Friday, October 12, 2007

Equinox, schmequinox. It's cold outside.

Most people view Labor Day as the end of the summer. Or, as some TV newspeople would say, "The unofficial end of summer." Others put it at the Equinox on September 23 - or as some TV newspeople would say, "The official end of summer". The end of summer comes for me when the days grow too short to ride my bicycle after work and the early mornings grow chilly.
That would be today.
After the near-record heat we've had around here since ... oh ... July, we're now at the start of some sort of cooling trend. It will be near 40 degrees Saturday morning, and I prefer to be near my warm bed when that sort of thing is happening.
Mostly, it's because I don't have anything to wear when the temperatures go below 50 degrees. Of course, I refuse to ride when it's cold, so there's a perfectly valid reason why I don't have any cold weather gear. Is that one of those chicken/egg deals?
There are the hard core riders, who will ride right on through the winter in the early morning, when it's coldest. I see them going past my window. I wave and smile. They see it as a test, I suppose. People against the elements. "You can't tell me what to do, I'll just put on another layer of clothing."
I have a rather narrow range of temperatures at which I will engage in outdoor games. Mostly, it's above 55 and below 95. Outside of that range, I'm finding something indoors to do. Where's that spinning class? An indoor, stationary bike. My kinda fun.
That's strange because, I distinctly remember playing sandlot football in the dead of winter and sandlot baseball in the (dead?) of summer. We spent a lot of time on the sandlot. The point is, that somewhere along the way I pussied up. I can't go out when it's too cold. I can't go out when it's too hot. I figure, if I live another 25 years, I'll be limited to air-conditioned rooms at low humidity. I'm doomed.
I'll never get it back. No more February Saturday morning pick-up football games. I turn the heat up to watch them on TV now. In the summer, my perspiration issues are the stuff of legend. I'm not sure where that started, either. I don't remember sweating much as a kid.
For the next two weeks or so, the daytime temperatures will be smack in the middle of my comfort range. Ya hoo. It happens for two weeks in April, too. That's what I get. Four weeks of environmental happiness. 8 percent of my year, solid as a rock. The other 92 ...
It's a shame that the mornings have to be so cold and the sun leaves so soon, because I really hate being comfortable at work. It's such a waste of a good day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

SMM seeking SMF for friendship, maybe more.

LONDON (Reuters) - One microscopic organism has thrived despite remaining celibate for tens of millions of years thanks to a neat evolutionary trick, researchers said.
Sure, you know what the "trick" is, right? It's called evolving into a repulsive organism. C'mon ladies, even tiny organisms need orgasms. Lighten up, babe. You try to be a responsible microscopic organism - good job, nice car, clean - all that junk, and a guy has to wait tens of millions of years for a little sump'n? WTF? Microscopic men have needs.
The National League playoffs started Thursday night, and how nice was it that the jackasses in Arizona had to throw crap on the field after they got pissed at a bad call? The Rockies left the field because they were afraid of getting hit by flying water bottles. TV loves it because ... anyone? ... more ... anyone? ... more commercials ... anyone? ... they get to show ... anyone? ... more commercials. They get to show more commercials. Bueller?
I love stuff like that because the fans in Philadelphia are supposed to be repulsive, so it's nice to see other fans throwing junk on the field. Let's see if anyone notices.
TBS is doing the National League playoffs in hi-definition. TBS never had a hi-def channel (at least not on my cable) and I think it may be new to them. When they're not showing baseball, they're running Everybody Loves Raymond in wide screen, so the aspect ratio is screwy and everybody looks like they're 4-feet wide. Figure it out, guys.
I had an idea in my head last night for something I wanted to write about. I didn't jot it down, and now, fa-foomf, gone. I hate when that happens. I think it had something to do with complaining about something. That narrows it down. I'll think of it, probably.
Until then, talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

6-year old children are lousy designated drivers.

