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General snarkiness

Cheerleaders in an elevator

Sometimes, all you can do is point and marvel.

Twenty-six teenage cheerleaders tried to cram themselves into an elevator at the University of Texas to see how many would fit, but then they got stuck and had to be rescued.

One girl was treated and released at a hospital and two others were treated at the scene after the Tuesday night prank, officials said.

The group of 14- to 17-year-olds were attending a cheerleading camp when they decided to stuff themselves into an elevator at Jester Residence Hall at UT. The elevator went down to the first floor but then the doors of the overloaded elevator wouldn’t open, officials said.

After a few panicked cell phone calls, police and firefighters were called to the scene and it took a repairman about 25 minutes to fix the door, police said.

All I can say is that I can’t believe I beat Harold Cook to this one. Thanks to Julie on Twitter for the heads up.

It’s an amazing thing watching a meme being born

I am aware of all Internet traditions. Or, putting it another way:

See here, here, and here for way too much more. Be prepared to waste at least an hour when you do.

“In the White House there is no beer”

You’ve probably heard of this by now:

[A] misreading of the teleprompter led [Sen. John] McCain to sound a little bit more like a teetotaler fraternity president than a presidential candidate. Speaking about his use of the veto pen to eliminate wasteful spending, he declared, “I will veto every single beer, um, bill with earmarks.”

Ever since I heard it, I’ve had this song in my head:

And now you do as well. You’re welcome.

Consider this an open thread, in which you can discuss your favorite beer-themed songs. I’ll open the bidding with this one, since otherwise people will ask me why I didn’t mention it.

From the “You might also consider getting a life” department

I’ve admitted my newfound interest in Twitter. It’s a useful and oddly compelling toy service, but I hope someone puts me out of my misery if it ever comes to this:

With all the frustration, confusion, and support going towards Twitter this week, a break from Twitter might be just want the doctor ordered. This weekend users have been asking for alternatives to Twitter. In this post we answer that question in a variety of ways. Here’s a look at several alternatives to Twitter both online and offline, that will help reduce Twitter’s stress levels and temporarily minimize user frustrations.


If you’d rather not make a switch to another service, try these offline alternatives to Twitter:

  • Phone
  • Events
  • Parks
  • Meetings
  • Fairs
  • Parties/Clubs

Found, naturally, via Twitter. As John says, I hope that’s a joke. And if you’re wondering what the joke is, then I’ll remind you that my Twitterings can be found at Just try not to get too stressed out when you can’t get to them.

The feathered look

And now for a little weekend frivolity: The Top 10 Feathered-Hair Wearers Of All Time. I might try to work up an argument for including some other people on this august list, but I’m laughing too hard at the pictures to muster the strength. Those of you who are too young to remember this era, all I can tell you is that you had to be there. It’s amazing what can seem like a good idea at the time. Enjoy!

Your moment of Zen for the weekend

Why Sesame Street was so much better in the 70s than it is now, in one three-minute video clip:

For those of you who were born after, oh, 1980 or so, that strange-looking black object the aliens are trying to communicate is a telephone. No, really.

By the way, if you go here you can find more clips in the same vein. Enjoy!

Has anyone registered the “sucks” variant yet?

The posts, they write themselves.

At one time, the Bush Library Foundation owned the easiest Web site to remember:

But whether on purpose or because of an oversight — foundation spokesman Taylor Griffin wasn’t sure — it lost that domain name last year. Illuminati Karate, a Web company in Raleigh, N.C., picked it up for less than $10.

Since then, offers have come in to buy it, although company officials won’t say who or how much. And they’re coy on what they plan to do with such a recognizable site.

“We’re just holding onto it for the time being,” said lead Web developer George Huger. “To be honest, I couldn’t believe someone was letting it expire.”

Link via State of Mine. As Dogbert once said, sometimes no sarcastic remark seems adequate. And since I raised the question in the title, I can tell you that is still available, if anyone wants it. I’m thinking you probably won’t get much of a deal from the Bush Library Foundation for it, but hey, you never know.

“Garfield Minus Garfield”

This is the funniest thing I’ve seen since the demise of the Dysfunctional Family Circus.

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.

Go and see for yourself, and I dare you not to laugh. It’ll probably get a cease-and-desist letter soon, so don’t wait too long.

On a related note, this story of how the DFC itself came to cease publication was something I hadn’t seen before, and this study of recontextualization in comic strips, including a now-defunct earlier variant of “Garfield Minus Garfield”, is very interesting. Check ’em out.

