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!
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Separated At Birth: The Apprentice
After numerous shark sightings in the past and every indication that it's best days are behind it, I still find myself suckered in for another season of The Apprentice. A few brief thoughts:
I thought they sent Adam packing last year, but apparently he's back in the suite again this season!
Not one but TWO strong local candidates to root for! Tammy lives here in Edison and is a runner...be still my heart. And Dan is another local who looks strong. Although originally from the USSR, Lenny resides in Jersey as well.
Good move, put the fat guy on the blimp. Normally I try to avoid that kind of a juxtaposition. Then again he was the one who said he invented his own diet plan. Let's hope he gives refunds. I don't see him around too long. And I see that he studied to be a mime; yet another reason to dislike him.
What, no stereotypical crazy chic? I thought Summer was going to step up to the plate on this, but sadly no. The stupid card is much less entertaining than the crazy card. Perhaps Brent will have to suffice.
The only bad thing about the Summer firing is that it reduces the eye-candy factor. Memo to Trump: where ever possible, FIRE THE DUDE!
Not really looking forward to Trump's kids replacing George and Carolyn in future episodes, but we'll see how that plays out.
And a word of friendly advice to the candidates: there is no "I" in team, although you DO find "RUMP" in Trump!
I've been away for a little trip. A fun little place called Liberty City, via the Sony express. I finally got off the fence and broke down and gave in to the temptation of the PlayStation Portable. Once I finally figured out that the little thing I thought was the speaker on the front was in reality the joystick things have been going much better. Men don't ask for (or read) directions.
I knew that this was the top rated PSP game, and it's easy to see why. Even with all the mistakes I've been making, it's a ton of fun. I've been wasting time looking for doors to open and trying to figure out how to pick up hookers, but so far that doesn't seem possible. And my inability to follow directions translates to the virtual world as well, since in an early "assignment" was to "take the drug dealer to safety". My "out of the box" solution was to immediately beat him to death. Not the right call. I've got to go now, and steal some more cars, and pick some more fights.
Not that I ever used their search engine, the good folks at Ask Jeeves have given the old "heave-ho" to Jeeves. It must have been a bad break-up, since this recent search to try to find out what happened produces no relevant results, and in fact casts aspersions about his sexuality!
Everybody's Got A Hunger, A Hunger They Can't Resist
So I'm just tooling around on Google, and I come across these stunningly beautiful illustrations of diners by John Baeder which caused me to contemplate the subject and start trolling for links. It's certainly not the first time I've been distracted by shiny objects. But you have to bear in mind, I'm the guy (pathetic loser) who keeps the New Orleans BourboCAM page open in a browser tab, just in case some drunken female Mardi Gras reveler becomes a revealer (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
Diners are thought of as a quintessential part of New Jersey, even though approximately 3,000 remain in operation across the country. But with over 500 remaining here, it means NJ has more than any other state.
Many have questions concerning what really ISa diner?, but when trying to answer these kind of questions it's more a case of attitude (typically greasy spoon cuisine, but there are exceptions) and NOT architecture that wind up resolving the question. Diners can be fast, but they aren't fast food. "Chains" need not apply.
Where I grew up, there was a tradition that was pure Pennsylvania Dutch which was celebrated as you headed into Shrove Tuesday. The idea was that before Lent began, you would whip up a batch of tasty donuts, called fastnachs. Originally they were made from a deep-fried, yeast raised potato dough, but God only knows what the ones you get in supermarkets were made of. The idea was that for Lent, you would be forbidden from eating rich things, so you would use up all the ingredients and have one last fling. That was it's origin at least, since most people I knew seldom gave up anything for Lent, but we did love to eat fastnachts.
I really wasn't aware that in most of the rest of the world, a similar ritual occurs, but they call it Pancake Day. Or that this is yet another case of a pagan celebration re-purposed as a Christian tradition.
All I know is that I'm really craving a fastnacht right now! AND that you can get FREE PANCAKES! at IHOP!
Virtual In A Well This is strangely captivating. You are trapped in a well. Your only chance at survival is to throw rocks at the delicious seagulls flying overhead. Seems like a metaphor for the frustrations of our daily existence.
I had every intention of snapping a picture of our dog while she was doing one of her classic poses, but she just wasn't having any of it today so I just posted a recent shot. The one I had wanted to catch is where she sits on the couch in an upright position and drapes her front leg over the arm of the couch, looking like a little furry human. I don't think I'm being anthropomorphic but I think she is trying to mimic us. As a result, I keep my car keys on a high shelf.
It never fails when it comes to matters of technology, they always come out with something cooler right after you buy yours. I've been sitting on the fence for awhile thinking about getting a PSP, but thinking maybe I should just wait for the next generation PS3. Recent events remind me that life is too short for self denial and I should just buy the damn thing, but now I see that the next generation PSP2 is just around the corner that promises some tantalizing new features. And I wish I had a dollar for every iPod rumor that's out there. They never make this easy.
