Friday, September 30, 2005

Shiny happy people

Oh. My. Goodness. How funny. This is the perfect example of how certain clips of a movie can be used to make a movie be about anything you want. Someone took The Shining and turned it into a cheesy family comedy. When the Peter Gabriel song kicks in, I doubled over and nearly dropped my Weight Watchers ice cream bar onto the keyboard. All play and no work makes Jeff a happy boy.

Tracking the Sox

Here we go. The playoffs begin tonight, no matter that it's the end of the regular season. The Red Sox have to win two of three to tie the Yanks, but Cleveland's in the picture for the wild card.

7:58 - Top of the third, Red Sox up 2-1. (Also the first call from Steve checking updates while covering Football Friday for WMC in Memphis.) El Natural drove in the first, Captain Varitek homered for the second. David Wells struggled in the first, but has settled down and looked good. Thus far.

Tomorrow's game is on Fox. The over/under for how many times I call Tim McCarver a "goldarn blundering fool" is set at 10. I'm going for the over.

8:08 - This is an inexact science, but I’d say Red Sox fans at Fenway have a lot more fun booing and chanting at damn Yankees at the plate than the folks at Damn Yankee Stadium do at Sox players. Why? Because we’ve got more on their players.

Think about it. A-Fraud (who just saw the ball go right through his legs in the bottom of the third – hee) only commits his teams to the basement since they can’t afford anyone else, plus he went slap happy in the playoffs last year and got his face rearranged by Jason Varitek's glove. Jason Giambi's body is a steroid pin cushion, making it far too easy to get fans together as one with the “ster-oid” chant. Gary Sheffield is one of the top (bottom?) headcases in all of MLB, not so much burning bridges on his way out of town as napalming them, and that's before he got connected with the BALCO steroid investigation.

What are Damn Yank fans going to cheer? Manny’s got his head in the clouds? Yeah, okay, whatever. Schilling’s a loud mouth? Big deal. David Wells likes to party? I'll stipulate to that. What were they left with in the past? "1918!" Not anymore. Seems they're two cheers away from "Red Sox are big stupidheads!"

(What the hell was Johnny Damon just thinking, getting thrown out at third, sauntering off second with the ball in play?)

8:45 - Holding, still 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Can ex-Yankee David Wells even the series for the Sox? That would be fun, for sure. David, you can party, run your mouth and stay fat all you like, just win. (Yeah, yeah, I'm not exactly the poster boy for Bill Bennett's "Book of Virtues.")

8:52 - Wells had Damn Yanks at second and third with one out and got out of it. Still up 2-1. Life is good.

9:02 - The Damn Yanks just walked Ortiz with first base open and Damon on second in the sixth inning. Think Manny takes this as a slight? I hope so. After all, he’s got 42 dingers and 138 RBIs, including a homer just last night.

9:04 - A base hit by Manny, loading the ducks on the pond with one out. Antici .... pation is building. If we can't beat up some pitcher named Chien-Ming Wang (heh, "wang"), what will happen against Randy Johnson tomorrow?

9:07 - Wang walks Trot to bring in an easy run. 3-1, bases still loaded. Varitek at bat. The excitement is palpable. Seriously, I'm palpating right now. ... Yes! Giambi screwed up a throw home, El Natural scores, 4-1, bases still loaded with one out!

9:11 - Thankfully the only American League centerfielder with a weaker arm than Johnny Damon is Bernie Williams, so he had no chance throwing out Manny at home after catching Olerud's soft fly ball. 5-1.

9:15 - Just talked to Steve and provided the details. He and his reporter are eating at McDonald's between traveling to games. He's having fries, that much I know, yet he wants to lose weight. Everyone point and chastise him.

9:22 – Sh*t. Derek fracking Jeter just hit a two-run shot into the right-field bullpen. Dang it all to heck.

9:27 – Seventh-inning stretch time. We’re still up two, so why am I not overly agog right now? The same reason I bought Bill Simmons, aka ESPN’s Sports Guy’s book “Now I Can Die In Peace” celebrating all that is Red Sox lore and the 2004 World Series title. He’s been on a book signing tour lately and just as worried as the rest of us this week:
This week, they looked finished. I monitored Tuesday's loss during a New York City signing at a bar filled with Red Sox fans ... you could feel the energy slowly drain from the place as the Blue Jays kept putting up runs. On Wednesday, I had a signing in Stamford, Conn., that started at 7 p.m. ET. Maybe a half-hour in, you could hear concerned murmurs from people in line who were catching updates on their cell phones. Down 2-0 ... Yankees just scored again ... oh, boy, the Jays scored again. I started signing books with tags like, "Keep the faith in 2005," if only because it seemed like the right thing to do. Deep down, I hated myself for agreeing to the tour in the first place. This wasn't how I imagined the season ending, sitting behind a table and signing my name on a book called "Now I Can Die In Peace" ... and wondering where the peace was. Didn't we win last year? Why did I feel sick?

9:30 - I don’t know if this counts, but I had dibs on sideline babe Erin Andrews first, when she was sexily reporting scores during Braves and Thrashers games here in Atlanta for the TBS and Turner South networks. At first I thought, “wow, she’s got a long neck.” Then I got a better look, and it turned into “yowzers, look at that rack.” Yes, I’m 29 and still single. At least I can also say that she’s gotten a lot better since she started, so that’s something.

She just interviewed Robert Redford behind home plate. Fitting, from The Natural to this year's MVP, El Natural. The scoop? Sundance says they tried to film The Natural at Fenway. One question: Who knew Redford was a Red Sox fan? We've had to deal with the likes of Ben Affleck, and a Hollywood legend couldn't get to a game and be seen?

9:42 - Indians down 1-0 in the eighth to Chicago. By the way, when I say “Go Sox” this weekend, that goes for both Boston and Chicago. Then again, if the guys wearing red stirrups sweep the Damn Yanks we won’t have to worry about the wild card.

Al Leiter came in, walked David Ortiz on four pitches and got pulled. Wow, that’s got to be rough for Leiter, a guy who dominated the National League in his prime. Unfortunately, Manny didn't make New York pay and grounded out to second. Still 5-3 going into the eighth.

9:50 - Chad Bradford pitching for the good guys. Got one out, and he’s gone. Oh yeah, this is playoff baseball, all right. Francona and Torre are treating it like game seven of the ALCS, and it’s magnificent. This is why Autumn is the best season. Baseball games mean everything, college football and the NFL are hitting their strides, the temps are cooling down and my birthday is in 19 days. Okay, so maybe the last one is personal, but you may feel free to substitute something else like Halloween or Thanksgiving or the release of Star Wars Episode III: Thank God It’s Over on DVD.

9:59 - Speaking of Halloween, Mike Myers came out to pitch after Bradford. That’s not scary at all. Having to pitch to Matsui is. (Yes, I know, an original thought. Ooh, Myers is the villain in the movie Halloween. Get it? Okay, fine. Austin Powers comes out to face Matsui. Better?)

On the eleventh pitch of the at-bat, Myers wins with a strikeout. Yeah, baby! Groovy! Myers leaves. In comes closer Mike Timlin, presumably to get the final four outs. I’m not sure about this. Timlin is a lot better when he enters in the ninth and needs to get just three outs.

10:08 - The White Sox gave away the lead in the bottom of the ninth, so they and Cleveland head to the tenth tied at one. Frackin’ Chicago. Thanks a bunch. Meanwhile, no insurance runs for Timlin going to the top of the ninth.

10:18 - Fitting, Jeter is up to bat with two outs and a runner on first. Yeah, it makes me nervous. Infield chop and ... it’s over! Wells didn’t go dry, the Red Sox emasculated the Yanks’ Wang and Timlin didn’t blow a two-run lead, leaving the teams tied atop the AL East with two games to go. It’s guaranteed that Saturday and Sunday will both matter even more so than tonight, and my stress level is sure to skyrocket. Good times. (Let’s not even get into the chances of a Monday playoff with a split. Ye gods.)

11:25 - Phew. The Indians just lost, 3-2, in 13 innings. Thanks, ChiSox! Kisses! Not only did the Red Sox even up the AL East, they now have a one game lead over Cleveland for the wild card.

Caution: Red Sox fever may be hazardous to your health

I haven’t written about the Red Sox vying to make the MLB postseason starting next week, if only not to jinx the chances of the guys wearing red hosiery. I might as well say something since Dad mentioned two posts down that they won Thursday in dramatic come-from-behind fashion led by should-be MVP El Natural.

The Olde Towne Team’s epic struggle is supplying far too much stress, while the Padres won their frackin’ division and they have a lethargic .500 record.

The stress looks to multiply a million times over heading into the opener tonight of a three-game set against the damn Yanks at historic Fenway Park. Simply put, the playoffs start today.