Because “Homogoodfriendsuals” is too hard to pronounce?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the governor of the great state of Texas, Rick Perry:

Let’s talk about your new book, “On My Honor,” which draws on your experience as an Eagle Scout and champions the values of the Boy Scouts of America, to whom you are donating your royalties.

Yes, to their legal-defense fund.

Which has been fighting the A.C.L.U., to keep gays out of the scouts. Why do you see that as a worthy cause?

I am pretty clear about this one. Scouting ought to be about building character, not about sex. Period. Precious few parents enroll their boys in the Scouts to get a crash course in sexual orientation.

Why do you think a homosexual would be more likely to bring the subject of sex into a conversation than a heterosexual?

Well, the ban in scouting applies to scout leaders. When you have a clearly open homosexual scout leader, the scouts are going to talk about it. And they’re not there to learn about that. They’re there to learn about what it means to be loyal and trustworthy and thrifty.

But don’t you think that homosexuals might also be interested in being loyal and thrifty?

The argument that gets made is that homosexuality is about sex. Do you agree?


Well, then why don’t they call it something else?

Feel free to leave your suggestions for an alternate moniker that would be less threatening to Rick Perry in the comments. Thanks to State of Mine for the link.

Now the real story can be told

This is one of the funniest things I’ve read in recent memory, and way too plausible for its own good. Go on and read it, and see if you don’t agree. Link via Kevin Drum.

He’s baaaaaaaaack…

Look who’s back in town:

That disturbance you felt in the Force recently? Now you know what caused it. Guess the whole Virginia thing didn’t work out so well.

Earlier this year, I resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives and became a resident of the State of Virginia to establish my new business, and where I now legally reside, pay taxes and vote.

This decision was and is irrevocable, which I made clear from Day One.

Those were the days, huh? Thanks to Juanita for the catch.

From the “Pollsters With Too Much Free Time” department

How can you tell when it’s a slow news day? When stuff like this is considered newsworthy.

A recent survey of 1,000 Americans who are at least age 50 shows that 29 percent would choose talk show host Oprah Winfrey over real estate mogul Donald Trump as their “celebrity” real estate agent.

The remaining 71 percent were too busy having sex to state a preference.

Bad ad placement

And now for something a little lighter: I present to you Fifteen Unfortunately Placed Ads. I may never get the image of the second one out of my head. Thanks to Mark Evanier for the link.

The giant blue porn-hating elephant

Boy, when one has used such a title for a post, it’s a little intimidating to actually write said post. So, let me just point you to Houstonist, where the title at least will make sense. All I can add is that the whole thing reminds me of a Budweiser “Real Men of Genius” ad. Really, what else is there to say?

That’s a marriage class I’d pay for

Michael Croft takes the news of the “double or nothing” marriage license fees, stirs in the recent news of the strip clubs’ legal woes, and comes up with the obvious solution. You need to move back to Texas, dude. We need more thinking like that around here.

What’s in a misspelled name?

Richard J. “Rick” Noriega. Well, sort of. Go click and you’ll see what I mean.

He’s being a good sport about it (see comments). And a good entrepreneur, too. You have to like that. And as a reminder, you can poke fun at him about it in person tonight.

“But it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane”

Okay, so they probably weren’t doing the Time Warp, but still, what else can one think?

A troupe of Chippendales dancers won’t face criminal charges for a West Texas performance featuring “pelvic thrusts” that prompted police to shut down the show and jail the dancers.

The Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office told police Thursday that eight dancers, their manager, a promoter and a manager at the sports bar won’t be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges, and city officials also said they wouldn’t pursue the case.

The men were arrested Feb. 16 at Jake’s Sports Cafe during the first of three sold-out shows for the troupe famous for it’s beefcake dancers. Police alleged that the dancers were performing a sexually oriented show without the proper permits. The show was shut down after one dancer, whom police said has his pants open, made “pelvic thrusts” in front of a woman’s face.

The group spent a night in jail before being released without having to post bond.

Scott Stephenson, owner of Jake’s Sports Cafe, said he plans to invite the all-male review back.

It’s times like this that make me realize how much we all miss Molly Ivins. She could have made poetry out of this. Alas.

Caption time

I’m not usually one for caption contests, but with a picture like this, I can’t resist:

I’ll open the bidding with “The Bad, The Worse, and The Ugly”, but surely you can do better than that. Have at it in the comments. Thanks to Kriston for the catch.