But I'm probably better off getting hooked on this kind of a gaming system than getting hooked on an on-line game like Second Life. This sounds like it could be a dangerously addicting black hole of time wasting. I think I got this out of my system years ago with The Sims. But I find it interesting that there are those who have been able to quit their real jobs and make a living in this alternative world. And there is a darkside to everything.
They may have "3 Great Tastes That Taste Great Together", but every time I hear the damn commercial for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with Caramel I swear it sounds like they are saying "You got caramel on my racist". Next thing you know I'll be asking "What's all the fuss about flea erections in Uganda? Oh, nevermind.
After seeing some kinda hurtful comments on another site describing this as a "rip-off" blog, I was considering how to react. I had considered more original content, but that would require some effort, so that's out. Sharing tales about my work life would get me fired, and sharing stuff about home life would get me divorced. What to do, what to do? For the short term, just keep plugging away. It is what it is; a time waster, my on-line bookmarks, and the occasional soapbox as the spirit moves me.
And then as if to force me to actually put something original together, I get tagged with this rather interesting meme: "List seven songs you are into right now, no matter what the genre. Doesn't matter whether they have words or even if they’re any good. The only requirement is that they must be songs you’re really enjoying right now. Post these instructions on your blog along with your seven song choices. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to."
Sounds like fun, except for the tagging others and limiting myself to seven songs. Since I'm not big on following instructions I'm not tagging anybody, but feel free to run with this if you are so inclined. And here are my seven "high rotation" current favorites: 1) Queen Bitch (David Bowie...possibly the best part of "The Life Aquatic") 2) Gut Feeling (Devo...see above) 3) P-Funk Is Playing At My House (DJ Riko mash-up of LCD Soundsystem + Gerald A. + Katie Enlow, from Best of Bootie 2005) 4) Hot Rich Girls Dropped In A Grange (Torero mash-up of Gwen Stefani + Snoop Dogg + ZZ Top, from Best of Bootie 2005) 5) Popular (Nada Surf) 6) Helicopter (Bloc Party) 7) Only (Nine Inch Nails)
Tangpagne (VIA Linkfilter) "Have you ever wondered what would happen ifyou tried to ferment Tang?" No, I haven't. There are some things that nature just never intended. Ironically, Tang just happens to be one of them. We all drank this drivel as children in some sort of misguided show of solidarity for America's astronauts. Why today's kids might still drink it is way beyond my ability to comprehend, as is the idea of why I would want to turn it into an alcoholic beverage. If I did, Tang and vodka would do just fine.
Separated at Birth? (VIA YesButNoButYes) After his recent troubles on the set of the new James Bond flick, hardcore fans are in quite a tizzy over the choice of Daniel Craig to portray Bond. I'm not sure where on the geek continuum this group ranks, I'm guessing somewhere between Star Wars fans and Nascar followers but I could be wrong. To check out what all the fuss is about CraigNotBond will bring you up to speed.
The more you read about the UAE port security scandal, the more it becomes patently obvious this is about far more than just one deal with one company or one country. The harsh reaction from the Bush administration to the proposal to rescind the deal should be a red flag. This administration is unquestionably the most corporate-controlled administration in recent history, meaning its reactions are usually tied directly to the reactions of Corporate America. And the fact that the White House is ignoring its own security experts and reacting so negatively to Congress's opposition to the deal means this cuts to the much deeper issue of global trade policy - an issue that trumps all others for Big Money interests, even post-9/11 security....
But as the coverage continues, the true motives of Bush's position are starting to slip out, almost inadvertently....
You pretty much have to concede that it's a bad idea if even the conservatives say that of all the dumb decisions since 9/11, this may be "the dumbest of all". The unmitigated arrogance that this administration has demonstrated knows no bounds, since apparently he thought selling control of major ports to an Arab company that has ties to a nation linked with both terrorism and Bush cronies would pass unnoticed. And to as if to rub our noses into it, he sends out Chertoff to sell it. Essentially he's saying "trust us" even though they don't trust US enough to de-classify the details. This coming from a guy with such "strong" credentials and a proven track record of incompetence.
You would think that this would be be a golden opportunity for the Democratic opposition to assert themselves as a clear alternative to this continuing madness and lead us back to three branch, two party government, right? All I'm hearing are the crickets; rarely do I hear them articulate a clear vision in a way that is going to move the masses. With a mid-term election ahead when they can put Democrat back into Democracy, they still need to get their act together if this opportunity is going to mean anything. Unless they can present themselves as the alternative to this crony laden bunch of carpet-bagging corrupt hacks who don't give a damn about the welfare of the American people it's going to be more of the same.
