Wednesday, November 29, 2006

 

Three Quickies






Tuesday, November 28, 2006

 

MCF In Peril



I just don't have time for this, but I can't resist. I honestly am busy, like I said yesterday … and besides that, I have a few things ruminating that I want to write when I get time. I have a thing I want to write about C.S. Lewis and stem cell research, and some observations about Marilyn Manson keep bubbling to the surface, too. Plus, there's an incomplete review of The Departed sitting here in a Word document on the desktop. It refuses to let me finish writing it. I open it now and then and stare at it and it just flips me the bird and says "I DEFY you to figure out what the next sentence is!"

Anyway, MCF is playing a Jeopardy! styled game. He provides the answers, we have to figure out what the questions were. His answers are below, along with my best guesses about the questions:

1. Howie Mandel and Gilbert Gottfried.
Who are two of the celebrities in most need of a good slapping?

2. Because I was bored.
Why weren't you trying to make something beautiful or discover something true?

3. Polly-O string cheese.
If you were Irish, what would your name be?

4. Sister Christian.
Remember that awesome scene at the end of Boogie Nights, the one where Marky Mark and Thomas Jane were trying to rob that extremely creepy criminal played by Alfred Molina, and that one guy kept letting off firecrackers and the tension just kept building and building, and it was like, "Man, I'm crawling out of my skin, here!" and that one Night Ranger song was on really loud because Molina kept turning it up … what song was that again?

5. Seinfeld; Prison Break; Joey.
Will you please give us, in random order, a last name, a first name, and the name of a Spider-Man series?

6. My finger was stuck in a hole in the desk.
Why'd you skip that fire-drill in third grade?

7. A Recorder.
If The Write Jerry did a Twist My Words Thursday and the first word was Reorder, what would spring to your mind as the best possible next item?

8. A refrigerator box.
If you and Rey were going to play "fort," what would you need?

9. Peter, Cindy, and Dudley.
Can you name two Brady Bunch characters and a dead British actor?

10. Jams.
What does Parliament Funkadelic do when the band puts on a show?

11. Alcohol.
And what always makes a Parliament Funkadelic show even better?

12. Goggles.
And what would one be wise to wear while drinking alcohol at a Parliament Funkadelic show?

13. April.
When's the best month for a concert like that?

14. Hold a pen properly.
And, after such a concert, what do you find it difficult to do?

15. Oyster Bay.
Do you have your own little personal nickname for the director of the upcoming Transformers live action movie, and, if so, what is it?

16. Iceman, Nibbler, and Megatron.
And, speaking of Transformers, could you please (in random order) name a Transformers character, an X-Men character, and tell us what all the lovely young ladies call you?

17. “This can't be a dream; there are no girls!”
Can you sum up Brokeback Mountain in fewer than ten words?

18. He doesn't have one.
Speaking of Brokeback Mountain ... why doesn't Otis present a convincing argument that he isn't gay?

19. Change.
What's in your pockets?

20.”Sweet Christmas!”
If you were Luke "Powerman" Cage and you found out that the movie about you is in constant delay, what might you exclaim?


Monday, November 27, 2006

 

Overwhelmed



Ever get into one of those ruts where you have a list of things you need to get done but you're not getting any of them done ... instead, you're adding items to the list?

I don't expect to blog much this week ... and not until late in the week if at all. I have so much that I've been neglecting. Gotta get busy, busy, busy!

Talk to you soon.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

 

As Long As Nobody Gets Hurt...



First of all, I want to apologize to anyone who's offended by this video. I SWEAR, I'm not trying to offend anyone by posting this. I'm posting it because I came across it quite by accident and ... God help me, I just can't stop watching it.

Secondly, I want to point out that I love hardcore heavy metal and I also want to point out that there are mentally handicapped people in my family who I love and value. I do not want to demean mentally handicapped people by posting this. Nor do I want to demean hardcore heavy metal.

Thirdly, I'll just say that you don't have to be mentally handicapped to love hardcore heavy metal ... but apparently, it helps.


And, lastly, I'll just say that when I listen to my hardcore heavy metal, I act EXACTLY like the lady in the bright blue dress with the three big buttons.

This is all innocent fun, right? You know, for all my qualifiers, I still feel like a bad person for enjoying this video clip as much as I do ... and yet I STILL CAN'T STOP WATCHING IT.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

 

The Greatest Ever...



You come across things like this at the Snopes news page:

Midnight Zamboni Run Prompts Firings
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Two employees of the city's ice skating rink have been fired for making a midnight fast-food run in a pair of Zambonis. An anonymous tipster reported seeing the two big ice-resurfacing machines chug through a Burger King drive-through and return to the rink around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10. The squat, rubber-tired vehicles, which have a top speed of about 5 mph, drove 1 1/2 miles in all.


The reason I think this is worth mentioning is because I am convinced that Midnight Zamboni is the GREATEST POSSIBLE NAME for a ROCK GROUP in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

I do not know how to play an instrument, but I'm going to learn how to play one so I can form a band and name it Midnight Zamboni.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

 

Stay Out Of The Bunny's Way



In this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the roll of the Energizer Bunny Balloon will be played by Chuck Norris. Stay out of his way.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.


 

Something To Be Thankful For In '07



I've written a lot about my love of roller coasters, specifically the four that I love at nearby Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.

