Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Old Dog, Same Tricks

The Kerry campaign has been doing everything possible to keep people from seeing his anti-war book The New Soldier. Thank goodness for the Internet, where the entire thing can be viewed and especially the cover can be revealed, of anti-war vets flying the flag upside down.

(Link courtesy Instapundit)

The Daily Slam

Slate's Dana Stevens writes that Kerry tanked on The Daily Show. I didn't see it, but I want to believe she's right, so she is:

Kerry's charisma was less than zero: It was negative. He was a charm vacuum, forced to actually borrow mojo from audience members. He was a desiccated husk, a tin man who really didn't have a heart. His lack of vibrancy, his utter dearth of sex appeal made Al Gore look like Charo. . . .

Watching Kerry strike out was especially heartbreaking given that Stewart was pitching not just softballs but marshmallows. Puffy interview marshmallows with rainbow sprinkles on them, and Kerry was letting them sail by as if he planned to get to first base on a walk. That may be how he hopes to win the presidency as well, but before he gets there, he'll have to jump through hoops a lot tougher than this exchange.

Good times

Pardon me while I turn on my evil laugh ... Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!!! The bleepin' Yanks lost 22-0 tonight. Meanwhile, the Red Sox disposed of Anaheim 10-7 (after being up 10-1 at one point). This benefits Boston in two ways. First, the Fenway Parkers are only 3 ½ back of the bleepin' Yanks for the AL East title, and are now 2 ½ up on the Angels in the wild card race. I'm giddy.

Easy Street

I didn't get called in to work today! Still, the day wasn't particularly fruitful since I had to stay home and off the Internet to be available for the phone call. So I've been reading, watching a movie or two, saw the Braves win, "Scrubs" and now my tape of "The Amazing Race."

Yesterday was better. The rare weekday that I'm off nowadays, I spent Monday running errands and goofing off. The Braves game was on in the afternoon, then I saw Hero, then went to the gym at work to run off the bar food from the weekend. I know this may surprise some, but Monday night I didn't watch one single minute of the Republican National Convention. Instead, I watched "Last Comic Standing" and the ABC Monday Night Football game. Why? Because when I'm not working I try to avoid politics as much as possible, and I especially don't want to watch the cable networks because it's nauseating to listen to all the spin coming from both sides. Go ahead. Check your pulse. I promise I'm still voting down the ticket for the GOP. The thing is, I work in the news business. My life is about snappy soundbites and edible news pieces, especially if it has exciting visuals and audio. But at home, I prefer the slowly unfolding world of baseball and comedy shows to distract from reality. Besides, I'll get my talking points from conservative blogs when it's all over. Tell me what to think, masters!

Moving on

Thanks to my open-minded younger sister Stephanie, for a link to MoveOnPlease.org, a satirical take on the ultra-liberal MoveOn.org political group. My favorite bit:

Everything Bad Fault Of Rumsfeld

Scientists have found Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, genetically culpable for every contrary event and effect in modern history, including morbid obesity, the Philadelphia Phillies' 23 game losing streak in 1959 and Carrot Top.

Studies revealed even more daunting scenarios as the Rumsfeld-effect not only results from direct contact, but that second-hand liasion with the Secretary of Evil can cause severe conservative conjunctivitis. Los Angeles restaurants and bars have recently banned Rumsfeld, and any talk of Rumsfeld, except for restricted outdoor areas.

Chowderhead for President?

Man of the people, John Kerry, really needs to stop pretending that he's a fan of professional sports. I noted in July that Kerry tried to score points with the local Bostonians by saying he was a big fan of Manny Ortez. The Democrat's nominee was trying to say he liked Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, who are only All-Stars for the Red Sox. A few years ago he said his favorite Red Sox player was Eddie Yost, who never played for the team.

This week he may have cost himself the Wisconsin vote with a football slip. During a visit to Green Bay, one of the oldest and most legendary franchises in the NFL, Kerry referred to their stadium as "Lambert Field." This is no small slip. Every single football fan in the United States, not just in Wisconsin, knows that the Packers play in Lambeau Field. NFL Films announcer John Facenda never refers to "the frozen tundra of Lambert Field." Maybe Bush really does have a good chance of swaying the cheeseheads to his side. After all, I'm willing to bet he would know that Brett Favre's last name is pronounced "Farv," while no doubt Kerry would look at it and think, "Fa-vray."

It is my duty to wipe that booty.

Halloween's now only about sixty days away, so there's little time to dress your kids up in the fashionable costumes that tells other parents, "I think five-year-olds should have frank discussions on sexuality." Buy your child pimp and ho costumes here!

Habitat for cheating

Despite evidence to the contrary, Jimmy Carter preaches that Venezuelans should accept their election results. Problem is, speaking at the Democrat convention the former president made it clear it doesn't accept his own country's results in 2000, even after investigations by major news organizations found nothing wrong.

