Friday, June 27, 2008

Looking ahead from my place at the rear.

Big doings and nothing doings this weekend for the sick minded.
Friday (today or tomorrow depending) is yet another Dave Matthews show. This one is in Hershey, PA - and you know what's in Hershey. That's right ... beer. No really, it's the chocolate thing. The big stadium (Hershey Park stadium or something) is right next door to the big chocolate factory, so there's tailgating (the beer part) and Reese's cups in my future. I'll have to find a way to keep them chilled, since it's going to be hotter than Hell on Friday (today or tomorrow depending).
This is the last Dave show of the summer for us. My friend is a total groupie. After the Camden show a couple of weeks ago she did her usual "follow the band back to the hotel" thing. Usually it includes me, but this time the show coincided with the LPGA Championship in Maryland, and you know how that little competition came out.
Well, it turns out that this year she got to meet His Majesty and got a big hug and special treatment from the people who do their best to protect Dave from the hoi polloi. So, I missed out on that, but I got to see Suzann Pettersen, so it's a wash as far as I'm concerned.
We'll get an early start and pack the cooler with plenty of Golden Monkey and Tripel Horse, along with some ... food. Gotta take food.
So that's Friday (today or tomorrow depending). Saturday and Sunday is the nothing doing part. If you're an LPGA fan (and I can't imagine how you aren't), this week is the U.S. Open, which they call the U.S. Women's Open, even though it isn't called the U.S. Men's Open. Anyway, it's on big network TV Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 6, so if you need me, my butt will be firmly planted between those hours watching some South Korean beat up on the girls. As of today, it's Ji Young Oh in a first place tie with Pat Hurst. Guess which one is from South Korea.
I know you're wondering, so I'll tell you that Paula Creamer is three shots back in seventh place. Saturday and Sunday will be much more interesting if she's in one of the last groups.
More later.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

No size fits everyone.

I'm still trying to cope with the canvas shopping bags. I live so close to the market that I can make little trips 3 or 4 times a week. I grab a couple of canvas totes and walk on over. Invariably, the cashier tries to put something in one of those disgusting plastic bags. Yesterday it was a 4-pack of bottled water. While I'm busy packing the bags, the kid reaches for a plastic one. Ugh. Just give it to me.
On Sunday it was a container of laundry detergent which was already conveniently in its own bottle with a handle. I can carry it. That's what the handle is for. The cashiers are trained to use those dopey plastic bags, and it kills them if they can't separate the soap from the food. People walk out of the market with a dozen of them in their carts. They're killing me.
PHOENIX (AP) — Shaquille O'Neal will lose his special deputy’s badge in Maricopa County because of language he used in a rap video that mocks former teammate Kobe Bryant. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the Phoenix Suns center’s use of a racially derogatory word and other foul language left him no choice. Arpaio made Shaq a special deputy in 2006 and promoted him to colonel of his largely ceremonial posse later that year. “I want his two badges back,” Arpaio told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Because if any one of my deputies did something like this, they’re fired. I don’t condone this type of racial conduct.”
Hey Joe, here's a clue. Your deputies are trained law enforcement personnel. Shaquille is a basketball player. Do you understand the difference? You gave the guy an honorary badge, right? What did you expect, that he'd be out there gunning down criminals and making arrests? You should probably be relieved of your duties as well. The people of Maricopa County would be better served by someone with a (1) sense of humor and (2) a perspective. My God, this whole Shaq/Kobe thing. You're like a bunch of high school girls. Get a grip.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Fan video shot Tuesday in Auburn, Wash., shows country singer Tim McGraw help eject an unruly fan. McGraw shouts, "Get rid of this guy," summons security and helps arriving crew members haul him onstage. When the heavyset fan moves toward McGraw, the singer threatens him with a cocked fist as he's hauled away.
I love the term "heavyset." The guy was fat. Overweight. Whatever. When I was a kid, there was a pants size called Husky, for those heavyset kids who couldn't lay off the cheeseburgers. Husky was cool because it didn't sound fat. It sounded husky, but it was really fat. Fat is as fat does, Mrs. Blue.
That was back when I used to buy size "small" t-shirts. Can you even get a small t-shirt now? When I go to a sporting event and they give out the Holy Grail of gifts, the Free T-Shirt, they're always large or extra large. It's the dreaded "one size fits all" approach, where the size really doesn't fit. It should be "one size hangs on ya." I suppose they figure we'll wear them with the armpits hanging to our nipples or they'll be too small for the people who really need an XXL. You know, those heavyset people. They're set heavy. Like a regular person turned up a bit. We'll do anything but call them fat. They're Big Beautiful People, right? Unless they're assholes, in which case they're fat bastards.
It's a one size fits all world, and that one size is extra large.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tonight's the night.

