Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Crazy in love

New science says that romantic love affects people's brains much the same as hunger, thirst and cravings for drugs:

"When you're in the throes of this romantic love it's overwhelming, you're out of control, you're irrational," researcher Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., told the New York Times.
You’ll do to things like eat at restaurants without super-sizing and watch movies where people kiss. It’s total madness.

"When rejected, some people contemplate stalking, homicide, suicide. This drive for romantic love can be stronger than the will to live."
Or they quit their fantasy NBA league and watch Basic Instinct six times. To each his/her own.

"This drive for romantic love can be stronger than the will to live," Fisher said.
So can rooting for the Red Sox, but you don’t see me jumping off a bridge when they lose … much.

She and other researchers, reporting in The Journal of Neurophysiology, used functional magnetic resonance imaging to generate 2,500 brain scans of 17 recently in-love college students.
Seventeen college kids? Are the researchers sure this isn’t a reaction from eating too many worms during last night’s drinking binge?

They measured neural responses to pictures of each student's love interest and an acquaintance. People in love had greater activity in the brain area that makes or receives dopamine, which increases when people desire or wish for a reward.
Show me a picture of a smokin’ co-ed and you’ll get one heck of a response, too, and not just neural, if you know what I mean.

Separate parts of the brain control sexual arousal and long-term commitment, researchers said.
Let’s break it down honestly: 90% of the brain - Sexual arousal. 8% - Baseball. 1.99% - Pizza. .01% - Long-term commitment.

The game is strong with this one

I don't think Darth Vader has much common sense. I'm playing the Sith Sense game, SPONSORED BY BURGER KING, and it took a lot longer for him to guess I was thinking of a mug than I would have thought. Around question eight it seemed to click, but then he went a different direction, yet he's insulting me the entire time. Finally, by question 17 the odd stalker Burger King dude shows up and "gives" Vader the answer, as if Vader wouldn't just crush the creepy King's throat like we all wish he would.

Monday, May 30, 2005

It's Just Jeff

National dating service It's Just Lunch purports to have the answers to the on-the-go singles lifestyle. Yeah, right. Them and a million other dating services who think they can set me up. I defy them to figure it out! Let's analyze these "must-know" tips for first dates It's Just Lunch came up with:

1. Know current events.

This is why I love working in the news. People claim they hate 24-hour coverage of crane man, but it's fun to talk about, everyone has an opinion and no one will lose sleep over it. For example, should they have shot him down with a tranquilizer dart, or bullets?

2. Know what sport is in season, and know the name of your team.

I'm pretty sure this is for the ladies, because a comparable demand for men would be "Know what fashion is in season, and know one designer." My answers: I don't know and I don't care. This is why I can't fault women for not knowing that much about sports, so long as they're willing to go to a game once in a while and tolerate it when I watch the Red Sox on television. Feel free to go shopping. Still, the site has a poll showing that 74% of single women think baseball games are a great place to meet men. Strange, because I’ve never seen a woman at a game who wasn’t already with a guy, so I’m calling this a bald-faced lie.

3. Have at least heard of three of the New York Times best sellers.

Not only have I not read any of the best sellers, I have heard of only one on the hardcover nonfiction list, "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. Not that it matters. Any woman I date should just have to read the Red Sox media guide.

4. Know how to correctly pronounce the last place you traveled.

What, "Chapel Hill" is exotic? "Memphis" is Egyptian, at least. I was in "St. Petersburg" last month (Florida, not Russia), so that counts, right? Where are these people traveling? Somewhere way out there and foreign, I suppose, like "North Dakota."

5. Know the difference between a Cabernet and a Chardonnay.

Are you kidding? I don't even know the contrast between Sprite and 7-Up.

6. Have at least one interesting piece of trivia to talk about.

Ever heard of Cliff Clavin? He didn't have much luck dating, and he had plenty of interesting trivia. I don't think women want to talk about the kinds of things I think about. For instance, did you know that “sequoia” is the shortest word that has all five vowels? That “facetious” is the shortest with the vowels in order? Do you care? How about in The Empire Strikes Back, some of the asteroids in the distance are potatoes. Interesting? Hello?

7. Know how to tell one joke well.

I don't know any jokes, and tell them worse. If I did, they would no doubt be naughty limericks, so we're better off relying on my sarcasm and pop culture quotes. I hope she's a fan of Ghostbusters and Major League.

8. Know the big art scene in your area.

Yeah, because nothing starts a relationship off right like staring at sculpture of a soccer ball trapped in metal. Or a picture of Elton John. Here’s the enlightening conversation: “What the frack?” “It sucks.”

9. If the restaurant menu is stumping you, just point.

What, like I don't know what a grilled cheese sandwich is? I'm pretty sure I can find tater tots on the menu, too.

10. Know where you parked your car.

Is this a problem? If yes, then you have more to worry about than dating. Dude, just use valet parking if the world's too complicated to find your car in the lot. Then again, I drive an Aztek, so I can find my automobile in a satellite picture two-thousand miles up in space. If you do have this problem, might I suggest buying a car with big red lights flashing on top. It’s a conversation starter, if nothing else.

(Link courtesy Craig Wilson of USA Today.)

Working man's holiday

Sure, I could be bitter that's a holiday for most everyone else and I'm still at work. Considering it's 60 degrees and raining I'm not missing much, and that's some consolation.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

No, seriously ... Jeff's Briefs

- I’m not entirely freaking out that the Red Sox are, well, [vigorously inhaling] lately, even as the pitching staff couldn’t hit a batter’s [rear end] if they were standing on the plate and Boston's hitters couldn’t make contact with a beach ball. At this point I'm hoping they trade for Nomar, then trade him again in July in hopes of a similar spark as last summer. One reason for the slump, perhaps, is that Boston has played the least amount of home games than any other Major League team (19 out of 48 as of Saturday). There could be some bad voodoo from this, since their current home attendance stands at 666,894. But the Red Sox also prove that Red Sox Nation extends wide and far, since they lead the majors in road attendance, meaning they bring out more fans across the country than any other, including the Dang Yankees. (Nyah!) Speaking of, Boston won their biggest rout ever against the Dang Yanks Saturday, so there's plenty to look forward to.

- Some news from the animal science front: Brain surgeons will begin treating patients who have one of the most deadly forms of brain cancer-using a substance derived from scorpion poison, while the FDA approved a new diabetes treatment that is extracted from the saliva of the Gila monster. What's next, "tapeworms help weight loss"? Well, okay then, implant away!

- A co-worker introduced me to the scrum-dilly-umptious crispy delights known as taquitos. Curse him! Now I need to buy an extra freezer to hold all the Mexican treats, which are obviously better than Mexican candy, that are apparently no es bueno.

- Canadians on Prince Edward Island are no longer allowed to kill themselves except weekdays between 9 and 5. The province is shutting it’s 24-hour suicide hotline to save money, not lives.

- Headline: FDA probes blindness among Viagra users. Are there also complaints about hairy palms and an unnatural desire to watch science-fiction?

- A flower long thought to be extinct was rediscovered in a California state park -- more than six decades after it was last seen. Environmentalists immediately blamed President Bush for not doing enough to protect the flower.

- Motley Crue is suing NBC after being banned for cursing on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno. NBC is expected to use the solid “Tough Sh*t, It’s Our Show” defense.

- If it's true that former Tennessee senator (and actor) Fred Thompson is considering running or being drafted to run for president in 2008, count me in!

- Apparently even the open-minded folks in Massachusetts have their limits, denying two male prison inmates the right to marry. Each other.

- In my tally of the left-wing's rabid politics, I left out one of the most outrageous. Earlier this spring the Harvard Office of Career Services hosted a counterterrorism career panel that included representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and two non-partisan security think tanks. A group of rude protesters disrupted the event in every way we're accustomed to, from trying to yell over a speaker's comments, asking inane questions and ridiculing students who took the event seriously. But that wasn't enough for one protester, who made himself vomit. Yes, that's right, the future leaders of America, those elite Harvard grads, include one whose idea of political discourse is yakking in a public meeting. How civil.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Back to normal. Meaning: nothing to do.