Taxes for them, but none for me

Democrats are going to have to search far and wide to find evidence that tax cuts haven't revived the economy, and now they're going to have to find another argument besides, "tax cuts favor the rich!" Check out the graphic in the Detroit newspaper, Bush fails to get deserved credit for tax cut benefits that reports, "Despite reporting distortions, a congressional report shows the rich pay proportionately more in taxes while all income earners do better."

(link courtesy Instapundit)

Shocked!

In case you still hide your head in the sand and scoff at the idea that the mainstream media is overwhelmingly liberal and rooting for Kerry, I bring you Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek. Earlier this summer he admitted that the media "wants Kerry to win" and could swing the race several points to the Democrats' side.

Welcome to effing New York

Those tolerant liberals are in full force in New York, home of the bleepin' Yanks, during the Republican Convention:

Some delegates seemed perplexed, even hurt, not because they did not expect protesters to be here, but because they did not expect them to get personal. "They were using foul language, getting real ugly," said Kim Kirkwood, a delegate from Amarillo, Tex. Her husband, Jim, said he could not understand it. "I have friends who are Democrats in Texas, and we talk about things, agree to disagree."


See, Mrs. Kirkwood, the difference is, to you, dissent means talking things over. To these loony tunes protestor Democrats, flipping you off and cursing at you is their idea of political discourse.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Happy Happy Weekend Joy Joy

Good weekend, and it's not over yet. I worked Saturday's overnight shift to help cover for a co-worker throwing a housewarming shindig. Actually, before doing so I stopped by the party for a few hours to hang out with other folks from work and some of his wife's friends. We cooked out hamburgers and wings and chicken salad, hanging out on their new back porch by the above-ground pool. Good times. Alas, just one dating opportunity, and she kept pining for one of our anchors at Headline News, not caring when I told her he's gay. Yes, you're cute and fun. No, you can't turn him.

Then I had to go to work. I really didn't mind, since I could use the down time in the wee hours to finish up some ticky-tack work and hang out with Pam and Jarrett, too lovely CNN Master Control operators (Pam used to work with me at Headline News). Plus, my supervisor let me have off Monday in return, and I'm on-call Tuesday, which usually means another free day. Considering that this is during the Republican convention, I'm doubly joyous that I don't have the stress of covering it, and I can watch it live without interruptions from liberal co-workers comparing the GOP to 1938 Germany.

Now for something completely different, we turn to Sunday's action and avoid politics . . . .

Many, many sports fans have already turned their attention to the upcoming college and football seasons. Not me. Baseball still rules until my teams are eliminated, hopefully very late in October by playing each other in the World Series. The Red Sox have pulled within 4 1/2 games of the bleepin’ Yanks, and my hometown Braves are just as hot, leading the NL East by nearly 10 games after being down seven in June.

But I am alone, apparently. My local sports bar set summer hours, not opening until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday until football season starts. Red Sox games usually begin at 2 o'clock Sundays, so today I had to drive the extra miles through a torrential thunderstorm to watch my team in action. Traffic lights were out and roads were flooded so much that I heard that Noah told God there was enough rain, but I got to the sports bar shortly after first pitch by deftly using side streets. I'm a guy, it's my job to know these things. There's a test.

Even the rough conditions meant a chance to see why humanity is sometimes worth saving. One of the most reassuring groupthink is when cars are lined up in traffic, yet will do anything to get out of the way of emergency vehicles. Then, everyone will do their best to line back up and let each other into place with nary a complaint. Who needs the Olympics to promote brotherly love?

Once I navigated the great flood, I bellied up to the bar, got the manager to switch a few satellite routers to the Red Sox-Tigers game, plus the bleepin' Yanks game against the Blue Jays (I have to make sure the Evil Empire loses) and the Cubs-Astros contest. All the while the Olympics are on and golf would be on an hour later. This is what is usually referred to as Sports Heaven. No, I didn't go to church this morning. Why do you ask?

After a barbecue sandwich, I asked for a trivia box to play the NTN national games. From basic education, deductive reasoning and random pop culture knowledge I'm usually pretty good at these, though it's not the same as when Dad and I used to play the same trivia game in Memphis and rank well nationally. Today the link to the national rankings wasn't available, but I did manage to put up the sixth best score for the bar in August playing Countdown, and second-best in Wipeout. Both are general trivia games that give hints to the answer while the amount of points awarded goes down every second, starting at 1,000. Most rewarding was that the second game I was playing against a guy at the other end of the bar and his girlfriend, both of whom were happy with themselves when they got 1,000 on the first question and I had zero. Fourteen questions to go, let's not get cocky. By the sixth question I was up 1,000 points and ended up winning 10,907 to 7,898. (Yes, I wrote it down). My obscure TV trivia regarding "Designing Women" helped take the lead, history lessons on Israel put it away and I took it home with Elvis trivia, nailing down 1,000 points that "Love Me Tender" was his first feature film.

Yes, I derived pleasure from beating down this guy with his girlfriend. If I can't have a girlfriend, it's quite a pleasure to humiliate someone who does, even for something as little as playing trivia at a bar. Of course, they probably pity me as the lonely guy at the bar wearing a Red Sox jersey, eating a brownie sundae and playing trivia with nothing better to do. If the shoe fits, I'm a size 14.

