Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Man, I don't know what April is whining about. Her uniform seems to have a million variations, whereas at my all-girls high school, we had next-to-none.

At Derham, we wore black jumpers, white socks, black-and-white saddleshoes, and in the winter, we could wear black pants and black sweaters or blazers over white blouses. That was it, folks. (And nametags, which we had to wear every day, color-coordinated to our class year -- mine was green.)

And my class was the last one allowed to wear colored blouses under our jumpers -- the classes coming in to school after us all had to wear white blouses only. Every year, another class who were allowed to wear colorful blouses graduated and the school got a little bleaker. By our senior year, my class looked like little flowers buzzing around in a black-and-white movie.

Aw, shucks

The founder of Seablogs, a Seattle Weblog site, named PCJM as among his favorite Seattle blogs, along with Defective Yeti, Izzle Pfaff, and others.

Aw, thanks much, Michael. We'll work on keeping up with the "consistently funny and entertaining" thing. (Thanks to Kim for the link!)

By the book

I adore this New Yorker article on one woman's love of cookbooks. She loses me a little near the end with the beef cheeks, but the beginning is wonderful.

"i read cookbooks. I am addicted to them. I keep a pile on the floor of my study in New York, knowing that if I manage to write a couple of decent pages I can treat myself to a $4.50 Chinese lunch special in the company of Richard Olney or Jasper White or Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, thinking of all the succulent things I would cook for dinner if I didn’t have to go back to work in the afternoon."

(Thanks to Jon for the link!

After-School Traumas

I was so excited when the After School Specials started coming out on DVD that I bought the first two volumes, and then realized I didn't like or remember many of those early-1970s shows. Whoops!

Now they've continued to come out with more years, and they've finally gotten to more of the ones I do remember. They also had the best titles: Did you hear what happened to Andrea? She Drinks a Little!

The Onion's AV Club has a fun piece dissecting The Anatomy of After School Specials. I don't know which photo is better, Kristy McNichol pushing a kid in a wheelchair or a babyfaced Rob Lowe cradling his own supposed baby.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Somehow form a family

So I bought the second season of "The Brady Bunch" on DVD, and was horribly disappointed to find out it had absolutely no extras. The first season had creator Sherwood Schwartz commenting on the pilot (he was dull, but he's Sherwood), and cast members Barry Williams (Greg), Christopher Knight (Peter) and Susan Olsen (Cindy) doing a merry, fun commentary on two episodes (the family goes camping, and Peter saves a little girl in a toy store).

So when I found out there was nothing at all extra on season two, I put the set aside and didn't watch it for a while, but then I popped it in as kind of background music. And I discovered something: The episodes we've been seeing for years have been cut for syndication, but the DVDs have them restored. There are entire scenes in these oh-so-familiar shows that I haven't seen in many moons.

Remember Marcia's slumber party ("Mrs. Denton or a hippopotamus?" her dumb friend writes on Marcia's admittedly lame sketch of George Washington.) Anyway, at the party, before the girls find the itching powder in their sleeping bags (and you're either nodding along with me here or I've totally lost you by the side of the road), they play a slumber party game that I remember being in all the "what to do at a party" books of that era. It's called Ha, and it's where all the girls lie down with their heads in each other's laps. The first girl says "Ha!", the second one "Ha ha!", and so on, until the fake "Has" are completely drowned out by real laughter.

It's so funny, I knew exactly what game they were playing, but in the scene it just kind of happens organically, no one explains the object or rules of the game. And it felt like a weird little "Brady" treat, getting an extra scene that was really there all along.

In two weeks, the third season will also be out, and there will even be a DVD three-pack available for purchase. Groovy, man.


Oh, move it along, FBOFW. April's home now, and the Patterson car, like all cars in this strip, kind of floats above the road.

This strip is so dull I can't even comment on it for long, except to say is it wrong that I hope Elly driving Liz to Mtigwhatever means they'll have long on-the-road discussions of the Anthony situation? And that mention will be made of Howard being thrown in an icy Canadian labor camp?

Journalism as fiction

So the Kaycee Nicole story has been topped. (I refuse to rehash the Kaycee story except to say that someone pretended to be another person dying of cancer, bloggers believed her, and all hell broke loose.)

A college newspaper in Illinois was running regular columns supposedly from a little girl whose dad was fighting in Iraq. The girl's cutesy prose and bad spelling charmed many, but now it turns out someone faked the whole thing. The little girl's parents thought she was playing a soldier's daughter in a documentary (which tells me they needed to look up "documentary" in the dictionary), someone else played the dad for his one appearance, and it's unclear if the paper's editor was duped or was somehow involved.

Man, my days editing the college paper (our only scandal involved security installing hidden cameras in the locker rooms, supposedly because of theft) look downright dull by comparison.

Keep em zipped, fellows

I am slightly obsessed with the hunt for the NYC subway perv.

If you haven't been following the story, a young woman saw this guy, uh, rather involved with himself on the subway, and properly horrified, she snapped his photo. (Her original Flickr post is here, but warning, it includes the photo of the guy, and it's not G-rated. The posts she got are semi-creepy themselves, as people come out of the woodwork to attack the woman instead of the perv. Yikes.)

Now her story has been published all over, and though it has not been proven, many folks think the guy owns a raw-food restaurant in town (make your own "in the raw" joke here).

I never had any trouble on public transport in Minnesota, but once on a Seattle bus out of downtown, apparently some guy was doing this deed while standing in the aisle next to me. I was wrapped up in a book and didn't see a thing, but the bus driver did, yelled at him, threw him off the bus, and sat there and apologized to me the whole rest of the way. I didn't see anything, but it sure made me feel gross anyway, which I guess is part of these creeps' intention. So I hope that whoever this guy is, they catch him and make an example of him. The cops interviewed about this say the men caught in this kind of act are rarely drooling pervs, they look like clean-cut guys and are often married with kids. Chaaaaaarming.

Pass the peppermint plums

Lisa and I have a gross candy contest, where each of us keeps an eye out for the weirdest candy we can find and buys it for the other. Then every so often, boxes go back and worth between DC and Seattle, usually with Post-It Notes with snide comments attached to each item.

