Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hmm. How can we make air travel even LESS appealing?

Just. Go. To. Hell.
The airlines have come up with a new answer to an old question: How many
passengers can be squeezed into economy class?A lot more, it turns out,
especially if an idea still in the early stage should catch on:
standing-room-only "seats."

Airbus has been quietly pitching the standing-room-only option to Asian
carriers, though none have agreed to it yet. Passengers in the standing section
would be propped against a padded backboard, held in place with a harness,
according to experts who have seen a proposal.

Monday, April 24, 2006

It's lump it's lump it's on my head

After receiving complaints that my cyst story didn't have an ending, I thought I'd finish it off.

The doctor packed the cyst, but by Saturday night the packing was coming out a bit. So I decided to remove it on my own. I tried to pull it out, but it hurt. So I went to bed, and started fiddling with it in the dark. (The packing, that is.) I tugged it gently, and the gauze strip started getting a bit longer. So I kept tugging and providing gentle, steady pressure to it. After about 20 minutes or so, I felt the entire thing slip out. I went into the bathroom, turned the light on, and I was holding a six-inch-long strip of bloody gauze.

And that's how you unpack a cyst!

Prince Harry: The Anti-Bush

Prince Harry has demanded that he be allowed to join his unit in an active war zone or he will resign from the Army. He refuses special treatment, and does not want to let his group down by opting out.

Meanwhile, let's see how the children of privilege are doing back in the United States. Oh, right.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

The price of gas

Gas is now up to $3.59 for full-serve regular at the station on the corner of Harned Rd. and Rt. 454 in Commack. So why is it so expensive these days? There has to be a simple reason that can be put at the feet of liberals, who as we all know control this country these days.

Is it...

  1. Obscene payouts to oil execs, like Lee Raymond of ExxonMobil getting $400 million in thanks?
  2. An administration that gives oil companies huge tax breaks, and actually tried to rescind earlier taxes in the month after 9/11?
  3. General price gouging and collusion among oil companies, as exemplified by post-Katrina prices?
  4. An administration that mocks conservation as just a personal virtue?
  5. The selfish culture of SUVs and I-deserve-it-ism that infects American culture?
  6. An illegal war launched against a country that produces oil, followed by disruptions in supply?
  7. A government in Venezuela that is trying to undermine us by, er, supplying cheap heating oil to poor inner-city residents in the United States?
  8. An energy policy that consists of drilling in the ANWR for a small supply as the "answer" to our problems?
  9. The fact that we've reached peak oil but no one is willing to address the issue?
  10. Our need to compete for the remaining oil against rising industrial powers like China and India, even as they grow more quickly due to American outsourcing so that our upper executives can show higher profits?
Hahaha, sucker! It's entirely the fault of the environmentalists. Because they got all whiny about all that cancer-causing MTBE. Because they blocked new refineries (even though it was the oil companies who depressed capacities to raise profits - by 80% from 1999 to 2004).

Please! Don't look at the administration or the oil companies. It's all those meddlesome scapegoats' faults!

Oh, and don't forget that in 2000, Bush spent months attacking Gore for not having an energy policy. What was Bush's solution to lower prices then? "The short-term solution is to remind our friends overseas who their friend is." Over five years later, see if you can articulate Bush's energy policy.

Current polling numbers:

People who think Bush is doing a good job: 33%
People who believe in guardian angels: 46%

Star Wars DVDs

Just watching a bit of the Star Wars movies on DVD right now. I have three quick suggestions to make the original movies better.

1. At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke is holding on for dear life he should have a rapid-fire series of flashbacks showing his life. One of them should be him making out with Chewbacca in a filthy space latrine stall.

2. Return of the Jedi should just be the scrolling intro words for two hours. Just do the entire plot in written form.

3. Travel back in time and make sure that George Lucas has a stroke before redoing the Jabba the Hutt scene to add a fun musical number.

