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ABF Friday:  Special End-of-Year Edition!

In my last few plane trips, despite what I thought were decent and sincere efforts to comply with the new regulations barring dangeral liquids on board the aircraft, I have managed to pack toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream, aftershave, and shampoo.  All of these things are now in the possession of the Transportation Security Agency.  I have also had one of my bags combed through because it contained a dread asthma inhaler.  I have therefore come to the conclusion that the “liquids” ban was implemented not in response to a possible terrorist threat but in response to pressure from the powerful personal hygiene industry.

And I’m sorry I can’t manage a proper year-end sendoff this year.  If you want to read one of those things, just read last year’s or the exuberant end-of-December post from this blog’s first year.  Once again, I wish you all a most Merry Molochmas and very pagan New Year, or whatever it is you all celebrate these days; I thank you for reading this humble and tired blog; and I invite you to contribute some end-of-year cheer to one of Left Blogistan’s very finest, the inimitable and resolutely genderless Digby

Almost forgot!  My Michael Medved Show appearance with Elizabeth Kantor is now available here.  Many (unironic) thanks to Ms. Kantor for reading my book and criticizing it repeatedly on a show that was arranged primarily to promote her book!  And you know, speaking of books, Rhetorical Occasions really does make a fine stocking-stuffer.  Just imagine the terrified looks on your loved ones’ faces as they tear off the wrapping and find themselves face to face with an enormous ghostly floating head!

Today’s ABF exercise is pedestrian but (thankfully) brief.  What was the best thing about 2006?  What was the worst?  Extra special bonus points to people who can name something that was simultaneously the best and worst thing about 2006.  And I’ll see you all in 2007. . . .

Posted by on 12/22 at 08:36 AM
  1. The GNF did not arrive.

    ... as of now, at least.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  10:01 AM
  2. Wow...JP nailed it on the first comment. I think I’ll refrain from any further suggestions. Instead, I’ll shamelessly plug: For those of you who haven’t sent all your holiday cards, see my friend Jaime’s collection over at The Nonist. The kneeling child is my favorite of the bunch.

    Thanks to all visitors and commenters for another (very) interesting and fun year on MB’s blog.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  10:14 AM
  3. The Temptations sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer.” I’m told those pesky raisins have covered it, too.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  12/22  at  10:41 AM
  4. Paypal donation made to Digby (via this site) from the Ministry of Justice. (Not the best/worst thing, just reporting).

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/22  at  10:58 AM
  5. Best Political Moment: Democrats win back the House and Senate.

    Most Amusing and Secretly Satisfying Political Moment: Hugo Chavez calls Bush ‘the Devil’ on the floor of the UN General Assembly.

    Worst Political Moment: Mary Cheney is pregnant.
    Say it ain’t so.


    Posted by  on  12/22  at  11:22 AM
  6. B and W: The Weblog Awards!

    B and W: JoePa turns 80.

    Posted by A. G. Rud  on  12/22  at  11:28 AM
  7. Professor Bérubé,

    OK, it may not be simultaneously the-best-and-worst thing about 2006, but it’s definitely a simultaneously good-and-bad moment of cultural revelation. About 30 minutes into your conversation with Dr. Kantor, you astutely note “a serious disagreement,” concerning differences between your and her perspectives on “Western Civilization,” “the Enlightenment,” and “Christianity.” Your explanation leads to this exchange (around the 32 minute mark--forgive the poor transcription):

    Medved: Dr. Kantor, do you believe that Professor Bérubé’s ideas-system--or Professor Bérubé individually--is evil? 

    Kantor: I don’t believe Professor Bérubé is evil at all. I--I--I--think he’s--uh--I think his idea of basing morality and justice on--that is contingent on nothing--I guess I’d say that’s evil.

    Bérubé: [inaudible--perhaps you can tell us what you said]

    Medved: OK, we’ve got evil ideas, but not necessarily an evil individual. Maybe--maybe--we’re getting somewhere on the Michael Medved Show…

    This is probably a “res ipsa loquitur” moment, but one thought occurs: if Dr. Kantor has not read James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824), she certainly ought to do so.

    Lead-in by Michael Medved to the show: “And another great day in this greatest nation on God’s green earth”; and again in the closing moments: “...in this greatest nation on God’s green earth...”

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  11:45 AM
  8. Extra special bonus points to people who can name something that was simultaneously the best and worst thing about 2006.

    That’s easy, if I go for the resolutely self-absorbed: my dog.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  12/22  at  12:15 PM
  9. Best and worst thing; reading about Zeke.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  12:29 PM
  10. 2006 has been a bumper year of bad from the POV of the humble mass consumer of “news”. Worst for me was the monster that executed Amish school girls. And then families of the victims show up to mourn the murderer, an incredible act of commitment that passes with barely a notice.

    Really depressing follow up: where does that badness rank with the badnesses coming from Iraq, Darfur, and nameless places?

    Where is that GNF?

    Posted by black dog barking  on  12/22  at  12:36 PM
  11. Best: Britney Spears’s missing panties.

    Worst: Britney Spears’s missing panties.




    Posted by  on  12/22  at  01:36 PM
  12. Best: Adiós Santorum, Pombo & Rummy!
    Worst: all those needlessly dead people.

    Pretty interesting: Deval Patrick, the Governer-elect of Massachusetts, is the son of Pat Patrick, Sun Ra’s baritone sax player for 40 years.

