Give a man a fish and feed him for a day....Teach him to use the internet and he won't bother you for weeks!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Just A Note
Just a quick update in the event that anybody is worried that I fell off the face of the earth. The reality is that I wish I had, it would probably be preferable to what I've been going through. I woke up the other day, only to find that I was in the midst of a full fledged case of the flu. I had no idea how totally and completely this would kick my butt. No time or energy to look at, or comment on blogs, to say nothing about doing an actual post. Someday, perhaps, just not anytime soon.
Bono, whilst playing a gig in Glasgow, got the whole crowd to be silent and then began slowly clapping his hands. He got the crowd to clap along for a while, the stadium quiet except for the rhythmic clapping...
After a short period Bono spoke, saying that everytime he clapped his hands a child in Africa died...
Suddenly, from the front row of the venue a voice broke out in thick Scottish brogue, ending the silence as it echoed across the crowd, the voice cried out to Bono "Well stop f***ing doing it then!!"
On this date in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his classic Gettysburg Address. Rumor has it that he wrote the speech on the back of an envelope. If this were to occur today, we'd be left with the myth that he wrote the speech on the back of a fast food bag, and we'd have to endure The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation.
Alton Brown gives us the down and dirty on how to deep fry your turkey. As he so accurately points out, each year some dumbass will get hurt or burn down the house as they attempt to fry their bird. I'll be sticking to the oven myself.
I've been meaning to do a post about songs that get ruined as a result of their association with commercials. But now that retroCRUSH has thrown together a list of the pop songs ruined in commercials it looks like that's another subject I'll cross off my "to do" list.
I'd disagree with the inclusion of the Levi's version of Tainted Love, since I think it actually was one commercial that took a good song and made it better. And on a completely unrelated note, anybody else hear the beeper go off when the french frys are done at a fast food joint and have the Santana song "Oye Como Va" go through their head?
And while I'm rambling along I'm glad to see Emmitt & Cheryl win Dancing With The Stars. Actually, I'm glad it's over since the wife subjected me to this show whenever possible. I feigned interest (actually that means I mostly ignored the show) but I'd have to watch whenever Cheryl was on the screen since she was such a good dancer...WTF, I should just be honest and admit she is just incredibly hot and the only reason I tolerated the show!
The Animal Planet brings us the story of a Shopping Penguin. But I can't look at the video without recalling this classic tale:
A penguin is driving through Arizona on a hot summer's day when he notices his oil light is on. He gets out of the car and, sure enough, it's leaking oil all over the road. The penguin drives around the corner to a service station and asks the mechanic to take a look at it. The mechanic says he has a few others to look at first but if he comes back in an hour he can tell the penguin what is wrong with his car. The penguin agrees and goes for a walk. He finds an ice cream shop and thinks a big bowl of vanilla ice cream will really hit the spot since he's a penguin and it's Arizona in the summer, after all. He sits down at the counter and starts in on his ice cream. Of course he has no hands so it is rather messy. By the time he is done he has ice cream all over his flippers and his mouth - a total mess. He walks back to the service station and says to the mechanic, "Did you find out what is wrong with my car?" The mechanic replies, "It looks like you've blown a gasket." "No, no," says the penguin. "It's just ice cream."
In an attempt to pull off a corporate mulligan, it looks like GM may revive the electric car. Their previous damage control in response to the movie"Who Killed the Electric Car?" apparently wasn't enough to deflect the criticism over the shortsighted decision to pull the plug on their electric vehicles program. I'd like to think this was just a company making a responsible decision, and not an attempt to remove a black eye received over the bad PR from their previous actions. Then again, I'd like to believe that Santa is real.
Although it seems like any combinations of letters that get you to some phonetic representation of what you are trying to say is the acceptable standard, there's much to be said for the benefits of a good spell-checker. If you are brave enough, feel free to test your spelling skills with English Banana.com's Reely Gud Speeling Test! Plenty of other fun and educational material there as well.
