31 October 2007

Royksopp romp

This video caught my eye because it "reminds me" of an anatomy of a city, animated.

30 October 2007

Paul Simon: tight music, tight moves.

"Well, I'm spottin' him a 1' 4" advantage, and, to be honest, that's going to be a factor in this game. He's got me on speed and shooting ability, but I've just got to play my game as, I usually play it, and...I'm not going to change anything--I've got to stay with my strengths, basically singin' and songwriting."

--Paul Simon, songwriter, champeen

Hewlett-Packard, get your shit together yesterday.

[but don't try using it with]

I just upgraded to the much anticipated Mac OS X 10.5, aka Leopard. It's as beautiful as it was in Steve Jobs' dreams. Bla blah blah.

When I went to use my Hewlett-Packard Photosmart C4280 All-in-One Print/Scan/Copy (acquired for free with the purchase of the computer), it wouldn't work because HP hasn't updated their drivers yet. The only reason the printer is working at all now is that it's running on Apple's proprietary driver for HP devices, included in Leopard. The scanner is still disabled, and will be until you get your shit together.

To figure this out, I had to spend 3 hours on the phone with Apple Care and another half hour with HP. This was 3.5 hours I have been unable to use in being productive at other tasks, which is why I purchased this new equipment.

HP, if a major computer manufacturer is about to release a major operating system upgrade, especially when your 2 companies have a rebate deal going--and you know new devices are being installed on the new OS--wouldn't it be reasonable to ask "Is our software up to date?"


Hewlett-Packard, tighten up your shit. I've got to go plug in the old Dell, and I'm none too pleased.

Light Graffiti

This light is tight. Found this image here; original gallery plus video here. (The video is spectacular! Watch it!)

(In fact, LICHTFAKTOR's entire portfolio is amazing.)

29 October 2007

RPL Responds

Mr. Flagil_Reinhumps -
I apologize for the uncomfortable situation you were placed in this past week. Unfortunately due to the massive amount of obscene graffiti and gang tags the Main Library has experienced in the past year in its restrooms, Library Administration and the City decided it would be best if the restrooms were locked.

When I read your posting on The Tighten Up Report on Sunday, I was wondering if the librarian you spoke with thought you request additional time on Computer #2? Most of the requests we field at the desk are for additional computer time. We just started the buzzing patrons in the bathrooms last week and are just getting use to it ourselves.

Again, I apologize for the awkward situation and hope it doesn't stop you from using the Main Library.

Roanoke Public Libraries
706 S. Jefferson St.
Roanoke, VA 24016

Meal and Blog Post of the Day

I am not a poet. Please read this blog post and delight in the pictures.

A teaser taste:

War Profiteers, redux

Today's post was going to be all about how a bona fide sign of a fascist government includes using public money to train mercenaries to kill innocent civilians abroad, but then I remembered that we "deployed" Blackwater soldiers right in our own backyard. The same company that operates outside of Iraqi jurisdiction also helped with our home-brewed class war exposed in real time in the Ninth Ward.

Instead, today's military industrial complex tighten up award (perhaps a tiny statue of Cheney shooting us all in the face, or Ike intoning his warning to beware) goes to Exxon Mobile, who today posted record quarterly earnings. I know that a lot besides invasion and bloodshed over vast deposits of crude oil might increase the commodity price thereof. But it sure doesn't hurt Exxon Mobile every time Cheney turns on his pacemaker to threaten Iran or the aforementioned Blackwater opens fire on another group of Iraqis. Admittedly, Exxon is the most profitable and low-hanging fruit of my tirade. Fortunately, we still have exemplary operations to look at that should have nothing to do with war. Hello Shell in Nigeria!

If the MSNBC article is correct, Exxon Mobil has grossed some $40 billion more revenue this year than the discretionary annual budget of the US Department of Education.

See if you can play "when did the U.S. invade?" on the chart above. I know it's a bit old, but in view of today's quarterly earnings report, it is quite de moda.

Apostrophes 101

" ' "

I can't stand it anymore. To everybody, everywhere:

Apostrophes do 1 of 2 things:

1. Denote possession
2. Denote contraction

Here's how you use them:

1. Possession:
  • If you possess it, and you don't have an S on your name, easy: [Pepper's broccoli].
  • If you possess it, and you have an S on your name, easy: [The Jones' broccoli].
    • TIP: [The Jones's brocolli] would be awkward. DBA [don't be awkward]. It's a plural possessive and should be [The Joneses' broccoli]. Except the Joneses hate broccoli.
  • Yours, His, Hers: already possessive. No apostrophe. Ever.
2. Contraction [i.e. two words (or a compound word) become one (or shorter)]:
  • Can + Not = "Cannot"; becomes [Can't]. The apostrophe symbolizes the contraction and disappearance of two letters.
  • "Is not" becomes [isn't]. The apostrophe symbolizes the contraction and disappearance of one letter.
3. Curveball:
  • [Its] is possessive but has no apostrophe. Why? Because:
  • [It's] was already taken, and is short for "It is".
    • Correct: It's difficult to use apostrophes.
    • Correct: Grammar--its importance should not be overlooked.
Don't ever do this:
  • Beaver's build dams.
  • Beavers' build dams.
  • If it ends in X or Z. But let's not open that can of worms.
Know it, use it, love it.

