Friday, October 27, 2006

Dr. McDreamy on-set smackdown!

A truce has been reached this week... no, not in Sudan, or Iraq, or North Korea, or any of those other real-world hot spots. No, there has been a ceasefire in the conflict that has consumed America for two weeks: the heated confrontation that occurred on the set of Grey's Anatomy between two of the show's hunky co-stars, Isaiah Washington and Patrick ("Dr. McDreamy") Dempsey.

Washington has now issued an apology for reportedly grabbing Dempsey by the throat and shoving him, as well as using a homophobic slur, on the set. It was said that the incident stemmed from rising tension due to a scene shot in close quarters, and from the lateness of one of the show's actors, T.R. Knight, who plays the intern George O'Malley. It's assumed that the homophobic remark was referring to Knight, who recently told People magazine that he is gay.

The two stars involved in the spat have confirmed that an incident occurred but are naturally trying to downplay it, as are other actors on the show. Washington issued a statement saying there had been a "difference of opinions" but noted that no punches were thrown; "our faces are too beautiful for that!" Glad to hear he's at least got a sense of humor about it... though he was the one grabbing and shoving.

Actress Katherine ("Izzie") Heigl also played down the incident on the Ellen DeGeneres Show this week, referring to it as "something silly and manly...there was a little burst of testosterone in the room and then within five minutes everything was totally fine." Hmmm.... that makes it sound like the two actors were in the locker room comparing the size of their members or something...

Just when you think you've seen everything possible that's silly and moronic in celebrityland, two actors have to get into in on the set. I wouldn't be surprised if it boosts the show's already stratospheric ratings.

Brad Pitt, the Wedgie King

Ever wonder how big-name movie stars cut the tension on a pressure-packed set? For Brad Pitt, the answer seems to be simple: he gives himself a wedgie.

According to an interview scheduled to appear in the 10/30 Entertainment Weekly, the A-list hunk is keeping things loose on the set of "Babel" by pulling up his pants to give himself a wedgie, then sticking out his rear end and waddling like a duck. "Babel" co-star supposedly calls the maneuver the "hungry bum." As Pitt elaborates, it's "when your bum's so hungry it's trying to eat your pants."

I can tell that Pitt's kids are going to grow up with some interesting habits... does Angelina know that her beloved is a self-wedgie king?

In other news from CPN (the Celebrity Pants Network), the High Court in Ireland has put off a decision on the ownership of a pair of pants and other items that were owned by U2 singer Bono.

Turns out that Lola Cashman, a former stylist for the band, was in possession of the pants, a Stetson hat, and other items and was trying to sell them at auction in 2002. She claims the items were given to her by the band when she worked for them in the 1980s. She wrote an unauthorized bio of the band called "Inside the Zoo with U2."

Bono told the court he would not have given away the items, which he said had "iconic" status.

Hmmm, if Bono's trousers have iconic status, then perhaps his male member is a veritable diety?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Who put this cheeseburger on my cat?

Wacky Web sites are nothing new. If they're lucky they'll get lots of hits and maybe even some coverage in the mainstream media. But the oddball photo site called "Stuff on My Cat" has taken on a life of its own (or would that be nine lives?)

The name says it all: the site contains photos of cats with all kinds of, well, *stuff* on them. I first heard of the site about a year ago when I saw a photo on the Internet of a cat sitting on all fours with one of those clear plastic salad-bar trays on its back–full of salad, of course. The Web site's owner started the site by putting things on his own cat, from office supplies to spare PC parts. Then the viewer-submitted photos started rolling in.

The Web site has featured all manner of cat-stuff photos since then, from cats wearing cutesy outfits like pirate get-up and baby clothes, to Christmas lights, a cheeseburger, and helmets made from an orange and an eggplant. According to Publisher's Weekly, the site has received more than 17 million hits since its launch less than a year and a half ago, and it was named one of the coolest sites of the year by Yahoo and GQ

The "Stuff on My Cat" juggernaut has now moved into the publishing industry with a book of the same name featuring photos from the Web site. Publisher Chronicle Books supposedly went through the first printing of 45,000 copies faster than a cat running from a garden hose, and another 15,000 copies are on the way. For its next act the publisher is now asking for booksellers to submit their best photo of a stuff-laden cat, with judging taking into account three categories, says Publisher's Weekly: "(1) funniest/cutest; (2) most literary and (3) the most shamelessly promoting Chronicle Books."

And there's more "Stuff" besides the book: the Stuff on My Cat Page-a-Day Calendar (and wall calendar), as well as a box of postcard featuring "Stuff" photos. What's next, Stuff: the TV Series?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

North Korea is muchly appreciating your harmonious commentings

Mr. Lunchpad, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is authorized to offer a heartful thankings for your welcome comments of our press office. Peace among all the world's people is foremost our scheme. Perhaps ones day you can explicate for us the meanings of your Web's name, "Coffee is for Closers"?

It may be intriguing to you this news from the site of our Web:
"General Secretary Kim Jong Il's famous work "Let Us Carry Out the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung's Instructions for National Reunification" was brought out in booklet on October 5 by the Publishing House of the Workers' Party of Mexico."

