It’s hard to convince people to read stories about vultures, even stories about the endangered status of 7 out of 9 South African species due to the fact that people are smoking vulture brains to try to make themselves clairvoyant, so I’ll give you the whole final paragraph as a pull-quote to entice you to go read the whole article to see how the author gets from the lottery to brains.

The vulture’s extraordinary looks and activities have resulted in an undeservedly bad reputation. But by cleaning up dead bodies, they perform an essential role in the ecosystem. One I do not wish to live without. If only the South African government could have predicted that introducing the Lotto would have led to a dramatic increase in the death of these animals. But then, nothing can help you see the future. Least of all, smoking vulture brains.

It suddenly got very warm out, so it’s been an inferno on every Metro train I’ve taken this week. A few days ago. I pinned my hair up, as I’m wont to do when it’s very warm. I was reading a book so I put my glasses on. A family of Midwestern tourists goggled at me and their smallest spawn poked me on the arm and asked me a question that turned my intestines to ice.

He asked, “Are you a Sarah Palin impersonator?”

And when I said, “No!” The whole family was disappointed.

I have a choice to make. I can quit pinning my hair up. I can grow out my bangs. I can dye my hair. I can get contacts.

Or, I can get a vocal coach and a red suit and cash in.

I get mistaken for a lot of random people, but I must admit to you that my own mother, upon first laying eyes on Palin, cheerfully proclaimed her love for the crazy bitch because “she’s just like you!”

I’m pretty sure mom meant a physical resemblance, but maybe mom was suggesting I’m a crazy bitch? Possible, but I suspect it was the hair and the glasses.

I hope.

On a related note, did you watch Game Change yet? I haven’t finished it, but I plan to. In the early scene where Palin is at the State Fair, my spiritual advisor, Roger, appears behind her as an extra and a neighbor’s son, Arlo, is playing Trig.

[embedded clip: Game Change trailer]

I’m now completely out of anything to say about Sarah Palin.

I haven’t been busy, I’ve just been watching this video over and over in abject horror.

(the original video has been removed from youtube)

[embedded video]

(here’s a replacement)

Sorry for neglecting you. I’d say it won’t happen again, but we all know that would be a lie.

It all makes sense now. Charlie Sheen has been drinking Brawndo.

More seriously, I think Craig Ferguson’s statement that he wasn’t going to talk about Sheen was the sanest thing I’ve seen all week.

In what possible universe did BP Chief Tony Hayward think that attending a yacht race would be okay while his company destroys the Gulf of Mexico? The whole thing leaves me speechless. I thought Rahm Emanuel’s assessment was brilliant.

“To quote Tony Hayward, he’s got his life back,” Mr. Emanuel said.

Hayward made a lame apology after being blasted for idiotically stating to Gulf Coast residents that, “I would like my life back.” Clearly he doesn’t get it, as he thought it appropriate to attend a yacht race with his son. (It’s unclear from crew lists whether Hayward was actually participating in the race or watching – but it doesn’t matter which to me).

The whole yachting incident is so infuriating, it would be easy to miss the embroglio over the transfer of major responsibilities within the company. Luckily, The New York Times has come to the rescue:

On Friday, the chairman of the board of BP, Carl-Henric Svanberg, told the British TV network Sky News that Mr. Hayward would be “now handing over” the daily operations in the gulf to Robert Dudley, an American who joined BP as part of its acquisition of Amoco a decade ago.

On Saturday, BP tried to clarify what Mr. Svanberg had said about the transition of leadership in the gulf. “What he meant by ‘now,’ ” Ms. Williams said, was that “there would be a transition over to Bob over a period of time.”

“Obviously, Tony’s main priority remains overseeing all BP operations,” she said. “Over all, there will be some responsibilities handed over, but Tony will remain in full control until we have stopped the leak.”

I was going to make a sarcastic comment about the Marx Brothers being in charge, but it would be terribly insulting to their memory to liken them to BP.

Husband just sent me this & I can’t decide which part is more awesome, the hair or the Exorcist-inspired breathing technique:

edited to add: Just hours after we watched this and I posted it, we went to yoga. I’ll be damned if the teacher didn’t say, “you can use lion breathing here…” which I’d never heard of so I snickered at the coincidence, then she added, “just stick your tongue out and pant.” I nearly fell over, and I don’t mean that as a cute expression, I mean that I nearly fell over.

Over at VanityFair Daily’s Culture and Society Blog, Paul Cullum posts about the truly horrific-sounding film, “Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage.” Specifically, about the ridiculous memo Kinkade apparently sent to his crew – which posted in it’s glorious entirety at the end of Cullum’s commentary.

