Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Berry Happy!

Stopping by the Larchmont Bean this morning to meet a publicist, I was surprised to find that Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has listened to the demands of the people and brought back our beloved Swedish Berries tea. It had been retired from packaged sales earlier this year, shortly after I'd honed my iced tea making skills, but curiously was still being sold as a prepared beverage.
This caused great sadness in my Bean-centric extended family and we were forced to scour the countryside looking for any last remaining cache.
Out of habit, I asked my barista who obligingly pointed to the top shelf behind me. She said customer clamor led to the return.
To all those who let their discontent be known, I salute you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shake and Bake Tuesday

Apparently the pot-smoking pineapple billboards weren't the end of the viral marketing campaign advertising the new stoner buddy flick "The Pineapple Express." At approximately 11:42 a.m. Tuesday morning, a 5.8 earthquake centered in Chino Hills, Calif., shook the West Coast and was reportedly felt as far away as San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Moments after the temblor, Sony Pictures issued a press release claiming credit for the quake as part of the viral marketing campaign for the movie, the highest budget pot film ever made. "Yes, it was us. We thought a 'shake and bake Tuesday' would be the perfect way to highlight our new movie," said Danny Greenbud, director of marketing for the film. "Which, by the way comes out tomorrow night!"
Greenbud said the studio had initially wanted to unleash the shaker at 4:20 p.m. today. "That really would have blown a few minds," he said with a chuckle and long, slow exhale.
Plans were changed at the last minute, he said, when the USGS cautioned that freeways would be most congested at that hour.
"You win some, you lose some," Greenbud said with a shrug. "But look at it this way -- now you've got the rest of the day to get your head straight. And if you think that was an earthquake, wait 'til you see Seth Rogen and James Franco at your local theater."

Producers of "Tropic Thunder" couldn't be reached for comment that they were similarly planning a monsoon to heighten awareness for their movie, which hits theaters a week after "Pineapple."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Waves of Words

This is new to the Riff -- my navel-gazing 'bot at Google Alerts tipped me off to a poem posted on the Internet that was inspired by my recent LA Lookback in the Image section.
The Riff was apparently a poet and didn't even know it -- for reals.

Riff's Guest Rage

In case you missed the Riff's guest-spot on his favorite co-worker blog back in June, here's a link.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tippin' a 40 of Maalox

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that "Golden Girls" actress Estelle Getty has shuffled off to the great communal living facility in the sky. Too bad, she was always the Riff's favorite "Golden Girl," because she didn't mind playing the old dingbat mother of a husky woman two month her senior.
You might say her passing has left us a bit "Maude-lin."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Salmonella Is So Hot Right Now!

Put down the pepper and step away from the salsa. Apparently all this tomato-bashing has been for naught. My blog-in-law (if I just coined that term, I want royalties) sends word that the FDA has traced the recent salmonella outbreak to jalapeƱo peppers.
This is sad since the pepper in all its sweat-inducing varieties is practically the Riff's national food, but the Riff is also a borderline psychotic optimist so how about weaponizing some of the hot badness into a pepper spray?
Would you mess with someone in a dark alley if you thought that you'd end up with stinging eyes, burning skin AND a three-week bout of possibly deadly intestinal distress?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What, No "The Bitch is Blackberry"?

My former employer at the Manchester, Vt., Ben & Jerry's scoop shop (let's just call him "Dr. J") sent along news that in honor of Elton John's first concert in the Green Mountain State (apparently Captain Fantastic has performed in all other 49), Ben & Jerry's has created a limited edition flavor called, wait for it, "Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road."
Kudos Ben, and hats off to you Jerry, but that's kind of phoning it in, don't you think? I mean, this is the company that's given us flavors like Ethan Almond, Cherry Garcia and Vermonty Python. I came up with a few alternatives riffing my way home from work today. Among them:

"I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Bluesberry"

"Caramel In the Wind"

"Hakuna Malt-ata"

"Bennie and the Jet-Puffed"

"Cookie Dough-n’t Go Breaking My Heart"

Got any suggestions? Feel Free to post ''em.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Killer Hat?

The Los Angeles Times recently reported a teenager in Georgia was decapitated by a Six Flags amusement park ride after leaping a fence into a restricted area. While no one knows what motivated the fellow, witness apparently reported he went in pursuit of a hat that had fallen off.
While the Riff is truly saddened by the death of any teenager, he can 't help but wonder WHAT KIND OF HAT WAS IT?
We're putting even money on the hot hat of the moment -- the stingy brim fedora.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

As Smart as a Horse's Patoot!

If there's one thing I love it's trivia. If there are two things I love, it's trivia and calling someone an ass who sorely deserves it. My friend Jimmy Clothespin (his name has been changed to protect his family) knows this, which is why I received the following missive:

"I don’t usually forward shit like this but I thought you would enjoy.:


Railroad tracks. This is fascinating.

