Saturday, July 21, 2007

Oh boy.

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney is assuming the powers of the presidency for the second time in five years while President Bush undergoes a medical procedure. Bush planned to hand over authority to Cheney on Saturday before the president goes under anesthesia to receive a routine colonoscopy — a test to look for potential cancer.
I'm a little pressed for time this morning, so maybe you're better off making your own jokes. Here are the circumstances:
1 - A president who bears a striking resemblance to a pertinent body part.
2 - An equally (or perhaps moreso) striking resemblance to the Vice President.
3 - A doctor with his finger up Bush's ass.
4 - Cheney in the Oval Office.
5 - Names like Bush and Dick are involved.

Vancouver - more than just hockey.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Officials in a rural valley in British Columbia hope that keeping out cellphones will help attract residents and tourists who want to escape to the quiet of nature. "The fact that we're without cellphone service means that we're able to enjoy life without the incessant sound of ringtones, immediately followed by someone's shouted conversation," Bill Roberts of the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission said on Friday.
It sounds like I may have found my eventual retirement community, and it sounds like Bill Roberts has his finger squarely on the pulse.
I keep waiting for the backlash, but instead we embrace new technology and even go so far as to stand in line for hours so that we can buy things that eventually make our lives more costly and complicated. The ones I really don't understand are those damned Nextel Walkie-Talkies. If I hear one more of those chirps, I may not be responsible for my actions. Who was the genius that figured out that people want to hear conversations played like a radio? A few months ago, I was on the treadmill at the gym next to a guy whose phone rang six times in a half hour, and each time it was some stupid conversation about work - chirp - chirp - chirp. I finally had to move to another treadmill, but I could hear it from twenty feet away. You know how your senses pick up annoying things even though you try not to pay attention ...?
And don't even ask me why people need to speak so loudly when they are on the cell phone. Or why they need to take them to the gym. There must be a name for the psychological condition where people require noise and disturbance every waking second. I cherish the solitude of the bike or quiet lunches without disturbance, but we can't control the neighbor's ringtones.
My supervisor leaves his cell phone on his desk, and it loudly plays the world's most ridiculous song, which is followed by another noise notifying him that he missed a call. Here's an idea: Turn the ringer down. If you aren't at your desk, you won't hear it no matter how loud it is, and if you are, then it doesn't need to be loud to begin with. I'm thisclose to writing a memo to Human Resources asking them to issue a company policy about the vibrate mode on cell phones.
A group of residents in the valley in south-eastern British Columbia have asked telephone company Telus Corp. not to build a planned cellphone tower in New Denver, a one-time mining boomtown that is now home to about 600 people.
601 - real soon.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A brief glimpse into my personal Hell.

I used to have a neighbor, who, upon seeing the newspaper delivery on the roof of his house one day; placed his hands on his hips and proclaimed:
"People are no damned good!"
Last night, I decided to venture out into the realm of the general public - the local bar - and take in part of the Phillies game, and perhaps meet someone whom I could talk to and share an adult beverage.
After tiring (and failing) at that pursuit, I decided to try my hand (and finger) at the bar-centered trivia game. Four dollars a minute to see how my knowledge of nonsense stacks up against like-minded drunks in the greater Gloucester County area.
Midstream into my second game, a figure of the female persuasion entered into my peripheral vision. She spoke...
SHE: Would you like someone to play with you?
ME: Sure!
[Me, foolishly thinking that someone of the opposite sex would take an interest]
SHE: [derisive laughter] Hahahahahaha!
I don't know exactly why she would choose to make a mockery of me in such a way, but suffice it to say, I finished my beer and escaped to the comfort of home, where I hugged my cat and thanked him for his loyalty, while wondering why people can be ... people.
He didn't seem to understand, and neither did I.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Spend it like Beckham

In their (seemingly) never ending way to try to force Americans to embrace soccer (football), NBC has concocted another prime-time program based around the life of someone who has built-in publicity by virtue of her name.
Victoria Beckham has her own show called Coming to America. Geez, go figure. Weeks after her overpaid husband signed a contract to attempt to force Americans to like something that they clearly do not, we are being invaded once again by cameras in someone's house. This time, it's the wife of David Beckham, the midfielder for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Seriously, they are running out of names for sports teams.
David Beckham, by virtue of his talent and a popular movie with his name in the title, signed a 5-year deal worth as much as $250 million that will see Beckham earn up to $10 million a year in direct salary (but with endorsements and profit-sharing, Beckham could earn up to $50 million a year) and earning about 90 dollars every second on the field.
He will be fiercely promoted on TV and now that his wife has her own show, she will be foist upon us as well. This is merely the latest in the manufactured celebrity machine that seemed to start with American Idol, continued with people like Paris Hilton and drones on now with worldly popular sports figures whom Americans couldn't care less about.
That didn't stop the Galaxy from paying him a fortune, and it won't stop NBC from pushing more nonsense on us - all in the name of big-time entertainment that we are told we are supposed to like. How much do you want to bet that NBC (or one of its affiliate companies) has part ownership in the Galaxy?
News flash: Americans don't like soccer and haven't liked it for the past 20 years that it has been pushed on us. We are a four-sport country, and like Jerry Seinfeld, we already have all the friends (sports) we need, and there isn't room for any more. It's July, and we are already being told that NFL training camp starts in 9 days. Jesus, Mary and Joseph - they are still playing baseball. By September, basketball, hockey and college football will be sucking at society's teat, draining us of whatever is left of our collective attention span.
Soccer? Get in line.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cats and Dogs

