Monday, January 07, 2008

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Happy New Year, Snackers!

So ... it's been a little quiet around here lately. We know. Used to be, we'd post 4-5 times a day, but over the last year or so it's been getting kind of sparse. It's not you, really. We swear. It's just ... we've changed, baby. Or rather, babies: all of us all have at least one now, and man, do they ever cut into the web-surfing, post-writing time that we enjoyed back in 2003 when we started this thing. Not to mention, we all have different jobs, and none of us are in the, shall we say, blogging-conducive work environment we shared when ASS was born. We've each been blogging in other places, too. Our focus has shifted, and the New Year seems like the right time to call it quits. This blog has had a good run - 2,524 posts, which ain’t bad - and made us some good friends both online and off. We've enjoyed the hell out of it, and our readers are dear to our hearts. We'll keep the blog up for the archives (at least for now), but if you want to read newer stuff you'll have to come and find us at our other bloggy locales. Please do – we’d like to see you there, and we think you’ll find some ASS-y stuff if you make the trip. Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can find Christopher at Blowing and Drifting.
You can find Matt at Sanctioning Agent.
You can find Elise at The Snarky Squab.
We don't know where you can find Alex.

Vaya con carne!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Perfect Holiday Diversion Part I

So I take the kid to see Santa. I was pretty sure she wouldn't cry, but I didn't expect this look completely devoid of emotion. She get's her cynicism from her father.

For more fun with Santa, check out the "Scared of Santa" slideshow:

Perfect Holiday Diversion Part II


As a child, my older cousins would make me fight their next door neighbors, who were twins my same age (I assume they're still twins and still my age). I think that experience paid off. What's your score?

Avoid Swedish Operations

Woman catches fire during hemorrhoid operation.

Ugh, yuck, and ouch.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Xmas controversies: how do YOU top your tree?

When I was little, we always had an elaborate angel topping our tree. You know: the kind with the stiffened muslin fabric skirt, the flowing plaster or resiny hair and the outstretched arms. Very biblical, very New Testament, very classical Christmas. After my parents split, my mom kept the angel and my dad switched to a traditional Austrian tree topper. We had ones made of wood and ones made of glass, but they all had that sort of pointed finial shape to them, kind of an extension of the tree top itself. Now, as the oldest child, I tend to carry on the traditions of my childhood with fierce devotion. You know, certain traditions just cannot be messed with: the tree has to be real, there cannot be tinsel, certain ornaments go in certain places, etc. But when it comes to tree-toppers, I have eschewed the angels and finials of my youth for a more gloriously over-the-top option:

Star light, star bright

Yes, the lighted star. It even blinks, if I want it to, which I mostly don't. Why do I like the star so much? Well, for one thing: SHINY! (I'm a bit of a magpie like that.) But also, dude: when you were a kid and you drew a picture of a Christmas tree, what did you always put at the top? A star, right? WELL THERE YOU GO. Christmas is one of the few times of the year when I feel it's OK to integrate a little tacky, gilded, sentimental, crass gaudiness. Heck, I EMBRACE it this time of year. 'Tis the season, right? And the star atop my tree hits the perfect note. What about you? What's on top of your tree? (Or, if you don't have one, what WOULD you top a tree with, if you did?)

Stinkiest Onion Piece Ever

Horrible. It would only have been horribler if they worked in a Christmas-spirit angle:

ALBANY, NY—In one of the most merciful disasters in recent years, a Greyhound bus traveling from Rochester to Albany, NY skidded into a ditch Tuesday, killing a dozen deadbeat fathers and penniless addicts, and putting nearly 20 more hapless bastards out of their misery.

According to Greyhound officials, the fatal crash occurred less than an hour after passengers gathered their pathetic belongings and dragged what little hope they had left onto the despair-soaked bus. Emergency crews called to the scene described the remains of the victims as "slightly more lifeless than they were before the accident."

"This is by far the saddest thing I've ever witnessed," said head rescue worker Charles Rabnett, referring to the sea of fast-food wrappers, losing lottery tickets, and scorched corpses that littered the crash site. "We've done our best to contact family members and loved ones, but so far we've only been able to reach four parole officers and 10 AA sponsors."

Added Rabnett: "Dear God, what a terrible waste of my time."


No survivors were reported following the accident. In addition, initial surveillance of the wreckage seems to indicate that those who managed to pull their world-weary bodies out of the overturned bus, gave up on their wretched existence within minutes. According to paramedics, it is likely that many of the casualties had suffered during the crash, and, if not then, for years earlier...

"It's hard to believe that something like this could even happen," said Albany resident Carl Robinson, who, since losing his home to a fire earlier this month, has been sleeping in the city's dilapidated bus station. "To know that life, no matter how dreadful or hopeless, always has a chance of coming to an end—it's so inspiring."