It's here. You're watching, aren't you? C'mon, admit it, you're fascinated.
"It's not television. It's birth control."
The sad thing is that it is television. It's television at its worst. It's television exploiting life for its own gain. Commercial advertisements, promotion and exploitation. It's what television has become, and for them to say it's not television is a lie.
Kids are "borrowing" actual children. It's not one of those cyber deals where it's like Robo-kid and they can cancel the game and start over. These are real kids with real parents - not the ones on the show - other parents who sold the kids to the show, and I can only imagine the family photo album and YouTube video that the kid will see when he's twelve.
"Hey Billy, check it out. This is you when we sold you to this TV show because we had too much credit card debt and gasoline was $4 a gallon (you remember gasoline, right?) and we needed some money. We figured it would help us and it wasn't going to be something you'd remember - unless you underwent psychotherapy and some hypnotist made you remember - so we figured that we'd just make some money off of your pea-sized brain and repressed instincts."
"Gee, thanks mom. I love you, too."
In case you think perhaps I'm hammering this subject a little too much, let me establish the point that I believe that programs like The Baby Borrowers are at the basement of every ethical, moral and spiritual belief that I hold dear. The people at NBC who are responsible for it should be fired and Don Imus should be hired to replace them. It's so bad at this point that a jackass like Imus would be a step upward.
Anthony's Rule of Thumb #3: Prime-time television in the summer is the entertainment equivalent of throwing crap on a wall to see how much of it sticks. If it's offensive, it doesn't matter because it's the summer. If people like it, we'll see more of it in the fall.
The idea that the weirdos at NBC think that it's "Birth Control" contributes nothing to the social experiment, but to the strange morality that the network is trying to preach at the expense of children. Children who are powerless to say "no" to the nonsense that is perpetuated by a network that has apparently run out of ways to entertain us.
Here's an idea: A scripted program with characters that are developed over a period of time that viewers can identify with and come to appreciate and become interested in the way they would characters in a great novel or film.
Whatever happened to that?

Our word for the day.

Pronunciation: \ˈsə-blə-ˌmāt\
Function: noun
A chemical product obtained by sublimation.
Sublimation of an element or compound is a transition from the solid to gas phase with no intermediate liquid stage.
Radio jackass Don Imus is at it again. He made some off-color joke about Adam (don't call me "Pacman") Jones' color and now he's in for another ass-beating. What I don't get about the whole affair is why do we care what he says? We know he's a jackass, yet we treat his nonsense with the same respect we would treat a politician or religious figure making the same remarks.
Your attention please: He's a radio guy. He has a program on the radio. They pay him to make stupid remarks, and when you call attention to his nonsense it only makes him say more stupid stuff.
Which leads me to Anthony's Rule of Thumb #5:
When you see a non-sports personality on the sports page of the newspaper or a sports personality on the front page, it's almost never anything good.
It's either an athlete who killed someone or a personality who did something stupid. Either way, I think we should learn to separate the sports from the non-sports. It makes it easier to keep track of things. As for Imus, he's so irrelevant it's funny. So far, the only way we hear his name is when he does something to offend ten people.
A Haiku:
Imus keeps talking.
He's corrosive sublimate.
Don't let it burn you.
Function: Intransitive verb
To divert the expression of (an instinctual desire or impulse) from its unacceptable form to one that is considered more socially or culturally acceptable.
People don't like being told what to do. I find that out almost every day when I see someone driving and talking on their cellular telephone, which is a primary offense in New Jersey. If I can make eye contact, I'll yell at them. Usually, it's in a demonstrative tone, "Get off the phone!" Lately though, my plaintive cries have turned to a more pleading "Get off the phoooone," and I use the sad puppy-dog eyes that make it clear that their behavior, while illegal, is also annoying to me personally.
Usually, what I get is a smug look, and as was the case tonight, while on my bicycle I spied a caller/driver and did the yelling tone. With his window open and only a lane of roadway separating us, he heard me over the din of his conversation.
"Fuck you, Nancy!" he replied, which shocked me because I was told that guys on bicycles were kind of cool, so how could he think that a guy on a commuter bike would be anything but? Either that, or he thought I looked like this Nancy person he knows. A third possibility occurred to me; that he could have been talking to Nancy on the phone, and my admonition came at an inopportune time, when he was just then telling Nancy she should fuck herself.
I don't think it was that one.
What is interesting to me is how people can turn obviously wrong behavior around and make it look as though the person correcting them is at fault. I'm figuring that most of them have active sperm or egg, and therefore have produced children to whom they teach these tenants of life, wherein the fault lies with the accuser and not in their own actions. As for me, I was excited that the person (Nancy?) he was speaking to had to hear "Fuck you Nancy" over the phone. Mission accomplished. Who's the jackass now? I hope he was talking to his grandmother.
Guilt diversion is a valuable skill. That way, nothing they do is wrong, since they can sublimate their behavior and make an appropriate excuse to anyone who calls them on it.
I think it's where the expression "ignorance is bliss" comes from.
A haiku:
Ignorance is bliss,
because I can sublimate
my illegal act.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sports of all sorts

