Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Things that suck: General Motors

General Motors is pulling their sponsorship from Survivor - of course, they're being ambiguous in their reasons why. Could it be...racism? This is why the media is dangerous. The shows chosen to be televised are graded on their ability to draw two things: audience, and sponsors. Scare a sponsor, get shut down. Make a splash, alarm the FCC.

Even edgier networks, such as FX, have this problem - however, their bottom line is quite different than the Big Four, so they've been able to fly under the radar. However, I predict that's about to change. Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me are really testing the boundaries this year.

The last time I got this aggravated was when ABC pulled Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, all because he questioned our reasons for going to war, and the methods we employed. That was a great show. When Maher moved to HBO, the show became superb. You hear exactly what the panelists are thinking. Wouldn't it be nice to hear a politician say exactly what was on their mind? Tune in to Real Time with Bill Maher folks, you'll find out.

For the last time: controversy is Ozzie Guillen calling a reporter a "fag". Controversy is Rush Limbaugh questioning Donovan McNabb's ability, saying the media affords him a longer leash because he's black. Controversy is not a show trying to debunk myths about race by dividing contestants by flavor.

GM is unable to take a stand because people on both sides of the fence are potential customers. Unfortunately for GM, they're totally discrediting people like me, who think that they're completely spineless. I will never buy a car from GM, ever. That's because GM is a piece of shit company with a history of selling out.

Things that don't suck: Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"

Last night I watched When the Levees Broke, Spike Lee's documentary about Hurricane Katrina & its aftermath. It was the most riveting 4 hours of television I've seen this year. Best documentary, by far. Please watch/DVR this if you have HBO, or rent it if you don't. It's split up into 4 Acts.

One of the more interesting portions of the first hour was a group of interviews with people who swear they heard and felt an explosion, after the strongest winds had passed. That's when the levees broke, and water levels rose rapidly, emptying raw sewage into the streets.

I'd think that this was just another crazy consipracy theory, if it hadn't happened before. During the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the Army Corps of Engineers decided, along with local politicians, to blow the dams to save the high-rent French Quarter. This ended up minimizing damage to the most affluent areas of New Orleans, but decimated St. Bernard Parrish, killing hundreds of people, and leaving thousands homeless (all poor).

Now, I'm not saying that anyone blew the dams this time around. There is no solid proof (it would have washed away anyway). However - factor in the fact that it took the federal government 5 full days to get water to these people...women and children were literally dying in the heat, bodies & feces floating around in the flood waters...and you can see why people would think that way. According to Mike "Heckuva job, Brownie" Brown, the president was warned a full 2 days in advance of the storm that this was to be a disastrous event unlike any other.

During the entire documentary, Spike Lee makes a point to show that the government's lack of response linked directly to class. Not race. But with a population of about 68% African-American, you can see why Kanye West said those infamous words, "George Bush hates black people." It's an undeniable link. While visting "refugees" at the Houston Astrodome, his own mother said, "so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway. This is working very well for them."

It's hard not to get upset, watching that documentary. I've decided to find out what more I can do - last year, I ran a canned food & supplies drive. I'm going to find out what more we can do, because the worst civil-engineering disaster in the history of the United States is far from over.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things that suck: Edgar Stiles

24 didn't deserve the Emmy for Best Drama this year. I base my opinion on one scene. In the Episode "6:00-7:00pm", Edgar Stiles dies in what can easily be called the worst dying sequence ever filmed. There's a poisonous gas that has been released, one that supposedly burns you from the inside-out, causing hideous levels of pain. Edgar gets trapped outside the Operations room, only to discover that the remaining CTU staff are inside, sealed off and protected.

Edgar Stiles and Chloe O'Brien were close friends, and it was revealed earlier in the day that he was romantically interested in her. Their final exchange should have been palpable. At the very least, they could have had a very Star Trek: Wrath of Khan moment - fingers sliding down the separating glass, breathlessly expressing a final goodbye.