Well, in summer of '07, Busch Gardens debuts a brand new drop coaster, the Griffon.

It's a floorless coaster with a 205 feet, 90 degree drop at 70 MPH ... and that's just for starters.

Oh, man, I can NOT WAIT.



Click the pick to see all the specs n' such.


 

Oh, Kramer, Kramer, Kramer...-



Unseen Blogger gave me the heads up on this in a comment ... here's Kramer's weird, rambling, incoherent apology on Letterman:


He works in references to Katrina and the war in Iraq and basically blames everyone and everything for his racist outburst. It's just pitiful.

And, by the way, Kramer threw an anti-Semitic fit on stage in April.

Kramer, you're a scumbag and a transparent idiot. Just shut up. I mean, geez, at least Mel Gibson took the blame for his own outburst. You blew it. Suck it up.

By the way, Newsbusters wants to know why everybody gets upset when Mel Gibson attacks jews and Kramer attacks blacks, but nobody cares when Penn Jilette attacks Catholics; specifically when Penn attacks Mother Teresa. I'll offer an answer from one Catholic's perspective: Because we don't care what Hollywood types think of us. That's why.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

 

New Killswitch



The New Killswitch Engage album came out today. It's very good. I don't know if I'll ever like it as much as the previous two albums, but it's got some monster riffs and, as usual, Killswitch's powerful, positive lyrics. You can click here to watch Adam and Howard describe the album to hillarious effect.

Here's the very stylish video for the first single, My Curse:


If you don't know much about Killswitch, here are a few older videos, too.

I love this song, Rose Of Sharyn. The song grabbed me right off the bat with it's incredibly catchy riffs and train-wreck heaviness … and the song's subtly Christian message ("I mourn for those who never knew You") is just icing on the cake:



Unfortunately, this mix of The End Of Heartache is from one of the Resident Evil movie soundtracks. It's a "cleaned up" version, with the vocals toned down and some of the edge seems gone … but the song still rocks ... and I love the dichotomy of having such heavy music paired with lyrics like "Seek me for comfort, call me for solace..."



Here's a performance of one of the best songs on the previous album, called When Darkness Falls. This is from Killswitch Engage's live concert DVD that was released last year.



And, lastly, the first KSE song I ever heard and, consequentially, the song that got me into the band. This song features their former vocalist, Jesse Leach. I like their new singer, Howard Jones, much better. I'm in the minority of Killswitch fans in that regard. Anyway, this is My Last Serenade:



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Athiesm + Nihilism = Murder



In recent months, books by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and others, have attacked religion as a destructive force in human history. Writing for the Christian Science Monitor, Dinesh D'Souza argues to the contrary ... and wins the argument:

The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination.

It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.

These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.


Read the whole thing. It's very good.

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Kramer For The Senate - NOT



Michael Richards never had much of a career other than Seinfeld. I never thought he was funny on Fridays (although I never thought that show was funny at all), and now, it seems, he's lost his mind.

Vulgar, offensive, weird, uncomfortable and just plain strange language herein:



I guess politics is out of the question, too.


Monday, November 20, 2006

 

John Edwards Wants His PS3



One of the most outspoken Wal-Mart slammers over the past few years is former VP wannabe, John Edwards. Yes, the same John Edwards who creeped us all out with his awkwardly cozy relationship with John Kerry two years ago.

Edwards hates Wal-Mart:

"We want every single consumer in America, every person in America, to know that if they walk into a Wal-Mart, that first of all their tax dollars are subsidizing Wal-Mart employees. Their tax dollars are helping provide health care for Wal-Mart employees, because Wal-Mart's not doing it. Their tax dollars are going to provide housing and food stamps for Wal-Mart employees," Mr. Edwards told a crowd of 400 at Hill House. "What is wrong with this picture?"


And Edwards, like every other Democratic politician in this country, is a hypocrite:

Mr. Edwards was himself once an owner of Wal-Mart stock. He sold it during his presidential bid two years ago.


Bit wait, it gets better:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Thursday that a staff member for former Sen. John Edwards -- a vocal critic of the retailer -- asked his local Wal-Mart store for help in getting the potential 2008 presidential candidate a Sony PlayStation 3.


Of course, John Edwards denies that the guy who works for him was … uh, working for him. In a bumbling explanation that would make John Kerry look competent, Edwards offered:

"My wife, Elizabeth, wanted to get a Playstation3 for my young children. She mentioned it in front of one of my staff people," Edwards said. "That staff person mentioned it in front of a volunteer who said he would make an effort to get one. He was making an effort to go get one for himself.

"Elizabeth and I knew nothing about this. He feels terrible about this. He made a mistake, and he knows he should not have used my name," Edwards said.


And, in fine liberal style, Edwards is teaching his kids to be little elitist snobs, too:

In the call, he repeated a story about his son Jack disapproving of a classmate buying sneakers at Wal-Mart. "If a 6-year-old can figure it out, America can definitely figure this out," Edwards said.


Of course, if that six year old's PS3 had come from Wal-Mart … well, that would have been altogether different, wouldn’t it?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

 

Wii Journal, Entry 04



As I reported yesterday, my sinus infection got me out of Wal-Mart duty. Wendy spent the day in line at Wal-Mart, and, happily, we are now the proud owners of a Wii. Of course, we won't be able to report much about it until Christmas, since it's for the kids … and since this is our "off year" with the kids, we won't be having our Christmas until some time after December 25th. So expect more than a month before we have anything to say about how much our family actually enjoys the Wii.

