Saturday, July 19, 2008


This is my blog on Wordie. It's an Internet toy that generates word clouds from text you provide or a link to your blog. I linked it to this blog. Frankly, I thought I used fuck a lot more than Wordie says I used it, but there ya go. From the looks of it, it doesn't go back very far for text. Try it. To quote John Blutarski, "It don't cost nothin'."

I am completely out of touch. As I said the other day, I exist in a strange Universe that fails to acknowledge the existence of people whom the rest of the world idolizes. I have no idea who K-Fed is, other than his name is Kevin Federline. How he earns a living, I have no idea. Presumably, he earns it from royalties over the use of his name or just by following Britney Spears around.

Salma Hayak's marriage is off. I had no idea she was engaged. I also had to look up the spelling of her name. I think she was engaged to a French sports car. A Pinault, whatever that is. Probably a two-seater.

And who is this Brangelina character? It sounds like an ice cream flavor or one of those fruity cocktail mixes, but it's somebody's baby. I found out it's Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. She's Jon Voight's kid, right? George Costanza used to drive his 1989 LeBaron convertible.

It took me a while to figure out that the cute girl on the Dunkin' Donuts commercials was a daytime talk show host. Then she wore that headgear and got people talking about her. I watch the show sometimes when I'm home during the day and I have to say, I don't get it. I figure that there are enough TV channels that just about anyone can have a show. She tells people what to eat.

Then I think, maybe I don't need to know who these people are.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A difficult subject.

Joker this, Joker that. Joker, Joker, Joker. I'm already reading buzz that Heath Ledger is a shoo-in Academy Award nominee, presumably for supporting actor, although from the way it's going he's the lead in this film. I haven't seen it - and probably won't - but suffice it to say I'd hate to be one of the other 4 actors nominated against him next February. There's no way a voter is going to give anyone else the award. So, my advice if you're looking for success ... die.
Death is strange business. In April, local baseball legend John Marzano died in his home, presumably of unknown circumstances. Yesterday, the coroner's report came out that said "postural asphyxia contributed to by blunt trauma and ethanol intoxication," said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the medical examiner's office. Moran said he could not elaborate. I can. Ethanol intoxication is being drunk. It's the leading cause of death among children (of all things) and contributes greatly to blunt force trauma, as you can imagine.
He couldn't (or wouldn't) elaborate because he didn't want to say that John was drunk and fell down the stairs. We're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, so people like Ledger and Marzano will be canonized, at least for the time being, until a tell-all book comes out that tells us what bastards they were. That's fine, of course, because supposedly a sufficient amount of time will have lapsed before we are told the truth.
The film I always go back to is "The Right Stuff." It's about the Mercury astronauts and the selection process that led to them being chosen. Two people in the film are depicted as "bad guys" - Lyndon Johnson and Gus Grissom. Both of them were dead long before the film was produced. The others are presumably saints because we don't hear a word about what jackasses they were. Whether they were or not is immaterial. We'll never know until they're dead.
When a celebrity or loved one dies, our thoughts generally go to the positive things, regardless of whether or not we argued or fought with them while they were alive. We'll remember the good things and fond memories of our time together. It's human nature or polite behavior, I'm not sure which. Later, it's left for a biographer like Albert Goldman or a filmmaker like Oliver Stone to examine the negative side and remind people what a horrible person we were.
I suppose, if we're lucky no one will ever write a book or make a film about our lives and the people around us will not read coroner's reports or go to a theater and watch our crummy lives exposed to the world.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just a bunch of stuff that happened.

John McCain's 2007 tax return shows Social Security benefits of $23,157 for the year, an average of $1,929.75 a month. McCain reported a total income of $405,409 in 2007. As a senator, he is paid $169,300 a year. Last year, he donated $105,467 to charity, his return shows.
My mother is 84 and receives the same $1,929.75 a month as McCain, but unfortunately, she doesn't earn $400,000 a year working like he does. First of all, I have a problem with millionaires helping to bankrupt a bad system. Second, I thought there was a limit to how much a person could earn working while still collecting a Social Security check. In fact, I know there is. "How does McCain manage to collect a check?," I ask myself.

Facial acupuncture treatment, dubbed "nonsurgical face-lift" has grown in popularity over the past few years.
"Ten years ago, the alternative was Botox, fillers and all that stuff. Now, 10 years after, people are looking for alternatives to Botox and fillers. This is the only treatment that would be as effective," said Shali Rassouli, a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine and a specialist in cosmetic acupuncture. Rassouli, the first acupuncturist to practice the technique in Canada, charges C$125 per one-hour session for the treatment, which usually requires 10 to 12 visits
Nobody ever lost money selling a way to make people appear (or think they appear) younger. By the way, 125 Canadian dollars is $124.25, which shows you how piss-poor the dollar is these days - but I digress.
In 12 visits, the typical vain human would spend $1,491 or roughly one month's Social Security check, on a series of pokes in the face designed to make them look 50 instead of 60. My guess is that it's along the lines of those TV ads that tell you that you can make a fortune buying real estate with no money down or trade stocks like a pro with some fancy software. They interview four people who succeeded and make you think there's easy money waiting for you.
Here's a piece of advice: Act your age. Chances are people won't know how old you are anyway, so tell them. Either you're younger than you look and you'll get a compliment or you look like Methuselah and they won't say anything. Either way, you're up about fifteen-hundred bucks.

