Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Lettuce Polarity Debate Continues!

You remember our discussion about whether the lettuce should go at the top or the bottom of a sandwich?

I expressed concern earlier that America is a lettuce-topping country, rather than a lettuce-bottoming country (the latter being my preference).

Well, I appear to have won a new ally in my campaign — and it's the most American of institutions: Parade magazine!

The main story this week is Super Bowl food, with the lettuce-bottmer shown here gracing the cover. There's even a subheadline that says, "What America Eats."

I'd say that decides it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Can I Apply Hip-Hop Forensics to 'This Is How We Do It?'

An intrepid fellow named Donovan Strain (who apparently has some time on his hands) studied the lyrics of Ice Cube's "Good Day" and figured out that the events described only could have occurred on one day: Jan. 20, 1992.

From his blog, called Murk Avenue:
The ONLY day where:
Yo MTV Raps was on air
It was a clear and smogless day
Beepers were commercially sold
Lakers beat the SuperSonics
And Ice Cube had no events to attend was…
JANUARY 20 1992
Brilliant work! (However, did he check what day a blimp had a sign reading, "Ice Cube's a Pimp"?)

I'm excited about this new field of hip-hop forensics, so I decided to apply the same principles to "This Is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan.

Let's see:
It was Friday night (and he felt alright).
There was a party on the West Side.
Honeys in the street said, "Monty, yo we made it!"
It was summer (he refers to "summertime skirts").
Guys were wearing Kani (a fashion designer who became popular in the 1990s).
Gang bangers did not participate in a drive-by in South Central Los Angeles.
Montell had the money — specifically, hundred-dollar bills, y'all.
It was 1994 or later, since he relates an anecdote from that year (when he "made no money").
The song was recorded between late 1994 and early 1995, according to Wikipedia.
He mentioned meeting Paul Stewart, president of PMP Records. (Stewart introduced Montell to Russel Simmons, who helped launch his career.) 
Therefore, I can narrow it down to...
JUNE 24, 1994
JULY 1, 1994
JULY 8, 1994
JULY 15, 1994
JULY 22, 1994
JULY 29, 1994
AUGUST 5, 1994
AUGUST 12, 1994
AUGUST 19, 1994
AUGUST 26, 1994
SEPTEMBER 16, 1994
I think I need more information.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Berkeley Church Has Eerie Shadow of Cross

Forget about seeing the Virgin Mary on a grilled-cheese sandwich. There's a church in our neighborhood with an unintentional shadow of the cross.

I walked by this tonight on the way home from work. Because of the interplay of the streetlamps and the telephone pole, a near-perfect cross is projected onto the front of the Bethlehem Temple Church on California Street (at Derby).

If I were a more religious man, I might make something of this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Man Freestyle Raps in Delivery Room

Given this blog's interest in babies and hip-hop, I'd be remiss not to post this video of a dad freestyle rapping to the beat of a fetal heart monitor.

When Kelly was pregnant with Elliot, I burned six CDs' worth of mixes for the delivery room. (In fact, we left late for the hospital so I could finish them. Priorities, people!)

Maybe I should have just improvised.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

'Berkeley' Teen Program

So it's actually in Oakland?

(I guess I should look past the quotation marks and be grateful they spelled Berkeley correctly — no small feat.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are Wings Only for Girls?

Now that I'm raising a son and daughter, I've become more aware of the gender norms that society imposes on children. But here's one that took me by surprise.

Alice has a Pegasus puppet with pink wings. One of the neighborhood kids (a nearly 4-year-old girl) was over at our house and mentioned how the horse was obviously female.

"Because it's pink," I said.

"No, because it has wings."

"Wings are for girls?"


Apparently wings are in and of themselves a feminine trait. I suppose this is because most fairies depicted in books, television and movies are girls. (Disney in particular is a perpetrator of male-fairy discrimination.)

At what point did men lose the ability to rock a pair of wings without feeling like a chick?

I mean, Pegasus was a dude. Batman also has wings (I wish I had thought of this when conversing with the 4-year-old). And avenging angels are pretty manly.

Maybe it's not too late for men to reclaim the rights to wear wings. But we'll need to start convincing the younger generation.

Monday, January 16, 2012

'STOP Lying'

Someone is turning the "STOP flying" signs into "STOP lying" signs.

I guess I can get behind that movement. (And hey, maybe they're just cleaning up the graffiti one letter at a time.)

Meanwhile, this dilapidated billboard on Blake Street near San Pablo is just depressing.

"A mind is a terrible...waste"?

Maybe we should go fix this for Martin Luther King Day.

(Click here for the full series on defaced stop signs.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Is This Happening to Me?

