I love Lisa Lampanelli

Yeah, she’s an insult comic and bigotry forms the foundation of her humor. But there’s something charming about her Sopranos-like speech and her old-school prejudices. Reminds me of living in Jersey. (Plus, she clearly loves the people she pokes fun of)

She’s been on the Comedy Central celebrity roast circuit, roasting Pamela Anderson, Flava Flav and William Shatner. Really funny stuff.

Enjoy (from her Comedy Central show, Take It Like a Man)! NSFW!

And this is my favorite – about LL’s least favorite sexual practice:

What matters to you most in life?

Avoid serious soul-searching and take this simple (bordering on idiotic) test (but it is kind of fun), courtesy of Paul Zindel’s “The Pigman”, which I read in the 8th grade:

There is a river with a bridge over it and a wife and her husband live in a house on one side. The wife has a lover who lives on the other side of the river, and the only way to get from one side of the river to the other is to walk across the bridge or to ask the boatman to take you. One day the husband tells his wife that he has to be gone all night to handle some business in a faraway town. The wife pleads with him to take her with him because sheThe Pigman puzzle knows if he doesn’t she will be unfaithful to him. The husband absolutely refuses to take her because she will only be in the way of his important business. So the husband goes alone. When he is gone, the wife goes over the bridge and stays with her lover. The night passes, and the sun is almost up when the wife leaves because she must get back to her own house before her husband gets home. She starts to cross the bridge, but she sees an assassin waiting for her on the other side, and she knows if she tries to cross, he will murder her. In terror, she runs up the side of the river and asks the boatman to take her across, but he wants fifty cents. She has no money, so he refuses to take her. The wife runs back to the lover’s house, and explains to him what her predicament is. She asks him for fifty cents to pay the boatman. The lover refuses, telling her it’s her own fault for getting into the situation. As dawn comes up, the wife is nearly out of her mind and decided to dash across the bridge. When she comes face to face with the assassin. He takes out a large knife and stabs her until she dies. Write down the names of the characters in the order in which you think they were most responsible for the wife’s death. Just list wife, husband, lover, assassin, and boatman in the order you think they are most guilty.


Each of the characters is a symbol for something and you have betrayed what is most important to you in life.

Wife= fun

Husband= love

Lover= sex

Assassin= money

Boatman= magic

Is Turkey ready for prime time? Hardly.

Turkey, a developing country with a small parcel of land on the European peninsula, and with hundreds of years of engagement (read: war and occupation) with what we generally accept as Europe, has been trying to join the European Union for years.

And yet a very fundamental characteristic of what it means to be European is completely lost on the country: free speech.

Whatever you might think about Europeans, they both value and practice free speech, at least as much as we Americans do. They freely criticize, question, and verbally attack – mostly the US and their neighbors, but occasionally themselves too. (I’m joking; they criticize themselves almost as often as they criticize the US)

The point being that no one goes to jail for putting their governments on the defensive and forcing it to answer hard questions.

Even “New Europe” (which is often, ironically, older than “Old Europe”), despite enduring decades of represssion of free speech, is pretty open nowadays. I lived in Eastern Europe and people freely criticized their governments and had a lively, ongoing debate on policy.

Turkey, on the other hand, despite wanting to be considered European, and all the other adjectives associated with it (wealthy, sophisticated, developed, cultured, etc.), really fails on the basic premise of free speech.

Article 301 of the Turkish penal code makes it a crime to “insult Turkishness” – a really broadly-defined offense that is actually prosecuted very often against those who publicly mention the Armenian Genocide, an event that the rest of the world acknowledges (some in a more forthcoming fashion than others) but that Turkey fiercely denies.

Because of realpolitik the US will probably back down from recognizing the Armenian Genocide, but the real pity is that Turkey keeps article 301 in their books and thus stifles its own intellectual and cultural development.

iTunes vs BitTorrent

It used to be the either poor or unscrupulously cheap of us would buy pirated CDs or DVDs off the street (count me among them). But you got what you paid for – shitty sound quality, or camcorder fumbles and audience members ambling in front of the camera.