I burned out on that Deal or No Deal quickly. I think I watched the first half dozen or so episodes, then they started doing crazy shit like inviting Donald Trump to give advice - as if he knows something about picking cases. Bankruptcy, sure. Boxing match with Rosie? You bet. Picking cases? I want Kreskin.
Anyway, I accidentally tuned in tonight and I see that there are now 7 million-dollar cases amongst the 26. Something tells me that they're a little desperate to give the money away, so they've "Little Leagued" it up by making it look like they've rigged the game. Is this supposed to make it more entertaining? Or less entertaining?
They took out all the high numbers, so that the highest before a million is $75,000. Sure, it seems like the game is stacked, but you've still got a 50% chance of getting less than a thousand bucks. Needless to say, I didn't leave it on long enough to find out if the contestant "won". I'd be willing to bet that she walked out with 10 dollars. Did anybody see the show?
By the way, why doesn't the title of the show have a question mark? Isn't it a question? It is.
So, a 6-year old in Colorado took his grandmother's car, presumably to drive to Applebee's. He positioned his car seat behind the steering wheel, started the car and drove it backwards into a power pole, knocking out power to a dozen homes. To comment on the sad state of parenting, the local dimwit checked in. "I have five children of my own, so I know you cannot watch them every minute they're awake," said nearby resident Nancy Hollis, whose power was knocked out by the accident.
"Where's your kid?"
"I dunno. I was calling QVC for one of them diamoneque lapel pins like Donny Osmond's sister has."
"Geez, there he is. He's smoking a cigarette and surfing!"
"Oh well, you can't watch them every minute. Put that surf board down!"
Maybe you could try watching them every other minute? Or at least long enough so they don't have enough time to power-up the family truckster.
I'm seeing an Applebee's ad campaign.
Children under 6 are not eligible for the car keys promotion.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Rings around Uranus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A NASA spacecraft observed lightning strikes at Jupiter's poles as it provided insights into the giant planet's dynamic atmosphere as well as volcanic activity on one of its moons, scientists said on Tuesday. "Scientists said." Like anybody listens to them. There's also a big probe near Uranus, so watch out.

Meanwhile, what a surprise that a Google search that originated from Florida State University for "Heineken DraughtKeg empty" landed them here. Don't you kids have mid-terms?

Hillary vs. my cat.

Who's dying to see a photo of my cat drinking out of the bathroom sink? OK.
Otherwise, life would be kinda dull around here. Lucky for me, I only have one cat.
And lucky for us, there's only one Hillary...
WEBSTER CITY, Iowa - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed tax cuts of up to $1,000 a year on Tuesday to encourage millions of working-age families to open personal 401(k) retirement accounts. The New York senator said the program would be paid for through higher estate taxes.
Does she honestly think that a tax cut will make people open a retirement account? What color is the sky in her world? For most of us, a thousand dollars is enough to make up for the increases in state taxes, sales tax (here in NJ) and the general cost of living increases that aren't met by our wages. If she thinks - even for a minute - that her constituents are going to use that money for a retirement account, I'd like to introduce her to human nature.
Human nature, Hillary. Hillary, human nature. Nice to meet you. What are you going to do with a thousand dollars? Probably spend it on cable TV and property taxes. Thanks. See ya later.
I'm going to have a lot of trouble, come November 2008 if this is the best they can do.

Got money?

Sunday night's Curb Your Enthusiasm was one of the funniest ever. Dial it up if you have HBO or that On Demand deal. Earlier this year, he took in a family that was displaced by the hurricanes last year. They're really out of place on the show, and it strikes me as a bit of a contrived plot line to bring other characters into the show. He doesn't need other characters.
The show is funniest when it's just Larry being Larry. He works himself into some social hole and spends the better part of the show working out of it. He doesn't need outsiders that we really don't care about. He may have gotten tired of writing for himself, but it really isn't much different than bringing a baby to a show or marrying a couple. It's a little phony.
The scene that got me to the blog was the one that takes place at Ted Danson's birthday party. He and Mary are opening gifts from their friends, and I found myself asking myself, "What could I possibly buy for someone as wealthy as Ted Danson?" Even if I were wealthy myself (which is the only way I'm getting invited to his party), how would I be able to get him something he wants but hasn't already bought for himself? That's probably why one gift was a Bongo Phone, that turns all it's profits over to AIDS in Africa. Larry gave him a photo book of freaks. Three penises, human pig ... stuff like that. Perfect.
Opulence is a condition that is sometimes offensive to the non-affluent. Perhaps it is even mildly offensive to the affluent, but they can deal with it better than we can. People worth millions, opening trinket gifts from their friends who are worth slightly fewer millions.
I wonder if I would be like that myself? Shameless, a little stuck-up and acting like my crap doesn't stink. I'd say 'no', which is probably why I'll never find out.
I think, if you acquire wealth relatively early in life or are born into it, your attitude changes a little. People want to do things for you, you're seldom required to pay for anything and you acquire a level of respect from people that sometimes isn't warranted. I don't think you'd ever see lottery winners acting like that. Mostly because they spend it too fast, but otherwise, I think they're a little better grounded.
People like Ted Danson earn more by merely showing up for work than most working people earn in a couple of years. I wonder if they feel like that is their true value or if even they think it's ridiculous? I think it's ridiculous.
Somebody pays them. They pay them so much that, when you go to a birthday party, you have to give them a Freak Book or an AIDS cell phone because they really don't need anything.
As for me, you can give me pretty much ... anything.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Today's mundane drama