And speaking of learning English, please excuse this odd segueway, but it reminds me of an incident I witnessed the other evening. I was eating in one of my favorite Chinese restaurants and was seated close enough to the front to see the takeout counter. Some douchebag comes in to pick-up his order wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "Welcome to America: Now Speak English!" on the front. Apparently, he left his white hood at home but his message of bigotry came through loud and clear. The woman at the counter was a much better sport about it than I would have been, engaging him with pleasant banter while they got his order rung up. As he was leaving, I heard her say "By the way, I DO speak English". A classier response that I would have offered.
And as long as we are talking about T-shirts that are sure to offend, I'd much prefer this one that expresses a popular sentiment about current events in Iraq.
I need to make a stunningly stupid confession: I love soup. Lest I sound too much like I was just discharged from a short yellow bus, that statement deserves some explanation. First off, let's be clear that we aren't talking about the canned crap, but I'm reserving my passion for the real, homemade variety. I'm not sure if it's the warm, savory goodness that appeals to me, its' efficient ability to combine several foodgroups into a complete meal in a bowl, or if it's the comforting way that it warms your soul as much as your belly and takes you to an emotional plain that evokes good memories from the past. I still fondly recall working at a place that I otherwise hated, that was made almost bearable because there was a great old fashioned deli close by that made great home-style soups providing many a cozy lunch.
As if I was trying to recreate those warm fuzzy moments, I've unwittingly joined the cult of The Soup Nazi. After becoming an institution with his Soup Kitchen International on 55th Street in NYC and being immortalized on Seinfeld, Al Yeganeh is now franchising "The Original SoupMan" to a location near you.
Unfortunately, the new location near me just might prove to be my downfall. I find myself eating there daily, and although so far every flavor has been wonderful, the $9 price for a bowl of soup may require me to take out a home equity loan to continue to eat there. For now, I rationalize my decadence in purchasing this exorbitantly priced nectar as a way to pamper and treat myself. I'm sure the novelty will wear off sometime well before I become destitute.
Craig Ferguson offered up a great piece on our least favorite former Secretary of Defense on a recent Late Late Show. Donald Rumsfeld: A Look Back probably explains just why he was so distracted from the reality of the situation.
And while we're bashing old grouchy white men who are members of the Bush administration, a perfect time for the music video The REAL DICK CHENEY, please stand up. Although, the reality is that I'd prefer he just sit down and go away..."full-speed ahead".
Sushi Snacks Deluxe gives you the opportunity to give your dog tasty treats that look like sushi. As if that isn't ridiculous enough, they also include "doggie wasabi" as a bonus. One of the many cute, unique, and probably completely unnecessary items from the Glamour Dog site.
They are selling it a bit too hard when they say "make great gifts for dogs"! I'm sure this is the case, but I can't help thinking that our pooch gets equally excited by the thought of eating a tissue or paper towel as she does by any of the "legitimate" treats that we offer. And the last thing I want to do is "raise the bar" in terms of terms of "her highness" and her expectations, which already approach a sense of entitlement.
So...We've spent $339 BILLION so far on a war justified by trumped-up intelligence that has killed 2,826 Americans and probably hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, made Iraq radioactive with depleted uranium, and caused civil war - only to make terrorism WORSE. Heck, we may as well have spent that money on...
Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they’re taking it back.
They are dragging W. away from those reckless older guys who have been such a bad influence and getting him some new minders who are a lot more practical.
In a scene that might be called "Murder on the Oval Express," Rummy turned up dead with so many knives in him that it’s impossible to say who actually finished off the man billed as Washington's most skilled infighter. (Poppy? Scowcroft? Baker? Laura? Condi? The Silver Fox? Retired generals? Serving generals? Future generals? Troops returning to Iraq for the umpteenth time without a decent strategy? Democrats? Republicans? Joe Lieberman?)