Oh yeah, and the Red Sox clobbered Detroit, 6-1. The bleepin' Yanks lost. Heh heh. I've got the fever for the pennant, and the only prescription is more cowbell!

Back home, I checked my email, then decided that day wasn't over yet. At 7:45 I decided to drive downtown to Turner Field and watch the Braves-Giants game. It started at 8, so I didn't make it to my seat in the upper deck behind home plate until the second inning. Not that it matters. The ticket was free using one of my CNN vouchers, so I figure I can come and go at will and not feel wasteful. Barry Bonds hit two homers, numbers 695 and 696 for his career, the first traveling 467 feet, the second 462. Then he drove in two more runs later. Message to Atlanta: Stop pitching to Barry! It's no wonder San Francisco won 9-5. It was U-G-L-Y, Atlanta ain't got no alibi. My stats: One hot dog, one plate of nachos, two bottles of water. A perfect game!

Now the day really is done, but tomorrow is my Sunday, so hopefully I'll get to see Hero and at least hit some balls at the range if the weather is cleared up and not 100 degrees with 205 percent humidity. Hey, it's possible, and if you've ever even been in the South you know it's true.

2008 Propaganda Games

Watching the Athens handoff to Beijing portion of the Olympics closing ceremony, I couldn't get excited one bit about the prospect. The 2008 Games will be a disgusting spectacle of a home country trying to convince the world that Communist China is a legitimate nation among humankind not seen since the 1936 Nazi games in Berlin. The Chinese people will be very nice and I have no ill will towards them, but they're also an oppressed people who could be Tiananmen Squared at any moment, so I won't be rooting for a successful Olympics in Red China any more than it would have made sense for Pol Pot to host the Games.

Serious ups

It doesn't matter to me what kind of shoes basketball players are wearing. A 6'6" African-American athlete should be able to jump and run fast. It's proven genetics. But what I really want to know is, what shoes are the women high jumpers wearing? Russian gold medalist Yelena Slesarenko set an Olympic record with a jump of 6 feet, 9 inches! Think about it, she's running then flopping on her back the equivalent of clearing Karl Malone! The Mailman himself generally reserves such monumental flops for playoff time.

Olympics go bye-bye

SI.com has a listing of the best and worst of the Athens Games, none of which I can dispute, but nowhere was women's beach volleyball mentioned. Should I show them the celebration picture again?

I hope they're doubled

There are far too many Sunday papers like today where I peruse the coupons pages and end up cutting out just two. A lousy pair of coupons. Is it even worth it to present two coupons to the cashier? Does the cashier laugh and wonder if I'd like to buy some gum with my savings?

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Master of my domain

During all four years that I've had digital cable I felt like an audio/visual loser, and not the good kind who knows their stuff but gets queasy around women. The thing is, I never figured out how to most efficiently use my VCR with the cable converter box. I'd record things on my bedroom TV and then unhook the VCR every time I wanted to watch it in the living room, hooking it up there. Then I'd unhook it from the living room and take it back to the bedroom to record shows. Every day, the same tedious system reminding me that I can't figure out how to connect the system correctly. This week I set out to end the charade, because darn it if I was going to buy another VCR.

I initially tried it on my own, being a manly geek and all. But no matter how I mixed up the cables, I couldn't record from the TV while watching cable. I could only set it up to record the digital cable, but that meant I couldn't record something else while watching another program. Hello? I work at CN freakin' N! Time to look for help, but not admit it at work.

Comcast.com is set up nicely with plenty of FAQs to assist. The site tells me I need a splitter and an A/B splitter switch to set up everything. Off to Best Buy this afternoon to do so, plus get an extra coaxial cable because I'm sure I'll need one, even after borrowing one from the bedroom that I'll no longer need.

Back home I take off my shirt, let the butt crack show and get down and dirty behind the entertainment center.

As is required when messing around with all those wires, I followed the wrong directions. I set it to record via the digital cable to the VCR. Wait, I already did that without all the splitters. Check the site again, look for another listing. Yes, there it is, recording via the VCR through the TV. Now I can watch digital cable, record the basic cable through the TV, flipping from the A to B switch instead of lugging the VCR from one room to another. I'm still an audio/visual loser, but only in the basic sense of geeky knowledge that comes with being supreme commander of my system!

Oh, and now I have to make another trip out to buy a coaxial cable. Turns out even though I bought one, I needed both of the ones attached to the TV in the bedroom to feed the splitters. It's worth the hassle to drive to Walgreens, trust me.

Peace in our time

Wait, this can't be right. World peace is on the rise, even during President Bush's "unilateral" war on terror?

In fact, the number killed in battle has fallen to its lowest point in the post-World War II period, dipping below 20,000 a year by one measure. Peacemaking missions, meantime, are growing in number.

"International engagement is blossoming," said American scholar Monty G. Marshall. "There's been an enormous amount of activity to try to end these conflicts."


I'm shocked! Shocked that evildoers are afraid to stir trouble while Bushitler is slaughtering innocent Islamic fascists and staring down rogue leaders!

