Tuesday, May 31, 2005

the Association

The National Basketball Association is at the end of their labor agreement and already owners are talking lockout. If they aren't careful, the NBA could find themselves languishing in the same fan apathy as the NHL.

The NBA has a culture/attitude issue with their fans. They have embraced the gangsta/rap thing and slowly alienated what used to be their paying customer fanbase. One of the things we like about our professional athletes is to hold them up as role models for kids, as people who achieve more than others and show a high level of commitment to a goal. The NBA blew that years ago when Charles Barkley got up on TV and said, "I'm not a role model." No other professional sports body in this country has a drug policy that says...we'll test you but we'll ignore it if you pop positive for marijuana. Don't you just love the message that sends? We have players who attack coaches. We have players with children strewn all over the country and if there's a paternity suit involving a professional athlete in this country, it isn't quite a given, but the odds are he plays in the NBA. David Stern, a.k.a. the commish, had the balls to follow Paul Taglibue (of the NFL) to testify in front of congress that the NBA's drug enforcement policy with regard to steroids was just as strong as any other sport, and pretty much got laughed out of the room. I don't know who he thought he was fooling.

It's partially a race thing, in that most NBA players are black, and the gangsta thing is far more palatable in African American society, but that isn't all of it. Brats aren't attractive regardless of race, and there are plenty of spoiled white guys in that league too. It's an 'in your face' arrogance that has turned many away from the NBA, me included. It's Ron Artest getting up in front of the media (after being criticized for asking for several days in mid season off because he was tired after making his rap album) and saying things like, "What's integrity. I don't know what that word mean." I still love college basketball, but I don't like the atmosphere that has overtaken the pro game. Not only that, I don't like the game the pro game has become. It's much more of a 'me' game than a 'team' game.

Take all that and throw in a bunch of very rich men on both sides of the issue bickering over money, and if the threat becomes real, it's lockout apathy waiting to happen. Soccer just might make it big in this country....by default.

We'll always have Paris

...to kick around, or maybe not anymore. Paris Hilton is engaged. Woo hoooooooo. Someone actually bought what she's selling, and that's OK. I have no reason to deny her finding Mr. Right and all that, but it gives me reason to bring her up again, and what I find a lack of attractiveness.

I guess the biggest part of it is I see someone who is reasonably good looking with a ton of cash, but that's all. I don't see someone who has taken what she has and used it to elevate herself in any way except to party. I have not seen the infamous Paris video, but I have heard while it shows her naked, and having sex, it's rather boring. Although I have no personal knowledge, I wouldn't expect her to be all that in the bedroom. What I'm getting at is what's between her ears, and how she does or doesn't use it, and here's where I depart from Paris and get a bit more general.

What I consider sexy. Yes, men are a visual bunch, so the lingerie model look is a big plus, but there has to be something else. There has to be intelligence and imagination. There has to be something to make and keep it all fun and interesting, not only in the bedroom, but on the kitchen counter, in the shower, on the beach behind the dunes, in the elevator, on the desk in the office, just as much as in convereration over dinner. You have to do more than say, "This is what I have, take it and use it." You have to be able to say, "This is what I have and I know how to use it, but am open to learning more." take that and make it playful, mischevious, and interesting and that's a package that's hard to beat. It takes intelligence and attitude, and a desire to take what was given to you and making something more with it. In Paris Hilton, I see a ton of wasted potential, but to be honest, I'm judging without all the facts. I don't know if the lights are on but nobody's home. That's just the perception I have.

Besides that, she has no ass whatsoever.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Memorial Day

I see babe-a-day is finding their own way to call attention to the holiday.

I know the fact that I spent a lot of years in the military, and have my own personal list of people I remember this weekend, has a lot to do with how I feel about it. Most people I know take this holiday very superficially (or at least I think they do)...it's a three day weekend. Wooooooo hooooooooo!

Please take time to remember the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from which we all benefit. Without them, even those who denounce them wouldn't have a voice, because there is a tremendous cost in freedom. While we all benefit, freedom is a gift from the number of us willing to pay it. I remember discussions with friends whose opinions were drastically different from mine, and sometimes those discussions got heated. I remember the dumbfounded look on their face when I'd tell them, "I don't like your opinion, but I will defend your right to have it and express it with my life." They couldn't understand the concept. I'm glad there are still people in this country who do.