The defense chief got hung out to dry before Saddam got hung. The president and Karl Rove, underestimating the public’s hunger for change or overestimating the loyalty of a fed-up base, did not ice Rummy in time to save the Senate from teetering Democratic. But once Sonny managed to heedlessly dynamite the Republican majority — as well as the Middle East, the Atlantic alliance and the U.S. Army — then Bush Inc., the family firm that snatched the presidency for W. in 2000, had to step in. Two trusted members of the Bush 41 war council, Mr. Baker and Robert Gates, have been dispatched to discipline the delinquent juvenile and extricate him from the mother of all messes.
Mr. Gates, already on Mr. Baker’s "How Do We Get Sonny Out of Deep Doo Doo in Iraq?" study group, left his job protecting 41’s papers at Texas A&M to return to Washington and pry the fingers of Poppy’s old nemesis, Rummy, off the Pentagon.
"They had to bring in someone from the old gang," said someone from the old gang. "That has to make Junior uneasy. With Bob, the door is opened again to 41 and Baker and Brent."...
At the risk of repeating myself, I've already mentioned that I was a big fan of the Geico Caveman commercials. Apparently, I'm not alone as this Cartoon Caveman version suggests. But since I didn't pull out my caveman club and beat this thread into a bloody pulp, a mini-linkdump on the subject. Suddenly, I have a craving for roast duck with the mango salsa...
This view of midterm elections as explained by The Daily Show. This year was a bit more significant than most with it becoming a de facto referendum on the Bush administration.
Although several Senate races are still undecided, the outcome of the House races have clearly tipped the scales in favor of the Democrats. But now the real work begins. This winds up being less a Democratic victory, and more a rejection of the current flawed Republican direction. But a narrow victory is better than no victory at all.
With the possibility of Congressional oversight restored, the long overdue process of democracy can begin again. If the Democrats proceed with a positive, proactive direction and don't get mired in obstructionism we have an opportunity to begin to change course on a variety of issues that have been brushed under the rug for the last few years. How successfully they articulate and execute their agenda and deny the neo-cons the opportunity to define the message will set the stage for the battle in '08.
Changing course in Iraq is their first priority, but there are many other issues from the economy to the environment that need a fresh approach. Let's hope that we see these added to the legislative agenda, without getting too focused on the next election that it results in a timid stance that produces "more of the same".
President Bush isn’t on the ballot tomorrow. But this election is, nonetheless, all about him. The question is whether voters will pry his fingers loose from at least some of the levers of power, thereby limiting the damage he can inflict in his two remaining years in office...
At this point, nobody should have any illusions about Mr. Bush’s character. To put it bluntly, he’s an insecure bully who believes that owning up to a mistake, any mistake, would undermine his manhood — and who therefore lives in a dream world in which all of his policies are succeeding and all of his officials are doing a heckuva job. Just last week he declared himself “pleased with the progress we’re making” in Iraq.
In other words, he’s the sort of man who should never have been put in a position of authority, let alone been given the kind of unquestioned power, free from normal checks and balances, that he was granted after 9/11. But he was, alas, given that power, as well as a prolonged free ride from much of the news media.
The results have been predictably disastrous. The nightmare in Iraq is only part of the story. In time, the degradation of the federal government by rampant cronyism — almost every part of the executive branch I know anything about, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been FEMAfied — may come to be seen as an equally serious blow to America’s future.
And it should be a matter of intense national shame that Mr. Bush has quietly abandoned his fine promises to New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast.
The public, which rallied around Mr. Bush after 9/11 and was still prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt two years ago, seems to have figured most of this out. It’s too late to vote Mr. Bush out of office, but most Americans seem prepared to punish Mr. Bush’s party for his personal failings. This is in spite of a vicious campaign in which Mr. Bush has gone further than any previous president — even Richard Nixon — in attacking the patriotism of anyone who criticizes him or his policies.
That said, it’s still possible that the Republicans will hold on to both houses of Congress. The feeding frenzy over John Kerry’s botched joke showed that many people in the news media are still willing to be played like a fiddle. And if you think the timing of the Saddam verdict was coincidental, I’ve got a terrorist plot against the Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.
