Thursday, October 26, 2006

Things that don't suck: 1/20/2009

I can't wait until this idiot is not our president any longer. Dubya signed a bill today that will essentially allow him to oversee the construction of a fence along the border. Some facts about this bold new project:

  • It's a 700 mile fence, on a 2100 mile border.
  • The "down payment" is $1.2 billion.
  • The president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, said "A fence will slow people down by a minute or two, but if you don't have the agents to stop them it does no good. We're not talking about some impenetrable barrier."

So, we're building a chainlink fence that covers about 1/3 of the border, that for some ridiculous reason costs billions of dollars.

The only illegal immigrants we should concern ourselves with are militant Islamic terrorists in sleeper cells. How did we let this happen? Why is he our president?!

Things that suck: Being out of order

Who is really out of order here?

"I am Christopher Worthington," the man said. "I am the father of the victim."

"You have no right to speak out during this trial," Nickerson said. "You have no right as a question is being asked to say 'objection.'"

"If you repeated that conduct sir you will be forfeiting your right to attend this trial."

"I'm sorry your honor," Christopher Worthington said.

"So I am," the judge responded.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Things that don't suck: Dexter

One good thing about RCN is that I'm able to exploit a hole in their HDTV system - I'm getting Showtime for free on HD channel 176. This means that I'm able to watch Dexter - a show so perfectly executed, so brilliantly acted, that even though I DVR, I can't miss the first run of the show - ever.

Michael C. Hall (formerly of Six Feet Under) plays the title role of Dexter Morgan, a blood splatter crime scene specialist for the Miami-Dade PD...with a dirty secret. He's a serial killer. A foster kid, his father (a detective) figured out his son's addiction to blood at an early age, but was able to influence him to only take it out on criminals. He is first and foremost a serial killer; his job, his relationships...all masks that he wears. And yet, you empathize with him - you relate to him, even though he has this brutal, disgusting side.

Hall's commitment to his character makes this show unbeatable, and a certain Emmy nomination for best drama and best actor in a drama are forthcoming.

You can see the first two episodes of Dexter here:

Monday, October 23, 2006

Things that still don't suck: Borat

As the director of The 40 Year Old Virgin put it, "It was the comedic equivalent of listening to Sgt. Pepper's for the first time. Absolute genius." Here are the first 4 minutes of the movie. I already snarfed coffee at work.

Things that don't suck: The King of Comedy

I love Jerry Seinfeld. He was at the Mohegan Sun's 10th anniversary party this past weekend - the Herald reported back with some of his routine:
  • On Iraq: “Is it all that sand and no beach that makes everyone in the Middle East crazy?”
  • On terrorists: “My favorite suicide bomber is the guy who blows himself up without hurting anyone else. Kind of like Jihad E. Coyote.”
  • On cereal: “Who came up with the name Life? Why don’t they just call it Almighty God. Or Almighty God with raisins. If you don’t like it, you can go to hell.”
  • On America’s coffee jones: “I know people who are stopping for coffee on the way to Starbucks, or Fourbucks as my friend calls it.”
  • On cremation: “It’s like they’re trying to cover up a crime. Burn the body, scatter the ashes and let’s pretend this whole thing never happened.”
  • On technology: “E-mail is the lowest form of human communication. It’s ‘I don’t want to see your face. I don’t want to hear your voice.’ ”

And speaking of technology, Seinfeld gave a shout-out to buddy, actor Matthew Broderick, who was sitting in the audience. Jerry mocked Mr. Sarah Jessica Parker for having to have the latest whiz-bang techno-toys but Broderick begged to differ.

“He thinks I am like that because I use a Blackberry and a cell phone,” the actor told us at the after-party at Ultra 88. “So I text message. I told him I could bring him to places where he could buy some of these things. You know, like (the) Verizon store.”

Friday, October 20, 2006

Things that suck: RCN

You won't believe the customer service nightmare going on over at RCN - and it's not just for me, it's for all RCN customers in the Boston area.

Recently, RCN upgraded the firmware (software that resides on your cable box) for all of their customers in the Boston area. There's a new menu, upgraded browsing options, etc.