Many would smirk at that statement (if many read me), because they don't know how precious what they have is. They take freedom for granted, and think they are entitled to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness by birthright. That only happens if someone is commited to backing that entitlement up with blood, and is ready to have that commitment constantly tested.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

freedom and censorship revisited

Motley Crue filed suit against NBC for banning them after Vince Neil decided to wish everybody a Happy Fucking New Year on national TV during their New Year's Eve show hosted by Jay Leno. They allege that the ban violates their first amendment rights and has cost them a loss of exposure and along with that, income. On the first of those points, excuse me Mr. Neil, but no fucking way. On the second...well duh!

As I have said before, lack of support does not constitute infringing on your freedom of speech. Vince Neil can say "Happy Fucking New Year" all he wants and nobody is threatening to shut him up. When I last checked (admittedly not very often), nobody was at the front gate of stately Neil manor telling the security guard he needed permission to enter, so he can cut out Vince's tongue before he does that again. Nobody's stopping him and his band from making music (or anything remotely resembing it) either. Just because someone chooses not to televise it, doesn't mean you aren't free to do it. You aren't being censored, but you aren't being promoted either. Just because you are doing something doesn't make it worthy of anybody's support, and nobody's obligated to help you make money. That would be their choice, not yours.

As for the move causing them a lack of exposure, I would think it does. It also almost cost NBC a hell of a lot of money in FCC fines, for allowing that to go out over the air, and I imagine they aren't in a big hurry to give Mr. Neil a second opportunity. It also is a perfect example of an idiot not taking responsibility for his actions. In fact, Mr. Neil caused NBC to ban his butt (and the collective butts of his bandmates) by blurting out "Happy Fucking New Year" on national TV. That in turn caused NBC to ban the band. That in turn caused a lack of exposure. That in turn made it harder for Mr. Neil and friends to supersize their Big Mac value meals due to lack of funds. So if we trace cause and effect back to its origin, Motley Crue should be filing suit against....Vince Neil. Think that'll happen?

Paris Hilton

Hardees has a new commercial that is apparently too hot for television. To see said ad, follow this link and pick your size/speed capabilities.

she of little ass

That said, I have to continue with, I just don't get the whole Paris Hilton thing. I mean, she's attractive when compared to say, Rosanne Barr, but she's not that hot (to steal her phrase). Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise's new love interest is far more babe-a-licious, as are any of the women featured in the babe-a-day link to your immediate right. Given 20 seconds, I could think of probably 20 celebrities I would rather bend over a...let's not drift off to fantasyland for too long. The biggest challenge of that exercise would be coming up with the names of 20 female celebrities, period. When I look at Paris Hilton though, all I see is dumb skinny blond who really isn't all that....hot. If anything, the word 'skank' comes to mind.

The only appeal I can think of is she's rich, so I suppose, if she wanted to pay me to bend her over a.....even then, she'd have to be bagged. I might have to be bagged as well, in case hers slips off.

rolley coasters

That's what I used to call them when I was about five years old. I love roller coasters, which is one of many things that sets me apart from most of my family. One of my brothers shares this love with me, but my wife will barely look at one, and my son will do the milder ones, but he looks at the ones I want to jump on and just says no. I'm working on him though. I don't know what it is about roller coasters that separates people into the ones who can't get enough from the ones who can't get on. I do know my love for them helped a lot when I took my happy ass to flight school, at the beginning of my Navy career. We had a short part of the syllabus that involved aerobatics - loops, rolls and such. Several of the instructors took a sadistic joy out of seeing if they could make students sick doing that stuff. After 7 or 8 consecutive loops, if you aren't used to that sort of thing, your cookies will become a projectile, and losing them when the G forces are going from positive to negative and back again, repeatedly, makes for one hell of an aromatic mess. I remember just having a huge grin and begging for more.

The reason for all this....Friday we travel to an amusement park in Georgia, known for having several roller coasters, and I can't wait. I know I'll spend some amount of time begging my son to go with me and with a little luck, he might on a few of them. Here's where we're going....

Wild Adventures

Last Summer my brother and I did the Storm Runner. The link includes a movie of the ride.

sex sells

Anyone who visits regularly will notice the babe-a-day addition. I figued I might expand my readership a little if I put something like that out there, and it required very little up front effort, and no maintenance on my part, so why not. I have noticed most of my audience, small as it is, is female...and I have no problem with that :). I just figured maybe with a cute babe hanging out on the side, I might get a curious guy or two reading as well. Not only that, it displays the date, so I could almost argue that I'm providing a service....almost.

Of course, I'm not really selling anything, except my rants and opinions, and those are pretty much free. Just remember, as with a lot of things, they are worth exactly what you're paying for them.

