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
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Anna Nicole Smith, the Texas waitress who climbed into
the top echelons of wealth and sexual glamour, died in Florida today, officials

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.