Monday, December 31, 2007

Are We Done Yet?

I'm not one of those people who see the new year as a "new beginning". I really don't see it as much of a "new" anything, for that matter. It's the beginning of a new month, but one not unlike the other eleven in the year. Hey, I understand the 'any excuse to throw a party and get ripped' excuse. That's all fine. But even that excuse isn't "new".

Although I never "look foward to" and new year and I'm never "glad this past year is over", I'm not exactly looking forward to this new year for one reason. The rhyming will begin at midnight and it won't stop before we're all sick of it.

2008. Do you know how many freaking words rhyme with "eight"? A lot. Hate. Great. Date. Wait. Bait. Late. Mate. Fate. Rate. Elate. Berate. Straight. Conjugate. Watergate. The list goes on.

Newscasters, copy editors, bloggers, anyone associated with presenting information to the public, all of them will suddenly turn into Dr. Seuss (no offense, Doc. You rule.). In fact, I'm going to count how many times I hear or read "Great in 2008" or "Don't be Late in 2008" for the first two days. I guarantee it will be more than 20 times. (Don't worry. I'll let you know how it turns out.)

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Favorite People of 2007

Again, I am not a political individual. (Remember? Tricky Dick....twice!) But that doesn't change the fact that a lot of those politicians are funny ducks. Kinda like Senator Robert Byrd. Senator Byrd is probably somewhere around 157 years old, give or take a few. Democrat guy out of West Virginia. When the Michael Vick dogfighting debacle came up, this guy felt the need to preach his feelings about it to the rest of the Senate. (No, I don't know why. No, I don't think that's what his job is. Yes, 157 years old, that is correct.)

He clearly was against the whole dogfighting thing (as we all should be). But to listen to him make this point, well, it makes a few other points as well. Like the point about how we shouldn't allow people who are 157 to be Senators. I was kinda worried for the guy a few times during his speech. I thought he might have had a stroke or worse yet, died or something. That's because he just STOPS speaking. But then picks up right where he left off about 10 seconds later. And when I say "picks up right where he left off" I mean with the exact same word he was saying when he stopped talking. The word? Barbaric.

"The training of these poor creatures to turn themselves into fighting machines is simply barbaric. Barbaric. (3 sec.) Barbaric. (5 sec.) Bar-BARIC! (10 sec.) Bar-BARIC! Let that word resound. From hill to hill (except that he says "hill" and it sounds like "hell", so it sounds like "from hell to hell") and from mountain to mountain and from valley to valley across the land. Bar-baric. (3 sec.) Barbaric. (7 sec.) May God help! (10 sec.) (This is where I got really worried about him.) those poor souls."

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Favorite People of 2007

Three days left in the year, so I think I'll go with two more favorite people. How can I not enjoy the Larry Craig saga? Senator Craig, as you may remember, was arrested for allegedly soliciting sex in an airport bathroom. He allegedly slid his foot underneath the stall and touched the foot of the guy in the adjacent stall, who happened to be an undercover officer looking for just such activity. Craig told no one about his arrest AND pled guilty (didn't tell anyone about THAT either). When it all came out (no pun intended), Senator Craig's excuses/rationale were hil-arious.

How did his foot touch the foot of the guy in the stall next to him on accident? According to Craig, "I have a very wide stance." A wide stance? He would have to have the stance of an Olympic gymnast to get his leg from one stall alllll the way into the other stall, SO far, in fact, that he would actually be touching the other patron.

Senator Craig also allegedly motioned with his hand underneath the stall divider. According to the officer, that is another sign that someone is trolling for gay sex in the very romantic atmosphere of a men's public airport restroom. (For the record, may I just say, "Eewwwwww!") The ol' under the divider hand wave. When explaining THAT, Senator Craig said that he noticed a piece of paper (presumably toilet paper) on the floor of the stall and he reached down to pick it up. Again, "Eeeewwwww!!" So now he's performing public service by picking up stray pieces of paper in the men's room at an airport in Detroit?!

I don't know about you, but public restrooms are not exactly what come to mind when I am trying to picture the epitome of cleanliness. If I have to use a public restroom (and my bladder is going to have to be ready to burst wide open within 10 seconds for me to use one. If that isn't the case, I'm holding it.) I don't want ANY part of me touching ANYTHING in there. It's like I'm Superman and the stall is kryptonite. I will go to great lengths to hover above anything and everything. But not Larry Craig. Nope. He just willingly bends down and picks toilet paper up off the floor of the stall. What a guy. Spare me.

Hey, Senator Craig. Next time you want to pretend like you weren't doing something that you obviously were doing, try being more convincing. Instead of hiding the whole incident until it's broken wide open by the press, try using that Senatorial "stance" (instead of your wide one) and raise hell at THAT TIME. If you expect anyone to believe that you pled guilty to the charge simply because you wanted it to go away because you were embarrassed, but that you were not actually guilty, how in the world can anyone expect you to perform the duties of a US Senator when you clearly have extremely poor judgment when it comes to decision making?

Choose one, Senator. Were you stupid or horny? And while you're at it, why don't you decide whether you're gay or straight.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

My Favorite People of 2007

Shannon Whisnant. Doesn't ring a bell? How 'bout a leg?

