Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Cutest Coprophage Ever

And it's Pez at the wire. Pez by a quivering nose. Pez triumphant.

I tell ya, she's just the most darlingest most cutest little turd-eater you ever saw. Pez is the Platonic ideal of all guinea pigs, what with her patchwork coat and her veiny pink ears and her charming timidity and her perfect name and her scrabbling about in a manic panic every time you reach into her cage to get her out so she can sit in Jonah's lap and calm down and make the most delightfulest contented chirring noises ever uttered by earthly rodentia.

Her toilet habits suck, though.

I have now been given to understand the whole yum-yum, this-my-shit, hollaback girl narcissism of eating one's own poo, if one is a guinea pig. See, guinea pigs are more highly evolved than we are, so they don't just crap from one orifice. Nay, rather, they also excrete delicious, nutritious pellets "from a small sack near the anus," according to a guinea pig website that doesn't know how to spell "sac." It's a sac, right? And its special turds have apparently been processed by the animal's gut to make available certain nutrients that couldn't get got the first time through.

So it's not coprophagia in the strict sense. I don't think she gets off on it. But she doesn't seem to be ashamed of it, either. I can't really read her, emotionally, except for a general state of terrified cluelessness, with bouts of contented chirring, and food pellet/hay/fruit/poo noshing. Lord knows she has an abundance of poo to choose from. I think she pinches one off every twelve seconds or so.

Sing, Muse, of pigs from Guinea,
Who chirr, but never whinny,
Although they eat some hay.

They also eat eat crapola
As if it were granola,
Which seems a little gay.

Our pers'nal guinea pigger
Is Pez, as dear as Tigger
And cute as Tina Fey.

She comes here to delight us
And probably won't bite us,
But if we're mean, she may.

To Pez! Thou art so wack!
Thy lunch is in a sac(k)!
We love you guinea-way.

Lo and behold, at 2:30 a.m. on January 31st, Jonah Wilder Howard turns six years old. Which means his sister Emily Joy will be 28 in exactly one week. How in the world did this happen?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Beck 'n call

OK, if my arch blogrival Bighead Needleman can post a cartoon, so can I.
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Or maybe I can't. The HTML I copied for the image had six errors in it, which I (stunningly) was able to edit and finally get the image to load. BUT. Look at that goddamn thing! What a mess.

OK, I cede this round to Bighead. And I feel about the new Beck much as I did about the new Dylan after listening to it once. I need more time with it. This is also how I feel about deciding whether or not a picture of Salma Hayek is any good.

We have a new guinea pig in our house, a sixth birthday present that has occasioned much naming debate. What do you call a white female rodent with black patches who is terrified of her owners and their cat?

Well, if you learn that guinea pigs often eat their own turds and this amuses you tremendously because it means that "the guinea pig's tushy is like a Pez dispenser" (you're six, remember), then you might well call your guinea pig "Pez," last night's #1 name.

On the other paw, if you can't come up with many good girl names for your guinea pig, you might call her "Mrs. Bob."

Or, you might inexplicably settle on the name "Marbles," which, when I left for work this morning, was in serious contention.

When I get home in a couple of hours, I'll find out which of the three nominees has won the nominal award.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Torture, Yes. Habeas Corpus, No.

Caught an amazing clip of U.S. Atty. General Alberto Gonzales telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that the constitution doesn't guarantee the right of habeas corpus. Senators sat there gawking and sputtering as he explained that the wording merely guarantees that it can't be suspended (except under certain conditions) -- NOT that it's been granted in the first place.

That's pretty airtight logic there. If you don't give 'em the right to begin with, then you can't take it away and you haven't violated Article One by keeping people in prison forever. What else could we apply this to?

1st Amendment: It's not that you have the right to freedom of speech or to worship as you wish, it's that Congress shall pass no law prohibiting you from doing so. Pretty big loophole for the executive branch there...

2nd Amendment: It's not that you have the right to bear arms, it's that your non-existent right to bear arms can't be infringed upon.

Roe v. Wade: It's not that a woman has the right to an abortion, it's that no state can pass a law to take away that right... which doesn't exist....

Hmm, you have to be selective on this stuff. And speaking of Alberto's selectivity...

I just read that, over the past month or so, he's fired at least seven federal prosecutors working on various investigations of the Bush administration and GOP lawmakers. One of the prosecutors, Carole Lam, was the one who nailed Duke Cunningham on corruption. Still involved in several ongoing investigations, she's apparently become too troublesome. In her place, Gonzales has put a nice Republican lawyer -- who apparently will not require Senate confirmation, because that part of the process got stripped out in the most recent version of the Patriot Act.