I lied about not having any pictures from last week's vacation. I did pull out the camera in Jasper, my opening stop on the trip. The first picture is of me and Patrick on the links, the second is at the Rider abode with Patrick, Caroline and Julie, who since has given birth to Eli.

River Bend calls itself the "most scenic course" in Alabama. I don't see it, what with all the trees and hills in the way.

Errands today. A Target run for the Team America DVD, the big & tall store for new undershirts (they don't have boxer briefs? WTF?), Publix and then searching for a locksmith. I need my passport to enter the lottery for Ryder Cup tickets in Ireland next year, where Dad and I plan on going no matter what, but the little safe where I keep mine is locked and I lost the key. I looked up a locksmith in the yellow pages, got directions and headed out, but it turns out that the address was the owner's house, and his company only makes service calls. No way am I paying 55 bucks to get this little safe open. Instead, I'll have to use dynamite like it's the hatch on "Lost," but hopefully I won't suffer Arzt's fate.

This weekend is a Memorial Day holiday, too (Which many of you know since you'll have Monday off. Bastards.). On the way home I stopped off at the Marietta National Cemetery where the Boy Scouts have planted flags for the thousands of veterans in their final resting place, whether known or as the picture shows, unknown to history. The cemetery is 139 years old and holds 18,000 veterans from 23 states.

Now, back to the Return of the Jedi commentary, then Episodes I and II again, because it's Saturday night, and "surprisingly" I don't have any plans. Tomorrow I hit the golf course, and unlock the mystery of my safe.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Jeff, the Sith and the Cookie

Today’s fortune cookie: “Isolating yourself from others will not prevent you from being hurt.” Ouch. That one stings.

I was all set to write a post about how all you folks with family obligations can’t just do whatever you want on a whim, like how I went to the 10:30 showing of Revenge of the Sith after work Thursday night, but dang, that cookie’s totally calling me out!

As for the movie, I decided that I liked the film better the second time. It’s like how when you work in TV news, the first couple of shows fly by and elements are coming fast and furious, but each subsequent show seems to slow down and you find plenty of time to catch all of the distinctions.

Still, I prefer the entire original trilogy first. Why? Because the same things I don’t like didn’t get any better. My eyes nearly rolled clear out of my head when Padme tells Anakin that she wishes they were back on Naboo, “When all we had was our love.” Gross.

I didn’t say anything in my review, since I might have been overly-picky by mentioning it, but no, I have to say this: Sam Jackson’s performance is the worst of all. He acts like someone’s off camera saying, “Okay, you’re tough yet wise, and .. go!” He’s acting! He’s a Master Thespian! Then again, I'm The Guy who still really likes Return of the Jedi and the Ewoks, so who am I to judge?

But I also realized that Anakin’s transformation wasn’t quite so out of the blue. I noticed more of the brainwashing by Palpatine, who could sell ice to Eskimos. Plus, the Jedi really have their downfall coming to them, between the Vlucan-like denial of feelings and moral relativism. “Only Sith deal in absolutes,” Obi-Wan tells Anakin. Really? Is that absolutely true?

The best part of going to the theater actually came before the movie, when I got to see the full trailer for the adaptation of C.S. Lewis classic novel, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I’ll just say this: It should fill the void left by Lord of the Rings quite nicely. It doesn’t come out until December 9, so no rush.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Politics makes bitter bedfellows

Scott finally got fed up with the calls by left-wingers that Republicans are fascists.

This would be a good time to note that I’ve been jotting this down for the past month, and have no shortage of comments from liberals that equate conservatives with evil. Here’s the state of politics in America from the left:

- New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg compared Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to Emperor Palpatine of Revenge of the Sith.

- Northern Virginia Congressman Jim Moran reportedly called Vice President Cheney an “ass-kisser,” adding that President Bush doesn’t read books, only reads the sports section of the newspaper and surrounds himself with people who just tell him what he wants to hear.

- Sen. John Corzine, D-NJ, said Cheney had "a virtual career of disdain for Social Security," and compared his appearances to support reform to sending Saddam Hussein to campaign for democracy in Iraq.

- Former president Clinton unleashed an attack against a gay Republican strategist who has plans to work against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's re-election, suggesting that the man may be "self-loathing" to work on behalf of the Republican Party.

- Conservative columnists David Horowitz, Bill Kristol, sexy Ann Coulter and loony conservative Pat Buchanan were all targeted by either pies or, in the case of the latter, salad dressing, while speaking on stage at college events.

- The editor of Playgirl magazine was fired after admitting she was a Republican.

- Chuck Schumer called the head of the conservative Christian Family Research Council ”un-American”. You can’t criticize others’ patriotism!

- Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado referred to Focus on the Family and its founder James Dobson as "the Antichrist."

- At a job fair for UC Santa Cruz students, over one-hundred anti-war protesters shouted and banged on windows and demanding that military recruiters leave.

- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada told a high school class that the president is a ”loser”.

- Howard Dean is a one-man anti-Republican machine, and has said so over and over since he was elected DNC chairman. Dean said that he “hates Republicans” and said his opponents are "brain-dead".

- "We're going to use Terri Schiavo later on," Howard Dean told a gay-rights group, adding, "we're going to have an ad with a picture of Tom DeLay saying, 'Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not?'"

- Meeting with the DNC’s Black Caucus, he “joked”: “You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here.”

- In Tennessee, Dean got religion, but only for Democrats. At first he said Jesus' directive to ''love thy neighbor'' didn't mean one could choose which ones to love. He then remarked that Republicans never brought up the scriptural verse saying it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. ''We should never let anybody tell us we don't respect faith,'' he said. OpinionJournal.com points out that Dean has had a change of heart regarding the “love thy neighbor” verse, considering that during the campaign in January 2004 he yelled at an Iowan that “George Bush is not my neighbor,” then told the voter to sit down and shut up.

- Columbia College in Chicago put on an "art" exhibit which featured stamps designed by artists, one of which was a picture of President Bush with a gun to his head.

- Liberal knick-knacks and apparel items on sale include t-shirts that say ”Kill Bush” in a parody of the Kill Bill movies, plus shirts with pictures of Bush holding a gun to his head.

- An Oregon inn called Ocean Haven declares ”WE WELCOME DIVERSITY”, unless, of course, you disagree with them. Then, well, I’ll let them say it: “FOR REASONS OF HEALTH & SAFETY OCEAN HAVEN CANNOT ACCOMMODATE SMOKERS, PETS, FOLKS TRAVELING IN A HUMMER, OR FOLKS WHO VOTED FOR BUSH & HIS NATURE DESTRUCTIVE POLICIES.” (Update: Oops. This is what it used to say. Now the "voted for Bush" part has been removed.)

If you can't say something nice ...

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

- Dear Lord, if you can’t make me skinny, please make my friends fat.
- I’ll never forgive the class of ’63 for voting me Most Likely to Carry a Grudge.
- Diversity is being able to celebrate our differences without being allowed to talk about them.
- My fiancĂ© calls those lower back tattoos “Tramp Stamps.”
- Radio commercials should not be allowed to use car horns. One of these days it may cause a real wreck.
- Never trust a doctor who doesn’t have all his hubcaps on his car.
- Having a designated smoking area in a restaurant is like having a designated peeing area in a pool.
- (In response to a new slogan contest for the city) … Atlanta: People Change Planes Here!
- Atlanta: Where it is considered impolite not to return fire.
- And here I always figured Saddam Hussein was more a boxers than a briefs kinda despot.
- Anyone offended by a picture of a murderer in his underwear needs to watch an episode of “Cops.”
- Do you get annoyed with people who answer their own questions? I know I do.

Vents I Sent:

- You can always tell a liberal venter by their nuanced “I’m open-minded, you’re a stupid jerk” approach to political discourse.
- I don’t get it. Isn't the job of the U.S. ambassador to serve America’s interests, not the U.N.’s?
- You know you're drinking too much coffee when your birthday is a national holiday in Colombia.
- Toilets don't kill people, fanatics do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dear diary ...