What’s the drama this weekend? New York leads Boston by one game in the AL East. If Boston sweeps, they win the division. If the damn Yanks win two of three, they clinch the division. If the Red Sox win two of three, the teams could play a one-game playoff on Monday in the Bronx. Why do I say “could”? Because the wild card is also at stake. Boston and Cleveland are currently tied for that spot.

Let’s try that scenario (deep breath): Should the Red Sox, Yankees and Indians all finish with identical records -- certainly conceivable at this point -- Boston and New York would settle the AL East on Monday at Yankee Stadium. The loser of that game would play the Indians on Tuesday. Should the Red Sox and Yankees finish in a tie and the Indians drop out of the picture, New York would win the division (based on having a better head-to-head record) and Boston would be in the postseason as the Wild Card team. If the Yankees win the division and the Red Sox and Indians tie for the Wild Card, the Sox would host the Indians in a winner-take-all game on Monday.

Got that? Me neither.

How desperate is Boston to beat New York? They signed damn Yankee castoff Mike Stanton to provide another left-handed pitcher in the bullpen for the final four days of the regular season.

What else can I say? It's the oldest of stories, the battle of good vs. evil, though we all now that sometimes evil prevails (at least 26 times in the past century, to be exact).

As Haile Selassie, former of Ethiopia, said: “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

Speak to power! Rise up, baseball fans, and speak against the damn Yankees making the playoffs this season!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Commander-in-chum

Why didn’t I plan on watching ABC’s “Commander-in-Chief”? Because it was obviously going to turn into a Bush-bashing liberal wet dream. I was right. Take a sample of the quotes about conservatives just from the first episode:

“This guy makes Genghis Khan look like Mahatma Gandhi.”

"The return of book-burning, creationism in the classroom, invading every third world country …"

When star Geena Davis wants to intercede in a Nigeria case where a woman was to be stoned to death for adultery, the conservative tells her not to do so because “a lady who couldn't keep her legs together" isn’t worth the trouble.

The new Amazing Race

Sorry. Where’d I go? Nowhere. Same ol’ same ol’, work and the Red Sox. Of course, yesterday I bought the season one DVD of “Battlestar Galactica” and once Toronto was blowing out Boston last night I popped in the miniseries.

Yes, I did watch the premiere of this season’s Amazing Race, but no, I don’t plan on writing extended recaps like over the spring. With ten teams of four-person families, the task seems a little arduous and frankly I’m too lazy to try and follow it all.

Still, initially I thought I might not even follow this round because of the large teams and that it looks like they’re going to race around the States, yet when that theme song came on I got the same chills as usual and I was right back into the game.

Did anyone else find it really awkward that the only black family this season was named, well, Black? What, Token isn’t a common enough name to find a team that isn’t lily white?

What’s up with that Paolo family? I really felt sorry for the parents, proud immigrants who have made the American dream, including two vile teen boys with a complete lack of respect for their parents. As soon as the boys starting calling their parents idiots and retarded, I began to understand how parents can smack their children.

Highlights of the show to me were the cuts at New York City. When a family from Louisiana is driving to SoHo for their first clue, one of the girls notes that it’s exciting and asks her brother, “Isn’t it pretty?” His response, “No,” with a look like he just walked into the post-apocalyptic Terminator world. Later, the little girl of the Gaghan family asks why so many people use spray paint on the walls, and her dad can only shrug and note that graffiti is just the way things look around there. The best, though, was the Aiello group of guys from New England who chant “Yankees suck” when driving near that damn stadium.

Who to root for? Well, it’s certainly easy to root for the four blond sisters who won the first leg, with all their shrieking and hopping. The family of three sisters and their dad could be good, but of course that’s just for eye candy. Team Katrina from New Orleans could garner some sympathy, even though the hurricane happened after the show, of course.

I will really pull for the Gaghans, with their two wide-eyed kids, because it will continue to piss off the other teams to lose to a couple of moppets. When one of the teams ask, “how did the little kids beat us,” I couldn’t help but yell, “Because they’re not the ones driving.”

There looks to be an actual advantage to shooting this show in the U.S. Without teams running to airports all the time, we could actually see the show depend on navigation skills and teamwork.

Speaking of, how did no one have a map? Seriously, after leaving New York for Pennsylvania every team had to stop and ask directions and buy a map. Why wouldn't you already have ten different atlases in your bag?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Coo coo ca-choo

To all the Weenie-Americans who think we should be more like Europe, I present this: Cooing at newborn babies banned.
A West Yorkshire hospital has banned visitors from cooing at new-born babies over fears their human rights are being breached and to reduce infection.

A statement from Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax said staff had held an advice session to highlight the need for respect and dignity for patients.

On one ward there is a doll featuring the message: "What makes you think I want to be looked at?"
What's next, I'm not allowed to stare at women who are flaunting their goods in short skirts and low tops? Sure, it's probably bad to do so behind a bush with binoculars, but where do we draw the line?

(Link courtesy Right-Thinking From the Left Coast.)

Get your fresh hype here!

It's not like the media overreacted in their Katrina coverage to extend the drama:
On September 1, with desperate Hurricane Katrina evacuees crammed into the convention center, Police Chief Eddie Compass reported: "We have individuals who are getting raped; we have individuals who are getting beaten."

Five days later, he told Oprah Winfrey that babies were being raped.

On the same show, Mayor Ray Nagin warned: "They have people standing out there, have been in that frickin' Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people." …

But now, a month after the chaos subsided, police are re-examining the reports and finding that many of them have little or no basis in fact.

They have no official reports of rape and no eyewitnesses to sexual assault. The state Department of Health and Hospitals counted 10 dead at the Superdome and four at the convention center. Only two of those are believed to have been murdered.

One of those victims -- found at the Superdome – appears to have been killed elsewhere before being brought to the stadium, said Bob Johannessen, the agency spokesman.
Well I’m just stunned. If it were just some cute blonde missing in New Orleans, the media would have ignored it, right? Oh, this topsy-turvy world of ours.

At least the media isn’t inconsistent on covering Bush between Rita and Katrina.
During Saturday's special hour-long NBC Nightly News, reporter Kevin Corke suggested President Bush ran "the risk of looking like a political opportunist" with Hurricane Rita by taking exactly the active hands-on approach demanded by media critics in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast last month. …
Never mind.

You win some, you lose some

The Bad News: Dad and I learned today that we didn't win the lottery drawing for tickets to next year's Ryder Cup in Ireland.

The Good News: We got a mulligan. Dad was able to buy tickets to next year's U.S. Open at acclaimed Winged Foot Golf Club. We'll be spending Father's Day on the New York/Connecticut border watching the best golfers in the world, and perhaps parlaying that into some baseball games should the Red Sox or even the (gasp) damn Yankees play nearby.

The last major at Winged Foot was the PGA Championship in 1997, when Davis Love III won his only major. Bobby Jones won the U.S. Open in 1929 at Winged Foot. Other U.S. Open champions at the A.W. Tillinghast course in Westchester County were Billy Casper in 1959, Hale Irwin in 1974 and Fuzzy Zoeller in 1984 after beating Greg Norman in an 18-hole playoff.

What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive. ~ Arnold Palmer

News you can use

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

- I was fired from my last job as a pizza deliveryman. Where do I go to apply for a job as the head of a federal government agency?
- Did I somehow miss the news about the shooting and looting in the Carolinas after the recent hurricane?
- Will Britney Spears call her baby Pickle?
- Putting Ted Kennedy on the Judiciary Committee is like putting Jeffrey Dahmer in the kitchen.
- They’re gonna remove “under God” from the pledge? Next thing you know, they’ll remove “play ball” from the “Star-Spangled Banner”!
- Blondie or Miss Buxley? I can’t decide.
- That $22 (ticket to the new) Georgia Aquarium better come with unlimited hush puppies, grits and carry-out containers!
- Do other birds watch hummingbirds and wonder how they do that?
- Labrador retrievers make terrible poker players, but I got a lot of Milk Bones out of the experiment.
- Hurley on “Lost” keeps gaining weight because he’s really on a dessert island!

Vents I Sent:

- The entire left-wing establishment has developed a political temperament the equivalent of Hollywood party girl Tara Reid.
- It's one thing to believe the war was a mistake; it's another entirely to regard it as an attempt to enrich Halliburton or expand the "American empire."
- I wouldn't always give to Christian groups after tragedies like Katrina, but I can't find any Secular Humanist Aid Society.
- A “classic” is a book people praise but haven’t actually read. (Courtesy Grif.net)
- Can I get some of that ability by liberals to be pompously self-delusional in aerosol form?
- Do you really think the gulf coast would have been better served if Bush cried and grumbled like the Louisiana governor and New Orleans mayor?
- Ever notice no one credits “global warming” for pleasant weather?
- The right to free speech doesn’t give you a right to be heard, or to have your inane Vent printed.
- It's high time we blame the poor for their condition. Graduate from school, don't have babies out of wedlock and steer clear of drugs. There you go, you're on the road to middle class. (Courtesy Wizbang.)
- It’s not that I can’t find a girlfriend; I’m just waiting until desperation becomes attractive.

Happy now?

Sheesh. It's like Cindy Sheehan and her Sheehanites are rappers trying to gain more rep by going to jail. The fine officers in uniform are always happy to oblige if only to get these loonies off the streets for a day. Check out the picture; she's smiling away the entire time. Why? Because it was all planned.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Guns and Nic should work better together

This weekend's movie offering was Lord of War, a film that didn't hit the target I set up for it.

Hear ye, hear ye

The new entry to the blogroll is Tim Ellsworth, a fellow Unionite from the old days in the communications world. We worked together at the Jackson Sun as well, ruling the roost of West Tennessee sports. Good times. Good blog, too.

Anyone know of other Union grads who are blogging? I know Steven's got some folks listed on his Xanga site, so that's a start. Together we can do what we do every night, try to take over the world! Muwahahahahahahaha!

Ahem. I mean, communicate our feelings over a wide range of issues pertaining to humanity's faith. Yup, that's all. Nothing sinister over here. Look away now.

UPDATE: By the way, in case some of you wondered about the ad for ExpertShirt.com, that would be the site of my dear brother-in-law, Joe, so if you have any pressing clothing needs for large groups, click on over and see if you like the goods.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

This is my single life

Okay, I wasn’t going to post all the emails, but my family and friends did have a point when I emailed them the following: She called me a prick, so this is fair game. After posting that last blog earlier today, I feel I need to provide context or else you'll think I'm quoting her unfairly.

We’re going to have a really, really trippy run through the world of Jeff’s dating life here. I won’t post her email address or full name, but we already know her name is Amy, and that’s all we need to know for now. (Also, know right off that she's a teacher, for goodness sake. In the Memphis City Schools, no less.)

Rehashing, so Syd gave Amy my address, and about a week later I got my first email. This is what she sent:

--- "Amy" wrote:
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to email you. Since school
started, I feel like I've been treading water and I going down
fast. I'm sure you've heard about MCS Blue Ribbon Plan. We will
no longer be beating children, but will instead become substance
abusers in order to cope. Have you ever wanted to pick a child up
by the scruff of their neck and beat their ass until it was black
and blue? I want to beat (name removed to protect the innocent) at least 10 times a day.
Of course, her ass is already black, but you get my drift.
SIGH...l'll never get the opportunity so I drink a minimum of 2
Coronas every weekend. I'm certain that number will increase as
the year progresses. DAMN THE BLUE RIBBON PLAN!

The MidSouth Fair begins Friday and I can't wait. I usually go
with a group of friends on a week night because there aren't as
many freaks out then. Although I must admit that "freak watching"
is one of the things so charming about the whole fair experience.
Anyway, I have to eat a tasty dog as soon as we get there. Then we
always walk around and look at the stinky animals and exhibits
while we sample other culinary delights. We then venture over to
the midway where we try to see how many rides we can endure before
we puke. Gotta love the fair!

So, Jeff, tell me about yourself. Tammy sings your praises every
chance she gets and Syd says you're a good guy. I have a hard time
believing this as I haven't run across a "good guy" in ages...I'm
almost certain all the "good guys" are extinct.

I'll be looking forward to hearing from you.

-Amy


Here’s my response. Take notice what I’m very, very careful to step over and ignore altogether:


Hiya, Amy,

Boy howdy, I'm glad I opened your email, Amy. I didn't know your last
name and almost hit the "spam" button. Thank goodness you didn't put
something about low mortgages or naughty pictures in the subject
line! (So now that I know your full name, feel free to do so later.)

Ah, the Mid-South Fair. Good memories. I think I have an advantage,
though, seeing how I don't drink and don't get motion sickness, so I
can eat as many Pronto Pups as I please and never need to run behind
the ride afterwards. Yes, it's a hard-knock life.

Sorry it took a day to reply; I've been covering the overnight
cut-ins for CNN and adjusting to waking up at 3 in the afternoon! You
should see my bedroom window, covered in a blanket and black bedsheet
with the curtains over top. It actually stays pretty dark in there.

And these are the things I think about. So yeah, I like to think I'm
a "good guy," but apparently there are reasons I'm turning 30 in a
month and have only ever had one decent relationship. Yet it barely
bothers me. Go figure.

toodles,
Jeff
I was SO not going to touch on the child abuse. At all.

Okay, so she replied again, and things just get curiouser and curiouser, by which I mean if this were Fatal Attraction I'd hide my pets:

--- "Amy" wrote:
Hello, again! Where do I start? I want to quit my job. Actually,
if the truth be told, I've wanted to quit my job for the past 5
years, but I didn't have the nerve to follow through with it. I'm
certain I've reached my breaking point. I cried all the way home
today and continued to wail for a couple of hours after I got home.
I was really glad there wasn't anyone here to witness my meltdown.
Tammy has encouraged me to seek employment elsewhere so that's
what I'm going to do beginning tomorrow. Life is too short for me
to continue to be miserable trying to teach juvenile delinquents.
I really want to tell (name removed) and (name removed) to kiss my ass but I'm
thinkin' that wouldn't be very professional so I'll refrain.
Hopefully, I can give my notice soon.

I don't want you to think I'm a raving alcoholic. The truth of it
is that I NEVER consumed a drop of alcohol until I was 31. By the
way, I'm now 37. Anyway, I was always a "Miss Goody Goody" in my
teen years, and all through my twenties. One day I woke up and
realized that drinking a few beers every now and then would not
condemn my eternal soul to Hell. I decided to chill out some. As
a matter of fact, I've wanted to get a tattoo for a couple of years
now, but I couldn't decide what to get. I wanted my tattoo to mean
something. My name means "Beloved of God" so I got the Hebrew word
for "beloved" tattooed in the small of my back...this past May in
fact. Tammy encouraged me to do that too...went with me to get
it...she talks me into a lot of stuff. I loved getting it because
no one would ever suspect in a million years that I would do
something like that. Yes, loosening up and not taking yourself so
seriously is a good thing.

Let me see...what other shocking news do I have to reveal...I can't
think of a thing. Oh, yes I can. You might want to sit down for
this one. Once or twice a year I indulge myself and smoke a Punch
cigar with a couple of my girlfriends...one on New Year's Eve and
another at some point during the year. I'm thinking this weekend
is a perfect time to light one up...we'll see. We didn't start
that tradition until New Year's Eve 1999. Come to think of it, I
became somewhat of a hellion when I turned 30. Shhhhh! Don't tell
anyone!

That's all for now. Stay tuned for further details.

Most sincerely,
Angelic Amy (Middle name) (Last name)


She sounds pretty happy about our communications, right? She even used her middle name. Not me. My eyes are boggled. I’m getting a little concerned at this point, thinking that not only do I not want to date her, continuing to email as friends isn't particularly enticing, either:

Hi again, Amy,

You mentioned that you are 37, so I should probably be honest before
there's any thought of a casual relationship turning into something
more. Between the age difference and long distances, plus I prefer to
go out with someone who doesn't drink, there's really no chance of me
looking for a dating relationship. That is, if you even considered
it. I might be an arrogant prick (well, I mean even more so than
usual), but I just wanted to get that out there. If that changes
things, I understand.

It's too bad that teaching in Whitehaven has made you so upset that
you'd quit altogether. Is there any chance of teaching in Southaven
instead? Or is there a rule about teaching in Tennessee with a
certain degree? I doubt there's any certificate that makes it
necessary to teach at a school with problem kids and a principal who
can't pronounce names to fast-food restaurants.

It's 1:30 and I'm dropping, so I'm going to check out. Good night,
er, morning,
jeff


That’s a pretty nice reply to let her down, right? I thought so. She did not take it well. Here’s the reply I got today:

From: "Amy”
To: "Jeff"
Subject:
Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2005 01:23:55 -0500

Jeff,

The first time I read your email I burst out laughing thinking it
was a joke. I read it again and realized you were serious. The
only reason I emailed you to begin with was because Syd suggested I
do so. After dinner at Chili's, I was definitely not impressed,
but I thought about it and decided to extend an olive branch, if
you will. I know that I personally have been in situations were I
have said or done the wrong thing and felt like an ass afterwards
so I thought I would give you the benefit of the doubt. Let me
assure you that after the "Chili's Experience", I was not
interested in dating you . I had hoped that we could be
friends...that's all. There are several things I could say that
would be cutting and somewhat crass but I'm going to take the high
road and keep those comments to myself. Have a nice life and don't
ever bother to email me again.

By the way, you are right...you are indeed a PRICK!

-Amy


Oh my.

I don't know if you can really keep score in something like this, but if so, I'm pretty sure I win.

How a story gets slanted to the left

Yesterday all the non-Rita news focused on an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. That’s fine, and I’ve certainly come to expect the media to spend far too much time on these tinfoil-hat-wearing moonbats who gather to blame America for whatever they feel is ailing the world.

(And of course I don't mean CNN, the most objective and awesome news organization out there. Did I mention I love my job and covet every opportunity I have to make Time Warner the greatest company ever? Seriously, I love you. Is that awkward? Because I mean it. I'll wash your car this weekend.)

I feel the need to continue.

Today, however, there was a rally of people who support President Bush and our troops without feeling the need to say, “I support the troops but not the mission.” Which, we all know, means they really can’t support the troops if they don’t want them to actually succeed.

Anyway, let’s look at the differences in how the events were covered.

First, by Associated Press writer Elisabeth Goodridge, today’s article is titled Praise, Anger at Pro-War Rally in D.C., and this is the lead:
Support for U.S. troops fighting abroad mixed with anger toward anti-war demonstrators at home as hundreds of people, far fewer than organizers had expected, rallied Sunday on the National Mall just a day after a massive protest against the war in Iraq.
The first trick? Making it seem that the pro-Bush rally is all about anger. Ooh, these conservatives are foaming at the mouth! You know, most Republicans eat puppies and reproduce asexually. Look it up, it's science.

Let’s check what AP writer Jennifer C. Kerr wrote yesterday in an article titled Anti-War Demonstrators March on Washington:
Crowds opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House on Saturday, shouting "Peace now" in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the U.S. invasion. The rally stretched through the day and into the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the National Mall. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, "I think they probably hit that."
See, these are just happy-go-lucky peaceful folks who want peace. No anger, no crazy talk, just mirthful music.

Do these people look peaceful to you? Note especially the big banner that claims the U.S. orchestrated 9/11. Not angrily, apparently. In no way do they think Chimpy McHitlerburton is building an empire of blood for oil.

In the crowd: young activists, nuns whose anti-war activism dates to Vietnam, parents mourning their children in uniform lost in Iraq, and uncountable families motivated for the first time to protest.
Again, check the pictures. Apparently there are a lot of families who don’t bathe and haven’t worn new clothes since the 60s.

The next trick is fudging numbers. Goodridge probably counted every single one of today’s rally participants:
About 400 people gathered near a stage on an eastern segment of the mall, a large patchwork American flag serving as a backdrop. … Organizers of Sunday's demonstration acknowledged that their rally would be much smaller than the anti-war protest but had hoped that as many as 20,000 people would turn out.
The AP writers don’t question Saturday’s rally organizers, they just take their word that 100,000 participated. Does this look like tens of thousands of people to you?

Back to Saturday and Kerr’s report. How does she voice her support for the anti-war demonstrators? By piecing these sentences together as if one supports the other:
"Bush Lied, Thousands Died," said one sign. "End the Occupation," said another. More than 1,900 members of the U.S. armed forces have died since the beginning of the war in March 2003.
Meanwhile, how can you disagree with the anti-war peaceful musicians? They‘ve got music icons and worldwide support!
Folk singer Joan Baez marched with the protesters and later serenaded them at a concert at the foot of the Washington Monument. … The protest in the capital showcased a series of demonstrations in foreign and other U.S. cities. A crowd in London, estimated by police at 10,000, marched in support of withdrawing British troops from Iraq. … In Rome, dozens of protesters held up banners and peace flags outside the U.S. Embassy and covered a sidewalk with messages and flowers in honor of those killed in Iraq.
Why bother talking to anyone else? The Italians have spoken! See what the peaceful people of Los Angeles and San Francisco have to say.

How does Kerr try to separate the loonier protestors from the Cindy Sheehanites?
Separately, hundreds of opponents of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund danced to the beat of drums in the Dupont Circle part of the city before marching toward the White House to join the anti-war protesters.
Do you think that if the militant anti-abortion protestors who call for the death of doctors who perform the procedure were marching at the same time as the pro-Bush rally, the AP would try to clarify where each stood?

Last, on Sunday Goodridge decides to stick it to the pro-Bush supporters at the end of the story, after giving voice to those angry conservatives:
National polls have found steadily declining support for the war in Iraq, with a majority of Americans now believing the war was a mistake. In an AP-Ipsos poll this month, only 37 percent approved or leaned toward approval of how Bush has handled the situation in Iraq; strong disapproval outweighed strong approval by 2-1, 46 percent to 22 percent.
There you go. Come to D.C. and rally for the president, Goodridge decoys, but The People have spoken!

Now, check out the links they provide at the bottom:
On the Net:
ANSWER Coalition: http://www.answercoalition.org
Gold Star Families for Peace: http://www.gsfp.org
Families United for our Troops: http://www.unitedforourtroops.com
In case you’re curious, A.N.S.W.E.R. is a far left socialist group associated with communist groups and roots for the insurgency in Iraq. It’s not that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us,” these folks are against us, period.

Here are some more of these crazy angry pro-Bush, pro-America people. Don’t get too close, they’ll bite your head off!

Emails of a single man

Remember when Syd and Tammy tried to set me up with their friend when I was in Memphis a few weeks back? Let’s just say that the correspondence didn’t end well. I’ll just post the last few sentences she wrote, and try not to laugh:
“There are several things I could say that would be cutting and somewhat crass but I'm going to take the high road and keep those comments to myself. Have a nice life and don't ever bother to email me again. By the way, you are right...you are indeed a PRICK!”
I think that went well, don’t you?

Seriously, you have NO idea how much I want to post all of the emails we sent back and forth. High comedy by the end. Yet, I fear legal and/or personal retribution should I do so, because in no way will it make her look emotionally stable. I'll just say that they contains phrases like "I've reached my breaking point," "I was really glad there wasn't anyone here to witness my meltdown," and "Have you ever wanted to pick a child up by the scruff of their neck and beat their ass until it was black and blue?"

You get the idea. But I'm an arrogant prick, so I'll just dance merrily to the next post.

(p.s. - Want the whole thing? Email me!)

Dance your cares away

Sweet sassy molassey, it can't be true but it is: A Fraggle Rock movie. Let the Fraggles play, baby!

Although, I still feel sorry for the Doozers. All that work and what do they get for it? The frackin' Fraggles are always eating their creations. Damn them. Damn them all.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Random musings

- The best new fad among men is tapping knuckles. Sure beats the head nod. In no way is this gay.

- Speaking of, all the rage at the movie festivals was a movie called Brokeback Mountain, a Western about gay cowboys. Oy. You know, I’m a big fan of all Westerns, but let me assure you that in Rio Bravo, John Wayne and Dean Martin were in no way making out while fending off the villains, and it didn’t affect the plot at all. I can assure you right now that I will never, never, never, never, never, never infinity, see this movie, so please respect my lifestyle choice.

- I frequently complain that fortune cookies are full of feel-good gobbledy-gook. Today, at least, I finally got one that predicated the future and blew my mind: “Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century.” First, I would love to be alive in the next century, and second, if I am alive, I promise you here and now that I will find my way to live on the moon for at least a week. (And no, I did not eat this fortune cookie. Wouldn’t want to tip the diet into the wrong direction.)

- Wow, all these hurricanes, must be “global warming,” huh? At least that’s what the media keeps harping about. Too bad it’s not true: “Max Mayfield told a congressional panel that he believes the Atlantic Ocean is in a cycle of increased hurricane activity that parallels an increase that started in the 1940s and ended in the 1960s. … Since record-keeping started in 1851, the record is 21 tropical storms, in 1933.” That must have been a big year for using aerosol. Wait, wasn’t a Democrat in the White House in ’33? How can that be? See, that means it’s just a fluke, because FDR totally would have signed the Kyoto Treaty.

"Senator Feinstein votes for Oprah Winfrey"

What’s most important to Dianne Feinstein (D-Kookyfornia) when voting for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts? Their feelings:
I attempted to get a sense of his temperament and values. And I asked him about the end-of-life decisions: clearly, decisions that are gut-wrenching, difficult and extremely personal. Rather than talking to me as a son, a husband, a father--which I specifically requested he do--he gave a very detached response.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, but maybe it’s because he’s a fracking judge. This isn’t an episode of Starting Over, Senator. Whether or not Roberts looks in the mirror to find his true self has nothing to do with deciding the constitutionality of the government taking private property, but I guess that doesn’t matter since he didn’t break down and cry when you pressed him on such personal decisions.

How the hell am I worried that the Dems have a chance at the presidency in ’08? With “leaders” like this for their party, there’s no way the American people can take the party seriously, right? Hello? Please?

By the way, men, if you’re ever flipping channels and stop on this show, keep going. We’re talking Estrogen World Headquarters. I mean, the only reason I’ve ever watched is for the life coach hottie, Rhonda, but that’s not a good enough reason for the rest of you. I implore you, find the informercial where the guy lights a car hood on fire. You’ll live longer and you’ll stay away from that entire carton of cookies ‘n cream ice cream in the freezer.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Family matters

Uh-oh, someone alert Gloria Steinem. It seems an awful lot of young women of the Roe v. Wade generation – you know, the ones who weren’t aborted – actually consider motherhood to be more important than 12-hour days spent with their male co-workers to sell widgets. (And before you ask, yeah, if my wife made tons of money and wanted to work and I could afford to stay home with the kids, I would totally jump at the chance.)
At Yale and other top colleges, women are being groomed to take their place in an ever more diverse professional elite. It is almost taken for granted that, just as they make up half the students at these institutions, they will move into leadership roles on an equal basis with their male classmates.

There is just one problem with this scenario: many of these women say that is not what they want.

Many women at the nation's most elite colleges say they have already decided that they will put aside their careers in favor of raising children.

Of course, feminists are applauding these women for making their own choices, right?

Ha! Pshaw.
For many feminists, it may come as a shock to hear how unbothered many young women at the nation's top schools are by the strictures of traditional roles.

"They are still thinking of this as a private issue; they're accepting it," said Laura Wexler, a professor of American studies and women's and gender studies at Yale. "Women have been given full-time working career opportunities and encouragement with no social changes to support it.

"I really believed 25 years ago," Dr. Wexler added, "that this would be solved by now."

Male feminists are just as bitter, which is weird since I figured these guys were only going along with this feminist hooey to get some booty: "What does concern me," said Peter Salovey, the dean of Yale College, "is that so few students seem to be able to think outside the box; so few students seem to be able to imagine a life for themselves that isn't constructed along traditional gender roles."

What’s sad is that this guy and that Wexler chick think these Ivy League students are looking for a life of leisure where they watch soaps and play tennis, because raising kids is just so easy. Aw, isn’t a shame, they think, that young women want to be mothers instead of CEOs. Gosh, if only they could all detach themselves from their children and get nannies.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Poor sportsmanship

Is it just me, or do other Bush voters actually feel a secret little glee when someone driving with a Kerry/Edwards sticker does something really stupid?

On the way home from Target today, a lady in a minivan sat in front of me at the light. For some reason, our light didn’t turn green. Then it happened again. That’s when I got curious. I looked around and realized she was sitting so far behind the white line as to be behind the sensor. Naturally, when I backed up and went to her side and far enough up the light turned green the next go ‘round. I guarantee you that she never knew what took so long for the light to change.

I should have realized her lack of common sense right away, since she had the Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on the inside of her back window – which was tinted and thus the sticker was barely legible to begin with.

By the time I drove past in a huff the only thing left to say to her was, "You are stuck on stupid."

Test ... Test ... Is this thing on?

Frankly, I doubt any of this is true, and I curse Scott for linking to it. By the way, did anyone else notice on the main page of the test, Adam Sandler is listed as libertarian? Do we know this?


You are a
Social Conservative (38% permissive)
and an...
Economic Conservative (76% permissive)
You are best described as a:
Republican




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid


I really didn't turn out well in their love personality test. Ouch:
Shit, rejected again. You are The Last Man on Earth.

Sorry, but most women would rather see the human species wither to an end--and therefore deny the most fundamental instinct that living creatures have--than sleep with you.

We've learned the following: you don't think things through. You're haphazard. You're dangerous. You're somewhat inexperienced. It's totally obvious that you're a horny bugger, as well. Everybody knows that and steers clear.

To top things off, when you do find your way into a relationship, you tend to be a dick somewhere down the line and fuck it all up.

There's a small, but negligible, chance we're wrong. In any case, your friends find your shit hilarious. There's nothing cooler than a dude reducing himself to human rubble.

Lost and found

I hope everyone who writes TV shows watched the season premiere of “Lost” last night. See, is it so difficult to make a compelling drama? That was frackin’ awesome, and maybe because we don’t get to see any shows like it.



******SPOILERS BELOW******

Did anyone else feel that the Scottish guy who ran the steps with Jack was supposed to be supernatural, assuring Jack that Sarah would be miraculously healed? And that was supposed to occur, what, five, maybe ten years ago? Yet the “brother” guy beneath the hatch looks to have been there since the early 80s, right? That computer, the music on the record player, he’s been there far longer than Jack met the guy on the steps.

Feel free to post your own thoughts on the show in the comments, including spoilers.

Church Chat

Washington Nationals outfielder Ryan Church was reprimanded and the team chaplain was suspended after a statement by Church suggesting that Jews are “doomed.”

In the Washington Post story, which focused on the team's Baseball Chapel, Church was quoted as having asked Moeller about his ex-girlfriend, who is Jewish.
"I said, like, Jewish people, they don't believe in Jesus. Does that mean they're doomed?" Church said. "Jon nodded, like, that's what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don't know any better. It's up to us to spread the word."

First, how great is it that this happened to a guy named Church?

Second, why apologize? This is just PC secular humanism rah-rah we’re-all-one nonsense. If everyone was honest we'd acknowledge that every religion (except those touchy-feely liberal ones that don't actually believe in anything) thinks the others are headed to H-E-doublehockeysticks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Keys to a great vacation

With Hurricane Rita brushing against the Florida Keys yesterday, it's a fine time for another installment of Jeff's Vacation Memories.

We don't have to rewind far, just the week of Christmas in 2002. (I also went with Dad and Danielle in the spring of 2002.) This time it was me, Dad and Scott and Jenn getting our kicks at the tip of Florida.

It wouldn't be a day at Key West without going to Mallory Square to watch the sunset. As Jenn shows, it's also a good time to stop worrying about whether you drink too much. (I know, I totally make her out to be a lush. She's not, I promise. Unless that's cool.)



Meanwhile, keeping watch for pirates (Arrr!), Dad and I man the guns to protect our doubloons at Fort Zachary Taylor.



For Whom The Bell Tolls, it tolls for Jenn and Scott in front of Ernest Hemingway's home.



Finally, officially the end of the American road.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A long wait to lose weight

The diet life plan started Monday in earnest. So far, so good. Still have 140 pounds to lose, though.

I have decided that Subway is my new best friend, and I was able to have a grilled chicken sandwich and small chili from Wendy’s, too. That’s supposing the chili was fingerless. I’m not sure how many points that would cost me. I welcome the Weight Watcher’s desserts in the ice cream section of the grocer’s freezer. Ice cream sandwiches, cups of fudge ripple, sundae cones, all two points apiece.

The most difficult part is keeping up with the food journal and having to do all the math. If the food isn't listed in the Weight Watchers books you have to calculate it yourself based on calories, fat and fiber.

If a train leaves Chicago at 4 going 65 mph, and Jeff drives to Chick-fil-A for a chicken salad at 6, how fast will he have to go to avoid getting hit by the train and how many points would he lose?

King of the overstatement

From what I’ve gleaned from his weekly column, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is a wishy-washy New York liberal, so I usually shrug off his lamer comments about world hugs and crap, especially since he’s a fellow Red Sox fan and knows his NFL beat.

Still, Monday he wrote was is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever read in a sports column, telling the coach of New Orleans that "that crowd in the Meadowlands is going to go nuts for you guys.''

Yo, Pete, this ain’t a company picnic. Sports fans aren’t going to root against their own teams for pity’s sake. Looks to me like the Saints weren’t exactly received as visiting heroes:
Efforts to make this resemble something akin to home appeared minimal at Giants Stadium, where -- surprisingly, considering the local team's popularity -- about 10,000 seats went unoccupied. Those in attendance generally were dressed in Giants blue and, except for mild applause when the entire Saints squad came onto the field before the coin toss, they rooted for their guys.

I don’t even blame the Giants fans for not cheering more for the nomadic Saints, who won’t play in New Orleans at all this season. When they play the Falcons here in Atlanta, I’m rooting for my hometown team. That’s the way of the sports fan, you cheer for your team. Just tell the NFL not to pretend that they did any favors for the Saints by painting one of New York’s end zones with “SAINTS.”

Later, King reveals an even more lopsided one-track mind by revealing his idea that sports are the most important part of what the feel-gooders dub the “healing process”:
If George Bush said today: "We're going to build a stadium as part of our efforts to get New Orleans back among the great, vibrant American cities,'' Benson would say: "Where do I sign?" The best idea Bush could have right now is to say the feds will build a stadium with one catch -- it will be constructed to be a disaster headquarters if another hurricane like Katrina strikes again.
Really? With all that’s going on in New Orleans, the “best idea” would be to spend $500 million on a facility in use a dozen times a year? You don’t think that money could be better spent shoring up levees and raising the lowest points of the city to above sea level? No?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ack!

Exactly one month until my 30th birthday. Batten down the emotional hatches, people, I'm preparing for an all out histrionic, hot-blooded, hysterical, impassioned, impetuous, impulsive, irrational, overwrought and pathetic crisis!

Winners vote for Bush

Remember when supporting President Bush was supposed to be a liability to our closest allies?

Appropriately, schadenfreude is a German word, because with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's election defeat this weekend, that makes the current tally Bush & Pals 8, anti-American Axis of Weasels 2.

Go team Bush! Push 'em back, push 'em back, waaaay back!

(Links courtesy Instapundit.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday

Today has been my little sister's (no, the other one) sixth wedding anniversary. Stacy has a sweet and sentimental post looking back on the six years of marriage plus her and Joe's "cute years" growing as a couple.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Don't get testy

Steve doesn’t have the balls (pun immensely intended) to blog this so he emailed it to me, but I will because it’s right up my alley and he’s got scruples. Forget next year’s planned trip to Ireland to see the Ryder Cup, I’ve got another option, Clinton, Montana’s Testicle Festival:
The "testy festy," as it's affectionately known, is purportedly a five-day extravaganza devoted to consuming innumerable servings of bull testicles (rocky mountain oysters are a local delicacy, don't you know) -- but it's also an excuse for mountain men and women to get rip-roaring drunk, shed clothing and engage in naughty contests and all-day partying.

If you're game (and over 21), you can compete in the Hairy Chest Contest and co-ed naked billiards, or take in a variety of music and entertainment. The Testicle Festival has been featured in publications such as Hustler, Maxim and Time, so expect large crowds -- and make sure you know who's behind the camera.
The jokes write themselves, eh? How about some co-ed naked billiards? Eight ball, corner pocket, if you know what I mean *wink wink nudge nudge

On a related note - okay, it’s not related at all except for the gross food competitions - it’s official; I didn't watch Thursday's new “Survivor.” I'm out. I don't feel like dedicating an hour of my life every week anymore to a bunch of people I'd rather drowned in the ocean contests.

Still, I can’t help but feel a little sad at this decision. After all, I started out with the very first “Survivor” in 2000, going so far that during the two weeks I spent in the U.K., me, Dad and Danielle would call Nana back in the States for updates.

When I got home I took the little time I had to watch the episodes I missed while doing the laundry, then went to bed and woke up a few hours later to go to the GOP Convention in Philadelphia.

So you might say, “Survivor” was a big part of that summer’s fun. Sadly, the show went downhill from there and only every other show was worth watching. Last season’s was actually pretty good, meaning this fall will suck. Hard.

We were great once. Two- hundred years ago, I mean

I think I figured out the online dating trick that could work: the "married in a previous life" gimmick.

I know what you’re going to say, sure, it worked for this guy to snooker two women into casual trysts (score!), but eventually he was found out (bummer). Ah yes, but he was married with kids, so take that away and he totally would have succeeded! (Score!)

Of course, the “victims” names are Tiffany Wang and Jing Huang, so maybe this only works with Asian babes. That at least provides a control group, so we’ll work from there and spread out to other ethnicities.

For instance, with redhead chicks you need to adapt the story to something like, “we were married but died in the potato famine in Ireland back in ..." (pick a year, any year in the 1800s and you’ll find a famine). With a hot Latin mamasita you could sell her on a tale of your marriage back in the Incan empire before she was sacrificed to the gods.

Even if they know you’re full of it, women dig that drama. Or at least I’m told. I don’t talk to many using complete sentences, and even then I’m usually trying to discreetly check out their bodies.

Overnights

Wow, I am totally out of practice on working the overnight shift. You'd think it wouldn't matter, since I worked the first six years all night here, and I generally prefer to go to bed at 2 a.m. or so, but no. I'm like Merlin in Top Gun, someone's going to have to talk me down on this mission. But hey, the CNN cut-ins are going swimmingly and I'm working with folks I usually work with downstairs at my normal Headline News gig, so it's been fun.

Should the troops get out of occupied Ft. Hood, too?

Cindy Sheehan has officially lost whatever remaining marbles she had. In her latest screed she calls for Bush to "pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power."

Yes, you read that correctly.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

For the love of Mackerelly

mackarelly
You are Mackerelly!! You feel obligated to create
new words just to define yourself as
different... I mean diff-tacular. Just
remember... ORIGINAL doesn't necessarily
mean GOOD.

What Weight Watchers recipe card from 1974 are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


Why bother with such a stupquiz? Because it’s time for another adjustment of Jeff’s Diet Life Plan. I just couldn’t bear the thought anymore that I’ve spent over a year now working out at the gym five days a week with absolutely no progress due to my eating habits. There's no such word as fatacular, and for good reason.

My sisters joined Weight Watchers a few weeks ago and have seen positive early results. For me, progress would be to eat a medium Papa John’s BBQ chicken bacon pizza instead of a Big Papa. Since this serves only to continue to clog my arteries - which are already poking my ribs and begging for help – I’m reinventing my regimen.

I bought the Weight Watchers At Home package off eBay, since we all know I wouldn’t make it to meetings. I’m not sure how the person who sold me the package did on the plan, although there’s a note jotted down in the margins of one of the tables that reads, “MUST KILL HUSBAND. EATING CANDLES,” so I’m sure everything’s fine.

At least all the information looks good in the big pouch that came with the package to hold all of my booklets, recipes and inspirational advice that I’ll roll my eyes at even if it is true. The points calculator seems a little less complicated than the trig calculator that freaked me out in high school, and there’s a pedometer to tell me how many steps it takes to walk around my apartment from the living room to the bathroom to the kitchen to the living room to the laundry to the bathroom and the computer.

There are all kinds of handy dandy recipes, but I’m pretty sure I’ll just use the Dining Out guide and the Weight Watchers frozen dinners. See, I am to cooking what Michael Jackson is to childcare. It works out for everyone if I just avoid the practice altogether.

As you can tell, I’m already in the normal frame of mind for new diets life plans, meaning three weeks in, always hungry for quarter-pounders and already tired of jotting down the intake in my daily journal. I think it could work out this time, don’t you?

El Natural choice for MVP

As the baseball regular season winds down, the talk is of playoffs and awards. The debate I’m paying most attention to is whether David Ortiz should be considered a legitimate MVP contender. You know, since as a DH for the Red Sox, he “doesn’t play in the field” and crap like that. Hey, a few pitchers have won the MVP and they don’t play every day either, and I’m willing to be there are plenty of past MVPs who weren’t exactly Gold Glovers. *coughJoseCansecocough*

The fact remains, Ortiz changes games. He’s leading the league in HR and RBI, and as the Boston Globe reported this morning, in September’s pennant race:
Ortiz has hit three game-deciding home runs in the last nine days -- Sept. 6 vs. Los Angeles in the bottom of the ninth, Monday night vs. Toronto in the 11th, and last night in the eighth. All three came with the game tied. He homered four times in this three-game series and has homered 16 times in his last 30 games.

Of his 42 home runs -- a career high -- 18 have tied games or put the Sox ahead, nine of those in the seventh inning or later.

He has 18 game-winning RBIs. In the seventh inning and beyond, he's hit 17 home runs and knocked in 45 runs. Of his major-league leading 130 RBIs, 41 have tied games or put the Sox ahead.

In clutch situations (seventh inning on, one run ahead to two runs behind or representing at least the tying run), he's hitting .329 with 9 home runs and 26 RBIs.

The Sports Guy wonders if Ortiz is ”like the Dominican Roy Hobbs at this point,” a comparison I'll advance. What’s Spanish for “The Natural?” El Natural? Maybe we should call him that instead of Big Papi. At this point, every time he shows up at a Red Sox game from here on out, people will point and say, "There goes the best clutch hitter that ever played in Boston."

While I’m on the baseball subject, why is everyone talking about the Red Sox fending off the Yankees (2 ½ up) instead of trying to encourage Boston to catch the White Sox for the best record in the American League? Going into tonight’s game with Oakland, Chicago’s just three games ahead! Seriously, how great would home-field advantage be? Last year the Sox were the away team in both L.A. and frackin’ New York yet still won, so imagine what could happen with extra games at Fenway!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Heeding the call

I don’t want to say that my days off are casual or anything, but I just spent an hour downloading wav files from Anchorman and making them my official Windows sounds, replacing Star Trek. (Other themes I use back and forth include Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Saturday Night Live and Spaceballs, among dozens of others.)

Oh, sure, I made it to the driving range this afternoon, and went to Best Buy to purchase the DVDs of Fever Pitch and Ben-Hur, but otherwise I’ve been on my ample tush watching the Red Sox win tonight.

I know. I’m getting bored just recapping the day.

I do have some good news, at least. This weekend shows tremendous upside potential.

Since starting at CNN Headline News almost eight years ago, I’ve always worked just for that network. However, CNN and Headline News merged technical operations earlier this year, and we’ve all been crosstraining ever since. So this weekend I make my CNN debut as the technical director for the overnight cut-ins Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from midnight until the morning shows begin. I’m very much looking forward to dipping my feet into the mother ship, and I’m sure I’ll be back upstairs regularly as needed once I prove this weekend that I’m versatile and adaptive enough.


UPDATE 12:55 a.m. - I should add that much of the last two weeks my free time has been spent on a new Medal of Honor World War II first-person shooter game. I generally prefer sports games, but every once in awhile it’s a rush to gun down some Nazis (I hate those guys). You know, the kind of rush the rest of you get from touching or even talking to a person of the opposite sex.

UPDATE 2, 3:19 a.m. - I was going to leave this in the comments with my reminder to always watch CNN and/or Headline News when y’all are just bumming about the house and get tired of seeing the same “Trading Spaces” for the umpteenth time, but I like the story so I’ll put it here:

Did I ever mention the time Mom-Mom and Granddad were going to be a Nielsen household? It was just a year or so after I got the job in Atlanta and still worked the overnight shift. Back then I would drive up to Chapel Hill and crash at least one weekend a month because I hated my living arrangements, renting a room from a stuffy guy and his wife who cooked smelly Asian crud five nights a week.

Anyway, I had driven up after work and crashed in the spare bedroom when the Nielsen guys came to hook up the equipment for my grandparents’ home. Mom-Mom just casually asks them to be quiet since I was asleep (as if anything would have woken me up), and oh yeah, I work at CNN, isn’t that cool? Um, not really, apparently, to the Nielsen guys. They thought this might be a problem and called their bosses, and it turns out that since they have a relative working for a network that would get tracked, there was a chance of impropriety.

As if Mom-Mom and Granddad would watch Headline News just for me! Well, I mean, yeah, at times, but when I visit for the most part I find them watching Fox News much more, so maybe it’s a good thing they were denied the Nielsen privileges!

At least they didn't flush the Torah down the toilet

Sorry, I stepped out for a minute. Did I miss the world’s outrage over Palestinians burning the synagogues and a seminary that Israel left behind in Gaza? No? Guess the world continues on as ever, then.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tiny Jefflets of love

- Frank J. posts an example of the Republican Talking Points Memo we GOP missionaries receive every morning.

- Speaking of, I was told this morning to attack Sen. John Kerry, an obscure French-looking Democrat from Massachusetts, who has decided that the Democrat Party doesn't need to undergo an extreme makeover. That's right, Johnny, it's the American people who have to change! Those idiots between the coasts are in a frackin' tailspin, voting seven of the last ten presidents as Republicans and giving the GOP a majority in the Senate and House for over a decade! What's wrong with those dolts?

- Researchers decided that starving won't make people live longer. Well that's a relief. I was thisclose to refraining from buying nuggets to go with my No. 4 combo at Wendy’s this afternoon.

- "Harvard scientists announced they've discovered a way to fuse adult skin cells with embryonic stem cells, a promising breakthrough that could lead to the creation of useful stem cells without first having to create and destroy human embryos,” the Associated Press reports. Know what's sad? That there are going to be hardcore proponents of embryonic stem cell research who are disappointed that this might be true, because they need to demonize pro-lifers in order to boost their coffers.

- The secret to a good marriage? delusion
"Whatever does she see in him?" is a common refrain from mystified friends as yet another acquaintance settles for a strange choice of partner. The conventional explanation is that "love is blind" but new psychological research suggests that long after the first flush of passionate love has ebbed away, distorted, unrealistic perceptions of one's partner are the key ingredient to a successful marriage. (Courtesy Marginal Revolution)

- Along the same line, apparently folks aren’t choosing each other for stuff that matters, like nice legs or fancy cars, but just in the hopes their partner won’t cheat:
Not looks or money but rather life-long fidelity is what most people seek in an ideal mate, according to a Cornell University behavioral study that also confirmed the "likes-attract" theory: We tend to look for the same characteristics in others that we see in ourselves.
Way to set the bar high, folks. Does this mean “opposites attract” is a lot of hooey, no matter what Idol-kisser Paula Abdul and MC Skat Cat say? And I’m more loyal than a dog, yet it’s not helping me any. Is it because I have none of the characteristics that women possess and are looking for? No, I'm not bitter.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Would Jesus buy the new one?

Curse movie companies for double-dipping DVDs! I already have a super release of my all-time favorite movie, Ben-Hur. Now there's a super-duper four-disc collector's edition.

Will I buy it? Yeah, of course. But why can't companies do this to begin with?

(Don't answer, because it hinges on me being a gullible capitalist.)

My most sexist post ever

Listening to the comedy channel several hours since getting XM over a month ago, I’ve come to an uncomfortable conclusion: Most female comics aren’t funny.

What I decided is that I don’t like excessively vulgar comedy, and less so from women. It comes across as trying to hard, as if they’re looking for slaps on the back from the dirty ol’ men smoking cigars in the back.

That’s not to say that I don’t find any comediennes to be funny. Far from it. I’ve found comedy specials by Paula Poundstone and Rita Rudner to be quite hilarious, and Ellen DeGeneres makes me laugh every time I watch her show, but in that setting she’s required to be clean and leave out the foul language. Where are the women comics making funny observations about everyday life?

Think about it this way, would you be likely to laugh or rip your ears off if your grandmother started discussing sex to you using every dirty word possible? Me, I’d do the latter.

Go ahead, prove I’m a pig. Check your DVD collection … go ahead, I’ll wait … dang it, Red Sox lose 1-0, can’t hit the Big Unit at all … okay, back? Name me one movie you own where the lead in a comedic role is female.

Can’t do it, can you? Off the top of my head I have just a couple of examples. DeGeneres in Finding Nemo was the best part of the movie, and Maureen O’Hara’s timing is impeccable in movies like McLintock! and The Quiet Man.

Where I do appreciate talented women is golf. (Sorry, did you get whiplash from changing directions so fast?)

I spent all weekend watching as much of the Solheim Cup as possible. Yes, I’m fully aware that yesterday was the first full day of the NFL, and Scott would break my remote if he knew I got to watch the Titans game but did not.

I will not apologize. In their version of the Ryder Cup, these women play for keeps, play very well, and the new generation of LPGA members is packed with babes. (You knew there was going to be some sexism in this, right?)

Even better, the U.S. regained the cup, and there was much red, white and blue rejoicing.

Getting back to the cutie-patootie factor, let’s take a minute to select my Top 5 LPGA Babes.

Yes, based on past LPGA history there’s a decent chance that 50 percent of them are gay. (I know, you can’t get 50 from splitting five, but I’m sure one is bi.) Does it matter if they’re among the best of the best? No. As if I’d care when we’re practicing our, um, chipping together. Yeah, that’s what I meant.

To put the list together, I set aside my free time (stop laughing) and clicked over and over again on the LPGA player index because it’s just the kind of difficult work y’all expect from me.

- Annika Sorenstam: The best men’s player in the world married a Swedish nanny. The best women’s player is Swedish. Coincidence? Well, yeah, but I’m just saying that it’s difficult to miss the well-stocked gene pool when you’re fishing for cute blondes in Sweden.

- Christina Kim: Not the prettiest, but she’s spunky and that counts for something. She was the official teammate/cheerleader at the Solheim Cup, and when she plays she’s full of passion. The first time I heard her hit a shot when wearing a mic and she was yelling “Come on! Go baby!” That’s hot.

- Natalie Gulbis: The “duh” member of this list. I’m sure she’s really nice and smart, blah blah blah, but that’s not why she’s posing for magazines that don’t give a rat’s a** about her short game. She hasn’t won a tournament yet, but I don’t think she’s the Anna Kournikova of golf. More like Maria Sharapova. Give her time, she’ll win plenty.

- Laura Diaz: She’s your cute pal. You hang out, you laugh, then suddenly, BAM, all of a sudden you’ve got a major crush and you don’t know how to move from friend to dating because there’s a chance it won’t work out and then you’ve lost her forever.

- Kelli Kuehne: My kind of Texas gal, great hair, short and stacked bod. Plus she’s got plenty to say.

- Honorable mention: Dorothy Delasin: I was clicking through the players, cringing at a lot of the butch women, when Dorothy popped up and I knew she had to be added to the list because I gasped and exhaled, “Damn.”

- Angela Jerman: She played locally for the University of Georgia so I’ve been following her career since. I’d ask for an autographed picture on her website, but I know from working in the TV news business that far too many autograph seekers are really, really creepy.

Hold your horses! Stop the complaining. I know what you’re getting at. I purposefully skipped the 2005 rookie class, because they deserve their own ranking. I don’t want to get all intellectually stimulating, but I’ve seen the future of women’s golf, and the future of the LPGA looks “hubba hubba.” Here’s my All Rookie Top 5 Babes for 2005:

- Paula Creamer: The "Pink Panther" is just 19, already a two-time tour champion and provided a huge spark in the Solheim Cup.