Shannon Whisnant is the guy in South Carolina who bought the contents of a storage unit at an auction. Inside the unit was a barbeque smoker with a severed human leg inside of it. The leg had belonged to John Wood (when it was attached to him) and Wood put it in the smoker to keep it until he died so that he could be buried with it. The leg was amputated in 2004 as a result of injuries Wood sustained in a plane crash. With me so far? It gets better.

Wood wanted his leg back. Seems simple, right? Not so fast. Whisnant didn't want to give the leg back. That's correct. He wanted to keep the leg. He started charged people to have a look at it. $3 for adults and $1 for children. I'm not sure why the difference in price. But then again, this is the logic of a man who wants to keep another man's SEVERED LEG!!

You've really gotta hear this guy talk. He is the epitome of the uneducated, backwoods Southerner to say the very least. And the funniest part is that he punctuates the end of all of his sentences with a little sound that goes "mmm-hmmm." You have to make that sound fast. Not slow. Real fast and it just flows in with the rest of the words in the sentence. Like this response to the question of who actually owns the leg, "It's miiine. I had a receiptmmm-hmmm." Or how he felt when he found the leg, since he has a bum left leg himself. "Yeah, we just sort of looked at it like it was heaven sent when we run acrost it. We sorta got an extra left leg now you knowmmm-hmm." Or his description of the condition of the leg, "It ain't too healthy lookin', I'll tell you thatmmm-hmmm."

Other gems from this man's explanation of the situation include how he would like to see the dispute between him and Wood settled. That's right. Joint custody. "Maybe if I have it in my custody for every Halloween and month there before uh, we may have split custody." I guess he feels it's a hot commodity because he said, "The phone has not stopped ringin' for more than 5 minutes. People call from all over the world who wants to see it. About nine different people (have paid to see the leg) so far."

OK, aside from it being ridiculously funny, there's also the economic factor that, apparently, plays a part in this guy's logic. NINE different people. At three bucks a head (assuming they were all adults and stupider than he is to pay three bucks for this sort of thing) that's a whopping $27! The guy won't give back another man's LEG because he sees a profit of $27 and considers it a money minting gold mine! That is hysterical.

And "heaven sent" because it's the same side leg as his that isn't all that great? HOW is that "heaven sent"?? It's not like he can USE the leg! True, he does have an extra one, just like he said. But for WHAT?!

So now we have this guy AND Miss Teen South Carolina as the 2007 representatives of that state. Nice PR there, SC. No wonder Jerry Springer was on the air for so long.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Favorite People of 2007

Look, Oprah will make my list of Favorite People on Tuesday, so of course she's one of the faves for 2007. Why? Why not?

Calling that weasel James Frey on the carpet for his book, "A Million Little Pieces" (which could have been titled, "A Million Little Lies") was awesome. There are not a lot of people who will publicly and directly civilly confront an individual who has done something detrimental to them. (Actually, I can't believe that she was actually able to confront him publicly. If I knew that I had wronged The Oprah, I sure as hell would not be going on her show again after she found out. No way.) But she did. She confronted him, she knew when to pick and choose her battles with him and she did so in a very respectable and reasonable manner. She's a classy woman and how she handles herself when things aren't going so great should be an example to everyone.

And then there's the endorsement of Barack Obama. Hey, she even admitted that the political arena was outside of her comfort zone. But she was willing to give it a shot. I don't know that, due to her ambivalence of having a role in the political arena, she will have much of an impact on the voters decisions. And I don't know that she thinks that she will. If you look at all of the politicians out there who could potentially run for President of the US in the future, I don't know that there are very many that Oprah would endorse, now OR then. She might have felt like this was the last shot at getting a candidate that she personally approves of in the White House, so why not be actively involved in it?

My favorite part of her whole Obama-Palooza tour was when she would introduce him to the crowd. It was awesome. It sounded like this, "Bar-ACK O.....bam....AAAAAA!" Only the way that she said it kinda came across as a question. Almost like she couldn't believe she was doing what she was doing. "Bar-ACK O......bam.....AAAAA???" Hil-arious.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

I'm sure I could come up with something ludicrous to put here today. But I think I'll pass. It's Christmas. It just wouldn't seem....right. You know, kinda like one of those inflatable, lit up, manger scenes in someone's front yard? You know that the people mean well, but it just doesn't translate into the "feeling of Christmas" all that great.

I don't kow if this is going to translate into the "feeling of Christmas" all that great either. So to make sure that nothing gets lost in translation, I'm keepin' it short.

I'm grateful for this day because it's kinda where it all started or where it all starts. Without the events of this day, I wouldn't have a chance to be forgiven for all of the times and all of the things that I screw up. And there's a lot of 'em. Trust me. And it's not just me that has that opportunity. It's everyone. Including all of the yo-yos that I mock incessantly. They too can (surprisingly) be forgiven for all of their evil-doings.

The whole Christmas thing just makes me happy. And I try to share that happiness with others when given the opportunity. I also try to enjoy those around me and those in my life and give them just one day where their obvious shortcomings don't annoy me. That's my way of spreadin' the joy. That alone makes others grateful as well.