It would seem that we have lost our will to assert ourselves. Time and time again, we allow our elected officials to make decisions that aren't in our best interests while we sit idle. It's as if we are driving a VW with one of those evillooking "Fast" characters in the back seat, making us do things we don't want to do. Our "Fast" looks an awful lot like Karl Rove. Let's hope we can break the spell.
I can remember my disappointment that Mr. Potato Head didn't come with a real potato. Thank God for spell check, since I keep typing the Dan Quayle spelling. And for a blast from the internet past, be sure to visit the Mr. Edible Starchy Tuber Head as well.
A full week after Lord Vader's accidental strangling of Admiral Romodi Motti, the media shows no signs of letting go.
"The hate-Vader crowd loves this story," complained Faux-News political analyst Boba Fett. "But it doesn't affect anyone's life at all. It's not like it reveals any deep insights into Lord Vader's character."
Fett speculated that the press went overboard on the story from frustration and resentment.
Love it, hate it, live it. It's hard not to have mixed feelings about living in the suburbs. Homogenized, sanitized, and seemingly "safe", suburbia exploded in the postwar period fueled by one part optimism, one part racism, and the helping hand of the federal government via an expanding interstate highway system. As a special bonus, that move proved to be a kick in the groin for public transit and cities in general.
Luckily, cities have bounced back and suburbs are showing a bit more diversity than their white bread beginnings. Many have grown into large edge cities, or boomburbs. Unfortunately, too many older suburbs have the potential to turn into the slums of tomorrow. And don't even get me started on the whole McMansions thing. It might help to lookback at a simplervision of the suburban ideal.
One of the great crimes of the last century (if we ignore the Bush administration) would have to be the destruction of the original McKim, Mead & White PennsylvaniaStation in the 60's. We were left with a place that looks like a bad bus station, uninspiring office buildings, a sports arena for teams that increasingly suck, and our memories. I remember it as a child when we were in town for the World'sFair and it's days were numbered. They had already torn down much of it, and what remained was dirty and poorly maintained. But even so, the building had a scale and a majesty that was moving.
But now, it looks like history may repeat itself. They want to build a new Madison Square Garden, which may imperil the plans for the new Moynihan Station, an attempt to restore some of the lost glory. Let's hope this plays out better than the last time.
Because of the badremakes that Hollywood loves to churn out I got a bit nervous when I stumbled upon The NEW Three Stooges, but as it turns out it's just that the boys did some lame new material as an intro to an animated version. Not their best work by any means but true fans might want to have a look. Even though there was a remake of sorts, The Three Stooges TV Movie was more of a docudrama than a re-imaging. It's only a matter of time till some creatively bankrupt Hollywood executive gets the bright idea to re-cast and revisit The Stooges. Let's hope that day never comes. The classic line-up MoeHoward, LarryFine, and CurlyHoward would be hard to beat. And let's not forget the under-appreciated Shemp.
The eye poke started when Shemp accused Larry of cheating in a card game, and Shemp poked him in the eyes! Moe, watching all this, laughed so hard he fell off his chair and through his patio glass door.
The Soviet government asked permission for the aging Stooges shorts to be shown on Soviet TV, and that the Stooges declined, their theory being that the Soviets planned to use the Stooges as Cold War propaganda, i.e., evidence that the American people were pathologically violent and/or stupid.
The contact point of the "eye poke" was actually the brow bone, not the eyes. The illusion looked real on television. In the 1950s, after numerous complaints by parents of children imitating the Stooges' eyepoke, they went on TV to demonstrate how exactly they did it safely.
Shemp acquired his name from his mother's attempts to pronounce his name, "Sam", in spite of her thick accent
My continuing quest for the perfect smart-assed T-shirt takes me to T-Shirt Hell featuring offensive baby shirts. Funny stuff, but dressing your kid in them would probably get you a visit from DYFS. Then, again it might be worth it.
Why would a media-savvy and clever man like Dick Cheney delay notifying the press and the police about an accident when a) he knew it would eventually be covered by the press and b) he knew he would be criticized for delaying release of the story?
A simple cost/benefit analysis suggests that he (or those advising him) must have believed that there was more to be gained than lost by a 14 hour delay that would eventually be made public. It is likely, therefore, that something happened during that 14 hour period which was worth the negative costs of the delay.
What is the most likely thing to happen during a 14 hour delay that is worth the negative publicity? One possibility is that it takes approximately that period of time for alcohol to dissipate in the body and no longer be subject to accurate testing. It is fairly common for people involved in alcohol-related accidents to delay reporting them until the alcohol has left the body....