I know better than to plan things. I still do it, I guess because sometimes the plans come to fruition; probably enough times to encourage me to make more plans.
Today was to be a little day trip in the car to Baltimore (or as they say in Baltimore, Balmer). Nature, however conspired against me with this God awful heat when it's supposed to be autumn. It reached 87 degrees here today, so I can only imagine how hot it was in Balmer.
I shrivel up in the heat. My skin burns. I sweat like a sanitation worker. It's very ... uncomfortable. When I'm out in it struggling, I look around and people are wearing long sleeves and [egad] suits and they look like they stepped out of a refrigerator. I look like I'm having a stroke.
So, I sought other activities. For me, that's a trip to the mall for lunch. Who goes to the mall for lunch? Me. Then it was off to the gym and home, where I decided to join the gang for the Monday night bike ride.
The days are getting shorter, so the ride leaves earlier to get our mileage in before dark. After the ride, I had to go to the grocery store ...
... right about now, you're wishing I went to Baltimore, right?
... shut up ... for cat litter.
Aw, that's enough. I'm boring myself. Next time I'll go, even if it kills me.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

When I hit the lottery, I will become a professional blogger

Once every three months or so I find myself in the odd predicament of having 5 dollars that I don't want anymore, and I buy one of these things [to your right].
They draw 6 numbers and you win money if the numbers on your ticket matches some of them. It isn't even necessary to match all 6. You can win something for matching 3, 4 or 5. Matching 5 would get you about $2,500, 4 gets about $60 and matching three only pays you enough to buy another ticket. Of course, the Holy Grail is the 6, which, on a slow week gets $2.5 million.
Most of us have said, at one time or another, "When I hit the lottery" which is followed by a dream paradise or just the sheer pleasure of being able to tell your boss to fuck off. 2.5 million would be enough for me to do that. Hell, right now, I'd do it for sixty bucks.
The hopes and dreams of millions of people hinge on one of these little pink tickets having a lot of matching numbers. I don't think that's fair.
After all, look at the pathetic example on your right. The winning numbers on October 4 were 2-8-15-21-39 and 44. Even if they paid by the ticket I wouldn't have won. I was disappointed but not surprised. I've been in those office lottery pools whenever one of the big jackpots gets ridiculous. Somebody runs out after work, on their own time and stands in line for a while to buy a couple hundred sets of numbers. All of us start dividing the prize by the number of participants before the winning numbers are drawn. That little calculation is usually followed by "That'd be nice", as we peer into our boss' office and begin to write the screenplay of our great departure. Is there a literary limit to the number of obscenities a person can say at one time?
Then of course, the numbers are drawn and when we go to work, we're all just a little sadder to have to look at each other for one more day. I'm holding onto that speech I wrote, though.
The odd thing is that after buying a couple hundred tickets a person would think that there was a reasonable chance of winning something. Then, the conscious part of your brain thinks of all the possible number combinations and reasoned that you could have spent a year's salary on tickets and still not won. If there was even a reasonable chance of that happening, don't you think people would do it? Home equity loans would be tied entirely to one lottery drawing. $50,000 for a chance to make $2.5 million. Sounds like a sure thing, doesn't it? Nope. That's why my five dollars would have been better spent on beer.
The Pennsylvania Lottery lists the odds of hitting their MATCH6 Lotto as 1 in 4,661,272.3. Think about $4.6 million dollars. That's how many lottery tickets you'd have to buy just to have even money odds to "win". That would be the true definition of a phyrric victory. Even a big home equity loan would probably lose out. Plus, you'd have to make sure each ticket had different numbers and you'd have to check them all.
When I hit the lottery, I'll have enough money to hire people to check the numbers on my lottery tickets.