A couple of personal observations to start the day (yes, “start,” at 2:15 p.m.):

- I didn’t watch my tape of “American Idol” last night. Instead I watched the commentary of Star Wars (Episode IV). I’ve been rooting for both Carrie and Bo since day one of the pop show, but I know what they bring to the table and don’t care who wins, so why bother? Tonight I’m recording the two-hour finale to “Lost,” so I will have to find out who won “Idol” later. This weekend, though, I’ll watch my tape of the two-hour special, “Rob and Amber Get More Prime Time Exposure,” or whatever it’s called.

- Monday at the gym, I had hopped on the elliptical crosstrainer for thirty seconds when the woman next to me asks if I wouldn't mind moving to another one across the room so that her just-arrived friend could workout with her. I smiled and said I understood, but was more angry and embarrassed than I let on. That woman has never even acknowledged my existence in all the months before this, and for her to smile and flap her eyelashes at me was insulting. As for the embarrassing, the room was packed, so I felt like the goofy kid sitting alone in the lunchroom at school who is asked to move so the cool kids could sit at that table. Now you see why I feel worse at the gym than I think I should, considering the purpose of the facility.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

At least they could spank students without the ACLU showing up

Hey teachers, it could be worse:


1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys, and trim wicks.

2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and scuttle of coal for the day's sessions.

3. Make your pens carefully: you may whittle nibs to the individual taste of pupils.

4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

5. After 10 hours in school, the teachers spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

7. Each teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.

8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or get shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intentions, integrity and honesty.

9. The teacher who performs his labors faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of 25 cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.

--Winifred Nordquist, New York City Principal, 1872

(Courtesy Grif.net.)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Back home, I am

Today's fortune cookie: "The joyfulness of a man prolongs his day."

So is that why today is flying by?

Kidding. I'm fine and dandy. I'm just in that post-vacation mood where my response to any stimuli is "Whatever."

Traffic's heavy? Whatever. Work to catch up on? Whatever. Saw Superman pull a man out of a burning building as three leather-clad super villains rampaged through downtown? Whatever.

I arrived in Atlanta just after 8 p.m. last night, not quite rested and not ready to get back to work today, but I didn't have a choice, did I? Know what helps? Watching the DVD of Empire Strikes Back before bed, and the commentary when I woke up.

Yep, I'm still in that Star Wars mood. I've had the Revenge of the Sith score in my car CD player since New Albany, Miss., last Saturday when I bought it at Wally World.

I didn't pull out my camera on this trip, so there won't be any pictures, but I can toss out a few highlights outside of the Star Wars entry a few days ago.

Sat., May 14 - Jasper, Ala., played golf with Patrick and wondered just how big Julie's belly has to be before Eli pops out. The course we played, River Bend, calls itself "Alabama's most scenic," and I won't debate that. It's so hilly even socially active Patrick said a cart is necessary. Several tee boxes are one- to two-hundred yards above the green or fairway, and there are blind spots around every bend and over every hill, most surrounded by water. Since I hadn't played the course before, and the fairways were hard as concrete from the lack of rain, I wasn't pissy about shooting an 84, a few strokes better than my playing partner.

Mon., May 16 - Took Nana to Olive Garden for lunch. She had Eggplant Parmesan. Good for her, and I think any meal goes well with something called Parmesan, but eggplant?

That night I went with Sydney to Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar to watch the Red Sox game (against Oakland) and play trivia. She put up both with being really cold (that's what you get for getting all skinny!) and with my arrogance, winning six of the eight rounds, two of which I missed questions either from starting late or a faulty box. Steve stopped by the last hour of the game, and played a respectable round of trivia, finishing sixth out of a dozen, considering he'd never played the game before.

Tue., May 17 - Met Eric (of EricandLeah) for golf at Audubon. I started off horribly, and lost by a stroke. Yep, he beat me. For some reason it's not in the largest font possible on his blog. He deserves it, especially since I bogeyed the par-five 17 and doubled the 18th to finish.

Wed., May 18 - All about Star Wars, as written before.

Thur., May 19 - Drove to Chapel Hill for the weekend. Karla was already there with little ones Gavin and Evie, all cute and stuff as usual. Dang little children and their ability to look adorable no matter what!

Fri., May 20 - No golf. Henry Horton State Park was packed, so I settled for the driving range. Naturally, I hit much better than the two rounds earlier in the week.

Sat., May 21 - Cookout at the Harville plantation high on the hill for cousin Jake's graduation. Now he's got his engineering degree and will start traveling around the country three, four, five days a week, which is super cool.

Stacy and Joe met us afterwards, with Gabriel and Nate ready to get all the attention. (But we love their parents, too! They just don't cuddle as well or smell like baby.)

Sun., May 22 - Time to go home. That's it. Driving. Driving. Krystals. Driving. Not driving.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Saddam's Candid Camera

I guess we’re supposed to be outraged by the picture of Saddam Hussein in his skivvies.

Hogwash. I want an entire set of Embarrassing Saddam Photos:

- Saddam on the toilet.

- His stained shirt after a messy plate of spaghetti.

- Unable to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

- Sitting alone for dinner after getting stood up by Chemical Ali.

- Choking his chicken to To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.

- Missing a six-inch putt for bogey.

- Drooling on his pillow.

- Knitting a pair of gloves, but the right one only has four fingers, so the MPs make it that he can fit in it.

- Double-dipping chips and salsa.

- Picking the Brewers to win the World Series.

- Stepping on a bag full of crap pranksters left burning on his cell’s doorstep.

- Confronted by the family of a Kurd he gassed to death. (Oh, sorry, I got all serious on you.)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Midnight Madness

Do not be afraid, because fear leads to the Dark Side of the review for Revenge of the Sith. I found some negatives, but the movie is still very much worth seeing and enjoying as an end to the Star Wars era (until the "Very Special Sith Christmas Special" this winter).

As for the experience, it wasn't quite the same as Episodes I and II.

Steve bought our tickets a week ago, so it's not like there was any doubt we'd see the midnight showing. Showing impressive foresight he bought three tickets, allowing fellow Union alum and TV guru Brent to join us. Problem is, they both worked until 10:30 p.m.

I, on the other hand, arrived at the Stage Cinema at 8 p.m., thinking I'd be around 20 or 30th in line. Wrong. I was first. Again. Just like Episode I when we got there at Noon (we were in the top ten in Nashville for Ep. II at 6 p.m.).

So I went back to my car and read for a half-hour, then sat at the top of the ramp across from the theater for the next three hours. I was the only one in this line (there was another on the other side of the theater) until almost 10 o'clock, and then they let us in the theater at 11. I ended up going into the theater alone, since Steve arrived about 11:15 and Brent followed ten minutes later, so I was That Guy holding seats with a jacket and magazine. If anyone asked, I just replied tersely, "You get here four hours ahead of time, you get to choose your seats, too.")

We were about three rows up in the stadium seating, just high enough so we didn't have to look up, and low enough to catch the sound and see all screen instead of seeing a bunch of audience heads bobbing around.

Unlike Episode I, also, we didn't get right back in line at 3 a.m. and see the movie again. Getting older, we must be. In fact, it's now two days later and I still haven't seen the movie again. I know, it's crazy! But there aren't any screens in Chapel Hill!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Later Taters, part two

(Had to repost this after spammers left over seventy comments. To comment you must be registered with Blogger now. Sorry. Stupid technology.)

The schedule:

Saturday A.M. - Drive to Jasper, Ala., play golf with Patrick

Saturday P.M. - Drive to Memphis, stay with Nana

Sunday through Wednesday - Fool around and stuff with friends and family, play golf

Wednesday P.M. - Revenge of the Sith midnight show, leave Stormtrooper outfit at home

Thursday - Drive to Chapel Hill, Tenn., yell at local drivers

Friday - Most likely a round of golf, maybe raise a barn, but probably golf

Saturday - Cookout at Uncle Cliff's country estate, see Episode III with Stacy and Stephanie

Sunday - Home to Atlanta, whine about going back to work the next day

Crude and rude: Jeff's briefs

- In this month’s Lark News, a man evades his religious spirit by going to a bar. I find that similarly, I’m able to lose mine while eating wings, playing trivia and watching the Red Sox.

- Okay, so I checked to see what the government thinks should be my new food pyramid, and I have to note the absence of chicken wings and pizza. You think I’m being silly, but it’s a fact that pizza saves lives.