Instead, it went a little something like this:

Edgar: Chlo-e! [Phhhllump!]

The fact that Lost wasn't even nominated, and 24 won the Emmy, even after a horrible piece of acting like's such crap. You wouldn't mind, but the scene was considered a controversial, momentous turning point for the show...I doubt they're even watching television.

For the record: I love watching 24. But it didn't deserve an Emmy. Good lord. Hey at least Edgar's dead!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Things that suck: Losing ground, losing self

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Hurrican Katrina. On August 29, 2005, the storm ravaged the grand old city of New Orleans. I was just reading an article about the storm by New York Times reporter Sheila Bosworth, and her ending left me feeling pretty empty:
In "The Sun Also Rises," Mike Campbell explains how he went bankrupt: "Two ways. Gradually, and then suddenly." That's one answer to the question of how New Orleans collapsed. There are those who say New Orleans must have seen Hurricane Katrina and its deadly aftermath coming, must have been expecting the worst, given the conditions - geological, structural, meteorological, political - that long preceded the storm.

But expecting it and being ready for it are two different things. You're never ready to give up the people and the places you've loved.

The best you can do is to go on expecting the sad suddenness of the goodbye.
That's a really sad thought. It's one thing to lose your material items; it's another to lose your sense of the past. I look forward to one day taking my kids back to where I grew up, and be able to point things out to them, That's where Dad played baseball...That's Gram & Pop's old house...

Even those who grew up in abject poverty have fond memories of their childhood. My Mom grew up poor, yet visits Bellows Falls, VT every year - it was her home. It's a part of us, it helps define who we are. When it's gone, it's devastating.

Katrina is a haunting reminder that we really can't afford to take things for granted. Life is far too short. I just made a donation to the Bush-Clinton Katrina fund - a small price to pay, and it's going to someone who has suffered a great loss. I'd encourage you to do the same.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Things that don't suck: Survivor, Cook Islands

If you haven't heard already, the latest installment of Survivor will initially divide contestants by race: White, Hispanic, African American, and Asian. Host Jeff Probst calls this "just another chapter of a very public social experiment" - and I think that this is a good thing.

When it comes to race, I think there should be more open debate. I'm compelled to watch this show more than any other Survivor, because I'm rooting for the contestants to buck stereotypes. The United States is a melting pot, and I'm hoping the new season shows that our society is moving towards a confluence of race - it would surely stand in stark contrast to the rest of the world.

I think it's easy for someone to say that this show should be pulled from the air - especially when their boiled-down argument is "Because racism is bad." I truly believe that political correctness is about as helpful to racism as George W is to Iraq. It's the ideas behind the words that need to be healed, not the words themselves. Censorship covers up the truth. If you can't tell what I'm thinking, how can you tell me why I'm wrong?

At worst, what this show is going to do is make us think. Make us talk. Make us disagree. It's okay to disagree, as long as, in the end, you listen to the other person's point of view. We're not robots. Yet.

This is officially my #1 show to watch this year.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Things that suck: But I'm not playing footsie with you, dear...

Excuse me sir, is that a snake in your pants, or are you just heppy to see me?So, some of you may remember this posting of mine from January, "Things that suck: Rattling Kong's Cage" - it referenced an earthquake that shook a theater during a screening of King Kong, that made moviegoers feel like they were part of the movie. I remember thinking to myself as I was writing it, "Man, if I were a little kid watching that movie and that happened, I'd either think it was the coolest thing ever, or I'd be so completely terrified that I'd never go to the moves again."

So, that was pretty bad, right? Well, read this!
Two live diamondback rattlesnakes were released in an Arizona movie theater during a showing of the new film "Snakes on a Plane," according to Local 6 News.

Authorities said pranksters released the young venomous rattlesnakes in a dark theater at the AMC Desert Ridge near Tatum and Loop 101 in Phoenix. The two snakes caused a panic in the dark theater, according to the report.

