Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Latest from the World of Technology

"Bigger is better" says Nokia, who has developed a new Blackberry designed to keep people from using it while driving. A Nokia spokesman said that the added benefits include inability to get it into a movie theater, concert hall or library. They claim that consumers want to go "retro" with their phones and long for the days when the telephone was the noisiest appliance in the home. Now that the noise has spread to the outside, consumers couldn't be happier.

Company research has determined that cell phone users do not mind sharing their personal conversations on buses, trains, automobiles or funeral homes, so the phone is perfect for them. Generally, the only place they do not talk on the cell phone is at home, so this new phone will make them feel like they're at home even when they're in yours.
It is rumored, however, that Toyota is working on adding wheels and a small engine to the phone so that consumers will once again be able to talk on the phone while driving, which suddenly became necessary since the invention of the cell phone.

Among the ringtones offered is a full stereo version of AC/DC's "Back in Black" and the first four notes of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Nokia officials claim that the ring is audible over most small-engine aircraft at a distance of up to 2,000 feet. Now, the phones can be used on the beach, as the ringing will be louder than the crashing waves and screaming kids. Engineers are working on a screaming kids ringtone so that mom will feel burdened by her children even when they are not with her.

The screen is as bright as most ballpark scoreboards and can illuminate 20 yards of a football field. It features full LCD Hi-Def quality and resolution greater than most human eyes.
When used in vibrate mode in testing, it killed a small child and dislodged several automobile lug nuts in a nearby parking garage, which crumbled under the stress and fell into the hole created by the disrupted helicopter. Engineers are working to standardize the vibrate mode to be readable on most seismic meters.

Recently, the battery was used to power Courtney Love's vibrator for up to 2 hours. In a pinch, it can be used to jump-start a lawn mower or throw a shock into a cow that will temporarily paralyze.
The phone sells for $13,540. However, if consumers sign up for 2 years, it can be purchased for $29.95.

Headset not included.

In a related story, Motorola has developed the world's smallest big-screen television:

Friday, March 9, 2007

A Little Something for the Google Searchers

Jaime Pressly celebrity wallpaper.
Are you happy now?
For Christ's sake!

Fifteen to twenty a day. Really. I've mentioned Jaime before, (at least once) but never touted her much sought-after celebrity wallpaper. Where do you get paste for that?

Jaime Pressly Celebrity wallpaper paste.
My Name is Elmer.

I've been on a 30-day diet for 2 weeks. So far, I've lost 14 days

This story caught my eye tonight. It's no secret that we eat too much. Everywhere we go, we are told that we are too fat. Words like Morbidly Obese are used, and often, people are buried in piano cases or have to be lifted out of their house like a Chevy engine. The reasons are simple. We eat more than we need to lead our generally sedentary lifestyle. 1200 calories for women and 1500 for men are the general guidelines for people if they're trying to lose weight. In combination with a little exercise the pounds will come off.

Unless, however, you venture into one of these fashionable establishments and order a platter that, on its face looks like a nice choice. Words like Salad, Pecan, Chicken, Grill and Broccoli make them sound like they are healthy choices. The fate lies in the additives: Bacon, Cheese and assorted sauces that drive up the calorie content like George Bush sticks his finger up our ass.
I've gone two days without a rotten comment about the President. I was Jonesing.
Anyway, be careful when you're ordering. Start by staying away from "salads" unless they're the green leafy kind. Potato is a salad too, and so is Macaroni.
If something looks like it's too good to be true, it usually is. Either take half of it out for a homeless person or don't order it at all. Either way, you'll get more than an adequate number of calories.
Here's the hit list:

Bob Evans Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
(1,108 calories, 63g fat, 2,741mg sodium, 63g carbs, 7g fiber, 43g sugars, 40g protein)

Hardee's Southwest Chicken Salad
(1,100 calories, 83g fat, 1,910mg sodium, 59g carbs, 4g fiber, 6g sugars, 29g protein)