    Space is the place, but Massachsetts will have to do for now.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  01:47 PM
  13. Best: Tom Delay’s political career comes to an abrupt end.

    Worst: The Decider continues to make (horrendous) decsisions.

    Best and worst simultaneously: The performance of the Texas Longhorn football team.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  01:58 PM
  14. Best and worst, simultaneously?  The 2006 elections, known at Wonkette as Cocktober and Blovember.

    Cocktober and Blovember.

    Captcha: hope, I hope this works!

    Posted by ifthethunderdontgetya  on  12/22  at  02:05 PM
  15. Of all the rotten things that have happened this year, the year’s very best attribute is that nothing was so bad as to eclipse the other contenders for worst thing.

    On a personal note, I discovered some wonderful new cheeses, but realized that some injustices are doomed to last forever and that I may actually be living Barney’s Version.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  12/22  at  02:07 PM
  16. ifthethunderdontgetya: hyperlinks worked for me. I have a feeling that the engine extracts links from the submitted text based on a regular expression that expects to see double quotes around the url, and turns everything else in html printable special characters.

    Or said another way, enclose http://whatever.com in double quotes.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  12/22  at  02:23 PM
  17. CCP is correct. You just need quotes around the path. I fixed it for you..

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  02:27 PM
  18. The best and worst of 2006 is the same as it ever was: media in the US.  Of course that ratio runs 1:5 or so, thus one good film produces five horrible movies; one good CD release becomes five really tasteless pop horrors, etc.  Each of us can easily build our own list of these from which to choose much like versions of soundtracks and our preferential white noise generations. 

    Still pondering why the 2006 MSM was able to embellish so many stories of exposed shaved vulvas with nary a mention of a single celebrity phallus?? What happened to the GTO’s and the Plastercasters, now that we are stuck with Pussycat Dolls and Girls Aloud???  Girls Gone Wild videos are re-raised by Miss Nevada, Miss Teen USA, and Miss USA all in one week.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  03:44 PM
  19. I’ll skip the best and worst for now to say that it seems appropriate, during this bibulous season at the close of the year, to raise a glass and say goodbye to

    Red Auerbach
    Wilson Pickett
    Kirby Puckett
    Susan Butcher
    Ellen Willis
    Stanislaw Lem
    Floyd Patterson
    Ann Richards
    Syd Barrett
    Naguib Mahfouz
    and others I’ve neglected to remember

    And, to raise a second glass and say good riddance to

    Alfredo Stroessner
    Slobodan Milosevic
    Augusto Pinochet
    Ta Mok
    P. W. Botha

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  03:50 PM
  20. rh:  about that most interesting exchange. . . .

    Medved: Dr. Kantor, do you believe that Professor Bérubé’s ideas-system--or Professor Bérubé individually--is evil?

    Kantor: I don’t believe Professor Bérubé is evil at all. I--I--I--think he’s--uh--I think his idea of basing morality and justice on--that is contingent on nothing--I guess I’d say that’s evil.

    Bérubé: [inaudible--perhaps you can tell us what you said]

    Medved: OK, we’ve got evil ideas, but not necessarily an evil individual. Maybe--maybe--we’re getting somewhere on the Michael Medved Show…

    First of all, my remark was inaudible because it was uttered in Hebrew, and I was calling down the wrath of Moloch on mine enemies.

    But on second thought, my editor and I have come to the conclusion that “evil ideas, but not necessarily an evil individual” should be the lead blurb on the paperback.

    Posted by Michael  on  12/22  at  03:53 PM
  21. We can’t call me CCP anymore, for there is another! And he, I understand, has a greater claim on the initials than I do. Perhaps I need a new handle? I’ll let the GNF collective rename me. The patented GNF anti-foundational truth engine is far more qualified to name me than I will ever be.

    captcha: John. Not john please.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  12/22  at  04:01 PM
  22. ”...something that was simultaneously the best and worst thing about 2006.”

    I’ll nominate the coerced resignation of Michael Brown from FEMA. It was certainly deserved, but the Administration seems to have dodged any higher-reaching accountability by tossing Brown to the vultures. “Really, Mr. Spade, I feel about Wilmer as though he were my own son… no, the idea is too ridiculous. We’ll say no more about it.”

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  04:27 PM
  23. IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

    And then Michael Bérubé, international professor of dangerl studies, upset the natural balance of the universe and proclaimed the coming of the GNF and changed our lives forever.


    Courtesy of spyder, MOOAD
    Bill Benzon, MVP

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  12/22  at  04:31 PM
  24. Greeting Comrade Central Content Publisher, formerly known as CCP.

    I have an idea; why don’t we simply add a “C” to your handle and thus let you draw upon a rich history of hope and exploitation?

    The beauty of “CCCP” is that the former bearers of this handle are technically kaput. Unless you do something truly heinous to tick off their successors (like perhaps investigate the murder of a female reporter who tried to bring government corruption to light), you should be safe from being poisoned by radiation.

    “CCCP” is a world-known Latin graphical rendition of the Russian acronym for the Soviet Union. The state emblem of the Soviet Union (corresponding to a coat of arms) had the Earth superimposed by the hammer and sickle. Two bundles of corn ears heavily draped with a scroll, reading in all the 15 SSR languages the motto “Workers of the World, Unite!”; the bundles encircle an earth globe (viewed approx. from the vertical of the Black Sea) showing solid continents and coordinate lines in 20 deg. intervals. On it a hammer and a sickle, crossed per saltire, in naturalistic look. Under the globe a rising sun with alternating long and short rays made of single lines (approx. 30 visible rays); above the globe a red star.