We wish no destruction of Americans, despite the bloodsuckling propaganda unleashed by your imperious leaders. In factual, I can say privately that manys party officials respect much the book "Sex" of the famous USA whoremistress Madonna Louise Ciccone, where she places her naked form adjacent in simulated carnal acts with various color peoples and animals. Such publishings lift the party members spirits and making them feel strong and hard.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pleasing Give Me Extra-Large Crime, Much-Flailed

If you enjoy the fractured English of Borat, the make-believe Kazhak character created by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (of "Da Ali G Show"), you'll love the real-life mangling of our language by the official North Korean news agency. After hearing some amusing, oddly worded statements from the North Koreans about their recent nuclear test, I gave up my job-hunting duties for an afternoon to seek out more of the creative verbal stylings of our comrades in Pyongyang.

Being almost totally isolated from the rest of the world, North Korea doesn't let too many English teachers from the West visit the country. As one of the few communist countries of the 20th century to actually stay true to communism, North Korea is full of revolutionary bluster and anti-imperialist claptrap. The North Korean news agency's (KCNA) official Web site heaps plenty of abuse on the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. And it has the odd tendency to use the word "flail" to mean criticize or assail, as in "U.S. Violation of Human Rights Flailed" and "Fascist Crackdown on Trade Union in S. Korea Flailed." Go figure.

Explaining the country's withdrawal from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the North Koreans argued "the USA is creating an energetic crisis." Regarding NK's recent nuclear explosion, the agency said, "The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent."

Another news release called Japan "'a political dwarf,' which refuses even to honestly repent of its past crimes including extra-large crimes of human rights abuses." But those venti or grande abuses are apparently not all those naughty Japanese are up to: "Japan is getting all the more unscrupulous in its inborn bad habit of trying to feather its own nest by hurling calumny at others."

South Korea also regularly gets whipped with the rhetorical wet noodle, with the North Koreans calling a leading South Korean political party "a group of man-killers." And referring to a recent South Korean arms test, the leaders from the north "bitterly denounce the South Korean bellicose forces for developing a latest type dangerous weapon in pursuance of confrontation and war between fellow countrymen to serve the U.S. in its moves for a war against the north." If that wasn't enough of a mouthful, the article continues, "Only stern judgment and merciless punishment of history and the nation await the traitorous forces which bring only misfortune and disasters to the nation, toeing outside forces' policy of aggression."

Of course, no communist country's news service would be complete without heaping breathless praise and adoration upon the nation's fearless leaders. A recent celebration of the Korean communist party's 61st anniversary was apparently quite the joyous occasion nationwide, with events including an art exhibit, no less. "On display at the venues," a press release notes, "were famous works of the peerlessly great persons and photographs showing the 60-odd-year history of the WPK shinning with victory and glory." North Korean youth "also celebrated the day with songs and dances overflowing with revolutionary mettle and optimism." Shinn on, all you heavy mettle dudes...

You can find all this great and happy news at the Web site for the Korea News Service in Japan. I feel I should mention this because, as the site notes, "Re-use of any material on this home page without credit to Korea News Service (KNS) is prohibited." And I don't want these guys coming to my home and doing anything like flailing me with a most merciless beating of the glorious anti-imperialist wet noodle.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Major pollution source discovered: animal poop

There are plenty of man-made causes of pollution, from car exhaust to smokestack emissions to factory waste dumped in streams. But scientists have discovered an unexpected force in despoiling our environment: animal waste from all kinds of critters, including those cutesy ones that add that homey touch to our lakes and fields.

As reported recently in the Washington Post, states including Virginia and Maryland have come to the realization that animal waste plays a significant role in water pollution. That local pond you love, for example, is made more beautiful by the geese that frolic in and around it. But those beautiful geese are also constantly taking a dump in the water, contributing to high levels of harmful bacteria.

Another problem is that runoff from manure in pastures and farms ends up in nearby waterways. In some of the studies wildlife was a bigger contributor to water pollution than humans.

And that's not all. Scientists noted years ago that one of the major sources of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is what they technically call "bovine flatulence"––yep, that would be cows farting! Think about how many cows and steers there are in the world and you can see (if not smell) the magnitude of the problem. Makes sense to me: I've met some humans who were practically farting machines and, unlike cows, they only had one stomach, as opposed to the five a cow has.

So what's the answer––specially made Pampers for geese and cows? Gasmask-style filtering devices to be placed on cows' posteriors? Pooper-scooper laws to make ducks clean up after themselves? Or maybe we can get Robert DeNiro to toilet-train animals as he did with that cat in Meet the Parents...

Paris punched, Madonna baby-shopping, T.O. for kids

Spanning the globe to find only the most absurd celebrity news, here are the latest bizarre goings-on with those oh-so-special Beautiful People, along with your correspondent's quick-take on the topic.

