Monday, December 17, 2007

So, Who Exactly Is The Hero Of This Movie?

Thursday night I did a favor for a friend who is currently without an automobile. I picked her up from her job as a server at a comedy club and allowed her to pay me for taxi service in beer and nachos while I watched the Thursday night NFL game at a local bar.

While waiting for our Chicken Nachos and while Jessica was out socializing with some of the other regulars the commercial for Tom Hanks’ movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” appeared on the TV. Needing something to keep my attention and being in a WiFi hotspot I pulled out my trusty iPhone and Googled Charlie Wison.

Asside: That may have been the single nerdiest statement ever made on this blog. Wait, here comes another.

When I landed on Charlie’s Wikipedia page (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) I did some quick reading and getting the bare minimum facts from the open-source encyclopedia I read of his playboy lifestyle and the various welfare state agenda items on his voting record.

Throughout the eighties, though, Congressman Charlie Wilson picked up a new cause: Afghanistan. With the Afghanis in a long war with the Russians, our cold war adversaries, Charlie Wilson on multiple occasions offered supplies, weapons and various military aid to the Afghanis in order to fight the cold war by proxy.

One thing that the article does not mention is who was leading the resistance against the Russians in those days. The Afghani leader’s name should be familiar to us all by now, Osamma Bin Ladin.

The most surprising thing about this is that Tom Hanks would get involved in another semi-controversial movie character so soon after the forgettable film rendition of The DaVinci Code. Of course to keep Hanks’ status as America’s favored son in Hollywood the part of Professor Langdon was rewritten to show him to be at least somewhat a person of faith.



Of course what sends my liberal-slant-spidey-sense tingling is the fact that activist and part time actress Julia Roberts is his co star in this film. Obviously Hanks is here to provide the film with some amount of acting credibility.

Much like the Wikipedia article the movie could be done glorifying the noble efforts of a liberal Texas Congressman turning from a playboy to a Cold Warrior without mentioning exactly WHO was receiving his aid.

Representative Wilson died in 1996 and thus never saw the extent to which his cause had gone awry. Still upon seeing this movie one should remember who it is “Good Time Charlie” was really helping back then.

References:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In the news…

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these so I thought I’d tackle a few issues.

First up, Madonna in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7143011.stm


Singer Madonna will be inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next
year, it has been announced.

John Mellencamp, The Ventures,
Leonard Cohen and The Dave Clark Five, will also be honoured at a ceremony next
month in New York.
I guess this just proves that controversy throughout your career by rolling around on the ground in your underwear is an acceptable substitute for talent.


As Baseball Braces for Report, Pettitte and Clemens Cited
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/14/sports/baseball/14mitchell.html?em&ex=1197694800&en=6adaa7fdd3f9dc4b&ei=5087%0A

A former trainer for Roger Clemens provided information about Clemens’s steroid use to investigators for former Senator George Mitchell, who will release a report Thursday on steroids in baseball, two lawyers familiar with the investigation said.

The trainer, Brian McNamee, also provided information about steroid use by pitcher Andy Pettitte and first baseman David Segui, the lawyers said. McNamee spoke to Mitchell’s investigators under pressure from federal prosecutors investigating the use of steroids in baseball.

Mitchell is to release his 304-page report, covering 20 months of investigation, Thursday afternoon. More than 50 players are named in the report, according to individuals who saw the report.
Now we’re talking about substances such as steroids, and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) commonly referred to as “performance enhancing substances”.

Why do we watch professional sports as opposed to other professions? The answer is to see enhanced performances. Nobody pays $17.50 to sit in a hard plastic chair to watch me at my job. Well even if I had a job they wouldn’t do that.

But how narrowly should we define performance enhancers? Tiger Woods openly endorses Lasik eye surgery. The result of his procedure has given him better than 20/20, or super human sight.

A first year pro on the PGA Tour probably hasn’t earned enough prize money or endorsements to have the discretionary funds to get this procedure. This gives Tiger Woods performance-enhancing advantage over the rookie.

What do you get if you take the steroids out of Major League Baseball? You get Minor League Baseball. People won’t show up to see the league’s best home run hitter struggle to get to 30 runs in a season.

Even if every player in Major League Baseball did take steroids there is one part of baseball that no amount of performance enhancing drugs will enhance the performance of. That part is hitting a five-inch spheroid with a four-inch diameter cylinder. That only comes from raw talent amplified by years of practice.

Former Senator George Michell and his report will attempt to get congress to do something substantial about professionals doing anything they can to excel at their profession, while ignoring other issues such as illegal immigration, terrorism, taxes, inflation and dependence on foreign oil.

Thank you very much, Senator Michell, you've compromised the security of the country!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What I DON'T Want For Christmas

I've come to believe that the worst christmas gift you can get is any christmas decoration. I put up my tree yesterday and when I decided to add to festivities I looked in my closet and found the following 3 items:
  • a dog that barks christmas carols
  • 2 snow men that sing "Baby it's cold out side"
  • and a penguin that dances and sings to an overly upbeat version of "Jingle Bells"
All 3 of these were Christmas present and aside from the singing dog that used to upset our real dog who thought another dog had invaded her house, none of them get used more than a week a year.

So what's the point of giving someone a Christmas decoration when most people decorate BEFORE christmas and take things down by new years? it's like saying "Here's a gift that you can use for the next week and then not for another year." You know what's a better gift than this?

ANYTHING ELSE!
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • A spatula
  • The complete DVD Box Set of 227
  • A gift card for a brazilian wax

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Timing is Everything

So now that I’m unemployed… oh yeah, the rest of this story informs that statement.

It all started with the Browns in Pittsburgh this weekend. Everybody expected a blowout for the Steelers but when the Browns went up 21 to 9 in the first half the football world was shocked.

The second half was another story, though. Pittsburgh changed up their gameplan and aside from some spectacular special teams returns by Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs the Steelers made a comeback to win 28 to 31.

Now I have a pretty healthy rivalry with most of my now former coworkers, the majority of whom are huge Browns fans. So I sent a text message to Bryce, the biggest of the Browns fans, saying, “I’m fired aren’t I?”

It happens that my previous week at work I was struggling to find things to do. Nothing was really coming in, though on Monday in the first five minutes I was bombarded from several angles on things that needed priority or more immediate attention.

But it was at around four o’clock Bryce asked me to meet him in the conference room. “This has nothing to do with the Steelers and the browns,” he said.

What happened next was an explanation for why I haven’t been busy the previous week. In his words, “I blame the sales team”. You see this company has two products. First there is the courseware, flash-based corporate training on various topics; and Learning Management Systems, the hosted website that houses the courseware and maintains records for the client.

The sales process has required my involvement recently. Instead of just selling the product based on its merit, I would get a requirement document for a client with a basic outline of what was to go into this “Demo” site and I would then build it for each potential client. Thus I am now spending my work time building products that are not generating revenue.

Last week when even the requests for demos went cold I was a little bored at work.
So after waking up from a mid afternoon nap at about 2:00 today I started looking for jobs. In about 2 hours I had updated my resume and gotten 3 interviews set up with recruiters. I figured that was enough productivity for one day for a guy who’s unemployed.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Shouldn’t it be called Blue Week?

This week NBC attempted to further the propaganda of environmentalism with a “Green theme” in all their prime time shows. Of course since the earth is actually blue when seen from space I think the whole green theme misses the point of the Earth’s natural state, but I digress.

All week, starting with Sunday Night Football, NBC’s shows have gone extra preachy with their environmental message.

Sunday Night Football kicked off (sorry for the pun) the green message by turning out the lights in the studio. This was mostly a symbolic act since the rest of the year the studio will be very well lit. I think most football fans would agree that they only care about the green status of the game when the Jets play the Packers.

To be honest after watching this week’s episode of Heroes I didn’t catch an overly preachy environmental message. But then again as NBC’s highest rated serial drama throwing in a green sub-plot be more out of place than that replacement green peacock that’s been in the lower corner of the screen all week.

Thursday night tried to present the “You’re bad for being affluent” message with humor. Though the script writers got their own commentary on the network edict in which was funnier than the rest of the shows.

On “My Name is Earl” The warden (Craig T. Nelson) of the jail in which Earl (Jason Lee) is serving time is enacting a scared strait program and wanted Earl to do the presentation in the school. He then added “Add a green message,” to which Earl replies “That doesn’t fit with the rest of the presentation, wouldn’t it just seem kind of tacked on?”
Which it was.

Later Steven Carell did his best impersonation of “Survivor Man.” The show ended with him giving a speech, meant to support the environmental cause. As is status quo with this show Carell’s character gets everything wrong, but things work out in spite of his bumbling. His Environmental speech actually made sense.

“Man became civilized for a reason. He decided he wanted to have warmth and clothing and television and hamburgers and to walk upright and to have a soft futon at the end of the day. He didn’t want to have to struggle to survive. I don’t need the woods, I have a nice wood desk. I don’t need fresh air because I have the freshest air around: AC.”

