Saturday, February 3, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Sunday is the Super Bowl. America's greatest secular holiday. Since I don't care about the game or who wins, I'll be taking it in at the local sports pub. I'm thinking epic blow-out ... like that 49ers-Bengals game or the Cowboys-Bills. So, here's the guess (with apologies to Bears fans):
Colts 37
Bears 14

Strangely, I'm rooting for the Bears, but my gut feeling is that it will be all downhill for Peyton Manning, and the Bears defense isn't all it's cracked up to be. If the Bears win, good for them. They'll prove me and some skeptics wrong about the inadequacies of the NFC, but I'm thinking that it ain't gonna happen.
By the way, my numbers in the office blo
ck pool are Colts-0, Bears-7, so root for the quarter scores so I can afford those Blue Man Group tickets.
I can't believe that there isn't something better to run cars on than gasoline. Pam put up a YouTube video preview of Who Killed the Electric Car over on her blog. I'm wondering the same thing every time I look up and see that giant ball of gas spewing energy to us [the Sun]. Can it be that it was put there by accident, and that we can use it for something other than a source of skin cancer? Methinks not.

Of all the ideas John Kerry had during his presidential run in 2004, my favorite was his "Apollo Program" for energy. Put our best and brightest on the job, give them the financial resources and develop something that is both viable and affordable. It ain't the hardest problem in the world, folks. And, I'm sick of the old argument on how "the big oil companies won't let it happen". I'll counter that with, "you can't fight city hall" and we'll see who wins.
Speaking of YouTube. The short-sighted folks at Viacom have ordered the YouTube guys to take their videos off the server. So, no more Comedy Central and such. It strikes me as odd that all this new technology is being embraced by consumers at a much more rapid rate than business embraces it. Blogs get people in trouble, Music sharing is a problem, Napster got shut down, MySpace is a big issue... the list goes on.
All of it stems from consumer acceptance and business rejecting it. I think the Viacom people should realize that any publicity is good, and if the videos on YouTube get people to tune in, who gives a crap if they're copyrighted? The copyright should go the way of the dinosaur if this Internet deal is going to amount to anything. Get the courts out of our lives, and let us have the entertainment. Christ, if they aren't going to give us anything else, at least let us have our bread and circus.

I noticed a little while ago that all the Three Stooges shorts had been removed. Figures. Just when I was starting to enjoy them. Bastards.
Speaking of football...
MIAMI (AFP) - National Football League officials announced that the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants will play in a game October 28 in London, the first regular season gridiron matchup played outside North America.

Off the top of your head, can you think of anything that major professional sports has done in the last 10 years that has benefitted regular fans? Nope. Me neither, and this is another one. One of these two teams will lose a home game. While that might save ticket holders some money, I'd bet a paycheck that whomever it is would rather pay and see a game than to have it shipped across the pond to people who probably don't care. Here's a novel idea: Do something for the people who are making it possible for you to earn millions of dollars. Is that so hard?

And while you're at it, make a Goddammed electric car.


Friday, February 2, 2007

Food as Sport

"Good things don't end in 'eum,' they end in 'mania' or 'teria’."
- Homer Simpson

They also end in "Bowl" - as in Super or ... Wing.

Thank whatever God you pray to that some heathen invented the CD player. Why? I’m glad you asked.

Today, WIP and my favorite morning radio show is hosting something they call the Wing Bowl, (the 15th one, really) an eating contest where 20 endomorphs sit on a big stage and try to throw down as many chicken wings as they can in an hour. In today’s Inquirer, columnist Frank Fitzpatrick called it a “rodeo for the repulsive” and a “bacchanal for bozos”. Good ones, Frank. Somehow, it became a radio show, and every year for the last 15, the Friday before the Super Bowl is Wing Bowl day in Philadelphia. The station’s ads call it a “Sporting Event”. Uh-huh. If eating is a sport, then sex should be in the Olympics. That, at least, is something I’d watch.

I’m not a big fan of eating contests to begin with. I like food too much to turn it into a competition. Besides, I think it promotes gluttony and waste, and generally makes fat people look fatter and more disgusting with wing sauce all over their faces. Occasionally, somebody vomits, which thrills them to no end. Sadly, afterward, they are kicked out of the contest. They belong to something called the IFOCE – The International Federation of Competitive Eaters. Probably looks great on a resume.

