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November 2005 Archives

November 30, 2005

Rockefeller Center Tree

Rockefeller Center Tree

The Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center is one of my least favorite aspects of the holiday season. It draws swarms of tourists who all gather in the middle of the sidewalk and stand there looking up at it, totally blocking the path of people trying to get somewhere and generally messing up my commute for a solid month.

Tonight's scheduled lighting of the tree feels even more incongruous and inappropriate because early this afternoon it was 63 degrees outside.

Tune in tonight on NBC if you want to see Earth, Wind & Fire and the always relevant Rod Stewart rocking out at the lighting event.

November 29, 2005

More Rumsfeldian Semantics

Rumsfeld has an epiphany

I don't know about you, but Donald Rumsfeld had an epiphanic Thanksgiving. He realized that calling the Iraqi insurgents "insurgents" lends them a legitimacy that he doesn't feel they deserve.

"I think that you can have a legitimate insurgency in a country that has popular support and has a cohesiveness and has a legitimate gripe," he said at a news conference today. "These people don't have a legitimate gripe." It is no longer legitimate to not want your country to be occupied by a foreign military, I guess.

Can you guess what word he thinks we should use to indicate the Iraqi insurgents? Guess. Terrorists! What else?

This bold new semantic initiative caused confusion immediately for the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who also spoke at today's news conference. After calling the Iraqi insurgents "insurgents" twice, he sheepishly said, "I have to use the word `insurgent' because I can't think of a better word right now."

You and me both, dude.

See also: Iraq not a quagmire.

November 28, 2005

Hollywood wants historical child molesters

Fictitious Pocahontas macks with John Smith

For decades, historians have been rolling their eyes at the many inaccuracies of the Pocahontas story as told again and again in Hollywood movies and pop songs. Pocahontas and John Smith never got married! They probably never had any romatic relationship at all! Pocahontas was not the curvaceous woman in a sexy one-strap dress from the Disney movie! She certainly never said to her Powhatan chief father, "I'm his misses, so Daddy, won't you treat him right"!

So now there's this new Terrence Malick movie coming out, The New World. In a NY Times piece about the particular historical angle they chose for this movie, producer Sarah Green says, "First and foremost we've created a love story."

However, this new movie does get at least a few key details right: the actress playing Pocahontas is only 14 (the real Pocahontas was probably 11 when she first met the explorers) and Colin Farrell, 29, plays John Smith. Certain aspects of Colin Farrell's personality may be especially useful in his characterization of Smith: a history professor at Colgate says, "Smith wrote often later in life about beautiful young girls in all parts of the world throwing themselves at him... I refer to it as the 'pornographic narrative.'"

November 22, 2005

When Holidays Collide: The Halloween/Thanksgiving Divide

scary turkey

Not to scale. Actually devil-turkey size is approximately 11 feet.

November 20, 2005

Strange stuff on the MySpace profile of girl whose parents were murdered in PA +

I'm really sorry if this is incorrect information or I have the wrong person or whatever, but...

It seems like the MySpace profile of the girl involved in last Sunday's Pennsylvania murder/kidnapping has put a cover of the song "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in a continuous loop on her MySpace page, along with the tagline, "life goes on..."

Anyway, here's a screen capture in case the profile changes.

I have no idea whether this is really the site of that girl or not, but it sure seems to be. It was a public profile when I came across it shortly after the murders and it has since been marked private.

I'm not passing judgment here. I just thought the choice of music is notable, though I'm not sure what is intended by it.

Update [11:40 am]: She changed it. The music is gone, and the tagline is different.

November 18, 2005

3-D on NBC

3d glasses, same as ever

Do you watch NBC's new not really a hit show Medium starring Patricia Arquette as a woman who has visions of dead people who works with the DA's office to solve crimes? Of course you don't! But I hope you'll be watching this Monday night when Medium brings us a very special episode in 3-D! Only 25 episodes in to the whole series, and they're already pulling stunts like this.

Anyway, if you live in a top-tier city, or even in pretty much any second-tier city, you can pick up your very own 3-D glasses from teams of Sprint employees handing them out today, over the weekend, and Monday. List of cities and handout locations here. I got mine at Rockefeller Center.

