Saturday, January 20, 2007

No Accounting for Tastes

When the Deathmobile is heading toward the parade grandstand at the end of Animal House, Dean Vernon Wormer stares blankly into the screen, and to no one in particular, quietly proclaims, "I hate those guys."
That's the same way I feel about the people running American Idol.

In the end, they're going to win, because money goes to people who appeal to the masses. But I don't have to like it (and I don't) and neither do I have to approve of their methods for attracting audience or running what they refer to as "entertainment". Here's what the people running the show had to say about the ramifications of what I posted on Friday:

PASADENA, Calif. - The Fox television network chief on Saturday dismissed talk of unusual cruelty by the judges on "American Idol" this year, saying he's heard from people who think the show has been toned down. "I think it's part of what makes "American Idol" "American Idol,'" Peter Liguori, Fox entertainment president, told television writers.

Toned down? How is it possible that something that is so popular has been toned down? And who has he heard from? Fox executives, I'm guessing. Meanwhile, here is the simple truth:
The show is more popular than ever, which attracts more people than ever to those initial talent searches. The producers, realizing that people love listening to the judges being judgmental, parade the delusional in front of them, hoping that they will make spectacles of themselves. People seldom disappoint when the standards are low. In other words, if they didn't think that the weirdos would appeal to the masses, they wouldn't put them on TV.
The show is a ratings giant and a franchise that is bigger than even the dopes in charge realized it could be. Hundreds of thousands of people are whittled down to a select few in an alleged nationwide talent search. The only thing "nationwide" about the search is the search for freaks and weirdos for the judges to ridicule. Otherwise, the outcome has likely aready been decided. It is only up to you (not me) the viewer, to tune in, cast your meaningless vote and play along with the Fox executives who are raking in the money while you debate your meaningless opinions about which of the pre-determined singers will be the winner. Trouble is, the winner has already been determined, and your only job is to wait until the end of the show so that the Fox executives can maximize their profit at your expense. Enjoy the show.

Has it been toned down? No, not if you consider the machine that American Idol has become. Average singers are thrust upon the public in what they are led to believe is a blind search for the next superstar.
The truth is, we don't need another superstar, and the search isn't blind. The only superstars are the judges, and the viewers are the only ones who are blind.

Cooped Up

Outside, the wind sounds like Superman taking off in the old TV show. Whistling and howling. 25 miles per hour, with gusts to 40. At least I'm not in Texas.

I spent some time on the Internet, over at Ticketbastard, and picked up a ticket to see Blue Man Group, coming to the Taj Mahal (no, not that one) in Atlantic City in March. More fun awaits.

Then, speaking of fun, I switched on the TV, and there's C-Span, my favorite reality show channel. There was a live feed from Wichita, Kansas and former Miss America 2001 Angela Perez Baraquio of Hawaii was introducing Sam Brownback, as he formally declared his run for the 2008 presidency. I'm not sure what Miss Hawaii has to do with a Senator from Kansas. Maybe Tara Dawn Holland is either a Democrat or too smart to get involved, but I'm not sure why he's running to begin with, so I'm at a loss. I decided to watch Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. If I'm gonna feel dirty watching something on TV, it may as well be real dirt.

I was further thrown when I heard Brownback say that "my policies are at the heart of the Republican party." Geez, I don't even think the Republicans like hearing that.
As if Republicans had a heart to begin with. Sorry ... I should have left that for the Old Broad or Pam to say, but I couldn't resist.

I gotta get out of the house.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Just Some Junk

Overheard at the Wawa earlier this evening, while waiting for my sandwich:
A kid was ordering a sandwich for her too-hip-to-order-it-himself boyfriend (complete with knit skull cap and pants around his hips), when she stopped in mid-order to ask him if regular pickles were OK, because they didn't have "summer pickles". Why did she think they would have summer pickles in January? I can't imagine being so picky about pickles that it would matter, but the kid seemed to be pondering the question, when the sandwich artist behind the counter told her that "the pickles are all the same". Whew! A narrow escape.
I'm getting a lot of Google searches from my Michelle Manhart post the other day, along with the usual Britney Spears up-skirt no-panties and our old pal Cecily Tynan. I also got a page hit from a search for "2006 salary and compensation for Zoe Cruz". Looks like somebody hired a new tax accountant.
There was a story on the front page of our Inquirer sports section today about the NFL playoffs, and how it was possible that, if Indianapolis and Chicago won on Sunday, that two black head coaches could wind up in the Super Bowl. I suppose it's news (of some sort) but I really wonder why it is such a big deal. I sent an e-mail to the sports editor:
A feature article on the front page of the sports section about two black head coaches who are a step away from making it to the Super Bowl. Historic? Yes, but I think the real historic threshold will be crossed when something like that happens and we don't notice. When we stop writing about it and talking about it, we will have achieved true equality.

