Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's Hard to Find the Words

I got a call around 8:00 tonight from the wife of one of my oldest friends. My buddy passed away from the flu. I am still in a state of disbelief. Bob was one of the biggest, toughest, most athletic guys I ever knew, and he died from the friggin' flu. He got sick about 2 weeks ago, and it turned into pneumonia, I guess, and he never got better. Bob was a great guy, always ready to help anyone. I could blog for days with Bob stories. But I'm not ready right now to talk about him. I'm just too sad.

Rest in Peace, my friend.


I need to know what is up with those things where I have to sign in or sign up and leave a comment at MySpace, eBay or various other places. It will say to type in the following code. What the hell is it? I can barely make out the letters.

Is that Pi, then some Greek letters, and an ankh? I don't even have those keys on my computer. I totally understand the logic, but why are the letters so damn hard to read? The other day, I had to guess 3 times before I finally got a letter pattern I could read.

I should be able to leave a comment without studying Egyptian or Sanskrit first.

Just sayin'.

According to Jim

According to Jim is in its 8th season, and I have no idea why. Are we that starved for entertainment that such a plain vanilla show just goes on and on?

Here's the part I don't get, though. I like the entire cast. Jim Belushi has been in some movies I liked, and whenever he is on a talk show, he is worth watching. He's a funny guy. I like the guy who plays Andy (notice I'm not even interested enough to look up names, thats how boring the show can be,) Jim's wife, and all the ancillary characters. But, put it all together, and it's "family entertainment," which is code for boring.

I don't even mind family entertainment. I love the Simpsons, which is family fare. Maybe I'm just tired of shows where Dad is a buffoon, made fun of by the sister-in-law, wife, kids, and whoever is in the neighborhood. This doesn't bother me with the Simpsons because well, Homer is a cartoon. I can suspend belief. I should be able to do the same with Jim, but I just can't. I can only assume I dislike it because it's just so formulaic: conflict, Jim over reacts, wife or other family member gets upset, Jim saves the day, everyone hugs after wife or family members get out an "Oh, Jim."

Yawn. I can't remember ever having a LOL moment while watching the show. I'm embarassed to say I've watched quite a few episodes when there was even worse on elsewhere.

I'd have to rate the show a rather disappointing 4.8

It's been a while, so here's a quick review of my ratings system:
10--a prime show. The Sopranos or 24 would rate a 10.
9-- definately worth watching. Think South Park or Seinfeld re-runs. Not as funny as the first time, but still great TV fare.
8-- Pretty darn good stuff. If you can't be home, you'd consider setting up the VCR or DVR. Some solid 8's would be Earl, or Everybody Hates Chris.
7-- Not quite good enough to record. But you can look forward to watching. The Office is the first show that comes to mind as a 7.
6--Now we get into the shows that are ok, but only a first choice if other shows are re-runs. You won't mind watching a 6 at a different time. Britcoms are 6's.
5-- Think of a movie you liked, but have seen a dozen times or more.You'd choose the movie over the program, then the program is a
5. Mash and almost everything on TVLAND has become a 5.
4--Crappy show, but with some redeeming quality, like it features hot chicks. Any show with Pam Anderson would be a 4.
3--Only worth watching if the only alternative is infommercials. Fishing shows are 3.
2-- About the same as a good infommercial. QVC is a 2.
1-- Infommercials, unless they are The Knife Collector Show. They sell swords!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Has South Park Jumped the Shark? Poor Britney Spears.

This year, while they have had some great episodes like Super Fun Time, the Britney Spears episode was just so..I don't know..disturbing. And the "no intenet" one had it's moments, but overall, just lacking a little bit. I'm almost expecting Ted McGinley to show up any episode now.

I wonder if he'll be sporting a faux hawk when he does.

I will be following this closely.

FYI (because I like to educate and inform)

What is "Jumping the Shark?"

Here's the video


Monday, April 28, 2008

My cyber stalker

When I got this computer, I had a security program on a trial basis. I used it for a short period of time (maybe 30 days) and decided not to continue. Now, every day, like some former depraved, obsessive jilted lover, I get a popup reminding me to renew. You'd think after 8 months it would stop. It's relentless.

About once a week or so I get a note from a different service that will find all the computer problems that I have. It turns out the only two problems I have are these never ending reminders to buy the services that will prevent others like them.

I wonder if I can arrange to have the one meet the other? Sort of a cyber lonely hearts club bot dating service. Hmm.

