Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A very important post about.... things I will not miss while I am away

Your humble blogger is getting the hell out of Dodge for the rest of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. Blogging will be nonexistent for the next 36 hours, followed by ten days of, at best, posting whenever I damn well feel like it which won't be that often light to intermittent blogging.

Since it is the end of the year and I will be out of the country, here is a short list of things I will not be missing while I am gone:

1) Paul Krugman's jihad against Barack Obama. As an outsider to progressive infighting, this was fun for a few go-arounds, but we've now hit the tedious patch when Krugman spends every column and blog post searching desperately for something to dump on Obama. This is Krugman at his most humorless and least persuasive.

How bad has it gotten? If Krugman had written a column for Christmas Day, here's how I suspect it would have opened:

In the fifties, the elves at the Norh Pole were more than 40% unionized, and as we all know, it was the golden age of the elf middle class. Elf wages have since declined, and if you think that's only because of globalization and technological change, hey, here's a single magazine article from five years ago that ostensibly upends that supposition (while whiffing on the underlying causal trend).

Moving, on, Barack Obama claims that, as Santa, he will help the elf middle class. He has also said, however, that he wants to be "the Santa of the naughty and the nice." He's criticized the elf union for funding alternative candidates. It's conciliatory rhetoric like that which will guarantee that Obama will not be elected by a wide margin, dooming the progressive elf movement to a curious footnote in history....

2) Any more talk about Jamie Lynn Spears... really, it's the female equivalent of the Mitchell Report. There's a lot of "what about the children?" gnashing of teeth for both issues. In the spirit of Peyton Manning's Pep Talks, here's my advice:
Wondering what to tell your children about Jamie Lynn Spears being pregnant? Tell them it means that Jamie Lynn Spears is clearly a better actress than her sister, since the character she portrays is apparently much more level-headed than Spears herself.

In the end, it doesn't matter all that much, since the girl is worth gazillions and can therefore afford to hire people to assist in raising the child competently. Unless your children are as wealthy as Spears, however, assure them that if they get pregnant at that age, regardless of what they choose to do, they're going to be creating a serious wrinkle in how they thought their life was going to turn out.

3) Debates about whether Juno or Knocked Up is the better movie. It's like asking which gender you prefer -- there's no right or wrong answer to the question. I've seen both of them - I laughed harder at Knocked Up, but found more of Juno's characters (and cast) more interesting.

What's more interesting is the notion that the writers of these movies -- Judd Apatow and Diablo Cody -- might be having an extended film conversation, if this Entertainment Weekly profile of Cody is at all accurate:

Cody's taste runs more toward movies like Rosemary's Baby and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (she props a Spicoli black-and-white-checked sneaker onto the booth as evidence of her devotion), or sharply funny TV like Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. ''God, I would slit my wrists to meet Judd Apatow.''

After Cody saw Superbad, she immediately went home and started writing a female response to the teen comedy, which Universal promptly snatched up. Girly Style, named after the wuss version of push-ups, tells the story of some nerdy college women.

4) Blogger endorsements. Yes, I toyed with the idea, but Ann Althouse has a valid point -- I didn't endorse during the 2004 primaries. Why start now?

On the other hand, Matthew Yglesias and the Concord Monitor are onto something with the "undorsement" idea. So, my two undorsements of candidates that could ostensibly win are.... John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani.

My reasons for the Giuliani undorsement have been made clear.

As for Edwards -- I can't take seriously anyone who thinks that a free trade agreement with Peru -- Peru!! -- is somehow going to devastate workers and communities. Proposing to "make top prosecutors at the Department of Justice responsible for enforcing trade agreements"? I love how Edwards wants to re-engage with the world and simultaneously bully these governments into accepting American terms. Hillary Clinton's trade positions are problematic, but Edwards is Hillary on steroids.

posted by Dan at 07:59 AM | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)

Friday, June 1, 2007

A very important post about.... getting the hell away from all of you

Starting this morning, my wife and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in grand style -- going on vacation for five days and four nights to a small Caribbean isle that will remain anonymous. The children will not be accompanying us, as their grandmothers will be here to take care of them.

None of you will be coming either.

So,until my return, here's a few links that should be worthy of comment... in descending order of seriousness:

1) In the next issue of Foreign Affairs, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have articles articulating their foreign policy visions. Go check them out. I'll be particularly curious to see just how much overlap there is between them.

2) Megan McArdle reads the Social Security Trustee Reports so you don't have to -- and in the process addresses the liberal meme of "every day, in every way, Social Security is getting better and better."

3) James Pethokoukis has a nice survey of expert opinions on the extent to which the Chinese and American economies are intertwined, and what a hard landing in Beijing would mean to the United States.

4) ABC had a hard-hitting story on.... appropriate cleavage in the workplace. Best. Topic. Ever. Hat tip: Ann Althouse, who informs us, "Women know what their breasts look like in their clothes. It doesn't just happen. "Breast power" is real. We can pretend we don't know, but we do." I knew I'd been manipulated all these decades.

That is all.

posted by Dan at 07:57 AM | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A very important post about.... how I wasted an hour today

So I stumbled across MyHeritage.com today -- which claims to have a face recognition program that lets you upload a photo and tells you which celebrities you look like.

