Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hey, Paula

At Rancho Mirage today, Paula Creamer played the 18th hole as though she was playing it to win the tournament, when, in fact, there were 18 more holes to go.

The good news, however, is that Lorena Ochoa was wishing that the third round was 16 holes and not 18, as she took a Quad-Bogie on 17 to drop to +1. Paula is second behind Sei Ri Pak going into Sunday's final round at the Kraft Nabisco Tournament.

Lorena spit the bit on 17, where a bad drive compounded into bad chips and putts to drop her from a share of the lead to the third group on Sunday. Paula ran a birdie putt on 18 too far past the hole to give her a reasonable shot at par, and dropped a shot behind Sei Ri Pak, who discovered that consistent golf beats almost anything on the course.

Rather than enter Sunday with a share of the lead, Paula Creamer opted to go for the outright lead with an ill-advised putt that ran well past the hole on 18. Still, a shot behind isn't the end of the world. Sunday at 3pm EDT, on your local CBS sports network.
I still think, preferences aside, that Paula has the upper hand on Sunday. We'll see if Pak has the challenge in her to shoot the kind of round it will take to beat Creamer.

That reminds me, isn't there some basketball game going on now? I seem to remember something about a tournament...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Your Harry Hartounian moment

Harry Hartounian was Navin R. Johnson's gas station boss in the movie The Jerk. When the new phone books arrived, Navin ran around the lot yelling, "The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!"
Harry looked on incredulously and proclaimed, "I wish I could get that excited about nothing."
Now it's your turn.
The LPGA is playing their first major of the year. Paula Creamer came back from a first round 1-over par to tie for the lead in the second round, against the best woman golfer in the world right now...
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) Lorena Ochoa and Paula Creamer stared over the water to a peninsula green on the par-5 18th hole at a different point in their rounds and a different time of day in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
And while they reached different conclusions Friday, they wound up in the same position atop the leaderboard.
So, OK ... It isn't as exciting as a new phone book, but right now, it's all I have.
By the way, if I ever meet Bill Macy, I'm going to go up to him and say, "Stan Fox, buying gas!"
C'mon, the Optigrab.* I know ... another phone book.
* "Opti" for the eye, and "Grab" for where you grab it!

Rubella, Rubella ... Let down your hair!

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Rules that allow parents to exempt their children from immunization requirements for "philosophical" reasons are putting all kids at risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, Arkansas researchers warn.

Well, Jesus ... Arkansas ... What did you expect?

So, when the kids start coming home with twisted legs from measles or the painful din of Whooping Cough, you can blame those Christian Scientists.

Arkansas had previously allowed exemption from vaccine requirements for religious or medical reasons, but parents had to belong to a "recognized religion that included tenets against immunization" for the exemption to be allowed.
Parents challenged the law, and a federal court ruled that requiring a religion to be "recognized" was not constitutional.

Interesting. I think this church and state separation has gone way too far. When the church separates itself from the health of the general public, I think it's time for a little look-see at the priorities. I'd like to introduce the court to the concept of The Greater Good.
There were no vaccines in 1776. People died from head colds, for chrissakes. Since the intent of the Constitution was to provide a better life for people, don't you think that Jefferson would place the welfare of Americans first? I do.

"Concentrations of children who are not immunized could result in a loss of community-level immunity and ultimately erode public health protection against vaccine-preventable illness," the researchers warn.

Yeah, well ... researchers. Probably the same people who told us that the ice caps were melting and that cigarettes cause cancer. How can you possibly rely on researchers when you have an all-powerful, vengeful and caring imaginary being looking out for the health of your children, and I might add, everyone.
I can see how the government would say, "Sure, we don't need to inoculate your child, because we believe in God, too. It says so on the money."

Money wouldn't lie to me.

Oh Arnold, it's a shame there is only one of you.

I was reading an article about California's growing problem with greenhouse gases, and I come across what I still see as an odd turn of a phrase ... Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ... just as hard to write as it is to say. Critics say that Hollywood types should stick to the acting and stop telling us their political views.
Until one of them is a politician, I guess.


