Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Once upon a time

FYI, the fairy tales in The Brothers Grimm have nothing to do with buttless chaps or rumors about Tom Cruise.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Big Three absent from biggest story of the year

From TV Newser: "Where are the broadcast nets on Katrina? This seems much bigger than a 30-minute-a-day story."

A reader is slightly more blunt: "Get Tommy Lee off the (fracking) television."

While we're at it, another query over at Instapundit: "Any foreign governments offering aid?" Strange. The U.N. is silent on demanding billions of dollars from G8 nations.

Katrina's aftermath

Sure is windy here in Atlanta today. Wonder if we got swiped by a storm.

Seriously, though, the devastation is so severe and reaching Monumental News status that even desensitized folks like us newspeople stop and gawk at the footage as it keeps coming.

Hope everyone i’s fine. Seems that the only ones of us not affected in some way by Katrina are Scott and Jenn over in Waco. We got the tornadoes, folks north got rain, Dad was out of power for a couple of days, and Oxford Jenn probably got a lot of all of it.

UPDATE: 6:40 p.m. - I actually got time for a break this hour, so I'm watching the satellite feed of one of the New Orleans TV stations. It's quite dramatic. Obviously they're using a makeshift set in a makeshift studio, sitting in front of a normal desk with a generic blue background. Two anchors wearing whatever clothes they could muster without fancy makeup and hairdos have been talking over the amazing footage, and anyone else who can make it in who works there comes to the desk, puts on a mic and describes what they've seen.

Obviously there are a lot of people in the area who can't see this because of a lack of power. It's a desperate situation. They just showed helicopter shots of a bridge over I-10 that is obliterated. Sections are gone, sunk in the water. One of the photogs is describing what he shot, saying that the guys driving boats had to watch so as not to rip their propeller on stop signs below.

I've seen a lot of footage of looters, too. As far as that's concerned, if I see people go into a convenience store for bread and water, it's tough to be upset since the Red Cross isn't around. If people are breaking in Best Buy to take DVD players, though, I say to the police, shoot to kill.

It's not just the homes of the poor under water; 80 percent of the town is, and I've seen several million-dollar homes with water up to their roofs, too.

UPDATE: The station is WDSU, and they're broadcasting online and say that a lot of people who left town before Katrina are watching the broadcast on the Internet to see what conditions are. Crazy. Now they put up a little graphic with directions on how to get out of New Orleans. There's only one or two ways, and it ain't easy.

Venti grande is the small

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

- My dog Achilles is great, and he has only one weakness. He won’t heel.
- Mindless liberal vent circa 1945: Hitler’s out, Tojo’s out, why aren’t our boys home?
- School has started. How do I know? All those women’s smiling faces at the mall.
- Getting married to have sex is like setting the house on fire to make toast.
- A father is a man who carries pictures in his billfold where money used to be.
- For my 25th anniversary, my wife told me to take her somewhere expensive, so I drove her to the gas station.
- In my day, we didn’t need all this new therapy. We had a little thing called the martini.
- Ha ha! That little “worm” you Internet hackers released did NOTHING to my computer! What the … a bunch of … huh? !@%$## & &@## (fizz).
- Who’s cloning dogs in Korea – scientists or ranchers?
- The USS Jimmy Carter … our nation’s first yellow submarine.
- NASA ought to see if MacGyver would be willing to don a spacesuit for its next mission.
- Why do smoke detectors seem to need new batteries only at 3 o'clock in the morning?

Vents I Sent:

- As gasoline prices surged to record highs this week, the media reports that among the hardest hit will be Cindy Sheehan.
- While the Sheehanites continue to try and paint Casey Sheehan as a victimized soldier, could someone please point out to them that he re-enlisted after the war started and volunteered for the dangerous mission in which he died?
- Note to the Sheehanites in Crawford: Getting an answer you disagree with is not the absence of an answer.
- My favorite vents are those from Democrats who have convinced themselves they don’t have to change to win national elections. They figure it’s the American people who just went cuckoo.
- Remember the good old days when everybody (including the press) openly rooted for the U.S. to win every active engagement?
Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice. (Borrowed.)
- Even you liberals claim to want to fight terrorism. Guess what? They’re in Iraq, so let’s get them while they’re huddled together.
- Cindy Sheehan couldn't prevent her son from enlisting (and re-enlisting), so the protestors in Crawford want to make the rich send their sons and daughters?
- Note to my non-single friends: I’m perfectly happy without a different date every weekend, but thanks for trying.
- Look here, ladies, I’m decent, financially steady, I won’t describe you as ‘the old ball and chain” and will never refer to your mother as “the witch-in-law.” Why am I still single?
- Everyone always says to trust your inner voice. But what if it scares me and wants me to do stupid things like vote Democrat?
- I can see why the music producer was so scared of Nigerian scammers. Every time someone offers me a low mortgage I wet my pants.
- I impress my friends by telling them that I buy nice things, but I don’t think they believed it when I said I had sheets with a 1,000 thread count.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Battened down at work

Oh yeah, we're officially in Disaster Watch mode. Wall-to-wall coverage and the food is aplenty. Folks were picking the Papa Johns from their teeth from lunch when I arrived, and Moe's is promised for dinner. Viva Katrina!

Oh, and folks in Memphis, Jasper, and Chapel Hill, watch out for debris! Batten down the hatches! (How does one "batten down" anyway?)'

Can you tell I left here at 6 a.m. and got less than the doctor-recommended amount of sleep?

UPDATE: Should have known. Batten is a nautical term.

UPDATE II, 9:30 p.m. - I feel I should acknowledge that we in the media only perform a minor service. Frankly, the best time I have is watching the reporters nearly get swept away in the heavy winds. But the real stars should be the people helping out afterwards, the folks distributing food, turning on the power, or like we saw this afternoon, the Coast Guard helicopter plucking folks stuck on roofs when their homes are flooded to the top.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cool, I get paid for this

Excuse me, I would like to have everyone’s attention. I just got the call, I am urgently needed to go into work from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. to cover Hurricane Katrina. Yes, I am a necessary component to direct the coverage. That is my job as the Floater, and I do it with honor. Thank you.

(Of course, getting the call at 2:45 p.m. after being awake for more than a few hours already, knowing I have an entire day ahead of me, I better take a nap. After the Red Sox game, I mean.)

Not that it matters. I would have stayed up all night watching the Weather Channel's coverage, anyway. Last night I was on call, too, but just ended up going in about 4 to work out, then from 6 to midnight training upstairs at CNN. I got to participate in putting together NASCAR.com's post-race show, too. Just stretching my abilities, which is really about being valuable enough to survive the next round of layoffs God knows when!

Actually, I'm a slacker. The thing I worried most was that I might have to come in earlier and miss the fantasy football draft at 8 p.m. tonight. No worries. Scott, I'll be there!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Like nothing you've done before

Just buying a ticket was embarrassing to see The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Go ahead, you say "virgin" to a total stranger while handing over money. Maybe that's part of what makes the movie frackin' hilarious.

There's no spam to fear except Spam itself

The best lead to a story this century:

LOS ANGELES - The nearly weeklong search for a Grammy-nominated producer ended Friday after a resident spotted the man sitting naked in a backyard creek, washing his jeans.

The Topanga Canyon resident found a distraught Christian Julian Irwin saying he feared he was being pursued by Nigerians who had contacted him in an Internet scam, sheriff's Capt. Ray Peavy said.