An addendum for Pete:

You + Are = You're

Your = possessive.

Example: You're loose unless you tighten your grammar.


I can't decide yet, since I'm too preoccupied with the searing pain in my eyes...


My sister Kristen

My sister Kristen is seriously tight. You see, when you're my sister, there's a lot of things you have to do. My friends (P and Ingrid) joke about how they have to "babysit" me--and truer words have never been spoken. Babysitting Becca involves the normal thing you would do with a ten year old, like keeping me on time, making sure I've eaten, keeping me entertained with tv shows or events or finding my car keys. Now that you have an idea, here is what I did: twice in the last week, I had some driving issues.

Last Sunday, Kristen and I were coming back from a trailride, and planning on getting a bite at the Hunter's Head, but parking there is tricky when you're driving a horse trailer (which I was). So Kristen, driving her own car, told me to park in the church parking lot. As we got closer, the church parking lot looked full, but I thought I could drive around it and turn around.
I was wrong.

The church parking lot was PACKED. People had blocked the thru way, and immediately after pulling in, I realized I was screwed. I got out of the truck and walked to Kristen in her car behind me, her mouth a little agape. She simply said "I can't believe you pulled in here."
The thing about trailers, is they take a ton of room and goosenecks are really difficult to back up. Kristen jumped in the truck and after multiple strategies, she was finally able to get the truck and trailer out of the packed parking lot, without having to wait until the people got out of church. She was only borderline about to kill me.

So last night, Kristen picked me up at National airport at 9:40 and dropped me off at Pepper's car, which I drive most of the time. I jump in the car and turn the key..... And it's dead. Totally dead. Because I left a light on (all weekend). So I yell to Kristen that it won't start. Kristen, being the "always get the job done" master that she is, just shrugs and backs her car in front of mine. Pepper, being the "always prepared" master he is, has a fully stocked emergency kit in his car--complete with jumper cables. About 3 minutes later, we're up and running. I follow Kristen back to our place in Georgetown, until at a stoplight, the car dies again. Again, we jump it (no kind gentlemen to help--tighten up men of DC). Kristen advises me to rev the engine a little at stop lights, and I manage to get the car home OK.
In conclusion: Kristen Glover, saving my ass since January 21st, 1982.

28 October 2007

TIghten Up Roanoke Public Library

I'll be brief. There is a electric buzz lock on the bathroom at the RPL. They make you ask the librarian to use it. Within earshot of like 8 other people the librarian responded, "should I give you a little extra time for number 2?" Don't do that anymore.

26 October 2007

Friday morning tight nod

The video is kind of funky. The song is one of the best I've heard in a while. Top o the morning to you!

25 October 2007

Enough with the children already!

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the word children 45 times in her speech about the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Did your speech writer take the day off? For the love of baby jesus ... the word is in the BILL... we.get.it.

Here's a sample paragraph:
" In my case, grandchildren. My children are grown. So it's not a question of that. But you who have children, god bless you, i'm jealous, you have children at home, you have health insurance for your children. The children we are trying to give this health insurance don't. They can't afford it. And by the way, over 90% of them make one-fifth of what a member of congress makes, one fifth of what a member of congress makes. So we're talking about people who are playing by the rules who are trying to get up to the middle class or sustain themselves into the middle class, we are talking about a deeply held value, an ethic that to be a great nation, we have to take care of the health of our children."

Your approval ratings are -25 % ... no bills are passing ... at least tighten up your oratory skills and set a good example... for the children.

Annoying Co-Worker Driving Me Crazy

Alright Peter, you drove me to do this.
Fucking stop playing "Big Girls Don't Cry" to piss me off. You are an asshole. I'm totally throwing you under the bus. Tighten Up and play me some Kanye.

24 October 2007

Dear AccuWeather.com Weather Forecast Widget,

It's time to pack it up. Better luck next time.


Taco Bell, I protested your anti-labor ass for a good long while, but I just saw watching the World Series the following:

Right on!

Can't get much tighter than the FDNY

The International Association of Fire Fighters giving Rudy Giuliani a serious tightening up:


As an army brat, I grew up playing with my Skeletor castle and bike on lawns and in the streets of neighborhoods in Texas, California, Colorado, and Georgia, to name a few states.

Unequivocally, our Georgian neighbors won the cake prize for most obsessed with lawn watering and maintenance. Maybe it was the Augusta (Masters golf tourney) factor, maybe it was unemployment rate, maybe it was territorial lust embedded in most southerners that want the South to defend her shores and lawns against Yankee intrusion.

