22 posts from April 2007
Welcome to LMNOP Nightly News. I'm Lauren McMahon. For our lead story tonight, I bring you these special dispatches from the Department of "He Thinks He's People!"
Next, we go to our "Stories That Will Have You Double-Checking the Dateline In Disbelief" News Desk for this report on a school that recently held its first integrated prom. One former student noted that in the old system, "The white people [had] their [prom], and the black people [had] theirs. It's nothing racial at all." Nope, nothing racial about that at all. In other race-related news, here's a slideshow essay about the history of racist spokescharacters.
In other news today, our sources have uncovered information on how to win at Monopoly and make it not take a million hours. However, relationship experts still cite Monopoly as the leading cause of board-game-related breakups, so please exercise caution.
--OK, I cannot keep that up any longer, it was too cheese-tastic even for me. Here are the rest of the links:
- Timelapse video of the first 12 hours of the Wikipedia page for "Virginia Tech shootings"
- How to take all of the fun out of cookies
- Visual guide to where your federal tax dollars go
- Excerpt from the new Palahniuk book
- "Comedy Central has greenlit the pilot for "Michael Ian Black Doesn't Understand," a scripted showcase for the pop-culture gadfly." Hope this one goes better than the Stella show, because I love MIB.
That's all for this week; happy birthday to my mom, and I'll see you all on Monday.
Despite their strengths, search engines are not perfect. Sometimes they point us in the wrong direction. I know this is true because I am able to view a log of the search terms that bring visitors to LMNOP, and in viewing these terms I have come to the sad conclusion that sometimes people come to my website and are not able to find what they were looking for.
In this feature (which originated here), I attempt to belatedly address some of the
questions that I fear LMNOP was not able to answer on the first go
around for some of the Internet searchers out there. Hopefully I can
help more people the second time around.
"watch van wilder the rise of taj for free"
Here's a better option, also free: Don't watch it.
"gossip blog peacecorps namibia"
I think you have a wrong idea about what the Peace Corps entails.
Dude, I respect that you want to wow your prom date and are searching for badass corsage ideas. So I took a regular, boring corsage--
"mary kate and ashley business attire"
"pictures of a homeless person"
I have grouped these two requests together because they are essentially the same thing. Here:
"graphs about women in turkey"
I wanted to help you--whoever you are--with this search request, but my knowledge of the women of Turkey is pitifully low. Thus, here's the best I could do:
"how yo make a pet"
So, here's the deal. Considering that even Paris Hilton is intelligent enough to figure out that the process of acquiring a pet does not actually entail making it, I'm going to guess that you are frightfully dumb and consequently advise that you maybe try gardening or something instead. You are too stupid to be in charge of life.
"paris hilton with her shirt and shoes"
This was actually harder to find than you would think.
"a diagram of how yogurt is made"
Yogurt is disgusting, and you are disgusting for asking about it. The process is very simple, though.
Story that People led with on their website today:
I still haven't figured out if just linking you to my newest Bathtub post on Mondays is cheating or not. All I know is, that's definitely going to be the best I can do today because the building manager hasn't turned on the air conditioner and I can only sit here at my desk for a maximum of ten seconds before I have to run to the kitchen again and stick my head back in the refrigerator.
From the article:
"We've done it," said senior producer Julie Snyder, who was personally interviewed for a 2003 This American Life episode, "Going Eclectic," in which she described what it's like to be a bilingual member of the ACLU trained in kite-making by a Japanese stepfather. "There is not a single existential crisis or self-congratulatory epiphany that has been or could be experienced by a left-leaning agnostic that we have not exhaustively documented and grouped by theme."
Added Snyder, "We here at public radio couldn't be more pleased with ourselves."
Your links for this week, ladies and gentlemen:
- Here are some pictures comparing how fast food looks in ads and how it actually looks when you order it.
I have a feeling the Japanese moms profiled in this story would be appalled, as apparently the new craze for housewives in that country is to spend hours arranging their children's food with tweezers and special knives so it will look like art.
"The lunches -- like other types of Japanese art -- often feature a seasonal motif like fireworks in summer or snowmen in winter. Others recreate popular cartoon characters or famous people such as the popular Japanese pop duo Puffy, or even Mozart."