Merry Christmas. Now go spread some cheer. Or some love. Or both. You've got the whole rest of the year for all of the other crap. Today? Love, cheer, thanks.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

My Favorite People of 2007

The reason I just love the drunken Hispanic Indiana man who tried to get back into his house (after his jewel of a girlfriend locked him out) by climbing down the chimney and subsequently got stuck and had to be extracted by the fire department, makes my list for a couple of reasons.

The first reason? The whole altercation is hil-arious. The woman is a shrill shrew. He is a quiet little drunk guy who, for some unknown reason, wants to get IN-side the house where she IS. You'd think he'd be trying to get OUT.

Her dialect just kills me. She is so pissed off at this guy and gets even MORE pissed when he says that he was trying to be Santa Claus and come down the chimney. What a great excuse, yes? Well, it was until the woman asked him where the presents were because Santa never goes down a chimney without presents. (But when she said "presents" it kinda sounded like "presidents" or "precedent". There was at least one extra syllable in there. "Santa never comes down the chimney without presidents!" Well, I should hope not.)

So she's tossed him out and he's just meekly standing there at the bottom of the stairs to her porch. That's when she starts pelting him with bottles and even throws a plastic trash can at him. He just kind of cringes when they hit him and then bounce off. He doesn't say a WORD! He doesn't do anything. He just cowers there at the foot of the stairs and shields himself from incoming ammo. What a guy. He may be drunk, but he's not a wife beater. That's good.

But here's what really earns him a spot on my list. When he's being interviewed by the television reporter, he's just standing there flipping off the camera. Hilarious. When the reporter asks him why he was in the chimney and his Santa Claus alibi was cracked, the guy says, "I'm just drunk. I live here and that's my girlfriend. So I'm just drunk. Everybody so a-stupid things when they're drunk, OK?" That's some pretty good takin' responsibility right there. That's even some takin' responsibility and admitting that you did something stupid. You really don't hear a whole lot of that these days, so the dude gets my respect for that. What he doesn't get my respect for is wanting a piece of Super Shrew there. What is he thinking? Oh, right, he's just drunk.

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My Favorite People of 2007

I am by no means political and I try to avoid taking any political stance other than that of common sense. Nor do I tend to put a lot of stock in the political opinions of others. That's because this is a nation that elected a President named "Tricky Dick". Twice. I rest my case.

But since you can't avoid the current race for who is going to be each party's candidate, I feel the need to at least pay attention occasionally. And good thing I did, otherwise I might have missed out on Mike Huckabee.

First off, I think he'd really do himself a lot of good if he'd make his slogan "Go Huck Yourself" or at least call himself "The Huckster". Hey, if he had a college named after himself, it could be called "Huck U." (That statement should make you glad I don't get involved in politics.) Aside from that, the reason he's one of my favorite people this year is simply because he just goes out there and says it how he thinks it should be said and does it how he thinks it should be done.

First example: His first YouTube video. The guy stands there and looks at the camera and says, "Hello, YouTube. I'm Mike Huckabee." Hello, YouTube? WTF? I was laughing my ass off. If this guy did a television commercial, would he start out, "Hello, Television."? Hil-arious.

Then there is the currently controversial ad that he released about a week ago. The message of his ad went along these lines: He recognizes America's fatigue with all of the political crap and then he says that at this time of year, "what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ." At the end of his ad he throws in a "God Bless" and a "Merry Christmas."

There was some sort of unnecessary uproar because people were claiming that there was a subliminal cross placed in the background of his ad. It wasn't a cross, it was a white bookshelf, by the way. But people were saying that it was a cross and he was trying to make subliminal implications about religion (Huckabee is a minister, apparently). I've seen the spot and I really don't think it was intentional.

Now, the man openly SAYS OUT LOUD the word "Christ". The man openly SAYS OUT LOUD "GOD Bless" and (I repeat, OUT LOUD) "Merry CHRISTMAS". After saying those things, HOW is a cross SUBLIMINAL?! He's talking about Jesus Christ! He's talking about God! He's talking about the reason for the season! And again, OUT LOUD! It's not like he was talking about health care or hurricanes or anything. IF you're talking about something and IF there is an image that is associated with what you're saying, that's NOT subliminal! If anything, it's LIMINAL! (Yes, I made that up. But I needed to make a point.) Seriously, isn't this reaching just a bit? A subliminal white cross in the background of a political Christmas greeting advertisement to sneak in a message about religion? People are reeeeeeeeally stretching here.
But it's Huckabee's responses to this ridiculous accusation that make him one of my favorite people this year. Here's what he said in response, "If we are so politically correct in this country that a person can't say enough of the nonsense with the political attack ads could we pause for a few days and say Merry Christmas to each other then we're really, really in trouble as a country." Excellent. Anything else, Mike?

Of course! He also said: "Actually I will confess this, if you play this spot backwards it says 'Paul is dead, Paul is dead, Paul is dead,' " Nice job, Mike! Do you think all everyone who thinks it was a cross (and is, therefore, clueless as to the meaning of 'subliminal') will realize that his dry wit was directed at them and could possibly be implying a subliminal message that he thinks they're paranoid? Somehow I'm guessing not. (Can you imagine? A minister, talking about Christ at Christmas time!? Yes, what a sneaky bastard he is! Please.)