These glasses are the exact same ones that were given out in the 1980's for TV broadcasts of Creature From the Black Lagoon and Gorilla At Large, so if you've got some in the back of a drawer somewhere, they should work just fine. 3-D technology seems to have peaked in about 1954.

November 16, 2005

Save Arrested Development!

Lucille doesn't want to be cancelled

The whole world fucking sucks, but finally there's a website that lets you do something about it.

Amy's Robot is proud to bring you:


Bush captivates Kyoto business community

Bush speaks in Japan

On his trip through Asia, Bush spoke today at the Kansai Economic Federation in Kyoto, Japan. He spoke stirringly about U.S.-Japanese relations, and, somewhat mysteriously, took the opportunity to chastise China for not offering its citizens adequate human rights and political freedoms.

His audience of Japanese businessmen responded with appropriate enthusiasm.

Japanese businessmen snore

November 15, 2005

Total psycho of a CBO Director to leave post

Holtz-Eakin is out

Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, and former White House economist, has announced that he is leaving his position at the end of a year, one year short of his full four-year term. Holtz-Eakin has been a promiment economist for many years, holding teaching positions at Columbia, Princeton, and Syracuse Universities, and was appointed to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisors during Bush's first term. He's no chump!

But something seems to have gone dreadfully wrong with Holtz-Eakin's economic judgement in the last few years. Let's look at some of the outrageous things this guy has done as Director of the CBO:

  • Said that Bush's tax cuts and big spending plan could not lead to economic growth: "The message is that you cannot grow your way out of this," he said, referring to our explosive deficit.
  • Released a report noting that Bush's tax cuts strongly favor the very wealthy.
  • Questioned the validity of privatizing Social Security.
  • Stated that getting rid of the estate tax would reduce contributions to nonprofit organizations.
  • Determined that allowing same-sex marriage would increase federal tax revenues.

Holy Moses! This guy is a maniac! He clearly does not understand this administration's economic or political views at all. Thank God this moron is history.

But seriously, we can imagine that life must have been total hell for Holtz-Eakin these past few years. We hope he'll have a much less combative experience at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he plans to work starting next year. But we'll be left with some new robot CBO Director who won't cause so much trouble for the administration.

Kazakh Foreign Ministry's Next Target: The New York Post

NY post kazakhstan

November 14, 2005

Looking for Wes Anderson

Hey, Wes Anderson! What's happening, dude? Just in case you didn't see one of these flyers posted around the West Village this weekend, we thought we'd put a photo of one up to make sure you could get in touch with Sarah.

Wes Anderson, please email Sarah

Hopefully she's trying to return the stuffed javelina head she borrowed from you, not just trying to send you a vocal audition for the role of Mrs. Fox.

November 11, 2005

FOX just made the biggest mistake of its life+

Crying GOB

America. We have some terrible news this morning.


While this tragic news can hardly be described as surprising, it still saddens us to be faced with the knowledge that the funniest and most creative show on the air can't get enough of an audience to sustain it.

What the hell is everybody watching out there? One Tree Hill?

So we're going to get an abridged Season 3 of 13 episodes, with no new episodes until December 5, then it's just the gaping empty blackness of the void.

OK, American viewing public, I hope you're happy with your goddamn Two and a Half Men. - Amy

But there is a bright spot: 7th Heaven was also cancelled - the show that will always be known for introducing the world to Ashlee Simpson. - Emily

November 10, 2005

A brief note on the riots in France

Riots in France

Now that the riots in France are starting to quiet down, let's take a look at the larger history of French agitation.

In the late 18th century, groups of poor French people were fed up with years of oppression and social and economic injustice. They took to the streets in a variety of attacks on the upper classes and the structures that supported them. From the Wikipedia entry on the French Revolution:

"A number of factors led to the revolution; to some extent the old order succumbed to its own rigidity in the face of a changing world; to some extent, it fell to the ambitions of a rising bourgeoisie, allied with aggrieved peasants and wage-earners."

For the past two weeks, groups of young French people, mainly immigrants and the children of immigrants from North Africa, have taken to the streets to burn cars and break things out of frustration at years of oppression and social and economic injustice. Specifically, unemployment, police harrassment, racism, poverty, and an interior minister who refers to them as "scum" and pledges to clean out the public housing projects where many rioters live.