I keep saying we need to scan and put our correspondence on the Web. Here's a similar site where two friends rate and rank Chinese junk food. Pretty fun.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Oh sheesh, Lynn, I was kind of kidding when I joked about you dragging out the airport drama for a week. I didn't mean you should really try to do it!

Note how the airport personnel look like all the generic people in this strip, rather rude and crass.

Also, is that a box of maxipads in that final panel? I mean, I get that Lynn's trying to show that April's nonplussed by the personal things exposed, but horrified she forgot about her nail scissors, but come on.

Also, although she apparently hasn't left Manitoba yet, the person standing behind her in the last panel looks eerily like Mike.

Can I borrow your underpants for 10 minutes?

Some very cool 1980s T-shirts and other products for sale here. I love this one.

Heh, "Sixteen Candles" T-shirts. I prefer "Pretty in Pink," but there you go.

Dead fish?

Abe Vigoda: Dead or alive? He's alive, thankyewverymuch, but with this Firefox extension, now you need never be in doubt again.

One of my favorite lines from "Austin Stories," which is one of my favorite shows, goes something like: "Don't go all Young Clemenza on my ass!" (And yes, I know ol' Abe played Tessio, but the line is funnier with Clemenza...)

Hey you guuuuuys!

Oh frabjous day: "Electric Company" is coming to DVD in February. Of the holy trinity of PBS kids' shows of my era, "Sesame Street," "Mr Rogers' Neighborhood," and "Electric Company," "EC" was my favorite.

I loved Letterman, the Short Circus (I wanted to be Julia) and Spiderman especially. And my best friend to this day, Lisa, and I became friends in large part because we were "EC" freaks, and bonded over it at our all-girls' high school. Somewhere I still have my folder that we scribbled a million remembered moments from. "Jennifer of the Jungle" was one that comes to mind.

The Wikipedia entry for "EC" lists a bunch of the skits that you might remember. Fargo North, Decoder! Love of Chair! And man, how I hated that dumb monolith.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Oh, please tell me that Monday's For Better or For Worse strip is wrapping up the April-on-the-farm storyline, not dooming us to a whole week of her travels home!

I suspect she'll get home and get about a two-panel summary of happenings from Liz. The attempted rape will have been toned down to a fight, Anthony's marriage woes will be all Therese's fault, and then John will mumble something about Blondie.

Why you gotta keep us down on the farm, Lynn?

Munch a bunch of lunch

Due to my mom being completely oblivious to any trends or cool characters, she bought me a Polly Pal lunchbox when I was in grade school.

Polly Pal seems to be a character created strictly for lunchbox-selling purposes -- unlike Holly Hobbie (remember her nerdy friend, Heather?) and other characters, she appears to have had no life outside the lunchbox realm.

Does eBay have your childhood lunch box? Was it a cool one, or not so much?

That sinking feeling

I still think Panda Cam is about the cutest Web site there is, but this one's pretty darn cute, too. The URL says it all:

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

Reading the National Weather Service forecast for New Orleans just makes me sick.

I can’t stand to think of that beautiful, lively, historic city flattened. I’m praying for a last minute miracle. We had such a wonderful time there on our South trip last May. I remember munching beignets at Cafe Du Monde, stopping to watch street performers in Jackson Square, examining Russian art in a gallery with Todd, wandering through the Voodoo Museum, trying on vintage dresses with Sue, riding the streetcar through the mansions of the Garden District, brunching on Bananas Foster at Brennan's, queueing up for Po Boys at Domilise's, downing endless daiquiris and hand grenades while hanging out in the French Quarter and yes, drinking hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's. The city laughed at these storms by naming a powerful drink after them, but they may not be able to swallow this one. Now the French Quarter has gone quiet, and the mayor actually said "God bless us."

People have been predicting this for years, but we've also been predicting a giant quake for LA and San Francisco, and a possible volcano eruption for Washington's own Mount Rainier, yet people still set up homes there, just as they did in New Orleans. We all roll the dice when we settle down -- no city is safe from every national disaster -- and this time it's beautiful old New Orleans on the block. Tomorrow it could be my hometown, or yours. God bless us, every one.

Pass a grilled chocolate sandwich, please

I'm missing one of my favorite things all year this week. The Minnesota State Fair started Thursday, and I can't go home for the whole run of the Fair because I'm going in mid-September for my school reunion.

So I'll be missing all the new foods, including grilled chocolate sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, cheeseburger wontons, and more.

I love the Fair for its familiarity as much as its new items, though. Basically everything sits in the same spot it has since I was in grade school, and memories rush up to meet me at every corner. That's the stand where Ann and I would always get our rings cleaned, that's the train booth where a friend worked selling tickets, that's the giant slide that scared and thrilled me as a kid, that's the grandstand where we saw...some lame 1970s musical act, that's the booth where I once worked, handing out POGs, that's the technology building where Rob worked and I visited him, that's the kiddie ride where we stopped and marveled at what a wonderful world it was, just 10 days before 9-11-01.

Stay the same, Fair, I hope to catch you next year.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Things I've learned

Over at my Weblog, Test Pattern, I am sharing things I have learned from this summer's best and worst commercial contest. Including the fact that PEOPLE WHO LIKE THE PLASTIC-HEADED BURGER KING OFTEN WRITE IN ALL CAPS.

Monday, August 22, 2005

My blue Marcia

An online Brady Bunch coloring book offers up three photos for you to color, without even lifting a Magic Marker to your laptop screen.

There's Cindy and Carol, in a heartfelt moment. What's wrong with the water upstairs? Maybe the problem is that the hot water runs out right away, because Mike, the architect, built a house with only one bathroom to be shared among six kids.

Marcia, only she looks so generic she could be anyone, up to and including Barbie. Also, it is possible that she's smoking a very thin joint.

And my favorite: Johnny Bravo on the skins! Who knew Greg's arm was so deformed?

Blue box mania

I admit, sometimes my exhausted evening comfort food is nothing more than Kraft macaroni and cheese from the blue box. Extra milk and light on the butter, please.

I knew that in Canada, it's even more popular than here, and that Canadians call it Kraft Dinner, but I didn't know that Kraft Dinner was the original name everywhere.

(Via Going Domestic.)