If that doesn't make you click for more, nothing will.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Like satin, only not

By the way, I did buy new sheets this afternoon like I promised yesterday. The thread count is only 300, but I went with Egyptian Cotton Sateen so they set is still smooth and shiny. Can’t wait to curl up tonight. I would’ve gone higher in thread count, but I guess the company that makes 400 figures only elitists with queen and king-sized beds would buy them, since there aren’t any for full-sized mattresses. Bastard snobs. I curse on your graves!

Stay tuned for the major motion picture

Clearing out a backlog of film reviews, here is The Dukes of Hazzard and something completely different, the World War II POW rescue drama The Great Raid.

Currently I'm working on reviews for the very funny The 40-Year-Old Virgin and opening today, The Brothers Grimm.

All good now

Phew! (wiping forehead) Thank goodness, last night was just a mistake not being able to log on to MLB.TV. Tonight it looks to be working just fine, as I’ve got the Dang Yanks on right now.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Full-Sized Egotism

Can your adulthood license be revoked? Seriously, I think I’m de-maturing, and for what it’s worth I didn’t have all that much maturity to begin with.

What brought this line of thinking on? After ditching the loveseat for a big comfy chair last week, today I got rid of my queen-size mattress in favor of a full-size bed. Practically it works fine since my one bedroom apartment is tiny and this saves room, but the decision is also depressing because my inner Stifler is saying, “Dude, you’re totally giving up on ever getting a chick, you fartknocker.”

I didn’t even buy a new bed; I bought one second hand from someone else at CNN through our office bulletin board. I’m told it’s like new and only used rarely in a guestroom, but really, who can tell if the entire Wu Tang Clan didn’t do any wuing or tanging on it?

I plan to rectify this a teensy bit tomorrow by buying new sheets with an insane thread count, like 10,000, so it’ll be like that Super Bowl beer ad where the frisky guy leaps on his bed and slides out the window.

The fun part was getting the bed back home. I had to perform that most delicate of dances, the “Mattress On the Roof” dance, which unfortunately was not one of the featured moves on “Dancing With the Stars.” I had the box spring in my Aztek, but the mattress had to ride on top, held down by two of those bouncy straps with the hooks threaded through the mattress handle and attached to the roof rack.

If I went over 30 mph I could see through the sunroof that the mattress would start to lift up like it was trying to hop over the electric wires like a football. I ended up puttering along the side roads home, pissing off commuters on their way home at 4 o’clock.

Getting the old mattress and box spring out will be another hassle entirely, since there’s no way either fits inside my car and will hang over the roof a good foot on either side. Really, I swear, I’m looking forward to this challenge tomorrow. I also plan to jump into the Chattahoochee River and try to collect rotting soda cans floating downstream.

For now, I just got back from watching my future biography, a.k.a. The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I’m currently bemoaning that today the password I’ve been using from a guy at SI.com to watch Red Sox games at MLB.com is no longer functioning. (To Dad, I hope you’re not floating down Sawgrass Parkway as Hurricane Katrina moves through.)

Instead, as I graze on fried rice from May’s Restaurant, I’m going with the next best thing, the new special edition DVD of John Wayne’s airline misadventure The High and the Mighty. All the cliches are there from the Airport string of flicks, except that it predates that genre by 15 years and set the standard. The score won an Oscar and the movie was nominated for five more.

It’s funny watching the beginning as the ragtag bunch of passengers checks in. The security involves two things, saying your age and your birthplace. I’m pretty sure all the women lied about the former, and I don’t know how the attendants at the counter are supposed to know the latter. Made in 1954, passengers have to check through immigration since the flight is between Hawaii and San Francisco and Hawaii hadn’t achieved statehood (1959).

Moving on … My Memphis chica, Sydney, passed along one of those Internet questionnaires. You know, the ones that are supposed to reveal so much about your personality with serious and quirky queries. I figured if I fill this one out here, I can just link back to it for future reference!

Legal First name? Jeffrey, but only my mother, female family, mother figures and cute women can use the adorable full-length name, otherwise Jeff is fine.

Were you named after anyone? I’m sure someone was named before me.

Do you wish on stars? Yes. Currently I’m wishing on Clint Eastwood.

When did you last cry? When the Chinese delivery place wouldn’t take checks.

What is your most embarrassing CD? Some would make fun of me for “Monster Ballads,” but no one I would ever talk to again

Do you have a journal? Yes, though I haven’t written in it for six months; I figure I could just print out my web site scribbles.

Do you use sarcasm a lot? Do you ask stupid questions a lot?

What are your nicknames? Hey You. That Guy. Move It Big Dummy.

Would you bungee jump? Anything to impress a girl.

If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you? I wouldn’t be caught dead with me.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Are you supposed to?

Do you think that you are strong? Like an ox! (With a broken leg and beer gut.)

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Cookies ‘n Cream, though really you can get any top-secret information you want out of me with any old flavor.

Shoe Size? 14, and no, there’s no correlation. *sigh*

Red or pink? Red when I’m looking to get frisky; pink for candlelit bubblebaths.

What is the least favorite thing about yourself? My inability to see anything negative about myself.

What color pants and shoes are you wearing? I’m wearing neither. God bless the Internet.

What are you listening to right now?? XM Radio on the Internet, currently the Cinemagic channel with Conan the Barbarian playing. I’m actually freaking out, because all of a sudden the password I was given by a guy at SI.com to watch Red Sox games isn’t working. I don’t know what to do. My whole night was reserved to watch Curt Schilling pitch in Kansas City. Damnit.

Last thing you ate? Fried rice and fried mushrooms. You know, health food.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Who comes up with this stuff? Why not ask, “If you were a grain of sand, would you rather be on the beach or irritating someone in their socks?”

Last person you talked to on the phone? The guy at the Chinese restaurant. He didn’t seem to care that it felt awkward asking for a ticket to see The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I mean, do you usually get to say “virgin” out loud to strangers often?

The first thing you notice about the opposite sex?? Sensitive answer: Hair. Real answer: Breasts.

Do you like the person who sent this to you? Like her, like her, or like her?

Favorite Drink? Has anyone else noticed that they changed the label to 20-ounce Diet Cherry Cokes? Now it looks just like regular Diet Coke, only you have to twist and look closely for the picture of a cherry. Who are the ad wizards who came up with that one?

Do you wear contacts? Nope. I remain the only member of my immediate family with perfect vision. The better to see my future with, and weep.

Favorite Food? Papa Johns came up with this new barbecue chicken pizza that is solely responsible for my lack of weight loss despite working out five days a week.

Last Movie You Watched? The High and the Mighty, which isn’t a “Duke flick,” per se. he represents just one of two dozen stories captured in the movie. Still, it’s his picture on the DVD cover, since it’s doubtful pilot Robert Stack would generate DVD sales, no matter how much you like “Unsolved Mysteries.”

Favorite Day of the Year? Opening day of the new Major League Baseball season. That, or when we get to run the annual video of the skiing squirrel at work.

Scary Movies or Happy Endings? Aren’t there almost always happy endings to every movie? The great white is blow’d up, the ring is destroyed, the Death Star goes kerblooey, they make it back to the future … if it didn’t end well no one would go.

Summer or winter? Which season do I not sweat like an untalented Cold War spy in Berlin the minute I walk out the door?

Hugs OR Kisses?? Since I never get the latter, I’ll go with the former.