Of course, I couldn't resist. After uploading the picture on the front of the web site, here's the list of celebs I was told I resemble:

Matt LeBlanc
Dustin Hoffman
Antonio Banderas
Usama bin Laden
George Clooney
Pierce Brosnan
Jason Biggs
Roberto Rossellini
Hugh Grant
Tom Stoppard
If you've managed to contain yourself to this point, well, you have better self restraint than I.

Needless to say, their technology appears to be heavily dependent upon the angle of the face in the photo, hair length, facial hair, the presence of eyeglasses, etc. In other words, it's pretty much rubbish. When I uploaded a Salma Hayek photo, the program declared her to be only a 74% match with... Salma Hayek.

So this was a waste of time..... until I realized that I could upload pictures of other bloggers and see who they resembled. The resulting lists of names are pretty friggin' funny.

Glenn Reynolds:

Ward Cunningham
Yossi Beilin
Alan Alda
John Major
Franz Kafka
Pierre Curie
Linus Torvalds (this was the one photo where I really thought the program worked)
Marshall McLuhan
Sidney Lumet
Henry Kissinger
Virginia Postrel:
Diane Keaton
Eva Peron
Alicia Keys
Agam Rudberg
Renee Zellweger
Meryl Streep
Preity Zinta
Andie MacDowell
Andrew Sullivan -- no matches. I tried two different photos, and Andrew stumped the computer.

Matthew Yglesias:

Leonardo DiCaprio
River Phoenix
Danny Elfman
Orlando Bloom
Vaclav Havel
Elton John
Tyler Cowen
Boris Trajkovski
Rudolph Nureyev
Benjamin Netanyahu
Cary Grant
Alec Baldwin
Benicio Del Toro
Zoran Djindjic
Kevin Bacon
Arvo Part
Roy Orbison
Ana Marie Cox:
Annette Bening
Kirsten Dunst
Angelina Jolie
Gwyneth Paltrow
Megan McArdle:
Katie Holmes
Neve Campbell
Liv Tyler
Demi Moore
Grace Kelly
Kate Winslet
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Lauren Bacall
Oh, and as a final check, I uploaded this photo of Henry Farrell and myself:

Henry and Dan.jpg

For Henry:

George Clooney
Art Garfunkel
Michael Jackson
Heitor Villa-Lobos
George Lazenby
Chet Baker
For myself: Henry
David Thoreau
Federico Garcia Lorca
Shahrukh Kahn
Chet Baker
Michael Douglas
Keanu Reeves

posted by Dan at 11:53 PM | Comments (24) | Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A very important post about.... Barbara Boxer's blue mind

Via Matt Welch, I found Anne-Marie O'Connor's story in the Los Angeles Times about Senator Barbara Boxer's new novel, A Time to Run (co-authored with Mary-Rose Hayes).

There's some fascinating information in O'Connor's piece about the motivations behind the troika of protagonists:

In "A Time to Run," the main characters from the reigning "blue states" Josh from California and Ellen from equally reassuring New York are liberal, altruistic, sane. Their affluent families are caring and sharing.

Their red state-born buddy, Greg, is the son of an emotionally abusive Ohio hardware seller former Marine who lost his favorite son in Vietnam. The red states that Greg heads to after graduation are interchangeably dull Siberias where Greg hangs out with the menfolk, bonding over beer, football and hunting.

Josh and Ellen become Left Coast do-gooders. Greg becomes a sociopathic neoconservative journalist, the go-to guy for character assassinations conjured by a right-wing California senator. Boxer said that although she didn't intend for the characters to represent the American political equation, "I hope people will understand the issues I raise about why people are blue or red or purple."

Her literary intrigues are not all political: There's also some bodice-ripping, with a love triangle between Greg, Ellen and Josh, and physical congress, tastefully suggested by euphemisms in which bodies "mesh." There's a whiff of scandal, too, when a youthful indiscretion comes back to haunt Josh....

Boxer said the novel explores "why people become liberals and conservatives. We explore the battle between liberals and conservatives at so many levels."

And it's not pretty. If you're looking for an inspirational story about someone who rose above a difficult background to champion the downtrodden, forget it.

In "A Time to Run," underprivileged Greg emerges as an opportunistic user an object lesson that does not seem particularly populist.

("We wanted to give Greg a very solid blue-collar background, and Ohio just seemed to be a good place for somebody like Greg to be from," said co-writer Hayes, who is the London-born author of such books as "The Winter Women." "I do believe that that is a fact, that generally speaking, large coastal cities have a more liberal bent.")

"It's so clear the relationship with (Greg's) dad and what happened to his brother in Vietnam, made a big impact on his life," Boxer said. "The fact that [Josh and Ellen] had loving families made a very big difference."

Greg, Boxer said, "didn't have that inner applause you get from your family. "It's terrible when someone with all his talent uses it to hurt people."

Insert your own joke about the Kennedys here.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go consult a therapist to determine which parent emotionally abused me so much as to drive to the right of the political spectrum.