The main differences between the events over 200 years ago and those happening now seem to be that 1) white French people don't seem to understand that they themselves are the oppressive force of injustice to be toppled this time, and 2) the rioters of today are far less violent than during the first revolution. Cars have been burned, sure, but hardly any people have been hurt or killed in two weeks of widespread rioting.

I have yet to talk to anyone who isn't at least a little bit pleased that France is finally being exposed as a discriminatory and racist country that has been totally indifferent to its unequal treatment of its citizens. Especially when French people are often pretty condescending about issues of race in America and everywhere else. Time to wake up, people! Sorry about your cars.

By the way, I can't wait to see The Economist bitch-slap France for its handling of all this in tomorrow's issue.

November 9, 2005

Who'dat?™: We-don't-know-who-it-is-either edition +

Amy sent me this pic, but as I write this, I don't know who it is either. Leave a comment if you have a guess.

Here you go:


Usually you can click the picture to find out who the Who'dat™ is, but since I don't know who it is, we really can't do that right now. -ADM

OK, we'll tell you who it is. Once you've made your guess, click below to see who this is. -Amy

Continue reading "Who'dat?™: We-don't-know-who-it-is-either edition +" »

November 8, 2005

NYC Mayoral Election Voter Guide

election day

It's election day! And while a non-Presidential, non-midterm election is difficult to get excited about, there are a few races that are worth some attention, such as the Virginia and New Jersey governor elections. The residents of these states might shed some light on how recent public displeasure with the administration plays out in the polls.

And then there's the most useless waste of an election in recent history: the vote for New York Mayor. Let's take a look at the candidates:

Michael Bloomberg, Republican: Decisive leader, decent manager, questionable politician. Brought the goddamn RNC to New York. Tried to make all establishments open past 1:00 AM get a new heavily bureaucratic "nightlife license". Sort of a dipshit.

Freddy Ferrer, Democrat: As far as anyone can tell, has not accomplished anything of note in his whole political history. Has been essentially unemployed since losing the 2001 primary election. Completely unable to inspire any sustained enthusiasm in a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic. This is the best we can do?

And the others you've never heard of:

Seth Blum, Education: High school math teacher interested in improving NYC public schools. And is against rodent infestation. OK great, dude, but there are more issues in this city than schools.

Anthony Gronowicz, Green: CUNY professor. Wants cleaner energy sources and mass transit, rent regulation, and some nice sounding neighborhood food co-ops. Looks like a nice enough guy, maybe not so in touch with regular people.

Audrey Silk, Libertarian: Retired police officer. Like your typical libertarian, wants to repeal the smoking ban, lower taxes, and deregulate zoning and everything in any way related to business. Doesn't seem to have the first clue about how regular people live their lives in this city.

Jimmy McMillan, Rent is Too Damn High: Vietnam vet, nutcase, tries to be more than a one-issue candidate, yet works "the rent is too damn high" into every sentence in all of his campaign materials. Last time he ran for Mayor he got tied to a tree and doused in gasoline; is a karate expert; apparently hates Jews.

It's a sad state of affairs. I can't in good faith endorse any of these candidates, so the best I can offer is to write in Christopher X. Brodeur, who sadly didn't make it past the primary, and is probably still in trouble for threatening to kill a journalist at the Observer.

November 7, 2005

Another one for the "Horse Already Out of the Barn" file

Bush says we don't torture

Bush Declares: "We Do Not Torture"


Cheney Fights for Detainee Policy
"In recent months, Cheney has been the force against adding safeguards to the Defense Department's rules on treatment of military prisoners...Cheney's camp says the United States does not torture captives, but believes the president needs nearly unfettered power to deal with terrorists to protect Americans. To preserve the president's flexibility, any measure that might impose constraints should be resisted."

Army Rangers Accused of Abusing Detainees
"Five U.S. members of an elite Army unit have been charged with kicking and punching detainees in Iraq, the military said Monday."


Bush orders staff to attend ethics training

November 4, 2005

Unintended Consequences

Check this out:

The 19-y-o killer in this story from California learned what ammunition was best and learned where to get it by posting to this forum, which original thread participants realized post-facto in this thread.