I have a DVR, which allows you to record & save programming, and pause live television. RCN charges their customers an additional $15/month for this service. In the process of the firmware upgrade, they wiped all existing programming from everyone's DVR. In addition, I was not able to use my DVR for a week.

Okay, now while that sounds pretty bad...wait until you hear this.

I called RCN to find out what was wrong with my service, and an automated voice greeted me, telling me that the wait times were in excess of 60 minutes. I figured, "Okay, there's probably a lot of people expeiencing the same problem, and they're working on a solution." 3 days later, after no such solution appeared, I called again. I was told then that my wait time would be in excess of 71 minutes. I waited on the phone for 45 minutes, and gave up.

Two days after that, I called, attempting to cancel my service. In order to cancel my existing service, I was told that my expected wait time would be 60 minutes. I waited on the phone for 35 minutes, thinking that my luck would change, that someone might pick up the phone a bit sooner, to no avail. The next day, I called again, same deal. I called again minutes later, this time choosing the option for "Adding new service or enhancing current services." Within minutes, I was greeted by a friendly customer service agent. In order to cancel service:

  • I could not visit a local RCN dropoff point, where they would be making me drop off my equipment after cancellation.
  • I could not cancel my service through this particular department.
  • I could not cancel my service online.
  • I could not cancel my service in writing.
  • I could only cancel my service through the automated telephone system, between the hours of 8am-5pm.

Essentially, they are telling me that I can only cancel my service if I call the local call center from work, and wait over an hour on the phone to speak with someone (mind you, the local call center is in Pennsylvania - not so local). I am not being offered a refund for my DVR service. And the only way to speak with someone is if I'm willing to pay for additional services.

I'm sure I'm not the only person experiencing this terrible service. RCN needs to treat their customers better than this.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Things that suck: Messy divorces

Man, I wonder if Paul McCartney's kids are ever going to get married. After a much-ballyhooed romance with his first wife, Linda...his second attempt at marriage was abysmal - at best. I'm betting that he was playing Sgt. Pepper's backwards right before this happened:

In April 2006, as the marriage neared collapse, Sir Paul allegedly tipped red wine from a bottle over his wife's head and then threw what remained in his glass at her.

The divorce papers claim that Sir Paul 'then reached to grab the respondent's (Miss Mills's) wine glass, and broke the bowl of the glass from the stem.

'He then lunged at the respondent with the broken, sharp stem of the wine glass, which cut and pierced the respondent's arm just below the elbow, and it began to bleed profusely.

'He proceeded to manhandle the respondent, flung her into her wheelchair and wheeled it outside, screaming at her to apologise for "winding him up".' Miss Mills 'still bears the scars of the assault', the papers say.

"Hey Dad, I told you so." - Stella McCartney

Things that don't suck: Being "It"

Dumbassachusetts has finally gone too far. Willett Elementary School in Attleboro just outlawed "Tag" at recess. So are all other chasing games, apparently, including flag football.

How should kids respond? Like this kid! >>
Breakin' the law! Breakin' the law!

I'll leave the comedy to Jon Stewart, because no doubt he's going to have a field day with this story tonight on The Daily Show.

Instead, here are my top-ten favorite games that I played in grammar school:
  1. Red Rover. Run as hard as you can to break the chain. Nothing like a self-inflicted clothesline to get you ready for math.
  2. Touch Football. Let's be honest. This is push football. As in, push as hard as you can, and watch the guy with the ball go airborne.
  3. Dodge Ball. The best part of this game are the specially-designed balls with traction. You get hit in the face with a spinner, you're raspberry-faced for a week.
  4. King Of The Mountain. I loved this game, but it always involved a pile of dirt. We played on the jungle gym, until Andrew Bourgard broke his ankle.
  5. Wall Ball. You throw a tennis ball at the wall, and if your opponent doesn't catch it with one hand, he tried to run and touch the wall before you can hurl the ball at him as hard as you can, at his head. Of course, 9 times out of 10, they touched the wall and when he turned around, you hit him square in the balls anyway.
  6. Chicken. It's hard to find someone that's light yet strong, or good at grappling, but when you find a winning combination, it's very rewarding to see your opponent face-first in the dirt.
  7. Chump Whump. This is basically a game where someone grabs the ball, and you teckle them. Then another moron grabs the ball, and you tackle them. And so on.
  8. Kick the Can. We placed a plastic soda bottle in the middle of the playing field for this one, for distance and sound effects. The best was when you kicked the bottle right into a defender's face.
  9. Capture the Flag. This was by far my favorite game, as it involved both raw speed and stealthiness.
  10. Hitman. We had a special needs kid named Stanley who we used to pay off to pull people off the jungle gym. He lived on a farm and watched pigs get slaughtered, so it didn't really seem all that bad to him.
Bottom line: If you want to outlaw chasing games, move to France. This isn't about bullying, it's about kids roughhousing at recess.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Things that don't suck: Happy endings