Michael Vick has been indicted by a grand jury over allegations that he ran a dog fighting enterprise out of one of his homes in Virginia. You surely know by now of my affection for animals, so I won’t reiterate any views I may have already expressed as to the heinousness of this crime and the blight on society that Vick and his kind represent.
What I find interesting is that the dog fighting “hobby” is not for those earning minimum wage. Huge sums of money are required to house the dogs, buy the equipment and, perhaps most of all, make the large wagers that degenerates place on these events. These people are affluent, and some of them famous, proving the notion that society’s scum is not bound by social class or income.
While most of us find the dog fighting practice disgusting, as it is with all things, that viewpoint is not universally agreed upon. You have a hard time getting people in mixed company to admit that they think it’s a fine recreational endeavor, just as you would trying to get people to admit to drinking and driving or using illegal drugs. Sadly, some people have a utilitarian view of animals, and back it up with some convoluted reference to the Bible telling them that “man has dominance over the animals."
Domesticated animals (as cats and dogs are supposed to be) are loyal friends who bring great joy and happiness to lives of humans. When they are used as a form of perverse entertainment, one must wonder what sort of demented person gets enjoyment out of watching any living creature destroy another - or destroying one themselves.
It has been said that the saddest thing an adult has to do is to bury one of its children.
How many people would have children if they knew that their children would die before their parents? Raise a kid for 16 years only to have his health fail and have to bury him next to his either slightly older or younger siblings who suffered similar fates.
Knowing that, we (the animal lovers) bring a pet into our home and allow the animal to bond with us and become a full-fledged furry member of our family. We plan vacations around them, time-out our work day and make time at our leisure for them. All of this is done with the understanding that unless the animal is a tortoise or a parrot, we will outlive the animal and at some point we will be faced with the sorrowful chore of deciding its fate, and to some extent, ours.
We never know, of course, when that moment will come. There are a fair number of accidents that take the lives of our furry friends or the unexpected illness that will come from nowhere and leave the decision out of our control. If, however, the animal remains in its captive indoor nest, chances are that they will live a long pet life, which will undoubtedly end from some malady, and just as undoubtedly leave their human to make the painful decision as to the time when the quality of the pet’s life intrudes on the quality of the human’s.
It is at that point that the human caregiver must seek to do what is in the best interests of his animal companion. The nature of the animal is to be the loyal friend, since we choose to care for them, feed them and comfort them, as they comfort us. Once that loyalty is taken advantage of - either by induced fighting or prolonged agony - we are selfishly taking advantage of their friendship and preying on the very thing that they provide to us as an excuse for our enjoyment.
I only wish that the animals had a say in the matter.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Postus Interruptus

Today was the first test of the canvas bag purchase of Monday. I'm happy to say that it survived both the Weight Test and the Enemy Contents Test.
WEIGHT TEST: The bag made it through the entire half-mile walk home with (1) a ten-pound bag of cat litter (2) a one-liter bottle of Southern Comfort and (3) a bag of Pringles Select Sun-Dried Tomato Chips, which admittedly do not add much to the weight, but contributes mightily to the ...
ENEMY CONTENTS TEST: The Pringles and the litter and SoCo. Natural enemies sharing the same canvas bag with nary a mark on any of them. I'm happy to say that all the chips made the walk home uncracked, as did the bottle. Screw the cat litter. That just gets crapped on anyway.

And now for something completely different...

Midway through this post, I wandered over to Sparky Duck's blog and found that I was tagged. The idea is to go to Wikipedia, type in my birthday and list 3 events, 2 births and one holiday that coincides with my date of birth. So ...


1995 - The Million Man March in Washington, D.C. This was interesting to me because it (a) fell far short of the million participant goal, yet still retained its historic moniker and (b) I was lucky enough not to stumble upon this on a random visit to D.C. It seems that every time I go there, I wander onto some huge National event that I had no idea was going on. This one had enough advance warning for me.
1969 - The Miracle Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles in game 5 of the World Series. Somehow, I remember sitting in the Acme parking lot in Clementon listening to the games on the radio on my way home from school that year. This is interesting because never again will the Series end so early - or during the daylight hours. Particularly this year, when it is possible that a game will be played on November 1, and end after midnight.
1962 - The first day of The Cuban Missile Crisis. I was turning 5, and I suppose my parents wondered if I would ever see 6.