Later Scrubs featured this exchange: Janitor: That’s very wasteful, must you wash your hands so often?
Carla: I just changed an eighty-year-old man’s diaper and I’m about to eat a muffin. So if you don’t mind I’m going to wash away.

This proves that conserving water helps in the spread of hepatitis.

NBC spent the week perpetuating falsehoods about mans ability to affect change in our constantly fluctuating Earth. There have been ice ages and periods of warming, none of them were caused by saving water or driving a gas guzzling SUV.

Environmentalism has become as much a religion as is practiced at your neighborhood church. It involved belief in something that has never been proven (faith). A set of guidelines for living (commandments), consequences for disobeying them (sin) and a way to make up for it (redemption through carbon credits).

The biggest difference, though, is that NBC would never put together a series of programs called “Jesus Week.”

Friday, November 02, 2007

Scab Writer to the Rescue

With a writers strike in Hollywood eminent many of our favorite TV shows may not be available. In an effort to limit the number of reality shows on television and keep quality programming available as a vehicle for Erectile Dysfunction ads I am offering the networks (and maybe Cable if the money is right) the following list of TV shows I’m willing to scab write for the sake of keeping television interesting:

Down Town Grounds
Set in a trendy coffee house the manager Mark Linn-Baker (Perfect Strangers) must fight off caffeine addicted homeless people, sometimes with a shot gun.

The Ass Kicking Action Hour
Mr. T, Chuck Norris and David Hasslehoff are a team of superhero crime fighters who travel the world kicking ass.

The Sweeps
Basically a rip off of Grey's Anatomy where there are a lot of good looking people with lots of personal drama, but instead of being doctors they’re Chimney Sweeps.

I’m a Schizophrenic and So am I
Dana Carvey returns to television as a lawyer with multiple personality disorder, often taking different sides of the same case.
Also staring Chritina Applegate as Nurse Pinkthong.

Rivals
Can mascots from different teams live together? We find out in this wacky sitcom where Pittsburgh’s Pirate Parrot, the San Diego Chicken and The Philly Fanatic all move in together. Also featuring Wayne Brady and Nikki Cox as wacky neighbors.

Lunch at Tiffany’s
Based on the classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Jessica Alba stars as Holly Golightly, a New Yorker living a carefree lifestyle running information for the mafia. Can she balance her high society lifestyle with her commitments to the mob?

Dysfunctional Family Sitcom Featuring a Fat Guy with a Hot Wife
Based on the comedy of comedian (insert comedian name here) this family looks normal on the surface only to realize that they actually bicker constantly.
Also staring Tara Reid as the hot wife that would never bee seen with a guy like that in real life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Big Ten Network’s Sweeps Month Ratings Gimmick

Thursday November 1st begins the November sweeps. That is the period in which TV ratings are taken and analyzed for the purpose of setting advertising rates for the coming months.

So this is why the Big Ten Network spent a huge part of their budget to get the Ohio State Wisconsin game to be a Big Ten Network exclusive.

Big Ten Network is currently asking $1.10 per household per cable provider to carry the channel. This is a rate that neither Time Warner nor Comcast has agreed to.

However it appears that if the Big Ten Network can get enough of a ratings boost out of the third most exciting game shown in Central Ohio they may be able to raise their advertising rates and lower their subscription fee.

The problem: A majority of people who are Ohio State fans don’t get the Big Ten Network.

I don’t know how the Nielson Ratings people adjust for this, but it will likely be that most people who subscribe to Time Warner in Columbus will visit their local bar to watch the game. Since Nielson Ratings primarily track household viewers this ploy by the Big Ten Network may turn out to be a bust.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bacterial Conjunctivitis and Hillary Healthcare

“Just got back from the Dr. I have pink eye”

Of all the text messages to get on a Friday evening from someone you saw on Thursday this is not one you want to get.

Now everything I know about Pink eye I learned from an episode of South Park where everyone was turning into zombies a’la “Night of the Living Dead”. So at this point I’m afraid to touch my eye for fear of becoming a brain-eating member of the undead horde, as those are the only symptoms I’m familiar with.



As it turns out the actual symptoms are red crusty eyes, and the feeling of sandpaper under your eyelid.

I had none of these. However, because everything I know about medicine I learned from Scrubs, I decided to endulge my inner hypochondriac. So Saturday morning I made a visit to the local Urgent Care, just as a precautionary measure.

The nice thing is that the center opens at 9:00 and I got there around 9:15. By 9:30 I had a nurse giving me an eye exam. Ten minutes later the doctor was trying hard not to laugh at me for coming in without symptoms and by 10:00 I had received a prescription for the eye drops I don’t need.

All this cost me forty dollars, which is my insurance’s co-pay, and probably exactly what the doctor made in the ten minutes I talked to him.

Now what if there were free healthcare available to me? I would walk into the same urgent care as led by my inner hypochondriac only to find that every other inner and outer hypochondriac in the Dublin/Powell/Worthington area has come to the same clinic as me looking for a cure for their runny nose, sneezing, coughing aching and all the other typical stay-in-bed-and-rest illnesses.

I would not have seen a doctor until at least noon, and been exposed to a lot of stuff much worse than the pinkeye I didn’t have!

Eventually the amount of work made for the one or two doctors on call at this facility would be so immense that no doctor would be willing to set foot therein. The facility would close causing a lack of a medical facility in the greater Dublin/Powell/Worthington metro area causing people who actually need medical treatment to not get any.

If you don’t believe me look at what’s happening in Canada when there aren’t enough beds in Canadian hospitals and pregnant women are being life-flighted to the US to deliver their babies.

Oh, as it turns out this person I was exposed to had the bacterial form of Conjunctivitis and outside of sharing contact lenses there’s no real way to transmit that to another person.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

How bad is the Big 10 network for college football?

I live in Columbus, Ohio where the Ohio State Buckeyes are king. If you ever want to avoid a crowd in a public place, go there during an Ohio State Game because everybody else will be watching the game. This city is obsessed and pretty much looses their minds when they can’t see the game on any given Saturday.

Enter the Big Ten Network. Powered by Fox broadcasting the Big Ten network was designed to provide the schools of the Big Ten (all eleven of them) with televised promotion of the universities, course broadcasts and sports broadcasts. This all sounds great until Time Warner and Comcast, the two biggest cable networks in the Midwest refuse to carry the Big Ten Network on basic cable.

The argument by the cable companies is that Big Ten Network wants $1.10 per subscriber from the cable company. Given the millions of subscribers of Time Warner and Comcast this will fill Big Ten Network’s piggy bank quite quickly. However, The big cable companies don’t want to provide every basic cable user with this fairly niche channel at a loss of $1.10 per customer until the next billing rate increase rolls around.

On the other hand the smaller regional cable companies, trying to gain local market share away from the monoliths have adopted the Big Ten Network at the network’s demands.

Where the Big Ten Network is gaining its worthwhile material is on a day like today, given an obsessed audience still wants to see Ohio State cream Kent State 45 – 3. In the past this would have been an ESPN+ game. A game recorded by ESPN at a financial loss for the purpose of thorough sports reporting and broadcast almost exclusively on the Columbus, Ohio ABC Affiliate. The local broadcast channel can then sell ad time at a premium because even though it’s a pathetic excuse for competition the hype surrounding this game keeps the whole city watching so there are guaranteed eyes on the TV at that time.

Since college football is such a regional appeal there is no guarantee that all basic cable subscribers would want to watch Big Ten games in Time Warner and Comcast serviced areas not lying between Happy Valley and the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

Living in the Midwest there’s less college football on TV this year. At noon none of the broadcast networks were showing football today and whereas in the past I would have had options to watch other Big Ten games on on the local broadcast channels broadcasting ESPN broadcasts of games unfit for cable. Instead they were all showing a wide variety of infomercals and movies staring David Schwimmer. I ended up finding a close game between the Hawkeyes and Illini because ESPEN2 secured the rights to that game somehow.

Even if I had Big Ten Network I would have only benefited from one more game since Purdue at Michigan was also a Big Ten Network game and here in ohio we would have only been shown #3 Ohio State beat up on a MAC school.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fall TV reviews.

“Kid Nation” CBS Tuesdays 8:00
This is one of the most talked about shows for this season. Let’s put 40 kids in a ghost town and see w hat kind of society they come up with? Will it be better than adult society or will they all die of some sort of plague?

While the premise is exciting and original, the final product is wholly unrealistic (this coming from the guy who’s favorite reality show is SciFi Channel’s “Who Wants To Be A Superhero”).

While the kids do have to do their best to make society work, the interview segments, especially, seem overly edited and entirely too well scripted for this to be a reality show. Of course it’s hard to watch this and think that everything you see is completely spontaneous when there are obviously cameramen everywhere. Kid Nation is another reason I set aside Tuesday Nights for reading.