And in the interest of equal time, while I will not display a link to hunk-a-day (sorry, just not my type), I will tell you that such a thing exists from the same place I took babe-a-day, and I can point anyone interested to the HTML that has to be added to put this feature on your blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

the gravity of home

When I grew up, we never lived in one place to very long. My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved every 3 or 4 years. By the time I was 14 we had lived in Washington D.C., Germany, Upper Michigan, California and Pennsylvania. When he retired, we settled in Pennsylvania, just as I started high school at 14. For me, that just meant one more 4 year stop before I went to college...another 4 year stop. What I'm getting at is that even though my parents put down roots in Pennsylvania, I never really did. I lived in one town in Pennsylvania for a year and a half when I was in grade school, another in Pennsylvania for 4 years of high school, and yet another through 4 years of college, and left. I go back to visit, but there's no draw calling me back to the family homestead.

All this came back to me last night. I received, in the mail, a directory from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a.k.a. my old high school (yes, Catholic grade school, Catholic high school, Catholic university - I'm pretty well indoctrinated and therefore slightly mentally disturbed). Names, addresses and whatever current information was supplied by the individuals, for every class going back to the graduates in 1919. I was in the class of 1975 (yes I am that old), by the way, along with about 350 others. I spent last night looking up names I remember, just to see where they are now. It was interesting, and brought back a lot of memories, of the 4 years I spent there growing through the awkwardness of adolescence, but what struck me is how most of the people I knew never ventured far from home (or returned, after forays into the wide wide world). Here I am in Florida, and there are some others who traveled, but the vast majority stayed right there. I guess if you grow up there, there's more of a tendency to stay with what you know, but honestly, the longest I've lived anywhere in my life, by a pretty huge margin, is here in the Jacksonville area, and I have no compulsion to move back north. When I got out of college, I spent quite a few years as a pilot in the Navy, so again, I didn't stay in one place longer than 3 years, and finished my Navy years here, which is probably why we stayed, because I was sick of moving. We've lived in different houses, from the beach to closer into town, to now, a bit south, but still....we've been here 18 years. This is the closest thing I've ever had to putting down roots somewhere, and I've grown comfortable with it. Part of that may very well be, after moving so many times already ion my life, I have no desire to do it again. Moving sucks. If you count the years I was at college as living at home with my parents, that would be the second longest contiguous streak of time I lived anywhere, but still....8 years doesn't generate a whole lot of gravity calling me back like it appears to have done with most of my classmates.

Monday, May 23, 2005


There was a time when I bought a lot of things on ebay, and then I started to feel an addiction come on. I'd start bidding on things, not because I needed them, but because I could get them cheap....golf stuff being my main crutch. I now have more golf balls than I will use in the next year, at least...and I go through several of them in a round, managing to drown more than one and abandon a few in the woods. I bailed before it got too ugly, but this is just the sort of thing I was afraid of...

ebay gone berzerk

and it all takes care of itself

So much worrying over nothing. The team lost Friday night, and it rained Saturday night, so no practice with his coach Saturday, and no game this week to fret over and wonder whether I should allow him to play or not. Instead, Saturday night I took my son and a friend of his to see Star Wars III, which we all enjoyed. My wife, the non-Star Wars fan, declined the trip and went shopping instead.

My son and I will continue to play catch and I'll get him some batting practice in preparation of Fall baseball, but the sense of immediacy is behind us.

As for Star Wars, if you're a fan, you will love it. If not, I'm not sure, but I think you'd still like it. It helps a whole lot to know the story behind it all and to have seen the others, or that's my opinion anyway. If you don't, you'd probably walk away with more questions than answers. I don't know anyone who has seen it without knowing the whole story, so that's just a theory. It is a pretty dark movie though. In the past I'd be more than willing to take a 5 year old child to a Star Wars movie. This one though....I don't think so.

Friday, May 20, 2005

the bittersweet cast removal

The youngster's cast came off two days ago, and yes, life is better! He can finally wash that arm, and it has been needing it for weeks. It also makes it easier to do a lot of things, and makes life more fun. He and I have been playing catch non-stop (or 'till dad gets tired) in the evenings the last two nights.

The problem - baseball. His baseball team is good....very good. They only lost two games this season (which he is quick to point out happened after he was out with a broken wrist) and finished the season in first place. Now they are having playoffs, and he desparately wants to play. He cried when the doctor told him he could throw, catch and hit, but no actual games for a month. He said if he falls on it wrong or runs it into somebody, there's a 20% chance he could break it in the same place. A month from now though, win or lose, the season will be over. The first game is tonight, and I think we'll let him practice with the team, even though he can't play. Then this weekend he has a lesson with a high school coach, and maybe, if his team wins tonight and plays next week, and things go well in practice and with his lesson, we'll let him play next week. It would be against my better judgement, but how many times in your "little boy" life is your team one of the best and doing well in playoffs, and I don't want to deprive him of being an active part of that. Now, if they lose tonight, I suppose the point is moot, but if they win.......

