Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stolen content time - Farking Wednesday

I can't remember the last time I used the old standby, Fark Headlines, as the stolen content of choice, but today seemed as good a time as any.  back by less than popular demand, my own Fark Top Ten list.

Nicaraguan beauty contest winners forced to work in brothels within months of winning competitions. Some people argue this is a bad thing

Runaway lettuce truck leafs road and crashes into house, killing driver. The house's occupants can romaine, but the truck is chard

Nothing you didn't already suspect, but customs officers have seized a shipment of thousands of headless rats destined for restaurants in England

Parade float to commemorate Holocaust with a big pile of fake dead bodies. What could possibly go wrong?

Students use "beaver deceiver" device to trick beavers. Subby remembers when that was called "alcohol"

Lung Association event attendees contract serious lung disease at said event

The Stalinist League of Australia releases their 2008 policy platform, including "Destroying the international nerd conspiracy" and "The total crackdown on nerds, goths, fat people, oldies, geeks and capitalists"

Thanks to recent record foreclosure rates, it is now possible to buy a house for less than the price of a big-screen TV. Sure, it's in Cleveland, but still

Angry 10-year old? Check. Attempt to poison his family? Check. Locked in a crap-filled dog crate by grandma? Wait a sec, who the hell wrote this checklist

Eighty people brawl at Chuck E Cheese. Behold the power of cheese -- and pepper spray

There, that should provide everyone with a little reading material this morning.  Enjoy!!!!

Time to put another log on the fire.......

just as soon as I build a fireplace and find wood.  When I got off of work at 1am it was still 50 degrees outside.  It is now 6 hours later and I am at the full time job and it is 22 degrees with wind gusts of 50+ miles per hour.  I hate Wednesdays.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scam artists

Lots of things going through the cranium today, let's see if I can get it all on paper in a rather coherent fashion shall we?

Today was one of those productive in a non productive kind of way days. I started it with the intent of being productive, I was even going to go into work early, but all of that was quickly frittered away, partially of my own doing. I woke up rather early, before 7am in fact and I made some toast for breakfast and sat in front of the computer with my idea of breakfast (toast and iced tea) and read some blogs and just sort of wearily got into my day. I checked online for bus schedules, knowing that my bus to work runs less frequently on Sunday that during the week. I saw I could catch a bus at 7:10am, 8:50am or my normal 10:30am. Well 7:10 was out, I wasn't rushing out the door, but the 8:50 looked promising. The problem usually isn't getting into town, there are so many buses that run from Oakland to downtown that I never even think about getting down there, it is just getting from town to Greentree. So around 8 am I get dressed and do those things I need to do, gather up my bus tickets and what not and head out for the bus stop. I get to the gas station at the end of my street at 8:20, still plenty of time, the ride into town is only about 10 minutes, though a light snow has covered the grass, the roads are still barren, so all looks promising. I decide that I will do the Sunday morning ritual that is me buying gas station coffee for the bus ride. They have actually gotten a butter rum cappucino that is way good, it is like liquid butterscotch, but today I just wanted the usual, large coffee with 6 sugars, no cream. That and a pack of cigarettes and I was armed for whatever the day may bring. I finished the walk to the bus stop and I wait. And I wait. And in case you hadn't guessed, I wait. And the reward for my patience is.....I wait. A bus doesn't show up until I already had to be downtown. Mind you, since I was taking an earlier bus, I still wasn't going to be late for work, but it meant I had almost an hour and a half to kill till the next bus arrived in town to go to Greentree. I drank my coffee, read some more of my book (I am almost done, I will be picking a new book for the neverending blog shortly), walked to 7-11 and bought more coffee and an egg salad sandwich and potato chips so I could eat lunch at work, and went to my bus stop and waited. And waited. And as the theme goes when it comes to my ride to work, I waited.

Funny thing, as I am at the bus stop, they have opened a Gold's Gym in the building across the street. There were maybe two people in there (at least that I could see) riding the exercise bikes, and one on a treadmill. My mind quickly started thinking of rackets, as it what kind of racket is it to open a gym anyway? Can't these people run or bike outside, or run in place in their home? How much coin can you divest people of to get them to punish themselves in public anyway? Mind you, me being across the street is as close as I want to get to exercise anyway, but even if I were a fitness junkie, what are they doing that I can't do and save myself the membership fee? This brought to mind a couple of other rackets that I noticed at my part time job the other evening. We have a sign on the wall, it came from the company that built our dish washing machine. Basically it is the instructions on how to run the machine properly. It starts of with where the chemicals go and what not, then it gets into the actual dish cleaning part of the operation. The sign says to scrub the dishes, place them on the rack, spray them with water and then slide the rack into the machine. Am I the only one that sees the problem? The sign tells me to scrub and rinse the dishes, then what the hell do I need the machine for? If I were to have a career selling these machines, do I have to hide the instructions till after the sale, for fear that the secret will get out, the machine is pointless? Why else tell people to clean the dishes beforehand. What a scam they have going. The scams kept mounting at work however. We listen to the radio in the kicthen, usually the alternative station, though it does vary from time to time. Anyway, a public service announcement comes on talking about how radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. But wait, there is more, your home may have radon in it because radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas so to be safe, you need to have your home tested. Let me get this straight, I should have my home tested for something that is odorless, colorless and tasteless and hope the guy testing my house is being honest with me? Hell, if I am running that scam, everybody has radon, how would they know any different? And for a slight fee, I am sure I could rid your home of radon. Me and my imaginary friend will just walk around throwing pixie dust everywhere and magically it will be gone. By the way, my imaginary friend expects to get paid too.

Okay, so I make it to work, where I do my two commercial feeds that need recorded, record next week's Lutheran Hour (and the Lutheran's still can't tell time, the show is only 30 minutes long, I suppose the other 30 minutes you sit quietly and pray) recorded next weeks Sinatra Show, posted two podcasts and edited a third that will be posted tomorrow and got a fourth broken down to the point where I can edit it, so all in all it was a productive work day. Plus I got a quick blog entry in and continued my work on my launchcast radio station, where I now have over 6200 ratings recorded.

Finally I left work around 6:10 pm and went to the bus stop where, you guessed it, I waited. And waited. And for good measure, I waited. At least I got some more of my book read while I waited, so it wasn't a complete loss. The only plus was that my connecting bus was there to come back to Oakland almost as soon as I arrived at the bus stop, which brings us to where we are now, with me blogging. Well, not quite where we are now, I did stop by Rite Aid to see what was on sale and bought a ten pack of Reese Cups (88 cents) and some cheddar Chex Mix (also 88 cents) so I would have a choice in my snacks this evening.

Now we are at the point where I am blogging, thank you very much. This seems like a good time to answer the 50 questions that have been bandied about. I just need to remember to erase Tick's answers, lol.


1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes, crumbled bleu cheese on salad kicks ass, or on a good black and bleu burger.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin? No, if I am going to do a drug, it will not be a depressant. That being said, I did do cocaine twice and the only reason I didn't do it more was that I liked it too much. I am poor enough without adding an expensive habit like that to my collection.

3. Do you own a gun? My wit is more than deadly enough, lol. Well, there is that and my farts. Actually, I used to pull a prank on my ex girlfriends, where we would be all snuggly in bed and I would want to get in closer then at the last moment, I would pull the covers over her head in a improvised gas chamber type of attack. Needless to say, it is another reason I am single.

4. Your favorite song? Really depends on my mood, though The Ledge by The Replacements, September by Earth, Wind and Fire, and Strawberry Letter 23 by The Brothers Johnson all would make the short list.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? I don't make doctors apointments, so there is no need to get nervous..

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I like them, but my favorites would be hot dogs from The Original Hot Dog Shop with chili and pickles..

7. Favorite Christmas song? Santa Claus Is Coming Straight to the Ghetto by Snoop Dog, or Santa's Beard by They Might Be Giants

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee, 6 sugars, no cream, if it is a work day and I am at work by 5am, expect me to pound three or four of these.

9. Can you do push ups? This would qualify as exercise, so keep it across the street from me.

10. What's your favorite day of the week? I have been getting Saturdays off a lot recently from both jobs, so for the time being we will say Saturday.

11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? All I have is my high school class ring, as I am not much of a jewelry person.

12. Favorite hobby? Fantasy sports, video games, reading.

13. What are you listening to right now? Me typing and the gentle hum of the refrigerator.

14. Do you have A.D.D.? Yes, my computer can also subtract, multiply and divide. Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

15. What one trait do you hate about yourself? That I am only on question 14, why couldn't these be multiple choice, I would go much faster.

16. Middle Name: Lynn

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: Can I call them Larry, Moe and Curly?