So there was an understandable price differential – less money for low quality, or more money (full price) for high quality.

Then came online sales of CDs and DVDs, on sites like Amazon & Buy.com. They fit nicely into this price scheme too – you’d get a discount on Amazon or Buy.com, but you’d lose the immediacy of the purchase. You’d have to wait several days for your CD or DVD to arrive.

So we had:

  • High quality & immediate – Retail – Highest price
  • High quality + delay – Buying online – Medium price
  • Low quality + a little work – Bootleg – Lowest price

Makes sense, right?

Now, with the download of streamable media like music, TV shows and movies, this perfectly reasonable price:quality structure has been turned on its head.

Let’s see – I can download:

  • a movie for $3.99 off iTunes; their assy format occupies 3GB for a 2hr movie, and it’s choppy/stilted when watching on my desktop; downloading a movie takes about 2 hrs on my DSL connection
  • a movie for free off BitTorrent; the formats use (which, admittedly, typically involve downloading an esoteric codec or two) typically less than 1GB for a 2hr movie, and the quality is stupendous – high-quality with smooth playback; downloading time is typically less than half an hour

What happened to “you get what you pay for”?

Fuck that. I don’t care whose fault this is; iTunes is a horrible value proposition.

As far as I’m concerned, ABC.com is the only one that seems to get it right. They broadcast their popular shows in their full-episode versions using a player that somehow transmits an HD-quality image over our weak DSL line. They monetize by showing ads 3-4 times during the course of an hour-long broadcast. Fair? Sure!

My boyfriend has watched about 30 ABC show episodes over the past week, and watches the ads since they’re short (30 seconds) and impossible to skip over unlike with Tivo.

The other TV networks can continue to operate under a prehistoric mindset with respect to digital media and online transmission. I’ll continue to use BitTorrent, and so will tens of millions of others.

Christian homophobia – It’s easy to be self-righteous about a sin you’ll never commit

Mainstream Christianity is associated with hypocrisy, judgmentalism, and homophobia…according to a majority of young people, including Christians. The fact that today’s most prominent Christians are so, well, unChristian (you know, tossing to the wind any sense of charity, tolerance and love for your common man) is not lost on young people.

My faith in the future: restored.

So while Jesus spoke extensively about the sanctity of marriage (meaning: not getting divorced), helping the poor, and loving the unloved, why have public figures like James Dobson, Donald Wildmon, the late Jerry Falwell, and power bottom Ted Haggard more closely resembled the Pharisees Jesus also most famously talked about?

Simple answer: it’s easy to insist on condemning exactly those behaviors you know you’ll never commit. Hence the obsession among the Dobsons and Falwells of the world with abortion and homosexuality.

(Closet cases like Haggard are just misguided hangers-on.)

I mean, why is it that the only people protesting in front of abortion clinics seem to be men and postmenopausal women? How convenient.

Let’s ignore all those religious edicts that condemn divorce, infidelity, hell, even murder (gotta keep that option open for a rainy day) and make abortion and gay sex the lynchpin of your platform of ethics. A very easy way for the biggest, most evil sinners to give themselves the illusion that they’ve taken the moral high-ground — eliminate all mention of those sins you’re repeatedly guilty of!

Today’s teenagers, apparently, aren’t used to just listening to the loudest, fattest, oldest man on television and take his blathering to be the gospel. This generation grew up with The Real World and child celebrities divorcing themselves from their parents. Truthfully, blind obedience to arbitrary authority has never been this country’s youth’s strong suit.

And thank God for that (no pun intended!).

Why exactly do ebooks cost more than regular books?

Yet another example of an industry involved in the distribution of protected content just doesn’t get it. Yes, like the music industry, which makes you pay more for less quality.

I wanted to buy the David Allen book, “Getting Things Done”. Here were my options:

  • $15 for the eBook – a PDF file – for download
  • $8.99 for the actual book – free 2-day shipping from Amazon (via Amazon Prime)

Hmm…..  to store a 3MB file (one of the easiest to prepare from just about any document format) and distribute it via http download costs almost double a hard copy of the book, printed on paper, bound, shipped to Amazon’s warehouses, and then to me.