But it doesn't matter that the idiots will always be idiots. What matters is that this guy will stand up and say if he thinks someone is being ridiculous. And I think that's awesome.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Favorite People of 2007

How could I leave this chick out of any list for 2007? I don't care what it is. She has to be there. I'm speaking, of course, such as, of Miss Teen South Carolina, who gave an inexplicable response to the question, "Recent polls have shown that one fifth of Americans can't locate the United States on a world map. Why do you think this is?"

Her response was, "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh...people out there in our nation don't have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and...I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S., er, should help the U.S., er, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq (DING! She should have just stopped talking here! But NO! I guess it was important for her to complete this thought?) and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future....for our...

I should probably include Mario Lopez on my list of Favorite People simply because the man kept a straight face (god bless him) as he stood no more than 2 feet away from Miss Teen South Carolina and her epiphany regarding those who are geographically challenged. And all the man said when she mercifully stopped talking was, "Thank you very much. South Carolina." That sounded sooooo much better than it would have if I had been hosting and had to listen to that and shouted, "WTF was that?!? Sooooo much better.

Afterwards, (afterwards being after the "speech" was broadcast all over YouTube for everyone in the world to see, including the US Americans, those in South Africa and in the Iraq) Miss Teen South Carolina claimed that she "didn't understand" the question. Well, thank GOD. Could you imagine if she HAD understood the question and that was her answer?! Geez.

You know what it was like? Aside from painful cringing? You know how on your iPod you can put it on 'Shuffle' and it just plays songs in any order that it feels like and just spits them out one after the other in a completely random fashion? Yeah, it was like she put her vocabulary on shuffle and words just came flying out of her mouth, one after the other in a completely random fashion!

But she's one of my favorite people because this gave me a countless number of enjoyable moments listening to it repeatedly. And I gotta love her for that. But I'll tell ya, it's a good thing she's pretty.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Favorite People of 2007

One of my favorite people of 2007 was a guy that you will probably think you've never heard of, but who is someone who I'll bet you've heard. That guy.....George Shea.

George Shea is the announcer for the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island that is held every year on the 4th of July. Personally, I wouldn't know where to even begin to announce a hot dog eating contest. What in the hell would I say? Other than, "Ew, gross."? George Shea does not have that problem. He can think of plenty to say. If you've never heard this guy, you've gotta find some audio of it and listen to him. He is hilarious. And full of metaphors, some of which may or may not make sense.

It's pure genius the crap this man throws together as he's yelling at the top of his lungs whilst a bunch of people shove hot dogs down their gullets amidst a screaming crowd of drunken July 4th revelers. And I just love him for it.

What follows is a partial transcript of his eloquent and unique oratory prose (I'm trying to sound like he does and it's just not workin' for me here.). Nice job, George. See ya next 4th!

"We arrive at this moment by the unswerving punctuality of chance!"

"I want my judges to crouch down a little. Judges crouching down. I want my judges down so the people can see. JUDGES GET DOWN! JUDGES GET DOWN!!"

"KOBAYASHI HAS STARTED!! KOBAYASHI HAS STARTED!!! OOOHHHHHHH!!!!"
"And Joey Chestnut has eaten ten hot dogs in fifty seconds. Wheeeerrrreeee DDDOOOEEESSS this man FIIIINNNDD the courage? Where does he find the fortitude?"

"Takiro Kobayashi, who couldn't open his mouth two fingers two days ago has now eaten fifteen hot dogs in under two minutes!"

"But Joey Chestnut is in a zone! I have never seen him eat this way. He has moved past the components of eating! The hand speed! The jaw strength! The stomach capacity! He is eating in an arena of pure emotion! This is about the triumph of the human spirit! It is nothing short of the triumph of the human spirit! As I said."

"For Americans to see the belt go to Japan every year, it's kind of depressing, as well! It's like that song by David Bowie "Major Tom". You're enjoying it and suddenly you realize how sad it is. Major Tom's not coming back. He's out in that tin can! He says to his wife, "I love you very much." She knows! But it's very sad! Major Tom's not coming back! But the BELT may be coming back to Brooklyn!"

"Do I have a cry of love for this man with a heart of a lion, Takiro Kobayashi?! Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi are neck and neck. Cheek and jowel."

"His ancestors started on the shores of time looking up the wide white highway of history at this the culmination of his DNA!"

"One minute to go!! One minute!! A hero arises to lead a broken planet to victory and that hero is Joey Chestnut! He is standing up like William Wallace! Like Donovan McNabb! Like Joan of Arc before him and he is bringing it forth! He is eating with incredible speed!"

"Three! Two! One! Put down your hot dogs! OOoohhhh!! Oooohhhh!!!"

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Friday, December 21, 2007

109 Causes of Death

One of the oldest surviving veterans from World War One has died. I'm kind of thinking that the terms "oldest" and "veteran from WW I" are rather redundant when used in conjunction with one another. I think it's a given that if you fought in WW I, you're old. And it's even more of a given that if you fought in WW I and you're still alive and, presumably, the majority of people who also fought in WW I are dead, then you are automatically one of the oldest, yes? That's what I thought.

J. Russell Coffey was one of only three known surviving veterans of WW I. I find the term "known" to be ridiculous, as I'm sure if there were more, we'd know about them. It's not like they have to hide out from the paparazzi.