"That to me is very scary," herpetological association representative Tom Whiting said. "I would hate to be watching a movie about snakes and have a rattlesnake bite me."

Wranglers were called to collect the snakes, the report said.
You know, for the record, a "prankster" sprays graffiti, or leaves a flaming bag of poop on someone's doorstep. A prankster doesn't release venomous snakes into a crowded theater!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Things that suck: Going to school in Thailand

JonBenet's killer gives me the creeps.

Police said Karr had applied for jobs at Bangkok's dozens of international schools. They had said earlier one had hired him.

"People like him are dangerous. We have criminals from all over the world running away from their home countries to look for teaching jobs in Thailand," Suwat said.

Wow. There goes their marketing campaign slogan for new urban development: "Thailand. A great place for kids."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Things that don't suck: Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu, Jr.

Beloved character actor Bruno Kirby (born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu, Jr.) has passed on, at the age of 57. He died of leukemia, with which he was recently diagnosed. Bruno was fantastic - he was my favorite part of the movie City Slickers. I love that movie. Best line:
Billy Crystal: That was "have a pleasant and restful evening."
Bruno Kirby: No, that was "I like your ass. Can I wear it as a hat?"
Here's a brief list of his more-famous movie roles:
Rest in peace, Bruno.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Things that don't suck: Pay for Punk'd

So, I just received this email from a buddy of mine today, who just bought a new Dell desktop:
I agreed to be part of a marketing study for Dell. They are gonna come watch and video tape me putting it together and then I have to fill out a survey once a week for four weeks. I get $200 gift certificate for Dell after it's done
So, of course, the gears started turning in my head...there are several ways to make this more interesting:
  1. Get drunk before they get there. Wasted, Mel Gibson drunk.
  2. Keep saying repeatedly, "Dude, quit taping my Dell."
  3. At some point look directly at the camera and say, "Is Wayne Brady gunna have to choke a bitch?"
  4. Keep plugging the cords in upside down.
Any other suggestions?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Things that don't suck: The message board for NBC's "Treasure Hunters"

If anyone watches the show "Treasure Hunters" on NBC, you'll get a kick out of this posting, which, I may add, was written a week before the answer to the online game was given. And it was right. This was essentially the world's baddest endzone celebration - this guy knew where the treasure was, with such certainty, that he had time to come up with all this (NMAH = National Museum of American History):
After assembling the puzzle and reading these clues, the answer is obvious. It's the NMAH. My reasoning.

1. Rush to see the treasure stand. The only stand that is on the National Mall is Morgan's and Donz's hot dog stand. Located in front of the NMAH. Those dogs are pure treasure (although I remember when the Pilgram Dog was only $16.20).

2. See the inspirational underwater room. The summer rains in Washington brought floods to the Museums on the National Mall. Some rooms were under water.

3. Carved in the wall. In one of the bathrooms in the basement of the NMAH, where it was quite dark, I found some words carved in the wall. Although not patriotic, I was able to track down the author to one I.C. Weiner, of Gettysburg, Pennslyvania.

4. Hail to the Redskins. An obvious reference to the NFL. The NFL has a Hall of Fame. A Museum of National and American Leagues Football History. Shortened to MNAH, the anagram of NMAH.

5. The misty clues cover the symbolic ones. "Play Misty For Me." An early Clint Eastwood film. Later he stars in the classic, but Oscar overlooked, "Every Which Way But Loose." The flag, when in the wind, flies every which way but loose.

6. The game plan was laid. Again an obvious reference to the NFL.

7. Clupea Harengus. No need to use that part of the clue. Wiped out the Colours. Colours=Crayons. You are not allowed to write on the walls of the NMAH with crayons.

8. The Confederacy won. Another terms for Confederacy is Rebels. The University of Mississippi are the Rebels. Famous Rebel quarterback, Archie Manning, former NFL player and father of present day NFL quarterbacks, Eli and Payton Manning. Again, another NFL clue.

