Comic Sans is funny

This year, WordPress is making suggestions each day for a topic bloggers should write about if they choose to take the post-a-day challenge. Yesterday’s topic was “who deserves more credit than they get?” I’m going to answer that, but I’m going to change this to a thing.

Comic Sans, the ubiquitous Microsoft font, (one I associate with middle-aged female office managers in Indiana) gets a bad rap, but it has inspired some very funny creations, and I think deserves more credit than it gets. There is the McSweeney’s article, written in the voice of the maligned font; a PSA of sorts for the “Comic Sans Criminal;” and, my personal favorite, this YouTube video of Hitler learning that his “marketing team” chose to do up its latest advertising campaign with Comic Sans font (Featuring the widely-used clip from Downfall).

A country that takes sports a little too seriously

Amazingly it’s not America this time.

We have 35 people on the hockey team. Let’s go to Red Square and dispatch with them all.

-Vyacheslav Bykov, coach of Russia’s Olympic hockey team

Those who are responsible for training for the Olympics must take responsibility. They must have the courage to submit their resignation. And if they do not have this resolve, we will help them.

-Dmitri Medvedev, president

I would not have survived gym class in Russia. Ironically, I derive around three-quarters of my ancestry from there.

When photographers get familiar

In honor of Father’s Day, I will recount something funny:

When I was growing up, my family used to have a photographer who we used for events named Howard. My mom first hired him for my bat mitzvah, and I guess the family liked his energy, infectious laugh, and photo skills so much that we had him for many subsequent events.

One thing he always did, which I found really funny then and still do today is call my parents “Mom” and “Dad” when he was giving them instructions on how to position themselves in the photo. For instance, we would be standing waiting for him to snap a photo, and Howard would go, “Mom, tilt your head a little to the right. Dad, move in a little.” I can’t remember whether he ever went so far as to say “Grandma” or “Grandpa”–that seems a little crazy!–but I just always found this familiarity really amusing because in that situation it was totally acceptable. A photographer is like a cheerleader for the family. Whether or not kin are seething on the inside as they’re smiling for the photographer, he is totally oblivious, focused most on getting “Mom” and “Dad” and  kids to tilt their heads to the right but not too far and smile more.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Souter love widens

I received this gratifying letter a few days ago in my Facebook inbox. The writer, “LS,” an entertainment journalist, found me through my Facebook club, “David Souter: Resident U.S. Supreme Court Hottie,” which I formed many years ago.

Hi, Elaine. I’m just a Facebook user who happened upon your Soutie page. It was adorable. Loved what you wrote. Just wanted to tell you that.

Gosh, I wish The Man wasn’t retiring. Gonna miss him madly. Such a wonderful judge. … I’m not a lawyer or a law student (I actually work for a newspaper, in the entertainment section). I’m just a SCOTUS fan, and just totally dig Suitcase Soutie.

That warmed my heart. The club has doubled in size since Souter announced his retirement from the Supreme Court last month. It is now six members strong!

Let summer begin

I’m a neurotic person. I’m getting better. I try not to be one of those people who frets aloud about my future when there is nothing to fret about, for instance. I try not to fret aloud in general. I’m pretty good at that. But other neuroses, all of the ones I keep internal, are kind of funny when I think about it. Many have been borne of a year of being immersed in my journalism school program, focusing on writing longer, hopefully well-informed articles.

If I can give advice to my youngers, I would say, don’t spend too much time worrying about what you need to do in the future if you can’t do anything about it at present. It’s hard to live this advice though until the “worst” has passed, but at least now that school is over for me, I can appreciate all of the things I can do without anxiety about time wasted.

Some things I have more peace of mind doing now that I am done with my journalism school program:

  • Watching “This Old House”
  • Watching TV in general
  • Reading fiction (just finished Kate Chopin’s Awakening, now onto Ian McKewan’s Atonement)
  • Reading the newspaper (ironic, isn’t it)
  • Staying up til 4 a.m. with friends
  • Long outings
  • Vacations (thinking of the Pacific Coast, weekends nearby NY)
  • Watching movies (my Netflix account has been dormant for months. what a waste of my own money)
  • Getting my new bike fixed up