I'm also feeling that the term "WW I veteran" is used rather loosely in this context, as the guy never even made it out of basic training before the war ended. Not that his service to this country wasn't needed and isn't appreciated. It was and it is. But "WW I era veteran" might have been a more appropriate term.

The man was 109. One hundred and nine years old! That's like FIVE people who just turned the legal drinking age and a four year old (whom the five drunkards are probably corrupting, but that's another story). The guy was born in 1898. William McKinley was President of the US. (McWho?) But here's the part of the story that slays me:

The article on CNN that I was reading states, " No cause of death has been determined." Huh?

Hey, um, death determining folks? Yeah, lemme help you out with determining that cause of death. You ready? Here we go.....HE WAS ONE HUNDRED AND NINE! THAT in and of itself is the cause of death. Being 109 CAN lead to death! What more determination needs to be made? Perhaps you'd like to ask President McKinley for his opinion? Oh, wait, you can't! He died 106 YEARS ago! This isn't tricky! Cause of death: Being 109. Reason for Death: Not making it to 110.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Do You Even READ The Card?

When you send someone a gift at Christmas time, what's on the card that goes with it? Does it say Happy Holidays (boo) or Merry Christmas (yay)? The shameless self promoters over there at giftbasketsdeluxe.com did an analysis of the cards that accompanied their gift baskets and found that 60% of the cards this year said 'holidays' instead of 'Christmas'. Who cares? I'm sure that they did it so that the name of their website/business would be mentioned and they could enjoy some free yuletide publicity.

I mean, who cares what the card says? Someone just sent you a gift! That's like free stuff! No, actually that is free stuff. When I get a gift basket, I don't care if the card says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" or even "Happy Hanukkah". It could say "Happy Armistice Day" for all I care. All I'm thinking right about then is, "Mmmmmm.......meat sticks and cheese in a tube. Where's my box cutter?"

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Worst Excuse of 2007

I've heard some pretty bad excuses for a variety of different and usually inexcusable things. But I have finally heard the one that tops them all.

The San Jose Mercury News ran a story on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007 about how the Latino community of Santa Clara County seems to have the highest rate of foreclosures in 2007. Again, these are people who took out ARMs and had absolutely no way of possibly being able to afford the monthly payment once the loan reset, sometimes in as few as only THREE months! But, they did it anyway. Why? I couldn't even begin to guess because the whole issue seems absolutely ridiculous to me. But I digress. Anyway......here comes the quote

A real estate agent was quoted in the story saying that about 50 people came to him seeking help during last month alone and he expects three times that many this month. (How he can make that sort of a prediction was not explained. I'm assuming because it's made up.) He says, "They don't know where to go. They are afraid to call the lender, or they say no one answers, or that no one there speaks Spanish and they just put you on hold." Did ya catch it?

"No one there speaks Spanish." Are you freaking kidding me? Where? Where is this place that NO ONE speaks Spanish?! Off of the top of my head, I cannot think of ONE business that, if you call them and their automated system, does not have their English greeting immediately followed by "Para la ayuda en espaƱol, por favor prensa numera dos. " The Chinese take-out joint right by here has their hours posted in English AND in Spanish. For Chinese food!! Everything I buy that has any instructions at all comes with a booklet half an inch thick because the instructions are in English AND in Spanish. Everything is in Spanish! EVERY-thing!!

No one speaks Spanish. That's rich. Right. Hmmm...funny, I don't recall them complaining that no one spoke Spanish when they were taking out the ridiculously high interest rate of a loan when they wanted to buy the house. Musta been plenty of Spanish speakers then. But, now, surprise! There's NONE!

If this seemingly mythical, non-Spanish speaking business really does exist, I'd love to know the name of it because I would do every ounce of business that I possibly could with them. And if anyone can come up with a worse excuse, I'd love to hear that too. Just make it in English because, no lie, I don't speak Spanish.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

This Footprint Won't Be Carbon

Did you know that if you book a flight online with Delta Airlines, that they give you the option of "erasing your carbon footprint" formed by taking a flight? I guess they calculate how much you're damaging the planet by flying on their fine airline and then, if you opt to, charge you X amount which will be used to some unidentified way to offset the damage you have just done by flying.

It's not cheap, either. We're talking like $70 and higher. What a ruse! Are you serious?! Am I going to spend an extra $70-plus without knowing where that money is going and what it will supposedly be doing? Um, no. I mean, um, hell no. Are there saps out there who WILL be doing that? Of course. The world is full of softheaded individuals. But if you're participating in this scam, your head is buttery soft.

I'm announcing my own program to offset the carbon footprints of air travelers. Here's how it works. If you're going to fly on a certain day, you contact me and see if I'm free. If I am available, I will (for a reasonable fee) agree to NOT fly on the same day that you DO fly. Thus, I am offsetting your carbon footprint by NOT going somewhere. I will only schedule myself for one flight at a time, but can schedule myself for several flights a day as long as none of them overlap.

I'm thinking about expanding this to driving as well. Tell me what times you're in your car and (again for a reasonable fee) I will agree to NOT drive during those times and offset your carbon footprint. How great is that? You feel better. I feel richer. Everyone wins! And yes, I do accept PayPal.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Serious Side Effects, Even Death, May Occur

I love the end of the year because that's when all of the "Best/Worst (fill in the blank) of the Year" stuff comes out. The good folks over there at the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch sponsor the Wacky Warning Label Contest every year, the purpose of which is to highlight the results of our overly litigous society. Those results being warning labels that point out the painfully obvious.