Moreover, the potential for vote suppression and/or outright electoral fraud remains substantial. And it will be very hard for the Democrats to take the Senate for the very simple reason that only one-third of Senate seats are on this ballot.
What if the Democrats do win? That doesn’t guarantee a change in policy.
The Constitution says that Congress and the White House are co-equal branches of government, but Mr. Bush and his people aren’t big on constitutional niceties. Even with a docile Republican majority controlling Congress, Mr. Bush has been in the habit of declaring that he has the right to disobey the law he has just signed, whether it’s a law prohibiting torture or a law requiring that he hire qualified people to run FEMA.
Just imagine, then, what he’ll do if faced with demands for information from, say, Congressional Democrats investigating war profiteering, which seems to have been rampant. Actually, we don’t have to imagine: a White House strategist has already told Time magazine that the administration plans a “cataclysmic fight to the death” if Democrats in Congress try to exercise their right to issue subpoenas — which is one heck of a metaphor, given Mr. Bush’s history of getting American service members trapped in cataclysmic fights where the deaths are anything but metaphors.
But here’s the thing: no matter how hard the Bush administration may try to ignore the constitutional division of power, Mr. Bush’s ability to make deadly mistakes has rested in part on G.O.P. control of Congress. That’s why many Americans, myself included, will breathe a lot easier if one-party rule ends tomorrow.
Sometimes, things aren't always as they appear. One of several deceiving pictures sure to produce a chuckle.
Speaking of illusions, last night I woke up in the middle of the night and had what I thought was a brilliant idea for a blog post. It was detailed, developed and appeared to me with complete clarity. The thought occurred to me that I should get up and make notes, but I just rolled over and went back to sleep, sure that I'd have no trouble remembering it in the morning. I was wrong, The more I think about it, it must have been a dream, since "complete clarity" is something I haven't had much of recently.
Why I'm perfectly willing to give most of the stupidity on TV a pass, but then let little things bug the heck out of me is something I can't explain. But for some reason I get fixated on little details that obscure whatever else may be going on. A few of my recent "issues":
As if it's not bad enough to see Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the Jarvik-7 artificial heart hawking Lipitor in a TV commercial, the most recent one appears to take place in the sweeping futuristic lobby of a medical facility. But despite the fake signs and people walking around in lab coats, the location is easily recognized as the new addition to The Brooklyn Museum of Art. Gee, do you think that large multinational pharmaceutical companies just might lie to us about other things as well?
A similar "on-location" bone to pick with "L&O:CI" using the Jacob K. Javits Convection Center. They needed to film a "ripped from the headlines" version of the John Mark Karr story, and they used the center to film a sequence that was supposedly in a Vietnamese airport. Fine, but don't include it's most recognizable architectural feature (the I. M. Pei steel/glass framed skylight) as part of the shoot. Then, as if to make me totally disconnect my reality meter, they cast Liza Minelli in the as the mother of the murdered child. Please, don't let this show jump the shark.
And as much as I love L&O, I was kinda' glad I missed last nights' version of the Mel Gibson saga. A great idea, until you cast Chevy Chase in the role. The previews were painful to watch, since he appeared to be horribly overacting. Maybe it wasn't as bad as I feared; with the show being rerun almost around the clock, it shouldn't be that tough to catch it some other time.
Not that I'm a big Johnny Cash fan, but the poor dude must be turning over in his grave with the new Choice Hotels commercials. They feature "regular people" singing "I've Been Everywhere"...badly. Luckily, the mute button still works.
Speaking of besmirching a legacy, I'm reasonably sure that Rosa Parks wouldn't care what kind of car I drive, and probably wouldn't be too happy to be used as a marketing tool to sell Chevys. The ultimate irony is that she used public transit.
In a similar vein I've always had a fear that we would see advertising on MLK day that would be along the lines of the tacky President's Day car ads with actors dressed up as the real deal selling cars. Luckily we've been spared the sight of "I have a dream...a new Toyota for only $15,999!" thanks to the careful stewardship of the King family. And please stop telling us that he was a Republican, I mean...let's get real!