Now that they have the pesky cover out of the way, the road is cleared for the seventh and final Harry Potter tome, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," coming out July 21. Author J.K. Rowling, apparently blind-sided by the release date said, "I guess I'd better get my ass moving."
I'm expecting the usual TV news blurbs about the goofy-ass kids with the cape and round glasses lining up a day ahead of time so that they get the book. I always wondered how many of them actually read it? It's either the most popular book series ever or the biggest scam perpetrated on parents since the "Time Out" was invented. I have no kids, so I have no clue.

EGG HARBOR, N.J. Police in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey arrested two residents and seized over $1 million of marijuana during a drug bust Monday. Once inside the home detectives discovered an elaborate marijuana growing operation, including more than 500 living plants, dozens of bags of dried marijuana and manufacturing and packaging materials. Police said the estimated street value of the marijuana was approximately $1.1 million.
Now, hundreds of people in South Jersey will have to get their dope elsewhere. If the new Jersey wants to save money, the war on pot is a good place to start. What a freaking waste of time and money. The government should be encouraging it, really. A doped-up populace is a rotten government's best friend.
If Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor, things would change, baby.

SAN FRANCISCO - City leaders approved a ban on plastic grocery bags after weeks of lobbying on both sides from environmentalists and a supermarket trade group. San Francisco would be the first U.S. city to adopt such a rule if Mayor Gavin Newsom signs the ban as expected.
The law, approved 10-1, requires large markets and drug stores to offer customers bags made of paper that can be recycled, plastic that breaks down easily enough to be made into compost, or reusable cloth.
They unload those things by the trailer-load at the local grocery. There's a bin outside to recycle, but I wonder how many of them wind up in the landfill? The best thing I can say is that I use mine to put the recyclables in and tote them to the condo bin, so at least I'm not throwing them away. Still, I think we'd be better off with a little less packaging in general, and bags are a good place to start.
Canvas, baby.
Let them have it, Black Plowman.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Great Weekend Ahead

This coming weekend may be a Top 5 Weekend of the Year. The weather is getting just a bit warmer, the birdies are chirping, the basketballs bouncing and the bats and clubs a-swinging.

On the hardwood, we get the NCAA tournament cranked up again. I checked the futures sheet I brought back from Las Vegas in January. Georgetown was 40 to 1 to win the tournament. The biggest long shot of the 4. The others were in the 6 to 1 range, with Florida a 9 to 2 favorite to repeat. How much you want to bet that there are some vacationers from the D.C. area who may have laid down a shekel or two on their alma mater?
The LPGA is cranking up their first major of the year, The Kraft-Nabisco deal at Mission Hills in California. It used to be called the Dinah Shore, but they took her name off in 2000. It's the one where the winner will jump in the lake at 18 on Sunday. I think it's the only sporting event where the winner jumps in a lake, if you don't count diving.
Annika is having a rough go, and at +3, she has to have a great round on Friday to have any shot at winning. Meanwhile, Paula Creamer is hanging at +1. Pick it up a little, will ya?
That's Paula Creamer, Christie Kerr, Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam (L to R)

The baseballs are going to start flying out of Citizen's Bank Ballpark on Friday. The Red Sox are here for a cheap excuse for a ballgame - a home exhibition game. Also known as, raking in some more money. The real season starts Monday, and I'll be there on Thursday afternoon for the Braves. I'm hoping to be able to do a little photo essay of the day.

The first sign of spring is the annual Bud Selig Stupid Pronouncement, which signals baseball ownership to cower in the corner and let him speak. Bud is the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and current Commissioner of Baseball. Two things that shouldn't go together are former owner and current Commissioner, but there ya are. Here are his views on switching baseball's TV package to DirecTV, and away from cable. He speaks:

"I agonized over" the decision to go with DirecTV, Selig said. "Obviously our objective is to get our product in front of as many people as possible. ... But the number of people who can't get DirecTV is very, very small."

That isn't the point, chowderhead. Everybody can get it. The point is that people already have cable, and do not want to run two bills and two services for six months of baseball. However, feeling forced because they love the game, they will either switch or miss the games.
It's the latest in a long list of things that professional sports does to squeeze the fans, forgetting to whom they owe their success.