Girl power

Cute state- or city-specific shirts, touting you as California Girl, Chicago Girl, and the like.

I think I should get Minnesota Girl -- the small text says "sassy, stylish, snowmobile-racing, wool-socks-wearing, fish filleting, ya-you-betcha saying, all-American Minnesota Girl." Underneath that, it says "do I look like I grew up in a little house on the prairie?"

I should also get Seattle Girl -- which says "coffee-craving, ferry-riding, fish-tossing, flannel-wearing, raindrop-dodging, super-cool, super-fun hipster diva," as well as "do I look like I used to play in a grunge band?"

Oh, and I wouldn't mind a West Coast Girl shirt, either. Or maybe "I'll never move East of the 405," which is on the anti-suburb page. Oh, so many choices.

Ooza wittle baby PANDA now?

Here's my new remedy for when work is getting you down: Keep a window to PandaCam open, and sneak peeks in-between actually working. It only takes a second, but can refresh your whole attitude.

Warning: It may lead to you IMing your spouse to say things like "They're cuddling!" or "There is some SERIOUS bamboo chomping going on over at PandaCam!"

Damn, is that baby panda cute.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

39 questions for Charlie Daniels

Was it really necessary or wise to invite the Devil to come on back if he ever wants to try again?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Well, that takes the cake

I almost never go to ice-cream shops (in the immortal words of Alice, too much ice cream makes for too much Marcia), but this summer, on a road trip from LA to Seattle, we were in Bend, Oregon and decided to go to a Cold Stone Creamery.

Todd and I stood in line and discussed the concept of cake batter ice cream, and after a sample, I ended up ordering a small bowl. Mmm, delicious, and eerily accurate -- it was kind of like eating ice cream out of a bowl that had first been slathered with real cake batter. It was too sweet for more than about half of a small serving, but still, it was shocking how close they came to the real thing.

But now it looked like cake-batter ice cream is no more, thanks to some nasty cases of salmonella. Yikes! But according to their site, they're working on a safer version of the flavor. You can sign up to get e-mail when the new flavor is, uh, baked.

Here comes the bride

I just saw a very creepy new "Forensic Files." In it, a woman is found dead with a plastic bag near her head. Her husband says she took sleeping pills, fell asleep, and must have accidentally pressed her face into the bag. (Right.)

Some freaky forensic work makes an image of her face appear on the bag in the shape it was pressed into, and the image makes it clear that she didn't simply fall onto the bag, she was suffocated with it.

The most Scott Peterson-esque parts of this case? The husband had a girlfriend, and they sent out invitations to their wedding two whole weeks before the current wife died. (They married less than two weeks after her murder, using the life insurance to pay for the wedding.)

Another creepy thing? 18 months before her murder, her husband broke both her kneecaps.

More creepy? He put their three-year-old (living) son into bed with his dead mother to further carry out the masquerade.

The ultimate creepy thing? He served only 15 years in Leavenworth, and while there conceived three sons with the new wife. He's now out and a free man.

Miss Library Lady, Zombie Jesus

I've bought numerous librarian friends a copy of the librarian action figure from Archie McPhee, based on Seattle's own Nancy Pearl, with "amazing shushing action."

Now Archie has introduced a deluxe version.

Says an e-mail from the company: "A few complained that the figure presented a stereotype of the librarian as dowdy and stern, so we are using our new DELUXE version to address some of the concerns. Her outfit is now a rich burgundy color and she comes with a diverse selection of books and a reference computer. She does, however, still shush."

Archie McPhee is also offering a deluxe version of their Jesus action figure, but the first shipment back from the factory had some problems. "Production Error Jesus" has creepy green hands and devilish red eyes.

Says the site: "Somebody (Satan? Beelzebub? Gary Busey?) really made a mess of things. Jesus looks like a zombie or a Sith Lord instead of a healer, teacher or Messiah. Obviously, we couldn't release a savior with the steely, ferocious glare of a damaged Terminator robot to the general public. That's where you come in! Before we send them back to be melted down, we thought we would give you, our best customers, a chance to buy one for your very own. "

Smell like New York!

I'm kind of fascinated with these Bond No. 9 fragrances, all named after areas of New York City.

Does Wall Street really smell like citrus, leather and musk? Park Avenue may indeed smell like old ladies (paperwhite, iris, rose and chamomile), but does the Bowery really smell like lime, basil, violet, thyme and oakmoss?

This kind of reminds me of the "South Park" episode where Cartman says his grandmother smelled like "aspirin and pee." Yeah, I don't think that combination would sell for $168 a bottle either.

Living in the 80s

My friend Lisa M. passed me this 1980s lyrics quiz. You have to type in the missing words, so be sure to spell them right. I got 72%, but I wasn't being very careful when I filled them in, and I spent much of the 1980s running away from hair-metal bands, so I'm not so good on the Whitesnake and friends.

I also love looking at this as a big Madlibs, or Match Game, where you fill in your own words to lines like "cause your friends don't BLANK and if they don't BLANK; well, they're no friends of mine."

Friday, August 19, 2005


Aw, true, a woman's best friend is her cat, but shouldn't Liz be a little more freaked out about the day she just had? Get thee to the Mounties, woman, and report that creep!

And when she says "why does LOVE have to be so complicated," do we take that as a sign that Liz loves Anthony? (First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Therese with a restraining order...oh, wait)

Liz is handling this all with a stunning indifference, almost. How she ever felt like going off to a park with Anthony and lolling around under a tree hearing about his marital woes after having JUST BEEN ATTACKED is beyond me. Maybe they're growing some really tranquilizing plants at Lawrence's Landscaping, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Also, why does Shiimsa's head grow to about three times its size in panel three, then shrink back down?

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Poor Elly! She bugs me sometimes, but what can she possibly be thinking after this outpouring from Liz.

The old Elly (and, the old FBOFW, for that matter) would not have been able to get past "Howard attacked me" (does Elly even know who Howard is?). But this Elly apparently sits stunned through the whole deluge.

She not only hears that her daughter was attacked (and we get some exposition: Howard was fired -- duh -- and Liz WILL be going to the police, thankfully), but that married father Anthony still loves her, and that Elly could soon have a French-speaking step-grandbaby.