[Wow, emotional abuse and early gender confusion. You're a psychological mess. No wonder you didn't get tenure!--ed. Hmmm... maybe I should take a closer look at the Americans With Disabilities Act!!]

posted by Dan at 04:03 PM | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A very important post about.... my early gender confusion

Focus on the Family's Focus on the Child has ever so helpfully set up a web site entitled "Is My Child Becoming Homosexual?" There are some very useful tips for parents:

Evidences of gender confusion or doubt in boys ages 5 to 11 may include:

1. A strong feeling that they are different from other boys.

2. A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.

3. A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play.

4. A strong preference to spend time in the company of girls and participate in their games and other pastimes.

5. A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them queer, fag and gay.

6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even think effeminately.

7. A repeatedly stated desire to be or insistence that he is a girl.

Well, as a child, I certainly suffered from 1, 2, 4, 5, and maybe 6 (Depends how you define "think effeminately").

If you'll excuse me, I have to go tell my wife and children about my latent homosexual qualities and accompanying gender confusion. I fear that my son will probably cry and feel different.

Readers, talk amongst yourselves -- in particular, how boys who like the "the roughhousing that other boys enjoy" could never be gay.

Hat tip to Giblets at Fafblog, who provides additional tips for detecting future homosexuals in our nation's children:

Dunk your son into a deep pool of water. If he floats to the top, he is full of buoyant gaymotrons (identified by physicists as the gay particle) and therefore gay. If he sinks to the bottom and drowns, he is a poor swimmer and unathletic and therefore gay. If he begins to sink and then just sorta hangs there, the water is gay.

UPDATE: Another topic for discussion -- did this historical character display gender confusion as well?

posted by Dan at 04:59 PM | Comments (14) | Trackbacks (3)

Friday, June 17, 2005

A very important post about.... Katie Holmes


For the past month I've been fighting my instinct to blog about the future Mrs. Tom Cruise. Even though the infamous Oprah video bothered me, and even though Cruise's comments about psychiatry in general and Brooke Shields in particular bothered me, my superego said this wasn't a blogworthy topic.

With the announcement of their engagement at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, I think the question needs to be asked -- what is it about this coupling that provokes people into creating elaborate Free Katie web sites?

[Maybe it's the age gap--ed. If that was true, then Catherine Zeta-Jones' marriage to Michael Douglas should have provoked more outrage -- the gap in their ages is twenty years. Same with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. Hell, I think the public's opinion of Ashton Kutcher went up after he started dating Demi Moore. Also, is anyone really shocked by a generational difference among celebrity couples anymore?]

[Maybe it's the Scientology?--ed. Well, Scientology certainly has its critics. But then again, so do most other religions. And frankly, why should we care if Ms. Holmes decides to leave the Catholic Church? Besides, the furor over their relationship began before any discussion of conversion entered into the mix.]

My hunch is that it's some syncretic combination of a bunch of factors, including the age gap, the Scientology, and the fact that, according to the Associated Press, "The former star of television's 'Dawson's Creek' grew up with a poster of Cruise on her bedroom wall and has said she grew up wanting to marry him." But I'm not sure.

So I will put it to the readers -- what is it about this relationship that weirds so many people out?

posted by Dan at 04:15 PM | Comments (42) | Trackbacks (4)

Friday, May 27, 2005

A very important post about..... Paris Hilton's food porn

When we last left the topic of food porn, the staff here at danieldrezner.com was gently mocking the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) for awarding this label to the Hardee's/Crl's Jr. Monster Thickburger, pointing out that:

[T]heir decision to label all Thickburgers as 'food porn' guaranteed that they would earn sound bites, but the effect might be the opposite of what they intended. I gotta think that if a consumer sees something with that label, it will pique rather than retard their interest.

From the comments to that post, it was clear that many readers were eager to eat the burger out of sheer bloody-mindedness because of the CPSI's excessive preachiness on the topic.

One wondered, however -- riling a group like CPSI works only once in generating the kind of necessary buzz. Which group could Hardee's/Carl Jr. manage to rile up in order to secure the appropriate payoff?

Which brings me, of course, to Paris Hilton:


What you see above you is a still from the new Carl. Jr.'s ad for its new Spicy BBQ Six Dollar Burger. Click here to see the ad running on the Carl Jr.'s site, and here to see an extended version of the ad -- as well as.... commentary by Ms. Hilton herself. [How would you describe the ad?--ed. Er.... Paris Hilton doing a really bad job of washing a Bentley and an OK job of washing herself. And how would you describe her interview?--ed. A major turn-off. Hilton describes her outfit in the ad as a "bikini." For God's sake, the one thing she's supposed to actually know is fashion and she can't even use the proper term?]

According to Lester Haines of The Register, the new ad caused the Carl Jr.'s website to crash from traffic overload (read all of Haines' article by the way -- wickedly funny).

Newsweek's Jonathan Darman reports that the usual suspects are not pleased with this ad:

The Paris pictures were news because the Parents Television Council (PTC), an influential broadcast-decency group, wants the ad banished to late-night television or off the airwaves altogether. The ad "meets the exact definition of pornography, Tim Winter, the groups executive director, tells NEWSWEEK. Families shouldnt have to be subjected to that.