Meanwhile, here's Wendy's report about the Wal-Mart wait:

So the plan was that at noon I would call down to Wal-Mart and see how many people were in line for the Wii. If people were lining up, I was to wake him. So I called at noon, and there were 7 people in line. So, I went in and told Darrell. He told me that he needed another hour of sleep. So at one, I called again. Now there were 8 people in line. I went and woke him up.

He woke up, if you could call it that. It was more of stumbling about and moaning. It was at this point that I decided that I needed to act. I secretly always wanted to be the one to go and wait in line anyhow. So I graciously offered to go instead. He took me up on the offer. I raced down to Wal-Mart. Arriving at 1:15pm, I was number 9 in what would eventually become a line of at least 20 being that there were only 20 Wii's available at our local Wal-Mart.


Why in the name of all that's pure and good and right she actually wanted to spend the day waiting at Wal-Mart is beyond me. Masochistic tendencies, I guess.

I took my seat over in the layaway department where they had arranged a bunch of chairs for those waiting. I found out that number 1 had gotten there at 9 am. He was an older gentleman and his wife who had a young child late in life. Numbers 2 and 3 were high school seniors. They played chess and backgammon with their friend who eventually decided to become number 12 instead of spending his mother's birthday with his mom. Number 4 was a married couple who had a couple of kids at home. Number 5 was a married couple and their son who was about 10 or 11 and determined to make it to midnight. Number 6 was another married couple and their 12 year old son. Number 7 was the boy from my speech class at my last college who wrote a persuasive speech as to why people should get the Wii instead of the PS3. Well it worked because I was in line. Number 8 was the guy who was number 1 in the PS3 line a few nights earlier. And then there was me. I was guaranteed a system, and that felt really good.


Wendy told me that the guy who was in line in front of her … the one who'd waited in line for two days to buy a PS3 … just turned around and sold it on eBay. On one hand that seems crappy, but on the other hand, I hope he got enough of a profit to pay for his Wii.

So Wal-Mart had a really good system going. When you got there, you signed your name on a list, thus getting your number in line. Then at the top of each hour they would come back to layaway and check you in. They would go down they list and read off the names if you, or someone sitting in for you, wasn't there, then you would lose your spot. After each check in you could then be set free for about 59 minutes until the next check-in. You could use the bathroom, get a bite to eat, go down to the Game Stop and test out the Wii there, do some Christmas shopping, or just hang out in layaway. One guy even went to get a few beers at Applebee's. Whatever. Just as long as you were back by the top of the hour.


Oh, Wendy also told me that the guy who spent his free time tossing down beers at Applebees got so caught up in a football game while there that he almost didn't make it back for check-in time! Oh, how that would have sucked to have been him.

In the electronics department they had a PS3 set up. The graphics look amazing on that thing. However, it kept locking up. Those of us back in the Wii line found that hilarious. Stupid Sony; you spend $600 and you get a system that locks up on you. Somebody suggested getting a gun from Sporting Goods to handle the problem, and we all got a good laugh out of that.


Mwaaa ha ha ha ha! There seems to be a real clear delineation between PS3 people and Wii people. It's almost like the whole Mac Vs. PC thing. The weird thing is that I'm a Wii guy (at least I presume that I am, having not yet played the Wii and having never even touched a PS2) … anyway, I'm a Wii guy, and the Wii would be the Mac in this analogy (with the PS3 as the PC) … but when it comes to computers, I'm a total PC guy and I have no use for a Mac.

It's all about the interface with the Wii. We might have tried to save money and get a PS3, and this time last year we were actually expecting to try to get a PS3 as the big gift for the kids this year, but once we started seeing Wii promotions on the 'net back in the summer, we were sold on the interface. We showed those promos and videos to the kids, and they were totally psyched, too. We're a Wii family all the way. This really seems like the family console. Let the gangstas have their PS3s.

The Wii crowd was really friendly. I knew a bunch of them from college. And the ones I didn't know at the beginning of the day, I knew by the end of the night. From what people said, the PS3 crowd was kinda sketchy, and number 8 should know since he was there too.


Wendy said that the PS3 crowd from a night or two before, by contrast, had to wait out in the open air in the gated lawn-n-garden section. I suppose they wanted the PS3ers outside in case somebody just had to "buss a cap up in heah." You know how those PS3ers can get. ;)

When I started the day out I had no clue what games to get for the Wii because in all honesty, all the games I want to get don't come out until the spring. However, by the end of the night I was pretty much convinced that I could not survive unless I had The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I just hope my kids will feel the same way about it.

The funniest thing is that since we were placed back in layaway, people who didn't know that we were waiting for the Wii thought that we were the layaway line since today is the last day you can add anything to layaway at Wal-Mart, ever. So, they would be walking towards layaway with a cart full of stuff, see us all sitting there, their jaws would drop, they'd walk away, and we'd say "I guess we scared off another one." But those brave souls that got close enough would ask "Is this the line for layaway?" And we'd reassure them that it was not. And the look of relief on their faces was priceless.

Once 10 pm rolled around we were handed our tickets and put into a line. Now we weren't allowed to leave the area. And check-ins were every half-hour. We were in the home stretch.