Well, the Yankees have arrived in Chevy Sububus in droves and carpetbagged the southern urban form. The vast majority of U.S. population emigration is from the rust belt to the South and Sun Belt. Suburban cookie cutter developers are only too happy to accommodate the new neighbors with gigantic isolating lots, homes, and lawns. The homes consume a much larger amount of, well, everything: land, Scott's fertilizer, water, electrons for space conditioning. We are fatter, and so are our hovels.

Population expansion plus new residents = significant more demand stress on aging infrastructure. In my Alt. Energy Resources class yesterday, our professor was none too surprised with Atlanta. If you place 30% new demand over the last generation on relatively static supply, rapidly declining reservoirs are not out of place.

When a giant American city is now 87 days outside of straight up running out of water, it is probably time to rethink the culture of lawn, and start thinking more sustainably about parks, higher efficiency passive space conditioning homes, and greater connectivity and pedestrian friendly communities. Small is beautiful, people.

This won't be the last time a massive urban, suburban, exurban megalopolis tells all of its residents to suddenly cut its water use in half, after spending all summer business as usual. What happens in Las Vegas probably won't matter in 50 years if there is no more fucking water in Lake Powell in the Rockies. For that matter, everyone will move back to the coasts when the over stressed groundwater in the Ogallala Aquifer runs dry.

PS> Tight Nod Amory and Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalists. Check them out at www.rmi.org.

Tip o' the Cap to the New Mr. October

One of my all-time favorites, Josh Beckett, pitches tonight in Game 1 of the World Series for the Boston Red Sox against Jeff Francis, who is also pitching lights out this postseason, and the Colorado Rockies. It will be interesting to see what happens tonight as the New Mr. October, one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time and the MVP of the 2003 World Series pitches tonight against a team that has won 21 of its last 22 games, a buzzsaw if ever there was one. Because of their sweeps in the first two rounds while the Red Sox crushed the entire city of Cleveland (a city which hasn't won a championship game in any sport for a longer span than any other city) by coming back from a 3-1 series deficit, the Rockies have had eight days off. Because it seems that they haven't been on the field for a real game in months, the Rockies are once again enormous underdogs, a role they have thrived in for the last 22 must-win games.

Despite the roll the Rockies have been on since September 16th, the Red Sox are the favorite in the series and the number one reason is this:

The New Mr. October.

Enjoy the game tonight and enjoy watching one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time.

A tight epiphany

While discussing the notion of money incentives and our insatiable hunger to perform only when the proverbial carrot (or in this case a fat bonus) is dangled in front of us, Barry Schwartz offers a compeling observation

"The more society embraces the idea that nobody will do anything right unless it pays, the more true it will become that nobody does anything right unless it pays. And this is no way to run a ballclub, a school system, or a country."

Maybe, I'm just a poor, bitter, bleeding liberal, but I think that's a tight observation...

23 October 2007

More logo tightening

We all know that the terrorists need to tighten up their logos, but how are we doing?

Based on the looks of the CIA's new "Terrorist Buster" logo,
not so good.

Who are we supposed to be fighting an existential war with, Islamic terrorists or cartoon villains from the Eighties?




22 October 2007

Sure, but can they dress?

The LA Times tightens up the fashion sense of this year's Nobel winners.

"We understand that winning such a prestigious award, especially for work on stem cells, is enough to buy anyone some leeway when it comes to respect, but even that has its limits. Here, Capecchi, an Italian-born U.S. citizen, accepts the honoris causa degree in medical biotechnologies from the University of Bologna. We understand that college ceremonies require the gown, so there's the leeway. But what's with the hat? He looks like Chef Boyardee's evil cousin."

"And here is Gore trying to dress down for his appearance at the Live Earth concert in New Jersey last summer. We know that Gore has long preached the virtues of recycling, but it appears that Mr. Environment took his old vinyl records and melted them down to make this shirt. At the very least, he could have pulled out the tails and spared us the sight of that belt, which looks as if it was stolen from Bret Michaels' closet."


NYC Tighten Uppers:

Prepare for Santacon 2007! Start shopping for Santa and Misses Santa outfits ya!

December 16, 2007!


Who is with me?

"Ho ho ho!
It's that time of year again... time for Santa to dig himself out from his elf-and-reindeer hogpile, wash the vomit off his pants and join us for a madcap drunken joyous wandering of the city streets we know and love.
When: December 16th, 2006 10:10:10AM
Where: Delancey Lounge (168 Delancey St)
Check here for hourly updates on Saturday!
Santa will be serving some weiners, but this is not a breakfast stop. Make sure your sleigh has a full tank of gas. "

So long, old friend.

Well old boy, it's been a good run. You were my first laptop. We wrote a lot of good papers together, stole a lot of music, and processed a lot of fun pictures. Your faux wood paneled handrest got a lot of looks, and your Inspiron 4100 moniker was...inspirational.