The winner is the little gem above. It reads, in part, "AVOID DEATH". Now, for me, that's kind of like a day to day motto. Every morning when I get up, first thing I think? That's right. Avoid death. But because this has become a lawsuit happy nation, "avoid death" is now a stated warning. How sad.

The runners up include an iron on T-shirt transfer that reads, "Do not iron while wearing shirt" and a baby stroller with a small pouch that reads, "Do not put child in bag." A label on a letter opener received an honorable mention for it's warning of "Caution: Safety goggles recommended." That's what I want to see. Someone donning safety goggles whilst opening their mail!

Personally, my all time favorite warning label wasn't really a label. It was a warning on a consent form for a flu shot. It read, "Serious side effects, even death, may occur..." Since when is death a side effect?!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

It's Not Called Going "Green" For Nothing

Not sure how I feel about the whole 'global warming' dealio. I'm sure the earth is getting warmer. I'm just not sure why, nor am I sure that there is anything that can be done about it. I'm rather ambiguous on this topic because, as I see it, there are more and more people that are living on this planet. People, in and of themselves, generate heat. More people = more heat = hotter earth, yes? No? I don't know either. But it's not an overly crazy argument.

Regardless as to why it's supposedly getting hotter on Earth (I say supposedly because I am freakin' freezing right now!), the big push is towards the 'green' solution. Choose things that won't hurt the Earth. Reduce your carbon footprint. All of that and more coming mainly from the mouth of Al Gore when he isn't saving whales or appearing on 30 Rock.

Al bugs me. It's not his championing of doing what is right for the planet. It's the fragmented way that he goes about it. Fragmented meaning that he tends to focus on what he wants to and leaves out what he wants to. And the part that he leaves out is the part that is really going to be the bottom line for whether anyone does anything or not.

Al just did a major redo on his too-big-for-any-good-use mansion to make it a more 'green' building. Apparently, he got a rash load of crap from people when it was leaked that his building used around 16,000 kilowatt hours a month, whereas the typical building in Nashville used about 1,300 kwh a month. So, Al installed solar panels, a rainwater-collection system and some geothermal heating, replaced all incandescent lights with either compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs. Sounds good, yes? Not so fast.

How much? That's my question. How much does all of this earth saving wonderment cost? They're not going to tell you. According to their publicist, "The Gores decided to take a series of steps over time that might be logistically or financially out of reach for many Americans." Exactly my point!

All of this 'green' stuff is expensive! Solar panels for a typical house in California is going to run the homeowner between $25K (almost never) and $40K (the low end of the high end) at best. If I'm spending $40K, I'm not feeling like I'm SAVING anything. And if I need a light bulb? I can buy 8 for 3 bucks or I can buy one swirly one for 5 bucks. I'm gonna buy the 8 for $3. So are most people. (Hey, why does it have to be swirly? Anyone? Again, it seems like just a bunch of fancy crap to make the public think that they're paying more and actually getting something for it, when in reality they're probably not.)

You know what, Al? If you're not going to tell me how much all of that stuff you did on your house cost, then please just stop talking. Or unless you're going to buy it for me, just pipe down. Don't stand there on top of your Nobel Prize and tell me to do all of this stuff if you aren't going to tell me how much it's going to cost. And if you're not going to tell me the cost because it's too expensive, then sit down and pipe down you hypocritical whale hugger you. Make it so people can actually afford it and so that companies providing this 'green' stuff aren't going to get ridiculously rich because of it and then we'll talk.

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Come On, Feel A Pulse

By the way, autopsy results are in on Kevin DuBrow, the lead singer for Quiet Riot who died a couple of weeks ago. It should come as no shocker that he was done in by a cocaine overdose. Really, the only shock is that it took so long (DuBrow was 50-something).

What cracks me up is how he is being 'remembered' in articles about him and his passing. Almost inevitably, whatever is written about him will say something to the effect of, "DuBrow was the lead singer for Quiet Riot, a band known for hits such as 'Come On, Feel The Noize'."

Hits? I see 'hit'. Singular. ONE hit. So, shouldn't that be "...known for hit such as...."?

By the way, I think I was 13 when that song came out. The lyrics are something along the lines of, "Come on, feel the noize. Girls, rock your boys." I might not have been quite sure what that meant, but I knew I'd like it.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

How NOT to Write a Celebrity Death Headline

I'll say this...those folks over there at the New York Post have some big ones. HUGE. Like coconut sized. No, more like, um, you know those seedless watermelons that are really round. Yeah, like those. Big, huge, seedless watermelon-esque ones, hangin' down. Good Lord, Post guys.

In case you haven't heard, Ike Turner (if you like Ike, you might want to sit down for the rest of this sentence) died yesterday. What was the headline in the Post, you ask? Ahem.......The headline reads:

Ike 'Beats' Tina to Death

OK, I tried not to laugh. I swear. But I couldn't help it. And once I realized that my laughter for this reason was pretty much going to have me condemned to hell, I just let 'er rip. That's pretty damn funny, even though no one is supposed to admit it. I hope those Post guys wake up every day and think, "Man, I love my job." Because if I worked at the Post and I got to write headlines like that, I'd think that every day when I woke up.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WOTY = W00T = WTF

Merriam-Webster has just announced the Word of the Year for 2007. (Apparently this is important.) The 2007 WOTY is w00t. That's right, w00t. Yes, those are zeroes. Yes, that is correct. No, I am not drinking (yet).