Then, to read the ebook, you can sit in your chair, if you have a desktop, put it on a laptop (really easy to read as you stand on BART, clutching the handrail with one hand), or read it awkwardly on a PDA or smartphone. Or you can read it on a “paperlike” Sony ebook reader, a $230 gadget.

To read the regular book, well, you just read the “paper” wherever or however you want.

What did I do? Downloaded the ebook from some of my friends because I wanted the immediacy of the read, and I’m considering ordering the book on Amazon (will see if reading the ebook on my laptop on BART is too much of a pain in the ass).

Sounds like the folks at Penguin Publishing need to check their math.

Recent emails I’ve been getting have been making me feel inadequate

Now, like just about every man on the planet, I wouldn’t complain if my equipment were bigger (even Long Dong Silver would–female readers, I’m not sure I can explain this, but, ask any man, it’s true). And it wouldn’t bother me if I could engage in day-long Kama Sutra marathons. Who wouldn’t? But I have to say for the most part I’ve been pretty happy with what Mother Nature has given me, and with how I can keep up my performance when it matters.

Well, until recently.

It seems plenty of people–easily hundreds a day–have taken it upon themselves to email me, discreetly, to tell me that I don’t have to suffer with a small dick any longer, and that they have a solution (something called MegaDik, or, alternatively, Magic Stick).

I mean, I’m getting these emails from complete strangers. They’re so concerned with my…shortcomings…that they’re sending unsolicited emails offering succor to someone they don’t even know. Respectable-sounding names, such as Enid Lawson, Jewel Sanchez, and Penelope Smith, have delicately suggested I seek the help of supplements, pumps and semi-surgical techniques. They’ve even sent links where I can get more information and order. At substantial discounts (“at discounted prsices”).

I guess they were picking up on a subconscious feeling of inadequacy that I wasn’t even aware of!

They’ve also suggested I look in Viagra and Levitra (or, rather, V!ag/Ra and L.e.v.1.T.R.8), popular erectile dysfunction medicines, pointing me in the direction of Cypriot pharmacies and Indian clearinghouses that offer these drugs, or bioidentical knockoffs, for 80% less than what I’d pay stateside.

What’s more, they’re persistent and they reach me at several email accounts. Even at work! In fact, I get most of these helpful tips at a customer-service email account that they must somehow know I monitor. Talk about some clever cybersleuthing.

One of the keys to successful marketing is pure repetition. If it weren’t, we really wouldn’t give a shit about where Paris Hilton took her last piss–the fact that Paris’s every move is monitored so intently by the media makes us wonder if there really is something important about her.

In addition to the magic of repetition, these spammers use a concept typically attributed to Microsoft: FUD. Make people scared or unsure about something, and they’ll respond. Anyone familiar with the 2004 Bush reelection campaign will understand the power of manufactured fear.

Repetition and FUD are things Enid, Jewel and Penelope are very good at. Now I stare downward in the shower and wonder if I really should be satisfied with what I see. And whether there would be any harm in wiring $200 to an offshore bank account. I mean, being King-Kong sized is beginning to sound like it could be the answer to those prayers. I. Was. Apparently. Making…unbeknownst to myself.

The Internet really is amazing. Not only can you use it to gather information on problems you need help with, it provides you with information you never asked for about problems you never knew you had!

Why are some people like this?

Me. Today. Waiting for the next BART train.

Ugly anorexic shrew in front of me (normally I couldn’t care less how strangers look, but read on).

The train going in a different direction comes. Those who want to take the train board. The rest of us waiting for the next train move up and continue to wait.

The shrew is motionless.

I ask, “Are you…” (waiting for the next train) is what I was going to say but the shrew turns her head away from me as if I were a man apologizing to his wife for having an affair with one of her best friends.

I shrug and move past her. She remains motionless. Pouting at the world.