Wrestling with idiocy

Here's a tip for Euroweenie commies: Don't take on an angry American wrestler, especially a gold medal winner.

This show needs new direction

I reckon I can pass along delightful work news. I've been director-training for six months on live shows after having directed and switched production for the last four years, and I’ve been given the go-ahead to direct the 10:30 p.m. EST show here at Headline News. Join me! Join me in making cable news the best it can be! All Nielsen families are invited to watch Headline News 23 hours a day, leaving one for Dr. Phil.

My first entire show was Friday night. There were two mistakes, one of which was mine (not cueing up a video in time, leaving a split-second of black during sports). Oh well, there's only the potential for 90 million people to see it. No pressure. All mistakes you may forward to me, and we'll pretend it never happened.

But since I'm covering the Saturday overnight director shift right now, I'm off Monday and on-call Tuesday, so my next show probably won't be until Wednesday. Right in the midst of the GOP Convention. Fun!

Friday, August 27, 2004

The impossible dream

Today's fortune cookie: "Your dearest wish will come true."

Hmmm, my wish was always to have a dearest wish. So maybe I'll come up with a dear wish, then I'll know. But will I? I don't know. I wish I knew.

There it is!

Come again?

”The truth, which is what elections are all about, is that the tax burden of the middle class has gone up while the tax burden of the middle class has gone down.” - John Kerry, Aug. 25

Kerry can’t even make up his mind in the same sentence.

Boo this

Have you noticed that our athletes keep getting booed for others’ mistakes? First, Paul Hamm was booed for the mistake of the judges while he prepared for the high bar competition. Last night, our 200 meter finalists were booed before the race even began because the Greek audience wanted to see 2000 gold medallist Kostas Kenteris, who missed a drug test before the games. What does the fall of their hero have to do with American runners? Of course, the crowds don’t really need a reason to boo us, since I’ve heard them do so at every U.S. basketball game – male and female – and even this afternoon during the gold medal Taekwondo match our woman was booed during the match. What’s that about?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Stronger, faster, tastier

After watching nearly two weeks of Olympics I think I'm qualified to make sweeping judgments on what is the most difficult event of the games. My vote: Hurdles. Think about it ... you're already running as fast as possible, but then you have to jump a high object, then keep sprinting! This is one step away from having bears chase you around the track.

The anti-Bond a go for a third time?

For those of you who have enjoyed the Bourne franchise, with the surprisingly good The Bourne Identity then the solid follow-up this summer, The Bourne Supremacy, we're in luck because a third installment looks very possible, according to Matt Damon as quoted in CHUD.com.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Tinfoil-hat conspiracy left-wingers or international Bush haters?

Time for a game of “Who said it?” Did this come from an American liberal, or North Korean officials:

The U.S. is run by, "a political imbecile bereft of even elementary morality as a human being, and a bad guy."

The answer this time isn’t Michael Moore, but North Korea. Thanks for playing.


How about another quote?

"We are not joining the coalition of the idiots. We are joining the coalition of the wise."

Oh, sorry, this time we’re quoting Canadian Member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish

A third? Okay.

"We've got to get George W. Bush out of office, and it's very important that kids understand what a serious condition the world is in with this madman."

No, not a foreigner this time. It’s rap video director Benny Boom , who produced new attack ads for MoveOn.org. Amid those ads, Kevin Bacon voices, "What if the same men who profited from the war were asked to fight it?"

But does he know Diddley?

I'm certain that every sports editor in the country was rooting for Chinese diver Peng Bo to win - which he did - the 3-meter springboard competition. Now they're free to headline the article, "Bo Knows Diving."

We'll liberate you but only if it costs under $19,995 and includes a pasta pot

A liberal group put up a billboard in New York's Time Square protesting the costs of the war in Iraq with a running tally. It debuted flashing $134.5 billion, but there's no listing for how much freedom should cost.

Trailer Park

Paparazzi - Tom Sizemore is one of those stalkarazzi photographers terrorizing a celeb like that creepy show on E!, but this time the celeb does more than engage in some Sean Penn-like punching. I won't see this, almost guaranteed, but if you like vengeful rage flicks, this is the one for you.

Saving Christmas - Who doesn't want to see Ben Affleck whacked over the head by a shovel wielded by James Gandolfini? Exactly.

Taxi - Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon team up to catch a band of armed and sexy bank robbers. Looks like there will be plenty of car chases, and God help me, the trailer is actually funny. I wonder if Fallon will laugh at his own jokes in a movie, too.

Friday Night Lights - You've seen Varsity Blues. You've seen Remember the Titans. Do we need another high school football movie? Especially one set in Texas? Yeah, yeah, we get it, "football is a way of life" in the state. I doubt there will be one original scene or character, and if there isn't a babe in a whipped cream bikini, it's already behind the curve.

Mr. 3000 - Bernie Mac is a retired baseball player coming back ten years later to get a few more hits for immortality. I'm sure he inspires his team to greater things, but as long as it's funny and there aren't any monkeys playing first base or 12-year-olds pitching or managing, I'm going to enjoy any baseball flick.