Former Philadelphia 76er Aaron McKie was arrested and charged Monday with trying to buy two guns despite being under a protection-from-abuse order that bars such purchases. In the criminal charge, he is accused of lying by answering "no" to the gun-purchase application's question about a restraining order to protect his "child or an intimate partner or child of such partner."
"You can make an honest mistake on a gun application and pay the price," McKie's attorney, Brian McMonagle said. "I don't think anybody thinks he had any bad intentions here."
Only a lawyer can refer to a lie as an "honest mistake." Sure. People buy guns all the time. "What restraining order? Oh yeah ... that restraining order. What's the problem? I'm buying two guns but there's only one restraining order. You're sticking it to me!"
Wimbledon starts this week, and across America trained journalists will say "Wimbleton" as though that's how it's pronounced. Say it - Wimbledon. Wimbledon. Now, of course, tennis has added another layer of pomp to an already pomp-laden game by calling it Championships Wimbledon, as though that makes sense. I think they try too hard to elevate the game, like with that ridiculous scoring system ... 15, 30, 40, Love. What the fuck is that? Whatever happened to 1, 2, 3, 4? And what's Deuce? And while we're at it, stop the screaming on every shot. I never heard Annika Sorenstam scream when she hits a drive, and that golf ball will crease your skull if it hits you. Quiet down, count like a regular person and play tennis. The Wimbledon Championships. There, isn't that better? I'm leading, 2 to nothing.
Meanwhile, it turns out that Big Brown was missing a shoe in his failed Triple Crown attempt at the Belmont Stakes a few weeks ago. How does it take 3 weeks to figure out that the horse was missing a shoe? Isn’t that one of the first things you’d notice? "Hey, aren't there supposed to be four of these?" The owners also said that they will no longer give steroids to the other horses they own. That’s great. In an obvious attempt at humor, U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, the ranking Republican on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, called move a good sign, but doesn’t expect to see other owners lining up behind IEAH. “I’m confident there’s not going to be a mass stampede by owners,” Whitfield told the Associated Press. Mass stampede. You’re hilarious.
I watched the Women's U.S. Olympic Gymnastics trials over the weekend (or is it the Trials Gymnastics?) Anyway, the announcers were busy pointing out tiny imperfections while a teenager was prancing on a 4-inch wide beam doing somersaults and handstands. "A tenth of a point deduction - her feet moved." Screw you, buddy, this thing is 4 inches wide. Meanwhile, I can't tell a tenth of a point. Unless they fall off or yell, "Fuck!" while they're doing it, I don't know how anyone can tell what's going on. That's why I like a timed event. These skating, gymnastics and diving deals where judges determine who wins are as bogus as Aaron McKie's gun application. Give me an event where there's a first place. I don't want a major sporting event where I get to the end and say, "I really liked the girl who finished fifth." Pointless.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