I’m not all that surprised that it has turned into a huge event. I’m more interested in why it is put on the radio. We are listening to people eat. What’s next? Maybe listening to a guy painting a wall or reading would be fun? Each contestant is accompanied by a cadre of girls (called Wingettes) that are culled from the various strip clubs around the greater Philadelphia area. The odd part is, that the girls are one of the big attractions of the thing. Ummm…it’s radio. Before I turned it off, I heard the host proclaim, “Look at these girls!” Uhmm … you look at them – I’m listening to the radio. Geez.

Once again, we have Howard Stern to thank for changing the face of radio. Twenty years ago, we wouldn’t have bikini-clad women on the radio because there really isn’t any point to it, other than for the entertainment of the hosts. We probably didn’t have eating contests, either, and mores the better for that. While I’m a big fan of the bikini-clad woman and eating, I don’t think either one necessarily belongs on the radio. Maybe I don’t buy into the whole “Theater of the Mind” concept, I don’t know. It’s lost on me as a radio show. As a promotion, I suppose it works, since there are 20,000 people in the Wachovia Center watching this thing, (albeit in various stages of inebriation) but otherwise, include me out.

So, my ride to work this morning was accompanied by a Blue Man Group CD, who, although blue, are nonetheless fine musicians and innovative performers. I’m not sure how they look in a bikini, but I’d be willing to bet that they don’t paint their faces when they are in the recording studio.

Interestingly, tickets for their April 19 show at the same Wachovia Center are going on sale Saturday morning. I’ll be there, and I only hope that they get the joint cleaned up in time.


Blogger's note: That was last year. We're on 16 now.


17 and counting.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Some Historical Perspective

On this date in 1960, four African-American students from North Carolina A&T College began a sit-in at a “Whites Only” Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina lunch counter. By February 10, the action had spread to 13 southern cities.

This is a testament to how much the United States has changed in my lifetime. Racially, we are light years ahead of where we were in those days, but in other ways, we are not. There are still great hurdles to overcome on many fronts, and it will take heroic actions for some to approach them. Sadly, the present gang of idiots in the White House would never allow anything as revolutionary to happen, so we are forced to wait until at least January of 2008.

All these people are interested in now is fostering a war that people do not understand and promoting their so-called War on Terror – whatever that is. It is so typical of the narrow-mindedness that comes out of Washington. They fight wars on ideas while squelching real ones in science, technology and human rights in the name of corporate profits and suppression of feelings. Keep promoting hate and fear. You’re doing great! But I digress.

The original lunch counter, still intact, sits in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. I saw it when I was there a couple of years ago. I must have looked like some sort of mental patient as I just stood there and stared at it for what seemed like an hour.
I can only imagine the amount of courage it took for them to sit there - not only in the time, but in the place, as well. The South in the late 1950s. Send me to Iraq.

On second thought…
Just when I think we have as a nation, turned a corner, up steps jackass for president Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. with a quote about fellow Democrat (and real candidate) Barack Obama, that appeared on the front page of today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. He described Obama as “the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

I could say something about it, but I think the comment (and the commenter) speaks for itself. Sit down and have lunch, Joe. There is real work to be done, and we need real people who are capable of doing it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Maybe I Am

You're Gore-Obama!

As Al Gore, you are really tired of letting history decide. Known for having great potential in all sorts of fields, you are mostly remembered as falling just shy of that potential.
Even when you've been exceptionally popular, you've managed to find ways of getting nothing done.
Lately, you've become completely obsessed with making things cooler. Many have long suspected that your deep affinity for trees is inspired by the fact that you relate to them and their inability to move.

You select Barack Obama as your running mate so he can write your speeches.

Take the 2008 Presidential Ticket Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

You're Lolita!
by Vladimir Nabokov
Considered by most to be depraved and immoral, you are obsessed with sex. What really tantalizes you is that which deviates from societal standards in every way, though you admit that this probably isn't the best and you're not sure what causes this desire. Nonetheless, you've done some pretty nefarious things in your life, and probably gotten caught for them. The names have been changed, but the problems are real.
Please stay away from children.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Beating a Dead Horse

No, not that one...

This one...
Over on Pam's Musings, we were treated to her voyage to the dark side - namely the Wal-Mart. A lively little tale of her reluctant visit to a store that she reviles. So, leave it up to me to pour a little kerosene on the fire.
One of the things that surprised her (and me) was that the Wal-Mart sells organic vegetables. Cool, right? Wrong.