What Is Your Favorite Dessert? Cheesecake. Strawberry.

What Is Your Favorite Desert? Gobi. I don’t know why. I just like the way it slips off the tongue.

Living Arrangements? Horribly, horribly alone.

What Books Are You Reading? “Why You Are Horribly Alone You Big Goof.”

What's On Your Mouse Pad? Old CNN Headline News logo.

Favorite junk food? M&Ms. Like little pellets of heaven.

Rolling Stones or Beatles? I don’t get no satisfaction from the Stones.

What's the farthest you've been from home? Aberdeen, Scotland. Like Brigadoon without the singing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Buy me some tofu and leafy vegetables, and I'll never come back

Speaking of baseball in the previous post, this “science” may be patronizing to us sports nuts, but I’ll take it: Why Ballpark Food is Good for You .

A baseball stadium may not be the first place that comes to mind when looking for healthy foods, but researchers are finding that some ballpark favorites, including beer, contain compounds that are good for you … in moderation, of course.

Sunflower seeds may lower blood pressure - Baseball players and fans who enjoy the taste of sunflower seeds have a new reason to like this popular snack food. Researchers in Spain have shown in lab studies that the popular seeds appear to release a compound upon digestion that has the potential to lower blood pressure and could serve as a natural weapon to help reduce hypertension.

Moderate beer drinking may reduce heart attack risk - A beer a day may help keep heart attacks away, according to a group of Israeli researchers. In preliminary clinical studies of a group of men with coronary artery disease, the researchers showed that drinking one 12-ounce beer a day for a month produced changes in blood chemistry that are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack. Those who participated in the study showed decreased cholesterol levels, an increase in antioxidants and reduced levels of fibrinogen, a clot-producing protein.

Anti-cancer compounds found in sauerkraut - You might want to add a little more sauerkraut to your hot dog: The tangy topping, made from fermented cabbage, contains a class of compounds called isothiocyanates which were previously identified in other studies as potential cancer-fighting agents, researchers say.

Onions battle osteoporosis - Go ahead and toss more onions on your hamburger or hot dog: They're good for your bones! In lab studies using bone cells from rats, researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland found a peptide compound in onions that appears to decrease bone loss. Although more studies are needed, the study suggests that eating onions might help people prevent bone loss and osteoporosis, a disease which predominately affects older women.

Don’t forget that while these foods do have some health benefits, they’re also high in calories. If you want to control your weight and be healthy, remember to keep your daily calorie intake under control...even at a ball game.

Source: The American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

I’m still looking for the health benefits of funnel cakes and nachos, or the exercise from clapping and yelling yourself hoarse when Red Sox third base coach Dale Sveum sends a runner even though the shortstop has been holding the ball for five seconds.

Baseball for Dummies

Besides skipping the first three games of the ALCS on The Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series Collector's Edition (seriously, why include that?), the only thing I dreaded was having to listen to hours and hours of Tim McCarver drone on.

Still, he's nothing compared to the absolute worst color commentary guy in baseball, Joe Morgan. Simply put, he's a total moron. A couple of Sundays ago he explained - in all seriousness - that the reason there's a shadow in the right-field corner of Wrigley Field is that there aren't any lights over there. His partner, host John Miller, treats Morgan like a second-grader, walking him through the talking points of the game, when I just want Morgan pushed out of the press box.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pat the moron

Today’s left-wing media party piece du jour is the Pat Robertson comment that the U.S. should assassinate Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez.

First off, who cares what Pat Robertson thinks?

Second, hey Pat, shut your frackin' yap. The media loves any story where they can paint conservative Christians as backwoods inquisition-hungry hicks.

Third, Chavez is indeed a dictator-in-training in the Castro mold, and frankly it will be a better day when he's not in charge.

Fourth, not once when I actually did go to church did I EVER hear anyone in any Southern Baptist pew say, "I was watching Pat Robertson the other day ..."

Fifth, I could really go for a meatball sub right now. Okay, that's not relevant, but you're not allowed to dictate my feelings!

UPDATE: Scott has a bit more of a Biblical view of the story.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Highs and lows of summer film season

Okay, so there's a superhero who is really a clone, and he has to save the world by stopping the evil corporation in the future ...

Actually these are mixed plots of two very different films, Sky High and The Island. Check out the two-for-one review here.

Magical mystery tour

This is the best trailer I've seen yet of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It's huge, plus it has all kinds of shots from the movie. Can't wait for November.

(Link courtesy Chud.com)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sunday reflections

- What’s Jeff working this week? Day three of six is done, and now I’m in that weary turnaround trying to adjust my schedule. Bedtime the past three nights has been 7 p.m. so as to be up and at work at 6, 4 and 4 a.m. Tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday I work 4:30p to 1:30a, which should be just fine since it’s like the old days. Problem is, currently it’s 10 p.m., what used to be like my Noon, but tonight I’m weaving back and forth in a fatigued trance. If I start blogging about unicorns, Bea Arthur and the Red Sox in the same post, forgive me, for you know I’m beat. (Yes, I'm still going to the gym every day before or after work, too, so at least that's giving me added energy. Or sapping it. I can't tell sometimes.)

- Today’s headline: Study: Tap water poses little pregnancy risk. Whew. That was a close one. Turns out I’m not preggers, just fat.

- What artists are most represented on Jeff’s Miracle Mini iPod? Let’s go to the numbers of songs for each:

41 – R.E.M.
28 - Michael W. Smith
26 – U2
24 - The Beatles
24 – Rich Mullins
23 – Neil Diamond
18 - Peter Gabriel
18 – The Cure
16 – Elvis Presley
17 – The Judybats
15 - The Beach Boys

(I had to narrow it down, excluding movie scores because otherwise John Williams would be overrepresented by the Star Wars scores and the same for Howard Shore, composer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and James Horner of Glory and Titanic.)

- So I was just downloading a few tracks from the Batman Begins score on iTunes when I realized that all the titles, like Molossus and Artibeus, are types of bats. How the heck can you figure out what track goes to what part of the movie when you look at that? Whatever happened to titles like “The Scarecrow makes people nuts” or “Katie’s cold and pointy fun pillows”?

- What else did I download tonight? Air Supply. Yeah, baby, that’s how I roll. (I swear I’m not gay, in case that’s why the ladies still avoid dating me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I know, this isn’t helping.)

- Since they don’t want any more drilling and “war for oil,” do you think liberals are more apt to make sacrifices for renewable energy beyond oil? Not in their backyard, they aren’t.

- Is there an unwritten rule that if you’re in the drive-thru for one or two little items, the person in front of you has to order half the menu? Seriously, at Taco Bell a few weeks back, this guy in a minivan ordered $100 worth of food. That’s a lot of grade C beef. I know because the cashier told me so, whilest I picked up my three hard-shell tacos and bean burrito. Then Saturday I went through Mickey D’s for a milkshake and chicken fingers. The guy in front of me ended up getting passed six drinks and at least four Happy Meals after ten minutes. I hope he was happy; I was hungry and impatient. Give. Me. Chicken. Dangit.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wild American Kingdom

A Kansas teenager was killed by a tiger when she was posing with the animal for her senior pictures.

Now, I’m not one to judge (lie), but in my day we were just fine with taking our senior pictures with neon lights or a tree in the background. Not once did I feel it necessary to stand next to a deadly 400-pound animal, no matter how cute and cuddly.