Bob Evans Chili & Cheese Taco Salad
(1,381 calories, 72g fat, 3,263mg sodium, 182g carbs, 23g fiber, 30g sugars, 42g protein)

Chili's Mesquite Chicken Salad with Dressing
(1,050 calories, 69g fat, 3,110 sodium, 56g carbs, 11g fiber, 58g protein)

McDonald's Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips (10 piece)
(1,270 calories, 66g fat, 3,100mg sodium, 92g carbs, 0g fiber, 77g protein)

P.F. Chang's Orange Peel Chicken
(1,151 calories, 47g fat, 127g carbs, 61g protein)

Macaroni Grill Honey Balsamic Chicken
(1,220 calories, 67g fat, 2,750mg sodium, 94g carbs, 10g fiber, 57g protein)

Chili's Monterey Chicken
(1,170 calories, 71g fat, 3,530mg sodium, 70g carbs, 8g fiber, 72g protein)

P.F. Chang's Beef with Broccoli (dinner portion)
(1,120 calories, 65g fat, 38g carbs, 93g protein)

And the winner and new champion...

Ruby Tuesday Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta
(2,061 calories, 128g fat, 109g net carbs, 13g fiber)

Holy shit, Hannah! That's more than a day's required calories in one meal. Nice, if you can cut it up and pick at it from 8am to 7pm. It might get cold.
By the way, the body can only process 30 grams of protein in a sitting, so anything more than that goes wherever wasted protein goes.

Also on the list was the Burger King Triple Whopper at 1130 calories and 74 grams of fat. Sure, like I couldn't have figured that out. If you're going out for lunch and you're eating a Triple Whopper, fries and a drink (the deadly Combo Meal) you're probably stowing away about 2000 calories. Don't wonder why your belt is a little tight and your shirt pockets are screaming. It's man boobs in a bag.

Should come with a Mansierre.

This Just In: Kroger Pharmacists in Georgia Are Now Law Enforcement Agents

That's cool. That means that they can rush in to stop shoplifters, determine whether or not someone has committed a crime and generally run the store, which seems to either have indoctrinated Pharmacists into the State Police or succeeded from the Union. Either way, ya gotta wonder, WTF?

What am I talking about? Kroger. Not the character in Animal House, the grocery store chain:

Kroger Co. said Friday it was reiterating its drug policies to all of its pharmacists after a Georgia woman claimed she was denied the so-called "morning after" pill at one of the company's stores. The Cincinnati-based grocery chain said if its pharmacists object to fulfilling a request, the store must "make accommodations to have that prescription filled for our customer."

Wow, what a radical concept. I guess that should include contraceptives, right? Have they ever denied selling condoms to men? No. So, what's the problem?

Among them was Carrie Baker, who said a Kroger pharmacist in her hometown of Rome, Ga., refused to supply her with the contraceptive. The 42-year-old married mother of two said she asked the store's manager in December to order the contraceptive but was told that the pharmacist refused, even though the decision contradicted company policy.

Maybe Kroger's Pharmacy Cop thinks that Carrie doesn't have enough kids, and he is trying to help in his own special way? Maybe Kroger would like to foot the bill for the doctor care, birth and the 5 billion dollars it costs to raise a child today. Or should people try to be responsible? Ya think?

OK, so it's only about 89% effective, and you gotta jump on it kind of quick, but it sure as Hell beats the alternative. If women are cool with it, then there shouldn't be a problem.
Unless, of course, you get Pharmacist Cop who wants to rule the world one pregnancy at a time. If someone has conscience issues over drugs, maybe they made a bad career choice. Meanwhile, obey the laws put in place by the people and count your pills.

Major pharmacy chains such as CVS Corp., Rite-Aid Corp. and Walgreen Co. also have pledged to ensure that customers can buy Plan B, even if one employee declines to provide service for reasons of conscience.

Another victory for common sense. Isn't there a test these people can take that can get them yanked out of Pharmacy College and into a field that is more to their liking.