    Posted by  on  12/22  at  05:03 PM
  25. Works for me. But what would the extra “C” stand for and where would it go? It could, of course, just be a “C” and go in any one of three places.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  12/22  at  05:13 PM
  26. CCCP - also works for Central Centre County, Pennsylvania.

    But what would the extra “C” stand for and where would it go?


    Posted by  on  12/22  at  05:18 PM
  27. But what would the extra “C” stand for and where would it go?

    For “pseudonymous,” of course.

    Hey, if it can have a silent P, it can have an invisible C.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  12/22  at  05:27 PM
  28. The additional, not extra “C” would stand for “Court”...duh!

    Speaking of which, there’s an outstanding arrest warrant out for PZ Myers for sexual harassment and stalking against “Astaroth 2006.” If this thread starts getting too tired before year’s end, y’all just say the word and the Ministry of Justice will pursue it.

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/22  at  05:30 PM
  29. Court of the Central Content Publisher?
    Central Court Content Publisher?
    Central Content Court Publisher?

    I like CC’s suggestion better, the silent C for “pseudonymous.”

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  12/22  at  05:35 PM
  30. No, no, no! The “C” for “Court” is not literal, it’s spiritual, or philisophical, if you will. In any event, it’s about a WAAGNFNP state of mind. Let outsiders wonder what the “other” C stands for.

    captcha - call, as in “A call to action!”

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/22  at  05:40 PM
  31. And here I thought it stood for Cookie, or Cauliflower, or something.

    Posted by C Monster  on  12/22  at  05:49 PM
  32. Hmmm… I am a little alarmed that Comrade Clarke would no longer be alone in having silent and non-functional letters in his name. This proliferation of so-called “auxilliary” letters among party members will make it harder to prosecute such decadence.


    captcha: plans, as in “Let’s develop some four year plans to equally distribute and rotate auxilliary letters among WAAGNFNP party members.”

    PS: Now that I notice it, “WAAGNFNP” also seems to bear an unusual share of silent or unpronouncable letters, does it not?

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  05:52 PM
  33. Er… upon reflecting more carefully on my own name, I think it may be alright for Comrade CC(C)P to have an invisible “C” in his name.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  06:05 PM
  34. Best & worst: Time declares You the person of the year; and the GNF is heralded & summoned. To me, this can mean only one thing:


    Posted by  on  12/22  at  06:33 PM
  35. I don’t know about this ‘okay’ business.  I’m all for the extra ‘C’, but shouldn’t we have a show trial first?

    P.S. Thanks Kurt!

    P.P.S. captcha: case

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  06:36 PM
  36. Facetiously, the best and worst is to have the Stanley Cup on Tobacco Road.

    More seriously, the best and worst is the hooplah associated with the return of football and basketball to New Orleans; progress is being made, sure, and it’s good to draw attention to it. But, should professional sports be the first priority in rebuilding?

    Capcha: however.

    Posted by alice  on  12/22  at  07:17 PM
  37. Alice is wrong.  The great thing about the Saints’ winning record is that it gives us all hope . . . hope that we can forget about whatever the hell happened in New Orleans and whatever the hell is continuing to happen in New Orleans.  So:  pay no attention to that cable movie that guy made about the levees.  Pay no attention to who’s getting paid and who’s not in this “rebuilding.” Go Saints!

    Posted by Michael  on  12/22  at  07:35 PM
  38. Hope is the best thing and the worst thing about every year.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  07:38 PM
  39. I attended a reunion at some effete ivy league institution in New Haven this past May.  (Apparently, I’m a year older or thereabouts than that youngster, Michael.)

    There was a seminar about what was going on, regarding alleged rebuilding in N.O., featuring actual New Orleans dwelling alumni.

    Summary: not so much.  And my job, which isn’t fun (because it’s work), has some peripheral information, which confirms that ‘not so much’.

    Captcha:  part

    Captcha interpretation (just as in 2001, Space Odyssey, all important):  part of this country has profited from Bush’s promises.  The very small, yet very rich, part.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  07:46 PM
  40. When the Saints Go Marching In, by Springsteen and Seeger Band. & a pretty decent horn player using a plunger mute, New Orleans style. Get out your box of facial tissues.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  12/22  at  08:01 PM
  41. Cpseudonymous Central Content Publisher:  Excellent adaptation!

    From now on I’ll be reading your name to myself as “thrisippy”, as in the SCTV episodes with Dave Thomas and Ric Moranis as the on-air announcers at Soviet TV channel “thrisippyone.”

    Best thing: election results, particularly Jim Webb.

    Worst thing: We’re still in Iraq.

    Posted by Nell  on  12/22  at  08:19 PM
  42. The Best & Worst Thing of 2006: The bankruptcy and destruction of the United States Empire.

    Posted by sfmike  on  12/22  at  09:21 PM
  43. Best: Jim Webb beating the macaca out of Noose Chaw Allen. Okay, it was close, but macaca indeed was in play. I’m hoping Webb will become that statesman we’re hungering for. (I’m a sucka that way, still.)

    Worst: In Wyoming politics—where’s everyone going?—Gary Trauner lost our sole House seat, by a scant few votes, to a dispicable and typical ReThug incumbent. Man, that hurt. Gary is the sort of soul who goes on to save entire nations.