After the Sunset - Pierce Brosnan is a jewel thief, retiring to the beach with his woman, Salma Hayek. Yep, you guessed it, he's out for one more score! Never saw it coming. His cop nemesis? Woody Harrelson, who surely put the pot down long enough to pretend to care about the laws of the land.

Team America - "Freedom hangs by a thread," and it's up to the South Park creators to put the smack down on Michael Moore and his asshat liberal friends. This isn't a cartoon, but better, what the remake of Thunderbirds should have preserved, because marionettes save the world from terrorism! This is a very weird trailer that doesn't make much sense until you see the end.

Where's my water buffalo?

This month’s Lark News is online, and there’s a follow-up on the tragic demise of the beloved Veggie Tales cast.

The Olympic TV Games

I have to wonder about how some of the Olympic events got to be included. First off, how are picnic games like badminton and ping-pong (sorry, table tennis) official sports, yet golf, rugby and lacrosse are out? Today I saw a track cycling event called Keirin that can only be described in terms of a drunk in a bar making up games: “Okay okay okay . . . let’s get six guys, line them up and lead them with a motorbike for five laps, then they race like the wind for three laps to the finish!”

That’s it. Someone gets a medal for it, too. Presumably, the motorbike dude can’t win, but I wonder if all the cyclists fell down before the finish if he’d have a shot. The results should be clean, but I hear the South Koreans are going to protest the final results, even though they didn’t even have a cyclist in the competition.

From hours of watching the Olympics I’ve gained an expertise in the TV coverage. For one thing, there are some sports best left to one gender over another. Men’s gymnastics? Strong but puny. Women’s gymnastics? Adorable. And can we leave weightlifting to the men? It’s not that women don’t deserve a shot at glory, but I prefer not to tune the TV to see chicks who could lift my 300-pound frame over the heads and snap my back over their knee.

Also, if you notice, for every sport men compete in there’s a female equivalent. Yet, not every guy can compete in some sports that women do, such as rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming. Seems that every guy in the world agrees that those two sports would be considered too “gay” for men.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Playing both sides

In case you're interested, yes, John Kerry has criticized President Bush's National Guard service as seen by this official Kerry press release. (Hat tip: Instapundit)

God bless Olympic beach volleyball


My girl, Kerri Walsh, and partner Misty May, won the gold medal tonight in Athens. Just check out the pictures of them celebrating and tell me you can't get excited about this sport! (Well, it helps if you are male and/or a lesbian)

Would you like fries with that?

Tonight's fortune cookie says, "You will make change for the better." That's printed exactly as written. Apparently the wise Chinese writer is foretelling a move to fast-food sales as a cashier. But at least I'll do it right.

Possible terrorism?

Prepping for my 6 o'clock show, I began to see breaking news and hear shout-downs from our news feeds about two Russian plane crashes after losing contact with the tower. All of a sudden I got that all-too-familiar uneasy feeling in my tummy.

Working OT to hurt Bush?

Are some government officials working to damage the president in November? After 50 years was an election year really the time to implement new overtime guidelines? I don't know if it will help or hurt working poor and/or working rich, but right now the ongoing debate on the confusion over who is affected isn't going Bush's way.

X marks the spot

Once again, Florida is getting heat for designing a confusing ballot, reminiscent of the "butterfly ballot" that so confused Palm Beach dolts in 2000. Can we just forget about punching holes and computer programs, and go back to marking an X next to the candidate? Wouldn't that be a heck of a lot easier?

Prop up Uday, the Iraqis lost!

Since the Iraqi soccer team lost their semifinal match to Paraquay today - and don't want the U.S. in their country - maybe we could make them feel at home when they return and whip and beat the losers like Uday Hussein used to do.

My ho done got silky hair!

I'm no frickin' genius, but I'm pretty sure that Advertising 101 involves product placement, putting your company's ad before the right audience. With this insider knowledge, you can see my confusion this afternoon at the gym upon seeing an Herbal Essence shampoo commercial on BET. Apparently there are thousands of 35-year-old white women with long, flowing strawberry blond hair watching the rap music video block. Who knew?

Monday, August 23, 2004

Daring to dream

Yes, the Red Sox have gained five games on the (bleeping) Yanks in less than a week. Yes, the Sox have won six in a row. But Boston Globe sports blogger Eric Wilbur is guaranteeing that Boston will win the division, and that's scary if not reckless. Let's not get too excited folks, there is still over a month to go and not only is the AL East in doubt but the Wild Card picture is even more cloudy.

Okay, still, for now it's fun to think that Boston could catch up and overtake New York. And, yes, I did put in for a week of vacation the week of the World Series before the season even began, thus putting myself up front in the jinx sweepstakes. I'll be as much to blame as Manny slipping on dry grass, and I'm not ready for the ride to end.