Oh, and you can buy a copy of this photo, which was taken by Christopher Morris in 2004, for as little as one thousand dollars. In case you need a post-Christmas gift for someone, I suppose.

Nothing quite says “Happy Holidays!” like this

Oh. My. God. That’s all I can say.

I have never loved the Internet more than I do right now.

How HISD gets its tech support

You’ve probably heard about HISD’s software problems. How should the fix this? Well, they could try calling Technology Bytes for help. Fighting Jay Lee (none more surly than he) has an imagined conversation between the Geek Radio folks and Dr. Abelard Saavedra. It’s funny stuff, so check it out.


It’s from Tuesday, but Kriston Capps wins the Quote of the Day award:

More Americans believe that they have personally seen or felt the presence of a ghost (22%) than approve of the job Congress is doing (16%).

I’m not sure which of those two groups is scarier.

“It tastes better when it’s free”

I’m 40 years old. I own a house and make a decent living. I haven’t been a student since Bush 41 was in the Oval Office. And yet I totally related to this comic. All I can say is that the graduate student experience is a powerful one.

(Found in the comments to this Chad Orzel post.)

The Geek Phonetic Alphabet

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Geek Phonetic Alphabet. I heartily approve, and plan on adopting its use in everyday life. Link via Fighting Jay Lee (none more surly than he), who inspired its creation.

Boy Wonder’s ‘Global War on Cats’

(Greg Wythe here, of, filling in for a travelling Charles Kuffner. Dateline — somewhere in my apartment in full pajama regalia.)

Some days its tough to evaluate how something that makes it to the print edition of a paper warrants newsworthiness. Case in point:

Now in his third and final term on council, Berry risked raising the hackles of a good chunk of the electorate by describing cat owners as “un-American” and proposing an ordinance to allow diners to bring their dogs onto restaurants’ outdoor patios.

According to Berry, no invitation will be issued to feline owners. “Cats are not cool,” Berry told Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman. “They don’t belong in restaurants or near people food. Cats aren’t even good pets. You don’t own a cat; a cat owns you.”

Let me open up the analysis on a bipartisan note here. I’m well on record as not being a fan of Boy Wonder’s. I give him credit for a few thing, sure. But by and large … not. But on this issue, Michael Berry and I stand shoulder to shoulder, leading the way for freedom loving dog owners everwhere to advance their cause of ridding the world of the pesky feline influence.

A good place to start, I might add, is the Lone Star Basset Rescue. Sadie (pictured below) is up for grabs to a good home.

UPDATE: KHOU has the video from the frontline in this battle.

Dancing with the ex-Congressmen

You know how Dave Barry used to emphasize that the following silly thing he was writing about was something he was not making up? My dear reader, I assure you, I am not making this up. I’ve got a copy of the email myself.

Dear Friend,

I am writing to you today in an effort to help a good friend of mine, country music singer and GOP supporter Sara Evans. Sara will be competing this year on ABC’s smash hit “Dancing with the Stars” beginning Tuesday, September 12, at 8 pm Eastern/ 7pm Central. Sara has recently launched a new website that will connect her fans to exclusive behind the scenes material from the show. Register with this website for free today and then watch Sara compete starting September 12 – and don’t forget that YOUR VOTE HELPS DETERMINE THE WINNER!

Sara Evans has been a strong supporter of the Republican Party and represents good American values in the media. From singing at the 2004 Republican Convention to appearing with candidates in the last several election cycles, we have always been able to count on Sara for her support of the things we all believe in. Let’s show Sara that same support by watching and voting for her each week to help her win this competition. One of her opponents on the show is ultra liberal talk show host Jerry Springer. We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television by supporting good people like Sara Evans.

Sara will be a great representative of the values that we want to see in the media and we should all support her to keep her on the show as long as possible. Register today with for complete access to Sara on “Dancing with the Stars” and then watch her starting September 12. Remember, your votes will help determine the winner so be sure to tune in and vote each week.


Tom DeLay

No word on whether or he plans to threaten retribution if the panel of judges isn’t comprised exclusively of Republicans. As a commenter said at the above link, there’s no point in asking whether DeLay doesn’t have anything better to do with his time, because quite clearly he doesn’t. I just hope he bases a chapter in his new book on this.

Notes from the leading edge of the satire curve

I’ve said before that I greatly respect The Onion for its ability to stay ahead of the satire curve in these crazy times. Alas, sometimes being so far out on the cutting edge can lead to casualties. John has the gruesome, yet hilarious, details.