    Personal best: being asked if I was having an affair with so-and-so. Tremendous ego boost if you know what she looks like, then me.

    Best/worst: yesterday I was asked to shoot (photos, which is a type of shooting in the face) a winter carnival. Today I learned that the vice president of a well-known country— you’d recognize his name right away—was going to be there. Moments later my cell phone rang; I was awkwardly un-hired. My sassy ‘tude in matters autocratic is well known around here.

    Flattering to be a known the enemy though I’d liked having the face time and stock shots.

    Posted by David J Swift  on  12/22  at  10:30 PM
  44. Media Matters version of 2006’s most vicious batshit hatemongering-- with Coulter getting credit for 3 of the top 11 most vile comments.  These are some doozies.

    Posted by  on  12/22  at  11:15 PM
  45. Best: not all of the elections were fixed.
    Worst: still not enough torches and pitchforks.

    Posted by George  on  12/23  at  12:05 AM
  46. Michael—I just fired off those Philly suggestions to you.  Sorry for the late reply.  I wish I could blame it on too much nog.

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  04:15 AM
  47. To go along with spyder’s list of vicious quotes, here’s a huge list of “funny” Bush quotes from 2006.

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  04:15 AM
  48. Posted by  on  12/23  at  12:21 PM
  49. Except, oops, it wasn’t MB the action man who took action in the matter of the tinkling piano music. It was Vincent Leitch, apparently, who took action. It was MB who sat around making remarks about stuff, as I discovered when I read SEK’s post again just now.

    Anyone know where can I find a “Living With Alectographia” support group?

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  12:38 PM
  50. Except that you remembered MB as the Action Man, which is just as important in some way of which I am not certain.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  12/23  at  12:42 PM
  51. Because he is, in fact, an Action Man. He used to be the Answer Man, but that persona seems to have been reintegrated.

    That panel, by the way, also introduced me to Scott McLemee, of whom I instantly became a big fan. Scott McLemee, if you’re out there, I read what you write! In Inside Higher Ed, anyway.

    Almost makes me wish I was going to MLA this year.

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  12:55 PM
  52. new vistas of smartassery

    I think we have a winner here.

    Because he is, in fact, an Action Man.

    A seven-star action man. Wonder if he’ll wear the cap to the MLA?

    Cap of the Supreme Commander

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  12/23  at  01:27 PM
  53. My favorite moment was on election night, around 11pm or so, when Chris Matthews on MSNBC listed a bunch of the GOP candidates who had lost, then said, fully incredulous, “Hey--These guys aren’t nobodies, either—these are people **I** know!!”

    I wish I could find the transcript.

    My least favorite moment was realizing losing Congress might make Bush more likely to bomb Iran, increase troops in Iraq, and generally go even more dangerously nuts.

    But that Matthews remark still makes me smile.

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  01:29 PM
  54. I got a message from the Action Man.  He said, “I’m happy, hope you’re happy too.”

    Actually what happened at that session was that Jeff Williams’ talk kept getting interrupted by multimedia-happy doofs and their tinkling piano music, and Jeff looked over at me quizzically at one point, and I said, “it’s a talk about James Weldon Johnson,” half beat, “but I’m listening to you.” Then Vince the Action Man actually did something useful, and inadvertently locked himself out of our room, so I turned to the room and said, “should we let him back in?”

    I apologize for just sitting around making remarks about stuff.  But it is what I do best.  And that’s why they call me the Reaction Man!  Well, that and the GNF, of course.

    Posted by Michael  on  12/23  at  01:42 PM
  55. Ever since I discovered David Bowie (one of the true best things about 2006, I know, I know… I am pathetically behind the times), I’ve loved his songs about the Action Man.

    I finally had a look at the lyrics for “Ashes to Ashes,” though, and realized that they are not quite as weird and interesting as my imagination made them out to be. I used to think it was the litte grey *wings* that were following him.

    And pervert that I am, I always thought the line “funk to funky” was something a little more risque. But nevermind, it’s still an awesome song and David Bowie is major cool.

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  02:03 PM
  56. Oh yeah… thanks to the Internets and iTunes, 2006 was also the year in which I finally came upon Jimi Hendrix, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And thanks to YouTube, I was able to see footage of Yves Klein’s
    Anthropométries. You have to check this wacky stuff out! Karen Finley looks like Laura Ingalls in comparison…


    Posted by  on  12/23  at  02:10 PM
  57. Action Man, Dynamic Physique

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  02:40 PM
  58. Hey, isn’t that John Kerry?

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  02:42 PM
  59. I now have the persistent mental image of a naked Melissa Gilbert pouring chocolate sauce on herself. Thanks ever so much, Funkault.

    Captcha: “degree,” as in “I’m betting this comment boosts visits from Google searches to a significant”

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  12/23  at  02:46 PM
  60. Oh dear… a shiny naked Gilbert *is* a bit unsettling, isn’t it? Sort of like being aroused by a baby seal. :(

    Thank heavens you didn’t see the performance where Finley pretended to be Martha Stewart in a hotel room with George W. Bush. Now I know that Stewart is no angel, but that scenario is just plain disgusting…

    I am tempted to explain why Finley has a grudge against Stewart, but maybe I will save that for our next steel-cage death match

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  02:59 PM
  61. My thanks and best holiday wishes go to Dr. Bérubé for this entertaining and challenging blog. (Sweet, too, for his stories about Jamie.) And to you, you often inscrutable posters, too.