Then again, it doesn’t matter the size of the animal, only whether you piss it off. Case in point, the attack by Spanky the squirrel on an officer in Massachusetts. I’m giving Spanky the benefit of the doubt on this one. The cop was probably nuts.


UPDATE: The winner of the Bad Timing of the Day story award goes to a plan to introduce African animals into the U.S.. You know, it's one thing to fly to Africa to see elephants. It's a whole other thing to have to turn around on the interstate because a herd is blocking your way to Topeka.

Gruffly terse

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

- A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing and the lawn mower is broken.
- My idea of a balanced diet is a cookie in both hands.
- Why is it that trucks that can go 90 miles per hour when they're behind you can only go 35 mph when they're in front of you?
- Is there any bigger waste of time or money than the cellphone companies giving you instructions on how to leave a message while you're waiting on the tone?
- Will somebody tell me why flies follow me into the house but never follow me out of the house?
- Why are women who wear a size 12 or higher considered “plus size” when the average American woman wears a size 14? Why not call sizes under 8 a “minus size”?
- The gas pump might as well be wearing a ski mask and a “Stick ‘em up!” sign.
- Thanks to the Internet, I have learned that God only answers my prayers if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.
- My neighbors have a sign in their yard that says: “Our dog can make it to the gate in three seconds. Can you?”
- Soon, people’s cars will be stolen just for the gasoline.
- Jane Fonda was once young and stupid, but now she’s a changed woman. Now she’s old and stupid.
- Did I read the sign right? It said, “Toilet out of order, please use the floor below.”
- If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?

Vents I Sent:

- I was so upset about Bush's month off that I called my Democrat representatives to complain, but they were on vacation so I had to leave a message.
- Having thwarted the usual process of voting on nominees, it takes a bit of chutzpah for Democrats now to cry foul at Bush's decision to exercise his other option to appoint John Bolton. (Stolen from Mark Steyn)
- So that's the state of political discourse in the AJC now, Mike Lukovich equating President Bush with Red China's crackdown on Tiananmen Square?
- The key to any relationship is sincerity. Once you fake that, it's easy. (Borrowed.)
- Gas prices are not at an all-time high. They’re still far below what Carter unleashed on us when adjusted for inflation.
- If the enviro-weenies hadn’t whined so much about drilling in ANWR in 2001, we’d be pumping that oil out by now with a chance at lowering gas prices and less dependent on foreign sources.
- The press would have ignored a Cindy Sheehan demanding to meet with President Roosevelt during World War II, but then again in those days the press was rooting for the U.S. to win. (Stolen from Michael Barone)
- Since the Iraq invasion, Libya gave up its nuclear aims, Lebanon freed itself of Syria, Egypt is holding its first multi-candidate presidential election and even Saudi Arabia held elections. But apparently it’s all for Bush’s oil buddies.
- Muslims bombing a Muslim government in Bangladesh? This could be tough, but somehow we have to find a way to blame this on Bush and Iraq.
- Looks like Clinton’s war against Serbia has turned into a quagmire.
- Even money says Cindy Sheehan will be sitting in the Michael Moore seat next to Jimmy Carter at the ‘08 Democratic convention. (Stolen from James Lileks)
- Most anti-Iraq war liberals concede that fighting terror is a good thing and supported actions in Afghanistan. So now that Iraq is the number one training ground for terrorists from around the world they still want to skedaddle. Why the rush?
- If the Sheehanites blame Bush personally for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq, do these protestors take credit for every soldier who dies at the hand of an insurgent emboldened by such anti-war rallies?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A most vexing criticism

It may not be easy or straightforward but Stealth is lucid, searching and anything but hollow.

*snicker*

That's it, run along to your mum

Can’t say I’ve ever gotten the point of cricket, but apparently the English and convicts Aussies have quite a rivalry. Take part in a rousing game of Bring it on! Go ahead, pick “convicts,” but after you’ve played as the English. (The key is to take a swing as the "ball" gets to the top.)

Carnival of the Jeffies

My people hath produced writings!

- If you get enough learning from Scott’s posts about Plato, between semesters he’s on his regular kick, football. Take your pick, ancient philosophy or sweaty men in pads. Go ahead, choose. It will say a lot about you, me thinks.

- Because you can never sweat enough in Waco, Jenn is headed to the gym. Be careful, dollface, don’t let the Elliptical Crosstrainer throw you. That’s what the rails are for, apparently. I use them to hang my towel, gym shorts, t-shirt and candy wrappings.

- Stacy is getting a kick out of Gabriel’s first week in Kindergarten. She’s even got drawings! How much longer until he gets an attitude and demands to stay at the Putt-Putt until midnight?

- Making me feel older than ever, Steve’s little sister, Kristi, is now a mommy. She and Joe had Micah Shaun Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in Memphis. Click the link for pictures.

- Speaking of babies, Over at Eric and Leah’s site for their as yet unborn spawn, Eric recommends the Baptist Hospital for Women by saying that it is “One of the only freestanding women's hospitals in the country.” Okay, when I read that, my first thought was, So Leah has to stand up when giving birth? Second thought, So all the other women’s hospitals tipped over? I know, I’m an ass.

- Jenn M. has discovered the movie Blackboard Jungle. I have not, so I have no opinion. (Quick, grab the oxygen!) I would, however, like to point out a terrible omission from her list of "a teacher can make a difference" movies. Uh, hello? Jim Belushi’s The Principal, anyone? It’s got Louis frackin’ Gossett, Jr.!

- Brent … well, Brent’s in love, you see, so he’s infrequent on his posts unless they’re about his other love, the Chicago Cubs. You know, the ones who have and always will break his heart. I dare say not even women have caused him that much rejection.

- Wally and Julie are taking the plunge on a new house. Even if it is a teensy bit out of Midtown, I’m sure there will be enough around them to feel like proper intown snobs. You know, like ranting against something gouche like a new Target.

(I kid! I know, did I form the Jerque Du Soleil this weekend or what?)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Oh material goods, how I love thee

The picture on the Rooms To Go site seemed to show my new chair as smaller than in reality, so here's a better example of how it swallows my 6'4, 300-lb. damn sexy body in a comfy embrace.



Kickin' loungin up a notch. BAM!



Just when I thought buying a new butt chariot was the highlight of my day, a package from Amazon.com arrived. Contained in the brown wrapping was the most golden DVD set of all time, The Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series Collector's Edition, 35 hours on 12 discs of the ALCS and World Series. How happy was I to finally get this?

I love my chair

You just know when you find the right chair, you know? Today I found the perfect compliment to my bum, and I declare it Good.

This morning I woke up at 4 a.m. after going to bed at midnight, figuring, "Well, I'll have to get up this early Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so I might as well be awake." So I read in bed for a couple of hours, then fell back asleep until 10. Oops. Do I count those wee hours towards my Total Time Allotment for today, or is that a wash?

My first stop was the search for a big comfy chair. I thought about it for months, just never got around to looking for one. Instead I bought the new computer, iPod, XM Radio, pizza, etc. You know, the basics. This week, though, I got in my head that I really really really really needed a new chair. Sure, I need a new mattress more, but that's next. Really, those are just for sleeping, anyway, nothing as important as watching Lord of the Rings DVDs.

The only place I went was the Rooms To Go Outlet about ten miles and two counties away (in Atlanta it seems you can drive through six counties just going to the grocery store).