Cullum writes:

Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light™, extends his purview to motion pictures with this week’s release of Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage, an inspirational holiday pastiche based on one of his paintings. Produced by Lionsgate, the film stars Peter O’Toole and Marcia Gay Harden. But not even a name cast could stop it from being unceremoniously dumped to home video a year after its planned release.

One reason might be that Kinkade, a postmodern Norman Rockwell for the evangelist set, instructed the crew to adhere to an aesthetic code that wouldn’t have flown in a first-year film class. The list of 16 “guidelines” on how to create “The Thomas Kinkade Look” on film, which was circulated to crew members in memo form, has been obtained exclusively by VF Daily.

[read the whole post and, of course, the list.]

I was trying to figure out what sort of things sounded less pleasant than working on this movie. Do you remember Truth Be Told, the pilot episode of Alias? Having a molar yanked out with a pair of pliers seemed pretty awful, didn’t it? That didn’t make my list.

Kinkade’s instructions are incredibly funny, but I think my favorite item is his “advice” to the cinematographer, who must have consumed his weight in diazepam not to strangle the man:

10) Short focal length. In general, I love a focal plane that favors the center of interest, and allows mid-distance and distant areas to remain blurry. Recommend “stopping down” to shorten focal lengths.


I seem to have gone from bacon week to photography to cult week, although I’m not sure how or why. These things just happen, I guess.

Husband has become obsessed with the Tom Cruise video and has found the entire Scientology awards ceremony on google video. It’s divided into two 20 minute videos. Part 1 and Part 2.

“A handful of us are working our guts out to beat Deadline Earth!”

I haven’t watched all of it, but Husband is transfixed. Maybe he’s infested with Thetans.

Watching the [tag]Tom Cruise[/tag], [tag]Scientologist[/tag] video posted on [tag]Gawker[/tag] is like driving by an accident that you can’t help staring at.

By now, presumably, you’ve marveled at the whole bizarre mess . If you haven’t watched Tom Cruise talk about his scientology mission, go watch it now.

Then, have a good stiff drink and come back.

Then, watch [tag]Craig Ferguson[/tag]. His version of the video is as funny as the original is scary:

Husband tells me this isn’t in the Bible. I tell Husband he clearly has the wrong translation. If he doesn’t want to sing along, well, that’s just his problem.

Martha loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Excellent recipes to her belong
We are weak, but she is strong.
Yes, Martha loves me.
Yes, Martha loves me.

I do have a small problem, though. It’s hasn’t been as easy as just accepting Martha in my heart as The One True Savior Who Shall Lead Us Out of Darkness Along the Path of Righteousness. I need to acquire something. Specifically, a baby. I need a baby. By tomorrow. You see, tomorrow they’re re-running the episode where one of Martha’s guests is this fantastically insane woman Isabelle Ortley, who makes costumes for babies. Turkey costumes. And lobsters costumes. Even an apple pie costume.

Image: Isabelle Ortley's turkey-baby costume, as seen in MakeZine.

Image: Isabelle Ortley’s turkey-baby costume, as seen in MakeZine.

These aren’t your standard onesie zip-up type baby costumes that your little pooper rolls around the floor in while everyone oohs and ahhs and snaps photos. These bad boys are on platters. With garnishes. You can put them in the middle of your dining room table as a centerpiece, we’re told!


Video: Martha Stewart Show – Adorable Infant Food Costumes, Part 1.

Is this a great country or what?

Seriously. Here’s the Baby as Roast Turkey pattern so you can make your own at home. Oh, awesome, here’s the website with pictures of all of the other costumes, too. [2011 update: dead links]

Maybe instead of finding a baby and making a costume, I’ll just tivo the episode instead and periodically marvel at it’s nuttiness. That’s a whole lot easier.

What led me out of the wilderness and enabled me to find The One True Religion? One word: contrariness. There’s no sport in hating Martha, so you might as well get a bottle of Old Crow and learn to love her.

I was going to say more but I got distracted reading this interview with Joss Whedon about the upcoming Buffy season 8 comic books and totally lost my train of thought.

Update: Here’s a youtube clip of the Martha episode in question, in case the other link doesn’t work for you:

Here’s a 2011 post at MakeZine about Isabelle Ortley’s baby costuming: Baby Food: The Halloween Genius. I’ve posted the photo from the article, which appears to be one of the original publicity shots Ortley was using in 2006, in case these links also disappear in the future.