So when midnight rolled around we stood up and one by one we were able to buy our Wii's back in layaway. Then we could head back to electronics and pick up any additional games and/or controllers that we needed. So I was able to get what we needed.

So number 8, who looked like
Steven Page from Barenaked Ladies, and exited Wal-Mart at the same time. That way I wouldn't be walking through the empty parking lot alone. He wished me good luck in school, and I wished him good luck playing video games.


From what Wendy's told me, if I had ended up doing the waiting at Wal-Mart myself, talking to this guy would have been the most fun part.

Overall, this was one of those experiences that you never forget. I had a lot of fun. Granted it was very boring. I wish I had been better prepared with something to do like a book to read or a Gameboy to play or my iPod or something, but I did buy a magazine and they did provide us with donuts. Darrell brought me dinner, too, which was nice. And who would have thought that sitting around for 11 hours could be so exhausting, but it really is. But it was a great group of people. A bunch of them that I knew, and I could talk to them and joke around with them. Darrell would have been miserable. Absolutely miserable. He's not good at waiting. Especially when he's sick and tired. Now I just have to wait for the next new system or something. Well then there's always Black Friday coming up this week.


Yes, I would have been miserable. As it was, I pretty much spent the whole day asleep. The most exciting part of my day was pulling out the first tooth that Liam has lost so far.

Anyway, we have a Wii. Yippee.

Wii Journal, Entry 03

Wii Journal, Entry 02

Wii Journal, Entry 01

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

 

Wii Journal, Entry 03



At the moment, my head is one big sinus, and it's infected. Therefore, the judgment call was made, by my wife, that I'm too sick to go stand in line to pick up the Wii at our local Wal-Mart.

Therefore, my wife is currently in line at our local Wal-Mart.

Yep, Wendy Wal-Martyred herself for me so that I wouldn't have to drip snot all over the other video game fans lined up at Wal-Mart.

The good news is, she's ninth in line and virtually guaranteed a Wii. The Local Wal-Mart is really regimented about it, with a designated wait area, roll-call times, etc.

Wendy told me by phone that the people in the waiting area are friendly and that she's actually having fun. This is a totally different experience than the PS3 launch was in some areas:

In one example, police fired pepper pellets Friday morning to subdue a crowd of about 200 people outside a Circuit City store in McLean, Va. Afterward, one person was taken to a hospital complaining of shortness of breath, authorities said. Connecticut authorities said two men tried to rob a line of people outside a Wal-Mart and shot a man who refused to give up his money.


Of course, some of the people who worked so hard to get a PS3 are hoping to turn a profit. And some of them are just psychotic Spin Doctors wannabes.

By contrast, Wendy's wait has been pleasant ... and the kids should have a very merry Christmas this year.

I'll ask Wendy to write something tomorrow to post about her Wii wait experience.

Wii Journal, Entry 02

Wii Journal, Entry 01

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

 

No Blogging For A Few Days



Nothing's wrong, I just have a lot going on right now. I'm extremely busy, and I'd rather devote my brief free time to reading blogs and commenting instead of blogging. I'll be back, running my mouth again, before you know it.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

 

Between The Buried And Me



If you read this blog from time to time, you know I like my metal.


Well, I'm an old man now and I can't keep up with "the scene" the way I used to. So a lot of the time a band has been around for a while before I first hear them.

Which is why I've just heard Between The Buried And Me for the first time tonight.

This straight edge metal band is from nearby Raleigh North Carolina, and they are the future of metal. They got their name from a Counting Crows lyric, of all places. Tonight on the net I've seen them called "post hardcore," "experimental metal," "math metal," "jazzcore," "psychodelic death metal" ... nobody knows what to call them.

I just call them awesome.

Oh, my Lord, but these guys are heavy. This is my favorite new metal band.

The sad thing is, the clip below doesn't begin to cover a tenth of this band's sound. To get an idea of what I mean, check out the influences they pay tribute to on their new covers CD. That's not the album to buy, though. If you're interested in them, pick up Alaska. This is the heaviest and yet artsiest album I've heard in years ... maybe ever.

Meanwhile, here's a glimpse of them at their heaviest ... an ode to insomnia called Alaska by Between The Buried And Me:



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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

 

B.U.B.B.A.



This is Billy Ray.

Billy Ray is a good ol' boy. He's a blue-collar guy. Billy Ray has a job down at the local widget factory where he sits in an air-conditioned control room and pushes a button about fifteen times in an eight-hour shift. For this, Billy Ray earns $28.00 an hour. Sometimes, if Billy Ray isn't worn out from a hard shift of button pushing, he'll will work an extra shift on overtime at a pay rate of time-and-one-half. For that, he'll earn $42 an hour. By way of comparison, uniformed policemen and detectives have averaged about $26.99 an hour. Professional firemen make about $16.23 an hour.

Billy Ray didn't get his job by being the smartest guy at the factory (he isn't) or by knowing the most about the widget production process (he doesn't). Billy Ray got his job as a matter of seniority. You see, Billy Ray's Widget factory is a union labor facility, and at union labor facilities, seniority rules. Considerations such as merit, work ethic, brains, and honesty aren't a consideration. If you're a union labor worker, you'll get nothing more than what you're afforded by your employee number and the slow march of time. Billy Ray has been at the widget factory for 29 years. By seniority rule, he gets the job that involves the air-conditioned control room and the button pushing.