At first I started sitting in a couple of dozen different chairs looking for the right fit, then I was distracted for fifteen minutes by a blonde hottie in hip glasses looking at sofas with her parents, then I redirected my attention to the matter at hand. When I sat in a particular chocolate brown (dark chocolate, not milk) chair and just sunk in it, I knew we were meant to be. It just wrapped the brown suede around me in a bear hug and whispered, "We can watch the Red Sox together." Sold. I think I'll read it a bedtime story tonight, the Sports Illustrated 2004 World Series collectible edition. That never gets old.

Even better, the chair is big but light, meaning I could carry it out of the Aztek myself to the apartment. My back? Still strong. Even when, in turn, I had to say goodbye to the old brown loveseat, the one you other kin to Mom-Mom and Granddad know well. Yep, it was time. She's now at Goodwill awaiting another home. (Moment of silence.)

Now, I haven't decided what my first stain should be. It's inevitable, so let's work the system and figure out what fits first. Maybe salsa. That at least would match the color better than, say, cookies 'n cream ice cream.

Here's a picture of the style. Just think brown.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The worms go in

You may have heard about a computer worm infecting CNN, ABC, The New York Times, Capitol Hill and several business across the world. I can vouch for the CNN part, that's for sure.

After work, I had time to stop at the Philly Connection for a cheesesteak, come home, eat said sandwich, and then received a call asking me to come back in to help out since most of the computers were going nuts, locking up or turning on and turning off repeatedly like some poltergeist was in the system. Speaking of spooked, I had to drive back downtown during rush hour after a thunderstorm. Hello, back roads. Hello, hour-long drive. Then after just over an hour some evening relief came in and let me go.

Now, though, no biggie since I have the next two days off. Maybe I'll go ahead and spend my overtime pay by finally purchasing a big comfy chair. Yes ... excellent. I think I'll reward myself now by watching the Red Sox game and opening the tub of cookies 'n cream. Oh my, how decadent.

I'll write. You'll read. We'll win together.

- How do I find the time for all this? Sure, I put my pants on one leg at a time … it’s just that I go out and create (hopefully) adequate prose while y’all are enjoying your full and rich lives.

- Today's fortune cookie: "Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom." Know what I doubt? That the writer of this is actually Chinese. It’s a fraud! There are five-year-olds in Laos coming up with these, am I right?

- It’s weird, I never went to the candlelight vigils growing up and I’ve never been inside Graceland, but since moving away from Memphis every time we show the clips of Elvis Week I get homesick.

- A while back I wondered if I should find ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols attractive. Today let’s explore another conundrum of sexuality, whether or not I should get hot and bothered by singer Gwen Stefani. There are times when I see her in a video or on the red carpet when her hair is just right and she’s wearing sensible clothing and I think, “Bam! Schwing!” But far too many other times she’s got her hair poofed up and dressed like a freak show and she’s got no boobs whatsoever and I think, “Not even close.”

- How far will the left-wingers and the media (but I repeat myself) go to discredit Supreme Court nominee John Roberts? The New York Times admitted it was “looking into” the adoption records of Roberts’s two children. Their inquiries included asking lawyers for advice on how to get into the sealed court records, though they backed off when at least one lawyer told them such an action would be “reprehensible.”

- Unfortunately I have to report that Natural Citrus Listerine feels like rinsing hornets in your mouth as much as regular Listerine.

- Again, I must say that I hate that Cindy Sheehan has been turned into a prop by the liberal establishment as some sort of anti-war icon. Unfortunately, she’s doing herself no favors to garner sympathy by anyone who has ever appreciated the U.S. of A. In yesterday’s Best of the Web from OpinionJournal.com, James Taranto includes even more examples of egregious statements made by Sheehan, including telling other moms, "This country is not worth dying for."

- What’s sadder? E! showing The Girls Next Door about the Playboy mansion, or that I’ve seen enough to know that Hefner’s “second” girlfriend, Bridget, is an attention-needy basketcase headed for a mental breakdown?

- This one’s for Mom and Aunt Lynn: I Love Tab. Every once in a while I’ll buy a six-pack of Tab just for old time’s sake.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Time is ticking away

I expected to get more accomplished on the site this weekend, but ended up sidelined with a headache and sore throat. The benefit is, I totally have that deep croaking voice that sounds so cool.

I did do a lot of work, though, on my Family Tree geneology software, so that's something tangible you won't see for awhile. Otherwise I watched the PGA Championship, baseball and The Great Raid (review pending).

So let's catch up my latest favorite game show, "What's Jeff's schedule this week?" Where to begin ...

Today and Tuesday I'm still working the 9-5 shift like I did all of last week. Then I'm off Wednesday and Thursday, working 6a-3p Friday, 4a-Noon Saturday and Sunday, topped off with the 4:30p-1:30a shift next Monday through Wednesday.

What will my mood be by Monday? We'll see, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't pass any tryouts to be the new Teletubby. Or I could be bright, chipper and extolling the virtues of driving downtown. (Thank goodness for XM radio. The Cinemagic channel was playing Casablanca and Gone With the Wind on the way in this morning. Super cool.)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Center's relish for job comes through

If this doesn't get you in the mood for football season, then stick to women's gymnastics, currently on NBC.

New Orleans Saints center LeCharles Bentley:

"When you take a man, a grown man, put your hands in the middle of his chest and bend him back to a point that you hear him scream, when he starts screaming like a little girl, you put his head in the dirt," Bentley told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "And then you look up and you see (running back) Deuce — all you see is McALLISTER 26 (on the back of his uniform) — stiff-arming somebody 20 yards down the field and breaking a 40-yard run and scoring.

"Then you get up and you just look at (the blocked defender), and you know damn well when he gets to the sideline, he's getting cussed out. And you know his mama, his wife and his kids were watching him on that play, and you just manhandled him. That's the best feeling."

Trailer Park

We’re starting to get a run of trailers for the crappy end-of-summer flicks, Oscar-worthy autumn films and far off, “I can’t wait” winter and 2006 blockbusters. Let’s get a rather large sampling:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - Sweet Jeepers, the scale of the trailer is cool. Dec. 9 will be a big day for cinema, but when I buy a ticket can I just ask for “Narnia?” Let’s all agree to do that, or we’ll never all get our tickets before the movie starts.

The Greatest Game Ever Played - Not turned back by the failure of Bobby Jones, this golf flick tackles another real-life fairy tale, that of young amateur Francis Ouimet in 1913 coming from nowhere to win the U.S. Open against the best of the best. The preview is a little too full of “these people are out of your class” talk.

Ice Age 2 - Coming out next year, this teaser simply shows the squirrel trying to get his nut. Simple and effective, because the kids know what to expect, and the parents know they’ll be shelling out big bucks for merchandise.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - November can’t get here soon enough, even if it means blowing past my 30th birthday in October, because this series is not just for kids. The PG-13 rating of the fourth installment is proof enough. The interesting twist personally will be finally seeing one of these after reading the book, so I know what to expect. Will that affect my viewing? Surely, but will it matter? Nope.

Oliver Twist - Director Roman Polanski knows youngsters too well, but here he deals with boys instead, revisiting the classic novel for the umpteenth time. Do we even need a new version? Doubtful. But then again, Polanski’s been in hiding in France for so long he probably hasn’t caught up on modern reading like “The Tommyknockers” or “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”

Dreamer - Think of it as Shebiscuit. A filly hurts her leg and instead of being shot becomes an amazing racehorse all because Dakota Fanning is the smartest person in the room (again).

Lord of War - Nic Cage can do no wrong in my eyes. Con Air? Brilliant. So know that I’m incredibly biased when I say that this trailer kicks a**. Cage is an arms dealer who sells to anyone and everyone in any conflict on either side, all with a grin. Did I mention Bridgette Moynihan is his love interest who doesn’t know his job? And she has at least one scene in a bikini? That’ll help.

The Brothers Grimm - Looks like Terry Gilliam’s movie will visit where Signs dared not – supernatural forces in the old forest. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger star as the famous brothers who are snake-oil salesman of the past, pretending to kill witches and such, until they meet something truly bizarre. You know, like The Three Amigos.

Chicken Little - I feel like I’ve seen this preview for ten years now. When does the movie finally get released? No, I won’t see it, either. For the kiddies. Then again, by the time it comes out, I might have a few rugrats, so I won’t say never.

V for Vendetta - Natalie Portman gets a lot of play in this trailer for yet another comic-turned-motion picture, a dark story where Nazis (yes, again) run England. Only the masked dude named V causes mayhem for the authorities. What’s never shown is that Hugo Weaving is the man behind the mask. Can Agent Smith pull off the superhero gig all by himself? Eh, we’ll see.

A History of Violence - Aragorn stars in what I’m told is another story based on a comic, although the trailer doesn’t look like a typical graphic novel. The movie looks to be shot with a realistic cast, realistic set and a slightly unrealistic plot, that of Viggo Mortensen settled down in a small town until he finds out he can kill bad people real good, and Ed Harris wonders why? I think this one will be good.

The 40 Year-Old Virgin - I’m counting on this one to be uncomfortably uproariously funny, hitting a little too close to home, if you know what I mean.

Just Like Heaven - No, no, Reese Witherspoon, what the heck? A romantic comedy where you’re a ghost, hauntingly falling in love with Mark Ruffalo, the only person who can see you? At what point did you look at the script and think, “Yeah, it’s tripe, but neither me nor hubby Ryan Phillipe are working right now, and we need cash.”

Walk the Line - Thankfully, the Johnny Cash biopic could save Reese from the previous surefire flop. Joaquin Phoenix looks incredible as the man in black, plus it was filmed largely in Memphis. Bluff City pride, yo! Let’s pack the theaters! The music, at least, promises to be sensational.

The Thing About My Father - Think Sideways for the father-son dynamic, “starring” (seriously, where have they been?) Peter Falk and Paul Reiser. I doubt this will ever get on my radar let alone NORAD’s.

The Constant Gardener - Ralph Feinnes is a diplomat amidst African corruption, blah blah blah his wife Rachel Weisz (rowr) dies. Yawn.

Jarhead - Jake Gyllehnaal and Jamie Foxx in a movie based on the first Gulf War, which you just know will be turned by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) into a condemnation of the current Iraq conflict.

The Legend of Zorro - Antonio Banderas and the “How do you say? Ah yes, sexy” Catherine Zeta-Jones play their parts again in the sequel to the 1998 surprise hit. I own the first, so yeah, I’ll see the second. I did mention Zeta-Jones, didn’t I? She’s so much more than T-Mobile commercials.

Doom - My freshman year of college, one of my roommates was a guy named Chris whom I’d never met before. He would spend hours in his room playing this video game, creeping us out by the monstrous sounds. It’s a toss-up as to whether I bother with the film adaptation.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Same old, same old

Mind of a Single Man looks at if similarity makes a happy marriage, as reported online by the BBC:

People who pick partners with a similar personality to themselves could be helping to guarantee matrimonial bliss. When dealing with the day-to-day stresses of life, opposites do not attract, US scientists say.

Other factors include heavy drinking and women shutting their yaps long enough for a man to get a grunt in edgewise.

Personality clashes make for more rows, even if the couples initially had the same values, they say in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The University of Iowa team studied 291 newlyweds who had been dating for around three-and-a-half years. Generally, the couples were similarly matched in terms of attitudes and beliefs.

Were these serious questions, or like The Newlywed Game where they’re asked "Where is the strangest place you've ever had the urge to make whoopee?" (Hint: Don’t answer “the butt.”)

The researchers then looked at personality traits such as attachment, whether they were extravert or introverted, and whether or not they were conscientious.

Say what? Does that mean, “whether they were frackin’ nuts?” I don’t care if she’s extra or intra or whatever, so long as I can watch the Red Sox game while she fetches me a Diet Coke and M&Ms once every three innings. (I know. Can you believe I’m almost 30 and still single?)

The couples were then asked to rate how happy their marriage was. When the researchers compared these ratings with the various personality measures, they found a trend. The happier couples were the ones who were more similarly matched.

i.e., the ones who lied slanted the results immensely.

Speaking of being happier, what if you’re opposite but still enjoy each other’s company? Even if she won’t watch Westerns every weekend, I need someone who can make me laugh. I'm talking spit-takes and spaghetti-out-my-nose kind of funny.

Psychologist Eva Klohnen, who conducted the research, said it was likely that people were initially attracted to those with similar attitudes and beliefs.

Sorry, but I’m not sure I’m ready for another person in the house - especially one I’m supposed to sleep with once or twice a year - who spends two hours a day on fantasy sports, changes her underwear twice a week, cries when she listens to “The Rose” and likes the smell of her own farts. Some things are too personal to share.

Given that attitudes and values can be judged fairly early on in a relationship, couples with differences can chose whether to stay together despite or because of these differences.

Is it just me, or has one word been conspicuously missing in this story that should loom above all of this head-shrinking pap and determine every relationship? I think you know what I mean.

That word is “silicone.”

No, I mean “love,” which I guess is an abstract concept to these brainiacs.

Personality-related characteristics, however, take much longer to be known and do not play a more substantial role until later in the relationship, (Klohnen) said. "Being in a committed relationship entails regular interaction and requires extensive co-ordination in dealing with tasks, issues and problems of daily living.”

Geez, way to make marriage sound like Dullsville, lady.

“Honey, would you like to participate in a free-flowing discussion of desalination in the 19th century?” “Yes, dear, that would be grand. Perhaps later we might both take the children to the park and allow them on the new playground that is conscientious of safety.” “Might we eat at the new bistro, too?” “That sounds lovely.” “It is agreed.”

Where do I sign up?

"Whereas personality similarity is likely to facilitate this process, personality differences may result in more friction and conflict in daily life," (Klohnen) said. Dr Christopher Armitage, reader in psychology at Sheffield University, said: "This fits in with a great deal of research on relationships.”

Surprisingly, when you say, “I want you to do this for/with me,” and the other person responds, “As if. Do it yourself,” this leads to what scientists refer to as “sleeping on the futon in the spare bedroom.”

"People have these beliefs that birds of a feather flock together and research backs this up."

Wait, when did this start being about birds? Do I have to get one as a pet to be happy with my opposite spouse? It’s all so confusing.

Christine Northam, a senior Relate counsellor, said it was important for couples to have enough common ground to make relationships stick and create intimacy.

So, “We both like sex. A lot,” isn’t enough common ground? Huh.

(Northam) said conflict could arise when personalities clashed. "For example, if one of you always did what you said you would and the other said they would but never did, that would cause conflict."

But what if you say you did it and she says she didn’t see you do it, and then she does it but still gets mad even though you did it? Would that do it?

But (Northam) said it was very complex because attitudes and personality are intimately linked. "Being conscientious, for example, is about your values and what you think is important."