That's a heck of a lot for any mother, not to mention any comic-strip audience, to inhale all at once. And while it strains believability that Liz would come home from her near-rape and near-proposal and still have wits enough to actually make a casserole for dinner, this is the Pattersons we're talking about.

And I have to admit I kind of liked the last panel. Elly's expression kind of sums up the way the FBOFW audience has been feeling for the past week "What the hell just happened where did this all come from and do I get to take a breath NOW?"

Whatever will Saturday bring?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Who's the little homewrecker now?

Oh sheesh. Yeah, Lynn's taking this strip just where we all secretly wanted it to go, right smack into the gutter, looking up at the stars.

Therese doesn't love Anthony! (No mention is made of whether Anthony loves Therese.)

It's all her career! It took off (when? while she was 9 months pregnant, or in the 5 months since Francoise was born?)!

Anthony wasn't exciting enough for her! (Oh, bah humbug, Anthony isn't exciting enough for a rock! Warren, Liz, hold out for Warren. Can't you hear those chopper blades now?)

Anthony wanted a family! (Like all people in the Patterson universe, he believed if a baby wasn't born into the first 12 months of a marriage, someone was slacking off. It's an acceptable sentiment here -- look at pharmacist Deanna and her sort-of-intentional birth control "accident" that produced Merrie.)

Anthony's talked to Therese. He's been to a counselor. It's not going to work. (Liz, in her turn, admits only to "I care for you very much.") It's kind of funny that people can't get divorced in Patterson-land for reasons like, oh, they were too young to get married, they barely knew each other. No, it has to be something super-severe, like she hates their baby and is only interested in her career.

Now he shakes the just-almost-assaulted Liz (because she can't be freaked out about men touching her now, no way), and begs her "Say that you'll wait for me! Promise you'll wait!"


It's "The Young and The Restless" eeked out in little five-panel servings. (And just like on Y&R, Anthony has suffered from Rapid Aging Syndrome, and remains a spry 88 to Liz's 24.)

Oh yeah, I dis this strip, but I love, love, love it. Love. It.

Stuck in the '70s

I've raved about Wes Clark's Avocado Memories before, it's one of my favorite sites on the entire Web. He still updates from time to time, and last fall he posted this link to a page from the Williams-Sonoma catalog.

Notice anything...familar?

Raise your hand if you grew up with at least one avocado or harvest gold appliance in your house. Oh yeah, you know who you are. I think our entire kitchen was avocado back on Owasso.

Lost in space

This chilling memo, from William Safire to H.R. Haldeman, outlines what the U.S. had planned to say if Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were either killed or stranded in space. Of the two creepy options, I think the idea that they were alive, on the moon, but couldn't get back, is the most heart-chilling.

The memo bluntly refers to calling the "widows-to-be" and suggests that Nixon say "Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace."

Rob and I just read a Richard Matheson (author of "I Am Legend," which became the Charlton Heston zombie movie "The Omega Man") short story about three astronauts who land on a planet and see a crashed replica of their own spaceship there already. They then find their own dead bodies inside the second spaceship. They begin to believe that they have somehow stumbled into their own future, and that if they take off in the rocket to go home, they will indeed crash. But finally they decide they have to go up, because staying there, waiting to die or hoping to evade death, is much worse than taking action, any action, and rolling the dice.

I sometimes think of poor Laika, the space dog, the poor thing, and am glad we never left a person up in space, to die scared and far from home.

Back to the vomit jellybeans

I've posted before about Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, the vomit flavor being truly vomit-inducing.

But Anita linked to this fun taste-test of all the Bertie Bott's beans, complete with photos and commentary.

Just thinking about that vomit jelly bean makes me shudder. I can only imagine that rotten egg is just as bad.

Almost Paradise

As a TV editor, I have to watch a lot of shows during the TV season (even though people never believe it's for work). So I've been kind of taking the summer off, and when I watch TV, it's been mainly old comfort food reruns, of "South Park" or "Simpsons" or "Cosby Show," my new summer addiction.

And then just this week I learned that DirecTV now provides my home with the Fox Reality Channel, which means I get like four hours a day of "Paradise Hotel" reruns, complete with the contestants coming back and commenting on the episodes. I've only watched half a show (I forgot how MEAN those little snots were on that show), but damn, that's some bad TV right there.

I remember feeling sorry for goofy-looking Dave when he was tossed on the island as the only not-model-handsome guy who seemed to have a brain. But after watching the part of the episode where he gets to the island, I realized for the first time that he was really kind of assy, and helped create his own downfall. Still, that doesn't mean I'd cheer for the hellspawn duo of Zack and Amy over Dave and Charla -- I'm not a crazy person.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"I'm no home wrecker!"

I know some of you are sick of "FBOFW" talk already, but Lynn Johnston just can't drag this storyline out forever, right? Right? Wait, don't answer that.

Here's Wednesday's strip, which at least answers one of my questions: Francoise is with Anthony's mother (not, of course, with her own mother, who hates her).

Anthony, we next learn, misses the ease of dating Liz. (No one bothers to tell him that of course single life, when he only had to be responsible for himself, is sure to look more free at the moment than stay-at-home dadhood with an infant.) "You were always so easy to get along with," he tells Liz. Would she be as easy to get along with if she was in Therese's position, mom to a baby she (if you buy this ludicrous plotline) didn't ever want?

But the best panel is saved for the last. Liz digs out the 1950s expressions with "I'm no homewrecker!" And Anthony wails, with not one, but two exclamation points, "I have no home!"

Even back at her grandma's, Francoise heard that one. Ouch!

I can't wait till Therese gets dragged into this strip. Defend yourself, unwomanly hater of babies!

Recipe box mania

I type many of my recipes into MasterCook, but I also use cookbooks, online recipes, and a three-ring recipe binder that I put my own cards in, but I was thinking a small recipe-card box would be ideal to collect those recipes for when you just need a quick meal, and want to be reminded of quick meals you've made in the past.

I had no idea until today that there are so many cute vintage recipe boxes for sale on eBay

This is the same design my mom had when I was growing up, and there are at least three of them on eBay now. It obviously was a popular, readily available, and cheap recipe box at the time. I was so tempted to buy one just for the nostalgia value, but I resisted. Instead I bought the design I really fell for, one made up to look like a Land O' Lakes butter box. Minnesota, hats off to thee.