- If you don't live in an area where allergies get the best of 99 percent of residents, you might not understand the havoc wreaked by pollen. Look at this way: A pollen count of 120 or higher is "extremely high". A couple of weeks ago, the count in Atlanta was considered 5,262.

- This made me say “neato.” The folks at vfxblog+ are into digital effects in films, and show photographic proof of work such as in Fever Pitch (my review), showing how the filmmakers made Fenway Park look like it did twenty years ago, such as removing the Green Monster seats.

- Proving that women of all species are liars, liars, pants on fire when they say “size doesn’t matter,” scientists found that female fish choose males with larger sexual organs. BUT, those big-genitaled males had better spawn quickly, because researchers also found that such males were slower to escape potential predators because of their big fish wangs. So nah! Take that, and remember it well if you’re drunk one night and break into an aquarium to get freaky with a halibut.

- If you're a real American and think other countries are for poor people with funny accents, take the challenge at the Geography Olympics and show the world that we know our stuff. If you don’t, then, um, don’t. You’ll just drag us down. Or have an Almanac handy.

- Sure, the Pope stuff was a month ago, but the transition was cool to study, so here’s a lesson. The word ”Pontiff” is a take on the word pontifex, which in Latin comes from "pontem faciens," meaning "bridge maker." The title originated in Roman times, according to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Emperors were usually designated pontifex maximus, or the highest priest of the Roman religion. However, when Christianity became firmly established, popes assumed the title and are therefore known as the supreme pontiffs of the Roman Catholic Church.

- I don’t know about you, but if I saw the overhead sign saying “speed limit 100 mph go go go", I think I’d be immune from any traffic cops down the road.

- Know what slays me? The guys who ride these dorky "pocket bikes" get a lot more dates than I do. (Or, to be picky, "get dates.")

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hot Irish women, and how to woo them

Macaulay Culkin starred in a movie that made half a billion dollars worldwide, slept in Michael Jackson's bed, married actress Rachel Miner, got divorced, and he's just 24 years old.

What the H-E-doublehockeysticks have I done in my 29 years?

Picking up more seriously on the post below, when I see myself in the future, I'm healthy and happy. So if I'm going to get healthy (read: lose weight), why not start now? If not, when? I go to the gym five days a week already, meaning if I had dieted just a little bit since I joined in July I would be down 50 pounds at worst, 75 at best.

My original goal was to be down to 225 by my 30th birthday. Now it's to lose a little to squeeze more comfortably into the airline seat for July's flight to Texas, then a little more by my birthday and then to 225 by September '06 when I'm going to Ireland with Dad.

I feel that goals should be attainable, so with a skinnier body I’m going to pick up hot Irish chicks with awesome accents, and do it confidently (even if they’re slogged on six pints of Guinness). No one needs to tell them about my Neil Diamond CDs or Eeyore collection, or that I get excited watching Animal Planet.

Thoughts from the sweatshop

Previously on What Is Jeff Thinking?, we squeaked our cart around the supermarket. In my second installment we’ll go downstairs to the gym, the Turner Athletic Club, where I work out five days a week, Monday through Friday.

“Great, a hot chick just hopped on the treadmill behind me. How am I supposed to pull the boxer briefs out of my butt ten times a minute while I’m riding the crosstrainer?”

“Someone needs to call Israel's customer service department. I just found one of their lost tribes, the Tribe of Unattainable Women. Seriously, I don’t think any guy anywhere has a chance with the smokin’ bods on the women in this place. I feel fatter.”

"If anything, joining the gym at work has lowered my self-esteem. There are that many more women to ignore me and buff guys making me feel inadequate."

“Why do I delude myself? I can't impress women here with my job. Elsewhere it sounds cool and gets attention. At the Turner Athletic Club, though, everyone is an employee of Time Warner and doesn't give a flip what I do for CNN. “

"Do some people really need a steam room to sweat?"

“Do all six of the televisions have to be on soaps and news? Can we spare one for ESPN? Would turning on the Food Network be inappropriate, like taunting exercisers?”

“I could use the pool again. Swimming’s a great workout, but I’m afraid that if I’m sitting on the edge someone will try to push me back in like a freakin’ beached whale.”

"Always add more weight before walking away. That way the next person will think I did more than I really did."

“Whew. That was a great workout. Now I can eat at the Chinese to-go place and not feel guilty. Steamed rice, though, not fried, so I don’t gain all the weight back until I have Arby’s for dinner.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ticket tape parade

How great is Steven? Even through illness he slogged to get our tickets for next week's midnight showing of Star Wars Episode III. Sweet.

For old times' nostalgia's sake, we're watching the debut at the Stage Cinema where we saw Episode I six long years ago.

Roger that

Roger Clemens earned his 330th win Monday night, moving him into sole possession of ninth place on the all-time list.

Want to see just how much the game has changed since its early days?

The next pitcher for Clemens to catch is Tim Keefe, who finished his career with 342 victories. Keefe played from 1880 to 1893 and played in 600 games, starting 594 of them. Clemens is in his 21st season, yet has played just 640 games, starting 639 times.

In 1883, Keefe started 68 games, and completed all of them. Meanwhile, Clemens has never started more than 36 games in a season, and the most complete games was that same year, 18, in 1987.

This isn't to look down on Clemens (though the way he's treated Red Sox fans since he left is enough), but to show how the strongest horse, so to speak, of the last 25 years compares with his predecessors in the Hall of Fame.

By the way, in that 1883 season, Keefe was 41-27 with a 2.41 ERA.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Amazing finale

Last week on Cheerio, Racers, the old farts finally petered out and were eliminated, only to go back to a happy home, loving family and respect from their peers. So I’m 0-for-3 on all that, but that’s why I have a blog to make fun of everyone.

Before the two-hour finale begins, let's take one more run through this season's teams, made up of some of the most likable teams, but also some of the most obnoxious **coughFrickandFrackcough**:

x - Debbie and Bianca, a.k.a. Anti-American Bitches
Uchenna and Joyce, a.k.a. Infertile Pink Slips
x - Lynn and Alex, a.k.a. Frick and Frack, a.k.a. Happy Boys
Rob and Amber
x - Ryan and Chuck, a.k.a. Git-R-Done
x- Megan and Heidi, a.k.a. Barbie Twins
Meredith and Gretchen, a.k.a. Bait
x - Brian and Greg, a.k.a. Team Which Is Which?
x - Ray and Deana, a.k.a. Ray-san and Deana-san
x - Susan and Patrick, a.k.a. Jealous Much?
Ron and Kelly, a.k.a. All-America (And They Know It)

Sure, it seems like there is an obvious coronation of Rob and Amber as winners, what with their wedding on CBS in a couple of weeks, but would it be so bad if they won? The "Survivor" vets were the best team in the Race, enjoyed it as much as anyone and took any difficulty in stride. Even when the teams were bunched (DRINK!), Rob/Amber kept coming out first.

So you can see why I'd be so upset at a team like Lynn and Alex, who not only felt they were the best people in the Race, but in every city they visited, constantly belittling the countries. Want to read something even more obnoxious? You know already that they compared themselves to Rob and Amber the entire Race, and unfortunately did so after their elimination. In the interviews available on The Amazing Race 7 site, as reported by Television Without Pity, they used the term "Amberexia," because, you know, the gay dudes know what women should be like.

Now, let's Race! Because we're in this to see a winner! Except Uchenna and Joyce, of course, who are making friends and singing campfire songs with marshmallows dangling from sticks over the fire, because they're totally bigger than this "competition" thingy. Still, I adore them. If anyone deserves the money, it's them. But I hope whoever wins does so by strategy and not luck like last season's decisive cab rides.

Still in London, the teams depart Tower Bridge and the Pit Stop, during which the teams are seen talking smack.

2:47 a.m. Rob and Amber are told to fly to Kingston, Jamaica, take a taxi to Frenchman's Cove and get their next Clue Clear Directions.

Naturally, the teams will bunch up (DRINK!), because the flight to Jamaica is at 12:40 P.M.

4:26 a.m. Ron and Kelly get their directions. As usual, they're talking all lovey-dovey at the start, and it will last approximately fifteen minutes. Will he say something full of testosterone? Will she call him a moron? Stay tuned!