- There's pressure for a Pennsylvania mayor to resign after he accidentally turned over his notes on some speakers at a meeting along with some other documents to the NAACP. The notes in question called one speaker "retarded" and wrote of another, "Who cares about you anyway?" The best part is his justification: "Westcott said Monday that his remarks were not meant to insult the individuals, but were comments on the views they expressed." (Story )
Speaking of notes that nobody else was supposed to see, a man was was sentenced to jail time this week for a robbery in which he passed a poorly-written note to the teller, including the instructions: "Don't be a fool and start any probelms. Don't pull no alarms till I am out of here. Thank you have a nice day Merry Xmas 100's, 50s, 20s, 10s & 5's only. No 1s or change. Hurry up don't be stalling me. I am not dumb." (Story and full text of note)
- Apparently, fencing makes you better at math. That ought to increase the sport's popularity!
- The Daily Mail published ran two stories about unusual cats this week. One regularly travels on the same bus:
[The cat] gets onto the busy Walsall to Wolverhampton bus at the same stop most mornings - he then jumps off at the next stop 400m down the road, near a fish and chip shop.
--And another is pals with a mouse. The first article was sent to me by LMNOP reader Stephanie, who (correctly) guessed that I would enjoy it. The second I happened to come across this morning, making me wonder if the Daily Mail has a Hilarious Cat Antics News Desk.
- "Australia lost its largest lollipop in a store fire in the northern Victorian town of Echuca this morning." The article contains a picture of the lollipop in happier times, although frankly it's just kind of lying there. Couldn't they have invested in a stand of some kind? Oh well--too late now. It's a reminder to us all to live like your giant lollipop could be gone tomorrow.
- Oklahmona declares watermelon the state vegetable . LMNOP declares "not knowing the difference between fruits and vegetables" the problem with Oklahoma.
Completing This Week's Eyeball-Poking, Face-Flinching, Hybrid-Driving Series of Posts About Me Being a Wuss
Note: I did not start off this week intending to post exclusively about things that would make me seem lame and/or wussy. It just kind of worked out that way. It wasn't even really very hard.
Bodies-The Exhibition opened in the DC area Saturday and will be here until October, which means, I fear, that I'm going to end up getting dragged to it by someone.
Bodies, for those of you who haven't heard of it, is a travelling exhibition of dead human bodies and body parts that have been preserved and set out fordisplay. This MSNBC article describes it pretty well :
"Divided into displays that focus on the body's different systems — muscular, skeletal, circulatory, reproductive and respiratory — the exhibit features a variety of organs, as well as diseases that affect them.
A smoker's carbon-colored lungs are placed side-by-side with a healthy pair; dark spots of a stroke victim's brain are shown beside a normal one, extreme cases of cancer show up along with healthy specimens.
One part of the exhibit shows an entire circulatory system, minus any other body part, suspended in liquid and illuminated against a dark background, creating a sort of 3D silhouette created by blood vessels.
Another area of the exhibit simulates the view an MRI scan provides cross-sectional views of a body by physically slicing it and separating it in a display case.
Still another portion — complete with a warning to exhibit-goers and a disclaimer that the specimens were obtained through natural deaths — shows fetuses in various stages of development, as well as one in utero and another of conjoined twins."
In other words, EW EW EW has been organized into various displays of OH MY SICK so that we can learn about the OMG VOMIT that is the SERIOUSLY BLARRRRRRGH of GROSS GROSS GROSS. Or at least that's how I see it.
I'm squeamish enough that I literally cannot picture how any human being would actually want to be a surgeon; in my vision of society the job of a surgeon is the kind of undesirable service like garbage collection or armpit smelling that somebody has to do but nobody should actually want to. You probably think I am exaggerating, but I don't even really like looking at the muscles poster in my gym for more than a second or two.
Unfortunately it is right by the water fountain and I have to turn my head in the opposite direction in order to look at anything but the poster, so I end up getting fixated on the disgusting neck muscles and the fact that for some reason skin has been drawn over the woman's face, fingers, and feet. The worst is the feet--it looks like a pair of Peds made out of human skin.
So anyway, the point of this post is that I just know one of my nerdy-ass friends is going to want to go to this exhibition and I'm gonna end up getting browbeaten into coming along and forking over my $30 just to spend an afternoon walking around an exhibit hall shivering, wincing, and throwing up in my mouth repeatedly. Life is unfair.