    I don’t know when the GNF will arrive, but when it finally does, I’ll know that

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    (Graffiti by Banksy.)

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  06:08 PM
  62. “I’m betting this comment boosts visits from Google searches to a significant”

    I suppose that would depend upon the kind of chocolate sauce as to its viscosity for pouring depending up on its temperature in degrees.  Obviously some of the sauce was so hot it required shades. 

    I also have to thank whomever it is/was for the Bushisms.  There are several that got past the usual radar and well worth the read.  Thanks for this:
    “This morning my administration released the budget numbers for fiscal 2006. These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are the actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th.”

    Posted by  on  12/23  at  06:11 PM
  63. Seriously, Michael, I don’t understand how you can have so much patience with nutjobs like Cantor.  I mean, this Dr. Kantor isn’t even an academic, and yet here she is holding forth on academic tendencies.  I’m listening as I write, and I can barely contain my rage both at her adolescent, whiny reductions of what actually happens in a literature course (I mean, has she surveyed every friggin’ lit. course at every friggin’ university to corroborate this view?  Did she even read your book?) and Medved’s tacit approval of her position.  Why aren’t you screaming at this lunacy?  I would have lost it as soon as Kantor opened her mouth…

    All the same, keep on doing the good work…


    Posted by  on  12/24  at  09:42 AM
  64. One more thing, Michael: I’ve scoured the internet looking for reviews of Kantor’s book, and I can only find the usual crap on Amazon.com (you know, white dudes emerging from their caves thinking, “AHA! We are vindicated; we shall rise again!").  So, if you’re not too put upon--and really, I know better--could you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE savage this book in a TLS review, or the LRB, or the NYT?  It would be the best Christmas present I could possibly ask for…


    Posted by  on  12/24  at  10:21 AM
  65. Best of 2006: TV on the Radio’s *Return to Cookie Mountain*

    Worst of 2006: Lindsay Lohan’s Blackberry-composed sentiments on the death of Robert Altman

    Simultaneous best/worst of 2006 (the Hegelian identity-of-identity-and-difference award): pictures of Britney Spears getting out of a limo (and if you know what I’m talking about, don’t get all high and mighty at me!  just saying)

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  12:07 PM
  66. My best list will be a set of very personal choices, but here goes:

    The year began on a very high note (literally) with Janet Cardiff’s indescribably beautiful installation at MOMA, a simple yet sublime arrangement of 40 voices, each coming from a single black speaker arrayed in a large oval, singing Thomas Tallis’s “Spem in Alium.” In my humble opinion, this installation should be a fixture at the sites of the 20th century’s great horrors, voices raised in a petition to remember their anguish and humiliation.

    The year (almost) closed with an equally moving event (at least for me): the release of Thomas Pynchon’s long-awaited Against the Day which, though I have not yet read it, contains an ending paragraph worthy of such a great writer.

    Expected best (at least of a certain sort) for 2007: the release of the restored version of Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz.

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  04:55 PM
  67. Dear Eric J-D or anyone who has a clue:

    Case of the Missing Tallis:  When I saw the film version of Scott Turow’s “Presumed Innocent” during its first run a number of years ago, the “outro” music over the rolling credits was the Tallis “Spem in Alium” (best part of the film, so far as I was concerned).  But when I caught the same flick on cable the other week, the outro had completely different music--nothing remotely classical, let alone Tudor polyphony.  Anyone have an explanation?


    Posted by  on  12/24  at  06:20 PM
  68. For worst in blogoramaville, at least, The Editors have collected it all for us in one neat little package:


    Posted by The Constructivist  on  12/24  at  10:50 PM
  69. James Joseph Brown, Jr., May 3, 1933—December 25, 2006, the hardest working man in show business. Cause of death has not yet been determined.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  12/25  at  08:40 AM
  70. Oh yeah, almost forgot… I hope everyone has a great winter celebratory period. Of course, with the exception of James Brown’s passing.

    Posted by Centrally Certified Content Publisher  on  12/25  at  03:25 PM
  71. Nothing romantic or infamous or weird or nefarious; just sick as it appears (captcha) in the latest obit:
    James Brown, the rhythm-and-blues singer known as the ``Godfather of Soul,’’ died this morning at an Atlanta hospital of congestive heart failure as a result of pneumonia, his agency Intrigue Music said today

    I still have never yet figured out how he claimed to have been addicted to PCP.  Ketamine maybe, but PCP?? He sure could perform though.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  05:24 PM
  72. My mind is officially blown: Amanda, I didn’t catch your last name, so I didn’t realize that you were you all these many months. 

    (If my memory and/or hearing weren’t so poor, I wouldn’t put myself in this position so often.)

    Posted by Scott Eric Kaufman  on  12/25  at  05:47 PM
  73. Of course, with the exception of James Brown’s passing.

    … and everybody agreed that it had been the best Senior Year for the best Senior Class ever at C. Estes Kefauver Memorial High except for the tragic deaths of Howard Havermeyer and President Kennedy and the car accident after the Prom.

    - National Lampoon’s 1964 High School Yearbook Parody.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  09:35 PM
  74. Oh, and the first comment to this post was always already written as The GNF did not arrive.

    I merely added the “as of now”.

    Posted by  on  12/25  at  09:47 PM
  75. Alex Ross links to an excellent collection of James Brown audio and video recordings.