4:41 a.m. Uchenna and Joyce are off to the airport. They figure out the first flight is 12:40 like the rest. (Apparently no one even looked at connecting flights, or this direct flight really was fastest.)

There's plenty of time to talk at the airport. Ron says he doesn't want to commit, fearing loss of control. Kelly still says she hopes it works out, because the writing on the wall? In invisible ink.

Hey mon, welcome to Jamaica! It's nighttime, so this could be a wasted day. In the taxi, Ron calls Jamaica a Third World country, so I hope he doesn't go back to visit anymore.

Road Block! They're going to dance the limbo! Teams get eight chances to go low, and how low you go determines what time you get to leave the beach in the morning, in fifteen minute increments.

All the women take the Limbo Block, and are pretty nimble. Amber is first to complete the limbo and gets to leave first at the first time at 8:15, joined by Kelly, but Uchenna isn't so bendable and has to wait until 8:30 to leave.

Waiting on the beach, Amber shows that she's a player in this game, saying that she hopes she and Rob can use the relationship problems between the Bickersons to their advantage. Meanwhile, Kelly thinks Rob and Amber are scared of them, but really, I think we're all scared that Kelly might bitch some more.

At 8:15, Rob/Amber and Ron/Kelly grab taxis. 8:30, Uchenna and Joyce do likewise.

Detour! Teams choose between river activities, Raft It down the river or Build It, building a bamboo raft and cross the river and climb a hill to get the next Clear Directions.

Rob/Amber choose to build, and Ron/Kelly waffle before building. Uchenna and Joyce join them to build, too. (DRINK!) Uchenna's got gloves, so that's smart. Rob? Shunning gloves. See, he's a pro construction guy, so he can the pain! He needs the pain! He hasn't got time for the pain!

Rob/Amber and Ron/Kelly are getting caught by Uchenna and Joyce after a while, as the latter breeze through the building. Like Amber predicted, Ron and Kelly are bitching at one another. Rob/Amber and Uchenna/Joyce are first in the water and across the river and up the rope (then sliding down like Romancing the Stone. Fun!). Ron and Kelly? Not so much with the crossing.

Back across, Rob nearly loses a sneaker then his legs to Uchenna/Joyce's oncoming raft. I think if he lost the Sox cap it would be more of a detriment to their chances.

The next Clear Directions say to go 80 miles to Montego Bay and a 100-acre villa where the 11th Pit Stop is located. I think we all know there won't be elimination, since there are always three times at the finish.

Amazingly, Rob isn't upset when his cab driver has to stop for gas, especially since Uchenna and Joyce's driver does, too. Here comes Ron and Kelly pull up at the station just as Rob/Amber pull out. And with these little roads, NOW it's a Race!

Or not. Remember when I said I hoped bad luck, especially taxis, wouldn't interfere? It happened. The cops pull Rob and Amber's taxi over at a police checkpoint, so that won't help. Uchenna/Joyce make it, and Ron and Kelly pass and say it ends Rob and Amber's "luck" through the Race, and shut up, Ron. They do well because they know how to compete.

Rob/Amber catch up with a fast driver, just as the tire of Uchenna/Joyce goes flat. I'm glad this is a non-elimination round, because that shouldn't decide who stays and who goes. If there was any justice, Ron and Kelly's taxi would careen down a cliff (but not harm anyone, of course).

At the Round Hill villa and cottage 16, Phil waits. Who will it be? Drama! No, not really. We know how it's going. Ron and Kelly are first, Rob and Amber one minute behind. Uchenna and Joyce are third, but safe, if broke and without any gear, and aren't allowed to beg for money until the next leg starts. That's harsh, but it hasn't affected the Race, ever, the past two seasons. Can we just end this new rule?

Okay, so all this stuff in the past hour? As meaningless as the vegetable bin in Rosie O'Donnell's fridge. The teams are minutes apart and headed for the States in the final leg. But why is Phil still calling this a "race around the world"? They went to India and doubled back!

2:37 a.m.. - Ron and Kelly get their Clear Directions, to taxi it to Lucea, stop by a shack and a bag of onions, go to a restaurant and cut them up (because it will make them cry! Funny!).

Ron and Kelly? Tired of each other. Kelly's still talking about their relationship, Ron's saying to cut it out until they get done.

Ron asks the guard not to call the other teams a cab, and the guard says, "so you want me to cheat on the race?" Heh. You go, Jamaica dude. Ron and Kelly get their taxi, and tell their taxi guy not to call Rob and Amber one. See, now they just sound bitter, even if other teams would have done the same. It's their tone of voice.

In the middle of the night, Uchenna and Joyce aren't finding it easy to get a taxi to Lucea, 15 miles away. They get a guy to take them to the airport to beg for money.

Because karma is a bitch, Ron and Kelly's taxi is lost, and Rob and Amber get their onions first. Rob and Amber are told they have to chop 50 onions, and away they go! It's Onion Chop '05!

Uchenna and Joyce aren't having luck begging, getting told no on their first attempt. Just the idea of stooping so low isn't sitting well with a crying Joyce, and yeah, that would suck. I wouldn't want to have to do that, either. I'd be calling Collect and getting a Western Union from Mom or Dad, so if that happens y'all know why.

Rob/Amber, still cutting! Ron/Kelly, still cutting! Kelly, making Martha Stewart references! Uchenna/Joyce, still begging! This time, getting help from a couple of women, $40 worth for a taxi to Lucea and the other teams.

Rob and Amber get the next Clear Directions, a taxi 60 miles to Rose Hall plantation house resort. They're certainly circling that island, eh?

Here's a great edit, too. Ron says he sees fear in Rob's eyes, and the editor cuts to a slow-motion shot of Rob smirking without a care in the world. Heh.

At the plantation, Rob and Amber and Ron and Kelly are tied at the Detour. Time to choose between Pony Up and horseback swimming in the ocean (grabbing a horse's tail?), or Tee It Up, having to hit a 16-foot green from 140 yards. I would so be there for the golf, and so will our top two teams currently dressing in "golf attire."

Rob's first shot: Yanked into the woods. Amber's? Topped ten feet away. Kelly's first shot? Dribbled. Ron's? Worse. This happens a lot. Horse swimming doesn't look so bad anymore, eh?

Rob's first on, and it takes just one, so the next Clear Directions say to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico and find marked cars to drive to a fort.

Oh yeah, Uchenna and Joyce? Cutting onions.

Kelly? On the green.

Rob and Amber can't get on the 9:15 flight, as a lot of Air Jamaica workers shake their heads as if, "Stupid crackers try to finagle us." Rob and Amber then try American and are told their 8 a.m. flight was delayed until 9:54, which still gives Ron and Kelly have time to join them. Except the ticket guy is saying they don't have a chance. Heh.

Ron and Kelly wait until the 12:40 flight, which gives Uchenna and Joyce a chance to catch up to them, at least.

Rob and Amber are in San Juan and at the castle are told to drive 87 miles to Aguadlilla and a sugar refinery to another marked path. Lots of Directions this leg, not much on the action.

Okay, so I was wrong. Ron and Kelly are on their flight at 12:40 while Uchenna and Joyce are just getting started on the driving range. He barely takes any time to hit it a few yards from the pin, so Uchenna if you'd like to come to Atlanta let's fit in 18 holes, okay?

Rob and Amber are in traffic, Uchenna and Joyce are at the airport for the 5p flight (whoa, way behind). By this time, they're old pros at begging, enjoying it, even. Good for them. I adore them.

So much for that big lead. Traffic must really have sucked, because Rob and Amber's next stop closed at 4 and doesn't open until 7 a.m., so they check in to a hotel. Ron and Kelly are at the castle, then Uchenna and Joyce. They're all bunched up again. (DRINK!)

It's 7 am., so it's time to Race! Yes! Racing! The Clear Directions are a Road Block telling them to jump 30 feet off a bridge, swim 90 yards to their next Clear Directions, then hop on a boat to shore.