18. Name 3 things you bought today: Coffee, egg salad sandwich, potato chips.

19. Name 3 things you drink on a regular basis: Coffee, Pepsi, Iced tea

20. Current worry right now? How much time do I spend on this blog and how much time do I sleep before getting up at 4am.

21. Current hate right now? Stupid people.

22. Favorite place to be? In front of a big breakfast with coffee, eggs, sausage, toast, a newspaper and an ash tray.

23. How did you bring in the New Year? I was in bed asleep.

24. Where would you like to go? Vancouver, Sydney, Toronto,.

25. Name 3 people who will complete this: Hell, I will be lucky if three read this far.

26. Do you own slippers? No

27. What shirt are you wearing? None, though I could put one on if you like.

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? They make those now?

29. Can you whistle? Poorly

30. Favorite color? Blue.

31. Would you be a pirate? A Pittsburgh Pirate? A baseball player that on a team that hasn't had a winning record since 1992? Surely you jest.

32. What songs do you sing in the shower? I usually listen to sports talk while I am in the shower, hard to sing along to.

33. Favorite girl's name? One that I remember.

34. Favorite boy's name? Xenophon Aristotle

35. What's in your pocket right now? Boxe briefs don't have pockets to my knowledge. If they did, I might never wear pants and that is a frightening thought.

36. Last thing that made you laugh? Like laugh out loud funny? That would be "The N-Word" episode of South Park.

37. Best bed sheets as a child? Clean

38. Worst injury you've ever had? Probably getting that needle jammed in my ass that I blogged about back in the 360 days, though technicallly it wasn't an injury. Piece of advice, if someone offers to jam a needle in your ass, politley decline said invitation.

39. Do you love where you live? It's tolerable, I am sure there are better places on the planet, but hey, I have a roof over my head and food in my tummy, that's more than a lot of people have.

40. How many TVs do you have in your house? Two, though only one is plugged in.

41. Who is your loudest friend? Probably Doug, but doing radio for nearly 30 years tends to do that to a person.

42. How many dogs do you have? Zero, I am of the attitude that if you can domesticate it, you can eat it. My freind once asked me to watch her rabbit while she was away. I quickly renamed him "Stew".

43. Does someone have a crush on you? Yes, chicks dig guys who are producers on low power AM talk radio stations. I would beat them off with a stick, but this isn't Singapore so caning isn't allowed here.

44. How many cats do you have? See #42.

45. What is your favorite book? A few of note, "April 1865" by Jay Winnick, "The Sign and the Seal" by Graham Hancock, The Mission Earth Series by L Ron Hubbard and The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

46. What is your favorite candy? Reese Cups and Hershey Special Dark Bars.

47. Favorite sports team? Pitsburgh Penguins

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo

49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night/this morning? Watching the Barely Legal ECW PPV on DVD

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I have to work today.


Hopefully that about covers that. Of course that means I will have typos galore now, because I know my skill with a keyboard and to say it is non existent is to put it mildly. Oh well, time to fetch some more grub, be right back.

Okay, I am back. I threw something together yesterday and today is leftover day. My grandmother used to make, what she called ham pot pie. It wasn't pot pie in the tradional sense of the word, but rather she would make homemade noodles, then add cooked ham and potatoes and last night I pulled a variation of it, using egg noodles instead and some ham that was still in the freezer from Christmas and in place of the potatoes I added a can of mixed vegetables and then threw in some black pepper and one chicken bullion cube for good measure. I have no idea what this should be called but it is tasty nonetheless. Mind you, I am one of those people that will eat anything that I make, I would rather eat it than waste it, but this actually isn't half bad.

I should note that I did get the other two Pogo badges I wanted this week. I got all three challenges and for good measure got the level 10 badge in Bingo Luau and I finished off another badge in Word Search daily. After that I played a little Fortune Bingo, but the next badge in there is over 200 bingos away, and then I started practicing for next week's challenges, refreshing my memory on how to play Pinochle. Yes, I am a geek that will check out the next week's challenges just to see what I need to do. It gives me a better approach on how I want to play the games. For instance, this week there was a badge in Mahjong that was simply to remove 3500 tiles. Since there was no level difficuly on it, I played it on easy to make it go faster. Next week, the pinochle badge is to win 5000 tokens. Since every point scored in the game is worth three tokens, I will just play 500 point games, that way every win guarantees me at least 1500 tokens before a spin and barring a stupid bid by my computer partner, I can win most games.

I also managed to knock out part of my taxes this weekend. I started my TaxAct filing for this year, though I still am waiting on 2 W2 forms, I put two in, so it is at least halfway done.

I even found time this weekend to play some baseball on the PS2. My 4th season has been my most productive so far. I started in the minor leagues at AAA. After two games where I didn't get a hit, I asked to be called up to the major league team and amazingly they said yes. I stuck around for about 25 games, where I had a batting average over .400, but only a few homeruns and just 16 RBIs, so despite the fact I was second in the voting for Rookie of the Year, I was demoted again to AAA where I was just crushing the ball. I had the batting average over .570 and had hit 7 homeruns and drove in 25 in just 16 games, so I have once again been called back to the major leagues, partially due to my success and partially because my secondary position (I am primarily a first baseman), is utility infielder and the starting third baseman went on the 60 day disabled list, so not only am I in the majors, I start almost every game.

Okay, I have typed enough for one night and I am sure you would agree. Time for some proof reading, then maybe a game of pinochle, then off to bed.

Getting all sort of Burghy

Was tinkering around at work again today (sometimes I wonder why they call it work if i am just going to tinker around) and through my normal "what can I find on youtube" portion of the day (which comes after "add more ratings to launchcast" portion), I ran into this.  Certainly nothing spectacular, just a local group, The Clarks, have actually released a video.  Could have fooled me, while they are popular with the local set, I don't see them having broad appeal outside of the area.  On the plus side though, you may recognize some of the stuff in the video if you remember some of the photos I took way back when.  I know that was the stuff I was looking for, but I have heard the song thousands of times now, I needed something to occupy my attention. 

Anyway, here is what passes for local music around these parts......



Friday, January 25, 2008

Stop biting me without your mouth

Greetings and salutations once again. Sorry I have been away from the page for a while, just tending to life as I know it, which can be good and bad, this week was a little of both. Not sure any of it was blog worthy or not though. I guess I will just start writing and see what happens as far as where this goes.

Some things that are blog worthy would be the updates that I know you have come to know and love. I guess I could start with the fantasy hockey stuff. When last we left my team in was holding onto the 6th and final playoff spot in my 12 team league. Well, last week I ended up going 5-2-3 to maintain my presence in 6th place, my record now sits at 72-65-23, so I am starting to put a little distance between my record and the .500 mark as well. Mind you, while this week's numbers aren't officially posted yet, the week is over, because this weekend is the All Star weekend so the last regularly scheduled games for this week were last night, and the season will resume again come Tuesday. This week I went 6-3-1, so while Yahoo hasn't tabulated the new standings yet, I am pretty sure 78-68-24 will keep me safely within the top 6.

Just 8 cents for the change meter, the new total is $33.79. I did expand my scavenging however. Coke has been offering reward points for caps, Pepsi will soon be offering the same (I think Pepsi stuff starts Feb 1st) and I have taken to picking up caps and points now if I see them lying around. I will not add these to the change meter, they aren't money after all, but they do count towards free stuff, so if I end up picking out any good things, I will let you know, since you, if you littered in my neighborhood, may have helped me get it. I know Coke has a bunch of stuff you can get with the rewards, and checking out the Pepsi page, they are going to at least offer music and tv downloads. This is the advantage of living in an old city (Pittsburgh has the oldest population outside of Florida). People despise technology here, they almost fear it. It means that when I go to the grocery store, I can use the automated checkout, because the old folks would rather stand in line than self scan their items. It also means things like internet codes for prizes completely eludes them, so more stuff for me, woohoo!!!!

By the way, I have complained about the writers' strike in Hollywood because of the lack of new, original, smart programming. I take back all of my complaints now. If the best the writers can come up with for a movie script is a vagina with teeth, then maybe we are better off without them. For the record, this has nothing to do with anybody I dated, that would be Vagina Teeth 2, Electric Boogaloo.

Do I really need to explain the Asshat this week? Haven't we all seen the Tom Cruise video? I thought so, but attempts to deliver said Asshat award to Tom were unsuccessful, apparently they cancelled it in his area.

I have an idea for BFT Version 3.0 as well. Nothing concrete or typed out yet, just some vagueness rattling around in ye olde cranium.

I did add the link to my Imeem page today. It was one of the places that I thought of going to when 360 collapsed, as I was storing some audio information there anyway, but I decided against it. It will still be used for audio storage, but since Doug has been let go, I doubt I will be doing much in the lines of being a radio guest anytime in the near future. Mind you, I am still on the radio during Lynn's show, but that is just a hit or miss thing, nothing where I can say tune in at such and such time to hear me do whatever.