Like vice cop.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

With Two E's

I find myself slowly regressing into childhood. These days, it's my old Monkees tunes. Try as I might, I cannot outgrow them. OK, so I don't try that hard. Why should I, really? The music brings back a lot of good memories from my childhood, and those aren't all that easy to come by, so methinks I should hold onto the good ones tightly.
I remember how quickly those first four albums came out. Every one of them made #1, and they all came out in the same year, 1967. During that year, the albums became the Report Card prize for my music-deprived life. I always wanted the new Monkees album. I was too young to ask for the dope that would have made the songs sound better.

I made a scale-model of the Monkee Mobile from a plastic kit. Pretty cool for a 10-year old kid.

I never missed the TV show. Never. missed. it. Not only was it funny, but it had all the same music I was listening to on the radio only ... get this ... the songs were little videos. Really. Only, I don't think we called them "videos" then. We didn't have the MTV.
Remarkably, it ran only two seasons. 58 episodes. Today, it would take 4 years to make 58 episodes of a TV series. The second season was decidedly hipper, featuring Mickey in his new 'fro and the band wearing the costume of the time - the tie-dye. I wanted the clothes, but the era lacked the smooth marketing of today's Tied-Into-Supercenter television. Fat chance of finding that brown shirt with the big collar and white pinstripes or the wide black belts with the big silver buckle. And don't even think about buying a double-breasted burgundy shirt. Just watch the show, kid. I was lucky to have a Monkees lunch box.

I know they didn't play their own instruments on the first two albums, but they gradually took over the process until it collapsed in a heap with the film Head in 1968. As it turned out, Mike Nesmith is a talented songwriter, and there are a few Nesmith tunes on the first two albums. Peter is a good player, too. So much so that it started to grate on them that they couldn't express themselves musically. It only figures. Put creative people in a non-creative environment, and it's just a matter of time until they revolt. They eventually fired creator [slash] brainiac music mogul Don Kirschner, who turned around and invented The Archies, supposedly because animated musicians couldn't talk back.

I saved all my Tiger Beat magazines with The Monkees in it. They would always publish the lyrics to the songs, tons of garbage about what flavor taffy they like and such. But, remember, we only had magazines and TV - and the TV had 6 channels. We weren't as info-saturated as we are today ... OK, back to reality.
Sadly, I am to find out that Tiger Beat's main target has always been girls ranging from the age of 10 to 19. I guess it's a good thing I stopped reading it.
I joined The Monkees Fan Club and got a cool magazine that was produced by the band called Here We Are! I think that's still in a box somewhere. The other magazines, meanwhile, rest comfortably atop a plastic liner in a wetlands landfill in northern New Jersey.

I collected the gum cards, and struggled like Hell to make a complete set. I wound up with more extras than were in the set, buying them a five-cent pack at a time. The stinking things were in black and white - for Pete's sake.

Nowadays, I listen to the CDs; having relegated the old mono LP records to a box somewhere. I never knew to ask for the stereo versions of the albums, but then, my grades weren't that good anyway.
I make compilation CDs to play in the car, where I can at least feel like an adult. I've made a few of them, and they always seem to have the same selection of songs...
(Theme from) The Monkees
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
Take a Giant Step
Circle Sky
Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Tear Drop City
Daydream Believer
What Am I Doin' Hangin' Round?
Papa Gene's Blues
Tapioca Tundra
Cuddly Toy
The Door Into Summer
You Told Me
Sweet Young Thing
Love Is Only Sleeping
Pleasant Valley Sunday
Daily Nightly
Don't Call on Me
Listen to the Band
You Just May Be the One
Writing Wrongs
Riu Chiu
Zor and Zam
Porpoise Song (theme from Head)
For Pete's Sake

You can fit all those songs on a CD because they're all about 2 minutes long. The original albums themselves were barely over half an hour, which were perfect for our little attention-deficit-television-created heads.
Generally, my taste sways away from the hits. There were plenty of more popular songs, but the thing these have in common is that they were written by some of the most talented songwriters of the era, even though we didn't know it at the time. Carole King, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, Harry Nilsson, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil - as well as Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork.