Rock, Meet Bottom

This reminds me of the time I saw a guy going through a dumpster at the Goodwill store. I figured, geez, if you're destitute enough to pick the trash that even the second-hand store doesn't want ... welcome to Rock Bottom.
Rock bottom for the Miss America Pageant is being dropped by Country Music Television [CMT]. If you can't get the "Earthbound" viewers of CMT to ogle women for three hours, then I guess it's Doomsday for the old skin show. CMT is television Rock Bottom. There really isn't any place for them to go now other than local public access or your cell phone.
All those women look alike to me anyway. No variety. Plus, it's a tad on the Barbaric and Brainless side. They try to couch it as a "Scholarship Pageant", but that's a hard sell. Besides, I don't even get the CMT.

Go quietly into that good night.


There is a problem with your submission.

I think we may have covered this ground, but it bears repeating. These are actual images from Ticketmaster's verification screen. I'm supposed to be able to read this and type it in. These are even worse than the Blogger ones. Leave it to the Ticketmaster gang to come up with colors and grid lines. Bastards. I just want a ticket to a show.

Can't you devote at least some of that massive ticket surcharge to finding a better way to verify that I am not who you think I am? Because, I already know what I think you are.

OK, I'm paranoid. But am I paranoid enough?

Big Brother's 5-Star General is Watching

It looks as though I can now refer to The Pentagon as one of my faithful readers. Woo Hoo. Maybe they'll write me up in their monthly newsletter, The Five Sided Dildo.
We can't find Osama bin Laden, but the military has no trouble finding a Pat Tillman reference in a stream of consciousness post I did a couple of days ago. It reminds me of the time that "Federal Triangle" showed up on the Counter after I did a post critical of the president. [rubbing chin thoughtfully] Why doesn't Paula Creamer or Jaime Pressly show up once in a while? I guess they have "people".
Apparently, The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight is checking up on the Blogosphere for things and stuff. Maybe they should have looked as hard for Pat Tillman's stray bullet.
I'll be watching the skies for the black helicopters.
Later that day ...

As faithful readers know, I am a spam e-mail reader. Tonight, however, I am virtually kicking myself over deleting the SPAM folder so quickly. As I hit the DELETE button, my eye caught the heading of the top one: SLURPEE SURVEY. Oh man, that sounds ... gone. The SPAM deletions bypass the TRASH, just like rock crushes scissors, so I couldn't hit ESC fast enough to stop it. Focus!
The story of Slurpee® drinks began in 1959 with a broken soda fountain machine in Kansas. When Omar Knedlik's soda machine broke at his drive-in hamburger restaurant, he began serving icy-cold bottled soft drinks from his freezer. Customers fell in love with the slushy drinks, sparking Knedlik to come up with the idea of creating soft-serve frozen drinks.
The Slurpee mark was created in May 1967 during a brainstorming session at 7-Eleven's in-house ad agency. While drinking the product through a straw, agency director Bob Stanford commented that it made a slurping sound.
Oh my God, Bob - you frigging GENIUS! There will be a little something extra in your pay envelope this week, young man.
I'm just glad he didn't fart right after he drank it. Imagine the name. It would be fun to say, though.
CLERK: Yes sir, may I help you?
ME: [giggly] Yeah, um ... I'd like a ... um ... uhm ... Pootee.
CLERK: What flavor?
ME: Almond toast, of course.

I'd be there every day.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blogging with a purpose

Unlike the angry mob who continually snipes at President Bush and his cronies, expecting them to kowtow to blogger pressure (that'll happen), there is something we can do that may have immediate impact with people who will listen.
It's renewal time for network TV shows, and a few are in trouble. As outlined by Inquirer TV critic Jonathan Storm in today's paper, the networks respond to the viewers voices. A nicely worded e-mail of support for your favorite show may help to save it from the ax of cancellation. He published a list of shows that are in trouble and a list of contact info for the networks.
You can read his entire column here.
My particular concern is for The Class, a smart and funny sitcom in an age where comedy (not to mention smart) is nearing extinction. I sent the following e-mail to the folks at CBS, encouraging them to keep it on the schedule:

I am writing because I fear that the ax may soon fall on a very good show, and I am hoping that enough people feel as strongly as I, and that The Class will be renewed for the 2007 fall season.

I am not going to try to analyze the difficulties that the show has had attracting viewers. All I know is that it has attracted me, and I never miss it - even in repeats.
The Class is a funny, well-written show with a nice mix of well-developed characters. In this era of game shows and "reality" shows, a good sitcom is hard to come by. I think CBS would be doing it (and its viewers) a disservice to fail to renew it for the coming season.
If ratings are the issue, I would suggest that you focus on the quality of the program sometimes. I can't imagine what would replace The Class that would be better. Television history is rich with programs that did not hit their stride in their first season (Seinfeld comes to mind), so I would encourage CBS to get behind the show and keep it on the schedule. Generally, quality wins out.

Here is the list of shows facing possible death, as listed by Mr. Storm in the paper:
The Knights of Prosperity, According to Jim, The George Lopez Show, Six Degrees, What About Brian
Jericho, The Class, How I Met Your Mother, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Close to Home
The CW
Gilmore Girls, 7th Heaven, All of Us, Veronica Mars
'Til Death, The War at Home
30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Crossing Jordan, Scrubs, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Here is the contact info:
Renew [name of show], ABC, Inc., 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91512-4551 or here.
The CW
Renew [name of show], NBC Television Network, 3000 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91523 or here.
212-975-3247 or

So, if you see your favorite (or near favorite) show on the list, let the network know. Be nice. Use words like "suggest" and "I think" ... you know the drill.
Television is a wasteland of nonsense game shows and so-called "reality" programs that are neither real nor particularly entertaining. You will notice that none of them are on the list. Pity. You could write to tell them that, too.

I never truly understood the ratings game, since I have never been surveyed or metered. If the networks are responding to viewer mail, maybe they don't fully understand them either.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Glass is Half Empty

Ruler of night, tide, and emotion - symbol of silver and ancient of wisdom, the moon's bright face reflects the glaze of lovers. A stunning integration of form and copper wheel engraving, this design by the late James Houston is a collector's prize and a romantic gift for a special milestone - a silver wedding anniversary, perhaps.
Numbered, Limited edition of 50.
Steuben Glass Item 0591 • $18,000

Uh-huh. Perhaps. I want to be married to the babe who could fork-over $18,000 for a piece of glass to celebrate our anniversary. Just once.

Of course, by the time I'm celebrating my 50th anniversary, I'll be too old and feeble to appreciate the finely crafted glass sculpture that Anna-Ashley Hilton has purchased for me with the money she had left over from the boob implants and collagen injections she would have to have to be eligible for that spread in Hot Tank-Top Bimbos Who Love Older Men magazine. She would be better off saving the money and buying me a new colostomy bag. Waste not, want not.

I don't even know how I got on the Steuben mailing list, but here it is, every month, a constant reminder that I don't exist in the rarefied air of people who could spend on a piece of glass what I would spend for a car.

It is nice and all...


Yet another ineffectual exertion on my behalf

I love a good e-mail. I also love colorful writing. When the two come together in one giant Internet-related fireball, my day is made. This came today. It’s one of those spam and scam deals where it appears as though there is a large sum of money awaiting my bank account info for an immediate transfer. I read them.

I am sure that the receipt of this mail will be of utmost blessing to you. However sorry to marvel you a bit and take some of your time in going through this unpredicted letter of entreaty for your forbearing and facilitation.

That’s a fine opening paragraph. You have caught my eye. Proceed.

I wish to inform you I was the intimate and entrusted pettifogger of late Mr. George [my surname], whose life and that of his entire family were lapsed while on holidays in a resort in Phuket, Thailand on the 26th of December 2004 in the Tsunami natural disaster. My late client was a merchant in hygienic products via West African Coast to Thailand as an import and export executive.