I almost forgot on the update front, I finished the Pogo badges this week. I am debating whether or not I want to put forth the time to chase down a couple of game award badges, I am at level 9 in Bingo Luau and there probably will be a badge at 10, and I am less that 10 word search puzzles away from a badge in there as well. It could be a 5 badge week, but that would mean that I am being irresponsible, and while I have tomorrow off, I should try to get something done this weekend. Heck if it is warm enough, I should spend some time looking for more Coke and Pepsi points as well. It isn't quite the hunting for aluminum cans I used to do as a kid,

While reading a blog from someone on the contact list the other day, I realized that a fair portion of the contact list is Republican. Not that I have a problem with it mind you, just the opposite. But being a Democrat myself, I appreciate the crossover appeal the page has. I like to think that I am not far left guy; 9/11 wasn't an inside job, Gore lost in 2000, Hugo Chavez is a dictator in all but name, but if anyone were to wonder why I find someone like Mark Morford (stolen content day) appealing, now you know. Of course it is no explanation for Christopher Hitchens, whose politics are all over the map, much like my own.

Oh well, I should scoot, I have a dinner to make and then a dinner to eat. I prefer the eating part myself, if someone wants to volunteer for the making part, well, that would be cool.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

More stolen stuff

If a day constitutes 24 hrs, then technically this still slides in under stolen content day, but barely

Are you Tom Cruise crazy?

Yes, the tiny megastar proves he's all kinds of nuts in a bizarre video. But how about you?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Here is something you can do.

Set up that nifty little Flip Video camera you got for Christmas just over there next to your couch. Now, plop yourself down in front of it and have a friend sit just off to the side and then both of you slam about nine shots of vodka followed by nine more of extra-strong espresso and then hit the "Record" button as she begins to question you about your deepest beliefs on How the World Really Works, and you answer them employing only tense, cryptic bursts of pseudo-lingo that make sense only to you and the houseplants, all while making sure you suddenly burst out laughing as maniacally as possible at random intervals and never ever blink. Won't that be fun?

And then you can compare. You can go back to your computer and re-watch the now-famous Tom Cruise Scientology video currently winging across the planet like a wacky Ebola virus, and contrast it with your swell little video and go: See? See that? No matter how hard I try, no matter how weird I think I am and no matter how heavily my therapist sighs every time I bring up my love of Shania Twain and banana sandwiches and "Battlestar Galactica" collectibles, I am not nearly as insane as Tom Cruise. Life is going to be OK.

Ah yes, the Tom Cruise Scientology indoctrination video. Surely by now you've seen this little hunk of pop culture manna? Surely, at least, someone you know has watched the video and has described it to you in amazed, slightly disturbed tones and you've maybe responded by shrugging and saying: No no no, it couldn't be that weird ... could it?

It could. It is something to see. It has already enjoyed more than 2 million views so far and Anderson Cooper even filed a swell little CNN report about it and it's still moving fast, this nine-minute slab of crazy that features this very intense, grinning, bizarre movie star talking in barely comprehensible half-sentences and perky Scientology lingo about "SPs" and "the tech" and "KSW" and "half-acks" and all manner of cool culty jargon that, if you close your eyes and blur your imagination just right, sounds remarkably like a high school speed freak talking up Dungeons & Dragons to his kid brother.

Except this particular clip has apparently been edited by an epileptic teenager. It is scored with the "Mission: Impossible" theme song (to which Cruise doubtlessly owns the rights) and it has laughable zoom-in graphics pulled from somewhere deep in 1994 and it is bookended with some of the most bloviated, hammy voiceover work this side of a "Saturday Night Live" parody. All told, it is, as the universal verdict goes, "unintentionally hilarious."

Unintentional, because it's supposed to be serious. It is supposed to make Scientology look intense and cool and badass and righteous and Cruise is clearly meant to appear as some sort of idealized L. Ron Hubbard-drunk demigod, a true hero and visionary (he's an OT VII, after all, the highest rank you can achieve in his "church" without going off to battle evil warlord Xenu yourself), who has apparently single-handedly brought Scientology to over 1 billion people worldwide and who can lift boulders with his penis and bend spoons with his mind and whip up a delightful marinara in his sleep.

It is, in a way, a seminal piece of film. It finally removes all doubt that one of the wealthiest and most successful celebrities of this generation is, indisputably, many, many fries short of a Happy Meal. It's as if you crossed Mitt Romney with Mike Huckabee and rolled it in the hot goo of Ted Haggard and packed it all into the body of a junior-weight high school wrestling champ, with exactly the same level of verbal articulation. Which is to say, a log. A very, very intense log.

Perhaps this is the true joy of watching celebrity derailments and breakdowns and cult addictions. We like to think that would never be us. We like to think, "You know, if I was world famous and had a billion dollars and still had pretty good hair and a killer smile and at least used to be the hottest hunk of malehood on the planet, I sure as hell wouldn't hitch my spiritual cart to the crazy train of a deeply deranged pill-popping sci-fi hack writer who invented a nutball cult religion on a bar bet. Wait, would I?"

Perhaps you are still not sure. Perhaps you think it's still not fair to make fun of Tom Cruise this way, no matter how clearly bats— crazy he so obviously is. After all, he's done some passable movies. He's a decent enough guy. I sort of liked him in "The Firm" and, um, "Legend." Cut him some slack, maybe?

Maybe. After all, everyone needs their little cult, right? Everyone needs their tribe and their myths and their psychological attachments and is it Tom's fault that his intellectual and spiritual development apparently got stuck somewhere between "Star Trek" and the episode where Gilligan gets hit on the head with a coconut and his mouth turns into a radio? No, it is not.

What's more, it's not like this video is all that unusual. Surely there are Mormon indoctrination videos equally as deranged. Surely there are creepy installations playing right now over at the Creation Museum in Kentucky that will make your brain implode for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is that half of Americans actually believe that humans really did fly on the backs of pterodactyls. Hell, I'm sure Opus Dei has some sort of S&M fetish dungeon where they take new recruits and staple their eyelids open and make them watch "The Da Vinci Code" on infinite repeat until they swear to worship an angry misogynistic God forevermore, just to make it stop. And hell, the evangelicals in the hugely disturbing 2006 documentary "Jesus Camp" make Tom's Scientologists look like a bunch of geeky Boy Scouts on crack.

So then, maybe we all owe Tom Cruise a big debt of gratitude? After all, it is only through videos such as this that we can gain perspective on our own lives. It is only though ogling such phenomena over and over and maybe only after someone turns this clip into a drinking game ("Every time Tom squirms awkwardly in his chair and can't finish a sentence, drink!"), that we can finally eliminate all doubt as to our own mental stability and say, "Yes indeed, I may be a bit crazy, but I ain't no Tom Cruise crazy."

Or, as Tom would say, "I've canceled that in my area." Yes, Tom. You most certainly have.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Something to tide you over

Just a little something until I get about doing another blog post, it is stolen content day from my favorite and mine (I don't assume he is your favorite) - Christopher Hitchens

fighting words

Huck's Free Pass

Why are the media ignoring Mike Huckabee's remarks about the Confederate flag?

By Christopher Hitchens

In this country, it seems that you can always get an argument going about "race" as long as it is guaranteed to be phony, but never when it is real. Almost every day brings news of full-dress media-oriented spats about Don Imus, Bob Grant, or the recent nonstory about how some golf show had managed to mention Tiger Woods and the word lynch in the same news cycle. The preceding week had involved some trivial but intense parsing of an exchange between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But just let the real thing occur, with a full-blooded and full-throated bellow of old-fashioned authentic racism, and you can see the entire press refusing to cover it for fear of having to confront the real and unvarnished thing (and perhaps for reasons having to do with other "sensitivities" as well).

Gov. Mike Huckabee made the following unambiguously racist and demagogic appeal in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last week:

You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em what to do with the pole; that's what we'd do.

This is a straightforward racist appeal for the following reasons:

1) The South Carolina flag is a perfectly nice flag, featuring the palmetto plant, about which no "outsider" has ever offered any free advice.

2) The Confederate battle flag, to which Gov. Huckabee was alluding, was first flown over the South Carolina state Capitol in 1962, as a deliberately belligerent riposte to the civil rights movement, and is not now, and never has been, the flag of that great state.

3) By a vote of both South Carolina houses in the year 2000, the Confederate battle flag ceased to be flown over the state capitol and now only waves (as quite possibly it should) over the memorial to fallen Confederate soldiers.