Nude sketch

As you may know, I have sought to supplement my photography skills by taking up freehand sketching. I have been taking some courses at night, and I am finally starting to become confident in my work. In class yesterday, I had the good fortune to sketch a beautiful nude model named Marlene. Since this is a nude sketch, I am linking to it instead of posting it directly. The results are here - I hope you enjoy this expression of the human form as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cysts are doin' it for themselves

For years, it slowly grew on me. It became an old friend. We would talk about politics, sports, music...anything to kill time in this lonely world of ours. But alas, he grew too big and it was time to have him removed from my head. I visited a nearby ear, nose, and throat doctor to have my epidermoid cyst removed.

First of all, who decided that ear, nose, and throat was a standard doctor grouping? Why not tongue, armpit, and navel? Or scalp, eyelash, and buttocks? And why was I referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor for something on my head? Perhaps we will never know.

I was called in promptly at 6:30 PM. Since he has a specialty, dammit, he looked in my throat and ears, and made sure I could move my tongue to both sides. He had a medical student observing everything, and peppered her with questions.

Back in the day, they would just take a scalpel and cut the whole cyst out. It was an operation that involved a scalpel, a lot of hard squeezing, and some stitches. That was my experience with the famous Dr. Klein, who later went to jail for firebombing a colleague's house. However, they do it differently now. They just poke a little whole, squeeze out all they can, and shrink it down. Then it's small enough to save effort on removal, if necessary. But it would have to wait an hour or so. It was back to the waiting room for me.

I sat back down, browing through crap on my Treo 700, and others in the waiting room continued to be called in. An Indian family, numbering seven in all, took their places in the room. They all needed ear exams at once. Finally, at around 9 PM, I was called in for the procedure.

The doctor advised me to take my shirt off because the procedure "can get messy." I said, "Warning - the front row WILL get wet." The med student laughed, and the doctor asked me what I meant. I got numbed up locally, couldn't feel a thing, and within ten minutes I was all empty. No stitches, but the doctor packed the pus capsule with gauze.

So on Monday, I will have a head that can be shaved for charity events. Pretty sweet!

Hey, wanna see a picture of it? Here you go.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Open thread for meat lovers

Consider this post an open thread to discuss which meats are the most delicious. Right now, the Cynicor choice is filet mignon with a creamy horseradish sauce, served with a side of butter-fried mushrooms. What's yours?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Nuke nuke nuke, nuke nuke Iran

How is this even possible? What happened to us that we would seriously consider preemptive nukes? And why is this story buried somewhere below the Tom and Katie Baby Show?

Billmon has the best analysis of this so far. Either way, the day we attack Iran is the day I take all the photos of NYC I can, so I can remember what it used to look like.

Escape from Orlando

On Wednesday morning, we enjoyed a too-leisurely breakfast at Bob Evans, a treat not afforded to those who make their abode on Long Island. The flight was scheduled for 1 PM. Plenty of time to finish up those delicious buttermilk biscuits and then hit the road. The timeline begins.

11:25: Leave Bob Evans on Irlo Bronson Hwy. Irlo Bronson was famous for his work in the movie "Brunchwish." The road may be the ugliest stretch in the whole wide world.
11:30: Gas up, hit I-4.
11:45: Still on I-4. Reason: Jerks.
12:00: On Beeline, which has been renamed Beachline only to piss me off, and only in some parts.
12:10: Drop car at Hertz. The driver claims that he's never taken an express drop-off envelope before.
12:15: At the JetBlue terminal with plenty of time to spare!12:20: The self-serve kiosk spits out boarding passes, without bag tags. We have to go to the customer service line. The
signs say that the 1:00 PM flight is boarding.
12:30: Still in the customer service line. Two positions are open. One is taken by a family of 439 who are having two coolers of foil-wrapped, frozen meat inspected by hand. The second is taken by a mother and daughter who are engaged in friendly banter with a dummy of a clerk.
12:35: Having run out of banter, the dummy of a clerk gets to us. I explain quickly what happened with the kiosk and he tries to slow me down so that he can relax a bit. He takes what seems like forever, and when I remind him that our plane is leaving in 20 minutes, he says "Don't worry, you'll make it." Let's face it - I already know that the guy is a lying fuck.
12:40: The bags are dropped at the big scanning machine. We hit the security line. Our flight is leaving in 15 minutes, and the sign says that the current wait is 20 to 30 minutes. A TSA employee is performing the valuable job of pointing people into lines. I tell her that we have to get through so we don't miss our flight. She replies with the TSA equivalent of "tough shittles." We can't go through the wheelchair line. We can't go through the express line. (Interesting fact: the TSA lets first-class passengers use a faster line. Because safety sometimes has to take a back seat to the convenience of the wealthy.)
12:50: I have to be restrained from going Bakersfield Chimp on a Southwest pilot who is carrying a bag with three pro-Bush stickers on it. Ask yourself: do you want a faith-based pilot on your next flight?
12:52: On the monorail. The safe, efficient, slow monorail.
12:56: The monorail doors open. I tear over to Gate 101. The plane doors are closed. They won't seat us, but our bags are on the flight. Instead, we're put on standby on the 1:30 PM flight.