- Erica Blasberg: Her online diary takes “humina humina” to the next level.

- Bernadette Luse: Hotty toddy gosh almighty, go Ole Miss!

- Brittany Lincicome: Flashy smile, long blonde hair, she’s a Florida girl alright.

- Courtney Wood: Talk about bringing back memories. Courtney won the 1999 Tennessee state title. Not that I won the boys title, but I did play in the ’96 and ’97 state tournaments at Henry Horton.

(Previously we looked at my five favorite Minutes Of The Weekday, Secular Concerts, Best and Worst Jobs and my cars.)

Forced laughs are no laugh at all

Did anyone else watch the Fox Sunday lineup?

Not “The Simpsons.” I mean shows worth checking out. Seriously, the season premiere was the 145th episode where Homer does something dumb, Marge leaves, practically cheats on him with a celebrity guest voice (Alec Baldwin), then he wins her back with a big show of love at the end.

I was looking forward to “The War at Home” with Michael Rapaport as the father heading a home with three precocious teens (including the “might be gay” one) and a sassy wife. I like the shots where the characters talk to the audience. Unfortunately, the entire show was ruined by a frackin’ laugh track. Is that necessary any more? Audiences see right through it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

iT***s

I guess I hadn’t thought about iTunes needing to put steps in place to block naughty words on their site. Tonight, though, I realized this when I was looking at movie themes and a certain tale of a great whale came up as “Moby D**k.” Somehow I don’t think the title of this classic novel is what the computer geeks had in mind when configuring the site’s software.

Of course, I immediately became 12-years-old and started typing in dirty words in the search box to see what happened. Turns out if you’re buying the book, “Moby Dick” comes out so. Just not the theme, although the album contains the whole word. Really iTunes, are you even paying attention?

It’s really only songs and some albums that are edited. The artist Pussy Galore is free, but any song ends up “p***y.”

Ass? Not dirty, at all, according to iTunes. You can shake it, you can get it, you can put dynamite in it, and you can even talk about Nietzche’s ass. But in no way will iTunes let you spell out a song calling someone an “a*****e.”

Might as well admit it, I just downloaded Denis Leary’s song “A*****e” that I forgot was so funny and awesome when I was an adolescent. This would be about the same time I had a poster of Kathy Ireland in her swimsuit on my wall.

(You might ask, "How the heck do you decide what to download?" I'd answer, "Good question. None of your beeswax. No, seriously, if I play the 30-second preview and find myself singing along, it goes on the list." This is how I can download Styx "Come Sail Away" one minute and Phil Collins' Tarzan theme the next. I'm an all-around dork, is all I'm saying.)

Yes, there is an artist using that word, and it’s not edited. Songs and albums are all over the place saying “f**k,” though.

(Yes, I’m 29. And single.)

The keystroke is mightier than the pen

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

- Hurricane Katrina was started by the Bush administration to distract us from the war in Iraq.
- The divorce court judge said he was going to give my wife $700 a week. So I said, "That's very generous of you, judge. Maybe I'll kick in a few bucks myself."
- If they moved the news media out of the hurricane area, a lot more work could get done.
- I saw that my low-fuel light was on, so I stopped and got $10 worth of gas. And when I was done, I saw that my low-fuel light was still on.
- The only thing worse than the Wave at a baseball game is sitting in the section that’s trying to start the Wave.
- I don’t remember any riots or looting in the Midwest when the floods devastated those towns.
- After listening to the big-mouth media, I am reminded of the adage: There is nothing impossible if you don’t have to do it yourself.
- Someone tell Sean Penn that he can pick up more survivors in his boat if he leaves his “personal photographer” behind.

Vents I Sent:

- This just in: Democrats declare Mother Nature “racist,” “selected not elected” and declare her war on the poor to be “an illegal expansion of the environmental empire” so Halliburton could get the contract for repairs.
- Have faith, fellow right-wingers. Once the left-wingers get tired of the Vent being their liberal echo chamber they’ll wander off and infect somewhere else, like Home & Garden.
- It’s a shame all this racism hurt New Orleans. It’s distracting from all the white folks trapped - hungry and thirsty - in Mississippi who have received little help and less attention.
- Someone tell the moveon.org sheep that there are plenty of National Guardsmen and women in the ravaged states, so much that Alabama sent hundreds to Mississippi to help.
- Does anyone think Democrats will ask Bush to replace Rehnquist with a similar justice like they demanded when centrist Sandra Day O’Connor retired? (Courtesy Scrappleface)
- The same people who say the National Guard can only save the Gulf were insisting Bush was a bum for serving in it during last year's election campaign.
- To what end does it do any good to blame the post-Katrina crisis on everything from Bush hating blacks to the Iraq war to tax cuts to global warming?
- You know there are anti-Christians out there who refuse to give donations to the American Red Cross lest they be seen supporting anything that might be religious.
- The Church of England is the official church of the state, so what's the big deal if Islam is the official religion of Iraq?
- Kofi Annan is being linked with dozens of others in the Oil-for-Food scam and John Bolton was supposed to hug and kiss the U.N.?

Nature's force

These pictures of the destruction of the Mississippi gulf coast are almost impossible to imagine, and the line of damage between those hit hard and those just plain obliterated is amazing.

More here, photos of the devestation from the ground level. The pertinent comment: "The most interesting one is the President's Casino, lower left. It's supposed to be a mile down the coast and in the water."

(Links from Instapundit)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Early to rise, early to moan

Holy freakmonkey, this is going to be a long day.

Earlier in the week I covered the 4:30p-1:30a shift, which actually means sticking around until 2. Then I got two days off to completely flip my schedule to 4a-Noon Saturday and Sunday.

What happens? I still can’t get up before noon Thursday and Friday, managed to get to sleep watching the Red Sox game (thankfully now that I’ve seen the highlights) and woke up after three hours at 11 p.m. tonight.

Daggum I’m tired, but I’m awake at least another twelve hours, and considering the Red Sox play at 1 o’clock this afternoon, I won’t crash until later. Or if I’m lucky, I could fall asleep on the way home, drive into the Chattachoochee and float down river long enough to get a nap. Cross your fingers.

Oh, and Monday through Wednesday I’m back to the evening 3p-11p shift. It’s like living with jet lag every day, only without the thrill of getting patted down by husky women at security checkpoints.

UPDATE 4 p.m.: All has turned out well. I hit a wall about 8 this morning, caught a second wind to finish my shift, go to the gym and came home to watch the Red Sox beat the dang Yanks like a white frat boy wearing blackface to a Kanye West concert.

The horror!

As the full horror of Hurricane Katrina sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if this is the end of George Bush's presidency. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that every copy of the US Constitution was destroyed in the storm. Otherwise President Bush will remain in office until noon on January 20th, 2009, as required by the 20th Amendment, after which he is barred from seeking a third term anyway under the 22nd Amendment.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term will not still be damaged in some terribly satisfying way.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term consists of repealing the 22nd Amendment. Otherwise, with a clear Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, he can carry on doing pretty much whatever he likes.

Seriously, read it all.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday’s insignificant thoughts

- The talk of Red Sox fans, players, management, media and opponents has been, "Who will be the closer?” I think we all know, but are afraid to admit the truth that’s been there since summer began. I’ll toss a name out: Kyra Sedgewick.

- Today’s gratuitous cheesecake isn’t about viewing women as pieces of meat. No, because former Tennessee women’s b-ball player Brittany Jackson is a modern, though immensely sexy, woman. So go ahead, guys, celebrate women’s lib by clicking on the link and admiring such freedom of choice.

- In September's Lark News, Jabez book devastates China house churches:

"The Prayer of Jabez" by Bruce Wilkinson, one of the best-selling non-fiction books in the past ten years, has gutted China's house church movement, say observers. "Chinese Christians used to sacrifice everything for Christ. Now they only want God to bless them," says one Chinese elder who has served five prison terms for planting churches. He and others say China's Christians have "grown soft with navel-gazing" and have lost their tolerance for persecution.

- So it turns out that the “Piano Man" is crazy, all right, just not in that way. He's just an asshole.

- When I sneeze and no one is around, I say, "bless me."

- Yeah, yeah, blah blah, Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was forced out this week by new president Viktor Yushchenko. Yawn. What’s really important is that she’s a babe, especially with that Princess Leia-esque hairdo going on. Rowr.

- Why don't networks show The Wizard of Oz once a year anymore? Not that I’d watch. Those monkeys are freaky.

- Today's headline: "Police: Bar Employee Finds Ecstasy In Bathroom"
Wow. I usually just uncover a nauseating odor from a log left in the bowl.