But let's be honest, you haven't been keeping up lately, man. You've only got one USB port. It takes you 20 minutes to turn on, and even then I can barely run Firefox and Acrobat Reader without you hyperventilating. Your 20 gig hard drive, once an enormity, just isn't enough for me anymore. Worst of all, your power cord is so barely attached that sometimes when a butterfly flaps its wings in Central Park, you threaten turning off. And for god's sake, you don't even have wireless capabilities without eating up that USB port.

Don't get me wrong, I'm going to miss you. I think the MacBook's silvery finish is a little much, and I prefer your smaller size, but Jesus, man, you let yourself go. I'll never forget you, but I've got to tighten up and have a machine that will tack where I tack.

Semper Fi old friend--you've served well. But I'll never buy another Dell as long as I live.

21 October 2007

Dear Overheard on the Subway,

This weekend, it's true, the MTA had to make some service adjustments so they could perform trackwork. In order for the work to get done, uptown trains had to skip 50th, 59th, and 66th Street stops. If, like me, you were trying to get uptown from 50th Street today, this was an inconvenience because it required going downtown for a stop to 42nd Street, whereupon transfer to an uptown train was possible.

What galls me is not that MTA was doing work, but rather the way a fellow subway rider was discussing the service changes with the lady standing next to her.

Rider 1: You have to go downtown a stop, then transfer and come back uptown and get off.

Rider 2: I know, but I don't have time for this.

Rider1: Nobody does, but they don't care about that.

Lady, you're an idiot. Of course we're all inconvenienced. And it sucks. But where you're wrong is that the MTA doesn't care.

The subway line we were riding on is 103 years old. Anything that's 103 years old requires some amount of maintenance to keep it in good working order, and that doesn't happen by magic. It's unreasonable for you to expect infinite and uncompromised train service (and a subsidized ride) without allowing vital attendant maintenance to be performed on the system. Which would be worse: having to adjust your trip, or getting stuck in a subway tunnel for 6 hours because work was neglected?

Maybe we can schedule all track work between the hours of midnight and 5am, causing workers to strike but no service issues for you! Even better, work can be done while trains run, and when a train is approaching workers, the conductor can ring a cowbell signaling his approach. Or maybe the city can loan us all gold-plated hovercrafts driven by monkey chauffeurs that will zip us to our destination without a care in the world.

Do you honestly believe that they want to be dropping millions of dollars on track work and constantly adjusting train schedules? Tighten up and stop expecting it yesterday.

Take that, Yankees

A tightness nod for the people of Louisiana for electing the nation's first Indian-American governor. A great day for the South and a great day for America.

As the NYT put it: "Louisiana is more desperate than ever, a place where the glaring needs of its citizens evidently trumped considerations of race and ethnicity."

(Let's hope that theme carries over into November '08.)

Trader Joe's...I question your taste.

First let me say, I love Halloween and all the tacky decorations that go along with it - fake spider webs, witches hats on Georgetown street lamps, pumpkin carvings, hell - even morbidly obese scene sweater-clad soccer moms ... Love.It.
But Trader Joe's Gtown has crossed the line.
Yesterday, I'm walking up from the garage and what is adorning the steps up to my favorite organic grocery store?


Little shadow decals of rodents running up and down the steps of a place where people buy food.

Now, I understand they matched the bats hanging from the
ceiling ... but I have never had bats in my house.
The thought of them near my organic maple and pecan granola is not as appalling as their four-legged earth bound brethren.

Rats and mice are not Halloween decorations. They are gross. Poor choice Trader Joe's. Stick to pumpkins.

- Brenda Starr

19 October 2007

Three cheers for Mona Shaw!

While most of us may never feel this emboldened by the lack of respect and courtesy denied to us by most customer service departments of most companies, let us join and live vicariously through the actions of Mona "The Hammer" Shaw who decided to show Comcast just how infuriating this lack of actual customer service can be. One mid-August day, this brave senior wielded her trusty hammer of justice and made the employees of her local Comcast office take notice: she smashed keyboards, monitors and phones in the name of decency.

She also ended up with a suspended sentence for disorderly conduct, a $345 fine and a restraining order keeping her from this Comcast office, but no matter. Let her hold her hammer high!

I am reminded of Orville's t roubles with Comcast. Jordan's email exchange with the dim-witted Dona at Blockbuster. And M.C. Hammer. Thank you, Mona, for giving disgruntled customers everywhere a reason to cheer! Thank you for being a patron Saint of Tightness! May you be immortalized on a tee shirt with your picture (holding that hammer, of course) with the phrase "Hammer Time!" across it. Say, I should look into making these shirts . . .

Passive aggressive notes

Fellow Tighteners: We may have met our match. This site chronicles the spectacular failings of individuals to function at acceptable levels and the people who tighten them up, specifically through the art of passive-aggressive note writing.

