Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another of life's little oddities.

Every time an athlete signs a lucrative contract, the griping begins. "These Goddamned ballplayers make too much Goddamned money!" The guy complaining is usually by a guy wearing a uniform top and ball cap. What you never hear is anyone griping about what actors or TV stars earn.
Or supermodels. Here is a list that Forbes magazine put together of what the top 5 supermodels (should supermodels be capitalized?) earned last year.
Gisele B√ľndchen $25 Million
Heidi Klum $16 Million
Kate Moss $8.5 Million
Adriana Lima $8 Million
Doutzen Kroes $6 Million
I guess I don't live in the supermodel world, because I couldn't pick Doutzen Kroes out of a police lineup, so maybe I'm a little biased here. (For reference, that's her on the right) We live in a world where someone can earn a 7-figure salary based on nothing more than the way they look. Pardon me if I think that's a little screwy. OK, a lot screwy.
Men in the crowd will proclaim, "She's worth every nickel! Look at her!" and start drooling or doing something that men do when they see someone that is conventionally attractive, but you really need to take a step back and rationalize.
I'm different because I don't buy any product because a celebrity endorses it, and I wouldn't wear something that a celebrity wore for that sake alone, so I think that paying huge endorsement deals to models and celebrities is a waste of money. Products should stand on their own, and not need to be propped up by someone for money.
What do models do? They wear someone else's clothes, walk back and forth in a straight line and pose for photos. I'd like to see one of them hit a curve ball or throw out a runner trying to steal third base.
I could ramble on, but I think the point is that some things are just out of whack, and I suppose they'll always be. After all, nobody tears down a parking lot and puts up trees and once salaries for stuff like athletes, actors and supermodels goes nuts it doesn't go back.
A superlative
makes something out of nothing,
like supermodels.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some thoughts before I'm kidnapped and taken to Disney World.

The haikubreakup site published one that I submitted. Click here to read it.
I've heard the phrase "John and Kate plus eight" about a hundred times over the past week and I have absolutely no idea what it means. Is it a TV show or are they real people? Or both?
As I sit here, ABC is televising the Scripps National Spelling Bee. I'm not watching it, because I don't think kids spelling is captivating television, but I'll bet a week's pay that some kid with a foreign name wins it. No way somebody named Adam Smith or Jane Williams can spell better than a kid who was probably born in another country.
They win the Geography Bee too, the foreigners. It's probably because we're so ethnocentric that we don't know or care which country borders Yemen or the name of the longest river in Bolivia. It doesn't concern us until we're sending troops in - then we're experts.
A gay student at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles named Sergio Garcia was named Prom Queen. He wore a gray tuxedo and a tiara. That's all I have to say about that.
Jay Leno is leaving the Tonight show soon. In the fall, he's going to be on TV five nights a week in prime time. I'm guessing that large numbers of Americans who are usually asleep when he is on will watch and find out how annoying he is.
Between the time I started and now (that I'm finishing) the spelling bee finished too. This year's winner was Kavya Shivashankar who claims to be from Kansas. She said she is retiring from spelling, but I'd say that's impossible. We always have to spell. She said she might enter the Brain Bee (whatever that is) and said, "But I don't think anything can replace spelling. Spelling has been such a big part of my life."
Wow. Is there an Insect Bee for people who know a lot about bugs?
And now, a Spelling Bee Haiku:
I'm American.
When I need to know something,
I just use spell check.

Your dying technology.

DETROIT – General Motors, the company that put tail fins on a Cadillac and was once the nation's largest employer, moved to the edge of bankruptcy Wednesday as debtholders refused a last-ditch deal. Crosstown rival Chrysler hoped to pull off a quick exit from Chapter 11 and prove there is hope yet for a leaner Detroit. Investors who are owed billions of dollars by GM rebelled against a plan to accept a sliver stake in the company in exchange for their bonds, one of the government-imposed conditions for restructuring out of court. A bankruptcy filing could come within days — perhaps around Monday, which had been the government deadline for GM to reorganize.
Wow, there's a shocker. The company that helped put one person in a Yukon is going bankrupt. Hard to believe. I guess we're supposed to feel sad or something? It's like that 300-pound guy that develops heart disease or a hooker that comes up with AIDS. We hear about it and we're supposed to develop feelings of remorse. Sorry, I can't help you.
Every time I see a car that's bigger than my condo or something that says "Off-road package" and looks like it hasn't been out of the garage in the rain I wonder how American car companies have survived as long as they have.
Whenever the government even threatens to raise CAFE standards (and they usually just threaten) the auto makers start crying like little kids that they'll lose market share and it will cost them money. Waaaa.
A lot of car companies went out of business during the early part of the 20th century, partly due to the corporate influence of General Motors and Ford Motor Company. Those cars are now collector's items for people with big enough buildings to keep them. It's part of our great (so they say) capitalist system - survival of the fittest. Those that can't, don't.
I won't shed a tear for GM or any of those gas-guzzling idiots who advertise 20mpg cars as being "fuel efficient." If they can't survive, they shouldn't; which is why I opposed the stimulus packages when they were proposed. How did that work out?
Any business that doesn't do what it has to in order to survive economic conditions is doomed to failure. The fact that some of them are bigger than others has nothing to do with it - in fact, it makes them more susceptible to failure because of their size. They should know better. I'm supposed to feel sorry for the workers and the "innocent victims" who are employed by them, but I can't.
They'll just have to go to work for the company that picks up the slack for the ones that failed. If not, well then, we probably didn't need them to begin with.
Besides, it's only bankrupcy protection. It's another word for bailout.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The day after.