Stronger, Faster, Whinier

Not all Olympic athletes are beacons of good sportsmanship. In fact, Russia's Svetlana Khorkina proves you can be a real bitch as a loser.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

The XXVIII Olympiad

I'm just not feeling the excitement about this year's Olympic games as much as in the past. I think much of the ho-hum stems from the apathy by the Greeks and the lack of crowds at events, and NBC's coverage. In Sydney in 2000, the network spent a lot of time exploring the history and culture of Australia, something missing in 2004. This is astounding considering that Greece is one of the world's oldest civilizations and birthplace of the Olympics. Yet I don't remember seeing more than a minute or two spent outside the venues.

Of course, that's not to say that I can't get into these games at all; I'm still watching several hours a day. After all, only every four years can I get excited about watching the sports ticker to see if the U.S.A. is listed as a medal winner in women's double sculls!

There are plenty of "chill" moments, too, as many as you'd expect from the Olympics every time. Today I couldn't help but get excited as American Deena Kastor made a late move in the women's marathon just to get the bronze, and she cried happy tears crossing the finish line. Saturday night one of our women divers, Sara Hildebrand, was also in tears just qualifying for the top 16 in today's final. That's when you realize these athletes aren't just training four years to get here, but their entire lives revolve around being in Athens at that moment, and most know they'll never win but are just glad to be at the games. That's refreshing.

Burned but not broken

An inspiring story that stretches back to World War II of what man can endure and still find happiness: The town that didn't stare. (Hat tip: National Review's Andrew Stuttaford)

Where do you want to go today?

Fellow travelers (or those who wish they could do more if not for money and responsibilities), I point to you the Lonely Planet site. Every month I get the monthly email newsletter, Comet, which features interesting pointers and tidbits. My favorite comes from other readers who submit their own experiences, such as the travel-related Top 5 list.

Maybe I should start my own list, the Top Five Ways To Get Abnormally Ill Overseas, once I add on to my Brazil and Scotland ailments. Anyone volunteer to go with me to India and *gasp* drink the water?

Close Encounters of the Lethal Kind

It's Alien vs. Predator! Think Brigadoon without the singing. Or dancing. Actually, think of it more as "Star Trek," and all of the humans are wearing red shirts.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

This putt's for the bronze

I admit to a personal bias here, but why isn't one of the most internationally played sports, golf, an Olympic sport?

Rocket Red glare again?

On Friday we read an almost hidden yet tantalizing report that Roger Clemens was placed on waivers by Houston recently, and Boston made a claim before the Astros pulled the Rocket back. I've said some pretty ugly things to Clemens and how he played for the Red Sox in the mid 90s, but if he came back for the stretch run this year I can safely say that all would be forgiven, especially if it meant beating the (bleeping) Yankees in the playoffs, which I doubt Clemens wants to do. There's also the issue of retiring Clemens number, and the Red Sox require that a player be in the Hall of Fame and be a member of the Red Sox when he ends his career. Could this happen next year? Perhaps. Now that Dan Duquette is no longer GM of Boston, you have to think that helps Roger's decision. I would say that this is all speculation, but as a member of Red Sox Nation, it comes with the territory.

Pay attention to my important film about the human condition!

So before I see Alien vs. Predator there's a trailer for Evergreen. Did you ever notice that every indie movie trailer is the same? The most important part seems to be the choice of music, always this somber new wave alternative song that makes you wonder if the singer's on Prozac. Second, include poetic pictures of trees or abandoned industry. Third, always include a graphic showing that your movie won three "Palm d'pressing" awards at a film festival. Any dialogue in the preview must be between lost souls revealing that life isn't happy unless it's full of distressing experiences. Lastly, make sure you don't have a recognizable star so you can announce, "And introducing," Jane Doe as your star, in what critics are saying is a "striking breakout performance." Does that about cover it?

Stump this

Is there a more unlikeable namesake for a show than the Schwab of ESPN's "Stump the Schwab" trivia game? What a dick. Being a know-it-all is one thing. Watching a smug New Yorker know-it-all is unbearable.

How do you say "woof" in French?

I'm one of those right-wing "patriots" often criticized by the PC left for thinking that English should be the official language of the United States. At least I'm not in Canada, because I don't feel that dogs should be required to speak two languages.

Speaking of government over-reach, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to see that amateur video of the guy who was tasered by authorities for trying to get to his home a few days after Hurricane Charley had passed. Would you ever leave your home, even in the face of a hurricane, if you knew you would be forcibly kept from returning within a week?

Swift Lawyers for Suits

Based on yesterday's developments, it seems that if anyone can be connected with Bush through "Six Degrees of Political Separation," they're an evil Republican stooge. Back in April, Jack Exley, special projects director for MoveOn.org's political action committee, moved over to work for John Kerry's campaign, and nary a peep was heard. Is this how John Kerry plans on fighting his "sensitive war on terror," by filing suits against any terrorist who hurts his feelings?

Who knew that the maxim “If you don’t have anything nice to say, I'll sue you so you don't say anything at all,” applied to an American presidential campaign?

Really, this is just another example of Kerry trying to be The Green Berets to veterans and Apocalypse Now to the left-wing anti-war wackos.