There are certainly other explanations for the 14 hour delay, but simply postponing the inevitable publication of a damaging story is not one of them. Nor is the fact that Cheney is, by nature, a secretive man. The burden of proof has now shifted to the Vice President to explain why he made this stupid, or very clever, decision. We're waiting for his explanation.
And 'ya gotta love Jack Cafferty who said that Cheney appearing on Faux News to come clean "didn't exactly represent a profile in courage" and that having Hume interview him is "a little like Bonnie interviewing Clyde".
In today's Op-Ed piece, Maureen Dowd breaks down the blame game that these weasels play so well. It looks like we can expect more of the same from the gang that can't shoot straight as they try to still the troubled waters:
As the story of the weekend's bizarre hunting accident is wrenched out of the White House, the picture isn't pretty: With American soldiers dying in Iraq, Five-Deferment Dick "I Had Other Priorities in the 60's Than Military Service" Cheney gets his macho kicks gunning down little birds and the occasional old man while W. rides his bike, blissfully oblivious to any collateral damage. Shouldn't these guys work on weekends until we figure out how to fix Iraq, New Orleans, Medicare and gas prices?
This version of "The Most Dangerous Game" neatly follows the four-step Bush-Cheney cycle:
Step 1: Set out to pick off what you think is an easy target, like quail this time or pen-raised and netted pheasant in the past, or a certain sanction-caged Iraqi dictator.
Step 2: In the corrupt company of lobbyist-contractor friends, botch things up. Ignore the peril at hand — as with, oh, Osama at Tora Bora, or Katrina, or the Iraq occupation — and with steely resolve, indulge your raging incompetence. (Oops.)
Step 3: Stonewall. Resist giving Congress information about 9/11 or Katrina; don't tell the public how you're tapping phones at home, setting up gulags abroad and making war and energy policy in secret. Why give the taxpayers, who are ponying up for these weekend hunting trips, the extraordinary news that Vice shot his hunting companion in the face and chest? Scott McClellan knew before yesterday's White House briefing at noon that Mr. Whittington was worse, but did not tell the reporters. He left that to Corpus Christi doctors, who spun the heart attack as "an inflammatory response to a metallic foreign BB."
Step 4: Admit no mistakes. Express sympathy. Blame the victim without leaving fingerprints by outsourcing the smear to the private sector.
Trent Lott joked in a meeting yesterday that Mr. Cheney was now the "shooter in chief," while other wags noted that Quayle was always a problem for Bushes.
"The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality." George Bernard Shaw
Puppy Rapid Transit (VIA Found on the Web) Hey, when you're not sure what to post, how can you go wrong with pictures of adorable puppies in a cute setting? The link also includes helpful "how to" instructions in the event you want to build one of these yourself.
"According to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush...everyone believed there were quail in the brush...while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he would still have shot Mr. Whittington in the face." Rob Corddry
Smittens (VIA YesButNoButYes) These mittens are made for walking, that's just what they do. Personally, I think these Smittens are gonna look pretty silly on you. Too late to order them for Valentine's Day anyway.
"According to a new survey, women say they feel more comfortable undressing in front of men than they do undressing in front of other women. They say that women are too judgmental, whereas, of course, men are just grateful." Robert De Niro
Sometimes you can't explain what attracts you to something or someone. The Comrade Yamamoto Experience is a prime example of that. A quirky, somewhat cheesy site that includes links about highways, mash-ups of Dubya and song lyrics, and other stuff proved to be a fascinating time waster. Then again, I've been known to watch the laundry move past the window in the washing machine for long periods of time as well.
It's the Time for the Sneezin' of Love Debunking yet another urban myth, Snopes addresses one that I had never heard: "Sneezing seven times in a row is the same as an orgasm." And before you go running for the pepper, the answer is no. I wish I had thought of the quote attributed to Dr. Mark McMahon which is a classic: ''Sneezing is better than sex. It's a mini-instant orgasm. You keep your clothes on, you don't get involved, you can do it in public and when you're done, perfect strangers bless you."
A Danish Flag making company in Copenhagen is reporting record profit margins, during a period in which the rest of the national economy has suffered a massive blow. With sales up nearly 500%, some production lines have been forced to run a 24/7 manufacturing operation.
“I've never seen anything quite like it,” Factory Manager Kiefer Wilson announced, “When I took over running this plant a year ago I wasn't really expecting it to go anywhere. It was just a stop-gap job whilst I tried to get my career back on track. But whatever I've done in those 12 months has certainly paid off – particularly in the last couple of weeks.”...
As if the Whopperette commercial from the Super Bowl wasn't disturbing enough (there is something just plain wrong about the grunting sound the "condiments" make as they pile up on each other) now we have this: The Creepy Burger King Flipps Off the Competition. You may wish to avoid this if you don't want the tune "Safety Dance" stuck in your head all day!