At that time, the proper treatment will be given to the accomplishment itself rather than the race or color of the participants. Isn't that what racial equality is supposed to be about?
I suppose they won't print my letter, but I really think it's about time we stopped making such a big fuss over racial issues. I think they only serve to divide us, and for most people (me included) who really didn't give it a thought, bringing up the issue doesn't contribute to anything positive. I thought it was odd that the newspaper would run such an article (written by an Associated Press writer) until I saw an article on Yahoo's front page tonight, which is the same article that ran in our newspaper today.
You can watch this ridiculous television show if you want (40 million people do), but as for me, I stand vindicated of the nonsense they perpetrate. It looks like it's getting cruel, and this is an example of just how cruel and silly. This is supposed to be entertainment? It is said that nobody ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Case in point: American Idol.
You can read this too, if you'd like.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another Inconvenient Truth

Woodlyn, Pennslyvania - A Delaware County family narrowly avoided injury after a chunk of ice came crashing through their home Wednesday evening. The incident happened shortly after 8:00 p.m. in the 1300 block of Donna Drive in Woodlyn, PA.

Ed and Penny Myers said they were getting their 4-year-old daughter ready for bed when the icy object tore a 3-foot hole through the roof. "There was this explosion in the room. At first I thought it was the TV shattering and glass, then I looked up and saw the hole in the ceiling and I was afraid the whole ceiling was going to collapse," said Penny.

Wow, this global warming business is really getting out of hand. As if it wasn't bad enough that the Arctic Circle was melting, now we have to keep your eyes on the skies, too. Holy shit, Hannah. Chunks of iceberg are flying around. Watch the kids.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Greatest of All Time

He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., on this date in 1942. Few of you reading this know him as anything other than Muhammad Ali. He put Lewiston, Maine on the map when he beat Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight championship in 1964. No doubt you've seen this picture...

Sonny refused to call him by his Muslim name, and Ali taunted him throughout the fight. "What's my name?" he shouted over and over, as he took the title from Liston on May 25, 1965.

There is no doubt that boxing is a brutal sport, and I have soured on it since Ali retired. He brought a poetry to it, an artistry that the boxers today do not. It was a tough act to follow. Only it wasn't an act. He was a real person with real convictions. So much so, that he was willing to give up his sport for three years when the government stopped him from fighting as a punishment for his refusal to serve in the military during the Vietnam war.

In 1964, Ali failed the Armed Forces qualifying test because his writing and spelling skills were subpar. However, in early 1966, the tests were revised and Ali was reclassified 1A. He refused to serve in the United States Army as a conscientious objector, because "War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don't take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers." Ali also famously said, "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong" and "no Vietcong ever called me nigger."

Gee, where would the world be if we all thought like that? You couldn't get a good war started with that kind of attitude.

Happy Birthday, Muhammad. You are the greatest. Of all time.

My E-Mail Box

I love the e-mail. I rush to answer them when the little toolbar says "1 unread". Today, this came, and I couldn't be more excited [really]...
TrannyZone!!! You can't find a better site on the net with content like this! Some the hottest Trannys around the world in one site.
That's right, 3 exclamation points! I'm saving that e-mail address. You never know when my car's transmission will go. Usually, they go without warning, so it will be nice to know where I can get a good one, fast. ...What?

Then, I got another handy reminder from my buddies at Amazon. You remember the last one, and how much I appreciated that. This one I opened with a bit more trepidation [really]...
It was an announcement of a new CD by violinist Victoria Mullova. That's right. Only this time, I was interested. Go figure. Now, the boys at Amazon's marketing department are really confused. I rushed to order it [really], so now, I guess I'll be getting Yo Yo Ma offers and probably some subscription offers to gay magazines. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm a complex individual. Really.

My next e-mail came from somebody named Ashlee.
Are you good in bed? Then you should brag about it to single women here.
Why can't I brag about it to single women here? God, these e-mail's take all the fun out of Blogging. Don't click on that link unless you intend to brag to single women about how good you are in bed.


In an effort to kill time while waiting for American Idol to go off the air, I'm thumbing through photos of last night's Golden Globes Awards. Yet another awards show, and another chance for Hollywood to pat itself on the back. What struck me was the idea that there are a fair amount of people who can earn a substantial living solely based on their looks. They don't have to do much other than just show up, and they're cashing checks. Especially this one, who, as far as I'm concerned, isn't really that hot. But I wonder, was the hotel in Paris named after her, or is she named after the hotel in Paris?

