August 31, 2007

Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes made of crissy-crossy

Once again there is a puzzle solving opportunity for those of you who enjoy or tolerate my crosswords (or Patrick Blindauer's crosswords, since this is another collaboration with him). Right-click here and save, and if you don't have the Across Lite crossword applet, get it for free here. It seems like I say this every time, but I'll say it again: you might prefer printing this one out instead of solving on screen.

Posted by Francis at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

Hey, I have a "spider sense" too, but it doesn't make my skin tingle so much as crawl

This is so not right. These park rangers need to STAND UP to those spiders. They are messing with Texas! I thought the Texas state mandate was not to be messed with!

*Prolonged shudder*

Posted by Francis at 10:56 AM | Comments (11)

August 29, 2007

More crosswords in the Onion

Read this, chuckle, and then shed a tear for Merv Griffin's memory when you remember that USA Today's crossword editor Timothy Parker is editing puzzles for Merv Griffin's Crosswords. (And if you don't know why he's such a bad choice, let me refer you to this, this, and this.)

(Thanks to Jerry for the Onion link.)

Posted by Francis at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2007

I think Harriet Miers is going to turn the Justice Department around

Apparently Alberto Gonzales is finally going to resign. Not because he's admitting to any wrongdoing, but because Congress is mean:

The official who disclosed the resignation today said that the decision was Mr. Gonzales’s and that the president accepted it grudgingly. At the same time, the official acknowledged that the turmoil over Mr. Gonzales had made his continuing as attorney general difficult.

“The unfair treatment that he’s been on the receiving end of has been a distraction for the department,” the official said.

Bush, of course, would rather the poor unfairly treated fellow stay on.

Earlier this month, at a news conference, Mr. Bush dismissed accusations that Mr. Gonzales had stonewalled or misled a congressional inquiry. “We’re watching a political exercise,” Mr. Bush said. “I mean, this is a man who has testified, he’s sent thousands of papers up there. There’s no proof of wrong.”

He then went on to say in my imagination, "I mean, he's held an awful lot of press conferences. Surely he would have mentioned in one of them if he had done anything illegal."

Posted by Francis at 09:27 AM | Comments (2)

August 21, 2007

Free entertainment for you

Lorinne will be appearing in a revue of songs by Flanders and Swann (imagine Tom Lehrer, but British, and twice) tomorrow night -- Wednesday, that is -- at 7:30, at the Snapple Theatre Center at 50th and Broadway. It's free, but you need to RSVP. More info here; see you there, perhaps.

Posted by Francis at 08:53 PM | Comments (5)

August 15, 2007

It's all true

Eric Berlin pointed me to this cartoon, which may serve as a brief response for those who find my tie-wearing proclivities incomprehensible.

Posted by Francis at 03:54 AM in Ties | Comments (2)

August 14, 2007

The Tie Project, days 174 to 179

Ties marches on.

Day 174. I've had this tie since college. I bought it around the time I was acting in a production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart at the Santa Fe Community Theatre. I worked part-time in a tiny little mall in the Plaza (which is simultaneously Santa Fe's downtown and its main tourist area) selling Oaxacan animal figurines at a little cart.

Because of my role in the play (a queeny young man from the south), I had an incredibly gay haircut. Short, very 80s, ducktail in the back, swoopy to one side in a way that was good for dramatic head tosses...I'm sorry I don't have a picture to do the explaining for me. I will sidetrack to point out that I also had to pretend to smoke a cigarette in this play, which anyone who knows me and is aware of my extreme antipathy toward cigarettes will find a pretty risible concept. But I did my best; I swished and I puffed (and nearly choked onstage the time I accidentally inhaled) and was pretty pleased with my performance. And the gay men in the show (of which there were quite a few) would get together with their gay friends who had come to see the show and play the game of having them try to guess which of the other actors in the show were gay. And it never failed: everybody thought I was gay.

But absolutely nobody thought I was a smoker.