“Chuck” NBC Mondays 8:00
He’s a computer geek who works at a superstore helpdesk whose best friend who emailed him the only copy of all the secrets of the NSA computer. Several secret service agents chase after him only to be convinced that he can help them.

The premise is weak and wholly unrealistic. While the special effects and female lead look great the show is too far into left field to deserve an hour drama format. They should have reduced the complexity of the plot to and made it a hybrid comedy like Scrubs.

If you really want to laugh at a nerd who can’t seem to function correctly around beautiful women check out “The Big Bang Theory” over on CBS at 8:30. That show already made up its mind to be a pure comedy.

“Journeyman” NBC Mondays 10:00
If “My Name Is Earl” is Quantum Leap for white trash, then Journeyman is Quantum Leap for… well, Quantum Leap fans. Journeyman is the story of a man who travels through time every time he falls asleep. Oddly enough he tends to visit his late ex-fiancĂ© which would probably make his wife at least a little jealous.

The show is very well produced, acted and written. The period music for each “journey” Is very fitting though sometimes overpowers the dialogue.

Journeyman is a surprisingly good show and should do well with a solid lead-in from “Heroes.”

Bionic Woman NBC Wednesdays 9:00
In a nutshell: Too much drama, not enough ass kicking. Jamie Sommers, a San Francisco bartender becomes the Bionic Woman. What would otherwise make this show seem more plausible is that the agreement between Sommers and the black-ops organization that made her bionic is the exact same premise that “Chuck” used two days earlier.

Flash Gordon SciFi Channel Fridays 9:00
For a character who got his start in black-and-white B-movie serials it’s fitting that the modern incarnation is a relatively low-budget cable show. However, when you get past some of the production goofs (like flash finishing a marathon without breaking a sweat) the show is pretty enjoyable. Gone is Flash’s rocket ship zipping from planet to planet, and instead we find Steve “Flash” Gordon a local athletic hero from Suburban Virginia who ends up traveling to the bizarre planet of Mongol and also battle evildoers from there as well.

It’s not great but gets pretty good mileage out of it’s meager special effects budget.

Back To You Wednesday 8:00 FOX
I havent’ seen it yet but seeing Patricia Heaton give Kelsey Grammer his comeuppins on a weekly basis sounds like a hit to me!

Other returning favorites:
Smallville: Should have killed off Chloe… would have made for better story and easier transition to new cast members (who is a really hot blonde!).

Heroes: underwhelming set-up episode for season 2. Don’t over think things, it’s just television!

Lost: Won’t be found on TV until February.

The Office: Pam and Jim together at last. Finally I can sleep at night.

Ugly Betty: I still don’t want to watch something called UGLY BETTY!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Yes it’s the most wonderful time of the year… No the Christmas sales haven’t started early… yet. I’m talking about that other most wonderful time of the year: FOOTBALL SEASON!

Ah yes, the green, usually artificial turf, the drunken fans in the parking lot, cute girls in face paint. Strangely that also describes the last KISS concert I attended.

But the best thing about football season is the game of football. There’s college football, high school football, pro football and fantasy football.

I prefer the professional football to the collegiate game. I think it takes more guts to stick it out with a pro team moreso than as a fan of a college team. Who are your big college fans? They mostly gather around your USC’s your Auburn’s Texas’s and here in my own city we’ve got Ohio State.

The thing about all those teams is that they’re all perennial winners. A bad season in college football for your a-list teams 7-5 and crappy no-name bowl game. As opposed to pro football where the Superbowl champions can go 8-8 a year later and miss the playoffs.

Saying you love a team who’s going to win the majority of their games every year takes less courage than to stand by someone like say, Cleveland who always looses!

Now of course my argument has been cut down in recent weeks by two teams who would have normally been listed with the schools named above as winning schools. However meeting this week we have winless Notre Dame and Michigan meeting at the big house on Saturday. This will be one of the highest rated games of the week only because people love a train wreck and one of these teams will end up as a total train wreck.

First Michigan. Some will say that Michigan hasn’t won a game since Bo Schembechler died. Less of a coincidence and more accurately the downfall of big blue most likely stems from loosing a very close winnable game to Ohio State for a chance to go to the National Championship last year. Nearly two months later the Michigan team barely showed up to face USC in the rose bowl and were put down nicely in a 32-18 loss.

During the off-season several Michigan players skipped the NFL draft hoping to finish what they started by winning a bowl game, beating Ohio State and winning national championship.

In their first step toward these goals the #5 team in the nation was out played to a 32-34 lose to Division I-AA opponent Application State. Was it over confidence in their returning starters? Was it not taking a Division I-AA team? Whatever it was Michigan lost their competitive edge. They lost their spirit and for the rest of the season they’re the team knocked out of the top 25 by an opponent in another division.

The other half of this week’s 0-fer-bowl is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Three years ago new coach Charlie Weis came to an embattled South Bend to guide the Irish again toward victory. In his first year the team went 9-2, the next year 10-2 effectively giving the team the same record.

Now the biggest issue I had at this point was that Charlie didn’t improve from is first to second year. Yes his pro-style coaching and unseen bag of tricks lead the team to a new start in 2005 but there was nothing new in 2006.

Also, with the highly publicized, yet unarguably mediocre Brady Quinn and many other starters left college to play on Sundays. So this is in all reality a rebuilding year in South Bend.

Who will win this Saturday? I don’t know. But I do know that since College football did away with ties somebody’s going to have to!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Base-Blogging: There’s more to baseball than Barry Bonds

Last Night in San Diego, California the ever-enlarging Barry Bonds hit his 755th home run tying Hank Aaron’s record. I was at PNC Park in Pittsburgh during this event, which was shown immediately after the Pirates lost to the Reds in extra innings in a hard-hitting contest to prove just exactly who is the worst team in baseball.

But why is it that you can have perpetually bad teams like the Pirates and Reds while the big money teams: The Yankees, Cubs and Red Sox, are paying for the smaller money teams to stay where they are.

Since Revinue Sharing in Major League Baseball started the basic principle is that the big market teams, as stated above, will share their profits with the rest of Major League Baseball. Now the flaw with this system is that there is so much money coming in because these three teams will pay the best athletes to play for them, they’re in the big cities that love baseball and get great TV ratings so commercial revenue is through the roof.

Now if you’re a small market team where your games are broadcast somewhere on basic cable and your record is such that CSI reruns get higher TV ratings in your city you can actually not bother paying quality athletes on your team, take the revenue sharing cash and operate a baseball stadium knowing that the game is just too much fun for people to not show up.

Now obviously we’re dealing with rich greedy owners and that’s the problem. But it can also be the solution. You see Greed is the easiest of the seven deadly sins to manipulate because it is quantifiable. You can put a number on greed and usually a dollar sign in front of that number.

It’s easy to compare Baseball with Football because the National Football League has a system of salary capping that keeps each team’s payroll within a certain standard deviation. The thought process behind this is that each team will have the same amount of money to spend on players so that each team gets approximately the same quality of players as determined by free market forces dictating the worth of a player.

The salary cap is not perfect but much better than the Revenue sharing system. However it is possible to revive the Revenue sharing system to bring back baseball. Even though all the money is in Boston New York and Chicago these teams aren’t running away with every World Series. Just a few years ago the Flordia Marlins took the Series from the Yankees when one player from the New York Nine was making more than the entire Florida dugout. Therefore it is possible that a team of hard working under-paid ball players can win baseball’s biggest crown.

On the other hand you have the Cubs, even being one of the top markets in the league, so much so building owners across the street from the stadium pay royalties to the team for seats sold there. Yet the Cubs have not been in the mix of winning championships recently as much as the other big money teams. This proves that it’s not a money problem in baseball; it’s a competition problem.

The reason for this is that not every owner of every baseball team is George Steinbrenner, who I would call a baseball fan first and a baseball owner second. So let’s re-organize revenue sharing so that it benefits greedy owners and their fans. At the end of each year we should reward good teams with more of the Revenue Sharing pool than bad teams. This then becomes an incentive for teams to do well. Owners would then have profits tied to their record.

I’m a Pirate fan, and it’s not that I’m asking for them to win the World Series, I just want to see them try for a change!

Speaking of the World Series I’m fairly certain that I can accurately predict the losers of this year’s fall classic. Having seen Ohio State loose both the collegiate football and basketball championships this year, the Cleveland Cavaliers loose the professional Basketball championship and recently the underdog Columbus Destroyers loose the indoor football championship, it’s pretty safe to say that Ohio is doomed to suffer many losses at a national level. Therefore with the Reds still far enough out of the mix to be inconsequential, I predict that the winner of the World Series will be the team playing the Cleveland Indians.

Even if that team is the Cubs!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Something tells me...





Just because it's a blog doesn't mean I have to spell it out for you!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why do pretty blonde girls make such bad decisions?