CNN gets an even better quote from the PTC:

"This commercial is basically soft-core porn," said Melissa Caldwell, research director for the PTC. "The way she moves, the way she puts her finger in her mouth -- it's very suggestive and very titillating."

Wow, that's hot. Note to self... check out the PTC web site more often.

Meanwhile, Carl's Jr. is just delighted by the PTC's ire:

Carl's Jr.'s message to the PTC: The group needs to "get a life," said Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl's Jr., a subsidiary of CKE Restaurants. "This isn't Janet Jackson -- there is no nipple in this. There is no nudity, there is no sex acts -- it's a beautiful model in a swimsuit washing a car."

Puzder says he has shown the ad to his three children, ages 12, 9 and 7, and they have shown no signs of being corrupted. "Maybe people are excited because it's Paris Hilton, but there are far worse things on television that these groups should be worried about," Puzder said.

So far Puzder has managed to aggravate the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Parents Television Council -- both to brilliant PR effects.

However, one wonders whether Puzder has run out of useful fools. Readers are strongly encouraged to suggest the next watchdog group that Puzder will provoke in order get more associations of his food products with porn.

posted by Dan at 10:18 AM | Comments (17) | Trackbacks (2)

Sunday, April 3, 2005

A very important post about.... the state of the Sox-Yankees rivalry

Ah, opening day. I was going to compose a long post about coping with the idea of the Red Sox as world champions, while still being confident of the Red Sox's chances this year, but a lot of other people beat me to it.

Although some fans are growing complacent from the 2004 success, I fall into the Bill Simmons camp on this one:

I never thought I would say the words "Thank God for the Yankees," but I'm saying them now. Thank God for the Yankees. As soon as Sunday night rolls around and Yankee fans are booing Boomer, Manny, Damon and everyone else, every Sox fan will snap right into, "All right, it's time to defend the title now" mode. You can't help it. We're natural enemies in the wild. And if it wasn't for them, we would be content playing with house money for the rest of the decade....

When it comes right down to it, this blood feud with the Yankees is unlike anything else in professional sports right now. They're the Ali to our Frazier, the Iron Sheik to our Sergeant Slaughter. We need them, they need us. We hate them, they hate us. The rivalry is developing into a self-perpetuating organism – a zero sum game for sports, a de facto Cold War – something that neither team can ever truly win. Both teams jockey for the upper hand all season, the battle resolves itself in October, and then everything starts again in April. That's just the way it is. Until last year, the Yankees always prevailed. Now we have an official rivalry on our hands. Is it better than winning a championship, or pulling off the greatest comeback in sports history? Of course not. But it's still pretty good. (emphases in original)

Over at the Black Table, Will Leitch sums up the state of the Red Sox quite nicely:

[T]he Red Sox aren't going away anytime sooner than the Patriots did. The Sox lost Pedro Martinez after being outbid on a contract they should have sprinted from in the first place, but more than made up for him with cheaper signings of David Wells (who will never, ever go away), Matt Clement and Wade Miller. The offense should be just as strong as last year's and even added shortstop Edgar Renteria, who, while overrated, shores up the defense and will be worth his four-year contract for at least, well, a year-and-a-half.

One could make the argument that last year's victory over the Yankees was the victory the Red Sox had been waiting for, the first step in winning the great war. But [Red Sox general manager Theo] Epstein has done something that George Steinbrenner has not done; he has put together an outstanding team that will also flourish in the future. The war isn't not just starting: It's already over. The Red Sox have won. The Yankees just don't know it yet. The notion of the hard-luck Red Sox fan has been obliterated.

As for the Yankees, consider this Futility Infielder post by Baseball Prospectus contributor Jay Jaffe from the offseason:

I'm sick of learning about the Yankees signing has-beens like Doug Glanville and Rey Sanchez and never-weres like Damian Rolls to compete for jobs at the fringe of their 25-man roster. I'm sick of contemplating a bench that with Glanville (34 years old, 2004 [on-base percentage] of .244), Sanchez (37, .281), Ruben Sierra (39, .296), John Flaherty (37, .286), and Bubba Crosby (28, .196) is both incredibly old and lacking a single player who put up a .300 OBP last year. Glanville last broke the New Mendoza Line in 2000, Flaherty in 1999. The team's thinking here is a direct affront to everything we've learned about winning baseball over the last quarter century.

I'm sick of ranting about the Yankees' player development woes. A couple days ago I quipped via the [Baseball Prospectus] internal mailing list, "That's an impressive new take on the concept of 'farm system' the Yanks have going -- find the freshest corpse available, exhume it, and fit it for pinstripes."

....I'm especially sick of the lack of vision and imagination being shown by the front office. At a time when the hallowed franchise is four years removed from its last World Championship, they appear to be accelerating in the opposite direction at alarming speed. I'm not going to pin this all on the increasingly marginalized Brian Cashman; it seems pretty clear that the shots are being called from higher up. Any day now I expect Randy Levine to call a press conference just to tell us that the team is completely out of ideas. As in...
Yankee Spokesperson:

"On behalf of the New York Yankees, I have the obligation to announce that our storehouse of brainpower has been exhausted by all of this dynasty-keeping we're expected to do. Ladies and gentlemen, we're completely out of ideas [digs finger in ear, looks around the room solemnly, then examines finger pulled from ear] Yep. That's it, we're tapped. You can all go home now. Questions?"

The Yankees are going to be good this year, no doubt. Randy Johnson will be ferocious. However, the fact is that they have no depth in starting pitching -- for the Yankees to win this year, they have to rely on one over-40 pitcher with no cartilage in his right knee and another over-40 pitcher with just a spot of back trouble. This didn't hamper the Red Sox last year (their top five pitchers were remarkably healthy and started 157 of 162 games), but the odds of the Yankees repeating this durability ain't great.

What's more important, however, is how this rivalry shapes up for the next few seasons. It's telling that Theo Epstein has managed not just to sign free agents this off-season, but also trade for some decent prospects. By allowing most of their free agents to walk, the Red Sox will have five of the top fifty picks in this year's amateur draft. The Sox won't just be good this year -- they're setting themselves up for quite a nice run.

And the Yankees? No team with a $200 million payroll is going to be bad -- and this is a great thing for Sox fans. For there to be a real rivalry, both sides need to have a decent chance of winning, and this will be a real rivalry for many years to come. It's been intense in recent years because, as Joe Torre observed, "both clubs have been very evenly matched." After this year, however, medium-term trends favor the Red Sox. Given that for years, nay, decades, the reverse was true, I have no problem with this.

So let the games begin. But I don't think either Tom Maguire or Baseball Crank are going to be too happy -- especially after this year.

posted by Dan at 12:29 AM | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A very important post about... food porn


What you see above you is the Hardee's Monster Thickburger. The burger contains 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat according to MSNBC. Here's their more complete description:

[T]wo one-third-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun. The sandwich alone sells for $5.49 or $7.09 with a medium fries (520 calories) and soda (about 400 calories). [Which adds up to a 2,340 calorie meal. If memory serves, it's commonly assumed that the daily caloric intake of a healthy adult is around 2,000 calories--DD]

McDonald’s Corp., Wendy’s International Inc. and other fast-food giants have broadened their offerings of salad and other lower-calorie fare amid concerns the industry could be held legally liable for America’s obesity epidemic. Hardee's [also called Carl's Jr. in some parts of the country--DD] offers no such concessions, although the chain is not completely oblivious to dietary trends, offering at least three "low-carb" items including a low-carb Thickburger.

In an interview on CNBC, Hardee's chief executive Andrew Puzder was unapologetic, saying the company's latest sandwich is "not a burger for tree-huggers."

"This is a burger for young hungry guys who want a really big, delicious, juicy, decadent burger," he said. "I hope our competitors keep promoting those healthy products, and we will keep promoting our big, juicy delicious burgers."

This CBS report by Jim Axelrod has more funny quotes from Puzder:

You got all four major food groups. You got beef, pork, mayonnaise and butter.

"You got everything ... yeah," said Hardee's CEO Andy Puzder....

On one hand, it's inspiring late-night ridicule as a heart attack on a bun, as talk show hosts such as David Letterman jest. One showed a picture of faux doctors performing defibrillation on an imitation Hardees owner.

"They actually had somebody play me on a TV show, and I had a heart attack," Pudzer said. "I even thought that was good. My ex-wife wanted a copy."

And harsh criticism from the food police…

"This is the epitome of corporate irresponsibility, marketing this kind of junk," said Michael Jacobson, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "We call this kind of product food porn."

But despite the bad press, or may be because of it, it's also produced an 8 percent growth in sales for Hardees. Blue-state critics, meet red-state consumers.

"Well it's a heavy burger," one consumer said. "It definitely fills my stomach up."

The reporter told Puzder, when halfway through his burger: "I can't eat another bite. I'm all done. Is this common?"

"Not for me," Puzder said.

Speaking of food porn, Puzder's irreverent sense of humor translates into Hardee's new and risqué advertising campaign. Seth Stevenson has a review of these ads in Slate -- as he concludes, "Whatever I may think of these ads, I bet they're effective with the target demographic." He's probably right -- click here for the ad that, er, goes the furthest along this line (it's entitled "Fist Girl").

[What, exactly, was the point of this post?--ed. Well, there's a complex observation to be made here about what "Red America" wants -- Many lefty commentators believe that Red Staters are getting hoodwinked into buying deceptive political propaganda about "moral values" hook, line, and sinker. The appeal of the Monster Thickburger suggests that Red State denizens know exactly what they want, and appreciate it when it's sold to them without any deception whatsoever. Oh, bullsh**t, you just wanted to write a post with the title of "Food Porn" in it and get yourself a Wonkette link!--ed. The two points are not mutually exclusive.]

My question to readers -- does the blunt salesmanship make you more likely or less likely to go to a Hardee's and order a Monster Thickburger?

