Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wither thou goest, brain functions?

You'd be surprised how often I sit here (where I'm sitting now) without a clue of what to put here, either because I've nothing to say or what I have to say I've said before. It's over two years of this stuff and there's only so much going on in the world. Usually, I just start rambling and see if I can make it to the end:

Last night I ordered some clothes from American Eagle over the Internet. Today I received a coupon in the mail for 15-percent off my next shopping order.

When I got home from work on Friday night I spent a few minutes gathering up stuff and changing clothes for a bike ride to the local gym. I went downstairs to fetch the bike and found the rear tire was flat. That's a pisser. Upon further inspection I found that the tire had a quarter-inch gash in it, which is where I reasoned the air escaped. Rocket science. So, I had to use the car to buy a new tube and tire and while I'm out, go to the gym. What puzzles me is how I got the bike home with a tear in the tire. The hole in the tire and the tube is big enough that it probably happened quickly, so one is left to wonder how long I rode on it without a pound of air. That's probably why the wheel is a little off kilter. Another trip to the bike shop on Saturday.
On my little jaunt to Shea Stadium last week we used a co-worker's GPS device to help us get there. It's the second time I've seen one in action and I'm intrigued to the point that I'd like to have one. Plug in the address and forget about it. No maps, no Mapquest, no directions. Just give me the address. If you make a wrong turn it re-calculates you route. I'd need the one that talks, because I'm funny that way. The Garmin nuvi 260. $219.
I'd like to find a device that tells me which choices to make in life, then re-calculates when I don't listen. An LPS - Life Positioning System. I probably would have broken it by now from overheating.
"I'll have one more drink." [multiple instances] Re-calculating.
"This looks like a great deal." [multiple instances] Re-calculating.
"What could possibly go wrong with a brand new Ford Pinto?" Re-calculating.
"Would you like to go out with me?" [multiple instances] Re-calculating.
"Sure, I'll drive you to the airport." Re-calculating.
"Wow, my first college course. I'm so excited." Re-calculating.
"What am I going to do with all these baseball cards?" Re-calculating.
"Don't you have to tighten all the bolts first?" Re-calculating.
"I do." [one instance] Re-calculating .................. tick-tick-tick-tick ...

Friday, July 25, 2008

One in a million.

I love thunderstorms. It seems, like other things, that they were better when I was a kid. We get them infrequently around here. Maybe I should move to Arizona or Ohio. When one is on the way, I perch my camera on the tripod and wait. Having southern exposure may be nice for sun worshippers, but for lightning worshippers it sucks. Once in a while I get lucky, but like Dirty Harry, it's not all that frequent. Mostly, we get that flashy-thingy lightning and not the bolts that look cool on camera. To get one in the east is a big bonus. Lucky to be here.
By the way, those jeans from yesterday - $89.50. That's why I don't shop at Abercrombie & Fitch. If you want to see my butt crack, I'll show you for a lot less than $89.50.
I see that the recent upsurge in the price of gasoline has prompted some school districts and local governments to go to a 4-day work week. At first that sounds like nirvana, but it's really just 4 10-hour days. Most people I talk to think that's great. "I'll have Friday's off," they say, as though the three-day weekend is their little slice of heaven. What it really means is that they work themselves silly for 4 days to get a day "off." I'm not buying it. I like my free time too much to sacrifice two hours a day so that I can get one day off. I think they'll find that the extra two hours a day that they have to work is a bad trade-off for the weekend. Like a lot of things, you should be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

Jealous? No. Maybe the shirt should say "Sucker." Clueless (above) is said to be the first buyer of the new 3G iPhone in Hong Kong where apparently people have more money than brains. Honestly, I couldn't tell you what separates the 3G iPhone from the iPhone that people went nuts for 6 months ago, but I can tell you that 6 months from now there's going to be something "better" than the 3G iPhone, and goofy consumers with time and money will flock to it because they think they're supposed to. Meanwhile, laws are being made faster than phones to keep them from using it in all the places they want to use them.

Here in New Jersey we have a law (or so they say) against using phones while driving. What it has done is create a race of people whose eyes move like lizards - independently - tracking the road and the sidelines looking for police. A law that is unenforceable has created a new crop of drivers who are both distracted by the phone and the effort it takes to check for law enforcement. I've yet to see one adjacent driver using a phone pulled over because - guess - there are never any police around.

I'd say the odds of being caught using a cell phone while driving in New Jersey are about the same as me catching a lightning bolt from the deck of my condo.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just so you know how cool I am.

“Sexy and casual, the perfect pair of jeans,” was the e-mail title. Yes, I’m hip and smart because I get e-mail from Abercrombie & Fitch. Do I shop there? Hell no. The ad says, "Low slung for the perfect fit." Really?

What I found interesting about the ad is the new trend toward the ass crack. Women have started showing it and now I suppose it’s the men’s turn. I’m not sure we always want to see crack, and I don’t think we’re trustworthy enough or comfortable in our self-assessment to know whether or not we should be showing crack.