In a divergence from the ordinary, I am not going to be talking about either Al Gore or the iPhone, instead one of my other favorite topics: Pretty blonde girls who make bad life decisions.

Nothing makes for better news than a pretty blonde girl in trouble, be it Jessica Lynch, Natalee Holloway or the latest cable news sensation Miss New Jersey: Amy Polumbo.

Polumbo has been at the center of controversy because someone has sent “embarrassing” photos of her to pageant officials that could cost her the title of “Miss New Jersey” and possibly her slot in the Miss America pageant.

On the Today Show Miss Polumbo said that these photos "were meant to be private" when the put them on the internet.

For those of you who do not know, the internet is a series of interconnected computers networked over the whole planet. This as opposed to something that would be considered more private like say, a room with a locked door.

Before you get your hopes up, the photos not nearly as graphic as… well, whatever you’d get your hopes up for when a pretty blonde girl is embarrassed by photos of her that would get her kicked out of the Miss America Pageant.

I will now pose a new theory: Pretty Blonde girls make bad decisions. So if you’re a pretty blonde girl here is a list of five things you should always consider before making a decision:
  1. Nothing good ever came from getting drunk with foreign strangers

  2. Stay with your convoy when traveling through Iraq

  3. When being photographed getting out of your Porsche, make sure you have on underwear (clean or not)

  4. Don’t marry Kevin Federline

  5. If you want something kept private don’t put it somewhere that it can't potentially be accessed by every computer on the planet

UPDATE:

Now as an endeavor to keep my Miss New Jersey crown (a state I have never actually been to) from ever being taken away I will preemptively post embarrassing photos of myself here:


Me at a Tracy's party holding a beer with Tracy, John and sme girl I don't remember (I don't remember her not because I was drunk, she just kind of showed up about the same time John and I got there and Tracy wanted a picture, but we didn't really talk to her the rest of the night).



Me drinking one big ass margaritta. I was of legal age to drink, but not of legal age to run for president.



Me dressed as Clark Kent.



Me dressed as a laundry basket.



Me dressed as Obi-Christ Kenobi.



David Hasselhoff (some of these aren't just embarassing for me).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Drinking Al Gore’s Cool-Aid

This weekend Al Gore will be hosting rock concerts around the world on each of the Earth’s continents (Antarctica was excluded for it’s obvious lack of participation in the global warming crisis). The concert series is inappropriately titled “Live Earth” when a more appropriate title for something like this, given we’ve had Live Aid and Farm Aid, since we’re trying to cool the earth with massive amounts of electric guitars and lighting effects this concert should be called “Cool Aid” Because if you’re there you’ve obviously already had at least a sip of Al Gore’s.

The Concert venues include New York, Washington D.C., Sydney, Johannesburg, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Rio De Janeiro, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Having been inspired by pop music (something that rarely happens to people not in junior high) I have decided to do my part to help cool the Earth.

I hereby pledge to turn my air conditioner on high at least once a week and open all my windows so that cool air will fly out the windows and cool the Earth.

Now, I can’t do this alone people. I encourage everyone to do this, especially if you have a window unit. Take the unit out, turn it around so that the cool air is blowing outside. You’ll have to get a bucket to collect all the condensation that would otherwise drip on your floor.

Gore Al-colite: But that won’t help global warming.

Andy: No not just one person but everyone working together

Gore Al-colite: Even if you had hundreds of thousands of people blowing air conditioning into the air you couldn’t change the temperature of the earth?

Andy: Then how can hundreds of thousands of people blowing their air conditioners inside their houses cause global warming?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Adventures of Andy and the iPhone (with photos!)

I did it! I did It, I got the iPhone!!!

In your face Sprint!

Now for those of you who missed earlier episodes I have abandoned the Sprint Corporation over a matter of twenty dollars. So because Sprint would not discount the purchase of a phone I have switched carriers just so I could have the latest gadget and be the envy of all my nerdy friends.

So the adventure begins Friday when I left work at 4 PM to get in line at the AT&T store. Fortunately the store is just across the street so I went home picked up my camera, stopped off at the ATM. That’s when I hit my first obstacle.



The sidewalk was freshly cemented so I had to do just a bit of jay walking to get across Sawmill Road. Okay htat was a pretty lame obstacle, but what’s a story without conflict? I ended up in line at about 4:20.



As you can see I was not first in line.



I did end up making friends with my fellow gadget geeks. There was a security guard on site but the crowd was very well behaved. We all knew what we were there for, and for $500 - $600 a purchase (before optional accessories and activation fee) you’re there to drop some coin, not start a fight.



Speaking of which I had a dream earlier in the week that I had gotten in line and someone cut in front of me and got the last iPhone. In my dream I just about started a fight.

The AT&T staff was very nice. They even brought out cold drinks for people in line.



The security guy made sure we weren’t spilling over into the parking lot and made a count of people. I was about #28 and probably the first person attempting to get the 4 GB model. This just proves that I’m very secure about the size of my hard drive. They eventually gave everyone a fact sheet to fill out about why we were at the AT&T store today (duh!) what service you were going to buy etc… About 6:30 I had made it to the front of the line and was very excited.



They had a list of names and as one person left they would let another iPhon iPhanatic in the store. Inside they let you play with a demo unit. Here’s a picture of the cute girl in charge of letting you play with the display models.



She took a picture of me finally getting my hands on one!



And I took a picture of myself on the demo phone.



It really is very cool, and all the features from the commercial work just like that in real life. From the demo they let you pick out accessories. The only one I liked was a rubber sleeve for the phone, but usually that stuff is cheaper at Wal Mart than at the actually phone store so I passed.

About 7:30 I had my I Phone and was ready to plug it in. Unlike traditional phones there is already software on your computer to run it. I unpackaged everything and was impressed with what the iPhone comes with. First there’s the charger, but I was happy to see a cradle come with it. That’s such a nice feature. There’s also a set of earphones with a microphone so you don’t have to unplug to answer the phone.



The box itself is beautiful. It’s a glossy black finish with a nice organizational holder for each of the included items. There’s even a nice piece of cloth to wipe off all finger prints you can see ended up on there immediately.

The phone is small and about the size of a Motorola Q, or a late model Compaq iPaq. It’s bigger than the standard flip phone. Oh and I’m not abusive to my phones that’s just 2 years of jingling around in my pocket with keys, coins and anything else that might end up in there.



Setup was pretty simple. But I needed to do it on my desktop rather than my laptop because I don’t have XP service pack 2 on my laptop. (long unrelated story) All you do is plug in the iPhone into your PC, turn on iTunes (make sure you have the latest version) and it recognizes the new device. Then it prompts you put in your phone number, your account number and a few other items like billing information and voila… your phone is still locked!

What?!?!

Well since I was transferring my number from Sprint they emailed me saying:

AT&T is now processing your activation.You will receive an email confirmation once your activation is complete.

I got that email about 1:07 today and boy was I excited! I quickly ran upstairs, plugged back in and iTunes started the registration process. When it was done the phone was unlocked. I made the maiden call to my mom who said I sounded like I was in a tin can, but eventually sounded better.

Next it was off to YouTube to view a friend’s mini movie. Unfortunately I don’t think that all YouTube videos are available on the iPhone so I looked up Van Halen. It took a while because the typing program thought “Halen” was a typo for “Galen” But eventually I got there and here’s a photo of me watching the video for “Jump”. The only disappointing thing is that when watching videos the speakers are on only one side giving you only a mono sound. This is easily resolved by plugging in headphones.



Next I used the wireless web to look at my blog, looked up directions to my house (even though I’m already there) on Google Maps and read my email online!



There’s still plenty to figure out and I don’t think I’ll be getting any incoming calls until around 9:13 tonight but still it’s a really cool device. Everything they say it can do it does and I’m sure a lot more. My next step is to put some music and videos on there.

The guys at work were telling me that I’d come in Monday as a total Mac convert. I said probably not but don’t be surprised if I show up in a mock turtleneck and jeans like everybody’s favorite iCeo Steve Jobs.



Come to think of it, I do look good in black!

Friday, June 29, 2007

"But it's an iPhone!"

Excerpt from an IM conversation with Kelly

andy: I'm getting an iPhone
Kelly: you should see the look of shock on my face
andy: Save it, and I'll take a picture with the iPhone's camera LOL
Kelly: and that's different from my FREE Verizon camera phone HOW?
andy: it's an iPhone!
andy: :D
Kelly: its hundreds of dollars
andy: but it's an iPhone

Need I say more?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The pot calling the kettle black

I heard a review on the radio about a new book depicting the Reagan presidency. The radio personality gave it a great review and said it was the best book he’s ever read.

Having my interest grabbed I did about thirty seconds of Googling (the maximum allowed given my internet-age attention span) I found what I was looking for on a list of New York Times Best Sellers.