Scare tactics

I just saw an ad for the upcoming horror movie "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," and I kept thinking it must be a remake from the 1970s or something.

IMDB doesn't say anything about that, but I swear, wasn't this movie title around in the 1970s? Or am I thinking of "The Eyes of Laura Mars"?

Laci Peterson links

Apparently, the Laci Peterson case will never be over.

Now there's an author who blames Scott Peterson's mother for raising him to be a murderer, essentially. I think she's wacked, but I don't think anyone can blame her. The author sounds way wackier. Here's an excerpt.

And while there have been a ton of book written on this case already, Laci's mother will be chiming in this December with a book about her daughter called "For Laci."

Monday, August 15, 2005


Oh, now "FBOFW" gets really good. Or maybe really bad, depending on your viewpoint.

After nearly being raped, Liz gets the generous gift of ... a partial day off! No one mentions calling the cops, or tracking down El Creepo Howard. The best they can offer is a vague promise to "tell Lawrence." Yeah, maybe he'll dock his pay! That'll show him!

But the attack has obviously taken its toll on Liz, as evidenced by the fact that she now has perfectly round eyes like Lucy used to get in very early "Peanuts" strips.

And she makes the assumption that Anthony came to the garden center to buy tools, and tells him not to forget "what you came for."

Which leads to another of Lynn's sterling punchlines. He HASN'T forgotten what he came for! Because he didn't come for no gardening tools, I tell you what! He came for her! For Liz!

Even though he's married and promised his life to another, a surly French-Canadian whom he browbeat into getting pregnant and carrying his child for nine months! Sorry about that 36 hours of labor and the epidural, honey, but Liz, Liz, I came for Liz!

Run away with me darling, and we'll live in peace in Mtigwaki where gardening centers are unknown! Because just as Michael eventually found his childhood girlfriend again (saving her from a car accident, or at least, uh. photographing her car accident), Liz too must be rescued from near-death by the boy she promised her heart to while eating paste and sharing safety scissors back in second grade. (Look out, April, a near-death experience surely awaits you too, before you can find love.)

Francoise, meanwhile, is probably locked in the car.

Lost and oh-so-Found

I love Found Magazine, and my love dates back to even before they came out with their first print issue, when they accepted a find of mine. I discovered a note on the sidewalk right outside the employee entrance of the Star Tribune one day. It was a list someone had written to themselves reminding them, I guess, of things they wanted to work on. I always envision it written by a woman, with some kind of mental slowness. It said "Quit saying 'OK' and 'Ya' and putting hand up to mouth, quit saying 'stuff,' play with each bite of food before eating it like my dad did, and 'what not.' "

Sometimes I wonder if this person had success quitting any of these things. The note is still on the Found site if you want to look at it. I got to name it, and dubbed it "Like my dad did."

But I didn't know until now that Found's online site has a Find of the Week online. This is a great way to tide me over until the next print issue comes out.

Life of Boo

An anonymous poster left a fun link to The Sneeze, which speculates about the little-discussed fact that, for Booberry the cereal mascot to become a ghost in the first place, he had to be a person who died. So The Sneeze posts a sketch of what Booberry might have looked like in its human life. It's probably pretty accurate.

But now what did Casper look like as a person? And how did he die, anyway? Maybe I don't want to think about it.

Speaking of Casper, this looks like a really early version that I've never seen before.

Pass the syrup

Waffle House turns 50! What a long, strange, waffly trip it's been.

There are no Waffle Houses in Seattle, but when we were on our road trip through the South, each of us picked a number and we counted the Waffle Houses we saw, seeing whose number was closest. In the end? The number of Waffle Houses we saw was higher than the number anyone picked. That should tell you something about just how many Waffle Houses there are in the South. (Apparently there are 1,497, in 25 states. We didn't count quite that many...)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Bring on the guilt

My friend Jon and I (would that make me Ponch, in the photo?) co-edited MSNBC's Guilty Pleasures package. I wrote about quite a few of my own guilty pleasures, including misheard lyrics, "Starting Over," magazine subscriptions, "Independence Day," perfume, and "CHiPs."

Here are the four Guilty Pleasures stories:

Lifestyle: From alphabet soup to ice-cream sammies

In TV-land, 'CHiPs" are the cops and '90210' the zip

Dancing to the guilty pleasure beat

Now playing at the Guilty Pleasure cineplex

Check them out, vote in the polls, and if you want, you can rate the stories (from 1 to 5) at the end of each of the four. They were a lot of fun to write and edit, and I hope folks like reading them. You can also use the mailbag at the end of each story to send in your own guilty pleasures to possibly be quoted in our reader roundup.

Anthony, my hero

"For Better or For Worse" continues with the weirdness. We don't learn a lot from Monday's strip, except that Liz and Howard were not alone at the landscaping place, they were only alone in the building. So any one of the guys could have walked in at any time?

And the guys seem less than shocked that Howard attacked Liz. She announces what happened and she doesn't get a "He WHAT?" or "Howard ATTACKED you?" Instead she gets a "eh, sorry, we were busy." And as someone pointed out over at FOOBiverse, there's now an attempted rapist wandering the streets of Milborough, eh, about which no one seems in the least bit bothered or concerned.

And then we learn that Glasses Guy (who looks exactly like Gordon to me) has been "wanting to punch Howard out for ages." So did Howard go after him too? Or was he just kind of an idiot in general? And it looks like we have to wait a day or more to find out what brought Anthony to the garden center -- whether it's just to buy some fertilizer or if he's here to tell Liz that he dumped that baby-hatin' Therese.

Not exactly the Lords of Dogtown, but...

Some links are educational, some are funny, and some are just...I dunno, soothing?

I love this video of a guy skateboarding in a pool full of cool blue balloons, but it's much more fun to watch with the sound off (warning, link has both audio and video).


We played "Operation" a lot as kids, enough so that I think none of us went to medical school in part because that damn buzzer noise haunted our dreams.

But now they have what appears to be a 3-D version of "Operation," and it's called "Operation Brain Surgery."