Be sure to read the final paragraph; your understanding of it will
depend on the earlier part of the content.

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet,
8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in
England , and English expatriates built the US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines
were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and
th a t's the gauge they used.

Why did 'they' use that gauge then? Because the people who built the
tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building
wagons, which used that wheel spacing .

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they
tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of
the old, long distance roads in England , because that's the spacing of
the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long
distance roads in Europe (and England ) for their legions. The roads
have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts,
which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon
wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all
alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States
standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inc he s is derived from the
original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies
live forever.

So the next time you are handed a Specification/Procedure/Process and
wonder 'What horse's ass came up with it?', you may be exactly right.
Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate
the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horse's asses.) Now, the twist to
the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two
big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These
are solid rocket boosters, or SRB' s. The SRB's are made by Thiokol at
their factory in Utah . The engineers who designed the SRB's would have
preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRB's h ad to be shipped by
train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the
factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRB's
had to fit through that tun nel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the
railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as
wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's
most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand
years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's
ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything...
and CURRENT Horses Asses are controlling everything else.


It sounds perfect, doesn't it? I checked out my favorite debunking site which calls it "false" -- but goes on to say it's kinda/sorta true in a commonsense sort of way. See the full discussion here. All in all a good read and a fun story. Too fun to keep to myself.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sad Trippin': LSD Inventor Gone to the Great Dead Show in the Sky

Dr. Albert Hoffman, the Swiss chemist who first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide (also known as Sid, Lucy, sunshine, boomer, blotter, windowpane, sugar lumps, microdot, tabs, trips and mind douche) shuffled off to the great gig in the sky yesterday.
Hoffman passed away at the age of 102, the result of a heart attack suffered at his hilltop home near Basel Switzerland.
In addition to his wife, Anita; two daughters, a son, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, Hoffman is survived by several Beatles albums, the rock opera "Tommy," a man in a bunny suit who follows me around and a tidal wave of squirrels fed by the 12 tiny paratroopers living in a Doc Marten boot under my bed.
In lieu of flowers, the Hoffman family respectfully asks for you to chew the corner off his obituary notice and take a long bike ride.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pretty Fly Idea ...

How can the image of a common housefly improve your skills at the urinal? I found out the surprising (well, not so surprising if you understand the mind of the average XY chromosome) answer on my way in to work today -- on NPR's "Day to Day" of all places.
Economist Richard Thaler was on, discussing the new book he co-authored with Cass Sunstein titled: Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness.
It was a fascinating discussion of "choice architecture" and "libertarian paternalism" that left me with the feeling that mirrors in fast food restaurants wouldn't be such a bad idea. Here's the link -- audio should be posted later in the day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shamal, Harmattan and Reshabar -- Sons of Noah?

Actually they're all different types of wind. The Riff was trying to gin up an appropriately breezy sidekick name for his superhero alter-ego (The Tschornado) and got thinking about his childhood in JISP ski program when he used to pass Mistral's at Toll Gate on the way to Bromley Mountain every Wednesday. Odd name for a place on the side of a Vermont ski mountain, but it's stuck with me all these years.
One thing led to another and this informative link was found. So if you don't know your Tramonta from your Vendavales, that's a good place to start.
The Riff's only complaint?
No mention of the blustery Santa Anas.

Would Twins With Mono ...

Technically be "stereo"? Just wondering ...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

That's NOT What "Birdie" Usually Means ...

Pro golfer Tripp Isenhour is reportedly facing charges for hitting a hawk with a golf shot because it was making noise as he videotaped a TV show.
The estate of Humphrey Bogart expressed relief at the news, as Isenhour has a tendency to shoot Bogey on that hole.

The Great-Grand Canyon?

Recent reports peg the Grand Canyon at about 10 million years older than previously thought. The mistake, attributed to a faked Arizona driver's license, was discovered when the vast, expansive geologic formation, which purported to be "6 million if an eon," was noticed eroding on federal land. After routine carbon dating, the awe-inspiring chasm was found to be closer to 17 million years of age.
The gorge, which was released on its own recognizance, promptly exposed a calcite deposit to a family of passing tourists.

Patrick Swayze NOT Auditioning For "Ghost II"

Despite the recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer; the star of "Dirty Dancing," "Road House" and "To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar says he has no intention of reprising his Saturn Award nominated role as a lovelorn spirit from the great beyond anytime soon, thereby ensuring that the romantic aspects of the country's pottery kilns will remain hidden from yet another generation.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

So THAT'S an Eye Tooth!

DUBLIN (AFP) - An Irishman blinded by an explosion two years ago has had his sight restored after doctors inserted his son's tooth in his eye, according to this report.
Next up is an experiment implanting extracted wisdom teeth in the brains of U.S. politicians.