Perhaps if the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had made their controversial ads into a documentary, I suppose Kerry would be more in support of their First Amendment rights?

By the way, if more than 250 people who served with Bush in the Air National Guard made similar charges as those against Kerry, do you think they might actually get coverage?

I want my Goobers

Okay, seriously, what's with all the movie theaters nixing Goobers from the concession stand? Less than a third of all cinemas include the precious chocolate-covered peanuts anymore. The generic kind might as well be Soylent Green because it's not an adequate substitute, so don't even bring that up. I usually stick with Twizzlers, a low-fat candy that makes mouths happy, but every once in a while it's nice to splurge on the Goobers in their familiar two-tone blue box. Is there an underground anti-Goober lobby I don't know about? Do they test on animals? Would that be a bad thing?

Bad Tom! Naughty Tom!

Review of Collateral now up, and it's positive.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Sexist pig alert, Olympic style

Sure, you could watch the Olympics for the world peace and the best athletes in the world. Or, like me, you could admire the babes in Athens. I totally have the hots for beach volleyball player and tall drink of water Kerri Walsh. Check her out on the court, her long hair braided up over her thin-but-not-skinny 6'2" frame flailing all over the sand. How bad is my crush? I've even googled her.

Stand and deliver

I don't know what's more pathetic, that this toilet is selling well, or that Euro-weenie men are permitting themselves to be shamed into allowing it in their homes.

Oui little French

I'm watching Olympic coverage right now on Bravo, specifically the team fencing semi-final between France and the U.S. The match was down to the final point to advance to the gold medal match, and the Frenchman got the touch for the win. Fine. It stinks to lose to France, but it's just fencing, right? Wrong. The fencer's reaction following the win summed up No. 5,003 why we should feel disgusted with France. Jumping up and down, he grabs his sword-thingy and aims it like a gun as if he's shooting the American he just defeated. Somehow I think that if the American took that to heart and charged after the French dude, the frog would turn and skeedaddle like the wee wussy country he represents. Next time, instead of wielding a sword, our guys should face the French waving bars of soap at them to ensure victory.

Flippity-floppity

John Kerry really makes it too easy for the Republicans to gather ammo on the Senator’s lies and flip-flops. On the topic of troop redeployment, this week Kerry told the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention:

“Finally, I want to say something about the plan that the President announced on Monday to withdraw 70,000 troops from Asia and Europe. Nobody wants to bring troops home more than those of us who have fought in foreign wars. But it needs to be done at the right time and in a sensible way. This is not that time or that way. Let’s be clear. The President’s vaguely stated plan does not strengthen our hand in the war on terror. It in no way relieves the strain on our overextended military personnel. It doesn’t even begin until 2006, and it takes ten years to achieve.”

That’s funny, waaaaaay back on August 1 John-John wasn’t nearly so sure that we should keep troops spread out worldwide:

“I will have significant enormous reduction in the level of troops. We will probably have a continued presence of some kind, certainly in the region if the diplomacy that I believe can be put in place can work, I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops not just there but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean peninsula, perhaps in Europe perhaps. There are great possibilities open to us.” (ABC’s “This Week,” 8/1/04)

Does it seem that the anti-Bush forces, including Kerry-Edwards, are now just for whatever Bush is against, and against whatever Bush is for? The Democrats' stance is like a game of "I know you are but what am I?"

Ole!

James Lileks is on a fashion kick this week, notably in a tizzy over a new Marshall Field’s catalog that features panchos among its new line. Panchos. Seriously. I thought it must just be a Minnesota thing, were Lileks lives, until I saw a two-page spread in my paper yesterday that featured the Mexican shawls as well. What’s next, the Urban Sombrero?

Hello? McFly!

On the way home from work tonight I couldn't believe my eyes when I beheld one of the rarer of cars nowadays, a DeLorean! Sure, it was considered a bust when it came out, but to auto enthusiasts the sports car surely is considered a classic by now. For everyone else, it brings up memories of Back to the Future. In fact, when I saw the car, I was tempted to follow the driver to his destination, then ask to see his flux capacitor. After all, how can he repair a paradox in the time-space continuum to save the world for Lea Thompson (mmmmm) unless the car has one? Well, that, and plutonium.

I feel so dirty

The stretch run of the Major League Baseball season has hit the "icky" stage. This is when you begin to root for teams you normally hate or don't care about, just to give your team an edge for a playoff run. Case in point, I found myself watching the Minnesota-New York series this week thinking, "It would be more helpful if the (bleeping) Yanks beat the Twins for us." (i.e. the Red Sox) Then I had to take a shower.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Quick! To the Senate Cave!

John Kerry said last week that he would have reacted more quickly and decisively than President Bush on Sept. 11 when the flights hit the towers in New York. Oh really? I would just like to point out his comments on "Larry King Live" way back on July 8 of this year:

I was in the Capitol. We'd just had a meeting - we'd just come into a leadership meeting in Tom Daschle's office, looking out at the Capitol. And as I came in, Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid were standing there, and we watched the second plane come in to the building. And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table and then we just realized nobody could think, and then boom, right behind us, we saw the cloud of explosion at the Pentagon. And then word came from the White House, they were evacuating, and we were to evacuate, and so we immediately began the evacuation.