The book was #2 on the nonfiction list and the synopsis reads as follows:
2. The Reagan Diaries, by Ronald Reagan. Edited by Douglas Brinkley.
(HarperCollins, $35.) Selections from the 40th president's daily White House
diaries.
What shocked me was not that my beloved Ronny was #2 but what exactly was #1, and not so much that it was #1 but the title of the book.
1. The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore. (Penguin Press, $25.95.) How the Bush
administration has degraded the political environment through secrecy, fear, and
rejection of fact-based reasoning.

Now if you told me that Al Gore had a book called “The Assault on Reason” I would have assumed it was a how-to tome detailing techniques for dodging scientific analysis of global warming propaganda.

Of course Gore refuses to debate anyone on global warming which is sad because he is a good debater. He’s taken on impassioned opponents like Ross Perot on NAFTA and had strong showings in the 2000 presidential debates. Yet when someone of intellect like Michael Chriton challenges Gore’s beliefs the former Vice President is nowhere to be found.

Mr. Gore, Reason is not a buffet line. You can’t pick and choose where you apply it.

Friday, June 08, 2007

How to make an otherwise reasonable individual want a $500 cell phone.

My current Cellular carrier is Sprint. They’ve never done me wrong, in fact through my former employer I got a little discount on my bill so I’m getting more service than I need for what I’m paying.

However my contract is up and, honestly, I was just waiting for a new phone to come along that I liked. Currently I’ve got an LG something-or-other that is without a doubt the best phone I’ve ever owned. I even have a custom AC/DC ring tone. In the office everyone knows I’m getting a call because Back in Black starts playing.

So last weekend I got a flier in the mail for the new LG Fusic for $29.99. It’s like my phone but is also an MP3 Player, has a camera and does all the multimedia crap that has somehow become associated with telephones in the 21st century. I have yet to explore the option of still getting the company discount by taking the flier into the store, but more on that later.

I decided to do my research and looked up the Fusic online. On Sprint’s website it’s selling for $9.99. When I first became a Sprint customer I found the phone I currently have online, printed out the online deal and took it to the store and got a new phone for the low, low price of $1.99 (plus tax). Trying to leverage the same buying power again I do the same thing.

My first mistake may have been going at noon when everyone on their lunch break was at the Sprint Store buying cell phones. I was a little put off by the attitude of the customer service people. Now I’m not one who likes to be hounded by sales people the moment I walk into a store, but this day I was virtually ignored.

I walked around the store a couple times, stood by the demo of the Fusic, with a smile as if to say “I’m here to give you money!” Then I realized that instead of helping people who were willing to pay for such help there was a rather uninspired kid standing at a podium taking names and putting them up on a big TV screen so you know who is next to be helped.

Finally a tall woman called my name and I told her about the $9.99 deal and how I wanted that phone and to renew my contract. Overwhelmed by the possibility of a new phone for $9.99 (after rebate of course) I forgot to try and leverage my former employer’s name.

But that was a moot point as the girl told me that as of June first they were no longer honoring website deals in the store.

Why not? It’s the same [expletive] company!

Still, twenty bucks is twenty bucks so I try to buy the phone online. Fortunately for me (the sarcasm becomes apparent at the end of this paragraph) there are two options for purchasing the phone online. The first one I tried was for current customers to replace or add a phone. I go through the process, choose my plan and am ready to check out when I notice that this will cost me a total of $60.

I'd like to point out that at this point the only thing keeping me on my quest is the fact that NFL network is an exclusive feature to Sprint.

So next I try to purchase a new phone. Again, I choose my plan, and attempt to check out when they ask my area code so they can assign me a new number.

[Expletive]!

At this point I ask myself, if I’m an AT&T shareholder why am I using Sprint’s product? So I start browsing the AT&T website, remember they used to be Cingular. And find a very similar phone, a similar plan and at a similar price (actually the phone would be free). Then I realize that if I only wait until June 29 the Apple iPhone would be available.



This, to me at least, would be the ultimate act of defiance to the Sprint Corporation because of their lousy customer care. Yes, over a matter of $20 I’m considering leaving their service to purchase a $500 product that in a year will be half price with more features.

Somehow this experience has made me long for the days when everybody had AT&T phone service. You rented your phone from the phone company and it weighed about fifty pounds and if you missed a call you had to wait for the person to call back. Sure there was only one choice but you didn’t have to go through the hassle of comparing every phone plan out there and using the word [Expletive] out loud in otherwise polite company.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Adventures of Andy at the Movies

Friday night I went to see the third installment of Shrek. I was not too surprised when half the movie staff was already decked out in special Shrek 3 gear. However when we got into the theatre itself the isles were lined with people in costumes from the film and somebody in front for the screen was asking trivia questions to the two-thirds full audience.

Having found a seat for myself and my date the next question was the grand prize, but nobody knew the constellation that Shrek points out to Donkey in the first movie. It was Bloodnut the flatulent.

I did know the flatulent part.

So the alternate grand prize question was “Who was originally cast as Shrek”.

Knowing this as hearsay, but never actually seeing it in print somewhere I shot my arm into the air. When prompted I said, “Chris Farley!”

The grand prize: 2 tickets to a future movie at the same theatre.

So I paid for Shrek and I get to go to either “Pirates of the Caribbean 3”, “The Simpsons”, “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer”, “Transformers” or “Live Free or Die Hard”. One thing’s for sure I won’t be going to see “La Vie En Rose”.

But for my Shrek Review: Click here!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

French deal deathblow to US in war on terror

The French, this week, elected new Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, (Full Story) replacing international dissenter from the war on terror, Jacques Chirac.

With the French opposed to the international effort to defeat terrorism worldwide, the path has been clear for the U.S. lead coalition to vanquish evildoers worldwide.

However, upon achieving victory for the highest office in France, Sarkozy said of the United States, "I want to tell them that France will always be by their side when they need."

With France on the side of the US this means that there will be French soldiers soon in Iraq fighting the insurgency. French soldiers fighting with US soldiers will only hinder the effort for freedom and thus causing major setbacks… even defeat in the war on terror.

Alas, having the french as an ally is a sad turn of events for all freedom loving Americans.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spider-Man 3: It’s like a chick movie with a hell of a lot of action

Typically in a movie franchise the third sequel is where the series does a nosedive in entertainment quality. This happened in such famed films as “Return of the Jedi”, “The Matrix Revolutions,” Superman III (Richard Pryor and superman does not make a good buddy picture), and any Batman movies not directed by either Tim Burton or Chris Nolan. However with the spider-flop having been in 2004’s Spiderman 2 the bar was set low enough for the tertiary movie to be comparatively better. And it is!

After years of turmoil, everything is going right for our hero. Peter Parker is doing well in school, he’s ready to propose to Mary-Jane and the city loves Spider-Man. How could life get any better?

Well it can’t. And that would make for a really short movie, so instead everything goes downhill quickly for our hero. Spidey not only has to finally face his long-time friend Harry Osborne (James Franco) who is still bitter about his father’s death, the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) also makes his presence known, meanwhile Pete gets a new rival at the Daily Bugle and a mysterious black alien goo somehow gets involved too. Sound complicated? Well unlike the jump-the-shark moment in the batman franchise when we were thrown villain after villain to compensate for lack of plot, each supplementary character added to this film as a purpose, and it all ties together quite well.

From the opening of the film it’s obvious that Tobey McGuire has improved his acting skills by being more charismatic as Peter. Kirsten Dunst reprises her role as the lovely Mary-Jane Watson. Cast mostly for her looks she is convincing enough as the love of Pete’s life and we also get to hear her sing. Aside from sounding like the average first-round American Idol contestant (which plays into a plot element) she is unlikely to leave Hollywood for Broadway anytime soon.

The new additions were perfectly cast, and in some cases you wonder why they don’t have larger roles in bigger movies. First there is Thomas Haden Church. Yes the very same man who played Lowell, the slow-witted mechanic on TV’s “Wings”. Since the show was canceled he’s spent a lot of time in the gym. And once he puts on a green shirt it’s as if he stepped right out of a campy 70’s comic book to become the big-screen Sandman.

Topher Grace (That 70’s Show) joins the cast as Eddie Brock, a hotshot photographer who rivals Peter at the Daily Bugle. Finally in a role where he doesn’t play a total dork, Grace, is immediately charming, witty and a scene-stealer; just enough that you’re not afraid to think of him as the jerk he turns out to be.

Amidst all of this going on, the main focus of the movie is the relationship between Peter and Mary-Jane. This is where the movie becomes a romance with action. Fortunately, unlike “Attack of the Clones” all the romance isn’t done all at once loosing the whole pace of the film. Each action sequence is toggled against a romance scene. It’s clear that Director Sam Raimi believes that it’s the acceleration, not the speed that moves a moviegoer to the edge of his seat. These relationship scenes do serve as a pause between action for a mental, an visual breath catcher, but also because this really is a movie about a romance (with tons of action happening all around the sappy stuff).