Rob and Amber make a potentially fatal mistake, heading the wrong direction, so Ron and Uchenna are first to jump and long gone in their boat by the time they get back to the clue box. Always looking on the bright side, Rob says "we're screwed." Don't worry, there will be a wait for a flight to bunch you up again. Amber doesn't even hesitate to jump, and that's why unlike to many teams, Amber is every bit the equal to Rob when it comes to teamwork.

The next Clear Directions says that teams must go to the airport and fly to Miami, the final stop of the Race. When they land, it's a taxi to a causeway for the next Clear Directions.

Rob and Amber catch up, and it doesn't even seem that he was speeding, then passes the other teams at the toll booth. Ron and Kelly go the wrong way because Kelly says "go left" clearly, then gets pissed when Ron does just that. I got your back, Ron, because she did say it.

Rob/Amber and Uchenna/Joyce arrive at the airport ticket counter and are led to the 11:15 a.m. flight. Rob and Amber, though, find another flight that's boarding right now and are on standby. Guess what? Stop standing by because you're on the flight! The doors close just minutes before Uchenna and Joyce figure it out. Somehow, some way, Uchenna and Joyce are approved by the pilot to board the plane, even though the gate was closed, doors closed and walkway retracted. Weird.

Although, in a bit of unwise decision-making, Rob says he and Amber plan to leave their bags on the plane, which cannot be good for airport security. Think that will set off an alarm or two? Yeah, me too. That was dumb, Rob. If you don't want to drag it around, put it in a locker.

Ron and Kelly? Waiting for the 11:15 flight.

In Miami to the "Miami Vice" tune, Rob/Amber and Uchenna/Joyce arrive and grab taxis. Like usual, Rob and Amber are first to the cab, proving they're still the most consistent Racers this season. Without a doubt.

The Clear Directions say to make their way to Little Havana nearby and search for a cigar shop.

Uh-oh. Rob and Amber are told to go to 27th street. Uchenna and Joyce? 11th street. Who got the right directions? The latter, because their taxi guy speaks Spanish. The Clear Directions say to go to the finish, so Rob and Amber are in mucho trouble, and their taxi driver took off. How do you say, "you lose" in Spanish?

This should be a breeze for Uchenna and Joyce. They could use the $, but I still root for Rob and Amber.

Well, except that Uchenna and Joyce don't have enough money for the cab, which is ironic. I doubt the taxi driver will kick them out. It's fancy editing.

Who will win the Race to Ft. Lauderdale and the finish? Duh. Uchenna and Joyce, even as the taxi driver bitches that they don't have enough money. They beg for $20, need $25 and he refuses to run in to the finish until the cabbie's paid.

Ron and Kelly? Who cares. They're too far back.

Rob and Amber love each other, which is good, because Uchenna and Joyce get enough money to pay the cab driver long before Rob and Amber pull up.

Uchenna and Joyce? Champions, and the other teams are willing it to happen because they're jealous of Rob and Amber.

Seriously, Patrick was whispering "Uchenna and Joyce" over and over again. Dude, you lost a long time ago, I don't want to hear it. I have this increasing urge to kick him in the shins.

Rob and Amber are second, with the other teams staring daggers at them, pretending to like them now that they finished second, barely even clapping. Ron and Kelly are far behind but get more cheers than Rob and Amber, and we shouldn't be surprised. Kelly then says she knows she and Ron are doomed. Ron's just happy to experience the Race.

Rob and Amber deserved to win based on the competition, but I'm sincerely happy for Uchenna and Joyce, who such good-hearted people and were very good in their own right. And hell, she shaved her head for this Race! That's worth a million bucks, I think.

Got a minute?

The Top 5 Minutes Of Jeff's Weekday, which will either show that the little things in life make me happy, or prove that I have absolutely no life. At all:

11 a.m. – I’ve been awake for less than an hour, gotten the eye-boogers out, ate “breakfast” (if pot pies count) and can read the paper with my legs spread out on the coffee table for another half-hour before heading to work.

12:10 p.m. – The spin and aerobics classes start at the gym, so just as I’m arriving the locker room is nearly empty (less chance of being seen undressed, which is homophobia but protecting others from my looking at my body). Since most everyone else is in a class or playing pick-up games of basketball, when I get upstairs there’s plenty of choice between elliptical crosstrainers. I get the one by the mirror to spy on the cute chicks. Gawd, I’m creepy.

5:58 p.m. – After the 5 o’clock show I’m on break for an hour, free to eat lunch, update the blog and check where the Red Sox game will be feeding on the satellite later.

9:58 p.m. – Prime News Tonight is over and I’m off work for the night, on my way home to see The Amazing Race or Lost or America’s Next Top Model. (Okay, not the last one.)

1:40 a.m. – Just as I get into bed at this time, ESPN Radio does “The Tussle,” as part of the late-night host’s routine, and I read until time for sleepy sleep. Even though I’ll probably watch “Family Guy” and “Futurama” at 2 a.m. on the Cartoon Network, not get eight hours of sleep and end up cranky, but it’s totally worth it.

(Previous Top 5: concerts.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

The anti-Runaway Bride coalition

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

- I can't stand anymore news about the bride. Can't we just go back to picking on Alabama?
- I went to Las Vegas and New Mexico and all I got was this lousy towel on my head.
- When they said Jennifer Wilbanks was a long-distance runner, they weren't kidding.
- OK, I'll admit it. Giving Jennifer the Greyhound gift certificate as a wedding present was a bad idea.
- If all the world's a stage, I want better lighting.
- As I told the emergency room doctor, bicycle riders have the right of way.
- Should pictures of missing transvestites be put on the side of half-and-half cartons?
- Light beer: Water with a markup.
- Hey guys: It's a big mistake to tell your wife you didn't get her a Mother's Day present because she's not your mother.
- I've decided to go on the offense. I fuss at the wife for not raising the seat afterward.
- Cookie monster on a diet? What's next, anger management for Oscar?
- My knight in shining armor turned out to be an idiot wrapped in aluminum foil!
- OK guys, see if you can beat this. We have four regular pillows on the bed plus 12 extra pillows my wife puts on during the day. That's 16!
- When I told my husband about the $40 tube of lip plumper I just bought, he asked, "Do they have a $50 tube of skinny butt?"

Vents I Sent:

- Speaking as a single guy, the line, “My fiancĂ©e left me as a murder suspect the week of our wedding” seems like the best guarantee of a date in history.
- If Tony Blair wins, the media will say it was because of social policies; if he loses, it will be called a Spain-like repudiation of the Iraq war.
- I’ll take your right-wing religious firebrand and raise you a sanctimonious elitist liberal.
- If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.
- When reporters interview religious families the story comes across like the reporter is exploring an exotic culture like “Christians in the Mist?”
- Watching kids run around their parents nowadays made me realize that unearned self-esteem is more of a problem than lack thereof.
- If you don't trust people to control a mere four percent of their Social Security benefits in a voluntary system, you might be a Democrat.
- If Jane Fonda still thinks she helped end the Vietnam War with her protests, why doesn't she spend time in Iraq with the insurgents to end the current conflict?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Lazy, bitchy and smart: My weekend

Not an especially productive weekend, but that's okay. I need to save up ($) for my vacation starting next Saturday. From Atlanta to Alabama to Memphis to Chapel Hill and back to Atlanta, I'm planning on playing at least a few rounds of golf, seeing a few flicks and filling up my SUV's tank several times. (It's okay, though, I'm helping to pollute the atmosphere and keep temperatures down.)

Yesterday I ran some errands, hit a bucket of balls at the driving range, took a great nap (two hours!) then went to the sports bar for what turned out to be no reason since the Red Sox game was rained out. To make up for it, I played the trivia games well, even finishing as high as No. 13 in the nation (out of about 5,000, I would guess).

Today was even lazier, listening to the MLB.com radio feed of the first Red Sox game at noon (a victory), then to the sports bar for a few hours to see the Sox lose game two of the day-night doubleheader. This morning I did find Mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day, of course, so the day wasn't a waste.

I was still rolling on trivia, too, finishing No. 18 and 27 nationally at best, and I have seven of the top ten scores for the month in that bar. That almost makes up for the cigarette smell on all of my clothing right now. Blech. I know it's something you should expect at a place of ill repute, but I can't wait until smoking is banned in every building in the United States, including bars. It's tough to watch a game and enjoy my wings when my nose feels like someone poured volcano ash up my nostrils.