[via waxy]

November 3, 2005

Michael Brown, you look fabulous!

Michael Brown shops at Nordstroms

The Congressional panel investigating the federal "response" to Hurricane Katrina has started complaining loudly that the documents they requested from the administration on September 30 have yet to be delivered. The Republican Representative heading the panel is threatening to subpoena the e-mails and other correspondence they want. He says, ""We are not going to be stonewalled here. I will continue to press the administration for full compliance with our requests as soon as possible."

But the committee has gotten a whole lot of emails between Michael Brown, FEMA's disgraced former leader, and his staff! Here are some of the calls to action that Brown sent and received as our nation faced one of its worst natural disasters in history:

Augsut 29, the day after Katrina hit:
Cindy Taylor, Deputy Director of Public Affairs at FEMA: My eyes must be deceiving me. You look fabulous - and I'm not talking about the makeup.

Brown: I got it at Nordstroms ... Are you proud of me? If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god.

August 30
Brown to staff: Do you know of anyone who dog-sits. If you know of any responsible kids, let me know. They can have the house to themselves Th-Su.

But Brown was suffering too during those nightmarish days. On August 29, he wrote to Taylor, "Can I quit now? Can I come home?"

Poor beleaguered Brownie. At least he got his wish.

Kraft Foods Defines Nutrition For You

lunchable chicken dunk

Now that "organic" and "healthy" are equalling cold hard cash for the food industry, food manufacturers are falling over themselves to get a piece of that healthy action. The New York Times reports that major companies like Kraft and General Mills, and retailers like McDonald's and Wal-Mart are are all maneuvering to take advantage of rising interest in organic products.

But one company jumped on that bandwagon early, as this excellent Wall Street Journal article details. Taking a cue from parent company Philip Morris, who realized early on that promoting teen smoking equaled corporate villiany in the eyes of the public, Kraft Foods recently announced they would stop marketing "unhealthy" foods to children under 12. But this admirable concession is slightly underscored by the fact that Kraft also developed their own nutritional guidelines to judge which of their products were healthy and "less" healthy.

Kraft calls this their "Sensible Solution." Health experts outside the company call it "nutritional gerrymandering." So far, five Kraft products qualify under the company's Sensible Solution standards: Sugar-Free Kool-Aid™, two kinds of Capri-Sun™ drinks, Lunchables Fun Pack Chicken Dunks™ and 1/2 the Sugar Fruity Pebbles™ cereal.

Here's an example of how Kraft determines nutritional value:

Kraft's Capri-Sun Sport drink has more sugar and calories than the standard that the company set for "refreshment drinks." But Kraft still advertises the product to children. That's because Kraft says the drink has a "clinically proven superior hydration benefit compared to water."

Kraft bases that benefit on a study it funded of 29 children between the ages of nine and 12. The children exercised and on breaks were allowed to take a drink. On average, the kids drank more Capri-Sun Sport than water, according to the study, done by the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Kraft determined its drink had a nutritional benefit because kids drank more Capri-Sun than water.

Tomato, tomahto - but regardless, this solution has been sensible for both consumers, and Kraft Foods. Since announcing the initiative, Lunchables Fun Pack Chicken Dunks™ have become the Kraft's fastest growing product line.

So the obvious question is: what's the nutrition value of these healthy Lunchables Fun Pack Chicken Dunks™?

I turned to my friend the internet, starting with the Lunchables™ site - a loud flash site inexplicably set in some sort of space treehouse, where you can go on a "Poppin Droppin Adventure with the Lunchables Brigade," but not learn anything about the actual contents of a Lunchable. So what about Kraft's own Sensible Solutions page? There's a link for nutrition information - but alas, when you click it, you find that "Information for all qualifying products will be available soon." How about the Oscar Mayer Lunchables site? They don't even list Chicken Dunks as a product. Online grocers FreshDirect and Peapod don't carry them.

I finally found the information at ediets.