Monday, December 10, 2007


Sunday's Time Magazine had a short article about the Gömböc, an object which - without a motor, counterweight, or any other assistance - can right itself from any position. Originally nothing more than speculation by a mathematician in Russia, two Hungarian scientists subsequently devised the actual, physical object. It's not much to look at, but when you watch it tip back and forth as it rights itself, you get the sense of something magical happening. (You can see the video by going to the inventors' website.)

For just 1001 Euros ($1450 or so), I could buy my own Gömböc with my birth year for a serial number. Maybe next year, when the Chinese have knocked it off.


Readers have surely been waiting to hear more about the Swedes who have to live in the town of Fjuckby:

The hapless inhabitants of Fjuckby have lost the last chance they had of changing the name of their village to something less suggestive of sexual intercourse.

On Thursday, the National Land Survey of Sweden - the government agency responsible for the handling of place names - announced that it was following the recommendation of the Institute of Language and Folklore to preserve the name Fjuckby.
"Preserve" here meaning, "to saddle the townspeople with." More:
Fjuckby is saddled with the dual misfortune of containing both the rude Swedish word 'juck' and its more internationally recognizable English equivalent.

Speaking to The Local in February, Flensburg said she was surprised by the folklore institute's resistance to a name change since the alternative, Fjukeby, was "pretty and nice".

Fjuckby and Fjukeby both translate roughly as 'Windy Village'.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shot Through the Leg and You're to Blame

Dave Zirin, one of the only pinko sportswriters in the business, offers an interesting analysis of the media furor over the murder of football player Sean Taylor:

Media illusion or not, we felt we knew Sean Taylor—and have wept for his family and their loss. There is nothing wrong with this. If anything, we’ve borne witness to people’s capacity to reach out and care.

BUT NOT everyone felt the better angels of their nature emerge. Within hours—minutes—of Taylor’s death, a collection of sportswriters tried to turn this tragedy into to a brazenly racist “life lesson.” They speculated that Taylor effectively got what he deserved, the fruits born of a “thug life.”

Never mind that Taylor was the son of a police chief who attended the same private schools as the Florida wing of the Bush family. The narrative of a young Black athlete dying by gunfire was too succulent to resist. The callous copy ran rampant, and this time went beyond Fox Sports Jason Whitlock’s easily dismissible, painfully predictable hot air...

The hypocrisy is breathtaking. If Taylor was white, imagine how this story would be played out: “Hero tragically dies defending his family in home invasion.” Instead, we get yet another example of how sports has become an absolute trash receptacle of racism over the past several years: an acceptable place for troglodytic writers and announcers to yip about “hip hop culture” and “thug life,” being the rot at the heart of professional athletics.

Bless You!

All about sneezing,, which can expel snot and spit at up to 100 mph.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Getting the Skinny

An interesting new website, ZipSkinny, lets you get basic demographic information on any zip code and to compare up to 20 zip codes. Here's part of the data on mine:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Primary Decisions

Well. This may just have solidified my decision as to whom I'll vote for in the upcoming primaries. (I admit I was leaning in that direction, anyway.) Check it:

Manchester, NH – Today, Senator John Edwards outlined his bold policies for a more family-friendly America with universal paid family and medical leave, universal pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds, more affordable care for other children and job benefits for independent workers. Among the most significant policy proposals of the Edwards plan is for at least eight weeks of paid family and medical leave that will help American workers balance their jobs and their families.

If you can stand the PR-speak, check out the whole press release. Universal paid leave and Pre-K + subsidized childcare = music to my ears. And should be music to everyone's ears, of course, since those little rugrats will one day be deciding how nice your nursing home care is. Among other things. I'm not super confident that Edwards will get the nod, but policies like this make it pretty easy for me to give him my vote.

Wednesday Lyric Blogging - Woody Guthrie

In a bit of a progressive nod to Christopher's post on the left lean of the academy, this edition of Wednesday Lyric Blogging is for Woodie Guthrie.

All You Fascists
Lyrics by Woodie Guthrie
Performed by
Billy Bragg & Wilco

I’m gonna tell you fascists
You may be surprised
The people in this world
Are getting organized
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose

Race hatred cannot stop us
This one thing we know
Your poll tax and Jim Crow
And greed has got to go
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose.

All of you fascists bound to lose

I said, all of you fascists bound to lose
Yes sir, all of you fascists bound to lose
You’re bound to lose! You fascists
Bound to lose!

People of every color
Marching side to side
Marching ‘cross these fields
Where a million fascists dies
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose!

I’m going into this battle
And take my union gun
We’ll end this world of slavery
Before this battle’s won
You’re bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose!