when the status quo frustrates.

The Zinczenko Translation Handbook, Part II

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Yesterday we continued our weeklong worship of the powerful insights into the psyche of emotionally crippled men offered by Men’s Health dimbulb David Zinczenko. Among other things, Zinczenko celebrated the charming tendency of guys like him to hide behind movie quotes as a way to express their “feelings” without entering the danger-zone of originality vulnerability.

Still an asshat.

But beware. The obvious interpretations of these quotations may not reflect the speaker’s actual intent. The followers of Zinczenkoism are shivering at the shallow end of the emotional pool, and only from that perspective can we ascertain the subtler meanings of their mimicry.

There’s no quote list less cool than the AFI’s Top 100 Movie Quotes of All-Time, and any true feelings plaguerist will likely borrow from it liberally. Today we cover the remaining 49 quotes in…

The Zinczenko Translation Handbook, Part II

Obvious and subtle interpretations of the lines abused by feeling-impaired male quote addicts


The Zinczenko Translation Handbook

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Yesterday we discovered the enlightened teachings of David Zinczenko, the editor-in-chief of Men’s Health who defends moronic male behaviors via his lameass blog.

You can tell I’m sensitive because of the lighting.

In one of his least coherent arguments (and that’s saying something), Zinczenko claims it’s normal for a guy to talk in movie quotes as a way to open up

…without having to actually break his steely exterior. Hoo-ah!.


But what do Zinczenko and his creepy ilk really mean when they parrot a line from a movie? While there are obvious meanings for most quoted lines, the cliche-dependent and their “steely exteriors” often express subtler messages with their utterances. It would be wise for those of us who can formulate sentences without first having to hear them in surround sound to be sure we understand the nuances of their language.

Below are the bottom 50 quotes from the AFI Top 100 Movie Quotes of All-Time. Anyone compelled to hide their feelings behind movie quotes likely will plaguerize the bejeezus out of this tired list, so it seems like a fine place to begin…

The Zinczenko Translation Handbook

Obvious and subtle interpretations of the lines abused by feeling-impaired male quote addicts


I, Man-Robot

Monday, January 29th, 2007


Man-Robot #5451136832 reporting for duty — ready to think, do, and say everything expected from a typical male. Recently, I installed the newest upgrade to my Men’s Health operating system, maximizing my compatibility with the rock-bottom expectations of blabby, crabby Woman-Robots.

My programmer, Men’s Health editor-in-chief David Zinczenko, is the Bill Gates of man software. Thanks to him, 97.9% of all Man-Robots function predictably and identically. And just like Gates’ Windows, we’re also a giant pain in your ass. But what can you do? Zinczenko’s software is pretty much the industry standard, and trying to run something else simply makes you weird or gay (same as Mac users).

It’s fun being a Zinczenko droid. For example, we have a rich database of the all-time most irritating movie quotes that we reproduce when properly stimulated:

You talking to me? He’s not sure you can handle the truth, so it seems like what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. Frankly, my dear, he doesn’t give a damn that you don’t like that he quotes movies. Why? Because using movie lines means he can convey any emotion at any time without ever having to do it himself. They allow him to be confrontational (“Houston, we have a problem”), angry (“go ahead, make my day”), romantic (“you had me at the … red lingerie”), and anything in between without having to actually break his steely exterior. Hoo-ah!

Thinking takes up a lot of energy. It’s far more efficient for Man-Robots to regurgitate corny sentiments expressed in disposable studio fare than generate original content. Best of all, movie quotes are a commonly understood API on both the Man and Woman platforms, ensuring our output can be processed correctly.

But it isn’t all upgrades and optimization-fests between the Robots. Zinczenko has also programmed Man-Robots to be wary of Woman-Robots’ more powerful memory chips, especially when it comes to the data we output on Woman-Robots with whom we used to interface:

We’re also quite aware of how much better your memory is than ours, and we’re afraid that you’ll remember every little factoid we divulge and one day, long after we’ve forgotten it, find a way to use it against us. (“Oh, of course you know how to get whipped cream out of upholstery, because that trashy ho sprayed Reddi-Wip all over your apartment back in ’98 … and there’s still some of it in your refrigerator!”).

While Man-Robots might be light on memory and communication APIs, at least we’re designed for hard work above all:

The question comes up over and over again in relationships. She says to him: If you gave me the same amount of attention as you give your boss, we’d be topside on the Love Boat rather than ballast in the Titanic.

Kinda true, right?

Zinczenko’s OS operates on the simple premise that those quirky Woman-Robots can’t work for shit, and that they’re jealous of our sizable processing power. Clearly, their primary function is to remain at the factory and oversee the assembly of other Robots. And also to annoy the cooling fans off us Man-Robots.

The world can never have too many cheesy, brutish, simple machines overheating and generating blue screens of death out there. Thanks to the vision of David Zinczenko, we may never run out.

*Bleep. Blort.*

Can I take my tube tops and body glitter to hell with me?

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

So I was hanging out at the Rebelution, waiting for the results of the Modesty Survey and hitting “refresh” every minute or so when something on the sidebar caught my eye. No, it wasn’t the hottie hot hotness of those beguiling young Harris boys*, but something more urgent – an animated gif that was concerned about the state of my soul!


Was I? I didn’t know, but I had to find out! So I took the quiz. It judges you against the fool-proof ’10 Commandments Metric’ but right from the begining I suspected the deck was stacked against me:

The left’s wishful thinking on McCain

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

The subtitle of Sidney Blumenthal’s essay in the Guardian today got me quite excited. Printed under The Myth of McCain was this titillating phrase: “Once the presumptive next US president, the Republican frontrunner’s popularity has nose dived.”

Now this sounded like a good read. Surely there would be some evidence demonstrating the sour turn of fate for Johnny “Reb” McCain and his rootin’-tootin’ warmongering.

Unfortunately, Blumenthal just reaffirmed that McCain spews non-stop hate in private (and sometimes public), and has now tied himself inexorably to our Flummoxed-In-Chief:

He is now chained to Bush. As Bush’s war has escalated, McCain’s popularity has nose dived. Still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, he might have made himself more acceptable to the base, but his political strategy has shattered his myth. Bearing the burden of Bush, he may have become unelectable.

Boy howdy, if there were some truth to that, I’d french-kiss my athletic socks. No Republican presents the electable threat McCain does. If his political capital’s turned to confetti, this country stands a much better chance of actually turning the corner.

But Blumenthal doesn’t back that statement up with any new info.

In this space, we’ve already covered McCain’s atrocious voting record and vampiric desire for more bloodshed in Iraq. But we’ve also discussed the alarming notion that even self-identified liberals don’t seem to notice this and continue to back him. Yeeargh.

Democrats can’t just sit around hoping the American public realizes McCain’s nothing more than another Bush in waiting. We have to begin a concerted effort to reveal his true nature.

John Edwards calls Bush’s idiotic troop surge “The McCain Doctrine,” and that’s the kind of grenade we have to lob in his lap. The more associations with Bush and his failed choices, the better. We can’t just self-congratulate ourselves in British papers for McCain’s failings and hope everyone else connects the dots.

Finally, Bush stands up for minorities

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

In America, it’s hard to be a minority. Sometimes, your Mercedes gets a door ding in the Tiffany’s parking lot. You just know the hired help’s rummages through your things, even if you can’t prove it. And, worst of all, you have to sit in the back of the Armed Services Committee.

Just ask these poor chaps:

President Bush tried to rally House Republicans on Friday as the lawmakers hunkered down on the Eastern Shore and struggled to come to grips with their new minority status and the challenge of the continuing war in Iraq.

I can see why the semi-dead-to-me NYT had to qualify Bush’s rallying effort with a “tried to” — these forgotten outcasts have been treated so horribly due to their status as second-class citizens, their souls may be too trampled upon to recover. But god bless our president’s outreach efforts. Surely the hookers and lines of blow he provided comforted these folk in their time of need.

Gathered to plot how to make their stay in the minority as brief as possible, 160 House Republicans were exhorted by Mr. Bush to work with him on education, health care, immigration and retirement issues and to give his troop buildup in Iraq a chance to work.

Viva la revolucion! Not to continue nitpicking on the Times’ word choice, but if a party was just going to go about the normal political process to regain power, describing its efforts as “plot[ting] to make their stay in the minority as brief as possible” seems a little dramatic, no? Maybe the Republicans really are planning to mobilize the wealthiest 2%, perhaps via a million-SUV gas guzzle or a Young Republican boycott of trust fund taxation.

I also look forward to how the party of voter fraud, xenophobia, and the slaughter of hundreds of thouands of innocents in Iraq expects to recapture the American imagination on social issues. Perhaps they can call for an end to all the free K-12 that’s been hampering the private school industry, offer everyone who can’t afford health care a job administering it to the rich who can, build border protection that makes the Great Wall of China look like a pile of balsa wood, and smack old people in the face for daring to request government aid just so they can continue watching game shows on Uncle Sam’s dollar.

“I fully understand there are differences of opinion, but one of the things I have discovered is in Washington, D.C., most people understand the consequences of failure,” Mr. Bush said. “And if failure is not an option, then it’s up to the president to come up with a plan that is more likely to succeed.”

Ah yes, if there’s one thing Bush the Deuce will be known for, it’ll be plans for success. In Iraq. And Afghanistan. And here at home, with balancing the budget and coping with gobal warming. Count on him, fellas.

“And he said: ‘Know this,’ ” [Representative] Putnam said. “ ‘There is a commander in chief and I ran for this office and that is the expectation of this office and the responsibility of this office.’ ”

It doesn’t get much clearer and more inspiring than that.

Republican candidates see Dubya shooting himself in the foot, ask for bigger gun and more bullets

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

You’d think their party’s horrible mismanagement of an unwinnable war built on deceit would make it difficult for aspiring Republicans to step into the presidential arena with tough talk and promises of delivering a super-sized helping of liberty to all the flag-waving disadvantaged youth of the world.

If anything would dissuade a rational person from the folly of nation-building through force, it would be our debacle in Iraq. While Johnny “Reb” McCain’s got too much of his rep tied up in the perpetual war in Iraq to back down, other Republicans have more flexibility. Dark horse conservatives coveting the Oval Office could distance themselves from this unpopular mistake and return to the rhetoric that got George Bush elected in 2000, when he said the following in a debate with Gore in 2000:

I don’t think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we’ve got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president [Gore] and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.

[I'll wait a moment for you to finish dry-heaving.


Because, y'know, if Iraq is a careful use of our troops, what on Earth would George Bush would consider ill-advised and hasty? Is he patting himself on the back for resisting the urge to send a half-dozen Merchant Marines into Beijing to impose democracy with an iron fist?]

Bush lost the 2000 popular vote (and really, the electoral vote if you take away the fraud and intimidation tactics), but the man was supposed to lose in a landslide. Disingenuous as it was, the rhetoric above helped boost his appeal.

Just 6.5 short years ago, it would’ve been extremely unpopular to advocate nation-building… which sounds an awful lot like the way it is now.

But when you’re drunk with power, I guess it can be a little hard to see the lines on the freeway of common sense:

Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California formally launched a longshot White House bid on Thursday with a pledge to strengthen the military and protect American workers from unfair trade practices.

Hunter, a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Congress and former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, endorsed President George W. Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq and said “it has a good chance to work.”

“In Iraq, our success hangs in the balance, but the proposition that expanding freedom is an American interest cannot be argued,” Hunter said in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he launched his campaign. Speech excerpts were made available in Washington.

Hunter’s a nobody on the national landscape, and parroting the doomed words of his party’s favorite won’t distinguish him from the Republican pack. We might be designing lasers that make people feel like they’re being burned alive in hopes of reducing the people we have to shoot, but very few normal people consider our occupational tactics expansive of anything but expensive violence. A Republican who figured this out and strongly advocated a return to fiscal and moral responsibility might actually make a few waves. Fortunately, almost none of the conservative hopefuls have realized that abandoning this war as a cause is probably their only hope.

Few Democrats have yet to wise up to the enormous popularity of liberal ideas. Several of them continue to talk tough about possible future military/anti-terror efforts despite our national discontent over war. But at least they aren’t talking of “expanding freedom” these days. It’s not much to hang our hats on, but it may be our saving grace in 2008.

In the global warming arena, it’s Corporate America and reality vs. Chris Muir

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

If you ever need to make one single convincing argument against intelligent design, just point to Chris Muir. This willfully ignorant shitbag spews aggravating, blatant falsehoods as obvious facts, and not just on any old topic. Muir chooses to further lies that threaten the fate of the planet, presumably because they happen to come from the other political camp. “Petty” doesn’t even begin to describe his brand of self-destruction. That humans could evolve over millions of years and STILL produce a product as broken as Chris Muir pretty much disproves intelligent design on its face.

Global warming is very real, and very dangerous. Every credible scientific study ever performed backs this up.

It’s gotten so serious that major corporations want government action on the issue:

Chief executives of 10 major corporations urged Congress on Monday to require limits on greenhouse gases this year, contending voluntary efforts to combat climate change are inadequate.

These companies banded together to form the United States Climate Action Partnership, and their membership includes GE, BP America, DuPont, Alcoa, Duke Energy, and more. They are some of the biggest, least friendly companies in the world, and even they are demanding the feds make them reduce emissions.

Think about that for a moment.

Most warmnut arguments against government intervention rest on the assumption that it would harm the economy. But not even corporate America believes that anymore:

At a news conference, the executives said that mandatory reductions of heat-trapping emissions can be imposed without economic harm and would lead to economic opportunities if done across the economy and with provisions to mitigate costs.

Many of the companies already have voluntarily moved to curb greenhouse emissions, they said. But the executives also said they do not believe voluntary efforts will suffice.

“It must be mandatory, so there is no doubt about our actions,” said Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy. “The science of global warming is clear. We know enough to act now. We must act now.”