Wow. An importer/exporter. I thought they were limited to Elaine’s made-up boyfriends. I think he needs to focus more on the importing and less on the exporting. Maybe then, he wouldn’t have been lapsed - on the day after Christmas, no less. That’s a pisser, dude.

What followed were several interesting phrases that may make a good haiku:

After these ineffectual exertions…

I wish to seek your carte blanche to present you as the next of kin…

On receipt of your positive reaction, we will then determine the sharing quota and modus vivendi of the transfer.

Your sincere willingness and motivated spirited efforts to enhance the ascendancy of this covenant…

May his fragile soul rest in perfect peace.

That is some high-quality babble right there, folks. It is poetic in its nonsense. Suffocating under its literary weight, as it were.

First, I had to look up pettifogger. To pettifog is “to carry on a petty or shifty law business” or “to practice chicanery”. A bit odd for a soliciting e-mail, but I don’t know, maybe there really is one born every minute.

Second, did you catch the name of the town in Thailand where the Surname’s were lapsed?


My thoughts exactly.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Looking for a Way Out of a Cul-de-sac

You can judge the character of a person by the neatness of his automobile trunk.
That's the doctrine I began to embrace immediately after I cleaned and vacuumed my trunk tonight. Prior to that, the doctrine had no meaning whatsoever. By the way, carrying cat litter in your trunk is a great way to combat the effects of icy roads, but its value diminishes when the bag breaks open in the trunk and the ice is on the outside.
On the bright side, I did manage to find a ten dollar bill in the trunk. I guess it fell out of that guy's pocket.


In other news, I'm in great need of some interesting new music. After getting overly excited by that Morphine band, only to find out that the band is neither together nor entirely alive anymore, I'm wondering if there's anything new I need to hear. On the way home from vacuuming small cubes of clay, I heard a song called "Brave New World" and prayed that it was something new. Pray. Pray. Pray. Nope. Mr. Radio Head comes on and tells me it's Michael Penn, he says, "from way back on his March album." Uh-oh, 1989. 'Way back' isn't a phrase I wanted to hear. In fact, I appear to be going backward. My Delorian 85mph tastes in music are running me right out of the 21st century. Nonetheless, it is a great song.

Investigators looking into the friendly fire death of former NFL star Pat Tillman found no criminal negligence, but they did find negligence in the initial investigation, so there really isn't any way to know what in Hell happened.

The NCAA basketball tournament is down to what marketing people refer to as the Final Four. There really isn't anything "final" about it, since they still have 3 games left to play, but we'll go along to get along.
Secretaries, nerds and graduates of the four schools are rejoicing in the fact that two 1-seeds and two 2-seeds are remaining. From the looks of it, the pools will come down to tie-breakers, since there was no George Mason this year. All that wasted energy finding the Tennessee, Texas A & M or Oregon that could advance could have been put to better use if we had just gone with "the chalk", and spent the extra time drinking.
Smaller numbers win. Who'd a thunk?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What's Happening in the World?

MIAMI - The murky circumstances surrounding Anna Nicole Smith's death could become clearer Monday, when authorities are expected to release the results of the former pinup's autopsy.

Anna Nicole's autopsy results. You know what that means? Three more weeks of programming for Nancy Grace.

BIG THICKET NATIONAL PRESERVE, Texas - Corinne Campbell and a pair of companions in similar kayaks have been on a tedious winter-long canvass of Texas' famed Big Thicket, an often impenetrable jungle of swamps choked with thorny vines and prodigious pine and cedar trees, in pursuit of the ivory-billed woodpecker.
Wow. That's the biggest effort put out looking for a white pecker since the Republicans found George W. Bush a Vice President.

SUPERIOR, Wisconsin - A 20-year-old man received probation after he was convicted of having sexual contact with a dead deer. The sentence also requires Bryan James Hathaway to be evaluated as a sex offender and treated at the Institute for Psychological and Sexual Health in Duluth, Minnesota.

"The type of behavior is disturbing," Judge Michael Lucci said. "It's disturbing to the public. It's disturbing to the court."

No kidding, Wapner. Is anybody thinking of the poor deer?