So I'm living the emotional conflict. On one hand, I feel stupid for saying he can play because of the possible consequences, but on the other, I feel guilty for saying he can't because this is an opportunity he'll never get back.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Summer Dress Policy

In a shining example of corporate America trying hard to look like they're throwing you a bone but not really doing anything, I present the men's side of my company's "Summer Dress Policy"

I should backtrack and say they do actually give us a break, but they word it so that it looks like so much more. The policy could be summed up in three words. Lose the tie. But of course, nobody in corporate America can be that blunt and would rather try to look much more magnanimous, so we get this:

Appropriate Dress
Dress shirts (short or long sleeved)
Sport shirts with collars (but not golf shirts)
Slacks with creases
Casual dress shoes
Ties (optional for summer)

Inappropriate Dress
Golf shirts
Jeans (any color)
Casual pants (without creases)
Cargo pants
Shorts of any kind
Denim shirts
T-shirts or collarless shirts
Tennis outfits, jogging outfits or similar athletic clothing
Shoes without socks
Tennis shoes, sneakers or "topsiders"

Looks decent until you ask, if I can wear a sport shirt with a collar, but it can't be a golf shirt, what option do I have? Isn't it a bit like saying you can wear sandals, but can't show your toes? The smart ass in me wants to say, "OK then, I own no golf shirts. All my collared sport shirts are polo shirts." If I say that, and corporate america says I can wear my polo shirts, I can assume, I suppose, that all I have to do is put a piece of masking tape over whatever golf logo might be on my golf shirt and viola, it's a polo shirt. If that is not the case, the million dollar question is, what does that leave in the sport shirt arena? Anything? If not, lets get down to the fact that I have to still wear a dress shirt, and I can lose the tie.

I should point out that there is a reason for singling out the golf shirt. We work in the golf industry, and there is a paranoia in management that we will be perceived as people who do nothing but play golf all day, and they think if we wear golf shirts, it will add to that perception. I can point out that employees in banks, insurance companies, logistics companies, etc. in town all wear the dreaded golf shirt and none of them are perceived as work-skipping golfers, but because we work in the golf industry, we are supposedly more susceptible to the misperception. The question still remains though, if I can wear a sport shirt with a collar, but it can't be a golf shirt, what can it be?

By the way, what are casual dress shoes, anyway? Is that not an oxymoron?

Revelations (or lack thereof)

OK, I was highly bummed, or maybe just naive. 'Cheated' is a good word for how I feel.

Last night was the sixth and final episode of Revelations, the miniseries about the end of the world. I'm thinking...last episode...huge battle between the forces of good and evil, of course with good winning out in the end, and boom, the end of the world.


Little did I know the people who wrote this thing have other plans. They see this as a possible TV series, to run for as long as it will run, and the end of days being forstalled for hopefully 10 or 15 television seasons. I have a suggestion for them if they hope to do this. Give your viewers more than 10 minutes of storyline each week. They've already lost me. How many more will follow. I only hung on because this week was supposed to be the last one, and I had 5 hours over the last 5 weeks invested. I wanted to see the end, but was painfully disappointed. It has no end...or rather...it has many of them, and they're still loose.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Newsweek flushing the Quran

Everyone's up in arms over Newsweek magazine's retraction of their story about interrogators at Guantanamo Bay flushing the Quran down the toilet. Some are believing it, some are saying the magazine was pressured into the retraction by the government (like that could happen...Newsweek, bullied by this government??? As if W could strike fear in the hearts of the editors of Newsweek) and are sticking with the original story, and the Afghan government is seeking reparations from Newsweek for the damage caused by riots when the original story hit the streets.

I may be a little off base here. Jesus, Allah and Joseph all know I've been there before. Here's the thing. I'm having trouble with the whole concept of flushing the Quran down the toilet. I, admittedly, have never read, or even held a copy of the Quran in my hands, but my assumption is it's a little thicker than...say...War and Peace. The physical act of trying to flush such a tome down a toilet would leave you with at best, a very soggy book and at worst, an extremely clogged toilet. Face it. Even if you have some kind of industrial strength toilet, the book ain't going nowhere. Anyone who has indoor plumbing knows, all it takes is a little too much toilet paper and you're bringing out the plunger, let alone a book, and a pretty darn thick book at that. Am I the only one thinking that even trying this stunt is slightly absurd, and successfully completing it physically impossible?