I'll bet Brad Pitt doesn't have to click here to tell women how good he is in bed. If he did, he wouldn't be hanging with that girl with the horrible tattoo on her arm, whoever she is. Or, maybe he's really bad at it, and he's so handsome and famous that it doesn't matter? Looks are important, and we'd be lying to each other to say otherwise.

In the wake of Martin Luther King day, I'd like to think we have made great strides in the area of appearance and social behavior, but the truth is, we treat people differently based on how they look. Try as we might, and legislation notwithstanding, the way people look goes a long way toward how they are treated by society.
Attractive women can talk themselves out of traffic violations with policemen. Doctors, lawyers and other professional people are judged (at least at first) by their gender and race. Generally, they have to prove themselves to us before we realize that they are capable (or not) regardless of their race, gender or sexual persuasion.

The Civil Rights Movement did a lot to move the government toward legislating equality for people of every race, and the Women's Rights Movement during the last century did similar things for the rights of women, but has it really changed the way people think? it says here that it has not.
People will think as they please, but because there is a law, their thoughts are now legislated. While the legislation is good, it does nothing to regulate the actual thoughts. If people were free to do as they think, we might still be treating people differently because they are a different color than the people making the rules around here.

My point is proved by every jackass at work who makes a racial joke, and you want to hit him with a chair, but you can't, because you have to work with this asshole, and the government says you're right and he's wrong, regardless of what he says. So, you live with it, and hope that the law works.

Try your best to see the person, while you work at looking beyond their color or whatever you believe is the most obvious outward part of their personality. It's difficult, but in the end, it will be worth your effort. That guy who is really good in bed might be a middle-aged, balding guy who can write well, but maybe not express himself well in certain social situations. While the more obvious choice, the hunky hair-mess, might be living off his looks, and not have to try as hard because women are so drawn to his outsides, that his insides might be corroding, like Dorian Gray.

Didn't see that coming, after the tranny stuff, eh? I told you I was a complex individual.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Here We Go Again

It's the third Tuesday in January. The Sixteenth day of the year. Nothing special, right? Au Contraire. It's a big day in history. For instance:
in 1547, Ivan the Terrible became the Tsar of Russia. No relation to George the Jackass, Tsar of America.
In 1909, Ernest Shackleton found the magnetic South Pole. Like we wouldn't have found it anyway. The guy had a heavy coat and a big magnet. Finding things was a lot easier when we didn't know where anything was.
In 1581, the English Parliament outlawed Roman Catholicism. Another great idea whose time has come.
In 1919, the 18th Amendment of the Constitution was ratified, authorizing Prohibition. A dark day in our history. What a colossal waste of time. Have a drink to celebrate.
It's the birthday of Sade (pronounced Shar-day), Kate Moss (pronounced Kate Moss), A.J. Foyt and Susan Sontag. Got the day off work?
Those aren't even the biggest things about Tuesday. If you have watched Fox (not the News, the regular Fox, where football and Homer Simpson live) you would know that Tuesday is the beginning of yet another scourge on America, equal only to Prohibition and Ivan the Terrible in its scope.
Today, the 190th episode, and the beginning of the 6th season of ... wait for it... 3 - 2 - 1 ... American Idol (formerly known as American Idol: The Search for a Superstar), which is seemingly easier than the search for the South Pole. Oh, my fucking God. Tuesday begins the quest for another great star, in a country that is apparently starved for them. After all, where would entertainment be if it weren't for Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Carrie Underwood? We'd be forced to listen to any number of other people who can also sing, but lacked the talent to win a contest on TV.
It's quite the franchise, I have to admit. Millions of Americans, starved for any sort of entertainment (including bad singing) will tune in to see people ridiculed in front of a National audience. That's Entertainment!
What else is on? In a brilliant counter-programming move, ABC is presenting America's Funniest Home Videos; which features idiots caught dismembering themselves on camera, pants falling down while dancing at weddings and all sorts of nutty pets doing nutty things. NBC is showing Dateline NBC and a repeat of Law and Order. Brilliant! Why not just show a blank screen? Over at CBS, they are showing The Unit and NCIS, which stands for Nobody Cares, It's Stupid. In network TV parlance, this is called, "Saying 'Uncle'". Just like those programs that are on opposite the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards. Network TV Time-Fillers.
Other than Bravo's marathon of Real Housewives of Orange County, the best choice may be over on MSNBC, where Countdown with Keith Olbermann will give you an idea of what millions of American women find irresistible. Or, maybe just one.
So, brace yourselves, America. We're in for another 13 weeks of non-stop nonsense, which begins with infuriatingly bad singers being insulted by a guy who was a complete unknown before he found a career insulting bad singers on TV. Then, we're off to the races, where the next big superstar will swing, gyrate and sing, sing, sing! Oh my God, the singing! Nobody can sing like those Idol contestants!
Thank God and Fox (two different things) for bringing us one more hip, talented celebrity to clog up CD racks, do stupid car commercials and create jobs for people who would otherwise be working in record stores or driving limousines. I can't wait.
Oooooh! AMC is showing Back to the Future ... Part 3! Pass the popcorn.
A special 'thank you' to Daniel Rubin at blinq for giving me a link.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Insanity in Chief

