Friday, July 29, 2005

I guess it's politics day - drug companies

And it's only politics day because Mr. Liberal across the cube wall is spouting off about drug companies who don't want to cure disease because there's more money in treating the long term suffering from disease than curing it and losing the money stream, among other topics. Rather than spend two hours debating him on issues when it isn't really my time to waste, I'll blog to vent (so see, sometimes blogging on company time is theraputic and time saving.)

OK, maybe if there was only one drug company out there controlling all the world's cures, the conspiracy theory might have a chance. Maybe then, the one company could stifle innovation and stop the cure from reaching the shelves so they can continue lifetimes of bloodsucking by selling snakeoil that treats the symptoms and not the disease.

But don't you think if a guy comes up with a cure for the common cold, or M.S., or cancer, or AIDS, or whatever, he'd be all over making it available to everyone and making his own profit at the expense of the other companies that are just treating the symptoms? They could try to buy him out, but don't you think if he's curing diseases, even if any social conscience he might have got sucked out of his head, he'd be smart enough to know he can make more money selling what he has than being paid off by Merck? Isn't that what capitalism and competition and innovation are all about? If it were true that people conspire to stop progress for their own personal gain, don't you think the horse breeders would have assassinated Henry Ford before he could mass produce cars? Whalers would have stopped Thomas Edison in his tracks on this whole light bulb thing, and Texas Instruments headquarters would have been bombed into yesteryear by Houston Local #547 of the Almagated Abacus Makers Union.

Just because one guy isn't interested in innovation doesn't mean he can stop the rest of the world. Ya can't stop progress. I'm just not buying it.

Must Love John Cusack, or not

There's a new movie out called Must Love Dogs. I know this because during my little summer break, I saw Madagascar with my family and it was in the previews, and because it's plastered all over Yahoo's web pages now. It stars John Cusack, and someone else. I don't know who else. I didn't get past John Cusack.

I loathe this person, because he represents to me what's wrong with Hollywood, and it's apparent knighting of itself as the country's political and sociological advisor. I'm not sure what it is about the talent of being able to act like something you're not, and being able to make tons of money doing it, that makes you believe the rest of America should take advice on their personal lives from you.

Many years ago, William Jefferson Clinton was running for President against the current president's daddy. Being somewhat conservative, I was not pulling for Mr. Clinton to win. I was in my car one day listening to the local 'classic rock' station on the radio, and after a song, the DJ was audibly surprised because he has John Cusack on the phone. I'm assuming the producer got in his ear and said something like, "Whoa dude. You won't believe who I have on the phone and he wants to talk to you." So anyway, the radio guy starts this obviously very impromptu interview with Cuscak, and Mr. Cusack just goes into this tirade about how "We have to get this bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep scumbag Bush out of office and I want each and every one of you out there voting and voting for Bill Clinton before the Republicans ruin this country and.."* he was cut off, and the DJ said something like, "OOKAAAAAAYYYYY! That was a few minutes with John Cusack, and we'll have more Led Zepplin after this"...cut to commercial. I guess part of what pissed me off that day was the fact that I disagreed with Mr. Cusack, but most of it was the exploitation of local radio airwaves for Clinton commercial that was just in my face, unsolicited and unpaid for, and Mr. Cusack's apparent belief that what he just did was perfectly OK.

I don't mind these people having political views. They're entitled, just like the rest of us and I'm sure nobody entirely agrees with mine, just like I don't agree with theirs, but what is it about Hollywood people that makes them think that because they can act like something they're not, they are experts on how to run everyone else's lives? Babs Streisand, during the California energy crisis (through her "spokesperson") encouraged Californians to dry their clothes outdoors on a line instead of using their dryers. When the spokesperson was asked whether or not Ms. Streisand would be hanging her laundry outdoors, the spokesperson scoffed.