So who's to blame here? My finger points squarely at the Meat Family Robinson.

We get to JFK, and it actually works out well. The bags are already on the carousel, having caught the 1:00 PM flight. Three of the four bags, that is. The fourth is nowhere to be found. I go to Baggage Services. Confused by my story, they won't check on where the fourth bag is but tell me to go wait at the carousel for the earlier flight. I told them that I had just done that, and three bags of four had come off. They said "well, the carousel is still going, right? That means that more bags are coming." Yes they are, but all from Buffalo.

I go to the carousel for the 1:30 flight. No bag. Everyone else gets their bag, but mine is nowhere to be seen. I go back to Baggage Services. NOW they check on the claim number and discover that there's a note in the system. Three of four bags were sent along. The fourth didn't make the flight because the scanner was acting up. Oddly, all the bags made the 1:30 flight despite this scanner problem. My bag is on a later flight, and they'll deliver it to our house. I don't understand why they can't tell you, WHEN YOU'RE ON THE PLANE, that your bag didn't make the flight. They have it in their system, it has to be completely possible to do this when you're deplaning, and it would save me and them a lot of time.

All because of the foil-wrapped meat. Foil-wrapped meat sucks.

Disney Hell

OK, maybe not Hell. But I just returned from several days in Orlando, and it was an interesting week to say the least.

It all started with the flight down to Orlando. It is traditional for TSA to open up your bags to take a peek, but their new policy is to open up all your pill bottles and put them back without reclosing them, so that when you get your bag your clothes are covered with a riot of ibuprofen. They no longer even put the "your shit got touched by the TSA" cards in your bag when they do this.

Disney World is swathed in banners proclaiming the "Happiest Celebration on Earth!" This left me to wonder what was the saddest celebration on earth? I'm thinking it was Bush's inauguration gala in 2001.

There's a lot of great new stuff going on in the Magic Kingdom. Once you work your way past the signs saying "Epcot Resorts Blvd closed while we repave the magic," you enter a world of fantasy and wonderment. We wanted to start with a character breakfast with Snow White, but she wasn't appearing due to a yeast infection. So we ordered the special in-room version. As it turned out, it consisted of Belle walking into your room, sitting down at your desk, smoking a Parliament, drinking a Sanka, and walking out in silence. Or at least I think it was Belle - the rest of my pills were missing when I went to look for them later.

There were a lot of refurbished attractions. The new Tower of Terror VI ride is scarier than ever. You're trapped in an elevator for an hour, James Blunt blasting through the intercom, with no one to keep you company but a crying, sunburned child and his dad. The dad is wearing a red Speedo and pretending that he's not the one farting.

Downtown Disney is a lot nicer these days since they gave all the homeless characters a one-way bus ticket to move to Uptown Disney. They've got all kinds of upscale, Disneyfied entertainment like "Disney's Risque Princesses presents Mulan Rouge." In my opinion, the comedy club needs more comedians wearing full "sad clown" makeup while telling raunchy jokes about their sex lives.