I Don't Mean to Rag on You Texas, But WTF?

While wasting some time this morning, I came across this story on CNN. The basic premise here is that some Texas lawmakers got upset when the University of Texas at Tyler, and this is my favorite part, started offering free condoms to its students at the student health center. You gotta be kidding me. What century is this?

Here's my favorite quote, "I had no idea (that the school was offering free condoms) and I'd imagine most parents don't know either," said Senator Eltife. "I can assure you there are a lot of parents whose kids are going there who would probably not be happy about what they're doing."

Parents not happy that their kids are using condoms? That's a new one. I mean no one is moronic enough to still believe that kids are waiting till the get married to be sexually active are they? Oh wait, this is Texas we're talking about here...

PS- Matt, I know Texas is you home state and I'm sorry, but, seriously, come on...

18 October 2007

Kareem Abdul-Ninja

Though I must admit to having a hand in Matt's ninja choice, I would like to submit the following. And no, Bruce Lee does not play fair at the end. Long live Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr.

Neither Mr. Ninja Warrior nor French fancy steps pansy nor the three little chipmonk ninjas have ever played a leading role in Airplane, either.
A visual rendition of Fenty's tightening of DC cabbies:

(Via Wonkette)

17 October 2007

"I want those kids!"

Is it too late to change my submission?

Ninja off

I call bullshit on Matt's earlier post; this ninja's way tighter:

And he's French!

The Evidence is Overwhelming

Despite US law changing last year, online poker is still enormous business. According to PokerPulse, gross industry revenues are estimated to be over $2 billion this year, falling from what would have been over $3 billion for 2006 if the law had not changed last summer.

This is an industry based on trust: trust that players can get their money out when requested, trust that the cards are random, trust in your skill and the lack thereof in the other players (or trust that luck is with you), but, most importantly, trust that everyone has a chance - the same chance as all other players. In the industry's infancy, some sites were determined to have non-random card shuffling and some players were able to take advantage by determining which cards were where after seeing a certain number of cards in the hand. This has not been a problem, to my knowledge, at all recently and the most or all of the major sites' random number generators and card shuffling are certified by one of the major accounting firms. This has been sufficient to ensure that enough players trust the sites to grow the industry to the point where billions of dollars are put at risk.

Absolute Poker has significantly damaged that trust.

The story basically comes down to this: Some people noticed some strange behavior in a recent tournament held on Absolute Poker. Absolute Poker said that they looked into and found no evidence of any wrongdoing. The runner-up in that tournament then requested all the hand histories (a log of all the activity) from the tournament. Instead of sending the customary histories where only the hole cards (in this case of a Texas Hold'em tournament, the two cards in an individual player's hand) from the runner-up were shown, they made a major blunder in sending the hand histories with ALL of the players hole cards revealed. The cheating was so egregious and obvious that it's clear that the management of the site must have been involved and needed to cover it up and yet somehow the evidence was leaked.

When your actions are so loose that they threaten an entire multi-billion dollar industry, you need to tighten up but more importantly you should probably watch your back for someone who wants to make sure the tightening is permanent.

The D.C. Don of Tightness

Big ups to Mayor Fenty for making the right call on the most pressing issue facing our nation's capital, if not the known universe: switching our cab fare system from the ludicrous and exorbitant zone system to a meter system, used by, oh, every other respectable city in creation. I for one am thrilled that on rare days when I need to taxi the one-mile journey from my apartment to my office, it will no longer cost nine fucking dollars.

With this move, D.C. takes a huge step toward not being a completely third-rate, pissant backwater burg., with only 300 or so equivalent steps to go.

CNN.com headline writers

Seriously, wtf?

The art of the RSVP

A pet peeve: People who RSVP to events by saying, "This is my RSVP," or, "I am RSVPing," and leave their response at that, nothing more, drive me insane.

RSVP means, "répondez s'il vous plaît," i.e., "please respond." When you say, "I am RSVPing," or, "This is my RSVP," you have technically responded but neither in the affirmative nor in the negative. Tighten up. Are you attending or not? Give me a yes or a no. When you don't answer an invitation clearly, I want to CYTD.

16 October 2007

Americans, compared to Japanese, are lame.

Tightest ninja. Ever.

This interviewer really needs to tighten up her questions:

On second thought, that was perfect.

Enough. With. The. Signs.

These images are from 7100/the Fairfax County Parkway in Virginia last weekend. I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure this kind of highway advertising is illegal, and for obvious reasons. It looks like shit. Ladybird Johnson is rolling over in her grave [she was a central figure in the highway beautification movement in the 1960s].

I only regret I can't attend town-hall meetings in Virginia to call these idiots out on their wasteful self-importance.