    Posted by  on  12/25  at  10:16 PM
  76. As for GNF, Kefauver High, and that band of reknown, is there any other relevance to the fact that the special mid-east advisor to pResident Cheney is named Wurmser? 

    aside: if you don’t own a copy of that special Kaleidescope yearbook mentioned by JP Stormcrow, you are missing the chance to have the best reference source for hundreds of names built on the premise: I. P. Freely.

    Posted by  on  12/26  at  01:42 PM
  77. Best: Jim Webb thinking about punching out W in the White House.
    Worst: Not actually doing it!

    Captcha is trial, as in the resulting trial on assault charges would have been interesting.

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  11:15 AM
  78. There will be a very important bulletin from the WAAGNFPN’s Ministry of Justice,(MOJ), and Ministry of Offense and Defense (MOOAD) coming early this afternoon Pacific time.

    It won’t be quite as refreshing as Jim Webb punching out Bush, but we’ll get to take out our frustrations about that not actually happening on someone else’s ass. Stay tuned.

    captcha - “also” - You can also expect some fun things from the Ministry of Visual Propaganda as well.

    Yours in Service,

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/27  at  01:03 PM
  79. Someone gave me a stack of National Lampoons to look at back when I was in high school. Naturally, the two articles that stuck vividly in my mind were of the “sick and twisted” variety. Was that magazine always like that?

    - eco2geek
    (#47 and #61 were me, too)

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  02:22 PM
  80. The WAAGNFNP constitution was apparently violated when Berdymukhammedov (i.e. Oak Town Girl), previously a deputy prime minister, was named acting president, superseding the speaker of parliament’s lower house, Chris Clarke. Under constitutional rules, the speaker should have become acting president.

    Clarke has meanwhile been placed under criminal investigation on corruption charges, according to state news media.

    more here :


    turkeyday.jpg width=300

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  03:21 PM

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


    Last week, the modern incarnation of our Patron/ess Demon/ess, “Astaroth 2006” (seen here during the Glorious Chris Clarke Show Trial at #179) filed a formal complaint with the Ministry of Justice against a Mr.PZ Myers for sexual harassment and stalking.

    Mr. Myers made highly inappropriate remarks about Astaroth 2006 at #184 -

    That Astaroth has no nipples! It’s very disturbing and offensive.

    and again at #195 speaking about the Weblog voting -

    You know, maybe one way you can improve your lead is by putting that naked Astaroth on the front page. But for Astaroth’s sake, paint some nipples on her first!

    While investigating the complaint, The Ministry of Justice discovered that Mr. Myers has offended and been offensive to literally hundreds of WAAGNFNP members. (It seems the paperwork got a little backed up on my desk during the Glorious CCST and these grave offenses are only now coming to light).


    Mr. Myers refuses to turn himself in and remains at large.  He must be found and brought to justice. PLEASE REPORT ANY AND ALL SIGHTINGS OF THIS HIGHLY OFFENSIVE CRIMINAL. BE WARNED - HE HAS MANY SADDAM-STYLE LOOK-ALIKES. DON’T BE FOOLED!

    Yours in service,

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Minister of Offense and Defense.

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/27  at  06:21 PM
  82. He’s a sly boots, that one, he is. I have it on good word that he’s a shape-shifter. No telling who or even what he looks like. And he’s a master of trans-dimsional teleportation. He’s a shifty and nebulous as the terror on which Bushco Inc. has declared war.

    That’s him in the photograph in comment 80, above. He’s the sly looking one, the one with the shifty eyes. I’ll have other images of him later on.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  12/27  at  06:36 PM
  83. ALERT!

    The Ministry of Justice has just received this defiant and hostile message from The Fugitive:

    Find me? Hah! I’ll tell you where I am: my lair is situated in the western prairies of Minnesota, as far from any airport or other metropolitan services that you can find. There are no major highways running anywhere near me, you have to get here by taking country roads through bland, snow-covered fields of soybeans and corn. There’s nothing to do on the trip but count fenceposts, and there are so many of them that your brain will be stripped of its gears before you get here. You may think to turn on the radio, but it’s nothing but country-western, crop reports, and the gospel of Limbaugh. Visitors are reduced to gibbering idiots by the journey, and are helpless before me.

    And yes, there is a woodchipper in the woodlot across the street from my house.

    Besides, a “Nuclear Fireball” party is clueless and misguided anyway. It isn’t going to be anything as flashy as nuclear bomb that we ought to worry about: it’s resource depletion and disease that ought to give you nightmares, but I suppose the “Petri Dish party” or the “Barren Wasteland party” just weren’t as sexy.  It’s so 1950s. This whole trumped-up affair sounds like a lame episode of the Andy Griffith Show in which Eisenhower visits Mayberry to put Crick and Watson on trial for crimes against complacency.

    He is not in his “lair”, people. The latest intelligence from MOOAD sighted him somewhere in Antarctica offending the penguins.

    But an even more important message also came in today, this one from Our Leader:

    Prosecute PZ with extreme prejudice.  I eagerly await the long arm of justice (and the long arm of the MOJ).

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/27  at  06:39 PM
  84. You’re right! Those aren’t auks...I shouldn’t have taken that left turn at Walla Walla.

    Now that I’ve got my bearings, though, you’ll never catch me, coppers. Nyah.

    P.S. At least I’ve never been so pathetic as to lose my nipples.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  12/27  at  07:12 PM
  85. At least I’ve never been so pathetic as to lose my nipples.