I have a difficult time when someone asks, “What’s your favorite...” song, movie, actor or whatever. It depends on my mood and what I’m listening to or thinking about at the time, so it might change depending on when I’m asked. It’s especially true if there are a lot of choices and I’d have a hard time narrowing the list to one.
Such is the case with comedians. The best I could do would be to put a list together. Ranking them one through ten is conditional and unnecessary:
Lenny Bruce
Bill Cosby
Dave Attell
Doug Stanhope
George Carlin
Brian Regan
Patton Oswalt
Don Rickles
Jerry Seinfeld
Mitch Hedberg
If you asked me today, I’d say Regan and next week I might say Stanhope, but at different times in my life I would have said George Carlin. Carlin died on Sunday, and I must admit to losing track of him over the past 10 years or so. I started listening to him in the early 70s when he put out an album called "FM & AM." For a teenager, it was heady stuff - edgy, borderline obscene and full of energy. I saw him on television a bunch of times.
I remember one occasion on one of those old variety shows – it might have been The Flip Wilson Show – where he came out and just stood there and stared back at the audience for two minutes. He changed expression a couple of times, and looked as though he was going to say something, but didn’t. The idea that he wasn’t saying anything made the audience laugh. That was the whole bit.
He was the first host of Saturday Night Live (when it was called NBC’s Saturday Night, because ABC had a rival show called Howard Cosell’s Saturday Night Live). In those days, the host didn’t get involved in the sketches. He did a few stand-up routines and introduced the music.
He changed a lot over the years. Mostly, he got crankier and seemed to be less tolerant of the nonsense that went on in the world. With his gravelly voice and inflections, he made complaining funny.
Mostly though, he made us think about the nonsense that permeates our lives. He stood back and pointed at stuff and said, “Bet you didn’t realize that was going on, did you?” That’s a valuable skill, and it’s more valuable if we can laugh at it, too. It takes insight and talent; two things sadly lacking in most of today’s entertainment. Most of it is based on who can yell the loudest or make somebody else look stupid.
I noticed that the obituaries are referring to Carlin as a “counterculture comic.” It seems as though we need to label people and things. Saying Carlin was a counterculture comic is shortchanging him as a social commentator and comedian.
Counterculture is a throw-away word and probably something that Carlin would have detested.
“The two big mistakes were the belief in a sky god - that there's a man in the sky with 10 things he doesn't want you to do and you'll burn for a long time if you do them - and private property, which I think is at the core of our failure as a species. That's the source of my indignations, my dissatisfactions; however it comes out on the stage. I feel betrayed by the people I'm part of, these creatures, these magnificent creatures.”
- George Carlin

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A new low.

On Wednesday, NBC is treating us to a television program called The Baby Borrowers. The premise, so we're told, is that childless couples and/or teenagers are given babies to deal with for a period of time, giving them (so we're told) "a unique opportunity to peer into the future and see what they (and their partners) might be like if they remain together and decide to build a family." For three whole weeks.
Now that television has run out of ways to abuse adults, they have figured a way to include children in their nonsense. The problem (among many) is that children don't have a way to defend themselves. They are at the mercy of their (so-called) parents, who apparently will sell them to television in exchange for a few dollars. NBC calls it a "social experiment" but what it really is is something more - or less depending on your viewpoint.
NBC's upcoming reality series "The Baby Borrowers" is an intriguing new social experiment based on the hit British program that asks five diverse teenage couples - ages 18-20 - to fast-track to adulthood by setting up a home, getting a job and becoming caring parents first to babies, toddlers, pre-teens and their pets, teenagers and senior citizens - all over the course of three weeks.
Meanwhile, adults who wish to adopt children are made to wait for months while agencies research their (so-called) worthiness as parents, while parents with active sperm and eggs are able to sell their children to television for money.
If you find yourself watching this program on Wednesday night, you are as much to blame as the network and the parents who sold their children. It is at the low end of what we have come to call entertainment and I think the network, at a loss for actual entertainment options, has turned to the lowest form of the medium that we have seen. It isn't entertainment. It's child abuse.