* PARIS POPPED: Paris Hilton claims Shanna Moakler punched her in the face. Moakler, a former Miss USA and contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" this season, claims she was attacked by Hilton's ex-beau Stavros Niarchos. He supposedly twisted her wrist, doused her with a drink, and pushed her down some stairs. Hilton complains that Moakler swore at her, then gave Hilton a fist to the jaw. Hilton has been linked with Moakler's ex-husband Travis Barker, drummer forBlink 182, but Hilton's publicist says they are "just friends." You almost need a scorecard to keep it all straight.

My take: With "friends" like these, who needs enemies? Maybe Paris has a future as a professional wrestler... she must have talent at something, right?

* MADONNA KEEPING UP WITH THE JOLIES?: Madge visited an orphanage in the poor African country of Malawi, but denied she was looking to adopt a child. Is she looking to latch onto a celebrity trend by adopting from developing countries, a la Angelina Jolie?

My take: If Madonna is adopting, she's got a long way to go to catch Mia Farrow, who's adopted about a dozen kids from different countries. And when Madge's daughters get older, will she give them those pointy boob-cones instead of training bras?

* TERRELL OWENS'S SOFT SIDE: NFL bad boy T.O. has joined the overcrowded list of celebs (see Madonna above) who has written a book for children. Entitled "Little T Learns to Share," the book "depicts the travails of Owens as a boy learning to share his new football with friends," according to Publishers Weekly.

My take: Haven't seen an advance copy, but am wondering if the book will have chapters like "Don't be afraid to criticize your classmates if they're jerks," "How not to O.D. on candy," and "Demand a trade if your teacher sucks."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Club Gitmo? Terror detainees get fat on hi-cal diet

The U.S. detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are getting fat. Part of it is the fact that they are kept in their cells virtually all the time, with limited chance for exercise. But the other factor is that they are given the chance to consume a high-calorie diet that surpasses what low-income Americans have to live on, and is certainly more than what these prisoners ate before they were captured.

The prisoners are getting meals totaling 4,200 calories brought to their cells every day, according to an Associated Press article posted today. U.S. dietary guidelines range from 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day for men to maintain their weight. Prisoners are not forced to eat so much, but rather they are offered a wide selection of foods and some detainees are apparently eating everything put in front of them. (The article notes that prisoners in Federal jails get an average of 2,900 calories.)

The Navy commander in charge of Gitmo notes that the detainees are offered a wide choice of foods for the sake of variety, and certain foods are included so the detainees can comply with Muslim dietary guidelines. The commander also says that prisoners are told that eating all the food offered to them will cause weight gain, but that doesn't stop some from going overboard. Gitmo detainees have gained an average of 20 pounds, and one man has ballooned to over 400 pounds, almost double his pre-Gitmo weight.

As in American prisons, detainees who comply with regulations and don't cause trouble get more exercise time. According to the commander, detainees who are very compliant get up to 12 hours of exercise time a week and have access to treadmills, stationary bikes, and other equipment.

Is this high-calorie diet a plot to make the detainees as overweight and sluggish as the average American? Maybe once they get really heavy they'll adopt the common American mindset and start asking for things like Frappuccinos, Sony VAIO notebook computers, free wi-fi, Blackberrys, and HBO? And if they're forced to live without these American staples maybe they'll start to feel so deprived they'll begin to offer more valuable information to interrogators for the chance to get these goodies.

Or maybe the idea is to clog the detainees' arteries so badly that angioplasty will be held out as a premium benefit, given only to those who offer the most high-value intel.

Now, I wouldn't argue for a minute that being a prisoner in a cage, even in a climate as balmy as Cuba's, is a vacation, or that getting a lot of good food compensates for having one's freedom taken away. But I have to think that at least some of these prisoners might be thinking that they're better off now that before they were captured. They're no longer marching to the orders of Bin Laden's harsh jihadi regimen, they aren't having to living in too-close quarters with a bunch of men who haven't bathed in weeks, and they can breathe deeply without choking on the smell of stale camel piss.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Just give me the %&$*@# beer!!

There can be endless arguments over which beer is best. But the owner of a Bavarian-style bar in Glasgow, Scotland is running afoul of the law over the proper glassware in which he must serve his beverages.

As reported by German radio network Deutsche Welle, this pub owner sells his beer--which meets stringent German beer purity standards--in traditional half-liter and liter sized German steins and glasses. But in Britain it's actually a criminal offense to serve draft beer in those quantities. Although Britain is part of the European Union and must use the metric system for almost all measures, the UK has managed to get an exception from the EU to use the pint measure for beer, milk, and cider, because of the pint's longstanding, integral in the British Isles.

I'm not sure which is sillier--England's law that beer must be sold in pint measures, or the EU's rule that demands that make it illegal to sell most goods in traditional British Imperial measures such as pounds, pints, and feet. In 2001, an English grocer was actually prosecuted for selling a pound of bananas, instead of whatever was the equivalent number of grams.

I'm glad to know that in the U.S. I can order a cold one in a pint, glass, or even a dirty Mason jar if I want. I'm heading to the fridge right now for a frosty brew... all this talk about laws and measurements is making me thirsty.