Thus, as well as crassly behaving exactly like someone "from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag," former Gov. Huckabee of Arkansas deliberately aligned himself with the rancorous minority who are still not reconciled to the idea that South Carolina may not officially consecrate racism and slavery and secession. "Your flag"? What an insult, not just to the descendants of slavery but to the many, many other loyalists and Unionists who fought and died to bring their state back into the Union. And what is the point of the "outside the state" slur? Wasn't this exactly what Gov. Orval Faubus of Arkansas used to say, as if to make it seem that all was hunky-dory in his own tight little dominion until them goddam "outside agitators" arrived? In the end, as Gov. Huckabee may or may not recall, the 101st Airborne Division, most of them "outsiders" not from Arkansas, had to be sent by a Republican president to integrate the schools of Little Rock. That was a lot of trouble and expense that the big-mouth rednecks put us all to, but it was worth it. It's insufferable to hear this glib idiot make a mockery of it now in order to try to get the Klan vote in South Carolina.

One might add a couple of other points. The political flag of the Confederacy—the so-called "Stars and Bars"—is one thing. The battle flag of the Confederate army, the most militant symbolic form that secession and slavery ever took, is quite another. Under this fiery cross of St. Andrew, the state of Pennsylvania was invaded and free Americans were rounded up and re-enslaved. Under this same cross, it was announced that any Union officer commanding freed-slave soldiers, or any of his men, would be executed if captured. (In other words, war crimes were boasted of in advance.) The 13 stars of the same flag include stars for two states—Kentucky and Missouri—that never did secede, and they thus express a clear ambition to conquer free and independent states. And this is the symbol that Huckabee, seeking to ingratiate himself with the lowest element and lowest common denominator, calls "your flag." You might as well do a cross-burning and have done with it, and we all know how the networks would react if some ignorant kids did that.

But when real political racism rears its head, our easily upset media fall oddly silent. Can you guess why? Of course you can. Gov. Huckabee is the self-anointed candidate of the simple and traditional Christian folk who hate smart-ass, educated, big-city types, and if you dare to attack him for his vulgarity and stupidity and bigotry, he will accuse you of prejudice in return. What he hopes is that his neo-Confederate sickness will become subsumed into easy chatter about his recipes for fried squirrel and his other folksy populist themes. (By the way, you owe it to yourselves to watch the exciting revelations about his squirrel-grilling past; and do examine his family Christmas card while you're at it.) But this drivel, it turns out, is all a slick cover for racist incitement, and it ought not to be given a free pass.

And not merely racist incitement. So slack is our grasp of history and principle that we seem unable to think of the Confederacy as other than "offensive" to blacks. But there are two Republican candidates in this election—the absurd and sinister Ron Paul being the other—who choose this crucial moment in our time to exalt those who attempted to destroy the Union by force, and those who solicited the help of foreign powers in order to do so, and whose treason led to the violent deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Should their patriotism be questioned? I would say most definitely yes, and questioned repeatedly, at that, perhaps especially if they are seeking the nomination of the party of Lincoln.

In Washington, D.C., Gov. Huckabee has hired as smooth and silky a pair of big-city insiders as you could meet in a day's march: Ed Rollins and James Pinkerton. Elegant ornaments of many a past administration and many a well-heeled think tank (Pinkerton describes himself loftily as "a Burkean conservative and a Nixonian foreign-policy realist"), they know exactly what calculation lies behind their boss' smarmy appeals to the uneducated racists and losers and to the fools who believe that Adam and Eve were real (and recent) people. But do they endorse his street tactics as well? I, for one, would rather like to find out. Here's a genuine scandal about racism, and waddaya know? My great profession is absolutely determined to overlook it.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.


Monday, January 21, 2008

So you want to be a scientologist......

Just be sure to fill out the questionaire correctly.  From our good friends at Radar, the math, if you will....


Has Tom Cruise Ever Tried to Give Sanity a Bad Name?

How did Tom Cruise transform himself from struggling young actor to Scientology god? With help from the Church of Scientology's "SEC WHOLE TRACK" questionnaire, that's how. The internal church document was developed by Scientology founder and onetime science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard for use during "auditing" sessions—you know, the ones designed to identify your trapped "thetans."

The "thetans," or alien ghosts, were implanted in Earth's volcanoes 75 million years ago by the evil intergalactic ruler Xenu, until the nasty buggers escaped and invaded the bodies of each and every one of us. New recruits like Katie Holmes, or "preclears," answer the questions while hooked up to an E-meter—a crude, polygraph-like contraption—as a Church-sanctioned auditor records the subject's responses for further expensive inquiry. Radar excerpted the best of the list's 343 questions. Here's a verbatim sampling.

• Have you ever enslaved a population?

• Have you ever debased a nation's currency?

• Have you ever killed the wrong person?

• Have you ever torn out someone's tongue?

• Have you ever been a professional critic?

• Have you ever wiped out a family?

• Have you ever tried to give sanity a bad name?

• Have you ever consistently practiced sex in some unnatural fashion?

• Have you ever made a planet, or nation, radioactive?

• Have you ever made love to a dead body?

• Have you ever engaged in piracy?

• Have you ever been a pimp?

• Have you ever eaten a human body?

• Have you ever disfigured a beautiful thing?

• Have you ever exterminated a species?

• Have you ever been a professional executioner?

• Have you given robots a bad name?

• Have you ever set a booby trap?

• Have you ever failed to rescue your leader?

• Have you driven anyone insane?

• Have you ever killed the wrong person?

• Is anybody looking for you?

• Have you ever set a poor example?

• Did you come to Earth for evil purposes?

• Are you in hiding?

• Have you systematically set up mysteries?

• Have you ever made a practice of confusing people?

• Have you ever philosophized when you should have acted instead?

• Have you ever gone crazy?

• Have you ever sought to persuade someone of your insanity?

• Have you ever deserted, or betrayed, a great leader?

• Have you ever smothered a baby?

• Do you deserve to have any friends?

• Have you ever castrated anyone?

• Do you deserve to be enslaved?

• Is there any question on this list I had better not ask you again?

• Have you ever tried to make the physical universe less real?

• Have you ever zapped anyone?

• Have you ever had a body with a venereal disease? If so, did you spread it?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

BFT Version 2.0 - A "Brand New Day" without me

I have made my liking of comic books known on the pages of this blog in the past, mostly Marvel comics and in particular Spiderman comics (though I have been reading New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Thunderbolts, Captain America and Moon Knight to name a few others). That being said, something has happened recently that has recently that may cut back my book buying severely.

Comic books tend to run in story arcs, that being most stories are longer than one book and the fallout from one book slips into others. I have blogged in the past about one such storyline called "Civil War", which affected many of the Marvel books. To give you a brief rundown on what happened, a group of superheroes, The New Warriors, used their abilities to make a reality TV show, where they would apprehend villians and the results would be broadcast on live TV. During one such mission, they encountered some villians and through the course of trying to bring them in, one villian by the name of Nitro, whose ability it is to make things explode, fires off an explosion that kills approximately 600 children and some of The New Warriors.

The fallout from this tragedy (if a work of fiction can be called such, but its my blog, I get to choose the words) was the imposition of the Super Hero Registration Act, where all people that had powers had to be registered with the government. It became an argument of the security of the public versus the civil liberties of those with special abilities and it split the super hero community pretty much down the middle, with Iron Man taking the pro registration side and Captain America leading the side of the non registered. One of the first things that led people to joining the side of the government was that Spiderman unmasked for the world to see that he was in fact Peter Parker. Through the course of the Civil War, Peter would change his mind about registration and switch sides to fight alongside Captain America, after seeing that non registered super heroes were being locked up by the government without benefit of trial, and that some villians had taken the opportunity of the registration act to switch sides and work for the government in hunting down people who used to put them in jail.

A final battle between the sides would be played out in the streets of New York, and it appears that the side against registration was winning when Captain American looked around and saw the damage that was being done by super heroes fighting each other, both in property damage and how it was putting the public at risk, at which point he surrendered, leaving those that oppose registration very much an underground rag tag group.

One of the things that happened as a result of this storyline was the death of Captain America, who was shot while entering the courthouse to stand trial for his role in the Civil War. Another, less publicized thing that happened (I say that because the death of Captain America actually made the news) was that the Kingpin put out a hit on Peter Parker, who the world now knew was Spiderman. Peter, his wife Mary Jane and his Aunt May had all been living on the run from the law, seeing as how by opposing registration, Peter was a wanted criminal. Well, the Kingpin's hitman located the Parkers and when Peter came back to the hotel they were staying in, attempted to shoot Peter, but his spidersense kicked in and he was able to avoid the bullet that while missing him, would end up hitting his Aunt May.