An unaccredited character is the special effects department. “Spider-Man 2” lacked any progress their computer generated animation from the first film. It was fairly obvious what was animated and what wasn’t. On top of this the CG was not done very well at all. From the sandman’s transition between a man and being a cloud of dust and the oozing alien symbiant, which becomes the evil Venom, visual effects are seamless, aesthetic and realistic.

True to the vision of creator Stan Lee, each of these new characters has a sympathetic cause. Nobody is evil for the sake of being evil. Something happens to them that becomes their reason for their malicious ways.

There is one pivotal scene in a church where two characters swap sides between good and bad. However despite the setting there is no religious context for the change. Instead the real theme here is Karma. While each of these characters has good intentions, good things happen to them, on the other side of the coin bad things happen to them when they have bad intentions.

Spider-Man 3 does have its problems, though. There are two music montages almost immediately following each other. While both serve to explain character personality transitions the fact that there are two end up negating each other. Finally, between the black spider-suit, all the romantic scenes, and the simple fact that Pete can’t seem to keep his mask on (my biggest problem with Spider-Man 2), you begin to think, “Gee, there’s not much spider-man in this movie”.

There was a lot expected of this movie, and everything got delivered. Take a date, there’s plenty of romance between MJ and Pete, Lots of action because everyone wants a piece of Spidey. Karma, retribution and redemption all tied up in one brightly colored, spandex-wearing package.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A case for using more toilet paper

This week Pop Singer Sheryl Crowe proposed: "I think we are an industrious-enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit."

But, she adds on her website: "Except, of course, for those pesky occasions where two or three could be required." (Full article)

Sheryl, you ignorant slut…

IF (remember I start these things with big if's) Global warming is caused by carbon being released into the atmosphere and carbon is offset by the planting of trees and toilet paper comes from trees then the right thing to do is use MORE toilet paper.

If you use more toilet paper then the demand goes up. If the demand goes up the cost of supply goes up, if the cost of supply goes up it then becomes more profitable for tree farmers to increase their tree production which means more trees get planted.

The free market will always find a way to supply for what is demanded.

If you want to save the dolphins we need to make burgers out of them.

There are no cows, chickens, pigs or any other animal you might find slaughtered and sliced for sale at your local grocery store on the endangered species list. The reason being is that the free market has ensured their survival because they are popular food items.

With no real purpose to the dolphin, there are no economic forces keeping it alive.

If dolphin burgers ever caught on, then there would be gigantic sea farms built because raising dolphins for meat would be a profitable business. With dolphins as a delicacy they would join cows, chickens, pigs and other animals raised for the slaughter, and consequently abundant in numbers.

(Special thanks to Dustin for inspiring much of this through our daily email correspondences)

Monday, April 23, 2007

In The News Quickie

The Adventures of Andy Presents:
IN THE NEWS
Baldwin calls daughter a 'pig' in phone outburst
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4035798a1860.html
Alec Baldwin called his 11-year-old daughter a "rude, thoughtless little pig"
when she failed to answer the phone to him.
Honestly I assume anyone with the last name of Baldwin is a "rude, thoughtless little pig"



Singer proposes toilet paper limits
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21606753-2,00.html

SINGER Sheryl Crowe has proposed a unique way in which to beat global warming
- limit the use of toilet paper.

"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be
used in any one sitting."

Crowe had no comments on weather or not she will be buying toilet paper offsets. Also in the works: Banning the Burrito.


That's the news, I hope it was as good for you as it was for me!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Drive: Fox puts the petal to the metal

Fox’s new action thriller series Drive is the story of a race. This race has a thirty-two million dollar prize and for at least one man, the chance to reunite with his missing wife.

The Fox Network does two things well, action and cartoons. While 24 re-defined action television, Drive seems to be the next logical step forward after Prison Break. This series looks like once again Fox is will deliver a high-octane (pun intended) thrill ride (another pun) with intricate story driven character development.

The most important part of a series premier is the segment before the first commercial break. Clocking in at roughly 18 minutes we are bombarded with information about the series plot and three driver back stories.

First there is Alex Tully (Nathan Fillion) whose wife has mysteriously disappeared one week ago in Nebraska. Next we get the motivation for Wendy Patrakas (Melanie Lynskey). She just had a baby and immediately joins this road race from Ohio. Finally we are introduced to Winston Salazar (Kevin Alejandro) on the day he is released from prison in Maryland.

These three have absolutely nothing in common save that on this particular day they all received a mysterious black cell phone. When it rings the voice on the other end gives each of them instructions to drive to Key West.

This takes care of the first eight minutes of the series. As we were introduced to three characters, the opening credits list no less than ten drivers are credited.

While the show will get it’s pacing comparisons to 24, the series is shaping up to be more like Lost. An ensemble cast drawn together through one common twist of fate. Like Lost each character not have a flashback to their life before the race, but in an unintended comment on society, they are also connected back to the world from which they came via personal cell phone (as opposed to the one provided to them for the race). Those conversations serve to shed light on the motivation for each character’s involvement with the race.

The premier episode focuses on the story of Tully the character with the most sympathetic cause: A missing wife who may or may not be at the end of the race.

While driving, Tully picks up a passenger who is another contestant. Now with multiple people in each car we have the means for conversational plot development.

On the other side of the circumstance of the show are those mysterious cell phones offering instructions. In what would otherwise be some sadistic reality show the phones serve to take the place of Phil Keoghan who introduces each week’s new challenge on The Amazing Race.

The cast, who is likely better looking than ten reality show contestants, is full of some recognizable faces and fine actors. Among the most recognizable is Nathan Fillion who has endeared audiences of nearly everything he has done. He is the classic blue-collar everyman.

Getting a chance to spread her dramatic wings is Melanie Lynskey who was most recently seen as the crazy neighbor on Two and a Half Men. Nowhere closer to resolving any romantic issues, she’s on the run from an abusive husband.

The most recognizable face on this road would be that of Dylan Baker who plays Peter Parker’s mentor and professor in the Spider-Man Movies. Here again he is an engineer who winds up in the race with his seventeen-year-old daughter.

One interesting stylistic decision made for the series is the music. Instead of promoting popular music to set the scene, the series soundtrack features highly recognizable classic rock remakes. Of course each song has a driving theme such as The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues and Golden Earring’s Radar Love.

Drive is somewhere between NASCAR, Lost and your choice of reality show. For those who will adopt the series as a favorite the fortunate thing is that this format will allow the writers to wrap up the series in a couple episodes should the show not live past the first season. On the other hand, as another serialized action/drama if you missed the first two-hour episode you’ll likely never see it until the DVD release.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I’m not really Jesus but I play him at church

For those of you not old enough to remember, or just never took a marketing class there once was a medicine commercial starring an actor from a TV medical show. The actor started out “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV…” He then leverages his credibility as an actor playing a doctor not an actual doctor to recommend some sort of medicine.

That being said, I will now be leveraging my portrayal as Jesus during my church’s Easter Week services to recommend hat you believe everything on my blog.

Yes I have now followed in the steps of Jim Caviezel, and… well I don’t know anyone else who has played Jesus. But since Jim Caviezel also played Bobby Jones, the amateur golfer who started Augusta National Golf Club and subsequently the Masters (which also wraps up Easter Sunday this year) I think that’s enough credibility for one Blog Post.

So this week I made my debut as a thespian at church. Each night between Monday and Thursday we had a narrator read scripture while actors mimed the motions of the day’s readings.

Monday I got to turn over the moneychanger’s table. Tuesday Judas betrayed me, Wednesday I washed disciple’s feet and Thursday I broke bread and did a perp walk (Yes I used the term “perp walk” when referring to the arrest of Jesus).

Now there are a few things you should remember when playing Jesus.

  1. Remember to take off your digital watch. Jesus acted impatient by tapping a sundial strapped to his wrist.
  2. Be sure to silence your cel phone. Nothing breaks the mood like Jesus postponing the Sermon on the Mount to take a call. Especially if his ringtone is AC/DC’s Back in Black like mine is.
  3. That beard is itchy. So as soon as my final performance was over I took the clippers and a razor to my face for the first time in two weeks. I also got a haircut the next morning and I’m back to my clean-cut self. Now I know how Ben Roethlisberger (the savior of the Pittsburgh Steelers) felt when he couldn’t shave through the 2006 NFL Playoffs.

All in all it’s Easter weekend. Don’t forget to color some eggs, eat a chocolate rabbit and remember just why this is the most important weekend for Christians (and golf fans but that’s another blog post).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Last Breakfast

It's Maunday Thursday which in the Christian calendar is traditionally when Jesus and his disciples broke bread in what is called "The Last Supper"

What is lesser known is that they also met earlier in the day for what history has forgotten: The Last Breakfast.

Peter scrambled eggs while Judas (remember he betrayed Jesus for several pieces of silver) went out and bought steaks for the eggs. No bacon at this breakfast, they were all Jewish.

