Saturday, March 17, 2007

Join the Army, See the Ass-end of the World

They're running one of those Army ads during the NCAA basketball game tonight. Lots of cool looking action shots, then the voice over:

You made them strong.
We'll make them Army strong.

As though joining up was a good thing. They run those ads during the basketball game because they figure they have a heavy demographic of young, impressionable, desperate young men in search of something to do now that their hoop dreams are ending. Those ads probably never run during the financial shows or some high-brow deal over on MSNBC. Know your audience. The ad, however, could have just as easily said:

You made them strong.
We'll get them blown up in a tank.

Truth in advertising.

So, then I start wondering. The Army must be up against it on the popularity front right now. War is a hard sell, especially when the images come home every night. By now, the advertising is probably a huge part of their [our] budget. So much so, that they have taken to appealing to the largest segment of potentially drunk and impressionable sports fans anywhere.

The NASCAR fans.

To the right is the Oh-One U.S. Army Chevrolet, driven on most days by Mark Martin.
The Army spends 6% of its annual $212 million dollar advertising budget on racing.
Other branches of the military have NASCAR rides, too. They spend anywhere from a few million to $15 million on the teams. I will work under the assumption that the Army car is the one with the biggest budget, primarily because it is the most successful.

Meanwhile, the men and women in the Middle East have trouble getting an armoured vehicle. Ironic.

I'm still trying to figure out if it's necessary to spend taxpayer dollars on the sponsorship of a race car. It's pretty good advertising, but I'm not sure I want my "fair share" being used to needlessly consume fossil fuels in the name of providing entertainment for people who may not otherwise wish to join. Whether or not the typical NASCAR fan is Army-sympathetic may not be the issue.
The issue may be that a recent Harris poll said that 48% of NASCAR fans are women. Is the Army trying to kill two birds here? Sports and women. Where are they going to get better bang for their buck?
In case anyone is keeping track, that's two intentional puns in the last two sentences.
The thing of it is, that the cynical worst-case scenario guy inside thinks that they are intentionally targeting women, who may otherwise not have exposure to their marketing approach.

It might be time to pick another sport, girls. They're on to you.

When Poop Floats

If you are anywhere near my age, you have certain deep-rooted beliefs that are based on what you learned when you were young. Mine manifested itself last night. I wandered over to Larry King Live, and his guest was Suzanne Somers, former bimbo TV star. That's the deep rooted belief, the bimbo part.

It was this deep-rooted belief that caused me to stumble when I heard the following phrase from her swollen lips: " seventh book..."

Ya gotta be kidding, me? Seven? Based on my deep-rooted belief, she should have barely finished reading seven books, never mind writing them. They are memorable, however. I remember seeing her discussing one of those books, and proclaiming that if your poop floats, you are eating right. Mine has been sinking like a stone for as long as I can remember. I don't know what I'd have to eat to make it float, but if it's a lot different than what I'm eating now, it ain't happening. I'm not eating tree bark and soy chips so I can lay a bobber.

Then I saw this ... I think it's a beer ad. Kinda funny looking.

I could go for a Heineken.


Three contestants on the venerable game show Jeopardy! all finished with $16,000 after each answering the final question correctly in the category, "Women of the 1930s," on Friday's show. "We've had a lot of crazy things happen on Jeopardy! but in 23 years I've never seen anything like this before," host Alex Trebek said.
The show contacted a mathematician who calculated the odds of such a three-way tie happening — one in 25 million.

First of all, any TV show that includes an exclamation point as part of its title is a little goofy in my book. Pompous speaks for itself.

I remember a lot of those crazy things that happened on Jeopardy!! [the first exclamation point is part of the title, the second is emphasis] Like the time the guy answered with an answer, or the time the guy forgot his answer and those little lights ran out. And the one where all the contestants were named Bill. That was nuts.

I contacted a mathematician who calculated the odds of the show letting those people keep the $16,000 -- one in 25 million.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rearranging the Chairs

Another subtle page change. Moving the deck chairs, as it were. Still the same crap.
I just noticed that, if you separate the words, it comes out rear ranging. Sounds gay.

Since I'm not willing to sit and edit html to change the width of the carriage, I decided to change to a template that was designed with a wider carriage. Another lazy back-door slacker move inspired by the Bush Administration.

Meanwhile, winter is sticking its finger up our ass and twisting. The fresh coat of freezing rain is mixing well with the cocked-up way people drive. A stretch of highway that should have taken 20 minutes took twice that long on the way home from work today. It was made all the more exciting by the sight of (a) 7 cars in various ditches and off-road activities and (b) the lunatics who saw the disabled vehicles yet still felt it necessary to challenge the speed limit. I'm not stopping to scrape your frozen dumbass off the road. Behave like that, and you're on your own.