The next train arrives, and I swear somehow the sheer force of her lunging at the train defies her 75-pound frame. She jostles her bag of bones brusquely past all of us and stomps into the train.

What exactly is this? Indignation at the world that she can’t eat? Bipolar disorder? Just plain old bitchiness?

I was not offended so much as puzzled.

Drive-in theaters – a tradition worth keeping

My partner and I went out of town this past weekend to celebrate our anniversary, heading this time to San Luis Obispo, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s the only major city on the coast between Northern & Southern California (Fresno’s inland, and doesn’t count anyway), and I think even has an airport.

Well, not so much an airport as a landing strip for crop dusters.

My point is that it’s a bit remote and relatively ignored by the trends that dictate changes in other metropolitan areas. This turned out to be a nice blessing when it came to finding an activity for Saturday night.

We went to a drive-in movie.Sunset Drive In

My partner had never been, and I hadn’t either since I was about 5 years old and fell asleep in the backseat of my parents’ car after watching the cartoon intro.

It was a great trip into an era that we rarely have a glimpse into anymore. Vintage Ts don’t count.

The Sunset Drive-In was showing a double feature on Saturday, and we didn’t care to see the first, so we arrived about 15 minutes before the second. We bought our tickets – a relative bargain at $6 per person, forwent the rental radio, and tuned our radio to 100.7. The sound quality was perfect, a lot better than the clunky speakers you used to hang on your window after cracking it down a bit.

You had to keep your headlights off, so we entered the theater very slowly….since we couldn’t see anything (it was dark). We crept around in our car for about 3 minutes until we found a free spot.

Around us were pickup trucks, vans, SUVs and station wagons parked turned around, so people could watch while hanging out of the tailgate. A few people planted some blankets on the ground and listened to the audio with boomboxes or wireless headphones.

We then headed to the snack bar and got nachos, popcorn, and the most vile looking piece of pizza imaginable. There were a couple of pinball games and an old-school video game inside, too.

When we got to the car, a 5 minute intermission had started. They showed a retro animation like this one to count down to the next movie:

When the movie started, we opened up the sunroof, reclined our seats a bit, dug into our crappy food and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. People ambling over to the bathrooms, cars turning on their brake lights and people giggling and laughing were all distractions we kind of found charming.

It sure beats watching a DVD at home.

Don’t knock bidets until you’ve tried them

Bidet pictureI have a bidet on my toilet.

And I love it. I’m a true convert. I loathe toilet paper now. It’s like cleaning up with sandpaper. My boyfriend totally agrees with me.

Before you laugh, let me tell you a little story. My parents bought a bidet, and told my brother about it. He laughed at them. Then he tried it. And bought one for himself. Then my brother told me about it, and I laughed at him until I tried it. I bought one for myself. I then told a friend about it, who laughed at me for weeks. A couple of months later she asked where she could buy one.

Here’s why bidets are worth every penny they cost:

  • they clean you up completely. When you pat dry afterwards (no rubbing necessary!), the paper is clean. You’re not smearing your own feces back into your skin.
  • it’s refreshing. You either get warm water, which naturally feels nice, or cold water, which is not as jarring as you might imagine (provided you don’t turn it on full blast and give yourself an accidental enema).
  • many have heated seats. Trust me, it’s worth it if your bathroom is even slightly cold.
  • you take it easy on your ring. Even if you’re not prone to hemorrhoids, it’s nice not to have to scratch and scrape your asshole to get it clean. Even if you have the super-soft plush kind of toilet paper (which, because they usually have very, very small fibers, actually effectively gives your ass tissue millions of little splinters)

I’ve tried the standard $100 Go Bidet, which is great because you can control the pressure and get yourself lickety-split immaculate in about 10 seconds. However, now I have the Hometech 2000, which cost about $300 when I bought it three years ago. It’s still working great!

Note big manly-man Mark Cuban is an investor in SF-based Brondell Swash, and giants like Toto (worth visiting their site just for the intro) are selling high-end bidets with warm air-dry and deodorizing features.

Treat your ass right. Wash it, don’t wipe it. 

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