You might think that Billy Ray has a pretty good life. You'd be wrong. You see, Billy Ray lives with a secret shame that haunts his every waking hour.

Billy Ray's main enjoyment in life is bass fishing, and he likes to spend his free time at the local lake on his bass boat, tooling along, drinking Bud, and fishing for ten or twelve hours at a time. But lately, Billy Ray hasn't been able to enjoy bass fishing as much as he used to. Shame is taking it's toll.

The thing is, a lot of the bass fishermen at the lake where Billy Ray fishes have brand new bass boats … and Billy Ray has to endure the humiliation of fishing from a bass boat that is almost three years old.

That's where we come in.

We're B.U.B.B.A.
The Brotherhood of Union
Bass Boat Anglers.



It's B.U.B.B.A.'s mission to make sure that no labor union employee has to endure the torment and indignity of owning a bass boat that's more than one year old.

You can imagine the heartache that Billy Ray experiences, puttering along on the lake, looking at doctors and lawyers with brand new bass boats. It's gotten to the point where Billy Ray can hardly see to bait his hook for the tears. This is insufferable.

Clearly, the company Billy Ray works for has to increase his wages. Billy Ray can't afford a new bass boat, what with the payments on his brand new Ford F-150, Mrs. Billy Ray's quarterly shopping trips to Pigeon Forge, and the price of Billy Ray Jr.'s Mustang. If Billy Ray is going to have the new bass boat that he deserves, somebody is going to have to work for it.

Won't you join together with B.U.B.B.A. and help Billy Ray get a new bass boat?

Frequently Asked Questions:



Q: I work at the same widget factory as Billy Ray, but I only have four years seniority. What can I do to help Billy Ray get his new bass boat?

A: An excellent question. Not only can you help Billy Ray get his new bass boat, but you have an important role in the process. When your labor contract expires, if the company doesn't offer a raise sufficient for Billy Ray to be able to afford his bass boat, you can join Billy Ray and vote to go on strike.

Q: A strike?! But won't that involve missed wages, a long time off of work, and maybe falling behind on my own house payments?

A: Oh, you don't have to worry about those kinds of things. Billy Ray missed 94 days of work when the union last voted to strike back in '79, and the bank didn't take away Billy Ray's home. His first home, that is. Of course, he doesn't live there now. These days, Billy Ray has a nice big six acre spread up in the country, but that's not the point.

Q: But wait … back in '79, almost all of the banks in this area were locally owned. The strike hurt the banks as much as it hurt anyone. Of course they didn't foreclose on anyone back then; what were they gonna do, repo two thirds of the property they had leans on? These days, the banks aren't locally owned. My mortgage, in fact, is through a huge banking conglomerate that couldn't care less about a labor strike in some backwater town in the boondocks. Don't I stand a real chance of losing my home? And, besides, in '79, didn't the union end up backing down and taking the same offer that the company originally made?

A: Listen here, you little snot-nose. You wouldn't have anything if it weren't for the union. The labor union is the only reason this factory pays a decent wage in the first place, so if we tell you to strike, you strike. If we say jump, you say how high. If we say sh!t, you ask how much. Got that?

Q: Well, I'm not sure if I agree. I'm not even sure if I support labor unions. For one thing, they're notoriously corrupt. For another thing, they take my money in the form of union dues and spend it on campaigns for politicians that I don't support personally. Then, they cook the books to hide those expenses, and the law allows them to get away with it. Maybe labor unions are really an anachronism in this day and age. Maybe labor unions really keep American industry from being competitive and end up costing us jobs. Maybe that's why we've lost so many jobs to factories in other countries. Hell, maybe the way unions bleed companies to death and protect lazy, arrogant workers is the main reason that so many companies have taken their factories to other countries. I think it's possible that unions really do more harm than good these days.

A: Look, what the hell are you, some kind of communist?

Q: What? That doesn't make any sense. Do you even know what communism is? What a minute, I've got the Q, you've got the A. Aren't I supposed to be the one asking the questions? Everything is all screwed up.

A: Well, I'm glad we agree on something, boy. In a world where a decent fellar like Billy Ray can't have a new bass boat, everything is all screwed up.


Remember, you don't have to be a union employee in order to support B.U.B.B.A. All you have to do is be a leftist. Help spread the word that labor unions are the good guys and that they are all that protects the workin' man from the greed of corporate America. Never mind the fact that everyone who buys Coca Cola, watches TV or wears Levis really is corporate America. And don't go worrying yourself about Billy Ray's other expenses. That Ford truck will be paid off in a month, Billy Ray will be able to drive it down to the picket line every day.

To support B.U.B.B.A., send your check to

Brotherhood of Union Bass Boat Anglers
1515 Backwater Road,
Boondocks, VA 12345



For your low one-time contribution of $500, you'll receive your very own B.U.B.B.A. travel mug.

Remember, labor is the backbone of America, and Billy Ray is counting on you.


Monday, November 13, 2006

 

Wii Journal, Entry 02



Today, while Christmas shopping for the kids, I’m pretty sure I saw some PlayStation 3s. I bought a pile of video games at Toys-R-Us on clearance, paying five bucks a pop for games that I’m sure the kids will play to death; Crash Bandicoot titles, Donkey Kong, etc.