Before we had American Idol to make celebrities, they were made by corporations and Don Kirshner. The organic way.

However, to dismiss them as the "Pre-Fab Four" is to do little justice to their musical legacy. This song, in particular. If it were performed by Jefferson Airplane or The Doors, it would be regarded as a modern classic. As it is, it is simply the first recorded use of what would be known as the Moog synthesizer, and you may have never heard it before.

November 1967. A Michael Nesmith tune..."Daily Nightly"

Darkened rolling figures move through prisms of no color.
Hand in hand, they walk the night,
But never know each other.
Passioned pastel neon lights light up the jeweled traveler
Who, lost in scenes of smoke filled dreams
Find questions, but no answers.
Startled eyes that sometimes see phantasmagoric splendor
Pirouette down palsied paths
With pennies for the vendor.
Salvation's yours for just the time it takes to pay the dancer.
And once again such anxious men
Find questions, but no answers.
The night has gone and taken it's infractions,
While saddened eyes hope there will be a next one.
Sahara signs look down upon a world that glitters glibly.
And mountain sides put arms around
The unsuspecting city.
Second hands that minds have slowed are moving even faster
Toward bringing down someone who's found
The questions but no answers.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

One is a Pig, One is George Bush and One is Ann Coulter. See the Difference?

I'm bored. I'm phoning this one in.

It's night 68 of 88 consecutive nights of American Idol. The boys. The girls. The chimpanzees. The Results Show. The Banality. Isn't America sick of this yet? I should look on the bright side, it's saving me tons on my electric bill. I only wish my cable company would charge me only when the TV is on. Come to think of it, shouldn't they?

Today's Question:
What do you call three newspapers who drop Ann Coulter's column?
Answer: A good start.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three newspapers said this week they will drop Ann Coulter's column after the conservative author referred to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as a "faggot". The Mountain Press in Sevierville, Tennessee; The Oakland Press in Michigan and the Lancaster New Era in Pennsylvania said they would stop running Coulter's syndicated column because of the comment she made last week.

Well, it ain't exactly the Inquirer or the New York Times, but it ain't bad. It's bad enough that the Inquirer runs that jackass Krauthammer. I don't think I could deal with the skinny bitch after that. Her bile runs in about 100 papers nationwide. 97 now. I think we should start singing that "Bottles of Beer on the Wall" song.
Hey - it's a pig with two snouts and three eyes. You know what's next? That's right ... Zombies. Maybe those anti-Global Warming jackasses are finally going to get their rapture?
Liu Shuping, a farmer specializing in raising pigs, presents a newly-born piglet with one head, two mouths, two noses and three eyes, for photographers in Xi'an, northwest China's Shannxi Province March 6, 2007. Experts attributed it's condition to genetic variation, local media reported. CHINA OUT REUTERS/China Daily (CHINA)
Meanwhile, over in Columbia, the townsfolk are awaiting the arrival of our great leader...
A woman walks by a posters of U.S. President George W. Bush that reads 'wanted for war crimes' in Medellin, Wednesday, March 7, 2007. Bush will visit Colombia March 11. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides)
Loved the World over!
Note to Columbia: Hijack his plane.
I can't see something like that without thinking of that stupid country song, "Proud to Be an American". I'd like to do a video montage with that as the background music.
And, I gotta tell you, folks. I love the gym. I've been going for a shade more than 25 years, but if this nonsense catches on, I'm Outta There!

The first clothing-free workout session at a Dutch gym went ahead as planned in Heteren, eastern Netherlands, Sunday March 4, 2007, and participants and observers said it met expectations. Around a dozen middle-aged and elderly men braved the glare of nearly twice that number of journalists, including reporters, photographers and at least five television teams, to fulfill their dream of exercising naked. "There are things that you like to do, and for a nudist, it just feels better to do them with your clothes off," said Ron van der Putten, left, who drove for more than an hour to take part in the first session, dubbed 'Nudifit'. "You feel more free." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong).