In case you're interested, the tighten-up contacts for several campaigns are:

Pat Herrity for Springfield Supervisor, Mike: mike@patherrity.org

Ray Morrogh for Commonwealth's Attorney, Ray: ray@raymorrogh.com

Tina Hone for School Board At-Large (www.tina4kids.com) -- hey Tina, glad you're for the kids., tina4kids@gmail.com

Janet Oleszek for State Senate, Jonathan: jonathan@janetforfairfax.com

Ken Cuccinelli, incumbent State Senator, (703) 293-9001

Chris Braunlich for School Board At-Large, Chris: c.braunlich@att.net

"On Shallow Sophisticates", Reprise

While I can't prove it, I'm just gonna tap my inner-Colbert and say it's true: Reuters took a hint from The Tighten Up Report, and threw the tale of shallow sophisticates into syndication. Nice work, Pepper!

15 October 2007

Pelosi's resolve

The Democratic leadership (an oxymoron of late) is threatening to introduce a House resolution that would attach a "genocide" label to the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during WWI. Under normal circumstances, this seems fine and dandy, since a historical consensus centers on that characterization.

However, at the moment, that move would be a diplomatic disaster. Rightly or wrongly, the Turkish government, a tentative U.S. ally, is vehemently opposed to the resolution. The Turks have already recalled its ambassador from Washington. One of their top generals has warned that Turkey’s military relationship with the U.S. “will never be the same again." And, most ominously, the resolution could dissolve the restraint the Turkish military has in attacking Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq.

Hey, Pelosi: make like your face and tighten up. Bush has already done a fine job of destabilizing the Middle East and alienating moderate Muslims around the world. He doesn't need the help.

The following is an exchange yesterday between Fox News anchor Brit Hume and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer...

HUME: But why is it a good idea to say it now? ... I mean, do you think it's an urgent issue, something that happened between Turks and Armenians in World War I?

HOYER: Brit, do I think it's an urgent issue? I think the issue of genocide is a very urgent and present issue. It's happening in Darfur now. It happened in Bosnia not too long ago. And the world sat by and watched. ... It is about a historical event that happened that we need to remember to preclude its happening again.

A future scene in western Sudan...


JANJAWEED MILITANT #2: One second, Ibrahim, I'm almost done raping this defenseless villager, whose children are burning alive in that hut over there.

JM #1: We must leave, Abdel, right away! The Americans just passed a non-binding resolution condemning the Armenian genocide of 1915!

JM #2: PELOSIIIIII!!!... Come Ibrahim, we must make haste!

Further Evidence of Necessary Corporate Tightening...

Now, I didn't want to have to be the one to follow Jordan's life-altering post on Blockbuster, but I felt my experience this evening upon returning from work warranted a Tightening. I had just ordered some of the dynamite General Tso's Chicken from neighborhood fav Sammy's Noodle House, which I am now consuming, plopped down on the couch with my remote in hand, and cranked up the old idiot box. I started scanning and ended up on the NLCS game, which I am now watching. As I continued to scan through tonight''s offerings, I started to realize that something was not quite right in TV land. Channels whose programming I generally prefer were not where they were supposed to be. I continued scanning getting more and more worried. I was cresting the low 30's, working back from the mid-50's, when panic struck! Nervously fumbling with the remote, I hurriedly jumped to 18, my beloved Discovery Channel, only to find Bravo staring back at me!! I panicked. I continue to scan. The History Channel, SciFi, USA, nothing is where it's supposed to be!?!? In a virtual hyperventilation, I logged on to Time Warner Cable's website to read the following:

Dear Customers:
From time to time, it is necessary for us to shift channel positions in order to accommodate programming agreements. We understand how inconvenient it is when your favorite channel is no longer in its usual spot. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

I'm sure many of you can guess what caused the change. Of all things, it had to be this morning's premier of Fox Business News. The Discovery Channel is now relegated to the MID-60's because of Rupert Fucking Murdoch's need to get his fiscal rocks off!?! My God I want to punch something.

13 October 2007

Blockbuster Online

My love-hate relationship with Blockbuster Online is fast developing into a hate-hate relationship. The service lets me catch up on classic movies and old TV shows without the supreme unpleasantness of setting foot inside a Blockbuster store or actually watching TV, all at a reasonable price. For this privilege, I have to endure their horrifically bad website, the occasional scratched-beyond-repair disc, lapses in service, and, worst of all, their policy on sending discs that will reach you in less than three days, even if that disc is not next in your queue. This becomes especially problematic when trying to watch an entire television series. I endured it with the West Wing, and am repeatedly thwarted while watching the Sopranos.

Without getting into too much detail, Blockbuster has not sent me a single Sopranos DVD in four months, forcing me to set foot in their store to get the latest Sopranos disc, which kind of defeats the entire purpose of a DVD-in-the-mail service.