1958 - Tim Robbins. Partly because we're close to the same age, but mostly because he's hooked-up with Susan Sarandon - and boy, do I like Susan Sarandon. Nice pull, Tim.

1943 - Fred Turner. It's really cool that a guy could get his name in a band and still, nobody knows who he is. Fred is the Turner in Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Randy Bachman is the Bachman, but I never found out who Overdrive was.

It's National Feral Cat Day, so in honor of my sick little boy, I will honor him by posting this today.

My tags:

Katie. Susan and Kimmyk. You go, girls!

So, as a brief musical interlude to break up your humdrum day, here's "Walken" by Wilco.

free music


Random thoughts and nonsense that rattles around and settles here.

There's an old saw in the television business. When the going gets tough, bring in a kid. The Brady Bunch did it with Cousin Oliver. Lots of failing series go with the pregnant wife to drum up ratings and attract viewers.
The World's Biggest Fraud, Donald Trump (well, one of the world's biggest frauds) is pumping up the cancelled/renewed The Apprentice by bringing in celebrities to compete next year. One can only hope that it costs him so much money that he once again has to declare bankruptcy. I'd tune in for that. I'd especially tune in if he and Rosie O'Donnell had a little baby Trump.
Have I mentioned how sick I am of these "reality" shows? I did.
Kitty-wise, it's a mixed bag. I've temporarily given up on the Renal diet, since he doesn't eat it, and hasn't in four days. Rather than have him waste away to nothing, I have given him his favorite Fancy Feast Ocean Fish, and he scarfed it down, proving that he hasn't lost either his appetite nor his sense of taste. I'll try to get him to eat the kidney stuff, but I figure that he would die of malnutrition faster than he would die of kidney failure, so the choice was to fail now or fail later. He goes to the vet on Friday.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Most people check environmentally responsible behavior at the door when they check into a hotel, according to a survey released by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Three out of four hotel guests believe it is important to have their sheets and towels changed each day - an environmentally unfriendly habit few practice at home.
Towels, sure. But sheets? I don't change my sheets every day, and I don't think you do, either. That would be ridiculous. I also won't charge 90 bucks to stay here for a night, (if you're interested) so maybe it all evens out.
The local supermarket has started selling these reusable bags for 99 cents. They're on a big rack near the check-out line. I picked up two on Monday night, and the kid at the register said, "Do we sell these?"
I was tempted to return with the wise-ass answer, "No, I put them on the conveyor so you'd ask me a dopey question", but I didn't. I told him that they were on a big rack near the check-out line. He seemed confused. I'm wondering how the store will know that I brought them in with me the next time I go shopping. I guess I'll find out. I'm saving the receipt.
Meanwhile, I have a huge collection of those crunchy, disgusting plastic bags in a drawer in my kitchen, waiting for more recyclables to throw in them and throw out. It seems so pointless.
I've checked for canvas bags, and I haven't seen them for less than six bucks at one of those "environmentally friendly" web sites, so, if these work out OK for a buck, I'm all in. There's even a hard plastic bottom so your stuff doesn't droop [and we all know how much we hate that]. Check out the web site.
Since I'm out of blogging ideas, I thought you might like to know my summer concert schedule. Thanks for asking. On Sunday, July 29, I'll be taking in Chris Cornell (the best voice in rock) at the Electric Factory. On August 7, it's the return of The Dave Matthews Band at The Tweeter Center in Camden. No doubt my friend will keep me up until the wee hours chasing them around Philly in pursuit of yet another set of autographs and pictures. I'm planning on being too drunk to notice. On August 18, it's Fiona Apple (who the same friend calls "headache girl" - so I'll be going alone again) opening for Nickel Creek at the Mann Music Center. I've never seen Nickel Creek, so if they suck, I can always leave a happy guy having seen Fiona again - from row three!
All of which means I'll be taking July 30 and August 8 as post-show vacation days at work. Thanks, Fiona for scheduling a Saturday night. You rock, girl.

free music

Monday, July 16, 2007

Espy, Schmespy

The Espy’s were on last night, and in the words of the great fictional character Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, “The instrument has not been invented that can measure my indifference to that remark.”
I suppose there is some place for an awards show that is named after the network that is televising it, but if there is, it is lost on me. Besides, almost all of the sports that they honored already have their own awards for outstanding achievement, so perhaps this amounts to little more than piling on in the name of lame summer programming.

In addition, the wimps at Major League baseball allowed ESPN to re-schedule a game that was originally scheduled at 1:35 to be played at 6:05, when most people are either starting or just finishing dinner on Sunday. Usually, their night games are at 8:00, but that would have run them into the scheduled time for their precious awards show, and we know that can’t happen.

If baseball had any real balls, they would have told ESPN, “Screw you. We don’t work for you – you work for us. Put your stupid awards show on when you want, but we aren’t going to re-schedule a game for your pompous self-congratulatory televised pat on the back.”

In case you didn’t figure it out, I didn’t watch the Espy’s last night.