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds offers his answer as well as a food review.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Based on the comments so far (and previous blog posts on this topic), there's another possible reason for the appeal of the Monster Thickburger -- the fact that institutions like the Center for Science in the Public Interest preach against it. Indeed, their decision to label all Thickburgers as "food porn" guaranteed that they would earn sound bites, but the effect might be the opposite of what they intended. I gotta think that if a consumer sees something with that label, it will pique rather than retard their interest (insert your own joke about "larger beef" or "more pork" here). If I was Hardee's Andy Puzder, I'd try to spam e-mail this CPSI warning to as many potential customers as possible.

[What if you were working for the CPSI?--ed. There are two possibilities. One option is to try to beat Hardee's at their own game and go snarky rather than excessively earnest -- like the truth ads with regard to smoking. The other option is to be callous and wait for the Red State population to prematurely decline on its own accord after elevated consumption of Monster Thickburgers.]

FINAL UPDATE: This post nicely coincides with Department of Agriculture release of Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Among the key recommendations: "To maintain body weight in a healthy range, balance calories from foods and beverages with calories expended." (link via food economist Parke Wilde)

posted by Dan at 11:08 AM | Comments (132) | Trackbacks (12)

Monday, June 7, 2004

A very important post about.... Jennifer Lopez


I have no doubt that hundreds of tabloid writers and millions of Americans are salivating over Jennifer Lopez's third marriage -- this time to Latin crooner Marc Anthony. [There are other reasons millions of Americans might salivate over J. Lo--ed. You know my preferences when it comes to Latino film stars.]

Far be it for danieldrezner.com to deny Americans their God-given right to mock celebrities. However, since I've been defending American celebrities as of late, let me stick up for J. Lo's recent nuptials. Consider the following:

1) J. Lo's moving up the talent chain. This Bill Zwecker column in the Chicago Sun Times nicely encapsulates J Lo's romantic history:

first marriage -- waiter Ojani Noa
post-first marriage -- rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs
second marriage -- dancer/choreographer Cris Judd
post-second marriage -- actor Ben Affleck
third marriage -- actor/singer Marc Anthony

There is an encouraging trend here. With each successive relationship, J. Lo's beau seems to have an increasing amount of talent -- which presumably raises the level of mutual respect between Miss Lopez and her significant other. One can easily make the claim that Anthony is the best singer of the lot, but one could also say he's the best actor of the lot -- Anthony's one many film appearances include a lovely turn as the mute waiter in Big Night. Plus, it's not like Marc is going to be swept away only by J. Lo's beauty -- his previous marriage was to former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres

2) "Marcifer" have a lot in common. Turns out J. Lo and Anthony have known each other and been friends for more than a decade. Furthermore, as the Sun-Times story notes:

[T]he superstar's sister, WCBS-TV entertainment reporter Lynda Lopez... has said, "Jennifer and Marc's similar background, Puerto Rican culture and heritage, professional interests and approach to life" will bode well for a long-term "Marc-ifer" marriage. Lopez grew up in a poor, working-class neighborhood in the Bronx, and Anthony was raised in a similar New York neighborhood in East Harlem. Both stars share similar musical and film interests.

Maybe these two crazy kids have a future together.

3) Compare J. Lo with some of her peers. Consider the recent statements of some other women who aspire to achieve celebrity status in more than one artistic realm.

The Associated Press reports the following about singer/actor/dancer Janet Jackson:

Long before she exposed her right breast to the world during the Super Bowl halftime show, Janet Jackson says she had thoughts about sex.

"As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that I had a very active sexual mind at a very young age. I hope that doesn't sound bad," Jackson tells Blender magazine for its June/July issue....

"My first crush was on Barry Manilow. He performed on television, and I remember taping it. When no one was around, I used to kiss the screen."....

Now, Jackson says she expresses more grown-up urges through one of her alter egos, named Strawberry: "She's the most sexual of them all, the wildest."

The other character living inside her is Damita Jo, which is her middle name and the title of her latest album. Damita Jo, she says, is "a lot harsher, and quick to put you in your place."


Meanwhile, here's the latest on fashion designer/model/actress Paris Hilton, according to MSNBC's Kat Giantis:

Is there anything more demanding than being rich and famous? Not according to Paris Hilton, who complains to Entertainment Tonight (via the New York Post) that she's, like, suffered for her art. "We're in the middle of nowhere, like 45 minutes away from, like, civilization and it's, like, all real," the eloquent heiress says of filming "House of Wax" in Australia.

"It's, like, really cold and last night we were shooting at this sugar mill and it really smelled bad. And I didn't wear shoes, like, I don't know."

Continues the beleaguered Paris, "We're in the middle of nowhere and there's bugs everywhere. Everything's real. I'm actually running through a forest with bare feet -- it hurts. I've done my own stunts, like falling. I hurt my knee -- it was bleeding. But it looks good, so it's worth it."

4) J. Lo's marriage has already lasted longer than Britney Spears'.

By celebrity standards, Miss Lopez seems to have her head screwed on reasonably straight. We here at danieldrezner.com wish the newlywed couple the best of luck!

UPDATE: Kat Giantis has further details on the wedding itself, plus the following:

Optimistic British bookies are giving 3-1 odds that Jenthony will split by the end of the year, reports Reuters. They are also offering 10-1 odds that the star will eventually wed more times than Elizabeth Taylor, who tied the knot eight times with seven husbands. But while Jen may seem fickle in her affections, she still has a long way to go before she joins Liz in Hollywood's elite club of serial committers.