SYDNEY, Australia - Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday that mankind's "insatiable consumption" has scarred the Earth and squandered its resources, telling followers that taking care of the planet is vital to humanity. "Perhaps reluctantly we come to acknowledge that there are also scars which mark the surface of our Earth: erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption," he said.
Generally, when the Pope speaks (regardless of who it is) my eyes roll and I wish that the guy had a sense of what was happening in the world before he opened his mouth. This time, however, he's spot-on. As I've said, we're a fat, lazy country of convenience and we make more trash than we consume. It's a throw-away society full of disposable products sold in bags we don't need and transported by vehicles that are either too big or traveling too short a distance to be economical. But we believe we are entitled, and as such we'll consume, spend and waste because our time here is short and we figure that we'll leave our trash for future generations to clean up, much as we leave trash at the movie theater or sports arena. Roll on, Pope ...
Seeking to inspire a new generation, he warned the young Roman Catholics that a society without unwavering values is bound to suffer confusion and despair. He decried alcohol and drug abuse and condemned "the exaltation of violence and sexual degradation, often presented through television and the Internet as entertainment."
OK, now you've gone too far. You had me there for a while.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thursday. Completely non-offensive.

It's over. The annual exhibition game that is designed to make us misty-eyed over baseball's past and present. This year, it was designed to make us misty-eyed over that and the fact that they're tearing down an American icon - Yankee Stadium.
I've never been much of a Yankees fan. In fact, I sort of enjoy it when they lose because it makes them angry because they think they're supposed to win.
Since the team can't be counted on to win, the owner figured that the next best thing is a building that will consistently win. [That way, you don't have to count on the team] They're tearing down Yankee Stadium and putting up another one right next door, only this one will have expensive luxury boxes and seats behind home plate that will cost more than some people earn in a week. That's a winner, and I'm not the least bit misty-eyed about it.
Television however, is in the business of making us think that something is more important than it really is, which is where Yankee Stadium comes in.
Meanwhile, baseball leaves home field advantage in their championship series open to whoever wins this exhibition game? You're kidding, right? Basketball and hockey have no issue with going with the team with the best record, so why not baseball?
And as for Brett Favre - shut up already. We endured your so-called retirement for a week while we watched your tear-stained press conferences. Now, we're subjected to another week plus of your nonsense.
Fuck you, Brett. Oh, sorry ... I promised to be non-offensive.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fuck who?

Ralphie: Oooh fuuudge!
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Only I didn't say "Fudge." I said the word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the "F-dash-dash-dash" word!
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] It was all over - I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Mere child's play compared to what surely awaited me.
- "A Christmas Story"
"A Christmas Story" takes place in 1940. The "f-dash-dash-dash word" was only slightly more taboo than it is now. It's used in polite conversation, in anger and happiness, on the performance stage, movies and TV. Well, not so much on TV. At least until Monday night. That'll teach me not to watch the Home Run Derby.
Our boy, Chase Utley uttered it in response to getting booed by some displaced Mets fans in Yankee Stadium during the introductions of the Home Run Derby.

Did you hear it or did you need the subtitles? I think the bigger faux pax was when Chris Berman introduced him as a "second baseman that can pull it." Why didn't anyone complain about that?
Chase caused a minor stir with his minor utterance. What amazes me is that ESPN put microphones on baseball players and expected them not to use profanities. I guess we're supposed to be offended because it's TV and kids could be watching. I don't think a word is the worst thing that kids are exposed to on television, but one problem at a time.
I'm not sure exactly what "fuck you" means anyway. There are plenty of women who would say "fuck me" to Utley, but if he said "fuck you" to them it's a big problem. Me. You. Isn't it the same thing? Apparently not.
It's the tool of last resort when we're angry and need a two syllable reply that would otherwise take a long explanation.
A suggested retort:
"Perhaps you are booing me because inside, you resent my talent and your inferior self-image manifests itself in hostility, and you choose to lash out at others rather than look at yourself."
Fuck you.