Things that it might take me awhile to do again with some joy

  • Read The New Yorker (I managed to get through an article about the guy who owns Charles Shaw today. One piece at a time.)
  • Reading The New York Times
  • Calling someone on a Brooklyn community board
  • Entering the Columbia journalism school building
  • Seeing the word “Pulitzer”
  • Debating about new media
  • Listening to anyone talk about the demise of newspapers
  • Listening to anyone talk about how much they like to hold paper or the alternative, how everything will be on a Kindle soon enough
  • Entering the Columbia gym
  • Reading newspaper editorials
  • Talking about writing

Isn’t there some quote about how it is hard to talk about what you love? Or not to watch sausage get made? Well, I have been in the sausage factory for 9 months and it was great, but it is time to get back in touch with the rest of life. Summer, naturally is the perfect time to do it. And I’m sure I’ll be able to read the New Yorker again cover to cover, once I have gone a couple months without hearing about Joan Didion and gotten past John McPhee-induced river rafting acid flashbacks (that being a figure of speech :-).

Jury Duty

I was summoned to jury duty for the first time in the eight years I have been eligible. Sadly, I can’t go, because I don’t live in Cook County. Even though most people look forward to jury duty about as much as they do going to the DMV or cleaning shower scum, I at  heard some interesting stories. My sister sat on a jury for a murder trial in Boston during her first year in college, and a woman who worked at the government agency I worked at got chosen to sit on the jury for the trial of Scooter Libby. Plus, Mr. T. just got called to jury duty in Chicago:

Courtesey of the AP

Courtesey of the AP

Mr. T was called for jury duty at Cook County Circuit Court on Monday. The Chicago native said he enjoyed fulfilling his civic responsibilities, even though he found — like countless others — that hours can pass before a judge decides to dismiss you.

He showed up for jury duty in camouflage pants, a T-shirt and a longer version of his usual Mohawk haircut.

New campy R&B song discovery

The song “Disrespect can Wreck” by the Escorts is one of those truly campy 1970′s R&B songs, and I would daresay a precursor to Fresh Prince and D.J. Jazzy Jeff’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” I came across it today thanks to Pandora.

Thanks to Susan Sontag’s monumental essay “Notes ‘On Camp,’” which is almost impossibly abstract in a “you had to be there to get why a Tiffany Lamp is camp” kind of way, and which I just read for a class, I see my appreciation of some of the more ridiculous R&B soul songs from the 1970′s as part of a love of a truly out there world of sequined costumes, psychedelic sets, and overtly silly lyrics. I don’t know what the Soul Train appearance for “Disrespect Can Wreck” looked like, but the lyrics are priceless. It has to do with taking out the trash when you live with your parents, among other things. Unfortunately, I can’t find the lyrics anywhere, but I’m still looking.

[To Come]

The next Escorts song I want to get into is in the Paranthetical Phrases sub-genre and it is called “Let’s Make Love (At Home Sometime).”

Do your work or you automatically donate to George W. Bush

I love this hilarious technique from an article in the Chronicle for Higher Education on how academics avoid procrastination, using “stick” measures:

Ms. Brick gave the site her credit-card number and pledged to work at least 10 hours per week on her paper. When she fails to meet that weekly quota — as of mid-March, that had happened three times — the Web site sends 50 dollars from her account to the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

Saved by the Bell the Grad School Years

My friend Alicia sent me this brilliantly hilarious article from McSweeney that I had to link to here. Proves that “Saved by the Bell” fans are also pretty good with their literary theory references.


ZACK: I want to give a few to Nerdlinger; I need him to be sharp: he’s writing my application to the Fitzgerald conference in Maryland for me, in exchange for being introduced to some girls in the sculpture program at the next Graduate Council mixer.

JESSIE: Ugh, Fitzgerald. You boys and your reverence for dead white males. What chauvinist pigs.

SLATER: Oink, oink, mama. And I mean that in the most Orwellian and neo-Freudian senses.

ZACK: As Henri Bergson might say, “Time-out!” Can you two ever have a conversation without it devolving into a dispute over phallologocentrism?

Subway series: Are you f&%king deaf?

It was one of those days when the 1 train doesn’t come nearly as frequently as it should, considering it is rush hour, and when, as a result of people being pushed against the doors and in each other’s backs and armpits, it took those getting off forever to push and weave past other people.

At 59th Street, this made for a sticky confrontation when some loud kids took a particularly long time to make their way out from their seats in the inner recesses of the train.  One of the guys who was about to get on the train decided to point this out…

Man about to get on the train: Why are you taking so long to get off the train?

Loud girl: You’re asking me why it took so long to get off the train?

Man: Yeah, are you f&%king deaf?

A classic New York exchange.


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