What is 'w00t'? W00t is defined by the folks over there at Webster's as "expressing joy, similar in use to the word 'yay'." My reaction to this word as the WOTY is not 'w00t'. It's more like 'wtf'?


The origin of w00t is not all that clear. One source I read said it originated in some World of Warcraft thingee as a hybrid of the phrase, "Wow, loot!" (My reaction to that was "W00pid!" A hybrid of the phrase, "Wow, stupid!") Another source said that it originated in the world of college sports. When one team trounced another, they would chant, "woot", which stands for "We Own the Other Team". I'm wishing it stood for "We Oughta Outlaw This".

Since when is a "word" with numbers in it a "word"? I didn't get that memo. I'm thinking they could have done better. Oh, wait a minute....I just saw the list of the 10 finalist words....I take it back. They couldn't have done better. They could have done worse. Since a few of these words need explaining, I'll try to fill in where I think it's necessary. Or amusing. The finalists......

~ pecksniffian Pecksniffian means unctuously hypocritical. For those of you who are like me, I will also tell you that unctuously means "revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating and false earnestness or spirituality". Much like the word 'pecksniffian' itself.

~ sardoodledom Again, I present you with the definition of this (obviously made up) word. It means "mechanically contrived plot structure and stereotyped or unrealistic characterization in drama". I've been looking for a word to describe just such a situation which I encounter almost never. If you ever hear anyone use this word, please hit them. Hard.

~ facebook This is the verb 'facebook'. I think 'facebook' is stupid as a noun. Thus, I think it's ridiculous as a verb.

~ conundrum This has absolutely nothing to do with percussion instruments. It's merely a baffling situation. Kinda like this list.

~ quixotic Again, does anyone actually say this word? OUT loud? The next time I'm in a meeting with Shakespeare, I'll be all ears in anticipation of 'quixotic' appearing in the conversation. Aside from that, it's incredibly likely I will never hear this word spoken aloud ever.

~ blamestorm "Meeting, usually corporate or governmental, to decide who should be blamed for the incompetence of the organization itself." Apparently the opposite of 'brainstorm' and a distant cousin of 'barnstorm'. Who should be blamed for the incompetence of using the word 'blamestorm' is what I want to know.

~ apathetic Now, if I put a space between the 'a' and the 'pathetic', I get 'a pathetic'. And that's how I would start a sentence that would be describing this list. A pathetic collection of options for the Word of the Year

~ hypocrite I'd have to define this as those folks over there at Webster's who are in charge of the "words" in the dictionary, yet keep coming up with all of these "non-words" to throw in there also. It's not like they need page fillers or anything. Why must they do this?

~ charlatan Charlatan is like the next-door neighbor of quixotic. Kinda sounds like "Charles in Charge". Has nothing to do with Scott Baio.

~ w00t The winner.



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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Worry-free Arms Race


You know, I used to worry about Iran getting nukes. They've always struck me as a very crazy, yet fairly capable sandlot country. But after seeing this picture, I have no worries.

Seriously, does this look like a competent operation to you? And what in the world is that red, drippy splotch on the wall behind them? They look like they're wearing caps that were used during the filming of the last episode of M*A*S*H. I'm sure that little folding card table over there on the right serves some sort of nuclear physic-y purpose, yes? It probably works in tandem with the white sheet and the roll of duct tape.

Let me put it this way, I sleep much better these days after seeing this. Yep. Much better.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

At Least Subsidize In A Way That Makes Sense!

You may or may not be aware that I twisted off the other day with all of the sub-prime mortgage "crisis" the-sky-is-falling ado that has been going on. I've gotta hand it to the Federal Government. They have managed to come up with the solution that will do nothing. That's right. They're going to do something that is really nothing to feel like they're doing something when, in reality, nothing will happen. Intrigued? Who wouldn't be? Here's their plan:

Their plan is to put a five year freeze on the subprime mortgage adjustable interest rates for loans that were taken out between 2005 and the end of July. This move is being done because those interest rates, (being adjustable and all, thus, their name) are due to reset soon (as they were expected to) and will result in higher payment for those responsible for paying the mortgage (I just can't call them homeowners. They don't own anything...especially CASH!). Apparently, since all of these people took out adjustable rate loans that they knew that they wouldn't be able to afford once they adjusted (hence, the term...again) the government seems to think that this will help them stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.