You know what, van der Putten (if that is your real name), putten your Goddammned pants on and for Christ's sake, don't let anybody use that bike until it is steamed, deep-fried and dipped in grain alcohol. I can just see his little Nordic balls flopping around. For God's sake.

Why is it always the nude thing? I need a psychologist to comment. Here's a dream for ya: Shower with your clothes on. How come nobody ever dreams of doing that?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Hot Enough For Ya?

I never really figured it out. Not completely. Usually, I can at least understand both sides of an argument, even if I strongly side toward one; generally I can understand why the other person would feel that way. With this one, I'm at a loss.
It's the global warming debate, and why some people deny the science and take up the other side.
You would think that the anti-warming people have political motives, but I have a problem finding a truly political angle. If we are going to argue against what they would refer to as progress (i.e. deforestation, dirty air, more trash, massive home sites and bigger vehicles) I suppose there is an ox to gore (pun intended) but I still believe it is the shallow human who cannot find profit in conservation - if profit is your motivation.
The environmental movement has spawned some anti-movements. Some with names that would make us think that their motives are other than what they are.

There is one called, run by a coalition that claims to be a non-lobbying group that sells books with names like The Skeptical Environmentalist and whatnot. They're the Lex Luthor to the Sierra Club, that still maintains that clean air and water are important.
So, I posted this essay about the 34 deadlines that the government has missed regarding the energy efficiency standards, and referenced the Al Gore controversy over his energy usage. I heard from one commenter regarding Al's supposed hypocrisy, considering his alleged energy usage - never minding to mention from whence the energy came.

The motive, in this case, is to discredit the movement by discrediting the mover. Poke at Al and make the populace believe that the movement lacks credibility because we supposedly find fault with its leader. If that were the case in all events, the war in Iraq (sometimes referred to as the War on Terra) would have died an insignificant death long ago. But I digress.

My lack of understanding of the anti-warming folks exists on several levels. First, I cannot fully comprehend why they would deny their role as stewards of our planet. I would like to get a glimpse into their personal lives and check out their personal habits and cleanliness. Do they treat their bodies and homes as they treat the planet? If so, then they must be the center of discarded goods and waste products that they believe the earth should be.

Secondly, why would they deny that the right action is the appropriate one? In other words, protection and caution are always the least of our preferred actions. In theory, we cannot abuse the planet if we aim to protect it. Our actions may, in the end be disavowed by science, but in the meantime, we are erring on the side of caution. Where our children and their children are concerned, why would we act otherwise?

Which brings up the subject of responsibility. While it is true that the old-heads that run government and big business are clearly out for their own old heads, we should not allow their irresponsibility to be the guidepost with which we conduct our planetary business. We should aim to leave this place the way we found it, but I fear that the damage has been done, and in the spirit of industrialization, we have done enough damage already. Leaving it as it is now should be the minimum requirement.

You may continue to believe that the science is bunk, and tell me that my goals are unreachable. Cast stones. Lie. Claim that the science is flawed ... whatever. The truth is, I don't care what you say, because I will do my best to be the caretaker. I am unsure of your role here. Your motives are unknown to me, and perhaps will always be. Know, however, that soon you will be gone, and the planet you leave for future generations may either be theirs to fix or be rendered un-fixable. In either case, your time here will have long passed, and the generations to come may either curse your existence or wish there was enough time to do so.

Monday, March 5, 2007

A Rebel With a Clue

Occasionally, I get on a rant about the sorry state of what is referred to as popular music. It cycles through phases, and I believe that the present represents low ebb in the state of music. It is harder to find anything of quality to listen to, and radio is the last place I turn for solace. In fact, I have never turned to radio, even when I was young and naïve enough to think that I would find something there.