After seeing tonight's 60 Minutes program, which led with the interview of President Bush, I now realize that Einstein's definition of insanity is indeed valid:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Good one, Al. Our president was on the program tonight, and was steadfast in his belief and determined that his course is the right one, regardless of what 68% of Americans think, most of Congress or even the people directly involved.
Neither is he concerned that he is unpopular, unloved or disagreeable. When people are not concerned about how others perceive them, it is a sign of something more deeply wrong in their personal behavior. There are TV shows devoted to such behavior. That one on the Style Channel, where family members go into someone's closet and remove all the disgusting clothing that this person has been wearing for years, seemingly oblivious to the stares and ridicule of others. Generally, the person whose closet is being raided seems incredulous that anyone would think that their tastes in clothes were odd or offensive. My general opinion is that they may be missing their true calling of a career in politics.
The President is also not concerned that his legacy will be tarnished by his actions or that the historical viewpoint of his presidency will be tarnished by his dishonesty with the American public, the issues surrounding the purpose of our time in Iraq or the idea that we are there at all.
During the program, he was shown going into a meeting with surviving family members of soldiers who were killed over there. When he came out, he was said to be "a different person", but I know otherwise. He may be different because he was a bit surprised, but if he was truly a different person, his ideas and opinions would have changed. They have not, and he is not.
He called himself a Commander in Chief, and told us that sometimes a Commander has to educate people as to the purpose and philosophy of war. What is there about war that we may not have learned over the last 231 years that you could teach us? Your best lessons to the American public would likely be those on how to be steadfast in your beliefs, even after public opinion has raided your closet and found your clothes to be offensive. What you can teach us about war and its effects on people would fall woefully short and not worthy of the time I would spend listening to you.
Through all of the 20 or so minutes of the interview, I was forced to look at your smug face, and as I gazed into your eyes, I could see the look of doubt, fear and distrust that we have come to accept as your legacy over these last 6 years. You are neither a good enough actor nor a good enough statesman to sell any of your new ideas. They sound too much like your old ideas, and the only difference is that it will cost more lives and require more men and women to be laid to rest as you fulfill some sort of empty promise to us in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
We were behind you then, Mr. Bush. We thought that your thoughts, hopes and ideas were shared by us. Your approval amongst us was never higher, even after your election. Then, your ideas went woefully awry. Somehow, you invaded the wrong country and chased after the wrong "evil doer". It was always my opinion that you were taking revenge on the man who once threatened your father, and now that he has been hanged, your purpose in living has been fulfilled - at least as far as the Bush family is concerned.
Now, it is your duty as the Commander in Chief to fulfill your purpose to the people who elected you - twice. Although it was scarcely 49% of them, we nonetheless accepted you in the office, with the feeling that you were our representative. Now, we know better. You do not represent us. You do not represent the members of Congress that we have elected to represent us. You represent yourself, your military-industrial complex and the giants of business and politics who have inserted you into the Oval Office in their best efforts to have a puppet in charge of their kingdom.
You will not listen to us, no matter how loudly we cry. You will not listen to the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands or children of the men and women who you send to death, and you will most certainly not listen to anyone who is not directly connected to your party or business interests.
From time to time, I wonder why people have soured on politics. It's important, I think, and when Election Day rolls around, I try to encourage people to get to the polls and vote - even if it's just for a candidate or ballot question. Generally, I get a blank stare and a comment that wonders why they should bother, because it seems the world goes on, regardless of what they think. Those same people will soon be punching the phone with the '800 number' of the American Idol candidate of their choice, and they figure that their vote will matter more than the one they cast in November. I wonder why people don't get out and protest, call the White House or write a letter to let him know that we do not approve of what is being done.
Then, I see an interview with the president and I think that they are right, and I wonder why I waste my time. I keep voting, expecting that the people we elect will help things get better.
I must be insane.