Political Grandstanding

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong, and 100,000 people have paid with their lives -- 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies,"

George Gallaway, member of British Parliament testifying in front of the U.S. Senate in charges brought against him that he somehow profitted in the Iraqi oil-for-food program, came out with this sample of buffoonery.

I don't know if he profitted from the oil-for-food program. I don't know if he had anything to do with it, and the evidence against him could very well be very flimsy. He could be completely innocent and showing up just to clear his name, and he might succeed. To be honest, the senator to whom he was speaking, Norm Coleman, isn't someone I hold in high esteem either, so my opinion of the whole show is a debate among mental midgets and much ado about nothing, except the innocence or guilt of George Gallaway, which does matter on some level, especially for him. Still, whether innocent or guilty, the above statement ranks as one of the more moronic things I've heard in a long time.

Let's start with the "pack of lies", and work our way backward. There was, admittedly, one wrong statement made based on faulty intelligence. It is the statement which everyone who opposes the war hangs their hat on. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or at least if there were, the evidence hasn't been found. To lie, doesn't one have to know the statements one is making are false? Being wrong and lying are not the same, and I think the difference comes into play here. True, ignorance is no excuse, but it also doesn't constitute a lie. I think the powers that be in the U.S. Government made decisions based on faulty intelligence. I very much doubt they lied on this point, and I'm still looking for the rest of the "pack of lies". I'll give him this. "Pack of lies" sounds really good, and why let the truth get in the way of a good phrase?

Has our collective memory of life before the Iraq war been completely erased? Am I one of the few that remembers Saddam Hussein's shell game on the subject of weapons of mass destruction? First the inspectors (who were supposed to be there based on concessions from the first war) could come, then they couldn't, then they could and they'd show up at a site to be inspected, only to be turned away...but they could come back next week. The scenario played out over and over again in a cycle of suspicion, frustration and appeasment. If there were truly nothing to hide, why the stupid game? This behavior only made the perception that there was something there grow even more. I know it made me think he was hiding something, and I'm pretty sure it solidified the collective perception that there were weapons of mass destruction for most of the world. You cannot tell me that those who opposed the war weren't pleasantly, yet very surprised when nothing was found. I don't know anyone who is for a war, but sometimes you don't have a choice. How many times do we get to relive the lessons Adolph Hitler taught us with relation to appeasement and trying to stay out of a confrontation at any cost?

The other liberal mantra is that we really went into Iraq for the oil. Well, if that were the case, why don't we have it? Does anyone seriously doubt our ability to take it, if that was the real objective? Why are we trying to help the Iraqis control their own destiny in a democratic form of government? Why is there no pipeline directly from the oil fields of Iraq to my gas pump? Why isn't Iraq the 51st state? Why are we paying $2.25 a gallon for gas? The answer that the rest of the world wouldn't stand for it is valid, but we knew that beforehand. Since that's the case, why fight that war for oil if you know, once you win, you still can't have it? Even W isn't that dense. Oil may be a factor, but it isn't the factor. If it were, I would think Betsy Ross's great great great granddaughter would be sowing the 51st star on old glory, even as I rant.

But I digress. Back to the buffoonery. "In everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong." This is impossible. If I make a statement on a subject...any subject, you are uninvolved. If I make a statement, there is only one person with an opportunity to be right or wrong, and that person isn't you. If I say, "That car is a nice shade of blue." and it turns out to be orange, you weren't right or wrong. I, and only I, get to be a color blind ignoramus who can't tell his ass from a Cheerio. You do not. Mr. Gallaway could argue that statements Norm Coleman made about Iraq were wrong, but I don't know that Mr. Coleman ever expressed an opinion on the Iraqi situation. Maybe Mr. Gallaway has some documented quotes I missed, but in any case, Norm Coleman can't be wrong about opinions expressed by George Gallaway. That isn't possible. Next we can move on to absolutes and how stupid it is to go there. To say, "in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right," I'm sorry, but nobody's that good, and certainly not you, George Gallaway.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It takes all kinds

...but if this isn't a hoax, this guy needs to be put away. That was my opinion when I first saw the website below, but now that my brain has caught up with my emotions, I'm thinking, isn't this what farmers do on a daily basis? They take animals they raise and slaughter them for meat, either for their own table or to sell, so maybe it's not so bad after all. This guy just has an angle, which lends itself to emotional blackmail for those who see it, and apparently he tugs at heartstrings enough that people are actually giving him money.

For whatever reason it reminds me of the scene in Blazing Saddles, where Clevon Little holds himself hostage in front of an angry mob.