The shot would prove nearly fatal to May, and leave her on life support in the hospital will little to no chance of recovering. This course of events would lead to a story arc titled "One More Day", where Spiderman would seek help from people, some friends and some now enemies because of the SHRA in an effort to save May's life. He would seek out Tony Stark (Iron Man) who helped, albeit reluctantly, by assisting in paying for May's hospital care, though the doctors at the hospital warned that it was just a matter of time until she passed. He then sought out Doctor Strange, in hopes the master of the mysitic arts may know of a way of saving May, but he couldn't help either. It was at this point that Mephisto enters the scene. For those that don't know, Mephisto is a devil like being that inhabits the Marvel Universe and has the ability to take souls if bargains are struck. He offers Spiderman a deal, he will save May, in return Peter has to give up his marriage to Mary Jane (unlike the movies, the pair have been married in the comic for 20 years now, though it wouldn't be twenty years comic time, otherwise he would be much older, alas I digress). After talking it over, Peter and Mary Jane agree to the deal and May's life is spared, and the marriage of Peter and Mary Jane is wiped from the books (as is also everyone's knowledge of Peter as Spiderman, even though he unmasked on TV).

Why would this irk me you may ask? Because it means that for the last 20 years I have been pissing money away on a book only to find it didn't happen. Fans of the old show Dallas know what I am talking about, how Bobby died, the show started tanking in the ratings, the next season there is Bobby in the shower, Pam had dreamt the entire last season and the viewer had just wasted a year of their lives following it. Multiply that by a factor of 20, and add the fact that unlike the TV show, you have to buy comic books, therefore there is a financial investment in the storyline as well, and all Marvel Comics has to say is, thanks for the money, here's a big f@@@ you for ya.

They are trotting out "Brand New Day" as the newest story arc, in it the marriage never happened, Peter and MJ dated but split up and MJ now lives in Hollywood, and Peter is jobless and still living with his aunt, despite the fact he has to be in his 30s by now. If the people at Marvel wanted to split up the Parker marriage (the editor in chief, Joe Quesada is on record of never liking it) they could have done better than a magic trick and wiped out 20 years of book continuity to do so. Maybe this story idea will catch on (though the online stuff I have been reading tends to make me think, not so much) but all this has done for me is guarantee I will not buy another Spiderman comic book, because in 20 years, who knows, it may be made irrelevant as well.

Tinkering while my chili cooks

Just looking for stuff to pass the time while my vat of chili cooks in ye olde crock pot.  Ended up taking a personality quiz on a whim and came up with this.



Your score on this personality test was 71%

Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural lead, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

Personality Quiz
Take More Quizzes

Me time

Splurgerific!!!!! If I had to pick one word for this weekend, that would be it. I have been spoiling myself for the last couple of days, ever since i got off of work Friday. I got paid Friday, and I am sure that I should have done something responsible with my check, truth be told, I did do a couple responsible things, I paid off my electric bill, it usually runs about 30-40 bucks a month so I let it go for a couple months then just pay it all at once, and I did buy my next booklet of bus tickets, as that has become my preferred method of bus travel in the city these days.

Allow me to go into a little detail. As of the beginning of the year, bus rides in Pittsburgh once again saw a fare increase. A typical Zone 1 ride, which is all I take, you can take 2 and 3 Zone rides if you want to head farther out into the suburbs, but everything I use the buses for is confined in Zone 1, went from 1.75 to 2.00, transfers (a ticket that allows you to go from one bus to the next for a multiple bus ride) remained at 50 cents. So a trip either to or from work for me would cost 2.50, one bus into town and a transfer either to Oakland or Greentree depending on my direction. There are multiple ways of paying for a ride, you can just put money in the fare box upon entering, you can buy tickets like I do, a book of ten costs $20, no savings in it per se, but you can use them at any time, they come with no time limit on them. You can also buy passes, either weekly, monthly or yearly. I am not sure of the rates on all of them since the increase, I think a weekly is around 19.50 or so, I know a monthly is $75 and I don't even want to know what a yearly costs. The advantage to a pass is that you have unlimited riding capacity within the specified time. I have been buying tickets because that way I don't have to put money aside for them (save for the .50 for a transfer) and I am not sure I ride the bus enough on a weekly or monthly basis to spend money on a pass. I would have to take 20 bus rides in a week in order to get the 50 cents in savings that comes from buying it, work related trips in a week only amount to 14, so I am thinking I am saving money by not buying it, I haven't done the math on a monthly pass yet, but just the fact that while the fare increase would seem slight to some, only a quarter, that quarter worked out to $15 when it comes to buying a monthly pass, it used to be $60, now $75 and I am hard pressed to part with $75 every month just to ride the bus, again when I don't know if I would get $75 worth of rides out of it.

Enough with my boring transit plans, this is about splurgage after all, and I did just that this weekend, buying comics books for the first time since pre-Christmas, stopping at the dollar store to buy a big bag of Doritos (normally 3.19, I paid 1.49), bean dip for tortilla chips ($1) and some post Christmas M&Ms, now marked down to $1.49 for the big bag. Saturday the spoiling continued, I went to the used DVD place and picked up "Signs" for less than 5 bucks. I also found the first ECW One Night Stand PPV for $11, and a documentary that I wanted to see in the theater but didn't get to, "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room", which I snagged for about 8 bucks. To cap it off, I didn't even bother cooking last night, instead ordering in and getting spaghetti and meatballs, an order of chicken tenders and an order of french fries. I know, it seems like a lot of food, but I had to hit the minimum for delivery, and the chicken tenders I put back in my fridge where I will nuke them later and make breaded chicken sandwiches out of them (with yummy hot sauce I might add). Yes, I am frugal, even in my splurging. Good thing I am only trying to impress me.

Memo to self, never mention how good things are in the blog, it tends to backfire rather quickly. I mentioned recently how good sports were around here recently, with the college basketball team and the NHL hockey team doing very well, well the basketball team lost Saturday for the third time this year at Cincinnati, and the Penguins lost arguably the league's best player Friday night when Sidney Crosby suffered a high ankle sprain in a loss to Tampa Bay, meaning he will be out at least 4-6 weeks. The Pens won their first game without him Saturday night, but chances are they will not play at nearly the same level without him as they have been over the last few weeks.

Even my video game good fortune has abandoned me, as Joe Random got sent back down to the minor leagues. This despite the fact I was hitting over .400 in the major leagues when I got demoted. I just wasn't getting enough at bats (you have no control over when the manager will play you in create a player mode, and while I was hitting well, I didn't have overwhelming power numbers or a great RBI total, so I was sent back to the minor leagues, where I have just been crushing the ball. The problem is that once you get sent down, you have to wait for 60 days to request being called up, or hope the major league club will call you up either because someone is slumping or hurt, and that hasn't been the case yet.

I do have a couple of page updates to get out of the way. Kudos to Angie, as she was the only person that actually had an idea of where the new title to the page came from. The title itself was not a suggestion from any of the fine readers of this page, in fact I got no suggestions at all, so I had to rattle my cranium to come up with something clever that at least I could appreciate if no one else. Also, of note is that unless I am just being snubbed, it would appear that Jon Jacob has left Multiply entirely. I first ran into Jon over at 360 and it was nice to see someone who is as much of a broadcasting junkie across the pond as I am here, and I was happy to see that he got his dream of a job with the BBC. That being said, I am not sure why he left Multiply, but I did see that he is working on something new on Vox and the link to his page can be found in the links column on my homepage.

I know I said I wouldn't tease future blog entries, yet here I am saying that the second installment of the BFT is scheduled for release later this evening. I have it about half written on my computer, but I am at work now as opposed to being at home, so I can't finish and post it quite yet but it will be forthcoming in the very near future.

Lastly, just a mention, or rather a concern about the NFC Championship game today between the NY Giants and the Green Bay Packers from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin and that is that the game shouldn't be played in the conditions that are being forecast for today. Weather reports have that the game time temperature will be 0 degrees at kickoff, and remain around that temperature throughout the game. As I type this, some 5 hours before kickoff, it is 0 with a wind chill of -16. I am sorry, but when you put people in elements like this, where the goal is no longer to win, but just survive and hope nobody suffers from a severe case of frostbite, you aren't determining who the is the best team. If that were the case, the Super Bowl wouldn't be played at a neutral site every year in either a dome or a warm weather climate to determine the best team, the team with the best record would host the game, or the game would be alternated between conferences every season. Instead, it is played on a neutral field where the elements have the least chance of affecting the outcome, the players on the field are left to determine that. I am not saying that Green Bay shouldn't be hosting this game, they went 13-3 during the regular season, they earned the right to host this game, but just as you wouldn't but a team on the field during a thunderstorm for the safety of the players, putting them on the field in these conditions is just as reckless. This game could have been delayed for a day, where it will be slightly warmer in Green Bay (12 degrees) and without the sub zero wind chill and hopefully would present a better showcase of the teams abilities, rather than simply a battle of attrition with the elements.

Oh well, like I said, I am at work and I gotsta scoot if I want to get out of here today.