This cool little article was linked from the Huffington Post, and details how the boys from Arkansas (pronounced are-can-saw) are under investigation over trying to pass off non-organic foods as organic. Hoo-boy! How 'bout them prices!
It's a shame, because some people were excited by the prospect, only to find out that they were duped.
Sorry to burst your free-range bubble, but something in the back of my sick mind told me that I should do a little web search over "Wal-Mart organic vegetables". Viola (pronounced woa-la!) ... there it was. And here's the ... ahem ... meat of the piece:

It has been accused of using misleading labelling that is "tantamount to consumer fraud" by an organic farming watchdog, the Cornucopia Institute. The body has handed its complaints to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is also conducting an investigation into whether Wal-Mart is placing "natural" produce on shelf space labelled as containing organic items.

The Cornucopia Institute claimed to have found dozens of examples of Wal-Mart's mislabelling products - from "all- natural yogurt" to soya milk "made from organic soybeans".

It isn't a very long article, but this one is. It details how some farmers are a little anxious that Wal-Mart is presumably going organic. They think that they will use their market strength to drive down prices that farmers get for their produce. Selling organic food cheap at the Wal-Mart is another way that they can use their pricing and purchasing strength to put the screws to the little guy (pronounced f***ing them in the ass). Put down your rice cakes and check it out. I can't say I was surprised.

My advice: Check out Whole Foods Market or Wild Oats Markets. There are stores in most metropolitan areas, and the foods are real and organic. Or, better yet, find a local produce stand. You can't beat local.

So, there ya go ... one more reason to hate the world's largest retailer. As if you needed another one. I'm here to help.

But, hey ... look on the bright side... that Miss Oklahoma is OK, ain't she?

Lauren Nelson of Oklahoma models her swimsuit during the Miss America 2007 pageant at the Aladdin Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 29, 2007. Nelson was named as Miss America 2007.

Can you walk on the beach in heels?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Philosophy

Writing is like farting. Your own always smells pretty good, no matter how much it might stink to other people. So, in that spirit, thanks for letting me stink up the place while ...
(a) This headache and mild feeling of uneasiness goes away...
(b) It graduates into the full case of the flu that I suspect is coming, flu shot notwithstanding.

The Ice Balls are Coming. And you thought I was goofy last week, didn't ya?

TAMPA, Fla. - Raymond Rodriguez was changing a tire when an 18-inch chunk of ice plummeted from the sky with a piercing whistle, then a metallic crunch. The ice chunk crushed the roof of a nearby Ford Mustang on Sunday morning. No one was hurt. "It's not an act of God," said Carlos Javage, whose son's car was wrecked by the mystery ice. "This came off an airplane."

Aw, c'mon Carlos ... airplanes are made by God, right? If you're really religious, like the Bible says we are, then isn't everything an act of God? Everything except the Republican National Convention, which I'm pretty sure is presided over by the Prince of Darkness or Dick Cheney. The good news is, that the FAA said that since the chunk wasn't blue, it meant that it didn't come from an airplane's lavatory. Now, there's an act of God.

I'm not so sure that the euthanization of Barbaro is a complete heart-breaker for me. After all, they did everything they could. Horses are pretty much like potatoes on toothpicks to begin with, and running them around a track for our entertainment is a bit risky at best. Mostly, it was sad for the owners, who stood to make a lot of money off of Barbaro's sperm, so I can understand their sadness. Their big payday was spoiled by ... an act of God.
Anyway, I've covered it, so there isn't much sense to re-smelling old farts.

Besides, there are more important things in the world of the humans. Stop by My Thinking Spot and let kara know that the Bloggers are thinking about her. She's taking a little break, but that doesn't mean that we have to stop thinking about her. In the grand scheme (which is the only scheme that matters) headaches, ice chunks and dead horses really aren't that important.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I'll Miss This Too.

If there is anything totally irrelevant in today's twisted society, it's the Miss America pageant. For years, it was in Atlantic City. Now, it is housed in the only place that could possibly handle such extravagant nonsense - Las Vegas. "There she is, your ideal." Um ... no. To me, they represent the best and worst of society...People willing to go along to get along. Don a bathing suit, strut around like a display case and hope that a bunch of other people like you enough to give you something. Yuck.
They're probably all very smart women. Smart enough to take advantage of what life has given them, but to me they're too ... perfect.