Fox 5 Messes with my Head

I love watching my TV infotainment in the morning. And, Fox 5 in NY is my favorite station. But I have a problem with it. I seem to develop an emotional attachment to the on air personalities. I need to get my soft news from Jodi Applegate and her co-anchor. She's been through quite a few since I started watching. The latest was Ron Corning. He just disappeared. At least with some of the team, they announce that they are leaving. I just tune in hoping to see Ron, and I see some other guy. The weather, man, Mike Woods (who I think the Crotchety Old Lady has a secret crush on)
has been around for a long time. The traffic reporter and the other woman--who doesn't get a title, I guess, seem to last longer than co-anchors. The field reporters have a longer shelf life, but even they just disappear with no notice.

I hate when that happens.

Traffic Reporter Ines Rosales


Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Hate Spam

No, not the mystery meat in a can that is favored by Hawaiians and geriatrics everywhere else. But the darn spam that comes in my email every day. And the worst is I fell for a spammer/scammer today. It just seemed to be so simple and safe.


I don't see the difference between this and stealing or harassment.

The method of is best described in a blog by Rubymoon at

"My e-mail address has been spammed! How? I was sent an e-mail with my sister in law's name..inviting me to This website is a spam website. Once you click on the yes button to verify that this person is a have to register. Then they will ask you for your e-mail address and you PASSWORD! Yes, I was foolish enough to enter it. I actually didnt think anything of it. Usually Im very careful and weary. Anyhow..there are e-mails that have a link "unsubscribe" will actually subscribe you without your consent & send you a thank you e-mail. Then I got these "Return Path" e-mails asking to verify that I wanted to update my e-mail address for Sprint Nextel. I dont even have an account with them! This e-mail had my email address from where the spam started..and wanted me to update "my account" with my yahoo email address. I kept wondering how they knew it. So please, your e-mails carefully, if you find them the slightest bit suspicious, do not click on any link. Do not even open the link on a new tab! Yes, Im that, apparently. *sigh* And once again, I am truly sorry for causing this mess. Remember ""

I don't think she will mind me borrowing her perfect explanation.


New Scientific Study...Blogging Makes You Smarter

OK, it's not very scientific, and I'm the only participant, but headlines sell. And blogging is making me smarter. Photobucket

"How so, Old Man," you may ask? Simple, really. Blogging on my 3, and counting, blogs is forcing me to expand my horizons. Because I feel an obligation to my readers and myself, I drag myself away from watching really bad TV, like TMZ or any of the other celeb news programs and horrible sitcoms, and instead watch good movies, or even read.

Sure, a lot of what I read is in the blogoshpere, but the intermingling of ideas is what makes the web exciting. I also get to read news articles from around the world, and again, find different perspectives.

And while I am as interested as the next guy to find out what Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan is up to, it's nice to keep my mind active with real news, too.

It's funny, but the more I discover about others, the more I discover about me.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Is This Any Way to Treat a Hero?

Is this how you would treat a hero?

This video showed the conditions at Fort Bragg, home to the renowned 82nd Airborne.

The Mission of the 82nd , taken right from their own website is: Within 18 hours of notification, the 82nd Airborne Division strategically deploys, conducts forcible entry parachute assault and secures key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interests.

They have a long, storied, and proud history. They have served the United States well. And, after serving us, this is how we treat them? Have them housed in deplorable conditions, and expose them to heaven knows what diseases.

The video asks us to contact Colonel Fox at Fort Bragg, but after spending an hour, I was unable to find any phone number, e-mail, or even a mailing address for him or any of the big Kahunas in the military high command. So, I drafted a letter to the Boss, President Bush. I will e-mail it as soon as I post this blog. I don’t know if it will help, but it sure can’t hurt.

Here’s my letter:

Dear President Bush:

I have seen, through video and newspaper coverage, stories about the abysmal living conditions at Fort Bragg. Our fighting men and woman put their lives on the line for America, and while this is something for which no price could ever be determined, we do owe them, at the very least, safe, sanitary, and comfortable living conditions when they return to the United States. Our heroes deserve nothing less. I ask you to please help resolve this issue.



President Bush may be contacted at

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C. 20500



A comment may be left at (202) 456-1111

Please do your part to right this injustice.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Televisions Little Annoyances

For all of my TV viewing life, with rare exceptions, TV shows have started and ended in convenient little intervals. They start and stop on the hour or half-hour, and last either 30 or 60 minutes. TBS did try some an experiment when they first started out with programming on the 5's, but obviously that didn't work out.

So, what is up with this stupid crap that Gray's Anatomy and The Office did last night and have been doing all too frequently? Gray's ran 62 minutes, and the Office went 31. The biggest irritant? Gray's ended, more or less at 60 minutes, but I can't turn it off until the Old Lady sees the coming attractions for next week. Not that she, or most of the viewing public will remember them, mind you, but it is done to stretch it out even more. This stupid ploy is a way to provide a lead in for the next program. But all it does is make me miss the opening of the show I want to watch. And, of course, make me angry with the Old Lady for making me miss it so she can see the previews that she is going to forget anyway. Here's an idea: instead of gimmickry, why not offer quality programming? That sleight of hand may have been more successful before remotes, but now, it just takes a quick click to get me out of bad TV.