Anyway, the way that do it at the local Toys-R-Us (and, I assume, at every Toys-R-Us) is, you don’t actually carry the game itself to the counter. You carry paper tickets with barcodes on them, and the sales clerk scans the tickets. Then, you take your tickets and receipt to the stock desk where a bored, bubblegum chewing stock clerk goes into the stock room and gets your games. When this particular stock clerk opened the door of the stock room I saw a shelf full of black boxes with a big sign that said "DO NOT MOVE BEFORE NOVEMBER 17!" I was able to clearly see that the boxes said PlaySta... something-or-other, but it was kind of a blur as the door opened and closed. I’m assuming that they were PS3s since the November 17th release date was so prominent.

We've never bought a new console before. Our Gamecube was bought three years after that system debuted, and our Xbox was bought two years after that system came out. Or, was it the other way around? Either way, we've never bought a new next-generation system before. We've promised the kids, though, that Santa is all about the Nintendo Wii this year, so I guess that means that I'll be spending about twelve or fourteen hours at the local Wal-Mart this Saturday so that we can see this under the tree on Christmas morning:



According to the Wii Seeker (which, oddly enough, is a free service of a PS3 site), our local Wal-Mart is getting 53 Wii consoles. We'll see. I hope it's really that many.


I know that a lot of smart gamers (including Rey) are PS3 enthusiasts... but we've decided on the Wii for sure for our family. We think it's just a better match for a family and a mix of casual gamers.

A big part of the reason we've decided on the Wii over the PS3 is price. The PS3 is the kind of system that you have to buy on mortgage. It's available in two versions; one with a sixty gig hard drive (it costs an arm and a leg) and one with a twenty gig hard drive (that one only costs a leg). The Wii, on the other hand, is a comparatively mild $250. Where Nintendo is going to make the big bucks on this system is in the controllers, which come in two parts, each of which is sold separately, and each of which costs ... well, a toe or two.

I know that the PS3 will play blu ray DVDs, but I don't really care. We're not buying a console to watch movies on, we're buying one for video games. Besides, the Wii will be playing DVDs as well by 2007. And, honestly, I don't care about that, either. Video game consoles are for video games, not movies. As someone pointed out at a bulletin board, nobody ever lamented that the N64 didn't play VHS tapes, or that the NES didn't play 8-Tracks.

As far as non-game capabilities, the Wii does do a few things. It has a messaging system, for one thing ... which is ... well ... kinda dumb. If you want to leave a message for someone in your home, you can either jot it on a piece of paper and leave it on the table ... or, if you're a Wii owner, you can fire up your Wii, use the remote to type out a message, save it, and then hope that the person you've written the message to will actually turn on the Wii and read it. As joystiq.com pointed out, it would be easier simply to write the message right on the side of the Wii than to use the console's message system:



The Wii will have a few multimedia capabilities out of the box. It will be able to read JPGs on memory sticks, which we'll never need to do, either, since we have one of them thar new-fangled Personal Com-Peuder thingies. Oh, the Wii can also play Quicktime movie files. Yay. One more device that will play the one video format that PC users despise most. If they could just get it to run AutoCAD, that would bring the Wii's list of things we'll never use it for up to three.

The advantages of the Wii are all in the interface.

For one thing, the hype indicates that this is apparently is a video game system that might involve some actual exercise. I hope I'm up to that. I'm typically a "Halo 2 and a bowl of Fritos balanced on my chest" kind of gamer. I hope I can hang with the kids as they jump around swinging the Wii remote playing video tennis, baseball, Metroid, etc. This seems to be a popular Wii selling feature with non-gamers. Even the old farts at Forbes have enjoyed jumping around with those odd looking little Wii controllers.

Another neat thing about the Wii is that it logs your cumulative play time for all of your games. That way, when you're trying to figure out if the sequel to Game X is a good investment, you don't have to wrack your brain trying to remember if the kids actually played the original version of Game X very often or not. You can just turn on the Wii and learn for sure, for once and for all, that, for instance, the kids have only spent a total of two hours playing that fifty dollar Shadow The Hedgehog game that they just had to have last Christmas ... meanwhile, that Kirby game that grandma bought them for $4 at a yard-sale has been played every day for sixteen months.

Just hypothetically, that is.

(They might as well play with the damn box.)

Wii Journal, Entry 01

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A Phantasmic Spider-Man 3 Trailer



With lots of groovy Sandman footage...




Courtesy of MCF.


Friday, November 10, 2006

 

Thank A Vet Tomorrow



Have a good weekend, check out Nehring's latest carnival, and remember that tomorrow is Veteran's Day.

If you do nothing else, at least thank a veteran if you know one. Six simple words: "Thank you for serving our country." I say it to anyone I meet who happens to be a vet. I once said it to a fellow who works where I work when I found out that he was a Vietnam vet. In fact, he still has shrapnel in his legs. Know what he said to me? He quietly said "You're only the second person in thirty years to say that to me."

I'm not trying to brag or anything... just pointing out that we don't thank our veterans enough. Just say thanks now and then. They deserve that much.

I'll wrap up with a pic I saw at Dymphna's Well ... a pic that really drives the point home:




Thursday, November 09, 2006

 

Concession Stands



George Allen conceded today, and I'm glad. The election is officially behind us now. I'd hoped that the Senator would offer an apology to all of his supporters, the ones he'd let down by running a terrible, misguided, petty campaign. You know, supporters like me … but he didn't. He did, however, concede gracefully, saying, in part:

"I do not wish to cause more rancor for a recount that in my judgment would not alter the results… I see no good purpose served by continuously and needlessly spending money and causing any more personal animosity…

Sometimes winds, political or otherwise, can blow the leaves off a deep-rooted tree. Stay standing."


