It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Grammys? What Grammys??

Someone mentioned to me that the other day the Dixie Chicks won 5 Grammys for their album We Want to Shoot George W. Bush with a Bazooka, but I had better things to do ...the BAFTAs were on.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the BAFTAs, they are the British equivalent of the Oscars. So, it's sort of like the Bloggies, only with production values and attractive presenters ...and actual trophies. The BAFTA award itself is in the shape of a mask. This is so you can cover your face with it as protection against the venomous British tabloid press as you leave the Royal Opera House, where the awards are held. The mask/trophy is also made of metal, which comes in handy if you know the British tabloid press.

This year, the BAFTAs were also advertised as "The Daniel Craig Love-In Programme." We know this becuase Daniel appeared on the programme, usually sitting in the audience, more often that the BAFTA award itself did.

For those of living in the U.S. this means watching tape delayed on the Beeb America. Jonathan "Wossy" Ross hosted this year. I'm not sure why Ross was hosting but the best I can figure is that perennial host Stephen Fry was in some kind of coma.

Woss ...excuse me, Ross, is a popular but occasionally controversial figure in British television. Aloing with Barbara Walters, he is probably the only major presenter in world television with a speech impediment, at least now that Dan Rather and his nervous verbal tic are off the air.

Wikipedia explains that this impediment is a "Rhotacism" but also contends that it might just be because he's from the South West of England. The practical result is that Wossy sounds like the British Elmer Fudd, but in fairness, he's almost as funny.

I can't actually remember who won the awards that night, as I dozed off after about 40 minutes. The Last King of Scotland, a film about Idi Amin, won for best British picture, if I remember correctly, and Forrest Whitaker, who is about as British as Idi Amin (but much, much, much nicer) won a well deserved Best Actor award. Also, Helen Mirren won for Best Actress for her portrayal of HM Queen Elizabeth II in the oddly titled The Queen, which most commentators mistakenly thought was yet another Truman Capote biopic.

The most interesting thing about the awards this year was how many people weren't present to pick theirs up. I've long had a theory about such situations. These things should be like contests at shops or on the wireless. If the person who wins isn't there, you go ahead and give it to the next person in order who shows up. If all five can't make it, throw it into the audience and let them fight for it.

I certainly hope they put this into practise next year, instead of the suggestion one unnamed producer made, which is to just give them to Daniel Craig. He's Bond, not Olivier, mate.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Could I have that in a sentence, please?

Well, the Fandos dined in one of our favourite Mexican eateries this evening after the Littlest Fando's two football matches (that's soccer for those of you who insist on it). The topic soon turned to spelling bees, as one of our child's friends had been in one recently, one that just happened to be on telly.

Well, the Littlest Fando was complaining that her friend had received "hydraulic" whilst one of his competitors got "jungle." This led to a robust discussion about unfair spelling bees, which inspired the following sketch.

*********
(An elementary spelling bee, somewhere in the United States.)

Moderator: Our last two remaining contestants are Mary Jones, from Fairview Elementary, and Bobby Smith, from Plainview Elementary. Bobby, you're up next. Your word is "pharyngeal."

Bobby: Pharyngeal ...p-h-a-r-y-n-g-e-a-l ...pharyngeal.

Moderator: Yes, correct. Mary, you're next. Your word is "spice."

Bobby: (Under breath) Lu-cky.

Mary: Spice ...s-p-i-c-e ...spice.

Moderator: Correct. Bobby, your next word is "albuterol."

Bobby: Albuterol ...a-l-b-u-t-e-r-o-l ...albuterol.

Moderator: (Looking at word sheet carefully) Yes... that is correct. Mary, your next word is "cat."

Mary: Cat ...c-a-t ...cat.

Moderator: Correct. Nice job. Bobby, your next word is "Phalangiidae."

Bobby: Phalangiidae? Could I have a definition?

Moderator: Yes. Phalangiidae - a family of Phalangida.

Bobby: Oooookay. Phalangiidae ...Capital P-h-a-l-a-n-g-i-i-d-a-e ...Phalangiidae.

Moderator: (Looking closely at word sheet) Correct. Mary, your next word is "the."

Mary: (Quickly) The ...t-h-e ...the.

Moderator: Correct. Well done.

Mary: Thank you, daddy. I mean "Mr. Moderator." (She winks and curtseys)

Bobby: Daddy?

Moderator: Bobby, your next word is "onomatopoeia."

Bobby: Onomatopoeia? She just got the words "cat" and "the!"

Moderator: Now, now, Bobby. These words are chosen at random. Let's not be a poor sport here.

Bobby: Are you sure about that?

Moderator: Absolutely.

Bobby: Well... I guess.

Moderator: That's the spirit... (under his breath) you little bastard. (Normally) "Onomatopoeia" is the word.

Bobby: What did you just say?

Moderator: "Onomatopoeia."

Bobby: No, before that.

Moderator: "That's the spirit?"

Bobby: No, there was something else.

Moderator: (Shrugging shoulders) I'm not sure what you mean. (Long pause during which he and Bobby lock eyes suspiciously) "Onomatopoeia."

Bobby: (Sighs) Could I have the word in a sentence, please?

Moderator: Yes. "The word you need to spell is onomatopoeia."

Bobby: That's not a proper sentence!

Moderator: Yes, it is. It is a perfectly proper sentence.

Bobby: It doesn't tell me anything about the word!

Moderator: Are you stalling here, Bobby?

Bobby: I'm not stalling! I just want a sentence that gives me some idea of what onomatopoeia means!

Moderator: (Sighs impatiently) Well, would you like a definition?

