"The only blog we have to fear is blog itself."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hopes dashed once again for forgotten Wiggle 

As the Yellow Wiggle announced he was quitting The Wiggles due to health reasons, long estranged Chartreuse Wiggle was hoping for a reconciliation with his erstwhile playmates.

Instead, the group decided to place a new body in the yellow shirt and rewarded their loyal and unctious understudy, Uriah Heep, with the position.

In the group's early years, Chartreuse Wiggle was an integral part but was unceremoniously sacked and subsequently scrubbed from the group's official history. Precise reasons for the dismissal are unknown, but some observers claim that Chartreuse's handsomeness with the ladies was threatening to the group's "playa," Purple. Others say that the other members believed Chartreuse's persona as the group's pipe-smoking, urbane sophisticate was not appropriate for audiences of children.

In his unauthorized Wiggles biography, Wiggling Shade of Pale, author Dave Chase describes how the depressed Chartreuse Wiggle sought solace in alcohol and self-pity following his ouster, eventually releasing an album of maudlin children's songs titled The Wiggle That Time Forgot. The CD's first and only single, "Brother, Can You Spare This Wiggle a Twenty Cent Coin?," had a promotional videoclip featuring Chartreuse panhandling for beer money and was lambasted by children's advocacy groups. "Shockingly brazen in its attempt to emotionally blackmail trusting child viewers," was a description of the effort, one written by Chartreuse's own publicity team. Critics were much less positive.

Chartreuse Wiggle, reached at his Sydney flat for comment, was philosophical about his ongoing disappointment. "It is what it is. I suppose it just wasn't meant to be," he offered, continuing that "Blue, Red, Purple will one day perhaps realize what they are missing without me. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely when my intricately-planned campaign of kidnapping and ruthless torture come to fruition."

Meanwhile, the only other former Wiggle, Zeppo, could not be reached for comment by press time.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Food Minutiae 

Who Was General Tso And Why Are We Eating His Chicken?
General Tso Tsungtang, or as his name is spelled in modern Pinyin, Zuo Zongtang, was born on Nov. 10, 1812, and died on Sept. 5, 1885. He was a frighteningly gifted military leader during the waning of the Qing dynasty, a figure perhaps the Chinese equivalent of the American Civil War commander William Tecumseh Sherman. He served with brilliant distinction during China's greatest civil war, the 14-year-long Taiping Rebellion, which claimed millions of lives.

Tso was utterly ruthless. He smashed the Taiping rebels in four provinces, put down an unrelated revolt called the Nian Rebellion, then marched west and reconquered Chinese Turkestan from Muslim rebels.


General Tso's chicken recipe may be no more ancient than 1972, and may have more in common with Manhattan than with mainland China. On "The Definitive General Tso's Chicken Page" New Yorker Eric Hochman theorizes "It was invented in the mid-1970s, in NYC, by one Chef Peng.
I had to look this up, since I'm ordering General Tso's Tofu for dinner tonight.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bing Crosby & Recording Technology 

Interesting piece here about Bing Crosby's importance to the history of recording. Written by a professor of history at the University of San Diego, it quotes Crosby's autobiography thusly:
By using tape, I could do a thirty-five or forty-minute show, then edit it down to the twenty-six or twenty-seven minutes the program ran. In that way, we could take out jokes, gags, or situations that didn't play well and finish with only the prime meat of the show; the solid stuff that played big. We could also take out the songs that didn't sound good. It gave us a chance to first try a recording of the songs in the afternoon without an audience, then another one in front of a studio audience. We'd dub the one that came off best into the final transcription. It gave us a chance to ad lib as much as we wanted, knowing that excess ad libbing could be sliced from the final product. If I made a mistake in singing a song or in the script, I could have some fun with it, then retain any of the fun that sounded amusing.
Which was startling new stuff in 1947.

A lot here for audio/broadcasting geeks like me. I never knew that the 3M company originally was called Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, or that Bing essentially invented the laugh track and gave key support to the development of videotape.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This is a very odd webpage 

You know, it's not simply the auto-hagiography, or the unrelated religious testimony, or the use of four Wikipedia-sourced links to "prove" his assertions, or the odd caption to the page's photo, that gets me about this site. It's really the whole experience.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Templates for Executive Success! 

I just read this passage in a music industry trade magazine announcing a record company executive's promotion:
"I want to thank [new boss] for this tremendous opportunity," [promoted exec] says. "I'm happy to join the exceptional executive team [new boss] has in place and believe that [company] has the potential to become one of the most formidable labels in our business. I look forward to extending the reach of our roster as we break new artists and take established stars to even greater heights."
After I bracketed out the specific names, it looks like every single such announcement I've read, ever. Apparently creativity and original thinking is not a pre-requisite.

Feel free to adapt and use in your industry as well! It's like business madlibs!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Famous warship museum stuck in the mud:
The USS Intrepid, the aircraft carrier that survived World War II bomb and kamikaze attacks, got stuck in the mud in the Hudson River on Monday as a fleet of tugboats tried to pull it from its berth for a $60 million renovation project.

The ship...was supposed to be towed across the river to a dry dock in Bayonne, N.J.

Six tugs pulled with a combined 30,000 horsepower but moved the Intrepid only about 15 feet. Not even an unusually high tide could free the 27,000-ton, 872-foot-long ship from the ooze.
The article blames the ship's immobility to as much as 17 feet of silt around its hull, built up over the 24 years the ship's been docked.

BTW, you know a news story is going to be interesting when it uses both the words "ooze" and "kamikaze."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Oh christ 

Because we don't already have enough fried foods:
Abel Gonzales, 36, a computer analyst from Dallas, tried about 15 different varieties before coming up with his perfect recipe -- a batter mix made with Coca-Cola syrup, a drizzle of strawberry syrup, and some strawberries.

Balls of the batter are then deep-fried, ending up like ping-pong ball sized doughnuts which are then served in a cup, topped with Coca-Cola syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry on the top.
Apparently empty calories is no longer enough. Snacks must be actively bad for you in this here 21st century.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Meant to post this two days ago, but anyway... 

Halloween goes to the dogs, and lizards:
What these animals represent together is the rapidly growing phenomenon of people dressing up their pets for Halloween.

One website, raisingkids.co.uk, reports that 3.5 million Americans will purchase a Halloween costume for their pet this year. According to Elaine Binner of the eponymous Elaine's Pet Depot in Santa Monica, Calif., that's up from a decade ago by ... well, 3.5 million. "I first saw them [pet costumes] 10 years ago, but I only made sure to stock them in the last four years," she says.

She has been nearly sold out for two weeks, but you can still find a limited selection - ballerina, superhero, and the always popular devil. You can also get your animal to appear as another animal, say a zebra, giraffe, or skunk.
Dress up your pet as a ballerina and be rewarded with baleful looks of humiliation!

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