These people live in multimillion dollar homes and get paid more for a movie than I expect to see in my lifetime. (OK, maybe 2 or 3 movies.) There was a time when they knew what it was like to live from paycheck to paycheck, but that got lost in the same selective memory that included the waiting tables that spawned it. They are so far removed from how the average person lives it isn't funny, but they are self proclaimed experts on everything from medication for depression to the economy to the military ("I'm not a general, but I played one on T.V."), yet whine if we forgo their big screen performance and wait for the DVD, or if the song they sang got moved from the big chase scene to the closing credits. Then there's my personal favorite which you've seen before if you have read here for any length of time. God forbid, some member of the media should ignore them or not help them promote themselves, because that of course would somehow be infringing on their right to free publicit..errr...speech.

Oh and for fun, let's just throw on top of the heap, Hanoi Jane is on her way to Iraq. Why do I not think that'll be an effort to support the troops?

*not an exact quote, but pretty close

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I guess all I had to do is ask...

and someone provides the answer:

How Toad the Wet Sprocket got it's name

Thank you Jo for doing the research.

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Toad the Wet Sprocket is pretty much my favorite "nobody ever heard of them but they're damn good" band. They existed, broke up, existed again, and broke up again between the late 80's and 2003 or 2004. Now one of them is touring solo and everyone else is (from what I can gather, but I'm no expert) either in bar bands or doing other things with their lives. The only reason they're front and center on my radar screen now is they have a new CD which I expect to show up in my mail any day now. It's new in that it was recently released. It's old in that it's a CD of a live concert in 1992. Musical taste is a very individual thing, so I won't presume everyone else would think they're as good as I do, but you might want to check out the little samples you can hear on the web at places like

The reason for this post...

The name of the band, you have to admit, is a little strange. OK, maybe you don't, but I do, and I decided to try to figure out where they got it. In doing a little reading, I discovered the band's name came from a Monty Python sketch. I'm having trouble with that because I grew up on Monty Python, and thought I knew all things Python, and I can't, for the life of me, remember a sketch that would inspire a name like Toad the Wet Sprocket. Any help from anyone out there would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Lunch pollution

We are kinda busy here, which means a lot of the time, people eat lunch at their desk while working. Sometimes that means microwaved stuff, or take out from a restaurant, and a lot of the time the smell is very tempting, especially with the Indian guys. Some of the leftovers they bring in smell way too good.

Today however...there was an assault on my nose like I haven't smelled in a very long time. It was supposedly mussels, but I like mussels. This didn't smell like mussels, and I have a feeling he who ate them might be coming down with some gastro-intestinal issue soon. If that really is what this was, they went bad a long time ago. This smelled like raw sewage....and very strongly like raw sewage. It was immediately overpowering and utterly disgusting. I mean, this was exponential shit. When we complained the offender said, "Now, I never complained when other people brought in stinky food." He has a point. He never has. Nobody has ever brought in anything that smelled like that, though. That wasn't just stinky food. Anyone who walked into our small building immediately went "whoa!", and we'd all laugh, except the offender. He got all defensive, but I don't think he'll be bringing whatever that was in again.

hope springs eternal


It's time for NFL football training camp to start. It's time for optimism to flow freely. All the rookies are being signed. Fans everywhere read between the lines of every cautious comment made by a coach or player, selectively hearing the part that makes their team a Super Bowl contender. I know. I'm one of them.

Camp starts this weekend for the Jaguars, and only one rookie remains to be signed, and everyone seems to think that'll happen in the next day or two. Everyone else is under contract. The huge question is our running back, who had knee surgery in the off season. He's still not 100%, but says he will be at the start of the season. The coaches are saying the same thing. The fans are restless. The pessimists are screaming, "Get a better backup!" The optimists are saying Fred Taylor will be just fine, and we have good back ups. Only time will tell.

For now though, everyone is waiting to see if the hoped for improvements are there, and expecting them to be.

Byron Leftwich will be an improved quarterback and hit every receiver he throws to.
Matt Jones will prove all the experts wrong, who said he wasn't first round draft material and the Jaguars foolishly gambled on him.
Fred Taylor will run for a gazillion yards.
The defense, which was the strong suit last year, will be even more stifling.