Friday, January 18, 2008

And in my DVD player

I busted into my limited stack of movies the other night and decided to once again donate a couple hours of my time to a viewing of this.  It is one of my favorite movies (though not the all time favorite, that would still be Better Off Dead), and what kind of page would this be if I didn't share a little.



Thursday, January 17, 2008


One of the bad things about taking vacation time is I mess my schedule up big time. Normally I rise at 4am ish and am out the door for work for 5am. Depending on what time I get back fro the radio station, I try to sneak in an afternoon nap, if I don't work my part time job, the evening is mine to do with what I wish, if I do work, then I get up around 4:30pm from my nap so I can be at the part time gig at 5:30pm. The thing is, once I break from that schedule, as I did over vacation, it is hard to get back into, even three weeks later.

It doesn't help that the part time job extended their hours, we used to close the kitchen at midnight, now we close it at 1am. Even if I get out right at one, till I make it home it is 1:15 and if I fall right asleep, which almost never happens because it takes me at least an hour to wind down, it is really not all that much time before I have to get up again. The only bright side to the extra hour is that most of the buses have quit running so the vast majority of the gauntlet of bums that loiter on my route have packed up and went home for the night. I have only been accosted once since the time change, last night, when a vagrant was standing outside MCDonald's bumming change (the Mickey D's in Oakland is open 24hours). As I was walking by I heard the refrain "Can I get a little help?" to which I replied, sure, you can turn around and walk through that door behind you and fill out a fucking application. The BFT is in effect.

Anyway, I am getting off point. Over vacation I got really accustomed to sleeping in, now my entire pattern is all messed up. I am up when I should be sleeping/napping, and wanting to take a nap when I should be wide awake. I can't even keep my schedule straight these days, I misjudged pay day at the part time job by a full week, I thought it would be this coming Monday, when it was this past Monday. It makes sense, I didn't work for two weeks, I shouldn't have gotten paid this last payday, yet I couldn't put that fact together in my cranium when figuring out when the checks would start rolling in. I will be happy when I get my "sea legs" back on my normal schedule. I think I can manage the extended hour at the part time gig, they are just giving me two nights a week right now, and usually I am off on weekends there, so my week can end at 12:30pm on Friday if I play my cards right, at least until 11am Sunday morning, when I go to the radio station to do production work in the comfort of non crowded office space. It is a nice respite most weeks to recharge the batteries, I just need to get readjusted to it.

While the Steelers did lose in their first playoff game, thus ending their season, sports have actually been much cooler than expected around these parts. I think the last time I mentioned the Penguins was back at the Winter Classic, where I posted the NHL highlight video. While that game was memorable for the novelty that it was, the way the Penguins have been playing of late is nothing short of amazing. The lost their starting goaltender, Marc Andre Fluery to a high ankle sprain, which led one to wonder just what the team would do. Up steps Ty Conklin, a NHL journeyman of sorts, and prior to the injury, minding the net for the Penguins farm team. All he has done since coming up is record at least one point in his first twelve starts for the Pens, going 10-0-2 and posting a ridiculous .949 save percentage and a goals against average of less than 2 at 1.72. The thing is, the team hasn't been playing spectacular defense in front of him, he has just been playing that well. In their last game, a 4-1 win against the NY Rangers, Conklin turned away 44 of 45 shots he faced. The team has went from a team that sort of muddled around .500 at the beginning of the season to first place in the Atlantic Division, and they have lost a game in regulation since Dec 21st, going 9-0-1 since then.

The Pitt basketball team is another good news story. I had written that I was worried about them after they lost their starting backcourt to injury, with Mike Cook gone for the season with a torn ACL and Levance Fields out 8-12 weeks with a broken bone in his foot. At the time, I was just hoping the team could play .500 ball in Big East Conference play, that and their non conference record seemed like it would be good enough to get them to the NCAA tournament in March. Instead, they are 3-1 in the Big East after beating Georgetown the other night, and remain ranked in the Associated Press top 20 at #15, with an overall record of 15-2. Included in their wins are victories against Duke (#7), and Georgetown (#5) while their only two losses came in road games, also against ranked teams, Dayton (#14) and Villanova (#25).

I did finish the Stephen Colbert book, I am on book #3 this year, though I really haven't gotten all that far into it yet to make major blog mention. I just haven't found all that much time, between getting readjusted to the schedule, working on some puzzles in my New York Times crossword book, breaking my baseball game out of mothballs and keeping caught up on my Pogo badges, I just haven't had the reading time I would like.

I have just started the challenges for the week in Pogo. I picked High Stakes Poker as my personal challenge this week (win 8 hands with a flush or better) and I have it half done, I have 20 of the 25 ?s in Super Dominoes and I haven't even started the World Class Solitaire badge yet. While I haven't completed any of the challenges, I did win a badge to add again to the album, the Super Dominoes 100 Special Award Badge. I believe they issue this to you if you make a play in Super Dominoes that scores 100 points, I hit for 20 pts on a 5X tile when the new badge popped up, so I assume that is why I got it. Needless to say, since it is a geek badge (only a Pogo geek would be impressed with it), I am using it as my favorite in there. I do that with challenges that I get that I didn't know existed, like the 36 Badge in Poppa Zoppa, which was my favorite for quite a while.

Well, I would stay and chat, but I have some stuff I want to do this evening, including watching The Simpsons movie, which Lynn lent me and I want to get it back to her in relative short order, which means this has ended, almost before it began.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Asshat - We have a winner!!!!!

The problem with teasing a blog entry is eventually you have to write said entry. I should really stop that, as it just makes more things for me to do. Luckily that which I teased I was going to write about anyway, so no harm no foul I guess, but I should put that in the back of the cranium, do not tease future blog entries. After all, what happens if I keel over someday and don't get to actually write the upcoming blog that I have teased. Literally dozens of people will be disappointed, and we can't be having that, now can we?

Thankfully, for the time being I am still breathing, so we will set about fixing the problem my typing fingers have created.

But first, I need to start making some food, so into the oven go a couple of baked potatoes. One of the advantages of getting two 5lb bags of potatoes for Christmas (part of the grocery trip, though I only wanted one bag, my mom was stuffing the shopping cart again) is I have plenty of potatoes to experiment on and find which method of baking I like best. To you, this would be just annoying, to me this is just fascinating stuff. I think I have perfected my baking recipe, in the oven @ 450 degrees for 70 minutes, no foil on the potatoes. They come out just wonderful that way, the skins are all crunchy without messing with the fine potato interior.

While I am on the subject of the grocery store run over Christmas, I went about looking at all of the food I had gotten again this weekend. I told my mom when we went shopping that this would last me for a couple of months easy (hell 10 lbs of potatoes could last me till June, if I thought they would keep that long, instead I am doing the inverted Irish Potato Famine here, I think I will call it the Pittsburgh Potato Feast) just because at least two nights a week, I eat at the part time job, breakfast usually consists of coffee at the radio station and during lunch I am usually napping. So basically, I am looking at coming up with just a few meals a week for myself, and since I am cooking for one, I am not all that picky about it.

Anyway, as I described in the list, my mom was just throwing stuff in the cart all willy nilly, while I was being the fiscally prudent one. When we went to check out that day, the bill was about $130. That seemed a little high, but my mom was also getting stuff for herself and we had bought flowers for my grandmother while we were there, so while pricey, it didn't seem too out of the norm. Saturday I am rooting through my freezer for the chicken breasts I had picked out, as I like to make fried chicken sandwiches with them and add some hot garlic sauce I have in my fridge when what to my wandering eyes did appear but meat my mom had purchased. I knew she had grabbed pork chops, I am cool with that, I will eat them eventually, and I had pulled some ground beef so I could make chili at some point (I love cooking in the crock pot, and what better thing to make than a nice spicy vat of chili) but there was another thing in the freezer as well, that I know I didn't pick out. So I grab said package and it is two Delmonico steaks for almost $12. Don't get me wrong I love steak, but this is the difference between being a bachelor and cooking to impress, I would have taken any old cheap steak (as opposed to someone who dates me, as I am just any old cheapskate), I certainly wouldn't have spent $12 on two pieces of meat. I am afraid to go through my cupboards now to find what else she may have thrown in there that was just overly expensive.