Still feeling bitchy, I'd like to complain about the promotion the Red Sox are running to proceed the Red Sox Charitable Foundation. It's a lottery to win one of three authentic World Series championship rings, the same ones the team got. Here's the huge BUT: Unless you buy a raffle ticket at the box office of Fenway, it's only open to Massachusetts residents. Hey, guys, I wouldn't say it's a stretch to say that there are more members of Red Sox Nation outside of Boston than within the Boston metropolitan area, or even New England for that matter.

I'll wince at the price of concert tickets nowadays, but when I saw that it's $50 per game for three games each in Tampa Bay and Texas this season, I said, "Yeah, that's fine. Get the best seats possible." So give us some props, okay Sox management?

I didn't go to the theater for any movies, but I did watch one of the few perfect films ever made: Casablanca. The special edition DVD is full of goodies, but it's worth having just to watch one of the best movies ever made. Almost every line of dialogue is memorable and quotable and the romance between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman is the very definition of "on-screen chemistry." Can't blame anyone for falling in love with either, no matter your gender. Bergman is a classic beauty, and Bogie is, well, like Rick says, "like any other man, only more so." Here's looking at y'all, kids.

Now, pardon me as I kick back some more, sip a vanilla milkshake from Mickey D's and watch the second-disc extras of the Casablanca DVD.

Mmmm, processed flavored milk. Good times.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Mom's Day has a small Tab

You know why this weekend is special: Don't forget your Mommy! If you did, don't worry, convenience stores will be open all night. If you're driving through Chapel Hill, Tenn., there's a Shell station across from the funeral home. Drop off a two-liter of Tab for me at Mom's house. Just ask anyone on the street; they'll know where it goes.

Now, some humor courtesy Grif.net:

Mom's Dictionary

What Mom impersonates to get a one-year-old to eat strained beets.

What Mom would suspect had invaded her house if she spotted a child-sized creature cleaning up after itself.

Nutritious lunch-time dessert which children will trade for cupcakes.

1) Dad, when he gets a cold.
2) Mom's youngest child, even if he's 42.

Room used by the entire family, believed by all (except Mom) to be self-cleaning.

Mom's reason for having kids do things which can't be explained logically.

Two things the kids will never make for themselves.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A long time ago in a city far, far away

In today’s edition of Jeff’s Vacation Memories, we jump back to the previous century to May 18, 1999 when Star Wars fans could still say, “George Lucas’ vision is seamless” without using but immediately after.

Unfortunately, my siblings and I won’t be able to get together this time for Episode III. I’m off the entire week, but Scott and Jenn will be in Texas and Arkansas, and my Stacy and Stephanie can’t come to Nashville until the weekend.

I do still plan on seeing the midnight showing, hopefully with Steve (who was there that first night) and whomever else would like to hang out at a theater in the middle of the night and doesn't mind being called an uber-geek for doing so. I’ll bring the lightsabers!

The Yankees really do suck

I would just like to point out that the damn Yankees are six games under .500 for the first time since July 19, 1995, when they were 34-40.

The Red Sox? Not blitzing opponents, but the last hour-and-a-half I've enjoyed watching at work as Bronson Arroyo is pitching a no-hitter through six innings against Detroit. Good times.

Flux Capacitor... fluxing

Okay, so traffic was a real bitch coming to work today (Really? In Atlanta? Shocking - ed.), so my co-workers and I are trying to figure out what to do besides nuking the highways.

Gather 'round, because I figured out the answer. I'll convert an old car, say, a DeLorean, so that it travels through time. Then when it's time to go to work, I'll go back in time to 4 a.m., drive with little to no traffic downtown, then go back to the future so that it's a few minutes before my shift starts. Brilliant, eh?

Now, the hard part.

Finding a DeLorean, I mean.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Hellbent on avoiding PC Hollywood standards

In case you're wondering, as of right now I'm not planning on seeing Kingdom of Heaven this weekend. Any movie about the Crusades that has CAIR's seal of approval cannot be something I will share.

Besides the politics, nothing in the trailers has made me pay attention to the film, seeing as how I'm tired of the era of Gladiator, Troy and Alexander, not to mention the Lord of the Rings trilogy using ancient warfare tactics with such skill that nothing else could compare favorably.

So who hasn't cashed in yet?

An Hispanic group is all hot-and-bothered that for approximately two minutes in the middle of the night last Friday/Saturday, Jennifer Wilbanks had police looking for her kidnappers, whom she said were an Hispanic man and white woman driving a blue van.

Later, a spokesman (er, "spokesperson") for White Women Across America said that Wilbanks' accusations unfairly targeted Caucasian females and would lead to discrimination against "women of no color."

The vice-mayor of Albuquerque released a statement as well, stating that, "No way kidnappers would drop off a white chick in New Mexico. That's absurd."

UPDATE: Billy John Jetson of the Blue Van Society has joined in the fray, calling for Wilbanks to apologize to owners of blue vans. Jetson asserted that people have owned blue vans for decades with favorable records of American service.

What's next, burqas on the sidelines?

So everything is bigger in Texas, including idiot politicians. The state House approved a bill to restrict "overtly sexually suggestive" cheerleading, and frankly, that ends the last reason I would want to visit the state.

(No offense, Scott and Jenn, but I have to take a stand somewhere for uninhibited teenage girls everywhere. Are we no better than the Taliban! End this tyranny!)

Tie a yellow ribbon where the cop can't get it

I would get a lot more upset reading this article about officials removing "welcome home" signs and yellow ribbons along a city street for a returning soldier if not for this simultaneously sad and funny sentence: "Teague said some of the yellow ribbons over the long stretch survived because the officer became fatigued."

Good fortune

Today's fortune cookie: "Good health will be yours for a long time."

Fantastic! Now I don't feel so bad about eating this pepper steak with an egg roll. Really, it's okay since it's with white rice and a Diet Coke, which cancels the fattening stuff out.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Cheerio, Racer Chaps

Last week on Instanbul Was Constantinople, the final four made their way from India to Turkey (mmm ... turkey), Kelly said Ron couldn't even commit to the military when he was a POW, Rob smarted off only to look like an asshat when they fell behind Uchenna/Joyce and Meredith/Gretchen, and it was a non-elimination round so it didn't matter unless you work for Travelocity and you got an hour's worth of advertising out of it.

The Bickersons won that Travelocity gnome gimmick so they got to lounge for 12 hours at the Four Seasons and figure out how to get some cash and clothes after Phil took all of their belongings. Guess Phil needed a new tiara, which I just know Kelly carries around.

10:53 p.m. - Uchenna/Joyce are off to the train station and a room full of Whirling Dervishes. Did you know that's a religious sect where people spin to show their devotion? I didn't. I thought it was just a cool term.

You know, you could just shave your head to show devotion. Oh, wait, they're both bald. No need. Maybe handling poisonous snakes just isn't as cool when you can just twirl and twirl and weeee!!!!

At the station, they see some guys with tall hats at a door, and guess they look like Dervishes. Inside the people spin! They're given a clue, a.k.a. Clear Directions, which tells them to fly to London and go to Abbey Road, which the Beatles made famous (of course).

11:57 p.m. Meredith and Gretchen get their Clear Directions, and find the Whirling Dervishes as Uchenna/Joyce are trying to get on a flight that night. Naturally, the first flight is the next morning, so who wants to bet the final four will bunch up? (DRINK!)

Uchenna suggests looking for a connecting flight since they picked a direct one. Joyce begs him off, not wanting to take chances. Famous last words?

At the station, getting their clue are Meredith and Gretchen, who proves that she's neither hip nor young at heart when she says she wishes it was a Mel Torme album instead of the Beatles.

12:37 a.m. Rob/Amber get their Clear Directions and have no idea what a Dervish is. But they have phrases written in Turkish and go fast!

12:53 a.m. - Ron and Kelly realize they need to collect about $450 for this leg, and both have decided neither is The One, but he's cool with her not having makeup. They get charity from a couple of locals, even after they say they're Americans, and a free ride to the station and a cheap ride to the airport. Good people, the Turks.