Essentially it's the same general idea as the original -- you root around in the guys head and remove parts without setting off the buzzer. And it's that same Operation guy with the bad hair. Talk about longterm illness, man, he's been consistently sick since at least the early 1970s.

Says one Amazon commenter: "It's a decent game but it's nowhere near as fun as Hasbro's "Colonoscopy," Milton Bradley's "Hi! Ho! Root Canal-i-o" or any of the games they play in the burn ward at Mt. Auburn's Hospital on Central Street. "

Face it Marge, Catholics rule! We got Boston, South America, the good part of Ireland...

I just watched a great "Simpsons" rerun where Bart and Homer decide to become Catholic. Hilarious, including a bit where Marge checks out a very preppy, WASPish Protestant heaven, then looks over to partycentric Catholic heaven, where, uh, all Hell is breaking loose.

Even though I'm Catholic, I laughed out loud at when Marge barges into Catholic school to try and get Bart back, and he says "Sorry, mom but this is the Catholic church. Chicks don’t have any authority here!"

Booberry's family tree

Of the Monster cereals, Count Chocula was always my favorite, followed by Booberry and Frankenberry. But it wasn't until I moved out of Minnesota that I realized Booberry was considered the redheaded stepchild of the Monster clan, and that while The Count and Big Frank were easy to find, Booberry was often not sitting next to its family on supermarket cereal shelves.

It's common back in Minnesota, but not always in other states. If you're seeking the Big Boo, you can order him online. Although really, there are dozens of better cereals, in my humble opinion. Although they're not blue...

Monster cereals were actually a five-flavor family long ago. Fruit Brute (featuring the Wolfman) and Yummy Mummy died out some time ago. But this site has great photos of all kinds of different box covers from different eras.

And if you really want some fun reading about Monster cereals, Matt at X-Entertainment reviewed them all last Halloween. He says that Frankenberry is only available for a few months each year, right around Halloween, which doesn't seem right to me, but I could be wrong.

Excerpt, re Frankenberry: "One of the few surviving all-strawberry kid cereals on the market, the pink beast graciously accepts that his role has been diminished, showing no signs of ill-will towards the Count for having to sit in a dark cave from November through September. A bit cautious and wimpy in the old commercials, Franken Berry nonetheless charmed children everywhere with his head-clock accessory and unending supply of marshmallows."

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Anthony! It was so Anthony! Of all the possible lameoid choices, it was the lame-oid-iest.

Anthony! 88-year-old Anthony! Apparently porn star 'staches and a weird relationship with your wife gives you psychic superpowers to know when your ex-girlfriend is in danger!

And all he asks for is an apology? Look dude, it's not like the guy just insulted Liz's shoes! This was heading towards a crime faster than you could say "women should stay home with their bebes." So you let him limp off, to strike again?

You know what this leads to, right? Anthony and Liz falling into each others arms, realizing that they're meant for each other, and too bad about Therese and that whole havin' my baby thing.

Speaking of, where IS Francoise, anyway? We all know Anthony could never leave her with her baby-hating momma.

Oh, this strip is going nowhere on a fast Canadian train.

Taking the "pride" out of "Pride and Prejudice"

Some friends of mine were discussing the trailer for the new "Pride and Prejudice" film due out in September, starring Keira Knightley. It seems that Austen fans are convinced it's going to be a train wreck, and they aren't too fond of Knightley taking on the vaunted Elizabeth Bennet role. I can understand that, but I'll probably see it anyway.

Wow, the Internet has certainly changed English class. You can not only read "Pride and Prejudice" online, but the online version does things like hyperlink character names, place names and other terms.

My favorite P&P line: "I do not cough for my own amusement," replied Kitty fretfully.

Form Internet urban legend

I linked earlier to Jeff's post about how the Wonder Twins didn't really have rings, how they just touched hands to use their Wonder Twin powers.

He responded with another fun post, utilizing some comments posted here at PCJM, and delved a little bit more into how everyone's collective memory seems to recall rings touching, dammit!

Clonus was there first, dammit

I've written before about how similar the new movie "The Island" sounds to the "Mystery Science Theater" movie, "Parts: The Clonus Horror."

Apparently the producers of "Clonus" agree, and they're hoping to sue. I hope "Clonus" wins, dammit. It was one lousy movie, but the "MST3K" version was hilarious.

I'd like to buy the world a caffeine-free Coke Zero with lime...

This Weblog has a good summary of all the bizarre and different kinds of Diet Coke out there, which is very helpful. I would have liked to have this at my fingertips when we were in the middle of central California and discovered Coke Zero for the first time. Now if they only come out with caffeine-free Diet Coke with lime, I'd be all set.

My friend Lisa is the biggest Diet Coke fiend I know. When I think back on our college days, I remember staying over at her house and she'd be at the breakfast table eating a Lean Cuisine and drinking a Diet Coke at 7 a.m. Anyway, I sent her this link, and she sent back her much-simpler guide to the Diet Coke world:

"Diet Coke is the best.
Diet Coke Zero isn't bad.
C2 is OK.
Diet Coke with Splenda is the pits."

There you have it, America.


OK, I was too busy to post much, but I had to pop on for the other "For Better or For Worse" fans to say...the hell?

So Howard goes from slightly creepy co-worker to stalker to would-be rapist the first time he and Liz are left alone at work, apparently having given no clue of his weirdness to any co-workers except Liz before now. (Or has he been raised in a male-only commune, and this is his only exposure to women, and he goes nuts? Who knows?)

And in the last panel, I thought: YAY! Liz grabbed him around the neck and is strangling him herself! Women power! But then if you look at the color version, it's apparent it's a third person's arm (and not someone clad in the ugly orange of the landscaping business). Is it John? Elly? Mike? Warren the AWOL helicopter pilot? Creepy 80 year old Anthony?

My favorite guess from FOOBiverse is that it's bitchy Therese, redeeming herself with secret martial-arts knowledge. Go, Therese!

But it's probably Mike or Anthony. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


OK, what the heck? So Liz worked with this guy at the garden center for all of two seconds and suddenly he's harassing her, following her home, and now what, attacking her? If the guy can go from zero to rapist in 4.2 seconds, how has he fooled all of Canada until now?