In fact, her three aisle walks can't compare to the likes of Zsa Zsa Gabor (married nine times, including one union that lasted just a day); Mickey Rooney (married eight times, once to statuesque beauty Ava Gardner); Lana Turner, Larry King, and Martha Raye (all married seven times); Gloria Swanson and Hedy Lamarr (married six times); Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Scorsese (married five times and counting); and Lorenzo Lamas, Melanie Griffith, and Christie Brinkley (all married four times and counting, though in Melanie's defense, she did marry Don Johnson twice).

posted by Dan at 03:41 PM | Comments (19) | Trackbacks (5)

Thursday, April 22, 2004

A very important post about... who would sleep with me in the blogosphere

Daniel Drezner... he's intelligent and cute, and I'd sleep with him.

This according to Meryl Yourish.

Woo-hoo! Yes, I'm happily married -- but as a complete geek who could never get girls in high school, this kind of information always nice to know.

Oh, wait... Yourish was just satirizing this John Hawkins post of the top ten bloggers he would want to be stranded on a desert island with. Yourish was just kidding.

I feel so... cheap and used. Sniff.

Excuse me, I gotta go watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan again.

posted by Dan at 02:17 PM | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)

Monday, February 23, 2004

A very important post about... swimsuits

Slate's Josh Levin posts an amusing statistical summary of Sports Illustrated's 40th anniversary swimsuit issue:

36 shots of women in swimsuits; 15 of women wearing only part of their suits and positioned strategically next to inner tubes, barns, etc.; eight women baring all or part of their nipples via moisture, chainmail, etc.; six women wearing nothing but body paint; one woman being smelled by sheep; another woman being fondled by a baby alligator; another woman whose bikini top is being removed by a dead-looking but ostensibly playful raven; one Jimmy Buffett CD; 11 interviews with members of the "swimsuit hall of fame," including the revelation that Stacey Williams has helped invent rüking, a sport that combines running and hiking; and one cover model, Veronica Varekova, who says the person she'd most like to meet is Charlie Rose. (emphasis added)

In honor of Ms. Varekova's preference towards those of the geeky persuasion, it seems only fitting to reciprocate in kind by displaying danieldrezner.com's strong preference for supermodels who like geeks:


[Why not a picture of Rose as well?--ed. He clearly needs no additional advertising whatsoever. Besides Varekova was on his show this past Friday.]

UPDATE: D'oh!! Mickey Kaus beat me by a full day on this. Advantage: Kaus!!

posted by Dan at 02:35 PM | Comments (18) | Trackbacks (0)

Monday, January 5, 2004

A very important post about... Britney Spears


I'm sorry, I just haven't been able to focus today because of Britney Spears' marriage/annulment. What could explain this sort of tabloid celebrity behavior by such a... celebrity?

I think it was that Christina Aguilera. According to the Associated Press:

[Spears] relates a story about seeing Aguilera, her former friend and fellow Mouseketeer, for the first time in two years: "She comes up to me in a club in front of all these people and tries to put her tongue down my throat!

"I say, 'It's good to see you,' and she goes, 'Well, you're not being real with me.' I was like, 'Well, Christina, what's your definition of real? Going up to girls and kissing them after you haven't seen them for two years?'

That and a liplock from Madonna? You can witness the bad morals spreading from mouth to mouth!

More seriously, Entertainment Weekly (subscription required) had a great November cover story -- that's the cover above -- that chronicled the beginning of Mariah Carey-like behavior. One section:

[E]ver since her breakup last year with first love Justin Timberlake (who later cast a Britney look-alike in a none-too-flattering role for his ''Cry Me a River'' video), and that much-publicized but never-materialized yearlong hiatus she promised to take, there have been plenty of highly visible symptoms. Like her tear earlier this year through virtually half the nightclubs in New York (where she couldn't even light up a cigarette without tabloids making a huge fuss). Those rumors of a fling with the balding 32-year-old Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst were pretty shocking too. (Durst went on ''Howard Stern'' and gallantly described Spears' pubic region to millions of listeners.) Add to all that the legitimate anxiety over her musical staying power.

And throw in all the other stresses and strains of being the world's most scrutinized 21-year-old pop star -- the grueling video shoots, the countless interviews, the big-dollar endorsements, the endless grind of disrobing for magazine covers, not to mention the hurtful backlash from conservative Brit-haters like Kendel Ehrlich, the governor of Maryland's wife, who announced her desire to ''shoot'' Spears (while speaking at a domestic-violence conference, of all places) -- and it's easy to see why the poor girl got the flu.

''She probably needs to get laid,'' Spears says, rolling her eyes, when asked about that trigger-happy governor's wife. ''These parents, they think I'm a role model for their kids, that their kids look at me as some sort of idol. But it's the parents' job to make sure their kids don't turn out that shallow. It's the parents who should be teaching their kids how to behave. That's not my responsibility. I'm not responsible for your kid.''