And we're gong 16-0...just like every other team out there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

get a grip people

So now I'm back at work and catching up and the water cooler talk is all Harry Potter, with everyone trying to talk about it and not spoil it for those who haven't finished yet. The rumor among those who haven't finished yet or haven't started...I heard Harry Potter dies in this one.

OK folks, let's get down to basics. Who is the series about? Whose name is in every title? It's not Voldemort Barely Misses the Scorcerer's Stone. There's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's Stone on the other side of the Atlantic), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter..ya da ya da...and the Half Blood Prince. It's not about the Dark Wizard who lived, now is it? In the end, as much as adults love the story, it's still a childrens' series, and good has to triumph. It just has to. In more adult terms, it's a little like sex. The desired story end is very predictable. The fun part is how we get there.

So.......if Harry Potter dies in this one, the next one would have to be called Harry Potter and His Coffin, and all the pages would be black.

Monday, July 25, 2005

My latest brush with fame

OK, it's retroactive and a little far fetched. Truth be told, she probably couldn't pick me out of a line-up. In fact, it took me a day or two to remember where I knew her from, but anyway...

Wendy Lawrence, one of the Space Shuttle pilots that is scheduled to go up tomorrow, was in my first squadron (HC-6 at Naval Air Station Norfolk) in the Navy 20-something years ago. She arrived there about 2 years after I did, but obviously stuck with it longer and got a whole lot farther than I. You go girl!

so little time, but....

The time off started with a baseball game Friday night. We went to see the Jacksonville Suns (AA affiliate of the LA Dodgers) play and beat the Montgomery Biscuits. I know...great name that instills fear into the hearts of their opponents. When we got home, the crowd from Pensacola arrived. I've already blogged about them. I talked about it with my wife afterward, and her main issue was she had been looking forward to that week as our 'family' time for quite a while, and some of it had been more or less stolen. While I agree, I didn't see much of a way around it. Sometimes you just do what you have to do.

The trip to Jekyll Island was relaxing, even if I did burn the crap out of my feet. I'm still feeling the effects of that bit of stupidity, but it's down to being itchy instead of hurting. Biking around the island was fun. It wasn't exactly a ride for exercise. It was more for looking around and just enjoying the scenery. I didn't realize just how much I needed that.

Last week we just did little things around home. We went to see Madagascar. I played some golf. Did some reading. Took my son to the batting cages for some practice. We picked out the wood we want to use to replace some of our carpeted floors. Ran some errands...but for the most part, just took it easy. It was nice doing things like going to the grocery store in the afternoon to pick out what we would have that evening. I needed the break.

But now, it's a very hellish wake up call.

first day back blues

All I have to say for now is...the first day back after 2 weeks of vacation is a major pain. I'll get back here when I get the opportunity to come up for air.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Duty, doody and getting burned

OK, I lied. I'm on vacation but I decided to blog.

Last week started with the unscheduled arrival of hurricane Dennis. No, it wasn't a big deal here. We got a little drizzle and that's about it, but we have family (in the form of my wife's brother, his wife and two kids) in Pensacola, which appeared to be wearing the middle of the target on their backs.

Being the semi-nice guy I am, I called and offered a place to stay, knowing nothing short of a catastrophe whould pry my brother-in-law out of his home, but....I wanted him to know he had options. Well, he said thanks but no thanks, but his wife grabbed the kids and said, "We're on our way!" This was fine with me, but immediately put me on my wife's shit list.

What did you go and do that for??? You remember what she's like! She'll sit here and eat us out of house and home and do absolutely nothing!

As you may have guessed, my wife is less than impressed with her brother's choice in spouses, but that's his life and not her's, and I told her, "Still, it's the right thing to do."