Anyway, so I was working at this cart in the mall, and the cart that I was next to was run by two lesbians who I was slightly crushed out on and who I made friends with. Well, work friends, anyway; we didn't stay in touch or anything. And our friendship may have been aided by the haircut, because there's certainly a chance they thought I was gay. Anyway, they sold, among other things, aprons (featuring two cowgirls or two cowboys) and ties made with marbled fabric. I loved the ties, but they were (I think) $35, which was pricy compared to what I usually spent on clothes, especially for the amount of money I used to live on in my college days. But I did buy one, and this was it:


Day 175. At this point in the Tie Project, I spend a fair amount of time looking in my closet and trying to figure out what I haven't worn yet. And I had been skipping over this shirt for a while, completely convinced that I had photographed it already. But I couldn't quite remember. So I went through all my photos, and it turned out I had not, in fact, worn it yet. So I wore it with this tie...and then I uploaded the photos from my camera to the computer, and it turned out I had, in fact, worn it three weeks or so previously (with the same tie), but the photo of it wasn't on the computer yet. D'oh. And here is that earlier photo.


Day 176. Not sure where this tie is from. Garment district? Gift from Rose? Can't recall. Tricky to match, though. I decided the green and yellow, combined with the similarity between the green shapes on the tie and and the flower shapes on the shirt, were enough to call this an outfit.


Day 177. This shirt is vexing to photograph. The pattern is just a leeeetle too wide to get in the frame comfortably. I sort of managed on day 87, but there was a lot of bunching from stretching my arms out so far. Ah well.


Day 178. This is the other shirt I got from the street vendor mentioned in day 163. Worn with a shiny tie to go with the silky, drapy fabric; the periodic gray squiggles echo the green and black ornamentation on the pink rectangles. [Lapses into art curator-speak] The gray rectangles' interaction with the silver tie comments humorously on American post-Industrial Revolution life, and we see the drive toward Manifest Destiny evident in the waterfall-like aspect of the tie, with the froth it kicks up representative of... [Comes to, shakes head disorientedly] I'm sorry. Let's move on.


Day 179. I'm not sure I've ever actually worn this shirt (even though I've owned it for a while), because there's a little hole in the shoulder, so I put it in a pile of "things needing repair". But I never got around to buying a patch for it, and frankly the hole isn't all that big, so given my need for more, more, ever more shirts, I pulled it out. And I found the perfect tie for it almost immediately. Maybe now that I've been reminded the shirt exists, I'll actually patch the hole.


Next time: socks.

Posted by Francis at 02:54 AM in Ties | Comments (0)

I don't give a damn about my bad repution

I, and probably you, get spoof e-mails all the time, purporting to be from some bank or other, sometimes even my bank, which is to say, Bank of America. Normally I do not feel this bears remarking upon, but today's fake B of A alert tickled me. First, the ever-so-professional sounding subject line:

Online ID Blocked UP

I just can't read that without attaching the word "yo" to the end. "Daaamn, this online ID is blocked UP, yo! Sheee-it."

And then there's the spoof URL (reproduced below without the main domain), which is trying really really really really really hard to make you think it is from Bank of America:


Posted by Francis at 12:29 AM | Comments (5)

August 13, 2007


Just finished reading Harry Potter 7, which means I was free and clear to read this incredibly pompous review by Christopher Hitchens, and which I would have been just as happy to avoid, as I am almost always happy to avoid articles that include words like "ontology" and "Manichean".

Posted by Francis at 01:40 AM | Comments (9)

August 08, 2007

It's that time again

For another of my crosswords in The Onion, that is. The AV Club page seems not to have updated yet, but you can download the puzzle as an Across Lite file or as a Word document from Ben Tausig's website (first two files behind the first link). Right on.

Posted by Francis at 09:35 AM | Comments (3)

This blows

NY1 reports that "A heavy storm with tornado-like winds ripped the roofs off several houses in Brooklyn and flooded numerous subway stations Wednesday morning, leading to massive mass transit delays during the morning rush" and a Gothamist reader says that trees were knocked down on her street. But they left out the important part: it also knocked our beloved jade plant off the kitchen windowsill. The full extent of the damage is not yet determined, but here is a sad picture of the scene.

This means that there will probably be quite a few starter jade plants available for any locals who would like to come get one.

Posted by Francis at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2007

Put some surveillance on that guy

NY Times headline: "Bush Visits Collapsed Highway Bridge".

My first reaction on seeing the above headline: "Bush visits are the reason the bridge collapsed??? That bastard!"

Posted by Francis at 12:10 PM | Comments (1)