Even more seriously, Andrew Sullivan notes:

[C]an you not see how something like Britney Spears' insta-marriage in Las Vegas might infuriate long-committed gay couples who, even now, don't have a shred of the rights Ms Spears enjoyed for a few days? It is one thing for people to declare their commitment to traditional marriage - i.e. procreative, life-long, heterosexual. It is another thing when that ideal has almost no relationship to civil marriage as it now exists for straights; and when it is nevertheless used to deny gay people access to the institution. Over the holidays, I found myself watching all those VH1 list shows, and happened across the top ten or twenty (I forget which) shortest Hollywood marriages in history. Ha ha ha. We live a world in which Britney Spears just engaged in something "sacred" (in the president's words), where instant and joke hetero marriages and divorces are a subject of titillation, and where a decades-long monogamous lesbian marriage is a threat to civilization as we know it. Please.

I wonder if Britney is still Karl Rove's dream voter.

UPDATE: Scrappleface has more. And since Instapundit says this is "the only Britney Spears wedding post you need to read," I'll also link to the Smoking Gun, which has Spears' annulment papers.

posted by Dan at 05:47 PM | Comments (62) | Trackbacks (9)

Saturday, November 1, 2003

A very important post about.... porn

For your weekend reading, I refer you to James Joyner, who takes Naomi Wolf to task for making the following assertion about pornography:

The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.” Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.

Garry Trudeau has been making a similar point this week in Doonesbury. To which Joyner responds:

Watching beautiful movie stars with silicon-enhanced breasts romping around naked is interesting. For a while. And then it becomes, while not exactly boring, at least mundane. Seeing a good looking but famous woman nude in a movie or on a computer screen is, for those of us past adolescence, interesting in the way that the Blog Chicks Pix is: it's a curiousity. And, frankly, "More, more, you big stud!" isn't exactly the height of stimulation.

Real women, unlike those on a screen, are, to use a techological term, interactive. They have personalities. Plus, they're, well, corporeal. They're warm. They smell good. They taste good. They laugh at your jokes. And that's not to mention emotional attachment, the ability to share our lives, have babies, and all those other reasons why heterosexual men are drawn to women. Until fantasy gains those qualities, real women have no competition.

Joyner's absolutely right. I mean, after looking at Salma Hayek pics online, it starts to get boring, tedious, mundane.... which is why I'll switch to looking at Alex Kingston pics. And then Ashley Ju-- [we get the idea--ed.].

My point is not to suggest that Joyner's completely off-base -- despite what was just said, I have the same preferences regarding the sensory advantages of real women. However, my sneaking suspicion that some men prefer two-dimensional fantasy to three-dimensional reality. David Amsden makes a similar point in his recent New York Magazine cover story. An example that eerily echoes Wolf:

Over beers recently, a 26-year-old businessman friend shocked me by casually remarking, “Dude, all of my friends are so obsessed with Internet porn that they can’t sleep with their girlfriends unless they act like porn stars.” A 20-year-old college student who bartends at a popular Soho lounge describes how an I-porn-filled adolescence shaped his perceptions of sex. “Looking at Internet porn was pretty much my sex education,” he says. “I mean, in school, it was just, ‘Here’s a gigantic wooden dildo, and now we’re putting a condom on it,’ whereas on the Internet, you had it all. I remember the first time I had sex, my first thought as it was happening was, Oh, this is pornography. It was a kind of out-of-body experience. I was really uncomfortable with sex for a while.” (emphasis on original)

This is not a reason to adopt Andrea Dworkin-style attitudes towards porn, or even Katie Couric-style attitudes for that matter. However, perhaps Hugh Hefner was a bit off-target as well.

Speaking of Hef, in Slate, Laura Kipnis has an interesting cultural appraisal of Playboy on its 50th anniversary and why no one's reading it for the articles anymore. Go check it out.

UPDATE: Sara Butler has some thoughts on the subject at Crescat Sententia here and here. She also wrote a Chicago Maroon story that provides way too much information about campus social practices:

Whether you participated in one yourself, or merely gossiped about it after the fact, welcome to this sexually-liberated campus. No-strings-attached physical encounters have replaced dating, and women in particular have been encouraged to take charge of their own sexuality, which usually means behaving like our worst stereotypes of the promiscuous male.

This is at the University of Chicago??!! Sara also highlights the fact that Protection From Pornography Week just ended.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Michelle argues below that bloggers are equally to blame for the dysfunctional dating scene. Heh. [Of course, she posted that comment at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night!--ed. Yes, and you read it at 11:15 on the same Saturday night. D'oh!!--ed.].

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis has tons of links on the relationship between sex and blogs. Alan K. Henderson points out that those who love porn and those who despise it haved more in common than you would think. Via Lauren's Blog, I found this Cleveland Plain Dealer story about how women are also into Internet porn. This graf must be quoted in full:

The editors of Today's Christian Woman, an evangelical magazine, had heard anecdotes of churchgoing women getting hooked on pornography, so they conducted a survey asking readers of their online newsletter if they had intentionally visited porn sites. Thirty-four percent said they had.

[Three updates in less than twelve hours? You're a machine!--ed. Well, I must confess that I am endowed with what I am told is an extremely large.... appetite for information.]

posted by Dan at 12:05 PM | Comments (16) | Trackbacks (2)