There's something admirable about a graceful and upbeat concession speech. I had to admit two years ago that I was impressed by John Kerry's concession speech, when he said:

" Thanks to Democrats and Republicans and Independents who stood with us, and everyone who voted no matter who their candidate was…

So with a grateful heart, I leave this campaign with a prayer that has even greater meaning to me now that I have come to know our vast country so much better thanks to all of you, and what a privilege it has been to do so.

That prayer is very simple: God bless America. Thank you."


It was a rare moment of raw, honest humility from a guy who simply isn't known for being humble, and I appreciated it. It almost made me feel bad for having superimposed his image into Doom 3 a day or two before.

Concession speeches like Allen's, and like Kerry's, make it all the more obvious what a sore loser and big brat Al Gore was in 2000. For starters, he drug us through, what? About 90 pointless recounts? And then, when he finally got around to admitting that his lawyers couldn't figure out a way to finagle him into the White House, he gave a "concession speech," during which he said:



"What now? Let me tell you what now. I'm gonna call a couple of hard, pipe-hitting n****rs who'll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talking, hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna get medieval on your ass."


Oh, no, wait … I'm sorry. That was actually Marsellus Wallace's concession speech.



What Al Gore actually said was, in part:

"The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College...

I know that many of my supporters are disappointed. I am too...

And now, my friends, in a phrase I once addressed to others: it's time for me to go."


He then sulked off screen in slow, shuffling steps with which his feet never left the ground, head hung as far down as possible, and lower lip puffed out until it was actually touching his tie. Poor, poor, poor Al.

Luckily, he's found a new career in Hollywood. His production, An Inconvenient Truth, about global warming, is the most entertaining and important Power Point presentation ever. Many people who've seen it report having watched all of it.

Anyway, goodbye, George. Thanks for the memories.

And you better keep straight, Jim. We're watching you. If you succumb to the liberal culture in DC, we'll remember it in six years.

Meanwhile, if Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, or Michael Steele of Maryland, would like to try their luck in Virginia, we'd be happy to have them.

And now for something completely different. Comedian Brian Posen's ode to modern metal, Metal By Numbers. This comes to SouthCon courtesy of my pal, The Governor:



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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

Deflated, Dejected, Determined



So, I come home today after work and what do I find waiting for me in the mail? The latest issue of The National Review. And what does the cover look like? Like this:

Talk about adding insult to injury. After last night's election, the last thing I needed to see was the Gipper with his face defiled.

I haven't read a page of the new issue yet, but I expect the same smart, informative, insightful and entertaining reading as every other issue.

But, anyway, we gotta talk about last night eventually ...

So it turns out that I missed my guess. I thought we'd lose the House and keep the Senate, but we've basically lost both. George Allen hasn't done the right thing yet and conceded, but I'm sure he will. I hope he will. We all know he lost, we all know that he lost because he ran a terrible campaign, and we need to get it behind us and move on.

Personally, I've gone from being a big George Allen fan to being a disillusioned former Allen supporter. He ran a shoddy campaign by failing to focus on the issues and he let conservatives down in Virginia. I'm sure he'd have gotten reelected if he'd simply run ads telling people why they needed to vote for him. Instead, he seems to have counted on a big turnout for the Virginia state marriage amendment (it passed) and it seems that Allen thought that people who support traditional marriage would vote for him by default. He was wrong. He was also wrong to run ads that attacked Jim Webb personally instead of focusing on his own sterling record as a Senator. He was wrong and now we're going to pay for his mistakes.

And, to think, I really thought the guy would be the next president.

Nonetheless, I do see this as a victory for conservatives, in a way. The Democrats had to run centrists (or moderates, or whatever you want to call them) to pick up key seats in the House and Senate, which means that they realize that they can't get leftists elected. Heck, maybe this is the beginning of the end of leftist extremism.

And, if not, that's good too. Even if these new "moderate" Democrats get to DC and get sucked under by DC's politically and culturally liberal undertow, that's bound to help real conservatives in the long run. Two years from now, the people who voted for these "moderate" Democrats will be saying "Now, wait just a damn minute … that's not the kind of governing we sent so-and-so to Congress for!"

So, do us a favor, Democrats. Show us your true colors. That's going to help guarantee a Republican victory in the '08 Presidential race.

Now, how does the current President keep the GOP in the White House in '08? Here's the opinion of one more fat ol' redneck from Virginia:



In closing, here's the biggest laugh I've had all day, the Top Ten Positive Outcomes of the Election, courtesy of Scrappleface, and complete with my comments:

10. New York Times and CNN will carry much less negative news about Congress.

Expect a puff piece on the Nasty Pelosi any day now.
9. Rhode Island Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee lost and Connecticut Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman won, a net gain of two for the GOP.

Maybe not a gain, but not a slip backwards, either.
8. We may finally get to see the Democrat plan for victory in Iraq.

Oh, yes. I understand that they're going to employ a dragon against the roving gangs in Iraq! A magic dragon from a land called Honnahleigh!
7. Taxpayers will be relieved of the burden of making so many investment decisions.