This past weekend was what I referred to as Radio Orthodox Christmas at work. I say this, because unlike most places that have their Christmas party prior to the holiday, we opted to have it in on a Saturday night in January, this past Saturday to be exact. I would like to say that I have all kids of pictures and stories to report, but to be honest I have nothing, simply because I didn't go. The thing is, if the party is relatively close or at a place where I may have a good time, I will consider going, but this year they opted for a restaurant in Monroeville, where there would be nothing to do save for eat and drink. In the past we have had it at places like Dave and Busters (which has lots to do) or Asiago (which is relatively close being downtown, and downtown is a good jumping off point to party in the Strip District or Station Square afterwards) but Monroeville is just blah. It is about an hour ride on a city bus from my place, there is nothing to do besides drink at the open bar and I have to get dressed up for it on a day where I don't have to get dressed at all if I don't want to (I know, the thought of that has scarred your mind, oh well, the price of admission I guess). Anyway, if I worked with people that I hung out with outside of the office, even that might have been a drawing card, but simply put, I don't. My coworkers are okay, some I like more than others, but I don't hang out with any of them outside of the office, I tend to keep the work and the social life as separate as possible so there was no real urging for me to give up my seat in my apartment to go trudging out to Monroeville on a Saturday night.

Okay, I mentioned in the reset (two steps forward, one blog back) that I will post some Joe Random updates from time to time, Joe is the create a character option in MLB 2K6 The Show, where you create someone and they start in the minor leagues and the goal is to get your player to the major leagues, or as it is called, The Show. Joe is a first baseman for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, I chose Tampa Bay because I would assume they suck enough that I could make it to The Show quicker than if I picked someone like the Yankees. It turns out that I made the major leagues each of my first three seasons, only to get sent back to the minors, just basically getting some token at bats here and there. Finally in my 4th year, I seem to be sticking with the major league club, though I am a bench player, so I don't get to play every game (I use the simulate to next appearance option as opposed to playing each and every game). Still, this year I have gotten more at bats than the previous three years combined, this despite the season only being 38 games old (there are 162 games in a season). My major league career to this point (this is the update part) now consists of 40 games, and in those games I am hitting .396 with 10 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homeruns, 12 runs scored and 16 RBIs.

While we are doing updates, the hockey team went 6-4-0 last week, so the overall record sits at 67-63-20 and I remain in 6th place, though I extended the lead over 7th place (and the difference between making and missing the playoffs) to 13pts.

Lastly, the Asshat has once again come due, and we do have a winner, Kelly Tilgham.

This is someone, that prior to the last 7 days, I will admit, I hadn't heard of, and most likely, you haven't either. Kelly is one of the anchors for the Golf Channel, which means the chance of me watching it is somewhere around zero on a good day. But it was something that she said on the air that makes her this weeks Asshat. While finishing up coverage of the second round of the Mercedez-Benz Championship (and how sad is your life if you are watching the second round of a non major golf tournament on TV, but I digress), she and broadcasting partner Nick Faldo were talking about what it would take for young golfers to beat Tiger Woods. Kelly offered a bright idea, they could "lynch him in a back alley." While I am sure that this statement was meant in some form of jest, the fact that between 1882 and 1968 nearly 5000 blacks were lynched, it just ain't all that funny, in fact it is quite stupid and someone sitting in front of a television camera commentating on a live television broadcast should know better. Her comment earned her a two week suspension from the Golf Channel and as an added bonus, this weeks coveted Asshat crown (it must be coveted, otherwise people would stop winning it after all).

Okay, enough for now, and since I just reread what I wrote, no teasers will follow. Goodnight all!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Well, that didn't go as planned. I should know ahead of time to do a little research before assuming anything. Sorry for letting you inside my cranium for a moment without explaining myself. I was just tinkering with Pogo again after getting home from work and I knew that I was within striking distance of level 10 in Tri Peaks Solitaire. I don't know why, but I like getting Game Award badges almost as much as the ones that offer tokens, and being that close to level 10, I was salivating at the possibility of adding to the badge album. So here I am, playing away, thinking I just need to cross the screen 6 more times and the badge is mine. By the time I had cut it to two, I was struggling, I was just stuck, not able to clear a single board, needing to complete just 8 hands of cards. Finally, I broke through, got the last two to finish one game and with one trip across the board left, I ran 6 straight hands. The badge would be mine, muaw ha ha. Except the game award badge is at level 15, not 10 like most games. Damn, damn and damn!!!!

Anyway, I knew there was some stuff I forgot the other day, some of it has crept into my mind, other stuff just remains elusive. But first, I must get some of the ever tasty $4.90 large cheese pizza that I am treating myself to this evening.

I did add a link to the page earlier today, which I am sure those of you on the list got as an update. It is one of my things over at Yahoo that I still use, Launchcast Radio. The station is primarily designed by me, but Yahoo still sticks some crappy stuff in there from time to time. I am trying to get it down to just alternative and R&B music preferably older versions of both, but as Yahoo adds artists and the refining process continues, songs that seem out of place will still pop up far more frequently than I like. I have done over 5000 ratings on the station so far to try to whittle it down some, but it is always a work in progress. Feel free to check it out and offer your complaints to my taste in music. It may run with commercials in it, depending if you have the Plus version of Launchcast or not, I do, which is why I use it as much as I do as the Plus version is commercial free.

I have added some new names to the page recently, so again I urge you to check out there content, or just drop by to say hi, I am sure they would appreciate it. Since I have added some new names recently, it is time once again for a blog reset, or what happens here on a semi regular basis.

Glogs - These are just blogs of live sporting events as I watch them. This is an idea that I stole from Sportsline, they have a slight advantage over me in that they blog in real time, I have to wait until the game is over then come back and post the whole game as one blog. The advantage I have over them is that I get to comment on other things while the game is going on, such as the commercial breaks or just life in general, you really never know just what may appear in the beginning, middle or end of a glog, but the whole thing will be wrapped in the cover of a sporting event that I am watching.

Change meter - This is a running tally of any money that I find during the course of my meanderings. The change meter has been a blog feature for roughly two years now and will show up as needed, which means when I find enough money worth mentioning before I forget I found it.

Asshat of the Week - This is handed out weekly and goes to the person whose stupidity goes above and beyond the call. The Asshat is awarded for the previous 7 day period (Sun-Sat) and can appear at anytime during the week.

BFT (Blunt Force Trauma) - This is a new feature to the page and it is just me ranting on something that I find irksome. Unlike the Asshat, which is based mostly in fact and the only opinion I have regarding it is in selection the winner, because much like Highlander, there can be only one. BFT is more commentary related.

Pogo - This really isn't much of a feature to the page, but since I have been writing alot of my time spent in there, I figure I should put it here nonetheless.

Fantasy sports - I am an avid player of fantasy games, and will post on the page just how my teams are doing. Currently you can rest easy, it is slow time fantasy wise, I just have a hockey team in Yahoo to worry about. Soon enought though, there will be hockey, NCAA tournament and baseball updates all making their presence felt on the page and later in the year it will once again be fantasy football time.

Video games - I will occassionally give updates on video games I am involved with if they are an ongoing thing. This is most just my create a player in MLB 2K6 The Show right now, Joe Random, who is trying to make his way to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. I haven't mentioned him in a while, because for whatever reason, I tend to gravitate to those sports video games that are currently taking place in real life, so I play football and baseball games during their respective seasons for the most part, which explains why I haven't been playing baseball as much recently, but I just did break it out of the case two nights ago, so those updates may again be forthcoming.

Okay, I think I have gotten that out of the way sufficiently enough. Next order of business is, simply put, this page needs a title and I am being brain stump stupid in coming up with ideas. I plan on keeping the two quotes in the title box, the quote from Bart Giamatti will always remain there, if ever there was a theme to this page, that would be it. The other quote I will change from time to time, depending on what catches my eye. This is similar to my 360 page, where I rotated the quote at the top of the page, and BG's quote consistently remained at the bottom, the only diference being these are both at the top of the page. I will be rotating the music in and out as well, but for the time being, the page needs a snappy title, one that drives the chicks wild with desire. Giggity giggity and all that. I am taking suggestions if anyone has any brilliant ideas.

For the record, I have next weeks Asshat and BFT all locked up, the only trouble is in the writing the BFT. It is a matter of trying to explain something without being too confusing. There is a difference between knowing something and being able to explain it, and that is where I am right now, I know what I want to say and I am trying to add adequate background to support it (it is a silly thing about me, I try to defend my position from time to time), but at the same time make it so the reader's eyes don't just glaze over. It is a test of my limited writing skill to be sure.