Bobby: (Pause) Yes, thank you.

Moderator: Onomatopoeia - a word that Bobby Smith cannot spell to save his life.

Bobby: That's not a proper definition!

Moderator: Yes it is, you ingrate! Now spell the damn word or pumpkin gets the prize!

Bobby: Pumpkin?

Moderator: Mary ...I said Mary.

(They lock eyes again, this time angrily.)

Bobby: Oh, all right! Onomatopoeia ...o-n-o-m-a-t-o-p-o-e-i-a ...onomatopoeia.

Moderator: (Looking at word sheet) Damn! Correct again!

Bobby: Ha!

Moderator: Mary, your next word is "an."

Bobby: What?!?

Mary: Can I have the word in a sentence Daddy?

Moderator: Yes, sweetie-pie. Bobby Smith is an ass.

Bobby: Hey!!!

Mary: Thank you. (Quickly) An ...a-n ...an.

Moderator: Excellent job. A very tricky word "an." (Looks at Bobby contemptuously) Bobby are you ready for your next word?

Bobby: (Rolling eyes) I guess so.

Moderator: Bobby, your word is "antidisestablishmentarianism."

Bobby: I give up!!!

(Bobby throws up his hands and storms off the stage. The moderator goes to the stage and hands Mary the winner's trophy.)

Moderator: For the third year running our champion is Mary Jones!!!

Mary: I love you, daddy!!!

**********
For another bizarre spelling bee experience, see this SNL sketch.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Far Out Space Nuts

I have been silent too long. When the story of the wacked out female astronaut who traveled half the country, wearing a diaper, to confront a romantic rival for the affections of a fellow astronaut came to light on Monday, I reserved judgment. Sure she was "wearing a diaper", but it was explained that astronauts wear diapers when on the launch and descent phase of shuttle missions, so who can cast a stone. Sure she was "wearing a wig and trench coat", but that describes half of the people in Los Angeles. Sure she "sprayed her with mace, had a bag containing a knife, rubber tubing, a mallet, BB gun, and black "OJ" gloves", but who knows what you might find in any one of our cars, I usually can't even see the floor in mine for all of the toys, papers, candy wrappers, and black "OJ" gloves". However, when I heard from Yahoo Buzz that searches for "astronaut diapers" had risen dramatically I immediately knew this was a story that I had to blow the cover on.

Not wanting to waste time traveling to Florida, only because I'd only end up at Disney World, I decided to call and get an interview with someone at NASA to discuss the alarming news. I was finally able to get an interview with Gene Rodan, the NASA coordinating liason officer for media continuity and mission profile management managing manager.

Stew: Gene, we're all a bit perplexed by what we've heard in the news.

Gene: Yes, we're still scratching our heads around here wondering if we could have known and prevented this somehow.

Stew: Well let's just get to the meat of the issue, tell us about astronaut diapers.

Gene: Uh well, when astronauts are in the acsent or descent phase of mission operations they wear adult diapers because removing the ACES suit wouldn't be practicle and would usually be prohibitive.

Stew: Really? So they wear a Depends so they don't have to pee in the suit.

Gene: Yes, but I thought we were going to discuss issues of astronaut training and the stringent requirements that...

Stew: But don't you think the diaper thing is more interesting?

Gene: Well, I wouldn't know, I guess some people with a perverted sense of logic.

Stew: Yahoo Buzz says it's maxing out the searches on the internet.

Gene: I'm sorry we're going to have to terminate the interview.

Since Gene seemed to want to keep a tight lid on the whole "astro diaper" question, I decided to take another slant with the story. Since the entertainment value to stories like this seems to be the most important to the average Joe Six-pack I decided to quiz celebrities on the issue. But not just any celebrities, I decided to ask the ones that had played astronauts or space travelers of some sort.

"Well I really don't know what this has to do with acting. I enjoyed my time on I Dream of Jeannie and I really don't want to discuss astronaut diapers. It hits a little too close to home if you know what I mean."

-Major Anthony Nelson (Larry Hagman)

"Yes, Bob Denver was a saint of a man and was not the moron people made him out to be after Gilligan's Island. I think from that time on he was hopelessly typecast. Now what's this about astronaut diapers? Never heard of such a silly thing."

-Barney (Chuck McCann) Far Out Space Nuts

Since that didn't seem to be going well, I decided to just make up some comments.

"Yes, I am wery concerned about the cosmonaut diaper situation in Star Fleet. The disposal alone will keep the Kiptain wery busy, when will he have the time to wet his wessel, if you know what I mean."

-Ensign Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig)

"Ok, Tony. Astronaut diapers? Will Jeannie be wearing them?"

-Major Roger Healey (Bill Daily)

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Technical Difficulties

After months of ignoring the Blogger Beta, and All, New Blogger links, Blogger has finally taken the strategem of their Communist Chinese (Google) masters and forced New Blogger on us.

Consequently, the blog has been messed about with, which is why my profile is splashed about the front. I've e-mailed Blogger (and yes, it is "e-mail" not the incorrect "email" that has become the hip, iconoclastic, and grammatically baboonish fashion for spelling the word) and we'll see if anyone responds.

I had two lovely ideas for posts, and I really need to get to the Best of 2006 post as well. There you have it. Blogger has followed the Microsoft model: "Screw up what works. Add gloss to what doesn't."

Yes, I already hate the bloody new Blogger. Can you tell?

Update: Apparently all of our contributors will have to change over to the new Blogger to be recognized on the blog. This kind of product brilliance is what sunk OS2. Nuffy, Jorge, Zimpter, and Linus, you have been duly warned. Please change over. A post or two would be nice as well.