Happy Birthday, Simpsons!

On a happier note, The Simpsons debuted as a stand-alone show on this day twenty years ago. Originally a series of shorts on Fox’s Tracey Ullman Show, the iconic cartoon first appeared in its current form in a Christmas special that aired on December 17, 1989. Now that makes me feel old!

Happy Birthday Simpsons

R.I.P. Chris Henry

Chris HenryLike any other red-blooded Steelers fan, I hate the Cincinnati Bengals. However, I’ll take a pause from that hate to mourn with the team for wide receiver Chris Henry, who died this morning after a bizarre accident here in Charlotte.

It seems that Henry got into an argument with his fiancee, and the woman tried to leave in a pickup truck. Henry then jumped into the bed of the truck as she sped away, only to fall out a short while later, suffering severe injuries. According to a spokesperson for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, Henry died at 6:36 a.m. Thursday morning. He was 26.

Henry was one of the most troubled players in the NFL, with a history of off-field troubles that reaches back to his college days at West Virginia, where he was ejected from one game and suspended for another by coach Rich Rodriguez, who called him an “embarrassment” to the team. In 2005, Henry was arrested for marijuana possession early in the season and a gun charge after the Bengals lost to the Steelers in the playoffs. In 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell  suspended Henry for half a season for violating the league’s conduct policy. After his fifth arrest in that same year, he was released by the Bengals, only to be given a second change with the team in 2008.

Henry had decent seasons in 2008 and 2009, but broke his forearm in a game against the Baltimore Ravens on November 8th.

He was in town visiting his fiancee’s parents, who live in the Queen City.

Who’s That Girl?

This is a United States $1,000 silver certificate from 1891:


The woman on the left of the note might seem unremarkable, little different from any of the other allegorical depictions of “Liberty” or “Columbia” often seen on American currency at the time. I can assure you, however, that this woman is different.

To ask who she is is to scratch the seedy underbelly of America’s Gilded Age.

*     *     *

Her name was Josie Mansfield. She was born either in Boston in 1842 or California in 1853; coin collecting sites mention the former, while original sources state the latter. One way or another, she became an actress and showgirl in San Francisco in her teens.

Like a lot of actresses at the time, Josie had trouble making ends meet. Many less famous actresses resorted to prostitution to earn extra cash, but Josie was different. Her stunning good looks and bubbly personality led to her becoming a “courtesan” for San Francisco’s elite. She eventually married fellow actor James Lawler, and within months she convinced him to move from San Francisco to New York.

Continue reading “Who’s That Girl?”

The Quotable Gene Hunt

Gene HuntGene Hunt, the Detective Chief Inspector from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes is, to put it bluntly, the best cop in the history of television. Yes, he’s better than Joe Friday. Better than Kojak. Better than Steve McGarrett. Better than Andy Sipowicz. Better than Columbo. Better than Tony Baretta. Better than the entire cast of The Wire. To paraphrase Lady Caroline Lamb, he’s mad, bad and dangerous to know. But he’s also really funny, too.

Here are bunch of his one-liners, starting with the first thing he ever said to Sam Tyler, the protagonist from Life On Mars:

Gene Hunt: They reckon you’ve got concussion – I couldn’t give a tart’s furry cup if ‘alf your brains are falling out. Don’t ever waltz into my kingdom acting king of the jungle.
Sam Tyler: Who the hell are you?
Gene Hunt: Gene Hunt. Your DCI. And it’s 1973. Almost dinner time. I’m ‘aving ‘oops.

“You are surrounded by armed bastards!”

“You great… soft… sissy… girlie… nancy… French… bender… Man United supporting POOF!”

“He’s got fingers in more pies than a leper on a cookery course.”

“I think she’s as fake as a tranny’s fanny.”

“She’s as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.”

“Drugs, eh? What’s the point? They make you forget, make you talk funny, make you see things that aren’t there. My old grandma got all of that for free when she had a stroke.”

Continue reading “The Quotable Gene Hunt”

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-12-13

  • "Hello liver damage, I've been expecting you." #
  • Have fun in Shreveport, Dawg fans! #
  • The BBC "Sound of 2010" list is out! http://ping.fm/hfrpE #
  • "… starring AJ Hawk and Chris Tucker!" #
  • "Agents: Woman sold moonshine at day care" http://ping.fm/Fcr5k #
  • I'll ask again: if anyone has a copy of the song "Minutes in a Day" by 86 in mp3 format, I'd love to have a copy! Thanks! #
  • Holy crap! I found it! http://ping.fm/xt8ZL #
  • WOOOO-HOOOOO! I *finally* found the 86 ep! #
  • Take that, grunts! Navy wins again! #
  • Nobody rocks The Scorpions like Veronika! #
  • I fought the law… and *I* won! #

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SONGS I LOVE: “Minutes in a Day”

86_coverI sometimes wonder how much great music there is out there that will one day be lost forever.

You’ve probably heard about the thousands of movies slowly turning into dust in film vaults. Likewise, there must be millions of great albums, singles and cassettes released by bands that either existed before CDs, or who just weren’t popular enough to make the leap to CD – and thus, easy ripping to mp3 or other digital formats.

As turntables and cassette players continue their march towards obsolescence, people don’t know what to do with their old vinyl and tapes, and eventually just give or throw them away. And then there are people like me, who continue to hold on to their vinyl in hopes of one day converting it to digital format, but just can’t get around to it. Either way it’s a shame.

Take the Atlanta band 86 for example. One day I was at the Book Nook, an iconic used book and record store in the city, when I stumbled across their EP Minutes in a Day. I bought it and took it home for a listen. Most of the EP is just OK, but I quickly fell in love with the title track. The desolation of the opening made it my perfect “drive home song”. When I listen to it I think of driving home on almost empty interstates at 4:30 on a Sunday morning, and the eerie stillness of everything at that hour. And it makes me smile.