It also makes me think about the bill of goods that the public was sold on those giant Sport Utility Vehicles. They were traveling at the same slow speed as the rest of us, so where's the big advantage? If they're left on their own to plow through, they're just as big a hazard as the weather. Constantly creeping up your butt and spraying you with road spew as they pass. I got home alongside the big trucks; all of us doing the law-mandated 35mph, only I got here for about $20,000 less and 10 extra miles-per-gallon.

I have yet to see one of them doing anything close to what they were designed to do. In New Jersey, it is illegal to drive on the beach, and there are so many roads, it isn't necessary to go "off" road to get to where they're going. Besides, they're so full of shiny gadgets and exclusive paint jobs, a tree branch would rub off a lot of re-sale value.

But, the manufacturers told us that we needed them. They used all the standard ploys. Your safety, your child's safety and "look at all the room!" Most of the reason why you're safer is because you're twice as big as everything else, including my condo. Much of what passes for safety is merely a weight advantage. If we all drove the same size vehicle, there would be no size-related safety advantages. Do parents automatically think that their fat kids are safer in the playground than the skinny kids? If that were true, then kids would just get fatter and fatter ... Hey, wait ... oh ...

That's what they're up to.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

You Are What You Eat

A New York restaurateur has cooked up the world's most extravagant pizza - a $1,000 pie topped with six kinds of caviar and fresh lobster. Nino's Bellisima Pizza restaurant in New York City is now offering a grand pizza, or rather, a pizza costing a grand.

Nino Selimaj, who runs six pizza restaurants in the Big Apple, on Wednesday unveiled the Luxury Pizza, a 12-inch, thin crust topped with caviar, lobster, creme fraiche and chives.
Cut into eight, it works out at $125 a slice.

"I know this won't be for everyone but there are people in New York who can afford it and once tried, they'll be back for more. It is delicious," said Selimaj, who moved to New York from Albania about 29 years ago.

"Sure, some people will say it is just a publicity stunt, but I have researched this for over a year and think there is a demand. I have already sold one," he told Reuters.

Selimaj said Nino's Bellissima in Manhattan, the only one of his restaurants to offer the dish, needs 24 hours notice for the gourmet dish because it orders the caviar in advance.

"But where better to experiment with pizza than in New York where people love their pizza?" he asked.

If diners are still hungry after the Luxury Pizza, they can always head over to nearby restaurant Serendipity, which sells a $1,000 ice-cream sundae called Golden Opulence that is covered in 23-karat edible gold leaf.

The pizza will be served raw because cooking it would ruin the caviar.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Thursday, Sweet Sixteen

It's a Bastard Edition of the Thursday Thirteen, hereby proclaimed the Thursday Sixteen, in honor of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It's my Sweet 16 list, and if history is any indication, almost all of these selections will be wrong.
To allay any sports-post-related fears, I am adding an interesting fact about each school next to its name, to fight eye-glaze and general disinterest.


Florida – The mascot’s name is Albert E. Gator.
Maryland Currently, about 10% of Maryland's student body are involved in Greek Life.
Oregon The film Animal House was filmed on the University campus and the surrounding area.
Wisconsin Wisconsin has recently held the distinction of being rated the nation's number one "party school", according to the 2005 Princeton Review's annual survey and the May 2006 issue of Playboy magazine.


KansasTuition at KU is 13 percent below the national average, according to the College Board, and the University remains a best buy in the region.
Southern Illinois – Notable alum: Patti McGuire, Playmate of the Year 1977, and later in a failed marriage to Jimmy Connors.
Pittsburgh Pitt is ranked #20 among public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report in their 2007 university rankings edition.
UCLA UCLA received 50,694 applications for the Fall 2007 freshman class.


North CarolinaA total enrollment of over 183,000 students and confers over 75% of all bachelor degrees in North Carolina.
Texas Numero Uno law school in the nation for Hispanics. (September 2004 edition of Hispanic Business magazine).
Washington State –The nickname is Wazzu.

Georgetown The 1973 film The Exorcist was set and filmed in Georgetown.


Ohio State OSU's "Buckeye Bullet" electric car broke the world record for the fastest speed by an electric vehicle on October 3, 2004 with a speed of 271.737 MPH) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Tennessee Although it is the most famous song played, "Rocky Top" is not the official fight song for the university.
Texas A & MOfficially the letters "A&M" no longer have any explicit meaning, but they are retained as a link to the university's past.
Memphis – Home of Elvis and an intercollegiate rifle team, so don't piss them off.

Final Four: Kansas, Texas A & M, Texas and Florida.
Final: Kansas vs. Texas
Winner: The Jayhawks in a rout.