Back on September 13, I posted a link to a story about Tim Cahill, a kid from Southie who was the victim of a brutal crime that was intended for someone else. I was psyched to see an article in today's Herald that details the aftermath; Tim went through invasive surgery, getting 25 staples in his chest & torso, but it seems as if he's turned out well - he's alive, and not only that - he's already giving back:
After the endless supply of food, flowers, cards and prayer medals, those teens who conducted a vigil at BMC for their mentor asked what else they could do.
“That’s when we thought that a blood drive might be a great a idea,” Maureen Cahill said.
Tim smiled from underneath his baseball cap and softly said, “I needed some way to give back the blood I stole,” he chuckled, “or like my nurse, Patty Harrison put it, ‘The blood I borrowed.’ ”
So, this afternoon, as a way of thanking the community that surrounded him in such life and guided him home on a sea of prayers, Tim Cahill will be at the South Boston Neighborhood House’s Doc and Mary Tynan Senior Center at 136 H Street, at the corner of H and E Sixth streets, to preside over a blood drive.

It's encouraging to me to know that people like this exist.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Things that suck: Not knocking on wood

This is from a rather sad article about Cory Lidle, featured on the front page of It was written by Alan Schwartz, who befriended the pitcher recently. Cory Lidle seemed like the nicest guy, one of those guys you're glad to see make it big. Truly a sad story.

"Where do you live?" he asked me, knowing I lived in Manhattan.

"Upper East Side," I said. "90th and Third."

"Dude" -- Cory was from Southern California -- "you should really come up with me. We can fly right past your apartment building. You've never seen Manhattan 'til you've flown right up the East River. It's beautiful. We can do it one day before a game."

He wasn't kidding. Sufficiently convinced -- and, frankly, flattered -- I mentioned how I've always longed for the guts to skydive. But I had a baby boy in May. I will barely roll craps dice, let alone those.

"My wife would kill me," I said with a wink. "Small planes, you know."

I'd said that a little too flippantly, I guess, because Cory got somewhat serious.

"Totally exaggerated," he said. "You only hear about the crashes."

Having made his point, he said more lightly, "The kind of plane I have will be safer than the cars on the FDR Drive below us."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Things that don't suck: The 2006-07 Boston Celtics

Anyone see that pre-season game last night against the Cavaliers? I am loving this team. They remind me of the UConn championship team in 2004 - always pushing the ball, getting out on the fast break, converting turnovers. Here's a quick player analysis:

  • Gerald Green. Played above the rim last night; seemed pretty good on defense - the experience he gained at the John Lucas Camp in Texas this summer looks like it has paid off. He had a couple of those "Nawwww!" moments but the real encouraging sign was watching him move without the ball. This kid isn't going to be good; he's already good. He's going to be great.
  • Rajon Rondo. Wow. I have never been happier to see Marcus Williams go to another team. Rajon Rondo was so quick on defense that at one point it felt as if he had 10 steals (he had 5 - not sure how they were counting). He created havoc for the Cavs - created turnovers, ran the fast break - fantastic looking player, Ainge made a great move to go with him. He doesn't have to shoot 50% to be effective. Got a lot of Cousy comparisons last night - wasn't flashy unless it was necessary.
  • Kendrick Perkins. When Perk blocks a shot this year, he does it like Bill Russell. He tips the shot, either to himself or a teammate, rather than go after it, Alonzo Mourning-like, for style points. He played great, and will be a huge factor if he stays healthy.
  • Al Jefferson. Al has a baby hook (the best shot in the game), and they can't block it. He's also tenacious on the boards, and his energy is contagious. Looks a lot like the Chief.
  • Sebastian Telfair. This guy can score. He's not as quick as Rondo, but can put the ball on the floor and drive to the hole better than anyone on the team. He was a steal, as far as I'm concerned.
This team has much, much more potential than any C's team in years past. I haven't been this excited to watch a team since the Bird era ended. Jump on the bandwagon now, folks, because in 3 years or less, we're talking Green 17.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Things that don't suck: HD sports marketing opportunities

Josh posted a good piece this morning about the NHL pursuing fantasy sports as a great marketing opportunity. I have a feeling, however, that the "next big thing" for the NHL is going to be HDTV, and they can't afford to miss this golden opportunity. In 2009, the FCC is flipping the switch, making HDTV the broadcast standard, supplanting the current "square" NTSC format.

The impact that this should have on sports like hockey and soccer is huge. Everyone knows just how exciting a hockey game is, when you're at the game. Hockey is a hard sport to watch on NTSC-TV. Most of the time, you're not able to see a play fully develop. With HDTV, you're able to watch the entire play, including longer passes, big hits that set up a breakaway opportunity, and substitutions. Besides that, HDTV is sharper, with brighter colors - and NHL uniforms are sharp, colorful, bold - it's a perfect match.

The NHL should invest a majority of their marketing dollars in promoting the "new" NHL, in widescreen format. Unlike other sports, where they change the rules to improve the game (see, defense in basketball, penalties in football, etc) - hockey can just focus on people being able to see the game. It's an awakening. A new beginning. And this is coming from a Whalers fan.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Things that suck: DVR overload

Okay, so just to preface this, I made a terrible call earlier this year when I gave a positive review of the HBO show, "Lucky Louie". I said it didn't suck. It sucked. It had lots of potential - it was edgy, different - seemed to have a soul. Then Louie used the word "c_nt" in a show about 50 times. Sucky Louie.

I am watching too many goddamn shows this year, and it's all because of my DVR. I love my DVR, but it's making me watch too much TV. This year, there seems to be more 24-like serial TV shows that require you to remember the details from the previous episode.

I'm having a hard time with two shows in particular: Kidnapped, starring Timothy Hutton, and Vanished. Both shows center around a kidnapping. One is a senator's wife; the other, a rich businessman's son. Both feature an older guy with a gun, who is trying to kill off major characters. I got them confused while watching Vanished last night. My wife was asking about the guy's motives, and I said, "Well, he killed the daughter's roommate, and noone seems to notice." There's a good reason for that. Wrong show.

So, I've given up on Kidnapped. I might keep recording them, and watch them at the end of the year or something. But my brain is fried from too much TV. Here are some quick reviews of the shows I DVR on just Monday:


8PM - The Class
. A+
This is the best comedy, bar-none, on TV right now, and if you're missing it, you're missing the beginning of the next Friends. The difference? This show was funny from the start. Friends took awhile for the characters to grow on you. There is at least one side-splitting moment in each of the first three shows.
Note: Watch the pilot episode - it sets everything up - the jokes are much funnier when put into context.

8:30PM - How I Met Your Mother.
This show is getting funnier, but these actors suck at playing drunk. I mean, horrible. Which is probably why they're never drunk at the bar they frequent, which is good. Probably the same reason nobody was ever drunk at Cheers. Doogie Howser is hi-lar-i-ous. Or should I say, "Legendary." The whole Ted-Robin storyline bores me to death.

9PM - Vanished. B
A big development happened this week that raised the grade from B-. The character actors in place seem authentic, which is huge for me.

10PM - Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. A
The only thing I don't like about this show is the fact that Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are going to end up splitting votes for Best Actor in a Drama, and neither will win. Superbly acted, and the storylines are fascinating.

Two and a Half Men. A. Never not funny. The kid is a riot.
The New Adventures of Old Christine. B+. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has more of a personality this year.
CSI Miami. B+. David Caruso should be thanking South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for unintentionally reviving his career back in 1996. He's great as Horacio Cane.