Friday night we went to a baseball game, expecting them sometime shortly after we got home. As it turned out, they arrived at the house pretty much when we did. The kids claimed the spare bedroom with my computer and sis-in-law took the larger guest room. The next few days proved us both right. It was the right thing to do, but getting those people out of the house and doing anything took a crowbar. The kids were content to sit on the computer or X-Box all day and sis-in-law sat on the couch knitting. They took breaks to eat. I got my son and nephew and went to the driving range on Saturday. Sunday we took them to the I-Max theater at the World Golf Hall of Fame and walked around there a bit. Monday my wife threatened to go back to work, saying, "I'm not wasting vacation time sitting around here watching them sit around." She didn't though, and Tuesday the crew packed up for home, after Dennis mercifully left Pensacola pretty much unharmed. My wife told me not to do that again. Being honest though, if the threat comes their way again, I will discuss it with her. You don't have to like them, but they're still family. My son needed a bit of an attitude adjustment.

No, it's not alright for you to veg in front of the computer all day. Get out and do something.

Fortunately, the next few days were taken care of. We packed up the bikes and headed up to Jekyll Island in Georgia. Spent one day at the water park there where I once again learned a painful lesson. Sunscreen! OK, I was smart enough to use the stuff, but when you spend most of your time in shoes, one place not to miss with the sunscreen is the tops of your feet. I did. I'm just now (a week later) begining to walk pain free. Curiously though, the next day (and worst for the sunburn aspect) wasn't too bad on bikes. I don't know why walking hurt and bike riding didn't, but we biked several miles around Jekyll Island, which has a great system of bike paths, and that didn't bother me much at all. Once I got off the bike though...OUCH!

Friday night my son and I spent midnight in the same place millions of others did - in a bookstore, where by 12:30, we were the proud owners of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Still 100 pages to go, but I'm almost done. Probably by the end of today I'll have finished the book. My son and I are on Chapter 2 reading aloud, but I couldn't wait.

Yesterday - golf. Today, we're just goofing off. Tomorrow, maybe more golf. We'll have to see how it goes.

Gotta run. Goofing off takes time!

Friday, July 08, 2005

The David Duval slide has reached a new low

Michelle Wie is kicking his ass at the John Deere Classic. Hell, since she's an amateur and can't win money any other way, she ought to stop Double D in the parking lot and say, "Whaddya think Davey? I'll spot you two strokes a side for $1000."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

my apologies

No, nobody said anything or sent me nasty e-mails. I figured out my insensitivity all on my own. I edited that last post. It used to include a dig at the French which used the tragedy in London and that was just in bad taste. I apologize to anyone who found it offensive. I know, after I saw some of the pictures, I did. Irreverence is one thing, but that crossed the line. That's why it's gone.

Quick Hits and prayers

The cowards that bombed the London transportation system are killing and maiming a lot of innocent people. While it's jumping to conclusions to blame any particular group, there aren't many who would find a way to justify this kind of action. Please keep everyone affected (yes, even the cowards) in your prayers. They need them.

When did doctors lose that worldly wise sense about them? I don't know if it's that I'm not as impressionistic as I was when I was younger, but any time I, or a member of my family, go to the doctor any more and tell them what symptoms we are experiencing, he's asking us what we think it is. Well, damn boss, if I knew, what the hell would I need you for? I guess this is stemming from yesterday when my wife took my son to his allergist. He's been getting allergy shots for four years now, and that was the period we were told it should take before he should be...maybe not completely cured, but better off than he was. The youngster is more than ready to stop getting shot in the arm every month. So she asked the guy...are we done now? He said, "I don't know, what do you think?" In the absence of a qualified opinion, I guess we're putting a halt to the shots and see what happens.

Dennis the Menace is churning up the Caribbean Sea and heading toward the Gulf of Mexico. It may rain out our weekend, but the folks on the Panhandle, and Alabama and probably points west are looking at much worse. Please keep them in your prayers.

Stay at Home Moms beware

The authorites are on to your little scam and ready to start prosecuting.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Leo Getz

Just a snippet of truth about life.

Someone told me today that this isn't the life they ordered. I told them, it ain't exactly the life any of us orders. You ask for what you want and you deal with what you get. It's like the drive thru window in Lethal Weapon 2 when Leo Getz (aka Joe Pesci) gets the wrong sandwich. Most of the rest is attitude. How you adjust to what ends up in the bag, regardless of what you ordered, determines your outlook, and a lot of your success.