I'm a guy (honesty), so I'm supposed to be excited by the prospect of ectomorphs parading around in swimsuits and evening gowns, but I really don't get it. Miss what, exactly? Oh, that's right ... it's a Scholarship pageant. Can you take an SAT in a bathing suit?

It's on the TV tonight, and I guess I'm supposed to watch it, or run the TIVO so I can get together with a bunch of my friends, eat Cheezits and make snide comments. Oh, wait ... that's what catty women do.

I'll betcha if you check the ratings (if there are any) that about 75% of the viewers are women, which I never figured out. I guess they like to sit around and make snide comments. I can't imagine a bunch of men watching other guys in bathing suits, and that makes us different, somehow. We don't dance with each other, either.

Fifty years ago, 27 million Americans tuned into the pageant, and the numbers have been sliding recently. Last year, 3.1 million watched, and this year, who knows? Maybe the politically correct moralism of the day has made people feel guilty about ogling women, or maybe bathing suits and high heels aren't that appealing anymore?

Or, maybe it's because it's on the CMT - whatever that is. I think it's the Country Music Television. Whatever it is, it isn't on my cable. Strange, that Country Music TV wouldn't be on in New Jersey, eh? Probably why the ratings are so shitty. It might not be the girls, it might be that more people would watch it if it were on my blog than will see the CMT.

The thing has run its course, and they're trying to pump up something that ran out of steam a long time ago. Are you going to be watching? It used to be that we knew who Miss America was, but that was a long time ago. Quick -- who is Miss America 2006?
I don't know, either.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


As a consumer, I hate to feel like a rube, but that's exactly how I felt today.
With all the snow and ice we've had lately, my car had come to resemble a rolling powdered donut. Even though we're getting more as I write (snow, not donuts), I felt it was necessary to take the car to the local car wash - along with several hundred of my neighbors. That's not the rube part.

The rube part came when I requested the service. They have 3 levels - Regular ($9), Super ($10) and Ultra ($12). Nothing better than ultra, right? The cars were practically bumper-to-bumper rolling through the place, and (the rube) I said, "Ultra", figuring that I should get the wax and the undercarriage wash. Good thinking right? No.
There is no way for the car wash to know which level of service I requested, and with so many people there, and the customers paying at random, how was the attendant to know which car was mine? He didn't - which is where the rube part comes in. There is no special designation given to the level of service, so how does the machine know that I paid for Ultra? Rube. Me.
It rolled through there with all the others, and I really have no idea whether I got hot wax or donut glaze, but I do know that I paid $12 for the privilege. Next time, it's the Regular, trust me.

While I was waiting, and watching the car as I peered through the big pane of glass, the guy in front of me (with the giant Lexus truckster) starts in on me. His issue is with the guy who regularly washes his car. God forbid the joker actually washes it himself.
It began innocently enough...

"This is the first time I've ever taken my car to a car wash," he proclaimed, as if I was supposed to have a special gift for him or something.
"Really?" I wondered, thinking that he must lead a life of privilege, with the Lexus and all. "You always wash it yourself?"
"No, I have a guy who washes it for me." As I realized that I was right about the life of privilege part.
Then, he starts in. See if you can detect the subtle nuances of his monologue...
"And I call the f***ing guy, and he f***ing doesn't call me back."
At this point, he's about 3 inches from my face, and in great danger of violating the man-stranger/me personal space limits.
"I guess the guy doesn't need the work?" I wondered, backing away now and starting to wish I had someone to wash my car.
"No, the f***ing guy doesn't need the f***ing money, I guess. F*** him, the mother f***er."

I'm starting to think that his anger isn't a direct match to the situation.
"So, now, I've got to bring the f***ing thing in here," he said, as though we were in some lower level of Hell. Hey, it's a car wash; and back the f*** up, Chief.
When I told him that I usually take my car to the White Glove, there began another string of "they f***ed my car up", "charged me 28 f***ing dollars" ... etc. You get the picture. And, it occurred to me that maybe this wasn't his first time at a car wash. The f***ing liar.

So, now as we're f*** buddies, and wandering out of the joint, the thought occurs - How does he know that the peppery language doesn't offend me? It doesn't, and I'll use it myself, but I'll never use it to a stranger that I'm standing three inches away from. I wonder what would have happened if I had asked him to stop?
It's probably how he talks all the time, and maybe the guy who washes his f***ing car finally got tired of it, and that's why he didn't call him back?