One of the problems with writing this junk every day (or nearly every day) is that sometimes, I have to follow something interesting and insightful with something else. Usually, it pales by comparison. That's where the flower photos come in handy.
Of course, the Coca-Cola 600 was delayed a day by rain, then shortened today by more rain proving that God answers all prayers, but sometimes the answer is "no." Either that or he doesn't pay attention to auto racing, or he figured the best way to make the race safe was to cancel it. Or maybe He just doesn't like wasting expensive gasoline and rubber by-products for our entertainment? I'm not sure. Maybe they should look into the credentials of that guy who did the invocation yesterday.
KOMODO ISLAND, Indonesia – Komodo dragons have shark-like teeth and poisonous venom that can kill a person within hours of a bite. Yet villagers who have lived for generations alongside the world's largest lizard were not afraid — until the dragons started to attack.
The stories spread quickly across this smattering of tropical islands in southeastern Indonesia, the only place the endangered reptiles can still be found in the wild: Two people were killed since 2007 — a young boy and a fisherman — and others were badly wounded after being charged unprovoked.
Unprovoked? That's like those circus elephants that start stomping the customers. They're animals. Just like the elephants, Komodo dragons are animals.
"How could the dragons get so aggressive?" Hajj Amin, 51, taking long slow drags off his clove cigarettes, as other village elders gathering beneath a wooden house on stilts nodded. Several dragons lingered nearby, drawn by the rancid smell of fish drying on bamboo mats beneath the blazing sun. Also strolling by were dozens of goats and chickens.
"They never used to attack us when we walked alone in the forest, or attack our children," Amin said. "We're all really worried about this."
You really have to keep the wandering goats and chickens out of the way where there are animals whose surname is "dragon." That's why people are so surprised by the attacks. Who'd figure a dragon would attack anyone? They never used to attack anyone. They're moody, I guess.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Too much thinking for a holiday - but here goes...

We're faced with a lot of conflicts as humans. Today, for example. NASCAR held its annual Coca-Cola 600 auto race in Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to the race was where the conflict occurred.
A religious figure (a pastor or clergy of some sort) came out to offer the invocation, thanking his God for providing the world and whatever else is involved in making the country great. Then, a group of bagpipers played "Amazing Grace." After that, a half dozen Marines fired 5 shots in the air (blanks, I'm hoping) and a bugler played "Taps." Back and forth it went, from warfare to God. Maybe they're the same thing?
Then, someone sang "The Star Spangled Banner," another song glorifying war (one that we lost) and paying homage to a flag. As the song went on, some warplanes flew over the track at a dangerously low level. I guess that's designed to make us (a) be thankful for warplanes and (b) be glad that they weren't dropping anything on us.
The lines between God, country and war are fuzzy at best, and days like today serve to confuse us even more. Sure, I'm thankful that those men and women are over there defending us - from what, I have no idea. I hear the words "defending us" but I'm never quite sure what it means. This isn't World War II or some global conflict. It's largely a group of people who use religion as a shield and have decided to sacrifice their lives for it. I'm talking about them.
Generally, when some scandal occurs and someone does something scurrilous, we wonder, "What is this teaching the children?" I think the same things when I see clergy and objects of war sharing a stage on television.
Then there's the race. Can't forget the race. It's another tribute to America, where giant cars that nobody but professionals own run 600 miles in a a circle and use about 600 gallons of gasoline - excuse me - racing fuel. It's all about America. God, war, the country and driving fast in a circle and crashing sometimes. And it's broadcast on Fox, which seems to make sense somehow.
And to top it off, the winner gets a 225 pound trophy from Coca Cola. More excess. A trophy that cannot be lifted. The perfect end to a perfect day. In the middle of a recession.
UPDATE: The race has been postponed until Mondy due to rain. It appears as though God wasn't watching after all.