The guys in the ad don’t seem to have a problem with it, but they’re professional models who are paid not to eat too much and spend their days grooming and lifting weights. I don’t know any models. Most of the people I know wouldn’t benefit from a pair of pants that don’t get pulled all the way up.

I see guys wearing those pants and they always look like they’re going to fall off. The thing to do is to wear your boxers on the outside, or so I see. It’s an odd look and makes me think they got dressed in the dark or something.

I’m 50 and I wouldn’t dare wear them. I wouldn’t have worn them when I was 20 either, and I could have pulled off the look. I guess I’m just not sexy and casual enough.

What I really think is going on is that they’ve figured out how to charge us more for jeans that use less fabric (and cost less to make) while marketing it as “perfect.”

Flawed is cool.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Some local flavor

This Larry Mendte/Alycia Lane deal is interesting to me on several levels. For the uninitiated, a local news anchor (Mendte) has been charged with reading his co-anchor's (Lane) e-mail several hundred times over the course of three months or so. Without going into details, which you can read here, the interesting line in the local paper that caught my eye was when the prosecutor said, "This is the tip of the Mendte iceberg." That's fascinating to me, because as we all know, deviant behavior isn't an isolated incident. There's a lot buried under the surface.
When you add in the fact that Larry makes $700,000 for reading and his wife (Dawn Stensland) makes about half that much, you'd have to stop and ask yourself how much money people need to be happy. Apparently, Larry was unhappy because Alycia made $50,000 more than he, and as a result he began hacking into her e-mail (or Mendte-mail as I want to call it) in an attempt to discredit her and make himself look better. Now that Larry is facing jail time and Alycia is exonerated, I'd say that the shoe is on the other foot, as it were.
Our local bridge tolls are going from $3 to $4 starting in September. Four dollars to cross a bridge. I know, people in New York are laughing, but it's ridiculous to charge that much to cross the Delaware River. In an Inquirer article, it was disclosed that a toll-taker earns (earns?) $43,000 a year for doing this (turning my hand upward). What is even more ridiculous is that the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) is holding public hearings to listen to citizens' reactions to the toll increase. They had an audience of 50 people. 50. That tells me that the greater majority realizes that these hearings are a fraud and regardless of opposition, they're going to increase the toll, so just bend over and take it.
They've given millions of dollars to local aquariums, stadiums and entertainment venues; and now they tell us that they're over budget and need another hundred or so million to repair the bridge - which is what we are supposed to be paying for.
Move here and you'll figure it out.
And now -- the big story...
Angela Honeycutt, 38 of Lower Makefield Township is accused of engaging in sex acts with two of the boys, ages 14 and 15. The crimes allegedly occurred during a teen sleepover in April at the home of a female friend of Honeycutt's, who lived in the neighborhood. The boys testified that Honeycutt had danced provocatively, discussed sex with them, and kissed two or three of them before disrobing and heading for the shower.
"She asked if anyone would want to join her in the shower...," the 15-year-old testified. "I wasn't planning on having sex when I entered the bathroom. After stuff happened, I changed my mind." The boy said he told police about the incident two days later, leading to charges that have drawn national media attention. His family reportedly has moved to another community to escape notoriety
So, here's the thing. If you reverse the genders and it's a 38-year old man having sex with 15-year old girls, they're going to put a GPS device on his ass and expel him from society. When it's a woman and young boys the common reaction is, "Wow, where was she when I was 15?" I never went to houses where the kids' mom asked me to take a shower with her, so in some ways I blame myself.
If it had happened to a young girl you'd say she would be scarred for life, but when it's a boy you're figuring it helps make him a man. That's sexist, right?
A 15-year-old boy said Honeycutt was "making out" with another teen and dancing "like a stripper" in a bedroom. At one point, he said, Honeycutt's daughter wandered into the room, saw her mom dancing, and left. The two women took the young girl home, returning in about an hour. Both had been drinking wine, the boy said.
The conversation turned to sex, the boy said, and "Ms. Honeycutt was telling us her fantasies."
After all but three boys and the two women had gone to bed, Honeycutt openly disrobed and walked to the shower, the teens testified. One of the 15-year-olds said he followed and got into the shower with her. A few minutes later, the boy testified, he ducked his head out of the bathroom door, asked the other 15-year-old for a condom, and had sex with Honeycutt in the shower. Honeycutt emerged briefly afterward, smoked a cigarette and exposed herself again, the witnesses said. She then returned to the shower, this time followed by the 14-year-old.
In a voice that could barely be heard, the youth said he engaged in two sex acts in the shower with Honeycutt, but did not have intercourse
Now, ask yourself what sort of "sex act" does not involve intercourse. Talk amongst yourselves.

Oh Shea, can you see?