I'm with the commenters at FOOBiverse: Pull a Cartman, and kick him squa, in the ... well, you know.

Teacher, teacher

I haven't been in college in years, but I spent waaaay too much time on tonight, looking up the reviews for all the profs at my old school that are still there, as well as for a couple of old boyfriends who are now professors themselves (one of them gets rated with a chili pepper, the site's symbol for "hot").

I remember when I was in college visiting one of the dorms when I was a commuter student. The girls in the dorm had put up poster paper in the halls and were rating the profs they'd had to try and offer advice to other girls picking classes. Little did I know that what they were doing then so primitively would evolve into this. It's a darn useful site, even if some kids are stupid and give low ratings to profs who actually expect them to work. If I were a professor I'd try and force myself to stay away from it, but I'm sure I'd end up looking myself up and silently fuming over any bad ratings.

I never trusted that Reuben...

"Sharon Tate, four others slain in grisly Partridge Family murders." Ah, the Onion knows no bonds.

Speaking of bad taste, I also laughed at "Why Somebody Always Around Every Time I Drop My Baby?"

Monday, August 08, 2005

Shop till your mall drops

I've commented before on how much I love sites like Here's another old mall site, Malls of America (no relation to the Mall of America, by the way).

This Aurora Village mall location shown on the site is not terribly far from us, but the mall isn't there anymore. Comments posted to the site say that it's right around where the Costco now is. Apparently the mall was gone by 1991, 10 years before Rob and I moved to Seattle, so we've been driving past this spot and shopping at Costco never knowing someone's old mall was once there.

I personally think Seattle is a terrible city for shopping, but then maybe I'm spoiled, coming from the home of the Mall of America and the four Dales. Not to mention sweet ol' Har Mar.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Slate has a fun history and appreciation of ranch dressing, citing the Simpsons episode where Homer longs to be blasted with a ranch-dressing hose.

But they don't note my favorite pop-culture hit of ranch dressing, fom "Real World" London, where Mike, the oh-so-freakishly American wannabe racecar driver from Missouri goes into shock in the supermarket when he discovers ranch dressing isn't available.
Oh Mike, with more recent characters like Wes and Landon, your gentle but dumb character is missed.

Speak now or forever hold your peace

The Runaway Bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, is supposedly going to try and get married again this weekend. Who's setting up the office pool on how long this marriage will last? I mean, she obviously has problems and serious doubts, and I'm thinking she hasn't had time to set those straight between the last time she ran and now.

Man, the idea of a Runaway Bride was much cuter in movie form.

All hail King Kaysar

I'm not a huge fan of "Big Brother." but now that they're letting viewers vote someone back into the house, I'm hoping it'll be Kaysar, because no one will shake things up more.

The candyman makes, everything he bakes

So what is with these M&M Megas? How big are they, exactly? I know we've had tiny baking-size M&Ms for a while, but really, I think the basic M&M shape is just one of those perfect sizes that shouldn't be messed with.

Apparently they're 55% bigger than regular M&Ms, so I guess you could call them M&M&Ms.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Too real

"The Real World" aired a fairly shocking episode last week, an episode in which one of the housemates, Danny, finds out his mother died (at 45, of a heart attack, possibly tied to her alcohol abuse).

MTV televises both sides of the phone call in which Danny's dad tells him, as well as his roommates desperately trying to comfort him, his calling his sister after getting the news, and actual confessionals of him just hours after getting the news. They replay his final phone call with his mom, in which she tells him she loves him and he refuses to say it back and can't get off the phone fast enough. It's a tough-to-watch episode, easily topping the previous tough-to-watch "Real World," which may be a tie between Lindsay in Seattle finding out her friend committed suicide and Neil in London getting his tongue half-bit off at a concert.

Danny seems like he's choosing to do the confessionals in this episode, so perhaps they're in some way healing for him, but watching him say "I don't want to have to bury my mom" just reaches through the screen and shatters you. Previews of the next episode show Danny at home grieving with his family.

My friend Kim Reed tackles the topic of whether MTV showed too much in her insightful recap of the episode at TWoP. It can't have been an easy recap for Kim to do, either, since she lost her own mom so recently. She makes some excellent points, especially regarding MTV replaying that final phone call between Danny and his mom. Since it ended abruptly and Danny no doubt wishes he could do it over, it can't be easy for him to know that phone call is out there forever on the sure-to-be-syndicated episode for all to see.

When my friend Ann died at age 28 in 1995 of a pulmonary embolism, it came out of nowhere, and just after Rob and I had returned from a trip. I had used my calling card to call her long-distance from the trip to get someone's mailing address for a postcard, and that ended up being the last time I talked to her, ever. I remember when the phone bill came that month I just stared for a long long time at the listing for our final call, and for some months afterwards, I carried the bill around with me, thinking "I know the exact last minute I spoke to Ann." Our last phone call was friendly and full of laughs, if not a deep heartfelt conversation. It was just one of many calls between two friends who'd called each other thousands of times, and we had no idea it was going to be the last time we'd ever speak. But I'm glad when I look back that it was a call I remember, and not one that was simply lost in the fog of memory. At least I have that.

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

I use online directions all the time, so I'm still entertained by this old Penny Arcade comic that makes fun of getting online directions from Seattle to British Columbia. ("What's so great about Canada anyway? I say we go to Mexico!")

Two bits has a page that almost functions as a Weblog about state quarters, with the latest news about quarters coming up, etc.

Looks like the two remaining quarters due out in 2005 are Kansas and West Virginia. Then in 2006, Nevada, Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Coder or cannibal?

Reader Richard sent this creepy quiz asking people to look at a photo and ID if that person is a computer programmer or a killer.

I couldn't believe they didn't include John List, who murdered his entire family, yet looked like the bland accountant that he was.

Delicate matters

Mike from Tulsa TV Memories shares this fun old newspaper clipping talking about how on "The Brady Bunch" set, an entire bathroom was installed one day, and then the toilets were taken out the next, for fear of delicate viewers actually seeing a toilet on TV before 8:30 p.m. (It was OK at 8:31, I guess.)

Because sheesh, even though everyone uses one multiple times a day, we'd surely all be struck dead with horror if we saw a toilet on television. Horrors!