Lunchables Chicken Dunks™
Contents: 5 chicken nuggets, sweetened ketchup, Tropical Punch-flavored Kool-Aid Jammers drink and Starburst Fruit Chews

Calories: 290
Fat Grams: 5
Sodium: 520 mg (the sodium content of 3 servings of Doritos™)
Sugar: 34 g (6 grams more than a Snickers™ bar)

Clearly, what the Chicken Dunk loses in fat it more than makes up for in salt and sugar. So, while your children under 12 may not have to worry about clogged arteries anymore, they'll probably still be overweight and hypertensive. Thanks, Kraft Foods!

November 1, 2005

A Scary Halloween Announcement

In honor of last night's Halloween festivities, I bring you spooky news of....



tooth ache candy

They are one and the same. Knowing that I am a slave to both candy and marketing, some friends recently brought back this candy from a trip to New England. The concept and execution of this candy put it miles above other children's novelty candies. Kid's Brands Tooth Ache Candy Pressed And Liquid Candy ™ may not be scary to someone on their first set of teeth, but let me tell you - a little periodontal surgery is all it requires to make this one of the scariest candies you've ever encountered.

Marketed charmingly as "red raspberry flavor candy cream jell with pressed dextrose teeth," Kid's Brands Tooth Ache Candy Pressed And Liquid Candy™ comes packaged in a segmented plastic tooth. On one side of the molar, little sugared teeth. On the other - a quivering mass of red blood.

toothache candy open

Using the little tongs provided, you dip the tooth into the gum until it's nice and bloody.

dipping toothache candy

Then, you pop that little sucker into your mouth, gel and all.

yummy teeth

And the best part? It is so much more delicious than you thought! The goopy gel and crunchy teeth come together for a perfect taste sensation.

And even better: The brand has recently expanded to include green "Rotten Little Teeth." Thank you, Hungarian candy manufacturers, for creating this fine product! In coming months, I hope to see Kid's Brands Tooth Ache Candy Pressed And Liquid Candy ™ in stores across our great country.

So, I guess all Osama has to do is show up with a copy of the Post

celebrity passports

Thanks a lot, Homeland Security.

Update on Fundamentalist Desert Sex Cult Fugitives

There have been some developments in the case of Warren Jeffs, the charismatic and psychopathic leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who runs a polygamist community in Arizona. Jeffs has been on the run from the law for having sex with underage girls and for arranging illegal marriages between underage girls and married men. All in the name of the Lord. Yeesh.

Anyway, Warren's brother Seth was caught by the police on Friday while driving in southern Colorado. He was taken in and charged with harboring a fugitive--presumably he knows where Warren is hiding.

But wait, just wait. When the cops caught him, Seth Jeffs had $142,000 in cash on him, and the driver of the car was a MALE PROSTITUTE that Jeffs had solicited for $5,000!

This is in contention for best story of the year.

Those LIFE demonstrators are back, as nonsensical as ever

We got more than our fill of those weirdos with pieces of duct tape with LIFE written on it over their mouths during the Terri Schiavo mess. And prompted, I guess, by Bush's nomination of Alito to be the next Supreme Court Justice, they've returned to the steps of the Supreme Court to stand around, looking like idiots, and are making some vague political point that is too nuanced and metaphorical for me to understand.

LIFE demonstrator

So what does this guy mean to say, exactly? His eyes are shut, his mouth is taped closed, he's listening to Hoobastank or some shit on his headphones, and this all means... OK. I admit it. I have no idea what this is meant to signify. Supporting a political platform that defends that lives of fetuses is akin to sensory deprivation? Our secular government or culture or media or whatever silences religious extremists?

And look at this freak.

Woman worshipping the Supreme Court building

Is this woman worshipping a building? A building of the U.S. Government, that secular den of corruption? Is she asking God to come to America in the form of a judge from New Jersey?

OK look, demonstrators. I hate to tell you this, but the right wing of our government is never going to make abortion illegal. Why not? Because then there would be no issue left that can get all of you so worked up. They want to keep using you. They've got to keep the political contributions coming and the voting booths filled, and no other issue can do that like abortion. Making it illegal would be the death of the conservative movement as we know it.

So go ahead and ride the bus to D.C. and afix tape to different parts of your bodies. I don't think it's going to get you anywhere, but it will encourage the political right to keep manipulating you.

About November 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in November 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2005 is the previous archive.

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