9. Debt even hits oil. The anagram. Don't Believe This (cleaned up for the younger ones playing the game). In other words ignore all the obvious clues and the words circled in red. Which means anywhere but the Lincoln Memorial. Which is probably a correct guess, but should be narrowed down to the NMAH.

I can't wait to get my phone call soon. I'm already packed.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Things that suck: Us

...for making this moron famous:

Britney's "ugly" video

August 11, 2006

A video of Britney Spears has been leaked on to the internet.

The three-minute rant filmed by her husband Kevin Federline shows the 'Toxic' singer moaning about feeling "ugly" and missing out on life.

She fumes: "I'm ugly. My jaw hurts. I feel confused. I feel like I have been missing out on life.

Kevin asks: "What part of life?"

To which Britney snaps: "Things. Just things that are going on. I feel like I'm behind or something. It sounds weird but I do. I want to see a movie."

Kevin insists her wild partying is to blame and asks her if she would rather watch a movie or go out with her friends.

In answer, Britney slams her fist on the table and demands: "What's that supposed to mean? I would go watch the movie and then drink at home."

The singer then launches into a bizarre conversation about time travel.

She says: Have you ever seen 'Back to the Future'? Is that possible - to travel back in time? I think some people can do that. I think some people are ahead of us."

Kevin replies: "Could you imagine how many people would try to go back and change things?"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Things that suck: The Computer Guys

Has anyone else seen this commercial? Could these guys be any more unenthused about their jobs?

"...we're The Computer Guys..."

It's either the worst commercial ever made, or a stroke of genius. They don't sound too shabby according to their website:
The Computer Guys, Inc. (TCG), an expert in strategic IT services for small and medium sized businesses, was honored by the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce as an outstanding local business. The Chamber awarded The Computer Guys the Small Business of the Year Award at their November Annual meeting on November 17th.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Things that suck: Getting screwed by Massachusetts pols

I hate the Massachusetts political machine. Last week, we heard about Senate President Robert Travaligni's brother getting a $40,000 pay raise (apparently because $260,000/year wasn't enough)...and today, we hear that war veterans are being forced to sign loans for college tuition because the Legislature ended their session without a decision? Isn't that the main reason why most of them signed up in the first place? Ever heard of honoring a promise?

The following is a quote by gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey, from today's Boston Herald:
"The Legislature has made the appalling decision to vote on things like tuition breaks for illegal immigrants, but they couldn’t take the time to take a vote to help our Massachusetts war heroes...I find it deeply disturbing.”
National Guard officials say the bureaucratic red tape has left some soldiers scrambling to meet tuition costs.
“It appears that some schools are honoring the tuition fee waivers and some are not,” said National Guard spokesman Maj. Winfield Danielson. “We remain hopeful that the Legislature will fund the tuition waiver in an informal session.

Two groups are responsible here, and should be ashamed of themselves. MA Pols, and the colleges who won't honor war veteran tuition fee waivers. I want the Herald to post a list of those colleges who won't accept the waivers. Blacklist those schools! These guys, no matter how you feel about the war in Iraq, are putting their lives on the line, for us.

I'm not blind to the fact that Kerry Healey is a MA pol herself - she's spinning the whole situation for her own political gain (they're veterans, enough with the dramatic "hero" kick for spin - veteran says it all, thanks), but she's right in her overall sentiment.

I have a real problem with the fact that there are people in Massachusetts who are living illegally, not paying taxes, and are getting a break on tuition...especially when you factor in the fact that veterans aren't receiving the bare minimum of what's been promised to them.

I'm sure there are more than a few illegal immigrants who have stories that pull on our heartstrings, but rules should be enforced. It just goes to show how flawed our system of government in Massachusetts really is.

There is no gray area here.

