29 April 2006

A bad apple a day

I saw the movie "Thank You For Smoking" the other night. Mr. Stapler and I got some good laughs and I thought Aaron Eckhart was spot-on as the morally blank tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor.

But one thing pissed me off baad about the movie. Katie Holmes (yes, whackjob Scientologist Baby Mama Katie Holmes) plays a young journalist who lets the subject of a profile buy her an expensive dinner (including a bottle of '82 Chateau Margaux ($950 retail).

Then she takes him home and screws his brain out and develops a love relationship with him. Then, having weaseled all of his secrets out of him she writes a hatchet-job article.

Yeah, she's just a character. Yeah, everyone in the film is morally bankrupt. But gimme a break. The sleazy movie journalist is becoming as big a cliche as the hooker with a heart of gold.

I feel compelled to defend Journalism - The Profession That Would Be My Chosen Profession if Only the Pay Did Not Suck Quite So Much.

The right-wing media, protectors of the rich and powerful, loves to tell us about how terrible and biased the media is (huh?) The ruling elite certainly have a vested interest in having people not believe the media. The media is the ONLY thing that has a chance to make a dent in their armor of absolute control over everything.

The Society for Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is a beautiful thing. It's important to journalists. Journalists talk about ethics at work all the time at work, probably more than any other profession except maybe the clergy.

When I work as a reporter, I won't let anyone give me anything more valuable than a glass of water. Would I love some '82 Chateau Margaux? I salivate at the thought. Would I love a romp with Aaron Eckhart? Sure. Would I ever go there for a story? No way. No freaking way. Especially since I would be ethically bound to reveal to my readers that I had gotten drunk on $1000 wine and boinked him (Hi, Mom!).

As a journalist all you have is your little notepad and your pen and your reputation. Once you screw that up, you are screwed forever.

Here's a story I heard from a fellow writer today. One of the editors of his publication was found to be using press credentials to get into expensive sporting events that he was not covering. The staff found out and threw a fit. They had a huge meeting. They went to the publisher. There were people crying. They are demanding he get fired. And he had better get fired. THAT's how important this stuff is, and how important it should be.

A free press is the only thing that stands between us and fascism. That's why the founding fathers put it in the FIRST amendment.

I am a true believer. This stuff brings a tear to my eye:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

28 April 2006

What hath Sue wrought?

It's time for Spring Cleaning. Changes are a' coming.

I just poured myself a glass of wine and poured the rest of the alcohol in the house (including half a bottle of that wine) down the drain.

Okay then. What next?

I will keep you posted.

27 April 2006

Today Only! Three new posts!

Four counting this one.

Memo: must cut back on caffeine.

Here's your Bonus Fun LinkTM Ever wondered what the similarities between the current administration and Fascism are? Here you go.

Gas-Saving Facts

I just paid $3.33 per gallon for gas. At the cheap-ass cash only station.

So here are a few gas saving hints from Red Stapler Central:

1. Using synthetic oil can save you 3 percent in gas mileage. Sure, it's more expensive, but you can go 10,000 miles without changing it. And that crap the oil change places tell you about "every 3000 miles"? Forget it. Most manufacturers say change your oil every 7,500 miles - in Germany they stretch it to 10k miles even for non-synthetic oil. The Car Talk guys say, if you want to be very, very cautious, every 5,000 miles is enough.

2. Every mile that you drive at a speed over 55 MPH, your fuel economy decreases by two percent. So at 70 mpg, you get about half the mileage that you do at 50 mph. Of course, if your state is like California, your risk of death by road rage goes up 2 percent for every mph under 70 that you drive. You decide.

3, Tire pressure, yadayada.

4. Roof rack = 5 percent less fuel efficiency. I am going to go yank mine off right now.

They let the intern dude title this one

My favorite all-time head exploding moment

This is an oldie, but something I will never forget.

I went to Taco Bell back when they first had Chalupas. I thought "Hey, I'll try me one of them Chalupa things!"

Me: I would like a Chalupa with no meat.

Pimply Counter Boy: A chalupa with no meat.

He somberly regarded his cash register for a moment. Apparently there were only buttons for "Beef Chalupa" and "Chicken Chalupa" then a "minus" button.

Pimply Counter Boy: Would you like it without beef, or without chicken?

Me: (stuffing fist in my mouth to keep from shrieking with laughter) What is the difference?

Pimply Counter Boy: (totally serious, of course) Without beef is $1.29. Without chicken is $1.49.

Me: (tears beginning to form, gasping) Well, I guess I will have it without beef.