I guess that's the part I get least of all. People are really giving him money! No matter where you fall on this issue, why would you give him money? If you think it's a joke, or that he's within his rights to eat his bunny....why pay him? If you're outraged by what he's doing, why support his campaign by making it profitable? In any case, I guess it's working for him.

cute bunny dinner

Monday, May 16, 2005

Malcolm Glaser

I can understand the British getting a little miffed at American Malcolm Glaser trying to buy the internationally known 'football' club, Manchester United. It's a distinctly English icon and has been for over 100 years. It would be the same as the Japanese coming over here and buying something like....Pebble Beach.

Will Farrell - Kicking and Screaming

Saw Kicking and Screaming this weekend. Will Farrell plays a dad who coaches his kid's soccer team because nobody else will do it. Will's father (Robert Duvall) is also a coach in the same soccer league who very competitive, and has been the league champions since Tut was the boy king of Egypt. It's the soccer Bad News Bears with a father/son rivalry thrown in, and Mike Ditka as Will Farrell's assistant and mentor. You know Will Farrell's band of misfits will end up playing and beating his fathers 12 year old soccer professionals. You just don't know how. I took my son and two of his friends, and they enjoyed it. I was severly unimpressed. It was cute, and it did have its moments, but not nearly enough of them to constitute a movie. I can't say I'd recommend going to see it on the big screen. I'd even have trouble recommending it as a rental. Maybe if a friend with kids rents it, you could take yours over to see it while the parents sit on the back porch and socialize or something.

Tiger missed the cut

Tiger Woods missed the cut and didn't play the weekend for the first time in 143 tournaments. It was, by far, the longest streak of consecutive cuts made ever (at 142) and ended this weekend in Dallas. Well, all that bad karma from ignoring kids at tournaments had to catch up with him sooner or later.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite

In honor of the 25th anniversary of one of my favorite movies, I have to ask, is it the Caddyshack of a new generation?

I remember when my son came home and said we had to rent Napoleon Dynamite, because it was hilarious. So we did, and I watched parts of it. To be honest, the day he watched it I was busy, so I saw pieces as I walked through the room. I couldn't even give you the plot, except it involves some of the un-popular kids at school banding together to get one of their bretheren elected class president, or some equally esteemed position (hall monitor maybe?). To that end, the words 'Vote for Pedro' get plastered all over the place.

Because of that, the words 'Vote for Pedro' are cropping up everywhere. One of my coworkers went to a Star Wars convention in Indianapolis and saw guys dressed as storm troopers, with 'Vote for Pedro' stenciled across their chests.

We went to the mall a few weeks ago and my son and his friend were going crazy over a 'Vote for Pedro' t-shirt in a surf shop. It was $20, so the answer was no, when he asked if I'd buy it for him.

Where all this is going:
My son's school has 'Wacky Dress Day' today. That means they get to wear some kind of wacky t-shirt and socks with jeans, which is a treat, because they normally wear uniforms. Last night he looked at me and said, "But dad, I don't have anything wacky, " and he didn't. He also had a birthday recently so he had money, so here comes the pitch. "Dad, if you drive me to the mall, I'll buy the 'Vote for Pedro' shirt with my own money"...so off we went, and he got his shirt.

I guess it really is a very cool thing for kids his age. When I took him to school this morning, since I'm the car pool dad, and he got out of the car, he and his shirt were the center of attention.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


I've been watching this TV miniseries for the last few weeks called Revelations. It's about the end of the world, and scripture reading translations, and it's setting up for this huge holy war between good and evil. Apparently it has stirred up a lot of lively debate, and probably heated arguments between people who have some religious stake in the whole thing. Follow this link and check out the 'Board' link from there....yikes! There's a lot of baiting and defensiveness and general nastinesss going on.


I personally take the show at face value. It's a pretty cool story with a few Bible verses thrown in for good measure, but it's still just a television show and nothing more than that.

My problem with it though is the commercials. This show is full of them. The show is an hour long, every Wednesday for the last 5 weeks and next week is the last one, so there are a total of six hour long shows in the story. I swear each segment has at least 45 minutes of commercials. You get to the end of the hour and feel like you just got a tidbit of the story and its over. I feel cheated!

I told my wife...when this miniseries is over, you know they'll sell the story on DVD. I'll bet, when they do, the whole story without the commercials won't be more than one hour long.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Hitler Youth Pope

Person sitting near John: I can't believe the new pope was a member of the Hitler Youth!

John: Think about when he was a kid. Every child in Germany was a member of the Hitler youth. They had no choice. They were either a member or they were dead.

Person sitting near John: Yeah, but you would think a future pope would have stood up to them.

John: Well, we had another German guy who was supposed to be pope, and he did stand up to them, but since he's dead now, we had to settle for this other guy.