Bury Kansas.
Screw you, buddy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Things to do in Denver When You're Dead

DENVER, Colorado - Mary and Ray Smith can't make heads or tails of a new presidential dollar coin they found last week. It doesn't have either. A week after the revelation that some of the coins slipped out of the U.S. mint without "In God We Trust" stamped on the edge, the Smiths said Tuesday they found one with nothing stamped on either flat side.
It does have "In God We Trust" on the edge. What's missing is the image of George Washington on the front and the Statue of Liberty on the back. Instead, the Smith's coin is just smooth, shiny, golden metal.

One of a group of the misstruck new presidential dollar coins (right) that has the 'In God We Trust' lettering stamped on the edge, but showing no presidential face, is displayed next to a new presidential dollar showing President George Washington, left.

Oh, you lucky people! The coin you found is a mistake. The Mint accidentally struck a George W. Bush dollar, not scheduled for production until 2021. When we will officially run out of usable land ...

WASHINGTON - Plans for a casino just outside Gettysburg were shot down last year, but the site of the Civil War's bloodiest battle is threatened by spreading home construction, a preservation group says. In addition to sites in Pennsylvania, Alabama and Virginia, the report names Civil War locations in jeopardy in Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.

While Gettysburg's new nemesis is housing, a site in Alabama's Mobile Bay is suffering from neglect and a lack of state funding, and vast tracts of land stretching from Virginia to Pennsylvania are at risk from a planned major power line, the Civil War Preservation Trust said in its annual inventory of endangered battlefields. Suburban sprawl was cited as the most common problem. A mining company wants to rezone some 640 acres of "core battlefield" to dig more quarries at Cedar Creek, Va., while Fort Morgan in Alabama needs an infusion of state cash to reverse its decline, the group said.

Jesus, if you can't put a casino near a battlefield, I just don't know what this world is coming to! Come on - The Bloody Dice Casino. It's a natural. For entertainment, The Blue and Grey Man Group. Do I have to think of everything?

So, OK ... houses. That's the next best thing. In a poll of visitors to National Parks, they listed "seeing housing developments on the horizon" as the top reason why they attend parks.

Face it, gang, the National Parks are next. The population is expanding, houses are getting bigger and we need more roads, stores and dry cleaners to service them all. There's hardly enough room now, so imagine what it will be like in 20 years.

Slowly, less important things will be eliminated ... Trees, Wetlands areas, Flood Plains and bad soil will be the first to go, if they haven't already. Then comes your local and state parks. That should take about 10 years, until we finally reach out and touch places like Bryce Canyon and Acadia. The President will be faced with a difficult decision. I just hope it ain't another Bush.

Although, isn't it nice that we always find room for another gambling casino ...

Stardust to Dust

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The venerable Stardust casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip was imploded early Tuesday morning in a hail of fireworks to make way for Boyd Gaming Corp.'s $4.4 billion megaresort Echelon.
The property, known for its bargain rooms, friendly service and mobbed-up past, opened on July 2, 1958, billing itself as the world's largest resort hotel with 1,032 rooms.
It is also credited with being Las Vegas' first mass-market casino, thanks to cheap rates and loss-leading food and drinks. The implosion of two towers, gutted to bare concrete and steel over the past three months, included a 32-story building that was the tallest ever felled on the Strip.
In its place, Boyd plans to build a new resort, Echelon, to open in late 2010 with more than 5,000 hotel rooms, a production theater, concert venue, shopping mall and more than 1 million square feet of meeting space.

They say "mobbed-up past" like it was a bad thing. To me, it's part of that old show-biz Sinatra style Las Vegas that has given way to the Steve Wynn Mega resort-pseudo-family-style place that it has become. Minus, of course, the guys on the street hawking time-shares during the day and strip clubs and escort services at night. Somebody should implode them.
Meanwhile, they're moving down the old strip - blasting the past and erecting the future. Wynn's golden tower sits next to the Venetian, and the old Stardust was just a block or two down the road. I took that photo when I was there earlier this year, and noticed the sign out front: TO ALL OUR FRIENDS, THANK YOU FOR 48 WONDERFUL YEARS.

I opened in October of 1957. I was being built when they were building the Stardust.

Whenever I hear about some venerable old structure like a ballpark or historic building being town down, I get a bit melancholy about the state of the world. Things that were once great are now passé, and it is just a matter of time before the new becomes old and is discarded. There are a ton of metaphors I could make, or you could just make your own.
Either way, I suppose it makes me think of myself in terms of my mortality when something that has stood for as long as I, is no longer standing - be it animal, vegetable or mineral.
We are in this disposable society, and when something is of no use or becomes old and obsolete, it is imploded or disposed of to make room for something - anything - new.
It is at once exciting and demoralizing.