Another thing that really makes me irritated is that it seems every successful show becomes a double episode. Biggest Loser was probably the first show that did it. The 2 hour super special season premiere episodes have morphed into a regular part of the schedule. And, of course, much of the show is just repetition, as they recap highlights seen earlier. And now, Deal or No Deal has adopted the same formula. It is almost as if they punish the faithful viewer and reward the channel flipper.

Considering my well-known short attention span, anyone can guess what I do. I watch a different show for the first hour, and then tune in later, or vice versa, just checking in quickly near the end of the show to see who won. Their programming strategy is doing, with me, exactly the opposite of what they wanted. They are encouraging me to tune out.

Not that anyone cares, but Leyla is my favorite Deal or No Deal model.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Giving some love to the Red Sox

It may be the cold medicine talking, but I realized recently that the Sox have a second player I don't hate. This may not seem like big news to anyone, but I have hated the Sox since my first game as a Crotchety Little Kid waaaaay back in 1961. And since then I have hated every player except Manny. I still want him to strike out every single at bat versus the Yankees, of course, but I don't hate him. I may even admit that I like him. Guy just makes me LOL.
But I did say a second player exists.

Sean Casey, back up infielder/DH was just mentioned on Mike and Mike the other day as being a really good guy. This made me happy because the Crotchety Old Lady and I met him when he was a rookie with the Indians. He was a really nice kid from South Jersey, and we have kind of watched his career over the years. It's good to know he is still a decent guy. I hope he does well, but not so well as to ever cost the Yankees a game.

It was nice to see the shirt that the moron buried in the new Yankee Stadium has raised some serious change for the Jimmy Fund. It ended at $175,000. Good to see some positive coming out of the actions of an idiot. Most actions don't have such a happy ending.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm Sick + The Farm Report

I have a cold, so I feel like crap. Went through a big box of tissues yesterday, and today ain't looking any better. I'm using every available OTC cold fighter known to modern man, and they seem to work for about 10 minutes.



Kold Kare


Clinical Air

Yup, an entire cocktail of these, and no help at all.

Today I have read about the coming food price surges. It is already hitting countries like Haiti and many others. Imagine how thrilled those who are starving must be to find that producers in the USA and Canada are being paid either to grow less, or to grow corn for ethanol. Especially if they ever knew that ethanol doesn't work.

Do our legislators ever f'ing study anything that they vote in? All they seem to do is pander to the loudest voice and that usually results in the most short-sighted legislation possible.

And, I have to blame the voters. We should elect more responsible representatives, and do a little research ourselves. Is showing up every 4 years enough to keep this republic free and responsive?

I doubt it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Big Bang Theory--can this be my new favorite show?

In the NYC area, Monday nights at 8:00 is the time for what may be one of the funniest shows I've seen in a long time. The Big Bang Theory on CBS is very, very funny.
Of course it's formulaic. Won't find anything groundbreaking in the set up or even most of the plots. 4 nerdy young guys, all doctors (not medical, rather in scientific fields) hang out together, and 2 share an apartment. Beautiful (ok, hot) single girl, played by Kaley Cuoco, moves in next door, and the nerdy guys are smitten. They have no idea how to deal with her, and hilarity ensues.

OK, so the basic premise is kind of hackneyed. But the writing is crisp, while the jokes fly fast and furiously. Every nerd stereotype is exploited to its full potential, so I can't imagine this show lasting very long, like a Seinfeld or some other classic comedy. However, I am really enjoying it while it's here. For today, it's can't miss TV.

I rate it a solid 9.6.

Kaley Cuoco:
Remember her from 8 Simple Rules?


Monday, April 21, 2008

Our health care system in this country is perfect as is

Just ask anyone with full benefits and a $10 co-pay. But for so many others, it's not so hot. I have an online friend who has failing kidneys. She is on the transplant list, but was just told she will not get the operation because she can not afford to pay for the drugs she will need after the operation for the rest of her life. These meds she needs are not covered by Medicaid. But let a f'ing crackhead need heaven knows what for as long as can be, and all is well. What the hell is wrong with anyone who does not see this as a system that is in serious need of something being done?

I don't know the answer. I have no idea how to solve the health care situation, but I do know saying it's the best in the world is a bunch of claptrap.

Right now, I am paying over a thousand dollars a month for insurance (not particularly good insurance at that) and medication and various and sundry items. Based upon what I have paid so far, including a couple expenses I doubt I'll have again this year, I expect to pay out over $16,000 in health care costs, just for me. If I worked and made minimum wage, that would be about my entire paycheck, if I got some overtime. How can these people survive?