Great moments in commenting

I have never closed comments on my old posts, and while that can be a pain from a spam perspective, the occasional random comment from a Google surfer has been known to make up for it. Back in 2002, I participated in a blogburst to celebrate the season premier of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wrote a fluffy little piece that drew a silly comparison between Buffy and The Sopranos, riffing on the lyrics in the latter show’s theme song. Mostly, I couldn’t think of anything better to write, and I had a deadline looming, so that’s what I came up with.

This afternoon, some random person left this comment on that post:

This website is completely ridiculous. Any dumbass that would actually watch Buffy would never understand the art and intricate details of The Sopranos. And you’re comparing hairstyles? How old are you?

I’m 40. And before you ask, the answer is no, I do not live in my mom’s garage. Does it help that I understand the art and intricate details of the Austin Lounge Lizards?

It’s moments like this that remind me why I blog.

Where’s the tort reform crowd when you really need them?

Grover Norquist has way too much free time on his hands.

Conservative activist Grover Norquist is seeking a trademark on “K Street Project,” saying Democrats and Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) have wrongfully acquired the term to describe unethical practices that have nothing to do with his organization.

Far from running away from the term, as most other Republicans have since January, when lobbyist Jack Abramoff agreed to plead guilty to corruption charges, Norquist is embracing it.


Norquist said he founded the K Street Project in 1989 to bring ideological balance to lobbying firms. His group distributes weekly jobs bulletins by e-mail to 250 subscribers. This week’s bulletin is a 75-page dossier with positions at the Federal Election Commission, Merrill Lynch, the American Health Care Association, WellPoint and Home Depot.

Norquist said, “We argued to K Street – to trade associations, Fortune 500 companies, the Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers – you should hire people who agree with you philosophically. That means, labor unions, you should hire liberals.”

But the phrase “K Street Project” has since come to encompass a nefarious practice of Republican lawmakers pressuring groups to hire right-leaning employees; Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was admonished by the House ethics committee for doing so in 1998.


Norquist’s trademark application could take up to a year and a half to be processed.

“Some people say Kleenex when they mean tissue,” Norquist said. “We will jealously guard the real phrasing the way Kleenex and Coca-Cola do. We will sue anyone who says it wrong and make lots of money.”

It’s always nice when someone signals you this cleanly that he has no more original ideas left in his tank, isn’t it? I’m thinking a prolonged campaign of online ridicule is the right response to this. Leave your suggestions in the comments. I promise not to try to trademark any of them.

“Mama Says, Little Boys Who Swear Grow Up to be Democrats.”

Kevin Drum: “[T]he Neuropolitics folks claim to have discovered… [that] Liberals curse more than conservatives. Of course, we have reason to.”

“I shot a man in Corpus just to watch him die”

The jokes are pretty much gonna write themselves over the Cheney accidentally shoots fellow hunter incident, aren’t they? Stina‘s right – it’s like someone wanted to give Jon Stewart a present.

On the not-so-funny side of things, here’s a question that needs an answer:

While E&P was first to raise the question about the delay Sunday afternoon, Frank James, reporter in the Chicago Tribune’s Washington bureau, put his own spin on it later in the day, asking, “How is it that Vice President Cheney can shoot a man, albeit accidentally, on Saturday during a hunting trip and the American public not be informed of it until today?”

Indeed, others raised questions as well. “There was no immediate reason given as to why the incident wasn’t reported until Sunday,” The Dallas Morning News observed. “The sheriff’s office in Kenedy County did not respond to phone calls Sunday.”

Honestly, is anyone surprised?

UPDATE: Mark Evanier asks a good question: Why is the man who’s a heartbeat away from the presidency out hunting?

Shouldn’t the Secret Service still say, “Uh, Mr. Vice-President, we don’t like you being around people with guns”? I mean, isn’t there some unnecessary security risk in there? Even if everyone in the hunting party passes a rigid security clearance, the Secret Service is supposed to keep weapons away from the Veep. And if Cheney could accidentally shoot this poor guy, isn’t there some danger of this poor guy accidentally shooting Cheney?

I always understood that when you run for public office of this magnitude, you agree to sacrifice a certain amount of privacy and freedom to the folks charged with protecting you. Anyone here remember Ronald Reagan claiming the reason he didn’t attend church more often was because the Secret Service thought it was a security risk and asked him not to? I’m no fan of Mr. Cheney but couldn’t he put off killing quail ’til he’s out of office? There’ll be ducks then. There may not be a future for our economy but there’ll be quail.