(Yes, I think his initial comment was thrown out there to needle me, cuz he knows I'm Catholic, and his and my views rarely coincide.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


So Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney, dating since January, got hitched, and her publicist says they are in the early stages of getting to know each other. How sweet. Call me old fashioned (why not, most people do) but isn't that something you do before you say the "I do's"? I mean, who am I to say this marriage doesn't stand a chance, but how serious can you be if you're just getting to know one another and have been dating for almost 5 months and you're married?

I know, it's standard Hollywood. It's a way of life foreign to most of us who don't live in that world and yet, those who do are notorious for telling the rest of us how we should live and who we should vote for. Cases in point, Susan Sarandon and her puppet/husband, Tim Robbins, and Barbara Streisand There are plenty more but those suit my purposes as examples. In my opinion (and that's what counts in this place) Ms. Sarandon was the example of life imitating art when she played Janet in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The audience line when she appears on screen is perfect. The fact that these people have a soapbox to stand on, and they do, makes them think they are qualified to use it, and for the vast majority of them, nothing could be farther from the truth. That doesn't mean I think they should be silenced. Everyone has the right to their opinion and I have and will defend their right to express it, even if I think they are morons.

I fully realize that some of you out there are saying the same thing about me, and using this blog as my soapbox, but that's OK. Sometimes I get to be a moron too, and I'm sure the world is grateful that my audience is small and doesn't take anything I say as gospel.

Sing along with me (with all due credit to Rocky Horror)...

Science fiction, double feature
Frank has built and lost his creature
Darkness has conquered Brad and Janet
The servants gone to a distant planet
Wo oh oh oh oh oh
At the late night, double feature, picture show
I want to go
Oh oh oh oh
To the late night, double feature, picture show

Monday, May 09, 2005

That's what I get...

...for being so self righteous.

Played something like golf Saturday. I probably shouldn't have. I worked in the yard all morning and around noon, when I was finishing, a friend called and asked if I could play...in about an hour. So I took a shower and rushed to the golf course and got there just in time (no stretching, no warm up, just go). Then I proceeded to play the ugliest 18 holes I have played in years. It was a nightmare. I should have declined because I really had to rush just to get there, but I didn't. Yes, the very ugly 109 went in the computer and confirmed the fact that it is easily the worst score I've had in at least 20. The only good news it it probably will never affect my handicap (other than taking up one of my 10 worst of the last 20 scores), because it will never be one of the best 10 scores of my last 20....or at least I hope not.

It was quite....humbling.

Friday, May 06, 2005

freedom and censorship

I just read a news story about Starbucks refusing to stock Bruce Springsteen's new album because of some shakey lyrics and some behind the scenes politics.

The move affects me...not at all. I have been in one Starbucks in my entire life in an airport once. I didn't even know they sold music. Here's my gripe though. People are upset at Starbucks for "censoring" Mr. Springsteen.

Nobody is censoring him. Starbucks is excercising their right to sell whatever they want to sell. They are not telling Bruce Springsteen what he can or cannot say. He has the freedom to say or sing whatever he pleases. Nobody is telling him he can't. Starbucks is just saying they don't want to sell it. Just because Starbucks doesn't want to help Bruce make a living from his endeavor doesn't mean they are taping his mouth shut (though if you throw in some handcuffs and a spanking, he might like it). Nobody from Starbucks is going over to stately Springsteen manor with a baseball bat saying, "You sing that one more time and I'm bashing your head in!" Lack of support is not censorship. Let's face it. If Starbucks is censoring Bruce Springsteen, they are doing a lousy job of it. I think he's number 1 with a bullet on the hit parade.

The same thing happens with "artists" who ask for grants from the government for their "work" and get denied. They scream censorship. Nobody's silencing you. They just refuse to support you. There is a big difference. You can still make your "art". Just don't quit your day job if you want to eat.

You choose to do or say whatever you please, and in this country, your ability to do so is protected as your right. If someone thinks what you are doing or saying is worth money, it's their choice to support you monetarily. If they don't, it is also their choice not to. That isn't censorship. It's deciding to do something else with your money, or store space, or whatever. That is also freedom.

If I make an album and nobody buys it, and Starbucks refuses to stock it in their stores, that isn't censorship. That's good taste (cuz any of you who know me know, I don't sing all that well).

Thursday, May 05, 2005


There are some terms that you don't use for people you don't know, but it's acceptable to use for those you do, and in my opinion, the term 'geek' is one of those.

I often refer to myself as a 'software geek' and to others I work with as geeks, but it's all in fun. We don't really think of ourselves as pocket protected, ankle flashing individuals holding our glasses together with duct tape who can't find words within a 10 foot radius of a member of the opposite sex, but when someone asks me what I do for a living, more often than not the words 'computer geek' come out of my mouth.