I believe the Team America song "Only a Woman" put it best:

"I like rain, I like ham, I like you."

In that order.

But (Northam) said opposites could attract and work in some cases. "You can get these complementary relationships where one of you is the life and soul of the party and the other one is quite happy to sit back and enjoy themselves. But when it's too polarized, that can cause problems."

You know what this means: The game of love is on!

Who will prevail? Will he do the dishes? Will she mow the lawn? Will they both enjoy going to the art gallery? Stay tuned, SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Going too far

I think Cindy Sheehan has every right to meet with President Bush and talk about her son’s unfortunate death in Iraq. In fact, she did meet with him last year, and afterwards had plenty of praise.

"I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis," she said after their meeting. "I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith." She also said that the visit helped her family recover. "That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together."

Now that she’s camped out in Crawford and calling the president an ”evil maniac” and the U.S. is a “cancer” on the Middle East, her family went so far as to send out a release saying that they want no part of her protest: "The Sheehan family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. The rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops, our country and our president, silently, with prayer and respect."

As much as we've seen Sheehan on the news this week, I have to wonder why the media ignored the hundreds of families who still support Bush and the war despite losing family in the conflict? That's just it, though. Since it's a lot more difficult to find a parent willing to say their dead child died in a wrong war, this becomes a "man bites dog" story, and the media knows she's a blip of a minority in her protest.

It's not sad that Sheehan is speaking out, it's sad that the left-wing crowd has decided to make her the mascot for their rage against the Bush administration.

The strangest part of Sheehan’s speech in which she said the war was for oil was “You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine.” Since when did protesting her son’s death in Iraq become about hating Jews?

(Link courtesy OpinionJournal.com)

Putting my nerves in "park" for a couple of days

It’s nice to be sitting here. Seriously, I mean it, physically, mentally and with my car in one piece.

The last month here in Atlanta have seen nothing but afternoon storms every day, full of sound and fury = not good for a town full of cars and especially speedsters.

This afternoon one of those gullywashers hit on my drive home (and is still thundering outside now), and caused a major series of wrecks in front of me on I-75 North, halfway home from work.

I saw brake lights appear quickly, then saw a car vault up in the air after slamming into another, and as I slammed on my ABS noticed the lady in the BMW behind me hadn’t quite gotten the memo. Thankfully I had the foresight (you know, besides "OH FRACK!") to see no one next to me, ease off the brakes, veer into the next lane and resume slamming on the brakes, finishing six feet behind the car that had just slammed into the van. The car’s tire was sitting next to the driver’s side door.

When it was time to go (everyone was fine, waiting for the police), I had to maneuver around three cars, and I was in front of hundreds of rush-hour drivers stacking up. I definitely feel sorry for those who stumbled upon the scene later. They're probably still stuck.

Why all the brake lights in the first place? Because fifteen to twenty banged-up cars were already lined up on the left side of the road, another pair on the right side and yet two more one-hundred feet ahead. Apparently someone neglected to notice this in time, swerving to miss very late and the accidents in front of me were the result. From what I could tell, no one seemed injured, since no one was rushing to aid anyone and several were on their cellphones already.

Now, my nerves are frazzled and I really can’t wait for this weekend!

It’s the PGA Championship, so I’ll be home plenty. Expect me to catch up on my blogging and movie reviews, since I may never drive again. How much are private helicopters nowadays?

UPDATE, 6:55 p.m. - I'm a total liar. Not twenty minutes after I posted this I went to Target to ogle cute chicks and to KFC to eat tasty chicks.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Briefly and unseriously

This edition was written before a live studio audience.

- Is it just me or when you listen to Delilah and someone is bawling and requests her to pick a song and she does so, you think, “No, no, that’s just no good at all.” She never gets it right, yet still has a job. Casey Kasem never had that problem with Long Distance Dedications.

- Hundreds of residents from Romulus are on alert after a massive fire at a chemical plant this week. Fantastic news. Why? Now that people of Romulus are weakened, we can end their militaristic traditions and bring them into the fold of the Federation like when the Klingons lost their moon Praxis to an explosion.

- Yes, I admit, I OnDemanded (verb?) the NFL Network shows of the Miami Dolphins cheerleader tryouts. At first it was for the off-the-charts Babe Factor, but then I got hooked and enjoyed the girls trying to be perky, talented and catty all at the same time.

- A 20-year-old whose lawyers claimed the video game "Grand Theft Auto" and childhood abuse caused him to kill three police officers in Alabama was convicted Tuesday of capital murder. What’s the next defense going to be, that playing Pac-Man causes someone to become a Ghostbuster? Galaga leads to shooting up at satellites? Too much Madden football an you jump out of the stands and try to tackle a 350-pound lineman?

- FBI agents arrested a San Antonio man accused of writing a bomb threat on a gum wrapper on a Southwest Airlines flight. The "threat" also had a smiley face and a phone number. A later flight was delayed while authorities searched for artillery when a stewardess found a Bazooka Joe wrapper.

- An 18-year-old fan who jumped from the Yankee Stadium upper deck to the netting behind home plate was released from a hospital Wednesday and appeared in court to face criminal charges. It was really dumb, yadda yadda, but I have to admit it was kinda cool. I’ll be thousands of New Yorkers who have sat in the upper deck and looked at the net below are thinking, “Huh, I always wondered if the net would hold me, too. That kid’s brave.” It’s all part of the proud tradition of men leaping from great heights with nothing but trash bags, umbrellas and towels (ahem, Dad) to see if they could make it. Make what, I have no idea, though fun is to be had at the effort.

Wake up call

At first I thought it a travesty that an arbitrator could swoop in and undermine MLB's suspension of Kenny Rogers, reducing his penalty to 13 games from 20 for attacking two cameramen in June. Maybe the arbitrator knew differently and decided to let The Gambler fold on the field, which he did, getting torched for five runs last night in a 16-5 Red Sox shellacking.

Speaking of, I decided to look at the bright side of waking up way too early for the 9-5 shift - which I'm covering all this week plus next Monday and Tuesday. I have plenty of time after work to go to the gym and still be home in time for first pitch of the Red Sox games. And unlike my previous shift of 2-10 I can watch the games uninterrupted! Good times.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Only one "penguin tux" joke in the review, I promise

The coldest movie of the year, March of the Penguins, is also the one with the warmest heart.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

We're all in the mood for a melody

Is it just me, or is this story the kind Hollywood would make a feature film about a guy brought back from the dead, sent to an institution where he inspires a lost young man to greatness?

Frickin' lasers for frickin' Buddhas

"Afghanistan's famous Bamiyan Buddhas are due to be recreated by multicoloured laser images projected onto the cliffs where they once stood."

No word on whether the artist will play Pink Floyd or Enya during the event.

We always take my car cause it's never been beat ...

Stealing from High Fidelity, it’s another look at Jeff’s Top Fives. This time, Favorite Cars of Mine:

1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport – The timeless boxy SUV, still looks like the ORV in The Goonies. All kinds of storage space and no matter how many years old you always feel cool driving the classics.

2004 Pontiac Aztek – Current vehicle; my first bought brand new. Plenty of leg room, a sunroof to open when I want to pass by cute chicks and feel cool, keyless entry (that was a big selling point, believe it or not) and now that it has my XM radio I could drive around forever, even in Atlanta traffic. Well, maybe not. But it makes the commute easier.