26 April 2006

I'm sorry, I have to do this

For the funny stuff, scroll down to previous posts.

I'm sorry. I just feel I have to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the meltdown at Chernobyl some way. I am feeling so crushed by it. Part of it is personal - the time that Chernobyl happened was one of the suckiest Springs of my life - but then there's something about a nuclear meltdown that is a bit of a bummer, generally (to put it in So Cal terms).

The brave Elena's website about her motorcycle trips in the Chernobyl area is a good place to start. Her spare text and plentiful photos give a good look at the ghostly spectacle that the nuclear wasteland still is.

For basic info about the accident if you are young or if you have forgotten, Chernobyl Info has the facts.

Slate has a photo essay of beautiful and horrifying images of people affected by the disaster.

If you have some spare cash, consider a donation to one of the charities helping Chernobyl survivors. Unfortunately, they will need help for some time to come. At least 300 years.

No, how to make MY head explode

I wasn't going to post this. No, I was going to be all nice and shit and let it go. But inspired by IzzyMom's How to Make My Head Explode post, I feel I must relay this.

It is a transcript of a live chat with Natasha, a representative of an online traffic school. I absolutely swear to you that I am not making this up.

RedStapler: Hi. I took your online traffic school and went to a UPS store and took my in-person test and passed with a score of 80%. The confirmation I got said you would transmit the results electronically to the traffic court. But my traffic court demands that I get the certificate, sign it, and deliver it in person. Please help.

Natasha: What county?

RedStapler: (Insert my county here)

Natasha: Hang on. (Five minutes go by).

Natasha: Ok. You have to take the in-person test.

RedStapler: I already did.

Natasha: You have to go to a UPS store and take a test in person.

RedStapler: I took the test in person at a UPS store.

Natasha: You didn't finish the course.

RedStapler: I finished the course, I went to the UPS store, and I took the test.

Natasha: Our records show you didn't take the test.

RedStapler: (pissed) As I said, I took the test and got confirmation that I passed. If you want, I will fax it to you.

Natasha: What was your score?

RedStapler: (pissed again) Once again, 80%. I will fax you the confirmation if you need proof.

Natasha: Once you take the test, we will send you your certificate of completion.

RedStapler: Look. I took the test. I passed the test. I got confirmation that I passed. Now I need the certificate.

Natasha: Oh, wait? You have already taken the test? Do you have the certificate of completion or just the test paperwork?

RedStapler: Give me your fax number. I will fax you the confirmation and you can send me the certificate.

Natasha: You should call our 800 number for advanced support. Maybe they can help you.

Ok, folks, I think we have seen enough here. I demanded the fax number a few more times, got it, ended up calling the 800 number and talking to a fabulously competent (by comparison) person who said my certificate was on the way.

I still can't decide if Natasha didn't speak english well (my suspicion, since she gave me the 800 number like this: 800-667-60-23, which is not the way we do it here) or if she was messing with me for sport.

In any case, my head did not quite explode, nor did I lose it with Natasha and begin shrieking, or even questioning her IQ in all caps. I believe that level of consideration and composure should earn me a brownie from St. Peter when I get to the gates of heaven.

24 April 2006

Milestones and other fun ideas

My dad went to his annual high school reunion yesterday. He graduated 70 years ago. Yowza. Needless to say, there weren't too many other members of his class there. I think he had a good time being King of the Old Guys.

I want a new drug. One that won't make me sick. One that won't make me quote J. Geils. I just think that when your first word in the morning is "F*********ck" maybe you oughta try something different. Any suggestions for inner peace, harmony and fun?

Anyway, I will send out some link love for my peeps.

Defective Yeti shares memories of Farrell's Ice Cream, the birthday party joint of legend long before Chuck E. Cheese came along. I am sure many "Zoos" were lost in the car on the way home.

Untitled Life wants a baby and wants one bad. If you believe in prayer, juju or good vibrations, send some her way. You could also buy some of her hilarious "WFT" gear to pay for her hormone shots.

Madness Rivera has a sweet baby story, but even more amazing, CHECK OUT THE SIZE OF THAT CAT!

Mrs. Kennedy has new Fussy t-shirts all ready for your spring wear. Some for kids, too. Get one and be the coolest blogger on the block.

I found the saddest little corner of the internet. I guess it's supposed to be funny. It's pretty much just sad.

I never knew that being a librarian was so hard. But she makes it pretty clear that the library is not, as you might think, a repository for genius-in-training but rather a haven for the weird.
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