Money Derby

Leave it to Major League baseball to take batting practice and turn it into a sporting event. Not only a sporting event, but one that they make people pay to see and one that they put on ESPN, featuring frogmouth Chris Berman, who demonstrates why the people in charge of The Masters golf tournament don't want him in the same county.
Tickets to this prime event were $150 each. There were still dozens of tickets available on Ebay an hour after the event. It's hard to believe that people weren't willing to pay a premium to attend batting practice. It was on TV for a lot less than 150 bucks.
It isn't that it's not entertaining, because in a strange way it is. It's that it is a spectacle with tickets and a big premium cable channel involved. The other thing that's odd is that they call it "Home Run Derby," but it's more like T-ball for grown up's. Batting practice pitchers lay in fat straight balls and hitters swing from their heels. Berman screams, "Back, back, back ..." as though it was an actual game. In the outfield, children run after the balls, and that's all fun and games until one of them is knocked unconscious by one. Then the rules will change. Wait for that to happen.
Then there are the fights in the stands over the baseballs. I suppose they fight so hard so that they can sell them on Ebay to pay for their tickets to batting practice. I'll look for those tomorrow.
What a country.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A photo to lighten the mood.

Some sort of bug was flittering around my condo Monday afternoon. I don't run an Insectarium, but I'd guess it's a moth. The cool blue background was nicely provided by my neighbor's lawn chair.
Click on the image to see it in full size.

Me and my teeth.

I went to the dentist today. I saw you cringe just a little. The dentist is one of those people that we're never happy to see. We tolerate it, as I did today, because sometimes it's just a cleaning. Even though I get the creeps when the hygienist starts scraping. I try to persevere because I don't want her to think she's hurting me.
Teeth, in general give me the creeps. I don't like looking at them or looking at photos of deformed teeth. Typing teeth into a Yahoo search makes me cringe. I'll brush and floss, but beyond that I don't want anything to do with teeth. I realize the cleanings are important, but I'd rather send my teeth in separately. I'll pick them up when they're done.
It must be strange to work in a dentist's office. Generally, people are there because they have to be there, not because they want to be. Then, they're usually told to do something that they don't want to do - like floss - which is most of the reason they have to come back so often. They're happiest when you don't see them.
The worst part for me though, is the prep time. Because I'm a bit of a neurotic, I spend a half hour clipping nose hairs, ear hairs and polishing myself for the visit. Listerine is a must. Three doses - one at home and two in the parking lot before I go in so it doesn't wear off. I don't want to be "that guy" who comes in and the hygienists have to draw straws.
There's a TV, which I've written about before. Today I asked her to tune it in to the bike race. I figured everyone knew there was a bike race on.
"Where is this?" she inquired.
"France. It's the Tour de France." She didn't know I spoke French. I didn't dare say that they were on the Col du Tourmalet, because then I'd have to tell her where it was. It's in France.
"Oh, is it live?"
"Oh yes." At that point I realized that I exist in a world that spins slightly outside the orbit of the rest of the humans. It's OK though. I don't expect most people to know anything about bike racing or even that they race bicycles.
The saddest part of the day is that I intentionally made the appointment for 9:00am on a Monday so that I could take the day off and ... I don't know ... do something.
Of course, it started raining around 5:00am and as I sit staring out the window and typing, the rain is still coming down - because that's what rain does.
I repeat the mantra to myself: A bad day at home is better than a good day at work.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

One wins, one falls down.

Walk much? Apparently not. Crystle Stewart, who became Miss USA because there is obviously no "walking" competition, became the second Miss Universe contestant to fall down in an evening gown during the competition. The fact that there is a Miss Universe at all still amazes me, let alone the fact that we're such egomaniacs that we believe that, in the entire Universe, there isn't a more beautiful woman than the one we pick.
Actually, the fact that there are beauty contests at all amazes me. In a country where you get in trouble for talking about how people look, we still feel like we can arbitrate a contest between women of different countries. Find an Aborigine and ask him who he thinks is the most beautiful woman in the world. Who are the judges? Old white men and women? It's just ridiculous.

Meanwhile, in Ohio (where they wobble but don't fall down) the Miss Universe of golf, Paula Creamer managed to take a first-round score of 60 and hang on by her teeth skin to win the (ready?) Jamie Farr Owens-Corning Classic Presented by Kroger. She fended off a Taiwanese and a South Korean - no mean feat - to win for the third time this year. Big deal, right? Yeah, I know. Stuff like that keeps me indoors much more than it should.

I'm seeing a lot more bicyclists on the road than I used to. Regular bikes, not those crazy things we ride. High gas prices have turned people back into their garages to pull out the old, dry-rotted-tire bicycle. Apparently, they have a bike but no bike helmet, which no bicycle should be sold without. I suppose it's "geeky" to ride with a helmet, I don't know. I think it's equally geeky to ride in the back of an ambulance, too. As long as there are cars on the road I'll wear a helmet. They outweigh me by about 5,000 pounds and even though I'm not a doctor, I'm pretty sure that my head meeting concrete is a losing proposition.
I think it's all part of that "You can't tell me what to do" mentality that keeps people talking on cell phones and smoking cigarettes. I'd be curious to know how many of these "my body-myself" people oppose abortion or think that capital punishment is a good idea.
Of course, you can take the opposite side and say that the more of these people who kill themselves with cigarettes and head trauma are participating in the time-honored process of natural selection, where the dopes and weaklings are weeded out of society to make more room for the rest of us.
The good news is that parking spaces will be easier to find and movie lines will be shorter.