Mom’s 1992 Saturn – Sure it’s not mine, but it was fun to drive, and I considered it sleek enough to drive to my prom.

1986 Chevy Nova – Handed down from Mom when she got her Saturn when I turned 16. Yeah, it was troublesome and finally (mercifully) died, but that girl had character. I even bought her a new radio that supplied the tunes of my glorious high school career and the first year of college. I’m actually quite shocked I fit inside the little white box.

1994 Chevy Beretta – Bland, bought a couple of years used, more of a chick car. Still, she got me through college and into Atlanta and never broke down, so that’s something.

[Previously we looked at my favorite Minutes Of The Weekday, Secular Concerts and my Best and Worst Jobs.]

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Photos for the masses

Okay, okay, so I got off my futon long enough to finish loading all my pictures from my Tennessee vacation. Here's six pages worth. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Good morning or good night, depending on where you are

I know, I know, I’m sorry. I wish I could contribute more to the blogging community right now, but you know me, after a week of vacation it takes as long for me to settle in. Making it worse is getting used to my new floating schedule.

For instance, it’s 4:18 a.m. right now and I’m not asleep. I’m at work, just got in, in fact, and will work until Noon, go to the gym, go home and nap. Then get back on the 9-5 schedule because that’s what I’m doing Monday through Friday next week.

I don't know how many of you do this every day, but waking up at 7 a.m. sucks. Hard. Though not near as much as going to bed at 7 p.m. on a Friday night, waking up at 11 p.m. and realizing, “uh-oh, I’m up for good.”

What am I working on? Pictures from last week, plus a one-size-fits-all review of The Island, March of the Penguins, Sky High, Stealth and The Dukes of Hazzard, all of which I’ve seen in the past week.

Stay with me! Please, don’t give up now, not when we’ve worked so much to build a co-existing blogger-reader relationship where I voice my opinions and pretend to care about yours!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

You just got served!

- And so it was written, the second of third day of August in the year 2005 of our Lord, that it will come to pass that Jeff’s XM radio antenna will be re-installed on the outside of his vehicle for a clear signal everywhere he travels. Yea it was good. (It took 15 minutes for the Best Buy guy to fix his Memphis counterpart’s mistake. No cost, either. Amen.)

- Whether you’re a regular in chat rooms or a history buff, this should provide some milk through the nose: If WWII took place in a chat room.

- In all the century-plus history of the Red Sox, here’s something you might not have expected. With last night’s win, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield moved into third place with 124. Only Cy Young and Roger Clemens, both with 192, have more.

- Speaking of the Sox, Field of Dreams has company, albeit it oppositely: If you win it, he will build it. Check out this farm! (The bureaucracy of MLB is amazingly dense, too. Check out this bit near the end: “Major League Baseball officials made him cut out a trademark symbol under the Sox logo.” Are you kidding me? It’s a frackin’ design in vegetables that can only be seen by pilots and astronauts, for goodness’ sake! Or did MLB see Signs and think perhaps this will confuse our alien visitors?)

- Staying on baseball, I haven’t changed my opinion on something so fast since Lindsay Lohan turned from sexy redhead into one of those skeletons hanging in biology classrooms. Two weeks ago Rafael Palmeiro was sure to get in the Hall of Fame. Today, he is shunned for taking a powerful anabolic steroid. No matter what Raffy says, that stuff isn’t available in Viagra tablets for which he’s a spokesman, but he will need to get his reputation back up to retire gracefully.

- It’s official, the Democrat Party is in a quagmire over the Iraq war. They just cannot bear to think of it in anything other than Vietnam “we’re doomed” stinking thinking. What else can you deduct from the Pennsylvania Lt. Governor attending a soldier’s funeral to pass out business cards during communion and telling a grieving relative, "I want you to know our government is against this war."

- This month’s Lark News lead story: ”Praise decoys” boost Sunday excitement.

- Quite frankly, I don’t want to get yelled at for 30 minutes on ESPN, so I’ll pass on Stephen A. Smith’s new gabfest.

- Headline of the day: Rescuers Save Hot Dog In CarFor the love of Pete, will someone, anyone, think about the bun?!

The latest in pop culture blog fashions

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

- While driving on Ga. 400, a car cut in front of us, causing a very short stop. My 4-year-old son in the back asked, “Where’s the John Kerry sticker?”
- Did you notice how when you look in the obituaries, people always die in alphabetical order? Strange, huh?
- To pass the Democrats’ litmus test for Supreme Court justice, you have to have been arrested for protesting.
- Since Congress is adding two months to daylight-saving time to save fuel, let’s get them to move Saturday to Wednesday so we can save gas by not driving to work five days in a row.
- Because Senator Kennedy demands that Gitmo be closed, let’s do so and, using eminent domain, move the detainees to Hyannisport.
- Is it proper etiquette to flush the toilet if someone in the stall next to you is on their cellphone?
- At rush hour, the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore is known as “The Car-Bangled Spanner.”
- Hospital business offices charge you whatever they can get away with. My wife delivered twin daughters, and on our bill there were charges for two circumcisions.
- Why are panty lines considered a mortal sin?
- The pastor’s sermon had the full attention of the congregation until the chilling interruption of the ringing cellphone. (Jeff note: Why? Was the tone “Highway to Hell”?)

Vents I Sent:

- Is there anything more awkward for an audience to watch than interpretive dance? Am I supposed to get something out of it?
- We should add a verse of the Quran to the American flag; then it would never get torched again.
- Do class-warfare Democrats think the rich swim in their money like Scrooge McDuck?
- No wonder Europe has plenty of time to worry about which wine goes with which cheese; they’ve been letting us take care of their national security for sixty years.
- Calling the outing of Valerie Plame a “leak” is like “leaking” the name of the person who answers the computer help line at Dell.
- Why is it that liberals refer to the Constitution as a “living, breathing document” in order to justify the latest societal whim, yet they view any review of rulings such as Roe v. Wade to be tantamount to denying Christ on the cross? (Borrowed.)
- The Democrats' mascot should be an ostrich since they've got their heads buried in the sand and their rears sticking straight up.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Happy birthday (and soon-to-give-birth day)

The first batch of a slew of pictures is up from last week's Tennessee vacation, so click to the Friends section of the Photo Gallery for Kristi's birthday party.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Who am I? Why am I here?

I actually came to work at 9 a.m. this morning.

(John Travolta in "Welcome Back Kotter" voice)This is like so weird!(/John Travolta in "Welcome Back Kotter" voice)

Seriously, it's the first time in my seven years and five months here that I've come in during what normal people call "work hours." In the past I've either gotten off work at this time after an overnight shift, it's been my lunch hour during an early morning shift or it's the time my alarm clock is set for on the evening shift.

So yes, this is my new Floater schedule, willy nilly where they need me. Today and tomorrow I'm TD relief 9-5, meaning I give my fellow TDs breaks, or like this morning when one of the women had to go to the DMV for new car tags, I'm working the 10-11 show then on and off as needed. At 5 I'm most certainly going to the gym because after last week I desperately need the exercise.

Speaking of, I got back from Knoxville at 5 o'clock Sunday and promptly laid on the futon trying not to roll over on either shoulder, which are immensely sunburned from Saturday's party. My upper body looks like a giant cherry tootsie pop. Know how many licks it takes to get me to whine in pain? One.

Pictures have been downloaded and cropped, so just give me a couple of days to photoshop and caption all those lovely memories. Toodles!