For the past two months we have engaged in a game of low-stakes chicken, where I refuse to set foot in their store, and they refuse to send me a Sopranos DVD. This week I finally snapped and wrote an angry letter to their customer service department. I reprint the e-mail chain below (I think it comes through that I have been down this road before):


To: Blockbuster Online Customer Care
From: Jordan
Subject: please stop skipping over the sopranos season 2 disc 3

Every time I return a DVD, I receive the #2 or lower item on my queue. I don't want to hear any excuses about why that is. I don't care. Your website says the #1 item in my queue is "Available," yet for the last 8 weeks you have chosen to send other items in my queue.

Again, I repeat, I don't care about your methodology for making sure I receive DVDs in the shortest amount of time. This disc is at the top of my queue for a reason - I want it NEXT. I don't care if it takes a day longer to send item #1 vis a vis item #2. I want to see item #1 next, period. Just send it. I don't even want a response to this message. I just want to see an e-mail that says, "Blockbuster has shipped The Sopranos, Season 2, Disc 3."

Thank you,



To: Jordan
From: Blockbuster Online Customer Service
Subject: RE: please stop skipping over the sopranos season 2 disc 3

Hello Jordan,

Thanks for contacting BLOCKBUSTER Online Customer Care.

I'm sorry to hear we haven't shipped the DVD you've requested, Jordan. This occurred because your requested title was likely not available at a distribution center near you. Because our goal is to ship movies as quickly as possible in order to meet the expectation of 1-2 business days for delivery, the system reviews all "Available" titles in your queue and determines which movies are ready for shipment from your nearest distribution center. If your requests are outside the 2-day shipping window, they will be skipped over for other DVDs further on your list.

Unfortunately, we won't always be able to send your movies in the exact order you specify in your queue. When we are ready to ship your next selection, we consider your queue priorities and our current inventory. Even though some of your selections may get skipped, continue prioritizing your movies in the order you would like for them to be shipped. We do our best to continuously distribute copies among our distribution centers based on demand.

I also recommend keeping 30 to 40 individual "Available" titles within your queue in order to help you take advantage of the service and to ensure a continuous shipment of your movies. Keeping plenty of titles in your queue guarantees that we will always have titles to send you once we receive your viewed movies back.

In the meantime, Jordan, I would like to offer you an additional e-coupon good for a free movie rental from your local store. Please click on the link below to print your coupon:


I hope I was able to give you the assistance you needed. If there is anything else I can assist you with, please let me know and I would be more than happy to help you.

Always happy to help,

Customer Care Associate


To: Dona, Blockbuster Customer Care Associate
From: Jordan
Subject: RE: please stop skipping over the sopranos season 2 disc 3

Dona, I want to thank you for either not reading my comment, or reading it and then deciding to do the opposite of everything I requested, Dona. Even though filing a complaint with Blockbuster is akin to repeatedly jamming hot pokers in my eyes, I am going to present you with two scenarios, and I would genuinely appreciate if you, in your own words, Dona, would kindly respond by telling me which scenario you personally find preferable, since you, Dona, are a real person and not an automaton mixing and matching 25 different response scripts provided to you by Blockbuster, Inc., or perhaps a 3rd party customer contact outsourcing firm.

Scenario 1:

You are watching the entire Sopranos season and return the Season 2, Disc 2 DVD on August 1. The number one item in your queue is The Sopranos Season 2, Disc 3 DVD. However, you live in Washington DC and the nearest copy of said disc is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. So instead Blockbuster ships you the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. Frustrated, you watch the Ya Ya Sisterhood, return it, and expect to receive Sopranos Season 2, Disc 3. However, the nearest copy is now in Boulder, Colorado, and you instead receive How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Angered, you watch Angela Bassett get that groove back, return the DVD, and again hope to receive what you wanted in the first place. By now, it's September 1 and you have forgotten the Sopranos plot line, and to make matters worse, Blockbuster sends you Chairmen of the Board, starring Courtney Thorne Smith and Carrot Top. This goes on and on for another few months until you are completely blinking furious, contact a Blockbuster Support Center associate, and receive a befuddling and inarticulate reply completely failing to address your concerns.

Scenario 2:

You are watching the entire Sopranos season and return the Season 2, Disc 2 DVD on August 1. Even though the nearest copy of Disc 3 is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and you are in Washington, DC, Dona, and it may take 4 days to ship said disc, Blockbuster sends the disc to you, and you have it safely in your hands on August 5. Now you are watching Tony, Carmela, Christopher, Junior, Paulie Walnuts, and the whole wacky Sopranos gang lie to, steal from, and kill one another. The end.

Personally, I prefer Scenario 2, Dona. To put this simply, I'd rather wait four days to get my Sopranos DVD than two months. Help me. Please. Dona.

Sincerely yours,


I'll keep you posted on any late breaking developments.

Update: I just received the following e-mail:

Jesus Camp

Hello Jordan,

We've shipped Jesus Camp to you. You can expect to receive it on or around Wednesday, October 17, 2007.

If after three days you have not received this DVD, use the Report DVD Issues link to let us know.