A birthday is fairly bewildering for a 1-year-old. I think Alice appreciated the attention, but she had no idea what the flaming-baked-good ritual was all about.

Alice's expression while we sing her happy birthday can only be described as "WTF?"

Infant Mysteriously Turns One Year of Age With No Warning

Alice had her first birthday yesterday — something that's still hard for me to believe.

A year ago, she was birthed under inauspicious circumstances. Now she's blazing her way through life as if she owns the place.

Happy birthday, Alice.

Friday, January 13, 2012

'Downton Abbeyoncé'

The Internet has spawned a number of great "mash-up" sites. I'm not sure this is one of them

UPDATE: When it comes to Beyoncé mash-ups, it's hard to imagine there's anything odder/more awesome than Sugarland doing a country version of "Irreplaceable."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

'Mission Impossible: Crimson Hibiscus'

Someone has created a website for generating your own Beyoncé/Jay-Z baby name. (It appears to randomly pair the name of a color with a plant.)

I'm pretty sure this site is also being used to create the subtitle for the next Mission Impossible sequel.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

'A Younger, Smarter, Faster Me'

Jay-Z and Beyoncé have stirred up some controversy by naming their baby girl Blue Ivy (hey, it beats Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop).

My favorite explanation (not verified) is that Blue Ivy is a human follow-up to Jay-Z's three "Blueprint" albums. Ivy or "IV" would be four in Roman numerals.

Mainly I just hope she's not named after Yankees blue.

In any case, it's hard to hate on Jay-Z's new musical tribute to his baby — if only because it's so heartfelt. He calls his daughter "a younger, smarter, faster me." (Sounds like someone I know.)

Here's to baby girls, whatever they're called.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

'You Don't See Anything Funny About That Lightbulb?'

I was reading Elliot one of his library books (an Elephant & Piggie story), when I came across this picture.

I chuckled at Piggie getting an idea with a compact-fluorescent bulb. Then I realized there wasn't anything funny about it. That's what lightbulbs look like.

In fact, I'm not sure Elliot has ever seen an incandescent bulb in real life.  When I asked him if the bulb in the story looked funny, he studied it for a while and said no.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Movie Titles That State the Premise: Part 2

Slate recently decried the increase in film titles that flatly state what the movie is about. I'm not sure this is really a problem, but it does seem like the new film "Man on a Ledge" would be an offender. If you haven't seen the trailer, it's about, well, a man on a ledge.

I suppose "Clash of the Titans" should have gotten credit for a title that didn't at all describe what it was about — since there were no titans in the film. Kudos!

A sequel called "Wrath of the Titans" is coming out in March. And, based on the cast list, it appears to have no titans either.

At least they're sticking to their guns on this.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

On Second Thought...

There actually might be something working against the "twenty twelve" pronunciation: the Mayan prophecy.

The year 2012 is now so closely linked with the Mayan calendar, and "twenty twelve" doesn't sound very ancient and/or prophetic. "Two thousand twelve" has the weight of history.

Don't believe me? The movie "2012" used the "two thousand twelve" the trailer, at least. (I didn't actually see the movie, which came out in 2009. Hard to believe it was that long ago.)

Of course, the same trailer also calls the Mayans the "world's oldest civilization." I guess we're not counting Mesopotamia, Egypt or China.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Say It With Me Now: 'Twenty Twelve'

Back in the early days of 2010, I endorsed the idea of referring to the year as "twenty ten" (rather than "two thousand ten") because it saved time.

But I didn't really practice what I preached. I found myself saying "two thousand..." more often than not in 2010 and 2011. And there are lots of other people hanging on to this mannerism, even though it results in more syllables and wasted productivity.

I think 2012 is going to be different.

I was speaking to a person in the TV business, and he said he was on board with the "twenty" approach for the first time. Why? Because "twenty twelve" rolls off the tongue.

It's alliterative. So finally the forces of poetry and economy are on the same side.

There's no resisting it, people.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Cities Visited: 2011 Edition

Five years ago, I began compiling an annual list of the cities I've visited. (Fellow blogger Anh-Minh gave me the idea, and she almost always has a much more impressive list than me.)

According to the rules, you have to stay overnight in a place for it to count and you can't include your current city of residence. You also only count each place once, even if you visit frequently.

Having two little ones has made it harder to travel, and so it's maybe not surprising that my list is shorter than ever this year.

At least that makes it easy to track.

Here's my list (in chronological order of when I visited):
1. Marietta, Ga.
2. Newnan, Ga.
3. Santa Cruz, Calif.
4. St. Helena, Calif.
5. Emerald Isle, N.C.

Not very impressive. I'm pretty sure even Ted Kaczynski traveled more than this.

Sunday, January 01, 2012