No witty banter today. It's late, so here are a few photos from my trip to see the Phillies at Shea Stadium on Tuesday night. The Phils pulled out a dramatic 9th inning comeback, scoring 6 runs in the ninth inning to win 8-6. Sadly, I wasn't driving and was made to leave in the 8th inning when the Mets were ahead 5-2. Somehow the drama was lost on the radio. Somebody needs to explain to me the logic of driving almost 3 hours to see a game and leaving before it's over.
It was pretty much a glorified business trip with a baseball game attached. The tickets were given to us, but cost somebody $118, so I figured I'd better pay attention to the game. As it was, I only got about $113 worth.
Clicking on them a couple of times should bring them up to full size, if you're interested in full size.
The Great Outdoors.

Pre-game, as dusk falls on Flushing. The view from my seat in the Diamond Club. La de da. Free food and beer.

They're building the new joint just beyond the left field seats. It will open next season. It will be called Citi Field, I think.
Jimmy Rollins takes a mighty cut.

Night falls on Flushing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'd rather be lucky than good.

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch author, philosopher and scholar (1466 - 1536)
I think about that quote every time I see a big fuss made over someone merely because there is no one else over which to fuss. And I think about that every time I see Danica Patrick. She's kind of cute and all, but for a race car driver she's a hottie. If you put her on a runway modeling clothes they'd call security to get the audience member off the catwalk.
Chances are, you work with at least one other woman as pretty as she, but because she is in an office with a lot of other women, she doesn't stand out. Put her in a fire suit and see what happens.
Go to her web site and there's a full-screen presentation, complete with a song (which I think is called "Super Girl") and it's clear that it's all about glamour, Indy car-style glamour.
Marketing is a cruel friend. It can be used and it can use us. Sometimes we find ourselves trapped in it and we don't know why. Most people know who Danica Patrick is even if they don't follow racing or sports. They know because everything she does is magnified by the media and her marketing people. Ask the average person to name three drivers on the Indy Car series and they'll start with her and then start to mumble. That's good for her, but it makes me wonder about the way we set people up for fame around here.
In 2006, Sam Hornish Jr. (who?) was the series champion. Danica was named "most popular driver," as she was in 2007 when Dario Franchitti was the series champion. I know, Franchitti was on the tip of your tongue, right? Of course, one can be popular and not be the best, but who is voting? Men.
Danica made the news again last weekend as she got into an argument with another woman driver, Milka Duno (insert joke) over an incident during practice at a race in Ohio. Play nice, girls.

This is Milka Duno. To her credit, she is a former model and holds Masters degrees in Organizational Development, Naval Architecture, Maritime Business and Marine Biology and she has prior experience working as a naval engineer. Seriously. Do you think it was those Masters degrees that got her a ride?

It appears that in the Indy Car "land of the blind," somebody just bought a pair of glasses.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Strange things about sports.

Yesterday, during the Phillies/Marlin game on Fox, the announcers declared John Baker the Pepsi Clutch Performer of the Game. That's great, only it was a 7 to 4 game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Don't you think that there might yet be a clutch performer to emerge or do you think that Pepsi wanted their name on the broadcast before most of America tuned out? I'm thinking the latter. What it amounts to is a commercial and not a real award. Why not just put up a big PEPSI banner on the screen and get it over with? We need more junk on the screen, right?
Meanwhile, over on ABC we're watching The Open. America calls it The British Open, but the rest of the world calls it The Open. The announcers (them again) tell us that we're "watching ESPN on ABC." Huh? I thought I was watching ABC. In fact, I was watching ABC. ESPN had a fishing tournament and billiards. This cross-marketing thing is amazing to me. I know that ABC owns ESPN and Disney owns them both, so why don't they say, "You're watching The Disney Channel on ABC?"
Speaking of billiards, there was a women's billiards tournament on ESPN2 (which I was watching sans ABC) and I wondered why there is a need for Women's billiards. Can't they play the men? There isn't a strength or durability issue - it's billiards. There are women's billiards leagues and women's bowling leagues, but it doesn't seem to me to make any sense to separate them because bowling and billiards aren't games that necessarily make men better than women. Let them play against each other. It'll be fun. Maybe the men are afraid the women will beat them? Yes, that's it.
Golf is a strange game. I like it, but it's strange. It's really hung up on the rules and the strict adherence to very strange rules. Yesterday, Michelle Wie was disqualified for violating one of golf's strange rules. She failed to sign her scorecard, and after she walked out of one of the roped-off areas of the scoring tent, the violation was irreversible.
Rule 6-6 A player is deemed to have returned her score card to the Committee when she leaves the roped area of the scoring tent or leaves the scoring trailer.
MICHELLE WIE: You know, it's just a really unfortunate. I don't know what happened to me. Usually, I sign it first. But I forgot to sign the scorecard. Unfortunately, I left the tournament area, and a couple of the scorers went after me and I signed it and I turned it in. And I thought it would be okay.
Sue Witters, the LPGA’s director of tournament competitions, disqualified Wie in a small office in an LPGA trailer at the golf course after asking her what had happened.
“She was like a little kid after you tell them there’s no Santa Claus,” Witters said
There is no Santa Claus. What's odd is that she probably signed about a hundred autographs at the scoring tent for fans after the round. One of them should have handed her a scorecard.
Thanks to Scott the Hobo for the cool Jeanette Lee photo.