    Professor Myers forgets one of the fundamental axioms of evolutionary theory, namely, that there’s a first time for everything.

    Posted by Michael  on  12/27  at  08:09 PM
  86. Best and worst: Katherine Harris running for the Senate.

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  08:13 PM
  87. Errm, I don’t think that’s one of the fundamental axioms of evolutionary theory, actually.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  12/27  at  08:18 PM
  88. Errm, I don’t think that’s one of the fundamental axioms of evolutionary theory, actually.

    Why you silly twit, whatever are you thinking?  This is the WAAGNFNP realm, and it is our evolutionary theory that matters, no matter what you might conjure up on your own (or ascribe to some dead white male of the 19th century, writing in the Queen’s English).  Really dude, doesn’t Gojira mean anything to you???

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  08:53 PM
  89. The Ministry of Defense and Offense made an unsuccessful attempt at capturing the Fugitive.  He was in his usual disguise, the Flying Spaghetti Monster costume he is so proud of, and we were trolling the lurking region in the Antarctic Circle (we were informed by CENINTCOM that he had this thing for dancing penquins).  We used a baby FSM, but at the very last minute the Fugitive made a run for an iceberg and got away.  WE will capture him very soon, and rid the WAAGNFNP of these senseless threats against the GNF.

    Minister of Offense and Defense

    Posted by  on  12/27  at  09:00 PM
  90. Sitting in a movie theater waiting for the movie to start I witnessed some polar bears sharing a popular soft drink with a large group of partying penguins. I’m not sure if this was an hallucination and I couldn’t tell if they were at the South Pole or the North because it was night time and icy.

    If Prof Myers is no longer in one those Dakotas he could be behind this apparition, this singularly strange gathering, this bio-surrealism.

    Posted by black dog barking  on  12/27  at  10:56 PM
  91. Noooooooo! You fools! That beautiful Architeuthis is a female!

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  12/27  at  11:00 PM
  92. OK, I see what you’re on about. You can’t get me, so you take the beloved family pet out for walkies, and then you dangle her from a rope, maybe whack at her a bit with a gaff hook, a little of the ol’ ultraviolence, you know, and then when she’s dead you take a few pictures of the corpse and flaunt ‘em at me, like they were a trophy or something.  I ain’t fooled. You’re ruthless. You’ll do anything to get me.

    Yeah, if I do turn myself in, next thing I know, I’m dangling upside down from a scale at the end of the boat dock, and some grizzled fella looking like he stepped off a Gorton’s carton is coming towards me with a filleting knife to gut me from crotch to collarbone.

    No, thanks.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  12/27  at  11:56 PM
  93. PZ once assaulted a penguin:

    The above is an artists reconstruction of the event - I think he thought he was a squid at the time of the assault…

    Posted by afarensis  on  12/28  at  12:27 AM
  94. [on National Lampoon] Naturally, the two articles that stuck vividly in my mind were of the “sick and twisted” variety.

    Though we seem to have moved on to bigger fish things in the sea, let me make some Gerald Ford Memorial comments on NatLamp in its glory days (ca.1970-1976). [in part because I just watched a areplay of Ford’s first presidential press conference on C-Span, where this “bumbling” president took at least 30 minutes of questions on a wide range of topics and answered in actual sentences - and without once sounding like a petulant child. Sobering.]

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    Was that magazine always like that?

    Depends. You might scan the contents that this fan site has assembled for the issues from ‘70-’75, and judge for yourself. To me, for that period they were a worthy follow on act for readers raised on Mad magazine. Classics include: this VW “ad”,
    Michael O’Donoghue’s How to Write Good (which I believe originated Suddenly, everyone was run over by a truck.)

    *Warning - if you are writing a story about trucks, do not have the trucks run over by a truck. Have the trucks run over by a mammoth truck.

    The Churchill Wit.

    Roosevelt was about to apologize for the intrusion and depart when Churchill, puffing his customary cigar, strode into the room stark naked and greeted the nonplussed world leader with a terse, “What are you staring at, homo?”

    Other highlights were a variety of “underground” comics, some great Bruce McCall work (see his Zany Afternoons) and Deteriorata - Flash version here.)

    And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot, it could only be worse in Milwaukee.

    [Note: some of the links are from the Internet Wayback Machine, as the current Natonal Lampoon site is run by someone who has bought the “brand” and seems to have expurgated all of the archival links.]

    Sorry for the length, now back to the fugitive search; Eat death, offensive lackey of the so-called “scientific” Cephalopod-mongers!

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  01:27 AM
  95. ...some grizzled fella looking like he stepped off a Gorton’s carton...

    What does he mean? Gorton’s fisherman...The Old Man and the Sea...American literature.

    He’s referring to Bérubé’s academic background.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  03:33 AM
  96. Eat death, offensive lackey of the so-called “scientific” Cephalopod-mongers!

    Quite right, JP!

    I think what I find most offensive about the Fugitive is the sheer depth of the ingratitude. Astaroth, who brought Weblog victory to this humble Educational Blog - even guaranteeing victory (#2) way back when the land was riddled with doubters - also propelled Pharyngula to Weblog victory. Why? Because Lord Astaroth, like the rest of us, mistakenly believed that The Fugitive was a Friend of the WAAGNFNP.

