put a blindfold over people's eyes and tell them things are okay. If there's anything positive that can be taken from the tragedies of the past week, it's the revival of journalism. The print and broadcast media finally remembered what it's supposed to do.

Tell us what's happening - don't read us a press release, don't feed us talking points, don't give us only what the government wants people to hear. Tell us what is actually, really happening.

So if there are dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of dead bodies that are being discovered now that New Orleans is being drained, I think the public needs to know that. And they need to see it. Nothing gratuitous or exploitive. It's not necessary to shock or disgust, either. But show us what's happening. This is the news. This is what's going on. And that's been kept from us for far too long.

Let the journalists take the photos, FEMA, if for no other reason than your director needs the news to keep up with what's actually going on.

(Image from "Speed Bump" ©2005 Dave Coverly/ Dist. by Creators Syndicate, Inc.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Go ahead - you might feel better

(Image from "Heart of the City" ©2005 Mark Tatulli/ Dist. by Universal Press Syndicate)

I couldn't make this shit up, even if I tried.

♦ From the Washington Post (by Lolita C. Baldor):

Halliburton Subsidiary Taps Contract For Repairs

An Arlington-based Halliburton Co. subsidiary that has been criticized for its reconstruction work in Iraq has begun tapping a $500 million Navy contract to do emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

♦ From Editor & Publisher (via Atrios):

Barbara Bush: Things Working Out 'Very Well' for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans

"What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

It's almost a caricature. I kept looking for a punchline, but didn't find one. "This is working very well for them"? Does she realize the words that are coming out of her mouth? Apparently, the insensitivity Jim pointed out in my previous post's comments runs in the Bush family.

I have an idea: How about dropping Mrs. Hospitality down onto the Astrodome floor and letting the "underprivileged" go all "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome" on her ass?

Hmm, that might work very well for them, Mrs. Bush.

Monday, September 05, 2005

You're not a good man, Michael Brown

Did I actually see President Bush say to FEMA director Michael Brown, "Brownie, you're doing a great job!" on TV last night? (I wish I could find footage or a quote for you. All I have are other blogs.)

What? What the fuck has he been watching? Isn't "Brownie" the same guy who said the death toll would "be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings"?

You're not a good man, Michael Brown. (But you may be inspiring me to take up songwriting. We'll see.)

(Image via Playbill)

Mad as hell, and not going to take anymore, Part 2

I intended to take the full Labor Day weekend away from El Bloggo. I almost made it, staying away from the computer on Saturday and Sunday, and trying to enjoy the weather and college football.

But hey, if President Bush can cut his vacation short, so can I. I miss so much stuff when I try to stay away. For instance, until my buddy Matt e-mailed me about it, I hadn't heard anything about Kanye West's anti-Bush diatribe during Friday night's Concert for Hurricane Relief, in which he said "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

The Washington Post's outstanding TV writer, Lisa de Moraes, called it "Why We Love Television, Reason No. 137," and I'm not going to disagree. If you haven't seen it, you can find the video clip at Crooks and Liars. It might become an all-time classic television moment. If not for the context being so serious, it looks as if it could've been a skit on Saturday Night Live.

But maybe I'm just saying that because Mike Myers was standing next to West at the time. I don't think Myers has looked that uncomfortable since he saw the box office returns and reviews for The Cat in the Hat.

I've read some criticism of West (via blood on my teeth... - thanks for the link, Clint) for using a telethon to criticize President Bush. And I suppose there is something to be said for that. After all, the intent was to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina. On the other hand, West had extremely strong feelings on the matter, had a forum he may never have again, and used the opportunity to say what was on his mind. Whether you agree or disagree with what he actually said, you have to admit the man has gargantuan balls. He spoke out against something he saw as wrong. I admire him for that.

He was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

Another example of mad as hell was on FOX News the other night. Again, you can find the video at Crooks and Liars. (That's where I found it. I wasn't, like, actually watching FOX News. C'mon.) Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera were in New Orleans, filing reports for Hannity & Colmes, and both of them were irate about the conditions and treatment they were witnessing. Smith had clearly had enough of the spin and bullshit he'd been fed by officials on the scene. At least twice, he simply replied with an irritated and exasperated "I don't know" to questions by Sean Hannity -whom it should be noted was sitting comfortably in the FOX News studios.

If you ever had doubts about how much of an assclown hand puppet Hannity is for the administration, asking about the military convoys driving into New Orleans, this video might finally erase those. Even Smith saw through it, yelling "That is perspective! That's all the perspective you need!" at him. It's great stuff.

As for Rivera? Well, he's at his grandstanding, drama queen best ("Let 'em walk the hell out of here!"), holding a baby right up to the camera and crying ("Take a look, Sean!"), but I don't think you can question the man's sincerity, given what he's surrounded with and what he's seen. He can be a buffoon, and probably thinks he should play the lead in Sahara II, but he was serving up a whole platter of "perspective" Friday night.

Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

Earlier in the year, my nominee for the 2005 Howard Beale Award had been NBC's David Gregory after taking on White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan following the Karl Rove-Valerie Plame revelation in July. Now, I think Kanye West and Shepard Smith might have moved into first place.

The real lesson for me? Clearly, I need to watch more TV.

Friday, September 02, 2005

"The City That Care Forgot"?

The news coming from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina seems to get sadder and more disheartening by the minute. Stories of dead bodies being left to rot, with sheets thrown over them or pushed against walls. Children sleeping in pools of urine. It looks like martial law is about ten seconds from being declared.

But what's truly more revolting? The near-third-world conditions in the Gulf Coast region? That virtually everyone left to drown appears to be black and poor? Or the turtle-like response to the disaster by higher government?

♦ The title of today's post comes from a Los Angeles Times editorial by former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines.

♦ Here's the lead from Paul Krugman's column in today's New York Times: "Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans."

♦ When did Katrina hit the Gulf Coast? Monday. When did President Bush cut his vacation short? Wednesday. When did he visit the disaster sites? Friday. "Not acceptable," indeed, Mr. President.

♦ What does New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin think of the federal government's response? "Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country." Read the transcript.

♦ Check out this remark from a chat by columnist Marc Fisher: "Bush has once again decided to treat Americans like schoolchildren, making this crisis sound like someone else's problem, one that we can help by writing a check instead of one that we all need to address through common sacrifice and effort." Yowch.

♦ An example of President Bush talking to us like schoolchildren? How about telling the American people "Don't buy gas unless you need it"?

♦ Wouldn't you like to punch Dennis Hastert in the face for saying rebuilding New Orleans "doesn't make sense"? Where does the line for that start?

♦ Oh wait, Hastert realized what an asshole he was to say that. What a stand-up guy. "I am not advocating that the city be abandoned or relocated," he said.

But hey, you did say, "It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed"? Where does that line start again?

♦ Those in power who say such a disaster couldn't have been anticipated apparently didn't read a five-part series in the Times-Picayune of New Orleans titled "Washing Away." The articles explicitly detailed the damage that could be suffered if a hurricane was to directly hit the region.

In other words, the series almost exactly predicted what's happened. When was that series published? 2002.

♦ Actually, it appears that such dire predictions were taken seriously. But the money needed to research possible plans, along with boosting the levee and pumping systems in areas such as New Orleans, was severely undercut, in favor of funding the war in Iraq.

Salon's King Kaufman asks an interesting question. Why aren't sporting events being suspended this weekend, as they were in the wake of 9-11? That seemed like a no-brainer at the time, but Kaufman is the first person I've seen to even approach the subject now.

(Image via the Associated Press)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

See, Mom? I was right all along!

There's plenty of other stuff I want to get to, but in my fleeting moments of free time this morning, I'll post this. While reading Gene Weingarten's Tuesday humor chat (known as "Chatological Humor" or "Tuesdays with Moron") at (something I recommend for all of you to check out if you have the time and/or inclination), this little nugget came up in the discussion. I've never heard of this, but a couple of people backed up the assertion. So is it true? Or just excuse-justifying nonsense? From the chat transcript:

Re: Making Your Bed: Your "ideal woman" is actually wrong about this. Making a bed causes it to be more inviting to bed bugs and other parasites. A messy bed is safer.

Gene Weingarten: Why on Earth would that be?

And later:

Bed bugs: An allergist explained to me that dust mites are unhappy below 70 degrees -- I think they die -- so that was why I didn't have as many problems with my dust mite allergy in the winter (we keep thermostat at 70 in the winter, turn it down to 62 at night). She also said that it is good to leave a bed unmade in the morning to let it cool down and kill the mites. Perhaps this applies to bed bugs, too. I remember in historical novels people letting beds air out. BUt you can still make them up after they have cooled off, so no excuse for slobs.

Gene Weingarten: Man, this could change EVERYTHING. Because women are the principal proponents of made beds AND the principal opponents of bedbugs and mites.


Bedbugs: Scientific study: making the bed keeps the sheets damper, hence a better environment for the mites and other beasties. Leaving the bed unmade allows better ventilation, thus dehydrating the little suckers.

Gene Weingarten: Even better!

I'm with Gene - this could change everything! Speaking as an avowed non-bed-maker (because I'm, uh, a busy man in the morning, you see), is this actual evidence that unkempt sleeping quarters are safer and cleaner? (Well, maybe not cleaner...) As was mentioned, however, it's only temporary. A bed should still be made. But seriously, I'm curious if anyone else reading this today has heard about this. (And honestly, did you make your bed this morning?)