Still, in my last job, where many of us referred to ourselves as geeks, I walked in one morning and the receptionist was talking to someone on the phone who was inquiring about an open position. We were a consulting company that did computer work for many small companies, so I assume this was a programmer looking for work. I overheard her say, "Oh yeah, most of the people who work here are geeks." She was a little naive and wasn't trying to be mean. After she got off the phone I had to explain to her, just because we call each other geeks doesn't mean you use that term for software engineers when you're talking to prospective employees. It's something we use amongst ourselves but most people don't consider it a compliment coming from someone they don't know.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Golf Handicapping addendum (for the numbers geeks)

The principle behind the Golf Handicap is...

Take your score and subtact the course par value where you played, so if you scored an 85 (I wish) and the par value for the course is 72, your number is 13. Then factor in the magic number for the course difficulty (which may lower your number a bit if the course is hard). Now you have a new number. Let's say, for fun, the number is now 12.3. Now average the best 10 of your last 20 of these numbers and that is your handicap.

Yes, it's a little oversimplified, but that's a fair representation of the algorithm behind it. When you put the stuff in the computer, you just enter your score and the course where you played. The computer does the rest.

College Football and the Florida Gators

Sometimes I really have to wonder.

The topic on Sports Talk radio this morning is...Urban Meyer, his first 100 days as the Florida Gators head football coach, how do you think he's doing?

OK, it's May. Since the man's been hired, he's done some recruiting and done it well, but in all honesty, the team hasn't really started practices for the fall season and they haven't played a single game. What do you have to rate the poor guy's coaching ability on?? Yet Gator fans called in and gave their opinions, pro and con - enough to fill my drive to work. I'm thinking maybe we should see what happens when the team actually plays before you decide how good a coach he is. I know we live in a 'give it to me now' world, but how do you pass judgement on a guy's accomplishments before he's had the opportunity to accomplish anything?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Golf Handicapping

Golfers who track their scores and belong to a group that provides the service have handicaps. Your handicap is a rating of how good you are, and is used in competions, so everyone plays on a more level field. The concept is if their are groups of competitors, you compete with others of your skill level and if you are competing with someone better or worse that you, it gives you a score adjustment you can use to make things more even.

Basically, the worst handicap you can have is a 36. The best is 0. So if your handicap is 15 and mine is 25 and we compete, you would give me 10 strokes to make things more even.

Among golfers who have this thing, you can tell how good someone is by asking what their handicap is. If they're a 4, for instance, you know they are very good. You want to look good, so you want your handicap to be low, but if you use it for competition (which is its only useful purpose), you want it to accurately reflect how good you are (or if you're cheating, you want it to be higher than your ability reflects). People who cheat and keep it higher than it should be are known as 'sandbaggers'. People who cheat and keep it lower than it should be are just stupid. Cheating in this endeavor isn't all that hard. Every time you play you're supposed to enter your score in a computer, and it keeps track of everything, including throwing in a factor for easier or harder golf courses (so scoring a 92 on a very hard golf course is better than the same score on a very easy course). Nothing prevents you from not entering particularly good or bad scores, or forces you to enter the correct score. It's just an integrity thing. You're expected to enter all scores and enter them correctly.

As a rule, really good golfers carry a handicap under 10. Golfers who are good and play frequently (like once a week or more) range in the 10 to 20 area, 20 to 30 and you're talking occasional golfers who go out for fun maybe once a month or so and above 30 you're talking about beginners, or just really bad golfers (and I have been among their ranks). This is how most golfers rate themselves and why they want a lower number. It's a bragging rights sort of thing.

So here's where it gets interesting. My handicap index is a lowly but honest 24.8. It's not great but it puts me squarely in average recreational golfer range. I play golf with with people who have lower (lower numbers, better handicaps) handicaps (mostly between 18 and 23) and I routinely score better than them. I played with two of them this weekend and at the end of the day, I was 5 strokes ahead of one and 11 ahead of the other. When I asked what that equated to in score, because they were keeping score, neither of them knew. They just shook their heads in disgust, because neither of them (or I) played particularly well. I can say this though. I can only assume neither of their scores will find a computer. I grabbed the scorecard when they were done and added mine up, because I wanted to enter it. After all, no matter how shitty, mine go in. So, if you aren't going to enter all of them, what's the point in having a handicap? It should reflect your game to some extent, and yeah, I suppose the computer, and everyone you tell, thinks you're better than you are, but all it takes it a walk down the fairway to find out different.