We agree to participate in a governed society because we all believe that external enforcement of an agreed-upon set of common restrictions — no murder, no stealing, no rape, etc. — improves our overall quality of life, and, arguably, our freedom. All these companies (and you, and me, and any other sane person) want is to extend this logic to some basic environmental protection.

Left to our own devices, we’re almost always going to make the short-sighted, selfish choice. That’s why we make laws, to force us to do the right thing even when we might not want to in any given moment. Right now, companies have no incentive to reduce emissions significantly on their own. But they recognize that if you make everyone do it, then no one gets ahead by cheating the environment.

So that’s it. That’s the end of even the most remote bullshit crackpot theory from the Right on the matter. The leaders of their precious free market want to save the planet. I think it’s about time they get in line.

Rosemary’s Baby: A Fountain of Feminism

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Roman Polanski is repugnant, especially by the standards of feminism. As a rapist dodging responsibility for his crime, the man’s done real harm with his personal actions.

But can an ugly soul make a beautiful film? While this has been the subject of much debate elsewhere, I firmly believe you can separate the art from the artist; the art can even stand for everything the artist doesn’t. Perhaps that’s how Polanski the monster came to produce a feminist masterpiece in the form of his patiently creepy 1968 thriller, Rosemary’s Baby.

The film has many advocates, but seldom do I hear anyone defend it on its sturdiest moral ground, namely its powerful examination of a woman’s struggle against a subtle, ruthless, unrelenting patriarchy. Rosemary’s Baby has much more to say about men, women, and modern relationship structures than religion or anything else.


Raw emotion

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Snaked this pic from ESPN.com, just because I kept staring at it in awe. I love it. Unranked Serena’s in the Aussie quarters

…and, apparently, quite serious about winning.

Someday I hope to be that intensely focused on anything.

Blog for Choice Day, Fit the Second: Anthony Comstock, patron saint of panty-sniffing moral scolds

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

I (heart) me some birth control pill. I really do. I have to admit, I kind of fell for the scare stories about it and avoided it for a long time. I always had an excuse: I don’t see my boyfriend often enough to bother taking a pill every day, I don’t want to gain weight, I can’t afford the exam I need before they’ll write the prescription, blah blah blah.

Then I started dating my current boyfriend and heterosexual lifemate. I don’t want to brag here, but our condom expenditure was out of control. So I bit the bullet, looked up some information on the internets, went to planned parenthood, and started taking the pill.

And lo, there was light, and a heavenly chorus of angels sang the many glories of the birth control pill. None the least of which was that it made my periods bearable. What had previously been a week long hell that rendered me incapacitated for two days a month and the left me merely sickly and wallowing in what seemed like gallons of blood for another three days became a mildly uncomfortable day followed by a singularly non-alarming loss of blood.

The benefits were endless. Uninhibited sex no longer in danger of being curtailed when the Trojan box was emptied. Less pain and blood in my life. Even the enviornment is a big winner: I’ve cut my monthly maxi-pad use nearly in half, plus I used to ease the pain by taking baths so hot my skin turned grey. Now that I don’t have to do that, my hot water consumption is way down.

My life is so much better in every way since I started taking this thing, and yet, there are those who would take it from me. And from you. Pills, rings, condoms, they want it all gone.

Because they’re crazy.

Check out the fine folks at No Room for Contraception (Always Room for Love).

Blog for Choice Day, Fit the First: I think, I feel, therefore I am pro-choice

Monday, January 22nd, 2007


I’m pro-choice because I have more empathy for the living than I do for zygotes, and access to safe and legal abortion, contraception, and sex education makes life better for everyone: women, children and men alike.

Plus, I wanna be a scientist when I grow up, and while there is no “family planning for scientists” course at any university, it is a topic that is nearly constantly under discussion amongst the womenfolk in the labs. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that it would be nearly impossible for a woman to succeed in science without the ability to control her fertility.

True story: a post doc at my university actually asked her boss if it was OK to get pregnant. He was a little suprised by the application (“ummm, sure?”) since he rightfully considered it her own damn business if she wanted to have children. It’s a little extreme, but the anecdote reflects the amount of tension that women in science feel when they are in the few points of their career that will be both a) a good, prudent time to have children and b) occur before they hit menopause and it becomes a moot point.

But hey, not a majority of women want demanding careers like research scientist (hell, not even a majority of men want to work that hard – that’s why we’re always so short on scientists and engineers in this country). What about the average Joe? The people out there who want a nice quiet life, a decent job, and a couple of kids. A house in the ‘burbs and a nice moderate church or synagouge on the weekend.

Well, as long as you’re not some kind of crazy fundamentalist, a pro-choice agenda is just the thing for you! Even if you hate the idea of abortions and would never have one yourself! Here’s why!