If you see me walking around with a sign on my chest, stand back, away from the blast zone.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Just Thinking

I was an hour late for work today. I set my alarm ahead an hour, too. I thought that’s how it was supposed to work. Otherwise, what’s the point? It's not really an extra hour of daylight, like they tell us it is. It just moves it to a place where we can enjoy it, but why should I lose sleep over it?
Another great idea brought to you by the Shrub and his Posse of Pussies. An extra hour of late-afternoon daylight was the best idea that they could come up with to ease our energy problems. Move the clocks, George. I only wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that MENSA-esque brainstorming session. Come to think of it, as a fly, I'd be the smartest one in the room.

Then, I was checking the QVC and they were selling this Dragon voice-activated software for your computer. Surf the web, make document files and generally get around on your PC by speaking the commands.
Great. Now, not only do we have to put up with the obnoxious cell phone clowns engaging us in their personal conversations, now the WiFi web surfers and workaholics will be annoying us in libraries, public transportation and restaurants all over America.

Tonight, Patti Smith gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as bogus an institution ever invented by the mind of Man. Patti Smith? Chicago isn’t in yet, so it can’t be that they have run out of potential inductees. I haven’t heard a Patti Smith record since 1975, so you can’t prove her worth by me. I wouldn’t cross the street to see a concert of hers, but in she goes with Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash, R.E.M. and The Ronettes, making a total of four performers I don’t have any interest in.
Patti Smith, a HOFer ... It reminds me of the conversation Jerry and George had over his new job with the Yankees:
"The Opposite" Show 86
Jerry : The New York Yankees?
George : The New York [twisting his baseball cap] Yankees!
Jerry : Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle ... Costanza?
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin ... Patti Smith?

I’m not a big fan of their induction policy to begin with. Why do they induct The Beatles and Paul McCartney. What’s the point? Putting McCartney in by himself should speak for his body of work. Just like Eric Clapton and Cream. John Fogerty and CCR. By the way, they spell it “Creedance” on their web site - dumbasses. (Even the Blogger spell check caught it). And, the real crown jewel of nonsense – Simon and Garfunkel and Paul Simon. Why not Garfunkel? Athletic Halls do not distinguish by team. It’s one person, one induction.
I think it boils down to making news and bringing fans to the joint, so three inductions are better than one. Once again, marketing and money win out over art and common sense.
I'm bothered by the oddest things, ain't I?

For some reason, I get really worked up over this NCAA Basketball Tournament. Most of the Thursday/Friday games are on too early to see, but I'm glued-in on the weekend. Since there are so many games, TV can always pick out a gem to show us. It's just great basketball.
I'd like to challenge Sparky to a Tournament contest. Let's see which of us can pick the best bracket. Maybe on Yahoo Sports or something? Post them up on Thursday and the loser has to write a George W. Bush tribute or something embarrassing like that.

Or, we could bet on this...
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An online gambling site is taking bets on whether Heather Mills' artificial leg will fall off during her upcoming appearance on "Dancing with the Stars."
A week before Mills' March 19 debut, Antigua-based gaming site opened bets on whether her prosthetic leg would fly off during a dance routine -- and made "no" a heavy favorite.
The site added that Mill's leg "must fall off, not be purposely taken off, during a dance routine for all Yes wagers to be graded a win."

Purposely taken off? Kinky bastards.
I guess telling Heather to "break a leg" would be in bad taste, eh?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

March Madness

He hit a guy in the face with a hockey stick and got suspended for 25 games. Then, presumably, it's back to work for a guy who physically assaulted someone in his place of business.
Tomorrow, throw a hockey stick in your trunk. When you get to work, find someone you don't like and smash them in the face with it. Use two hands, and lunge. C'mon - you know you want to. Chances are, you'd have problems narrowing it down to only one person.
It might be worth the month off, and since you make a million dollars a year like Chris Simon, you won't mind giving up the $80,000 or so that you would earn during the suspension.

New York Rangers' Ryan Hollweg lies on the ice after struck with a hockey stick by New York Islanders' Chris Simon (12) as linesman Tim Nowak skates in and referee Craig Spada signals a penalty during the third period of their hockey game, Thursday, March 8, 2007 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. Simon was given a match penalty for intent to injure.

Oh, that's right - he got a penalty, too. Game misconduct or something. They sent him home. I'm still waiting for the criminal charges. Assault or something like that.
Oh, that's right - this is sports, where people can attack co-workers with blunt instruments and the criminal justice system does not get involved.

So, when you whack your co-worker with your hockey stick tomorrow morning, don't be surprised if the police show up and arrest you and charge you with a crime. Then, the lawyer's calls will start. You know the drill.

What a great life professional sports must be. You get to take out your aggressions on your fellow competitors and the penalty is a penalty. You get a month off and sacrifice a monetary amount equal to what some people earn in three years.

The next time somebody tells you that sports is business, correct them. It's apparently some sort of fantasy world where the rules of life are suspended along with the players.