Jesus, not being a morning person, didn't have much to say during breakfast, hence why it was left out of the Bible. But afterwards they all went out and played hacky sack for an hour or so.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Hot Blonde Quota

No more than 2 hot blondes alloed on the Lost island at a time.

First there was Shannon and Claire.

Then Libby showed up and Shannon got shot.

Then Libby got shot and we got Niki, but we knew that wasn't going to work out because Juliette was on the other side of the island.

Now with Niki gone the island is back to normal.

Only 2 Hot blondes on the island at a time. It's a Lost rule!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Adventures of Andy and the Office Refrigerator

Where I work everybody takes a week to handle all the basic chores of the office. This usually includes taking out the trash, washing the used coffee cups, which by the way has happened 3 times since Monday. We don’t have that many people in our office, we don’t even have that many coffee mugs!

One little task I took upon myself was to clean out the office fridge. It’s one of those larger model college dorm refrigerators and usually just as full of beer. One problem with this particular model is that after a while, say ten minutes or so, the freezer part starts to ice over. If you don’t keep up with scraping off of ice, say every twenty minutes or so you get a block of ice in the upper part of the device.

Having once de-iced the refrigerator once before, and this being my week to clean I took it upon myself to once again free the freezer part of the fridge from ice and release that lean cuisine meal that’s been sitting there for months from it’s icy bondage.

Phase 1: Bring in a cooler and Ice to keep all the beer and other items cold

This happened flawlessly, however all the beer was gone when I got in this morning there was one. Which means that after the one I had yesterday afternoon everyone else in the office kept drinking! Nonetheless the other refrigerated contents needed to be put on ice.

After moving everything to the cooler and adding ice, it was time to thaw the fridge. This happened nicely as it was warm and there was some heat coming off the dishwasher as explained above.

It seems over time the upper hinge on the door has worked itself loose, and today with the door ajar long enough it finally wiggled loose.

This lead to a more thorough cleaning than I had intended since I had to take the refrigerator out into the hall where I had more room to try and reattach the door.

This turned up unsuccessful as the two bolt-like objects that make up the hinge of the fridge (hey, that rimes!) are spaced such that you can’t have them attached to the main part of it and still get the door on. You can’t have them both attached to either the door or the big part and still get the door on. This lead to Bryce asking what I was doing. To which I replied just loud enough for Bob (who seems too cheap to hire a cleaning service) “Just giving myself a chance to clean under the fridge”.

But what comes next is I need to find a wrench so I can take off the bottom hinge, attach the top hinge to the main unit and then slide the door on that and finally re-attach the bottom hinge.

This is all so we have a clean place to keep our beer.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Any Negative Multiplied by Any Other Negative

Maybe I have a natural propensity for finding patterns. Maybe I just really liked the DaVinci Code. Maybe I’m trying to justify using algebra in my daily life. I’ve come up with a new theory: Any two liberals can cancel each other out.

There are any number of examples here, George Noory (wrote the novel upon which the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” was based) says that pollution will cause an ice age. Al Gore says that it causes global warming. The truth is that neither of these guys have any scientific basis for their beliefs.

In 2004 the Seirra Club was sending me mail telling me to vote democrat while at the same time the Auto Unions were trying to recruit me for the same cause. The cancellation here comes from the Seirra club wanting to put an end to fossil fuel consumption while the Auto unions make gas guzzling SUV’s. What kind of candidate did they have that was going to solve both their problems? And that brings us to our latest candidate on everybody’s favorite gameshow: Name That Secular Humanist!

Today’s candidate is trying to destroy Christianity by manipulating historical evidence to discredit thousands of year of theology.

Did you say Dan Brown? You’re close. But we’ll get to him in a moment.

Recently film director, James Cameron has announced that he found a tomb containing the bones of Jesus and his family, which included a son. The full story will be told in a documentary that will air Sunday on the Discovery channel.

However, according to all historical records (at least the ones Dan Brown chooses to accept) Jesus did not have a son, he had a daughter, and they moved to France and ate cheese and drank wine and made that country the world power it is today.

The truth is that all these people are more agenda driven than truth driven. Why would one of the biggest directors in Hollywood with credits to his name like The Terminator, The Abyss and Aliens want to produce a relatively low-budget project for the Discovery channel? Could it be his love for Science Fiction? Well here’s what I think.

Discovery Channel: James, we need someone to direct our documentary about some bones we found in Jerusalem.

James Cameron: Why would I want to do that? I made Linda Hamilton’s career… then divorced her.

DC: We could say the bones belonged to Jesus and his family. Hey look there’s even a son!

JC: Dethrone the King of Kings? Well that would make these business cards of mine that say “King of the World” slightly less illegitimate!

Aside from my farce, the secular-humanists hate Christianity mostly because it asks you to behave in a certain way. The Hollywood liberals and people that want to live that lifestyle don’t want to be held accountable and thus instead of doing the right thing, try to de-legitimatize the right thing so they don’t have to do it.

Seriously, which one sounds like more work?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

WorldVoiceNews.com targets BBB

I don’t do much hard news on here. Usually I’m more along the lines of discussing Brittany shaving her head, or the 3-ring circus that the Death of Anna Nicole Smith has become. But with the cable news channels covering these stories 24/7 it’s time for someone to tell you what’s going on and how it might work.

Due to my status as a reporter for the website WorldVoiceNews.com (formerly USA Voice, but more on that) I was invited this week to take part in a conference call about a breaking news story that they wanted everyone on staff to take part in. Keep in mind I’m a movie critic, not a hard news reporter. But since the site recently and without warning changed their name, and since I haven’t heard anything about a paycheck the morbid curiosity overcame me and I dialed in.

The story: Aggressive sales practices at the Better Business Bureau.

As I was informed by a senior writer at the “Voice” on the conference call, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been engaging in unfair and aggressive sales practices. As it was made clear on the call the BBB is not a government entity, they are simply a private not-for-profit organization that provides a branded affirmation of other businesses. They also take complaints about businesses from upset consumers.

However where we were told the BBB uses aggressive sales techniques. The BBB requires a business to be established for one year before eligibility. At that point the business is eligible for membership in the BBB. However the writer telling us this had a case study where a business was set up with no advertisement or clients and after their one year limit the BBB called saying that people were asking about the business and they should join the BBB to enhance their reputation.

It was again made very clear several times that the BBB is NOT part of the government and has no real power to impose punishment on any offending business.

The assignment given to the reporters was this: Apply for jobs with the BBB, take their sales training and document any underhanded practices that they employ while garnering sales.

This is all good and noble and very much the spirit of watchdog journalism. But what would be the motivation of an upstart online newspaper to bring down an American establishment that has been protecting consumers for nearly 100 years?

I have only been with the paper for less than two months. I had my orientation in late December to reduce paperwork, in the form of a 2006 10-99 form, I was not “hired” until after the first of the year.

Even though they have my address I have not seen a check arrive in the mail yet. Personally this doesn’t bother me since I’ve only posted half-a-dozen articles and I probably don’t have that much of a readership. If pay is based on web hits and they have a minimum account balance before you get a check, like Google’s Add Sense I can see why they'd delay sending out checks. But there was no explanation to that effect.

I also have reports of someone else who wrote for the paper for six months without a paycheck, and my own editor friend has not seen a check in two months despite active editorial work.

Now, with compensation scarce and a vendetta against the BBB it is very easy to speculate that disgruntled reporters are reporting the paper to the BBB in hopes of getting some restitution.

This, in my opinion, would explain the recent and unannounced change of the paper’s name from USA Voice to World Voice News. By changing the name of the business it is possible to interpret this legally as a new and different business and thus if the BBB were to file a class action lawsuit the offending business is no longer in existence.

Finally a simple search of the BBB website provides some interesting information on USA Voice/World Voice News including the following statements:

The Bureau has received multiple inquiries from the public and is contacting the
firm about complaint correspondence as well. Consumers report being asked for
personal information, including Social Security numbers, in order to set up an employment link with the firm. Further contact was not provided, however, and consumers report concerns that their information may be sold and mis-used.

The Bureau has requested basic information from this company. The Bureau has not received a response. According to information that was provided by the firm, it is connected with Instant Human Resources. A separate report is available on that firm.

Read the full report here


So there you go, hard news, or hard headed people in the news business. I honestly don’t think the readership of World Voice News is enough to hurt the institution of the Better Business Bureau. Then again I Believe it was Mark Twain who once said, “Don’t get into an argument with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.”

I wonder if digital ink holds the same weight?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Getting stuck in the snow is easier than you think.

It’s snowed quite a bit here lately. Beginning Tuesday we’ve had upwards of about a foot of snow total… though between some melting and icing over it’s not quite that much, still it’s pretty white out there. The schools have been out and I even took about half a snow day because everything else was closed.

Well after a full day of doing laundry I buzz my buddy Brett to go out for a beer. He lives just down the street, basically across the parking lot of the now abandoned grocery store that’s immediately across the street from my condo. So I pick him up and we head north to our favorite watering hole for a couple beers.