I don't know about you, but I was really feeling guilty about being able to buy toys for the kids this Christmas. Why should I spend that money on my own children when I can let Nancy spend it on studies to save Spotted Swamp Newts?
6. Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is now available for Supreme Court appointment.

Seriously, I love the sound of that. It'll never happen, of course, but doesn't it sound awesome?
5. Possible reduction in attacks on our troops in Iraq, since terrorists fear attorneys.

There's a difference between terrorists and attorneys?
4. NSA agents could soon be freed from having to listen to annoying terrorist chatter.

And, besides, those terrorists have rights, too!
3. Lynn Swann will be remembered as a great wide receiver during the Pittsburgh Steelers 1970s dynasty.

Oh, I dunno … from the numbers, it looks like Swann really "received" something last night, too. ;) Thank you, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
2. Since a lot of the polling places are in church buildings, millions of Democrats actually went to church yesterday.

The real shock is that they didn't burst into flames, reducing themselves to pillars of ash as soon as they crossed the threshold.
1. C-Span could get a ratings boost for new reality show: Impeachment 2007.

Ooooooh! I bet Chief Justice Roberts wears a robe with sixteen yellow stripes! That's 75% more stripes than on Rehnquist's robe!



Cheer up, you guys. Lets take our lumps and come back ready to whoop ass in '08.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

 

Election Night Live Blogging



9:30 PM or so...

I gotta crash … it's early yet, but I have to get up super mega-early.

Just a few things …



Really, I gotta crash.

Dude, for political junkies like me, the first Tuesday in November is the Super Bowl … especially for political junkies who don't care about sports. When it's a Presidential race it's the Super Bowl and the World Series rolled into one. WHEEEEEEEE!

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TV News Bloopers From YouTube



Getting ready to watch the news for a few hours and see how things go re: today's election.

Since there might not be much to smile about on tonight's news, here are a few news bloopers in case we need a good laugh in the morning.

Some of these slips contain accidental bad language, so consider yourself warned.

UPDATE: The embeds aren't working very well... so I've changed these to simple links.



This last one isn't from the news... but I thought it was funny. Watch as country music diva and drama queen freaks out because someone else won the Best Female Act award at the Country Music Academy Awards.

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To The Polls...



...momentarily. I worked the morning shift today and Wendy had class all morning. Right now she's at a doctor's appointment. As soon as she gets home, we're headed to vote.

Of course, as soon as I got to the car this afternoon I took the Slayer CD out of the CD player and dialed up local AM radio … the reports indicate that statewide voter turnout is at a marked high; possibly the highest ever for a mid-term election. That sounded pretty good to me. A high turnout is typically good for conservatives (just ask George Allen) since liberals, historically, don't bother voting. I guess it's too much like work for them.

Of course, anything could happen. I may well be singing a different tune tomorrow … but right now my mood has changed from "open-minded pessimism" to "guarded and reluctant optimism."

And, honestly, either way, it's all going to be fine. Even if the Democrats get control of both houses, America is going to be OK. That's another difference between us (conservatives) and them (liberals): We disagree with them and think their ideas are faulty. They, on the other hand, think we're EVIL and that we're DESTROYING AMERICA THE WHOLE WORLD.

Even if liberal Democrats take both houses of Congress, we're going to be fine. One prediction I feel quite comfortable with is that, no matter what, you won't hear any conservatives saying tomorrow that they're going to move to Europe because they just don't like the current Congress.


Monday, November 06, 2006

 

Vote! -- Weird Science -- Elsewhere






Saturday, November 04, 2006

 

Doogie, Doogie, Doogie...



... so much for his vulgar performance as himself in Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle:



This is the biggest shock since...



So who's next?



Tom Cruise? No way. First you have to be human before you can be gay. Tom Cruise is clearly some kind of alien.



Justin Timberlake, homosexual or not, is EXTREMELY gay.



If Jared Leto is as confused about his sexuality as he is about his career, then I wouldn't be surprised if he's at least "curious."



People think I'm crazy, but I really think Elton John might be gay. Something about his wardrobe.



This is John Travolta. He has the prettiest eyes.



Hugh Jackman is a good actor, an acomplished singer, and as gay as Rupaul. Bet on it.


Friday, November 03, 2006

 

Kanye, Carnival and Colors





Have a good weekend, everyone.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

 

Good DVDs, Cheap DVDs



Nothing at SouthCon today, but I posted what might be the first in a series about good, cheap DVDs at film geeks.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

 

Mid-Season Replacements: An In-House Memo



To: Network Programming Department, Attention Ted Fields
From: Network Development Department, Glen Bronberg
Re: Mid Season Replacement Programming


Ted, baby! Here's the standard early-November review:

As we discussed, a number of the programs fast-tracked over the summer for initial runs in the fall have simply failed to deliver the numbers. It's time to look at the viable options, consider the projects on the shelves, and see if any of this can be tweaked enough to draw iceptive bids from the national ad-placement agencies. As always, we're looking to make exclusivity deals, and cross-product tie-in marketing is always desirable.

The guys upstairs have given us the greenlight to begin pre-production on a number of mid season replacement shows. Here are some brief treatment ideas for your consideration. Please run all of this past legal and get some input from whats-her-name in standards, assuming that she didn't quit yet.



Have your people peruse this and see what they think. We'll be in touch. Love ya, babe!

Glen


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