What a bunch of absolutely pathetic losers. And they wonder why voter turnout is so low.

Things that suck: Dropping the ball - then shooting it, spraying it with lighter fluid, and watching it burn

A person really needs to work hard to screw up their life as badly as Maurice Clarett has. The juxtaposition of the following incidents - one in October 2003, and the other in August 2006 (this morning), is staggering.

October 2003 — Here are the 2003 Heisman hopefuls, in predicted order of finish:

MAURICE CLARETT, running back Ohio State, sophomore

Despite missing three games with injuries and much of a fourth, Clarett carried the Buckeyes to a national championship last season, rushing for 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns. More importantly, he played big when the Buckeyes needed him most. Against Michigan, Clarett played through a shoulder injury to run for 119 yards and a touchdown and set up the winning score with a 26-yard reception. In the national title game against Miami, he ran for two touch-downs, including the game-winner in overtime.

August 2006Maurice Clarett was arrested early Wednesday after a highway chase that ended with police using Mace on the former Ohio State running back and finding four loaded guns in his truck, a police spokesman said.

Officers used Mace to subdue Clarett after a stun gun was ineffective because the former Fiesta Bowl star was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, Sgt. Michael Woods said.

"It took several officers to get him handcuffed," Woods said. "Even after he was placed in the paddy wagon, he was still kicking at the doors and being a problem for the officers."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Things that suck: Watching someone die

I wanted to scream after reading this story.

Assuming the parent of this 3-year old child is negligent, whose face do you smash in first: the parent (for not noticing their child was floating lifeless in the water), or the lifeguard-s, for their reaction?
Anthony Graham, 35, who was swimming with his daughter, noticed the boy floating in the water about 20 feet out and carried his lifeless body to the beach.

“I brought him in where the lifeguard was sitting. I laid him down,” said Graham, of Hyde Park.

But several witnesses said lifeguards said they wouldn’t do CPR without a mouthpiece to protect themselves, so two young moms trained in CPR took control.
Okay, completely sidestepping the fact that a 3-year old isn't the high-risk candidate the lifeguards should be worried about, where was their protective mouthpiece? Did they lie about taking CPR to get a nice relaxing summer job?

Still, if the parent was there and not paying attention, I say beat the snot out of them first.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Things that don't suck: Being Big Papi

I know most of you must have seen this today, but it deserves another mention. BSG posted a dandy of an article on the greatest clutch player in Boston sports history - Larry Legend v. Big Papi. Check out the numbers - care of Page 2:
  • If Ortiz has one more walk-off hit in 2006, he'll be the first baseball hitter to have six in a single season since the division era began in 1969.
  • Since the start of 2005, he's come up 13 times with the chance for a game-ending plate appearance and made an out only once (and he ended up winning that game in the 12th inning).
  • He has the most walk-off hits in any four-year span (12, and that doesn't include the three in the 2004 playoffs, which made him the only player in history with three game-ending postseason hits).
  • Since he joined the Red Sox in 2003, he has 15 walk-off hits and the rest of the team has 19 total. ... Since Aug. 1, 2004, Ortiz has hit 21 home runs in 138 at-bats in Late-Inning Pressure Situations (no other player has more than 13).
  • Dusty Baker has the most career walk-off hits (25, including the playoffs), but Ortiz is 10 behind.
  • And just for the record, none of those stats include all the times when he tied a game or gave the Red Sox the lead in the seventh or eighth inning.
These numbers are staggering. For starters, by the numbers, Big Papi is batting .923 with the game on the line. Folks, this is a game in which you can expect to go to the Hall of Fame having success 32% of the time - and that's during normal playing conditions.

However, BSG is right, Larry Legend is still tops, with Ortiz making a mamoth run at the title. This list shows the greatest clutch performers in baseball history, and if its any indication, Big Papi is making it easy to punch his Cooperstown ticket. Check out the names, as well as the successful conversions, on the list.