Got me. Any theories out there?

UPDATE: Michael has the same question in the comments, which I didn’t see until after I’d posted the previous update.

The new face of reform

which, I’m sure you must have read, is a major concern for House Republicans these days

House Republicans Try to Get Back on Course
Boehner seen as face of change in house
GOP picks a ‘fresher’ face
House GOP’s new face
Going beyond damage control
Post-Abramoff Mood Shaped Vote for DeLay’s Successor
News Analysis A Cry of Concern by Republicans at Voter Unease
Boehner chosen to lead House GOP in break with DeLay era
Reformer in upset win as Republican leader in US House
Ethics at heart of GOP leadership race

No, not the reform. The new face.

And there they’ve chosen well, because Mr. Boehner is one of the few remaining members of the leadership that enacted damage control without any real reform when their criminally unethical leadership derailed the revolution before this one,* and he wasn’t too fastidious about it back then either.


A simple question about Thanksgiving Day parades

Who was the genius that first decided to let Happy Talk Local News readers do the play-by-play and color commentary for Thanksgiving Day parades? If forced to watch a local news broadcast, I’ll usually choose KHOU, but Greg Hurst and (to a slightly lesser extent) Lisa Foronda are making me question that wisdom. It’s bad enough that they’re both moronic nonstop chatterboxes, but faithfully shilling every corporate float by referring to them as “our friends with MegaCorp” is more than I can take. Here’s a hint, you two: We can all see the logos for ourselves. Tell us which high school marching band or drill team is currently performing, and beyond that just keep it zipped. Thank you.

Don’t want no short people round here

What the world needs now is a list of the greatest short dudes of all time.

Angus Young, lead singer-guitarist of AC/DC, tops Maxim’s list of the “25 greatest short dudes of all time,” standing tall at 5 feet 2 inches.

NBA guard Spud Webb, at 5 feet 7 inches, is No. 2, followed by Napoleon Bonaparte (5 feet 4 inches), Naim Suleymanoglu (4 feet 11 inches) and Yuri Gagarin (5 feet 2 inches).

The magazine, in its December issue, claims to be helping women “begin a long overdue fight against their genetically determined shallowness when choosing a partner.”

Yoda, at No. 6, is the shortest on the list. His height is calculated at 2 feet 2 inches.

Other great short dudes: Martin Scorsese, Jon Stewart, Prince, Kurt Cobain and two of the Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings films — Elijah Wood and Sean Astin.

The tallest “short dude”? Pro football player Doug Flutie, at 5 feet 10 inches, who is ranked at No. 24.

I’m five foot eight. Should I be offended that I was left off the list, or should I console myself with the thought that they didn’t think 5’8″ was “short”?

Even Legislators Need Love

Intro: Hello, OTK readers! I’m Hope. I blog in an extremely random fashion at the Appalachia Alumni Association. I went to the LBJ School, worked two sessions as a Texas Senate staffer (for former Senator Mike Moncrief) and spent over three years in the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Medicaid Office. Consequently, I feel highly qualified to make fun of all aspects of Texas state government. Nice to meet you all.

Being in Austin, away from home, for an entire regular session can be very hard on our state Senators and representatives. To then be called back into special session, just when they thought they could relax and resume their normal lives, has hit some of them particularly hard. One of our poor elected schmucks has gotten so desperate for…umm…companionship (cough)… that he has resorted to taking out an ad on the Austin-area cragislist.

I am a guy seeking a chick—must be hot to trot and pay her own way. I have been known to wipe my nose with the back of my hand and snort when I laugh. Drink and smoke to excess. Typically can be found most days waking at the crack of noon, then til 4 or so on the couch in my underwear hooting to Jerry Springer. I also become “all hands” very easily, and my eyes will regularly move up and down your body as you talk.

I posted the above previously, but forgot to add that my favorite time to get together is usually Sunday afternoon when I can watch car racing and golf on the TV and you will be there to get me cold brewskis (that’s the correct word) out of the fridge when I need them, and are eager to warm up the nacho-cheese or to grab a new can of spray cheese out of the cupboard when mine goes cold or runs out.

Actually I am seeking a coffee drinker for evening-night sessions discussing mid-18th century British maritime policy, and or Paul Gauguin and if he actually put Mangos in his paintings or if those are bradfruits.

Isn’t there some Capitol-struck messenger or intern over there who can help a brother out?

(Hat tip: Fellow Austinite Tim O. Thompson.)