The For Better or For Worse site has introduced Mike's Chess Challenge, a simple online chess game. Which is cool and all, but since when was Mike noted for his chess skills? He always seemed like kind of a dumbo to me.

Book spoilers

Recently I asked for sites that reveal the endings of books.

Thanks much to Jennifer, who suggested TheBookSpoiler, and Brigita, who reminded me of Book-A-Minute! Because yes, I read all 650+ pages of the new Harry Potter, but in case I didn't, these sites are darn fun and useful.

True-crime tale

A fascinating true-crime tale that's been in limbo for years is heating up again. Janet Levine March disappeared 9 years ago from her enormous home and fairy-tale life in Nashville.

Her husband Perry claims they had a fight and she packed up and left, but everyone who knows her says she would never leave her children. He told her parents she said she'd be gone for two weeks, and it was agreed they wouldn't contact the police before then (hmm, two weeks is a long time to clean things up, should things need cleaning up.

Perry later took the kids and moved to Mexico, where he married again. His wife has been declared dead, but her body has never been found. A gun was later found in his safe-deposit box, and it was reported that he was once asked to leave a law firm where he worked for leaving sexually explicit letters for a young paralegal.

Recently, Perry March was charged with murder, and has been deported from Mexico back to the U.S. But with no body, and no idea how his wife was killed, I can only imagine that the case will be a tough one.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Now we are six

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy biiiiiirthday, Pop Culture Junk Mail

Haaaaappy biiiiirthday to youuuuuuuuuuu!

PCJM turns six today. Six! A first-grader! And like mothers who retell the story of their child's birth, I need to retell PCJM's birth story.

I was living in Minneapolis, working as restaurant editor for the Microsoft-owned city guide site, Twin Cities Sidewalk. I loved my job and my co-workers, and I'd taken to emailing friends and co-workers regularly with goofy sites I came across.

That summer, it was announced that Microsoft had sold Sidewalk to Citysearch. We were all going to have to apply for jobs anew with Citysearch, there wouldn't be enough jobs for all of us, and we'd have to take pay cuts if we remained employed. I applied and was offered a job, but ended up rejecting it when I was offered a job as online arts and entertainment editor at, the Web site of the state's biggest newspaper, instead. I would spend three fun years there before Rob and I took deep breaths and took the plunge, moving to the West Coast (Seattle) to work for Microsoft and, respectively.

But I didn't know any of that the August day I came home, with the news of my upcoming layoff weighing on me, and told Rob I wanted to start a Weblog. I just knew that when I was no longer working with my Sidewalk crew, I would miss them, and I would miss constantly sharing goofy Web links with them. He helped me set up the site, and the name just kind of came to me. I knew I'd be focusing on pop-culture links, and the "junk mail" part came from what I feared. I was starting to worry that I was overloading my friends with emailed links, that they were thinking of my frequent missives as junk mail, and I didn't want that to happen. I knew if I presented those pop-culture links in Weblog form, only those who chose to seek the site out would come visit, and it couldn't in any way be perceived as junk mail. Hence the long, four word Weblog name: Pop Culture Junk Mail.

Six years have seen a lot of changes, including the cross-country move, and yet PCJM has continued to be a fun break for me. Sometimes I don't update for a few days, but that's fairly rare. Sometimes I babble, sometimes I repeat myself, sometimes the tech end of things throws a wrench in the works. But it's six years, and if you're not sick of me, I'm not sick of you. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Tooned in

Remember when the networks used to hype their Saturday-morning cartoon lineup like there was no tomorrow? "Shazam," "Isis," "Far-out Space Nuts," "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," there were some great kiddie shows back in the day, and they weren't all written just to sell crap, either.

This site has a fun collection of full-page newspaper ads promoting Saturday-morning lineups, and you can buy the ad of your choice if you feel like framing it. I think 1975 is my favorite.

Freaky foods

I love the Museum of Food Anomalies, which is kind of a sideshow for edible freaks.

I think my favorite is either the Honeycomb cereal piece that looks like Munch's "Scream," the smiling green pepper, or the surprised-looking gherkin.

Doing time

Back in 1999, when I started my Weblog at the Star Tribune (only the second Weblog by an American newspaper, and the first to appear in print as well as online!), one of my first posts was about Mike Daisey, who wrote the play "21 Dog Years: Doing Time at" At the time, I had no idea I'd be moving to Seattle, home of both Daisey and Amazon.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a look at what Daisey's up to now. Turns out he's doing a show in San Francisco about his college year as a theater exchange student in London. (By the way, if you ever misspell "San Francisco," just think of "San Francis," and then add the "co." Works every time!)

Booking it

Does anyone know if there is a book spoiler site, equivalent to Because as much as I love to read, sometimes you just want to know the ending of a book instead of reading it all.

Monday, August 01, 2005


You know about the Mystery Flavor of Dum-Dum lollipops, right? The label just says "MYSTERY FLAVOR" and a bunch of question marks, and the flavor ... well, it's a mystery. I had one today (because I am nothing if not a faultlessly healthy eater), and got to wondering what exactly the "Mystery Flavor" is.

Apparently that question is asked so often that Spangler Candy Company, maker of the Dum-Dum, lists it in its FAQ. And the answer? Well...instead of cleaning out the machine between flavors, it seems that they kind of just...keep running them, so some Dum-Dums come out with bits of both the old and the new flavor mixed in. Which is actually cooler than what I assumed, which was that they just threw a "Mystery Flavor" wrapper on a random lolly. I'm pretty sure the one I had today was solid bubble-gum flavor, though.

And shortly after, Mike Judge created Beavis and Butthead

We all know that the first-ever video played on MTV was the oh-so-perfectly named "Video Killed the Radio Star," by the Buggles.

But I'll be the first to admit, I didn't know the name of the second-ever video MTV aired. Well, I'll be.

Jane says, redux

Why did Jane Pratt resign from Jane? Maybe because she got her own show on Sirius satellite radio. (We have XM, not Sirius, but honestly, I can't imagine listening to Jane for long.)

Pony tales

The last post I made about My Little Pony was so well-received that I had to link to this: The Pony Project. Various artists will be given oversized blank My Little Ponies to design as they see fit. Pony-delic!