A belated Halloween recap is in order, especially since I don't have anything else new to report. Despite some great 11th hour suggestions, I stuck with the construction worker concept. It didn't come off that bad, and got me off the hook with little effort or embarrassment. The only problem I encountered was that every time I had to have an encounter with the public, pretty much everyone got confused thinking I was an actual construction worker and couldn't understand why I was talking to them. Admittedly, it's kinda' lame to dress up as a pretty common and honorable profession and call it a costume, but I never expected an identity crisis. I taped a cheesy copy of the company logo on the front of the hard hat in a half-assed fashion, but I guess I needed to be a little more over the top than that to have it be considered a real costume. And several co-workers ask me seriously "how did you get a company hard hat?" Both reactions surprised and scared me a great deal.
But at least it worked out better than the guy I heard about recently on the news, who took his daughter trick or treating, and decided to wear his old prison uniform as a costume. Unfortunately, somebody who worked for the corrections department recognized the uniform, and a prison lockdown and a manhunt resulted because they thought a prisoner had escaped.
Then after work, the parade of the costumed munchkin extortionists began. But in a pleasantly surprising reversal of trends from previous years, each and every one of the trick or treaters were "age appropriate" kids in cute costumes, and none of the uncostumed teens that we've seen in the past. With the exception of the dog (restrained in the family room) who felt the need to agitatedly bark VERY LOUDLY every time the doorbell rang, it was fun. What's NOT fun is the excess of "fun sized" candy which is now left over. Not much fun in fun sized candy actually. The person that came up with that name, is perhaps the same marketing genius who came up with the name of the "no child left behind" program. And with the wimpy size, I find myself eating more of them than I really should. Can't wait until they are gone.
The classic moment of the night was when three wee tikes came to the door and announced that they were trick or treating for Unicef. I stopped to put the candy bag back on the table so I could get my wallet out, and the first kid said in a panicked tone, "no wait, we'll take candy too". I stuck a buck in each of their boxes, and I hear the one excitedly exclaim, "Oh boy I got a ten!" Jeesh, how did I do that; I'm not sure if his excitement or my panic was greater, but I almost felt bad when he discovered it was in fact just a dollar.
On the 22nd of May, 1856, as the deteriorating American political system veered toward the edge of the cliff, U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina shuffled into the Senate of this nation, his leg stiff from an old dueling injury, supported by a cane. And he looked for the familiar figure of the prominent senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner.
Brooks found Sumner at his desk, mailing out copies of a speech he had delivered three days earlier — a speech against slavery.
The congressman matter-of-factly raised his walking stick in midair and smashed its metal point across the senator’s head.
Congressman Brooks hit his victim repeatedly. Sen. Sumner somehow got to his feet and tried to flee. Brooks chased him and delivered untold blows to Sumner’s head. Even though Sumner lay unconscious and bleeding on the Senate floor, Brooks finally stopped beating him only because his cane finally broke.
Others will cite John Brown’s attack on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry as the exact point after which the Civil War became inevitable.
In point of fact, it might have been the moment, not when Brooks broke his cane over the prostrate body of Sen. Sumner — but when voters in Brooks’ district started sending him new canes.
Tonight, we almost wonder to whom President Bush will send the next new cane.
There is tonight no political division in this country that he and his party will not exploit, nor have not exploited; no anxiety that he and his party will not inflame.
There is no line this president has not crossed — nor will not cross — to keep one political party in power.
He has spread any and every fear among us in a desperate effort to avoid that which he most fears — some check, some balance against what has become not an imperial, but a unilateral presidency.
And now it is evident that it no longer matters to him whether that effort to avoid the judgment of the people is subtle and nuanced or laughably transparent.
The Seven Phases of Owning an iPod - An Illustrated Journey (VIA del.icio.us) "Every iPod owner passes through seven distinct phases, this illustrated guide depicts the journey all iPod owners must undertake..." I'm clearly in the midst of Phase 6 ("A smaller, fancier ipod is created and yours is now outdated and crappy") and on the cusp of Phase 7.