And there's my Ann Landers moment for the day.

I see London, I see France

Don't you just know the French have to be fuming after the Olympics they thought were going to Paris have been awarded to London? The fact that it went to the English, of all people, had to make it that much worse.

I haven't been a huge fan of the French ever since I sat in a restaurant in Nice (just up the coast from Cannes, home of the famous film fest) one day in 1982 with a few of my Navy buddies. One of them took French in high school, and wanted to properly butcher the language while ordering dinner. He succeeded, much to the chagrin of our waiter, who, falling right in step with the le' snoot stereotype, acted like he understood nothing. After a while my friend gave up, and we tried English, which the waiter also ignored. Finally, he broke out his worst imitation southern accent and said, "Fine Bubba! You just bring me some o' that French food! I want some french toast, some french bread and bring me a side of them french fries!" Needless to say that got us absolutely nowhere, so we left and ate elsewhere. Not every waiter was quite that above it all. On a side was my one and only shot at truffles. My advice is...don't. (Let me throw in here that it is rarely my advice to not try something new, but paying $30 for an appetizer about 3 inches in diameter and a quarter of an inch thick that tastes like that...I'll try to save you the trouble.) If you've ever tasted Underwood Deviled Ham (and I don't know if they still sell that stuff), you have the taste down, but the consistency isn't as pleasant. Soo, if you liked Underwood Deviled Ham, and want to relive that experience with a more pastey consistency, go ahead and indulge. That stuff was just gross, but I had to try it...once.

That, combined with the whole Iraq thing just left a bad taste in my mouth for all French whines, and I'll bet there's a big one brewing now.

Don't let it get to you too much France. After all, you're still the masters of runny cheese, and you'll always have that to hang your beret on (or is that in..ewwwwwww).

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

just so nobody wonders where I went... the audience is huge and would start a nationwide manhunt or something...I'm going on vacation at the end of the week. I'll be outa here (and hopefully away from computers) for two weeks starting this Sunday.

Know when to fold 'em

Major League Baseball is again shooting itself in the foot. I'm not surprised, and that in itself is a shame. There was a time when I really liked the big leagues.

Kenny Rogers, Texas Rangers pitcher assaults a cameraman during pre-game wam-ups, apparently without provocation. The incident is magnified even more because the cameraman's camera is rolling during the incident. Major League Baseball strikes back with what I consider a fair punishment...a 20 game suspension, which Rogers appeals. On what grounds I cannot comprehend, but because he appeals, he can continue to play until the appeal is heard...and that makes him eligible for the All Star Game. Not only that, he's on the American League All Star Team. That's just wrong. I don't care if the guy is the second coming of Babe Friggin Ruth, it's still wrong.

The All Star Game is a chance for the league to put its best foot forward. It's an infomercial for Major League Baseball with a spotlight on its celebrities and a celebration of the game. The last thing they need is another reminder, after the graphic representation of Mr. Rogers outburst over the past week, is more prime opportunities to rehash it all yet again. I know the guy is good, but what ever happened to personal responsibility for your actions? I understand celebrities getting pissed at guys with cameras hounding them everywhere they go, but that isn't the case here. Think about it. Guys with television cameras don't exactly chase celebrities ahuling that equipment around. You want to send the absolute wrong message and grow the primadonna attitude that permeates professional sports..let Kenny Rogers pitch in the All Star game. If you want to tell these guys, "You can get away with anything if you play well enough", then go for it. Then watch the rest of us.....stop watching. Given a choice, I'd rather watch the College World Series any day, even if it meant watching the team from Texas beat the team from Florida all over again.

Friday, July 01, 2005

and the rain continues

I don't know if it's a sign, but last night I saw two gators crawl into my neighbor's johnboat, followed by two armadillos, and two racoons. I wonder what Noah will do when he sees the mess those gators make of the racoons in his boat.