Rob/Amber see a flight connecting in Germany that arrives an hour-and-a-half earlier than the Turkish Airline flight, but it's risky since they would have to get on a waiting list in Germany.

Meredith gives Ron and Kelly some money as a thanks for their help previously, and I just like him so much. Too bad his wife's such a nagging whiner.

Ron and Kelly get the Turkish Air flight with Meredith/Gretchen and Uchenna/Joyce, but what's really important is that Kelly borrows lipstick from the teller. They then see the earlier flight and join Rob and Amber on the stand-by ticket risk in Frankfurt. Ooh, drama!

In Germany, it's a race to the counter! It’s like the time the coffee grinder started the stampede in City Slickers, only with less mooing.

Rob/Amber get tickets, and of course Ron and Kelly do, too. Was there any doubt? And look, they didn't have to pretend to be sick or a midget to get on. **coughCharlacough**

In London (I've been there!), some Rule Britannia plays and Rob/Amber and Ron/Kelly land first. But the former get on the train first, and even get a guy named Stewart to help out, and he becomes a full-fledged Survivor Team member, looking over their shoulder and running ahead, and heck, I would, too!

Ron/Kelly, meanwhile, use the time to beg for money, and get it. And with the exchange rate, they're rich in the States! Later, in the taxi, Ron says, "thank God we're in a country that speaks English," and since he's seen the world and been in combat I'd say, yeah, that's about right. I've been to South America twice and England once, and next year I'm happily going to Ireland because I feel more comfy in Western Civilization.

At Abbey Road (yet not walking across in their stocking feet - no fun), the next Clear Directions say to head for the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel by the Thames River. Once inside they have to upsy-daisy and find a clue while scanning from the capsule.

Hmm, maybe Ron and Kelly are okay together. He tells her to pick it up, since it's a race and all, and she just kind of says, "Okay." Or she's just tired and, oh yeah, she's back, calling him a "brat."

Rob and Amber are looking, Kelly's demanding an apology before looking, and shut up, Queen.

Rob finds it! Not much below, and Ron finds it, too, quickly.

Detour! Brains or Brawn. Either go to the Underground and solve three riddles to find the "home" of Sherlock Holmes, or head to a park and transport five 160-pound boats to a storage area five-hundred yards away. Gotta go with Brains. 500 yards is a long way. We're talking driver-five iron, while carrying a boat.

Rob and Amber figure this out, and head for the train station. With tour guide Stewart it should be easier. Ron and Kelly pick Brains, too, and everyone's confused about the "three naked men" clue, which turns out to be pretty easy (a statue).

Meanwhile, the second flight just landed and Meredith/Gretchen and Uchenna/Joyce figure out they're two hours behind. I can't believe there's much doubt that Meredith and Gretchen will finally be eliminated. Right?

Rob/Amber are told by Stewart that the clue says to go to Baker Street, and thanks, Sherlock. No, seriously, Stewart's great, and they're looking for Sherlock. Ron and Kelly, without Stewart, figure this out, too, and are close behind. Turns out it was pretty easy.

On Baker Street, Amber's enjoying life with the Sherlock cap and magnifying glass they collected. And there's a Sherlock look-alike! What, did someone go through a Stargate to find this guy?

The Clear Directions say to go to the Millennium Dome (last seen in a James Bond flick, but I don't remember which one since the last few all look like one another).

Uchenna/Joyce decide on Brawn, and so do Meredith and Gretchen because they really, really, enjoy pain, and it gives her a chance to moan.

On the way to the Dome, the last Yield. No one has used it yet, so it's up for grabs. Rob and Amber yield Ron and Kelly, so that should go well. I suspect Uchenna/Joyce or Meredith/Gretchen won't use it, but should on each other depending on who is first to the mat.

The RoadBlock is a course in double-decker bus driving. Drive around the cones, and if you hit one, you start over again. This doesn't look easy, as seen by Rob hitting a cone not long after beginning.

Turns out they don't have to carry the boats, just push them on a three-wheeled contraption. The men are doing all the pulling, not that I blame them. But then Uchenna actually begins to help push a boat for Meredith/Gretchen, and do they even realize this is a race? Someone loses? Someone wins? Not just a Kumbaya sing-along around the world?

Rob finishes up and the Clear Directions say to go to the park next to the Tower Bridge for the Pit Stop. Ron and Kelly don't arrive until after Rob and Amber leave, so no awkward moments when All-America sees the Yield.

Meredith/Gretchen hail a cab to the Dome, Uchenna/Joyce take a train, so this might not turn out well for the latter. Especially when the first train passes by at 200 mph before going to the Underground. Oopsy. Hey guys, cabs in London are awesome, so don't be scared.

At the Yield, Kelly's drawing horns on Rob and Amber, because in third-grade they pulled her hair. On the bus, the wheels go round and round, although Kelly hits cone after cone.

Rob and Amber are first to the Pit Stop, and win a home entertainment system courtesy of JVC.

Uchenna and Joyce choose not to Yield, because they're not in a race, remember. They're in a special separate race that doesn't involve winning and losing, and on one keeps score and their parents cut oranges for halftime.

Meredith arrives soon after, so Kelly, Joyce and Meredith are all driving buses (poorly). All are frustrated, all yell ("I don't know what straight is!") and Kelly's finished. That Yield by Rob and Amber thus means diddly poo.

In the Bickermobile, Ron says he could have done the RoadBlock better, Kelly says he couldn't, he pulls out the "I flew a chopper" card and they just bicker some more. Shock. They're team No. 2, so big whoop.

Joyce parks her bus and they're off, and Meredith succeeds in his seventh attempt shortly after. It's a cab race!

The last two teams exit their cabs, Phil points at who? Uchenna and Joyce, of course, still in the race without actually, you know, competitively racing. Meredith and Gretchen are eliminated, and congrats on the long run. Meredith's one of the most charming Racers ever.

The final three teams talk trash, and next week, it's on, the two-hour finale. Ron and Kelly fight, Rob and Amber get a ticket, guys jump off a bridge, Uchenna and Joyce have a flat tire and might miss a flight and Rob carries Amber during a run.


- (rant) It's popular to whine about airline seating, but how come no one ever speaks out against the tiny space allowed for fans at baseball games? It's not just that I'm fat, it's that I'm tall. My knees are pressed against the seat in front of me the entire time. (/rant)

- You know how frackin' lazy I am with "cooking"? I won't even purchase a frozen dinner if it requires that I stop and stir halfway through the nuking process.

- Three Dallas-area brothers can’t figure out why they were convicted of supporting terrorism by funneling money to a high-ranking official in the militant Palestinian group Hamas. Oh, I don’t know why they were targeted, maybe the file on their desktop that said, “Jihad against infidels – Go Cowboys!”

- Instapundit pundits that a hotly debated driver’s license bill may have constitutional problems. Because, you know, Thomas Jefferson was big on making sure everyone equally could drive Accords down the cobblestone streets of Philly. I hear Franklin preferred hybrids; always ahead of his time, that one.

- As if I don’t have enough to worry about as a single guy looking for women, now I have to concern myself with weird looks on man dates?

- This site lists the worst jobs in British history, broken up by ages. Surprisingly, the guy who had to make Henry VIII’s codpiece is not listed.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Limited options

So much for my easy-breezy decision to drop my local phone service, use my new cell exclusively and switch to DSL or cable on my computer. First, Comcast doesn’t have broadband service available for my area. Second, BellSouth is the only company (remember when it was illegal for the Bells to have a monopoly?) that has DSL. Problem is, they don’t offer DSL unless I use them for local phone service, too.

Remember when the Goonies were cornered on One-Eyed Willie’s ship by the Fratellis and made to walk the plank after seeing all those riches, and the kids realized they’d never get their hands on them? Yeah, it’s like that, only I don’t have a little bag to fill with expensive gems like Mikey.

Not like anyone would want to be me

Personal data theft? Nonsense, it happens to other people. Nobody I deal with would let it, especially my employer.

Uh, never mind.


Does it make me evil that I'm delighted a co-worker who has both looks and personality has been using eHarmony long after I tried it, and hasn't managed to have a meaningful relationship from the service?