I do have an update from the last BFT regarding bums, as twice since I wrote it, they have amazed even me in their audaciousness. The first incident happened last night, I was walking to the part time job to get my schedule. I left my place around 6:30pm, dusk had settled over my sleepy little hamlet and when I got within a block of my destination, I saw not one but two women bumming change from passersby. Why they stood out was that while it was a semi comfortable evening (it was in the upper 30s temp wise), they had with them a baby in a stroller, as though that might be the convincing thing to get people to part with their cash. All I thought is that it was terrible parenting to be wheeling you kid around in the dark, risking getting them sick, just so you could go about your vagrant ways. The second was on my bus ride home from the radio station this afternoon, when I boarded the bus bound for Oakland and I saw seated on the bus one of the "regulars" that frequents the streets of my neighborhood. I think the look on my face made her think twice about asking me for anything, but two stops later, another lady gets on the bus and she is eating from a bag of potato chips. Needless to say, this was an open invitation for the bum to mooch off of her (if you are ever around bums with something recently purchased, it is an open invitation to be harrassed, because it shows you have money on you somewhere), asking for some of the chips. The lady agreed and handed our vagrant the chips, and she proceeds to just start cramming them in her maw nonstop. If the actual owner of the chips wouldn't have said something, she would have eaten the whole bag right then and there. Here I am thinking, you know, bus fare is $2. If you are so poor that you can't feed yourself, you could have walked and bought like 8-12 packs of ramen noodles and not had to ask someone else for their snack, let alone make a damn pig out of yourself in doing so. I swear these people just piss me off. As a disclaimer to Leslie's joke the other day, I should note that all of the bums I have referred to, both today and in the BFT were English speaking lazy ass Americans. It seems the immigrants were at work.

That is enough from me for now, I will be back in the next couple of days with this week's Asshat and Orthodox Radio Christmas. This is what they call in the business a teaser, just so you know. Nite everyone.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's not new car smell, it's new Asshat smell

An evening of entertainment, to not be sure, I am sitting around ye olde apartment in proper blogging attire, which is a T-shirt and boxers, wonder what all I can say. There is certainly plenty of things to cover, some things that I have to get to from the past, others that are taking place even as I type. Let's start with my TV being messed with. Mind you, I am not much of a TV fan, but I usually find that when they tinker with a show, it usually isn't for the better. That is the case this evening, as I turned on 1 VS 100. Mind you, the premise is simple, it is a trivia type game where the contestant competes against a panel of 100 people, the goal being to continue to get questions correct, while members of the panel get them wrong. If at the end, you have knocked out all 100 people, you win $1million dollars. But like I said, the show has been tinkered with since last season. Last year, you got money for each person you knocked out, this year you have to knock out groups of 10 in order to reach specific dollar amounts. It is a minor change, but one that wasn't needed, and for me it did add a little more drama, knowing that every question could result in additional money for the contestant, as opposed to now, where you could in theory knock out 9 people with a question and receive no financial benefit for it. It is just stupid tinkering with a game that didn't need to happen.

Thankfully there is hockey on Yahoo this evening, so as I type this, I also have a computer window open on the St Louis Blues/Columbus Blue Jackets game as well, giving me a little bit of a distraction from time to time, but one I think I can work with.

Speaking of hockey, the fantasy team is still in 6th place after last week, I am now up 7 points on 7th place, so I have a small cushion, nothing to be comfortable about, but at least it is some space. I went 6-4-0 last week, so the overall record has again creeped over .500 to 61-60-19.

A last recap on the fantasy football season and then it is a wrap. I mentioned that I didn't know if I won anything in the office pool at work. The thing is, we own about 25 radio stations in three different states, so the contest which is open to everyone in the company tends to get quite a few entrants, enough so that we fill up one Yahoo group (max 50 members) and end up starting a second. The office prizes though, are viewed as a combination of both groups, so just because you finish in the top three in your group doesn't mean that you finish in the top three overall. I had finished tied for third in my group, but it turns out it wasn't third overall, so I didn't win anything from work, but because I finished third in my group, Yahoo did add a third place trophy to my fantasy sports profile, making that the 7th trophy I have won to date.

Asshats from last week, we have a few, and they include just about each and every polling institution out there that incorrectly predicted that Barack Obama would win the NH primary on Tuesday, only to see Hillary Clinton end up winning said primary. It was even more embarrasssing the following day to watch the networks scramble to try to cover their asses for being so wrong. While this could be an Asshat for next week, after all the Asshat crown is from the previous week and the voting in NH took place just on Tuesday, since the incorrect polls were issued last week, the integrity of the rules regarding the Asshat crown remain in place.

Just 2 cents get added to the change meter, so the new total is $33.71. I have been doing very poorly in the finding cash thing recently, maybe if I went out more I would find more cash, but there is something comforting about just hiding in my apartment, being the old geezer of the college section of town. I haven't quite reached the point where I live with a bunch of cats and just scream "Get off my lawn" out the window at the young whippersnappers, but that may simply be because I don't have a lawn to get off of.

I have snagged four of the five Pogo badges this week for the marathon, I only have one of my personal challenges to go. I did the two that Pogo offered, Qwerty and Sweet Tooth, the Qwerty badge was really easy for me, as was the Sweet Tooth, though it was at least somewhat time consuming. For my personals I opted for Panda Pai Gow Poker (climb the pyramid 7 times), Canasta (get 50 red 3s) and High Stakes Pool (win 10 games of cutthroat). All I have left is to win another 7 games of pool by Wednesday, I think I can manage that. I also got the game award badge for reaching level 20 in First Class Solitaire, so I could be snagging 6 badges this week, go me and all that.

Well, that is a wrap I think. I am sure I missed some stuff, other things that I have remembered are being saved for another blog entry, though there is a clue to in in my guest list. Be sure to tip you waiter before leaving.

Tiding you over

Currently I am in the processs of puting together a new blog of sorts, it does have an Asshat, I know you thought I forgot but I didn't.  In the meantime, something for the eyballs, the NHL Video hightlight package of the Winter Classic I blogged about a while back between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres from Buffalo NY.  For those that are wondering bout the uniforms (there might be one hockey fan in the audience), they wore the throwback unis for the game, meaning the Sabres wore the old blue and gold (which I like better than the current ones) and the Penguins wore the old powder blue unis (before they switched to black and gold like all professional franchises in Pittsburgh).  Anyway, happy viewing, I'll be back in a few.




Monday, January 7, 2008

BFT Version 1.0 - Bum Fucked

This will start with an admission and a geography lesson. The admission is relatively simple, I understand that there are people in the world worse off than me. Plenty of regions on this planet suffer without enough food or clean drinking water, other people are in places where those things that we take for granted are to them, quite difficult. A trip to the market is of relative inconsequence to us, to them it is a matter of taking ones life into their own hands. Still others have befallen a tragedy of some sort, a loss of a home to a fire, a natural disaster that turns their world upside down or any of a number of unwritten potential tragedies that could fill up this page.

Second things being second, a geography lesson. I mention quite frequently that I have two jobs, a full time job that I enjoy in radio, and a part time job, that while not offering career fulfillment (how much fulfillment can you get out of dishwashing after all?) serves its purpose of adding to my menial income as well as working around my full time schedule in such a manner that they do not conflict, and it is relatively close to my apartment, being between 4-5 blocks away. I can usually walk to work in about ten minutes.

It isn't the walking to work that is the problem however, it is the walking home. When I leave work, I have the option of cutting down a bunch of side streets, or walking the main drag, Forbes Avenue, and making the appropriate turns. Usually I will opt for the latter option, it is more well lit, as well as taking me by some places that are still open, even at that late of an hour. One never knows when a craving for late night McDonald's may happen, or a need to stop by Rite Aid or CVS, both of which are of the 24 hour variety. The thing is, on the way home I am consistently accosted by the same sing song mantra of "you got any change?" Literally, on a ten minute walk, I can be asked that question 3 to 4 times nightly, often by the same people that had asked me previously.

Unlike the people that I listed at the beginning of this rant, these people are nothing but bums and I have no sympathy for them. Yes, I am speaking to you with the change cup. When your shoes are nicer than mine, when your clothes are newer than mine, when the only time you have word one to say to me is when you are begging for something, the chance of me honoring your request is slim and none and slim just left town. If someone at work were to ask me for a couple of bucks for bus fare to get home, I would have no problem giving it to them, chances are I wouldn't even ask for it back. What's the difference? It is simple, they have a job and are making an effort. Nothing is more annoying than someone standing outside of a business that is taking applications and asking me for money. Did you bother to go in and fill one out? Did it occur to you that the potential for money is merely feet away, but it requires you to do something besides stand there and beg? I will admit, some of the places don't pay the greatest of wages. It is not about how much you make to me, it is about trying. The notion that there are no jobs just isn't true.

Over the holiday I, like many people, spent time taking in the the sport of consumerism, and a funny thing happened while out spending cash, most of the stores I visited had Help Wanted signs in the window. On that same walk home from work, I pass 4 businesses, including the one I work at that are also seeking potential employees with signs in their window and I know of at least another two that are constantly hiring, even though they have no such sign. When I have sought secondary employment, it hasn't been a matter of finding something, but rather picking between potential jobs. When I took my dishwashing gig, I had another job offer on the table, and could have had an interview for a third. The time before this, I again had my choice of jobs, so lets be honest, don't cry to me there isn't work, there just isn't work that you want to do. And while we are on this honesty kick, I can in all honesty say that in will be a cold day in hell before you ever get a single penny from me.

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