The place wasn’t doing much business so we left early and headed home. This is important because I can’t blame what happened next on alcohol because I wasn’t drunk and because I had the idea before I started drinking. After dropping Brett off I decided to drive my All Wheel Drive SUV through that unplowed abandoned parking lot that’s across the street from my house.

I get about twenty feet into the icy waste when my tires started spinning and I stopped moving.

At this point I should probably inform you that I was not actually driving through snow. It was at one point snow, but then covered in freezing rain, more snow that melted slightly and refroze into ice and another couple layers of snow on top of that. Basically I’m about just inside the edge of a 100 square yard snow cone. But without the delicious cherry and blueberry syrup.

I tried reverse.

I moved a little less than six inches.

I tried forward again.

I moved even more less than six inches.

This is where I learn the difference between All Wheel Drive an Four Wheel Drive

I was stuck.

Seeing as I was less than 200 yards from home I ran home and got a shovel and started digging my tires out.

I tried reverse again. This is when I realized I needed some pushing along with digging. So I called Brett and he was nice enough to walk over from his cozy house to help me dig out.

It took about five attempts, each resulting in about four feet of progress but we finally made it.

The moral of the story: You don’t need 4 wheel drive if you’ve got friends who answer the phone when you call late.

Friday, February 09, 2007

3’s Company

No I’m not feeling nostalgia for cheesy 70’s sitcoms. But with recent love life debacles fortunately there’s the social life to pick up the slack.

So around 5:00 yesterday I get an IM from my friend Judy. I agree to pick her up around 6. So I meet Judy at her office and we pick a bar to enjoy happy hour. As it turns out Judy’s car isn’t working so well and I guess her ulterior motive is to buy me a few drinks so she can have a ride home. I’m never one to pass up free drinks, and with the 2007 premier of Lost on this night I now have something to occupy my time.

We get to the bar and order a couple drinks. Judy and I get together about once every few months. So we spent a few hours, and several rounds discussing life, work, sports, our life goals, etc..

So it’s nearing 8:00 and the free appetizers are no longer available, but I figure one more round, and I’ll pick up some KFC (it’s the closest thing to Mr. Clucks we have here in the non Lost world) and watch the recap episode before tonight’s premier.

About this time Judy’s boyfriend shows up. “hey babe,” he says as he sits down with us and gives her a quick kiss.

Obviously annoyed at this development, Judy looks uncomfortable so I continue our conversation on why there are Pittsburgh Steelers fans in every city in the country.

Nick introduces himself and starts asking me a series of questions to get me on his side. He does his best to tell Judy that he’s taking her home, but now that Nick is being bossy Judy is being contrary and orders another round for the two of us.

Now it’s nearing 9:00 and I am very glad I set the DVR because I figure we’ll settle the argument and I can pop open a can of soup and watch Lost a little late. But as the argument continues, I tried giving them their space and being neutral as possible. I think I’ve made it clear that my intentions are not to break up the unhappy couple, nor to try to sleep with either of them, I just want to get home and watch Lost!

Not too much longer goes by and Judy and I head to the other side of the bar to get away. Now she’s trying to do two things, Make Nick Jealous and try to hook me up with one of the three pretty girls sitting at the bar. Don’t get me wrong, it was great being surrounded by four beautiful women but I really just wanted to get home and watch Lost!

This goes on until around 11 when I end up buying a round of drinks for the girls and get no phone numbers in return. Oh I probably could have but I think you know how distracted I am tonight.

At some point Nick comes over and says goodbye to Judy and then puts his arm around me saying, “Get her home safe tonight, okay? Because if you don’t I’ll kill you like a dog.”

I actually think he used several other four-letter words beginning with F but with my mind on my favorite TV show and my attempt at cleaning up his grammar you got my best recollection of the event.

With Nick gone and everybody else in the bar wholly aware of what has happened tonight Judy finally cashes out and we head back to her house. I get there about a quarter-till one and drop her off. She was worried that Nick was there and from what she told me the next day he was and they broke up. But at this point I made a B-Line home for, you guessed it, Lost.

It’s just after 1 AM and I hit Play on the DVR, With no instant food in the house I have missed dinner but thanks to modern technology I have NOT missed Lost.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

In The News Special Report

Anna Nicole Smith Dies at 39
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-ex-smith8feb09,1,1474380.story?coll=la-headlines-nation
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Anna Nicole Smith, the Texas waitress who climbed into
the top echelons of wealth and sexual glamour, died in Florida today, officials
reported.

The former Playboy model and reality television star was found unresponsive
in her hotel room and was rushed to a hospital about 2 p.m. EST and was
pronounced dead.

It's just nice to know that her body and her brain have been reunited!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Most Controvercial Superbowl ad

Sitting at home on a Saturday night with a head cold I turned on the news and caught a report about the “controversial” Super Bowl ad featuring Kevin Federline.

The ad is a continuation of Nationwide Insurance’s campaign featuring celebrities who are past their prime and the slogan “life comes at you fast”.

So the “controversy” involves K-Fed showing off his life as a rapper only to realize it’s a daydream in front of the deep fryer at a fast food restaurant. Someone with too much time on their hands says the commercial is an insult to fast food workers.

Now the easy thing to do here is saying something like “if I were a fast food worker I’d be insulted to be associated with Kevin Federline too.” But that would be too easy.

That being said, and given I have the unfortunate displeasure of knowing who Kevin Federline is, It occurred to me earlier in this Super Bowl season that I have no idea what Kevin Federline looks like, at least until tonight when I saw him on TV for the first time.

Life is coming at you fast K-Fed, so fast I’m doing my best to miss it.

Also, here’s the commercial.


Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Something in the air...

I make it a rule to not blog about my personal life but today I'm making an exception. It all started when i realized that Saturday was a bad date night pretty much all around. I was at a lame party, Brett was sick, Rosanna and Lonnie came home with horror stories....

It all started a few months back when I met this girl online.. I've come to believe that nothing good ever comes from stories that begin this way, but I'm too cheap to buy a girl a drink. Anyway this girl and I have somewhat of a connection. She even joked about wanting an H3 for Christmas, so I bought her the matchbox version, telling her it's a little small but gets better gas mileage.

So Saturday night I get to the party, oh it was at a bar so I had to run a tab... but considering I have spent many a Saturday night at a bar this wasn't too much of a stretch for me.

I get there and she comes up to me to greet me that was nice. We sit down and immediately she asks if I bring anyone. I told her that I invited Brett but he was sick. I started making small talk with the girls, and the guys. Not wanting to come off clingy, I start mingling with other people and had some fun conversations. I got the feeling that some people were loose associates but not really good friends. Many of them had full days and weren’t totally into being social, but I did my best being a master conversationalist.

The party broke up and I graciously said good-bye to everyone. Perfect timing as I had started getting text messages from Stefanie (not a typo, that’s how she spells her name). We agree to meet up for a drink near her house. I head back to the west side and arrive at the bar apparently just after a fight had spilled out of the front door.

Stefanie goes on to tell me how bad her date was. I bought her a couple drinks because she had to spend all her cash on dinner and the movie. It says something when you need a drink AFTER a date. After some mutual bitching we say our goodnights and head home.

The next night I head up to the Office (the bar not a place I do work) so I can tell Lonnie Happy birthday. It was Saturday but I was… well we all know where I was by now. To my surprise her sister Rosanna was working for her because she and her date for Saturday took Her out. Well Rosanna wasn’t too into the guy either… and he WAS clingy. But in the process they got Lonnie so drunk she was throwing up most of Sunday.
After some mutual bitching we say our goodnights and head home. (Cut and paste makes writing so east!)

Monday I do the gracious thing and email the girl from the party back thanking he for inviting me, telling her I had a good time… okay I did have a good time but she really wasn’t part of it.

Then I get a reply:
First of all, thank you for the car...that was really sweet and
thoughtful.

However, no I did not have a good time on
Saturday. I think I made it pretty clear to people that I didn't want
anyone to come alone because I didn't want to have to entertain anyone.
So, when 3 of my friends showed up alone, I was really pissed. It's great
that you are able to talk to people, but that annoyed me because I then felt
that you were bothering my friends. And, my cousin agreed to talk with you
for awhile so that I could get up and go talk to other people. I don't
want you to get the wrong idea about her. She's not interested in
you.

All in all, I wish the night hadn't happened. I was
incredibly uncomfortable with the entire situation. I guess it's my
fault for putting myself in that situation. You're a really nice guy, but
our personalities do not mesh well together.

I’m actually torn between telling her off and taking the higher road (so I guess I’ll just do it publicly on my blog).

The bottom line is I really don’t want anything to do with someone that would speak that way to another human being. Apparently her idea of a party is: bring someone you know, talk only to them, leave without speaking to other guests. Maybe she doesn’t get invited to many parties, but honestly, I can see why.