    Even after being warned by the MOJ, the Fugitive persisted with the offensive comments. Here, during the sentencing phase of the CCST, was his suggested punishment for the Guilty One:

    I think he should be sentenced to have his nipples removed.

    Turn yourself in, Myers. We don’t want to hurt you, we want to help you.

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/28  at  06:04 AM
  97. You want to remove my nipples?

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  12/28  at  09:43 AM
  98. You want to remove my nipples?

    Are you a Lithuanian? Is your real name Thomas Newton?

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  11:17 AM

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    The Ministry of Offense and Defense reports that The Fugitive will most likely be trying to make his way back to his Minnesota compound over the next 24 hours in a vain attempt to delete, shred, or burn all evidence of his harassing phone calls, emails, faxes, IM’s, and letters to Astaroth 2006. We’d like to catch him before he gets there as MOOAD crews are still in the process of removing all the Fugitive’s myriad (and paranoid) scientifically enhanced booby-traps. We don’t want to have to fight him on his home field where only he knows where the camouflaged potholes are.

    PLEASE REPORT ANY AND ALL SIGHTINGS OF THE FUGITIVE AS HE MAKES HIS WAY BACK UP FROM THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE. Be aware not only of his cabal of cleverly disguised (yet poorly trained) diversionary look-alikes, but of his cunning shape-shifting abilities as well, which our Minister of Visual Propaganda mentioned above.

    Once MOOAD has the Fugitive located, they will release the hounds (which we were able to purchase from the proceeds of the Chris Clarke Show Trial), capture him, and bring him back to the Ministry of Justice for a little one-on-one time with MOJ Chief of Special Projects – the one and only 3Tops.

    And don’t forget to submit your grievance(s) as to how the Fugitive has been offensive to you to so that it may be added to the Class Action suit.

    Yours in Service,

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/28  at  12:38 PM
  100. I find it deeply offensive that people would joke about issues like sexual harrassment and stalking. If someone was, in fact, offended by the comments made about a cartoon image and their lack of nipples, that is one thing. However, turning this complaint into a “class action” lawsuit against someone who has, to all appearances, been a fairly non-agressive and non-threatening voice on this blog is really weird.

    Just my humble opinion. I will not be part of a witchhunt, real or imagined.


    Posted by  on  12/28  at  12:46 PM
  101. best and worst of 2006

    “I would shoot with Dick Cheney everywhere, anywhere, and not think twice about it,” she said. But she said, “The nature of quail shooting ensures that this will happen. It goes with the turf.” -cnn

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  01:57 PM
  102. PZ has obviously shocked and/or awed Foucault into being Ann Althouse. Will his nefarity never cease?

    captcha: “doing,” as in “being Ann Althouse is still better than” etc.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  12/28  at  02:43 PM
  103. "non-agressive and non-threatening”...I do believe I am offended. I demand that my status be immediately upgraded from “fleeing from justice” to “rampaging”. I am ripping my shirt off and howling at the moon now, people. Don’t get in my way.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  12/28  at  02:54 PM
  104. "GNF” is either New Guinean Franc or Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. Or something more idiosyncratic.

    Posted by Monado  on  12/28  at  03:04 PM
  105. Hi Foucault -

    I did give quite a lot of thought to the pros and cons of making light of a sexual harassment situation.  I ended up choosing to go with it because humor is where I’m at right now personally in dealing with the issue.  Being continually serious about the subject not only makes me morbid, but sends me into a victim frame of mind which is really where I don’t want to be.

    I found PZ’s repeated comments (which, after the first one, I’m sure were made for the sole purpose of tweaking me!) to a nipple-less animated character bizarrely fascinating and funny. So I went with it. The above references to harassing phone calls, emails, etc. were made with Bill O’Reilly and former Florida Congressman Mark Foley in mind.

    Absolutely I understand how some people could find all this very offensive and not want to participate. But please know, offending people was not the goal.  I can change the focus of Astaroth’s grievance from “sexual harassment” to “criminally egregious insults against the WAAGNFNP’s Patron/ess Demon/ess”.

    PZ gets singled out because he’s a brilliant writer and terribly funny, but never in a million years without his consent.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Oaktown Girl

    captcha: “feeling” - No shit! Damn, these captcha’s sometimes really creep me out. No doubt PZ with his scientifically advanced maximally-offensive technology is behind it.

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  12/28  at  03:34 PM
  106. Hi All,

    I apologize. As initially happened re: the Chris Clarke show trial, real-world events became conflated in my mind with blog events.

    So, too, in this case. Sorry to all. I will still not participate, but I regret going off and pathologizing what is, in fact, a consensual and voluntary form of play.

    Best wishes.

    Posted by  on  12/28  at  04:02 PM
  107. Hi,
    I just got a haircut and my hairdresser said that my scalp is dry. Right now I’ am using head and shoulders shampoo and conditioner, but I think it’s helping a little bit not a lot. My mom told me to use a lot of conditioner and shampoo. Should I use a lot of shampoo and conditioner? When I use a lot, my hair keeps on falling out.

    Posted by Shampoos  on  08/30  at  12:52 AM
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  112. I did give quite a lot of thought to the pros and cons of making light of a sexual harassment situation. xvdhwwiow jm kotdeksui dj qina asd preshow
    I ended up choosing to go with it because humor is where I’m at right now personally in dealing with the issue.  Being continually serious about the subject not only makes me morbid, but sends me into a victim frame of mind which is really where I don’t want to be.

    Posted by  on  02/07  at  10:18 PM
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