The main question I have (other than "Where's the exit?") is, what happens after five years? Then what? Mind you, this doesn't appear to do much for people who are already behind on their payments and facing foreclosure. And THAT is the problem at the moment. There are a gazillion irresponsible people out there with loans they cannot afford to pay back that are facing foreclosure. They seem to still be screwed; which they should be. So I fail to understand how helping those who are doing what they are supposed to be doing so that they don't end up like the people who didn't do what they were supposed to do is going to be helpful at all. I see how it could slow down the over-inflated housing market collapse, but that doesn't mean it's going to stop it. The market was falsely inflated by a ridiculous amount and it will have to correct itself by a ridiculous amount. That's pretty much how economics work. It's going to happen regardless

Here's the thing, though: Why do I seem to never hear about how the foreclosure process works when the topic of all of these people "losing their homes to foreclosure" comes up? Do you realize how long one must go without making a payment before proceedings are even initiated? It's a while. It's a minimum of three months before paperwork is started in most cases. (After proceedings are started, it can be anywhere from 6 months to over a year before a property is actually put up for auction. It doesn't happen overnight.) But THREE months. WITHOUT paying! And that's not simply not paying the extra amount after the adjustment. That's NOT PAYING. That's also not talking with the bank. That's also not doing anything at all. Can anyone renting even fathom the idea of not paying rent for at least three months? Of course not. And, hey, if you're renting and you can't afford the rent, what do you do? You MOVE!!! Guess what, you irresponsible ARM morons? YOU too can MOVE! Because I've got news for you....if your house is in foreclosure and you're not paying...you're GOING to be moving. It's inevitable. Just put it up for sale now and start packing.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

What You Subsidize You Will Get More Of

Did you hear that? Just now. Yeah, that was the sound of me twisting off. Here's why:

You may or may not be aware that there is a "mortgage crisis" going on. (That's not my term, by the way. My term would be "lack of personal responsiblity crisis".) See, a whole lot of people bought a whole lot of houses that they really couldn't afford because they chose to use a mortgage that would initially have low or regular monthly payments, but would shortly (usually within a couple of years) have much higher monthly payments, due to the adjustable interest rate that they agreed to increasing.

Now that all of these financial geniuses have huge mortgage payments that they "can't afford", homes across the country are going into foreclosure like rabbits, um, well, doing what rabbits do. Apparently, people who report on this sort of thing feel the need to deem this "a crisis". (It's a crisis, but not the kind they think it is.) And this "crisis" has caused the Federal Government to ask themselves, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" (Only without the music and the dancing vonTrapp family. I hope.)

Their solution? You got it. BAIL THEM OUT. Well, not exactly. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson seems to think that if he can get those in the mortgage industry to freeze the interest rates on the adjustable rate mortgages for a couple of years, that will make everything better. I can't be the only one who sees a problem with this, can I? I mean, he's the Treasury Secretary for cryin' out loud and he seems to think it's a fabulous idea and that makes my head just spin.

I am not saying that everyone who is in foreclosure or facing foreclosure was irresponsible. I'm specifically targeting those who took out ARMs when they knew that there was no way that they could make those payments when (NOT if) the interest rate increased. Why is THAT specific behavior being essentially rewarded by freezing the interest rate on something they agreed to?!What about all of the people who bought a home that was less than what they would have like to have purchased because they knew that they couldn't afford the bigger or more expensive home? How are they going to be rewarded by the Federal Government? Oh, that's right. They're not.

I am over it. I am over how taking responsibility is becoming a foreign concept to many, many people. I am over the entitlement that so many, many people shamelessly embrace when blaming their mistakes on others. I am over the notion that delayed gratification is pointless and if you want something, by God, you should have it and you should have it now because you want to. I am over the notion that there should not be negative consequences as a result of poor decisions and that irresponsible choices should be rewarded by someone else scurrying around and trying to fix them. I'm over all of it.

Did you hear that? Just now. Yeah, that was the sound of me twisting off. Again. ::sigh:: Where are those lucky rocketship underpants when I need them?

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How to Become Certain Now or Maybe Later

I'm not necessarily a big fan of economists. Yes, economists. Those guys who think that they can predict what the economy is going to do. Those economists. Just because I'm not a big fan doesn't mean that I hate economists. I don't. I just think that they are always trying to make it sound like they really do know what the economy is going to do and that you should listen to their sage wisdom. In reality, most economists are about as accurate as the weathercaster at your local news station. 50-50. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. That's the best they can do.

Milton Friedman would be the exception to my "not a big fan of economists" rule. This guy was smart and he knew his stuff. He knew that people couldn't predict with any great certainty or accuracy what the economy would do. AND he said so. But there are those out there, some working for major economic/financial businesses, who don't seem to realize that they have NO idea what they're talking about when it comes to predicting when or if there is going to be a recession in this country.

Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg issued this "warning" in a note to Merrill Lynch clients: "We are becoming more certain that the recession is either here or no more than two quarters away." Huh? So, it's either here now or it's not, but he's not sure which one it is? Are you kidding me? OK, look, I'm not an economist (I'm barely a consumer) but I could have come up with that.

The really scary part of that is that he is "becoming more certain". That didn't sound anywhere near certain if you ask me. And that he thinks he is "becoming" seems to indicate that he thinks he might be certain, but won't really know until he gets there. Don't you think that one of the qualifications to be an economist would be to have the ability to know if you're smack dab in the middle of something or not? If I ever need an economist, I'm definitely listing that as one of the qualifications when I list the position on craigslist.

How does this guy get to work every day? I mean, as he's driving along, I picture him saying to himself, "Well, I'm pretty sure that I either work in that building or one that's no more than two streets away." I also picture him walking into his neighbor's houses a lot, mistaking them for his own.

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