Add more titles to your Queue today.

Your friends at BLOCKBUSTER Online®

So it's war then, Blockbuster Online?

12 October 2007

Seriously, New York Times?

I'd like to draw your attention to the caption beneath the picture above, a screenshot from the front page of nytimes.com. The second of what appear to be representative comments is "Junk science prevails, and the Pope of junk science is rewarded." I have a question for you, New York Times. Out of the 499 comments you had to choose from, why did you pick the one written by an Exxon executive's secretary?

Congratulations to Mr. Gore and the UN Panel.

11 October 2007

Nonagenarian Tighteness

I'd just like to point out that my 90-year-old grandfather, Billpop, is totally awesome.

10 October 2007

In Rainbows

Today, Radiohead made their newest studio album, In Rainbows, available as a download on their website, for whatever price you wish to pay. This is an impossibly cool idea made more so by the fact that it completely sticks it to the greedy and short-sighted record labels, exposing their utter obsolescence.

This evening after work, I logged on the my computer to purchase the album. Radiohead's site was inaccessible. After dinner I tried again. When I tried to add the album to my shopping cart, I was prompted for a user name and password, which I did not have, and that was the end of that. Just now I tried a third time, and got to the order page again. Sure enough, there was a blank field for me to enter how much, in pounds sterling, I wanted to pay for the album (pounds only??? Don't you know how bad the exchange rate is for Americans, you heartless Brits?).

I entered a sum I considered reasonable (especially since I'm going to buy the album again on CD when it comes out early next year), and hit enter. I received an error message. I tried again. I received a message that "you can only purchase one download." Fair enough. I hit refresh. Again, I offered my price. Another error message. (Bear in mind I am waiting two minutes between each page load). Finally the page comes up again. I enter 0.00 and press "submit."

For some reason, this works. I am aggravated. I try going back in my browser, but of course that doesn't work. I close my browser and start over. For a third time, I enter my price. This time I am placed in a queue. After another eternity, I am taken to the checkout page, where my offered price again shows up as 0.00.

Well, that just tears it. You don't want my money, millionaire rock gods? Fine, you can't have it. I'll take your bloody mp3s for free. Happy?

So now I am downloading my free and legally acquired songs. Radiohead, you want to stick it to the industry, cool. I am 100% behind it. I will even pay for mp3s when what I really want is a CD (so I can burn it to my iPod - don't ask). But for god's sake, tighten up and get your bandwidth issues and site architecture in order. You can buy almost everything in the world online hassle free. Did you have to make things so difficult?

I know technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but I can't help feeling it would have been simpler to walk to a music store, slap $15 on the counter, and walk away with an album in my hands. And with that, I conclude my Andy Rooney-style rant about modern life.

A hate-crime at Columbia?!

Where you at Columbia students??

NYTimes reports a "hangman’s noose was found hanging on the door of a black professor’s office at Columbia University Teachers College" this past Tuesday. I'll spare Pepper et al the TU for not already throwin' this TU, but come on, asshole Columbia students! Y'all need to tighten that shit up now! I'll say it once and I'll say it a billion more times: there is no room for hate-crimes in 2007. Especially after you guys held one of the tightest displays of free speech in the past decade! (Sorry, Becca; I actually thought it pretty tight. Not the invite for Ahmadinejad to come speak so much as the kind of discouse it encourages and the accountability it requires, or at least tries to require, of everyone involved.) Anyway, I'm tired of this crap! Stop the hate, haters.

::gets off soapbox::

6 Year Olds Driving...

I recently came across this story about a 6 year old boy who attempted to drive his grandparent's car. According to the story, he took the keys, moved his safety seat from the back to the drivers seat, and proceeded to back directly into a telephone pole knocking out power to the whole block.

Now I would generally applaud this kind of deviant behavior, but in this case the young whippersnapper's destination was Applebee's. That's right. Eating good in the freakin neighborhood, Applebee's. Piece of advice junior, next time you feel like doing something that not only risks your life, but the life of pretty much everyone in a 100 yard radius of you(the approximate distance someone who can't reach the pedals or see over the dash can make it in a car), pick an objective a little more rewarding than Applebee's. Acceptable destinations would have included but not been limited to Never-Never Land, Disney World, Oz, Santa's Workshop, the Marmalade Forest beneath the Make-Believe Trees, etc...


On the return of Hammerpants

This morning, The Sartorialist posted a photo of a French youth wearing some facsimile of black Hammerpants. Far from deserving a TU, I think this decision (both by the girl and by the Sartorialist) should be lauded. If the carefree whimsy of M.C. Hammer is to be injected anew into our haute coture, tell me how the world is not a better place.

09 October 2007



Incontrovertible Photographic Evidence of Widespread Tightness Failures

It is so rarely that we come across such shining examples of idiocy that these must be posted as a reminder that our vigilance can never be abated.