Wow, that's some real leadership, Johnny boy. "Nobody could think."

Take all the good seats, will ya?

USA Today had an article Tuesday on the rough Olympics that ticket scalpers are having. The piece almost seems to be written as if I'm supposed to feel sorry for these idiots. Might I interject another thought: Boo-frickin'-hoo. I hope they suffer. I hope they go broke. Scalpers are rated on the Asshole Scale just above people who run scams after disasters, and Michael Moore.

Blah Blah Blah

Today's crappy fortune cookie: "Good fortune is always on your side." Yeah, thanks, I know that, but I don't want my cookies to give me self-affirming gobbledygook. I want a realistic fortune like, "You will pass by a cute brunette, yet find yourself unable to even voice the word 'hi.'"

Venting

The latest good Vents (registration required) posted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

- Amazing! The Democratic National Convention and Much Ado About Nothing playing simultaneously on TV.
- Watching the Democrats at their convention reminds me of a bunch of pirates gathering for mutual plunder and pillage and to split up the loot.
- A prediction: If the GOP has a ceremony in remembrance of 9/11 at their convention, hypocrite liberals will accuse them of "politicizing the tragedy."
- Would a newly elected President Kerry pardon Sandy Berger for stealing classified documents from the National Archives?
- The business world has really changed. My friend has sat at the same desk for four years but has worked for three different companies.
– The Olympic organizers should invest in cardboard cutouts of people to keep their venues from looking like a ‘70s Braves game.
– My sister was advised to invest wherever she found the greatest interest, so she got a breast enlargement.
– A recent ad for the Lingerie Mart advertises their back-to-school sale. My son wants to know where their customers attend school.
– My diet goal is to weight what my driver’s license says I weigh.
– The happiest ending in some movies is when those seated near you finish eating their popcorn.
– Is it true that the Greek Olympic mascots are named Phevos and Butt-head?
– They called them swift boats because John Kerry swiftly used them to get out of Vietnam with his nifty hero tales.
– Looking through my history books, I simply don’t find instances where nations planned the aftermath prior to engaging in war.
– I just saw that British scientists were given the go-ahead on human cloning. How soon can I put in my order for a Nicole Kidman?

Vents I Sent:

- All of the DNC speakers keep saying they want respect from a broad. Who is this chick, and why is she so important?
- The Democrats keep yelling that "hope is on the way," but hope won't keep the economy moving upward and hope won't protect us from terrorists.
- It seems fitting that Teresa Heinz Kerry's speech was slower than a newly opened bottle of ketchup.
- By now it's clear that the only candidate that gets the Democratic convention excited is George Bush, not John Kerry. I still haven't heard the speakers name Kerry by name. Ted Kennedy said the only thing we have to fear is "four more years of George Bush." I guess Teddy was stuck under a bridge somewhere on 9/11.
- Strange world we live in when Iraq and Afghanistan get more applause at the Olympic Opening Ceremony than the country that liberated them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Kerry '04: The photo ops are priceless!

Who am I? Why am I here?

It's a brave new world for the Jeffster! For years I've had everything on my Geocities sites, but keeping up with my blog will be much easier here. The final inspiration came from Steven, who transferred his sports thoughts to Blogger. I'll keep all of my travelogues and pictures and essays and movie reviews on my home on Geocities. Day-to-day thoughts on life, sports and politics are now going to be posted here. All pre-Blogger posts will be kept at the Geocities archive.

I've always kept a blog and my site for family and friends, and if anyone else stops by I welcome them with open arms. This will especially work if, like me, you live in Georgia, root for the Red Sox and plan on voting for President Bush in November.

(Okay, that's just weird. I just performed my first spell check on the system, and it recognized neither "blog" nor "Blogger." C'mon spell check, this is your home!)

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Staples

Dr. Bob Griffin, Christian pastor and humorist, was talking about American food favorites last week in the event of the death of chef Julia Childs. She once listed as the top ten American foods that represented the 20th century:

1. Apple Pie
2. Barbecued Spare Ribs
3. Chili
4. Chocolate-chip Cookies
5. Fried Chicken
6. Hamburger/Cheeseburger
7. Jello
8. Macaroni & Cheese
9. Pancakes
10. Pizza

This is as good an opportunity for me to give thanks to my favorite foods, namely those made nightly by my loving mother, an excellent cook: Potato salad, tuna casserole, Super Bowl chili, barbecue chicken, liver and onions (yes, you hear me!), brownies, nachos with Rotel cheese dip and countless other dishes I can still smell. I should also mention Mom-Mom's biscuits and her spaghetti, and Nana's cornbread, vegetable soup and my favorite meal when visiting her in Memphis (hamburger steak with onions, wild rice, mashed potatoes and green peas). Also, I think Childs should have included the hot dog with the hamburger/cheeseburger listing as the same sort of American staple.