I searched high and low on the Internet for the EP for years, but never had much luck. Given that the band broke up in the early 90s and didn’t have much of a following outside Atlanta, I didn’t have much hope of their music ever turning up on iTunes or at Amazon’s mp3 store. However, thanks to a “magic Google search” yesterday, I was finally able to snag a copy in mp3 format from a music blog. So now I can share it with you!

Have a listen and tell me what you think:


Outlook: Filtering for Read Messages

Microsoft Outlook makes it easy to filter for unread email messages and posts. In fact, the default view in Outlook 2007 is unread messages. However, Outlook makes it a bit more difficult to filter only read messages. There’s no built-in way to have Outlook display only read messages in a folder.

My favorite feature of Outlook 2007 is the built-in RSS reader. I use it to subscribe to at least three dozen different feeds. However, because some posts in some feeds interest me more than others, each feed’s folder oftentimes is a jumble of read and unread posts. De-cluttering the folder by deleting or moving the read posts would certainly make my life easier, but there’s no easy way to do it.

Or is there?

To have Outlook display only read posts in a folder, do the following:

1) If you don’t already have the “Advanced” toolbar displayed, do so by clicking on View > Toolbars > Advanced.

2) Click the “filter” drop-down box and choose “Define Views”:

Outlook Message Filter

3) In the window that opens, click “New” and then type a short name for your new filter (I recommend “Read messages”). Leave the “Type of View” at “Table” and then click the “All Mail and Post folders” (unless you only want to use this view on a single folder). Click “OK”.

4) In the next window, click the “Filter” button, then click the “More choices” tab. Check the “only items that are” button and choose “read” from the drop-down box. Click “OK” several times to accept the settings.

5) Click the filter drop-down box and choose “Read Messages” (or whatever name you chose in step 3) to filter only read messages.

If you don’t want to have the Advanced toolbar appearing all the time, go to View > Toolbars and uncheck the Advanced toolbar, then right-click the main toolbar and choose “Customize”. Click on View in the left column and scroll until you see “Current View” and drag it to your main toolbar: presto! You have only the “Current View” applet and none of the other bits of the Advanced toolbar!

Those Eyes, That Mouth

Sure, it was the name of a Cocteau Twins song… but it could also apply to Kat Dennings:

Kat Dennings

Aside from being incredibly cute, she’s also one of the coolest actresses around (seriously: check out her blog or Twitter feed). She’s funny, kind of nerdy and doesn’t know how pretty she really is (that last part sounds like a girl I know!). As a bonus, she’s going with the pale skin, which is kind of cool in a world of “Hollywood orange”.

Weird Things I’ve Seen #2

My dad was a “busy businessman”, and often when my family would go on vacations, my mother, sister and I would drive to wherever and pick Dad up at the local airport. This meant that there were only three of us in the car, so I could often stretch out in the backseat. My Mom had a ’77 Lincoln Continental, and my seven year-old self could stretch out completely in the backseat and sleep.

So one time, we were driving to Daytona Beach. My dad was busy at the office, so we were going to pick him up later that night at the Daytona Beach airport. Mom was driving, my sister was in the front passenger seat and I was in the back seat, stretched out and fully asleep.

At one point, the leather seats made me sweaty, so I woke up, then sat up in the seat. I looked out the window, still rubbing the crust outta my eyes, and saw a man in a gorilla suit on a motorcycle. He was also wearing a red necktie. He waved at me.

Continue reading “Weird Things I’ve Seen #2”

Weird Things I’ve Seen #1

I used to live right in the heart of Buckhead, Atlanta’s party district.

One time, my ex had some co-workers from out-of-town come in for a meeting. The last night they were in the city, all of us met at our apartment and went out for dinner and drinks.

After dinner, we walked from bar to bar. At one point, we were crossing the street, when I noticed a man crossing the street in the opposite direction.

He was wearing old, nasty biker boots. He had on ancient blue jeans with stains and dirt and what appeared to be dried paint or jizz on them. He was wearing an old, equally-stained red and white checkerboard flannel shirt that looked like an old Pizza Hut table cloth. He was shorter than me, I’d guess around 5’7″ or so without the boots. He was very skinny and had this incredibly greasy salt and pepper hair, which was combed back. He had a stringy mustache and a 5 o’clock shadow. I think he was missing a few teeth. His skin was weathered and wrinkled and his eyes were slightly sunken in. He completed his ensemble with one of those “chain wallets” that bikers and rednecks like so much.

In short, he looked like a cross between your typical urban homeless guy and some wild “Mountain Man”. Or, even better, he looked something like the love child of Earl Hickey (from My Name Is Earl) and Begbie (from Trainspotting), only with AIDS or some sort of debilitating disease that makes you waste away.

But his red and white flannel shirt was open, and underneath it he was wearing a white, ribbed ladies t-shirt… the kind with the collar that circles down low to show off their cleavage.

And there, the man had a perfect set of tits.

They were large, Katy Perry-sized breasts, and they formed perfect teardrops on his chest. The white shirt was such that you could see the cleavage, and it didn’t appear that he was wearing a “push ’em up” or “squish ’em together” bra. I’ve actually known a few transvestites in my time, and in every case they ended up with the “grapefruits under the skin” type of fake breasts. But not this guy. I’ve rarely seen women that had such perfect breasts, much less a Mountain Man homeless guy.

I turned to the male one of my ex’s co-workers to ask if he’d saw the man and his breasts too. But I actually didn’t need to ask him, because when I turned to speak to him, the look on his face said it all: he’d seen Perfect Tits Homeless Mountain Man, too.