If you want to have an adult's night out, the Swan now offers the Evil Stepmother's Kid Klub. Kids age 5-12 get to sit in tiny plastic chairs and color in Lion King activity books all day in a room overlooking a 5-acre grotto pool and sand play area.

There are two ways to get to Disney from the airport. Remember Daisy Duck? Seen her lately? Thought not. That's because she drives a Mears shuttle from the airport. You can also rent a car, but be forewarned that while Hertz Number One Club Gold is great, it's available to only the richest kings in Europe. The rest of us are eligible for Hertz Number Two Club Brown, which entitles you to a Dodge Dart with a clean ashtray.

All in all, lots of fun. But then came the trip home....

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Cynicor Jumble: Answer for 4/5/2006

The answer to yesterday's Cynicor Jumble was: EUNDSAESC. Winners to be announced shortly.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Cynicor Jumble

On the heels of our successful launch of Cynicor Sudoku, we're pleased to present Cynicor Jumble. The puzzle is fiendishly simple. Just figure out the anagrams on the left. Write them into the boxes on the right. Then use the letters in the red squares to create another anagram, which will be the answer to the Cynicor Jumble question below. Good luck! The first five winning entries are eligible to win a certificate for a free serving of onion rings at their nearest Ruth's Chris Steak House!

CHEEES c c c c c c
FUKCRE c c c c c c
PNODSCUM
c c c c c c c c
MARBELS
c c c c c c c
CRPA
c c c c
PUDDEL c c c c c c

Cynicor Jumble question: This "where are they now" former star first gained fame as the lead singer of The Smiths. c c c c c c c c c

Cynicor Sudoku fever: 4/5/06 challenge!

The first Cynicor Sudoku challenge was our biggest game ever! There were a couple of little glitches with the Sudoku engine that I think we've got sorted out now, so here's tomorrow's challenge in advance. The first ten participants with the correct grid will each receive a $50 gift certificate to Shula's Steakhouse in Tyson's Corner, VA. Good luck!

Cynicor Sudoku fever: 4/4/06 answer

If you haven't tried the Cynicor Sudoku puzzle yet, please go to this post first.

Here is the answer for today's Cynicor Sudoku puzzle. Congratulations to everyone who filled in all the squares correctly! A $50 gift certificate to North Country Smokehouse is on its way to all winners.

Cynicor Sudoku fever!

Cynicor, The Blog has caught Sudoku fever! Every day, we will bring you the world's most challenging number puzzles. Here, for your solving pleasure, is vol 1 num 1 of Cynicor Sudoku. Answers tomorrow!

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Half my life ago

If you're not feeling depressed right now, here's something that'll help. It's easy! All you do is figure out exactly how old you are in days (Excel can help here). From that number, figure out the date exactly half your life ago. (For me, it's Sept 9, 1986.) Head over to Wikipedia, and see which song was #1 that week.

Half my life ago this week, "Venus" by Bananarama was the #1 song in the US. Now that's depressing.

Fight Terrorism

The good news is that if you live in Virginia, you can order Fight Terrorism license plates. The even better news is that both OSAMA and QAEDA are available for purchase! Now, Osama is an actual name - but why didn't Virginia think to put QAEDA on their no-license-fly list? You can't choose a name like FUCKY for it. (Yes, I tried.)


(Thanks to Dave C. for pointing this site out.)

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Morrissey

I never thought I'd type these words in again: THE NEW MORRISSEY SONGS DON'T SUCK. I just got them off Napster. I actually want to listen to "You Have Killed Me" more than once. It sounds like the stuff he was doing right after he ended The Smiths, not the stuff of the past decade that you had to smile politely at while avoiding eye contact. No more reminders that there are other countries than the United States. No mentions of...I don't even remember, what has he been singing about for the past 10 years?

(My review of his previous album here.)

Bagel Boss of Bay Shore presents...

Probably not a sandwich on which you'll need to slather any extra mayo.