Wow, gulag-style justice and a government purge.... Yippee, we're the new Soviet Union!

I also see that "Children of Men" only received three Oscar nominations -- screenplay, cinematography, and editing. No Cuaron, no Caine, no Clive, but Will Smith is up for best actor? How much injustice can we endure?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Magnificent Dystopia

My message today: GO SEE "CHILDREN OF MEN." I saw it twice over the weekend, cuz I couldn't believe my eyes the first time and had to make sure it was as great as I thought it was. First time, the darling spousette nearly left the theater because the despair and dread and sheer human agony in this movie just about did her in, but I came out thinking: I haven't been grabbed like that by a movie in years. Took my dad the second time, and thought: I haven't been grabbed like that by a movie in years, and I saw the same movie two days ago. Even better on a second viewing.

I'm not sure you can find a more perfectly realized dystopian world on film, and there have been some great ones (A Clockwork Orange, 1984, Brazil, the first hour of Minority Report, 28 Days Later -- isn't that the title of that great horror movie a couple of years ago, the one about the rage virus? -- to name but a few). I swear, this beats 'em all. I was sucked into it from the first scene, and never doubted it to the very end.

There's been a lot written about the uninterrupted eight-minute shot, and how Alfonso Cuaron rehearsed cast and crew for twelve days to get what may very well be the most complicated combat sequence every recorded in one go. I was all set to be amazed by this fabled shot, but was so caught up in the movie the first time that I completely forgot to look for it. The second time, I could barely believe what they pulled off in that eight minutes. It's as masterful a piece of directing, design, effects, and camerawork as I've ever seen. Gotta get my hands on a script, so I can see how much of the finished film is in the screenplay.

There's also the slowest yet most suspenseful chase scene ever, involving a car that has to be jump-started. And Clive Owen is superb. And Michael Caine is sublime. And Julianne Moore (spoiler! read no further if you haven't seen it!) does one of the best jobs of dying on film since my brother in Full Metal Jacket.

There's a topic for comments: Great film deaths. Who died and made you remember it?

I seem to recall Kevin Spacey's eyes going really dead in L.A. Confidential. I wonder if that was all him or if they did something in post-production to enhance the effect?

Probably my favorite film death of all time is the old Inuit guy in A Map of the Human Heart, alone on an ice floe, imagining a reunion with the woman who's been his soulmate since they were kids. Can't remember the actor's name. Jason Lee? Is that right? Anyway, it's not so much his performance as the cumulative effect of the story. Kills me every time.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My friend Jen

Jen Kostecki, brilliant artist and gal-about-globe, recently started a blog. I just added the link in my sidebar. Cuz I know how to add links. Cuz I'm a blogger, man. I blog.

So what if my shirt is stained and too big.

New year, new blogger software

So I upgraded to the new Blogger. I'm now using what Blogger describes as the Edward James Olmos version of its software, whereas before, I was using the Lorne Green version. I think it's a Battlestar Galactica analogy, which means I don't get it.

We'll see if this version can keep from ditching my sidebar links and hanging up when I try to post a message and not recognizing my password and generally being an enormous pain in the ass. For free. Like I should have a single complaint.

Happy new year to my vast readership
There's many a slip twixt the blog and the lip
Whatever that means -- th'aint no reason but rhyme
And my rhymes be dope and they show'p on time

The love child of Jay-Z and Richard Wilbur'd
Have nothin on me, nor would W.S. Gilbert
Not every rapper throw a phrase like "nor would"
Or stuffs a shirt of the size Al Gore would

Bighead just told me my shirt's too big
Cuz I'm a wee little man, not a three little pig
But I huff and puff and I rhyme like Nelly
Got a future as bright as a pork-type belly

Like Kool Moe D, I go to work like a boxer
Trained to maim and brain and outfox yer
However that goes -- my point is, damn
Wham, bam, happy new year, ma'am

I got over that flu bug and now, egad
I be puttin' the go back into gonad
Put the sin in Sinbad, the agh in Baghdad
My craze be prosy and my verse be mad
My pants be big and my boxers plaid
All the ho's in my videos be scantily clad
The Spulge is back and the Spulge is bad

OK, great, I just spilled salsa on my stupid, apparently oversized shirt. Fine. But I'm bloggin'.