Sandwiched as we are now between Tax Day and Earth Day, I have been thinking about my car even more than usual lately. I'll be getting a lovely hybrid tax credit with my return this year, and that means that my love for my Honda is at an all-time high right now. In fact, there is only one bad thing I can say about her, and it's not really about her at all. It's about other hybrid drivers. There's something I'd like to say to them:
JUST BECAUSE WE'RE BOTH DRIVING HYBRIDS DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN CUT ME OFF.
I can't tell you how often this happens--I'll be driving on the highway and some loser (usually in a Prius) trying to sneak into the line for the exit swoops in front of me and gives me this knowing look of camaraderie. Like, as a fellow hybrid driver I must be delighted at the prospect of letting him bypass the queue I've been idling in for the past 10 minutes! Because we are earth-saving brethren!
I guess this is the equivalent of how all Jeep drivers wave at each other and all BMW drivers do that nod--all hybrid drivers mutually acknowledge that all their altruism and sacrifice and commitment mean that they deserve a little extra convenience on the highway. Well that's a bunch of crap. Your payoff is the fact that you haven't had to go to a gas station in two and a half weeks. So back off.
What's the Point of Having a Blog If You Can't Brag About Learning to Do Something Other People Mastered When They Were 14?
I do not like having hands in my face. And while that in itself is not as extreme or uncommon a thing to profess as, say, "I do not like having my shoulders massaged," or, "I don't like the smell of roses," the extent of my dislike is extreme. For whatever reason--probably just an extension of my overall spazziness--whenever someone puts a hand in my face I jerk back violently like an abused puppy. It's sort of embarrassing, actually. But I've never been abused by anyone or anything, or even really ever been in a physical altercation, so that can't be the reason.
Once, in high school, a friend who thought I was faking or exaggerating the problem decided to flash her hand in front of my face very unexpectedly. I recoiled and slammed my head so hard against the brick wall behind me that I was momentarily dazed and almost in tears. That may have been the only time in my life where I was the victim of a joke that ended up hurting someone, rather than the executor.
So yesterday, when I went for my yearly eye exam and was prescribed contacts for the very first time, I was a little worried.
"I can put them in for you the first time," the optometrist offered.
"Oh dear, no, I don't think that would be a very good idea," I said.
"Well, it usually helps people," she said, surprised.
"Yeah, I might not be one of those people," I said, trying to think of an explanation that didn't sound weird or embarrassing and also didn't involve the words, "You put those hands in my face, and I will freak the f**k out." The best I could come up with was, "In general, I'm better at doing things that involve this kind of thing." I guess I figured that if I subsitituted the word "thing" for any part of the sentence that could actually give clear meaning to what I was saying, she would understand.
So she backed off, and had the girl who'd done the pre-exam take me into a small room and,from a safe distance of three feet, coach me on the finer points of sticking my fingers in my eyeball. It was an enormously frustrating experience for both of us. As time went on, I was experiencing more and more of that anxiety you get when you're trying to parallel park your car in front of someone else. I tried to ask questions to prompt the poor girl to reassure me.
"Man, I must be the worst person at this, ever!" I said, fishing. She responded with an uncomfortable laugh.
After about 30 minutes though, the contacts were in and for a split second, I was overjoyed. Then I realized I would have to take them out. Panic. It was probably how a lot of women feel after childbirth, like, "Wow! It's so amazing that I did that," and then, overcome with the prospect of raising a child, "Shit. There is so much work ahead of me." Just like that, only more trivial.
So taking them out took up some more time--I'm not sure how much, but it was definitely enough for me to start to panic and wonder if anyone in history had ever been able to put contacts in and not get them out. What happens in that situation? Is there some sort of surgery available?
After that I had to put them in one more time, but then I got to leave. I spent the rest of the day worrying about that night, when, standing in front of my bathroom mirror, I would fly solo for the first time and attempt to remove my lenses without the guidance of my Lenscrafters sherpa. Turns out the parallel-parking type of anxiety is nothing compared to the "oh shit, nobody's here to make sure I don't injure myself somehow" type of anxiety.
It took a good 15 minutes, but at the end of it I still had two eyes and in my judgement that made me a winner. I am, however, looking forward to the day when it takes me less time to insert and remove a pair or contacts than it does to write 700 words about the experience.