I used to browse the record shops – Record Museum and Sound Odyssey back in the old days and Tower Records more recently – wondering how record companies could manufacture all these records by thousands of artists, yet I would only hear a small fraction of them on commercial radio. As I grew older and more cynical, (i.e. realistic about the way the world works), I would come to realize that it had little or nothing to do with talent or mass appeal. What really mattered was the amount of money that the record label could throw at the station to get them to play their songs. They are both smart enough to know that the general public likes to be spoon-fed and will usually take to whatever is perceived to be the hot new trend, sometimes without even knowing why they are taking to it.

It is the biggest part of the reason I detest shows like American Idol. It has become what it set out to be: A factory for turning out singers who are thrust upon us, occasionally against our will. The concept stunk from the start, and as the machine trudged along, the stench intensified until now it has funked-up the entertainment industry to the point that we hardly notice the smell. American Idol contestants are everywhere. It isn’t even necessary to win to gain exposure. That’s how powerful the machine has become. To me, they appear to be at the center of the practice of pay-to-play that, until today, I thought was only a product of my sick mind. Then, this article appeared, proving that I was on the right track:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Four major radio broadcast companies have tentatively agreed to pay the government $12.5 million and provide 8,400 half-hour segments of free airtime for independent record labels and local artists in separate agreements aimed at curbing the persistent practice known as "payola," The Associated Press has learned.

Payola - generally defined as radio stations accepting cash or other consideration from record companies in exchange for airplay. It has been around as long as the radio industry and was made illegal following a series of scandals in the late 1950s.

Two Federal Communications Commission officials said the monetary settlement is part of a consent decree between the FCC and Clear Channel Communications Inc., CBS Radio, Entercom Communications Corp. and Citadel Broadcasting Corp. The free airtime would be granted to companies not owned or controlled by one of the nation's four dominant music labels -- Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and EMI Group. The practice of payola, or "pay-for-play," has evolved over the years and become more difficult to track.

In recent years, "independent record promoters" have acted as intermediaries to deliver payments to radio stations in exchange for airplay. Other forms of inducement include lavish prizes meant for listeners that wind up going to station employees; promises by record companies of concerts by well-known artists in exchange for airplay; and payments for promotional expenses and station equipment.

Peter Gordon, president of Thirsty Ear Recordings, an independent record label, has been in the music business for 31 years. "It's absolutely the most historic agreement that the independent community has had with radio," he said. "Without a doubt, nothing else comes close."

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has been in the forefront of the payola fight and credited with working out the settlements. "I love music and I want radio to sound fresh, dynamic and real. But payola gets in the way of authenticity because money drives the music, not its quality," he told The Associated Press. Adelstein said the settlement has gotten the industry's attention. "Taking payola out of the system will lead to more interesting programming," he added.

So, there’s your tie-in to the way the world is today. Our president has already told us that money trumps peace, and now we find that money drives the music. It’s a sad state of affairs. Sad that money has such a stranglehold on so many aspects of life. One would hope that art would come first, but only the truly naïve would believe that.

And, by the way, I’m not naïve enough to think that this bit of FCC action is going to change anything. I’m just happy to know that I was right about being cynical.

It is sad, however, because the art loses, the artist loses and we lose. The only winners are the promoters, radio stations, record labels and the big-time television machine. That's where the money is.

Money trumps taste ... sometimes. We need to stop allowing big media to dictate style. Sometimes, it pays to let taste and your own judgment be your guide...

"Into the Ocean" Blue October

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Message to Japan: Keep Him.

TOKYO - A relaxed looking Michael Jackson smiled and waved at screaming fans as he arrived in Japan on Sunday for his second visit in recent years to host an exclusive party and sponsor a fan art competition. At the VIP party, guests paying $3,500 will get to mingle with Jackson and spend 30 seconds to one minute each of exclusive face time with the Gloved One, according to organizers.

Oooh baby! What a bargain. Actually, "face time" with MJ makes me a little squeamish. How about Michael gives me $3,500?

While in Tokyo, the star will also host a fan art contest for Japanese who cannot afford VIP tickets, organizers Davis, Bain and Associates said in an e-mail. Three winning artists chosen by Jackson will have brunch with the star and their picture taken together.


Congratulations to those three lucky fans!