It pains me to no end to see that 4 of the top ten billionaires on the list are from a company that does not believe in paying benefits for its workers. This same company used to pride itself on supporting American factories, but now it imports mostly from China. The only Americans it supports it pays minimum wage and gives no health benefits to. They should be embarassed, but instead, they point with pride to their father and his legacy.

Shouldn't there be more to business than the bottom line?

When I think about some of the great business leaders of the last century, I see men of vision, men who understood the old adage, everybody eats. Today, I see men and women who are so distanced from their employees, who only live by numbers. They import crap from companies that use deadly poison in food products (but it's cheaper) and use lead paint on kid's toys (but they were cheaper.) They kill our planet and our people while filling their pockets. Get mine, get enough, then get some more. For shame.

And this health care dilemna is just an extension of this same self-centered attitude. And, sadly, this attitude has trickled down. As long as I can get my Viagra script filled for 10 bucks, screw the person who is going to die because she doesn't have the money for her kidney meds. Some days it's hard to admit being a member of the human race.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I like the Pope as much as the next guy, but...

does he have to be on nearly every channel?

Sure, it was a big deal that His Holiness came to NYC, but he was on my cable system in the NY market, channels 2,4,6,7,9,11, and 68. At the same time. Who knows, he may have been on even more, I just got tired of checking the other ones on the dial. And the worst part of it all? He was simply getting on his plane, Shepherd One.

And what surprised me also is that it was an Alitalia plane. I thought the Pope had his own plane. Even John Travolta has his own plane, and the Pope is the top man in a bigger religion, while Travolta is what, a uber Theton or something like that? Should be no contest. But the Pope does have the cooler ride, that must count for something, I suppose.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gawd, I love Bollywood

I just watched Dhoom2 (available from Netflix) and I truly love Bollywood movies. Just something about them that is hard to describe. First, the movies are long. Bollywood films generally give about 25% more movie for your money. This one was 2 hours and 15 minutes. And it was loaded with action, beautiful women, and according to the Crotchety Old Lady, very handsome men. (Direct quote from her--"My, isn't he fit!)
One thing that must be understood to really appreciate a Bollywood film is that it really doesn't flow like an American or Hollywood one. Dhoom2 started out with a daring robbery to set the tone and introduce the thief, and an equally exciting, (re: unbelievable) introduction of the police officers on the case. A drug deal broken up by, hell, you have to see it to believe it. Just as we settled in for a good old-fashioned spy/action/thriller/police movie --Bam--a dance number.

In case anyone had thought it made sense at that point, well, no, it didn't. Other scenes just randomly put in involved a basketball game in the pouring rain, a ride in a dune buggy on the freeway, and a few more dance numbers. The plot is pretty unbelievable, sort of a love story, sort of a mystery.

I give up. The only genre it fits is Bollywood entertainment. But somehow, the movie works. It is really entertaining, if long. But I stayed awake during it, which is more than I can say about most movies. I love Bollywood movies. Have I mentioned that before?

Here's one of the female leads, Bipasha Basu


Friday, April 18, 2008

Daytime TV stinks--TGIM

I'm pretty much on my own all day, just me and close to 200 channels of bad TV. Fortunately, Comedy Central runs repeats of the Daily Show and Colbert, so that the vast wasteland does have the occasional entertainment oasis.
Another break from terrible TV is Monk. I'm not entirely sure why I like the show. It doesn't have the suspense even of Scooby Doo and doesn't come close to a fair to middlin' whodunit like Murder She Wrote. But there is something about the character, Adrian Monk, that is endearing. It must be that he is one of the greatest detectives in the world, yet he is called, behind his back, the defective detective.

He is able to excel despite his flaws and fears. While he rarely overcomes his negative character traits, he continues to do his job in spite of them. The show is more comedy than detective show, more human interest than interesting crimes.

A typical episode would be one like Mr Monk and the Psychic. A local official's wife is killed (by the way, the opening of the show details who did it--mystery solved) and the rest of the episode is used to discredit the psychic who found the body, and to pin the rap on the murderer.

Monk begins nearly every case by deciding "he's the guy," and then setting out to gather evidence. It is sort of a reverse whodunit, may be the best way to explain it. But the show maintains my interest through the interpersonal relationships of Monk, the San Francisco PD, Monk's assistant, his psychiatrist, and occasionally, various ancilliary characters.

Monk's assistant (there have been a couple from season to season) has such duties as providing nursing care for Mr Monk, along with maintaining his list of fears. Naturally, his list is in perfect order. A recent episode included an encounter with frogs. Mr Monk had to decide if he was afraid of frogs (he decided he was) and then had to determine where they went on the list.

I rate this show pretty highly, putting it at a very solid 7.2.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Instant Gratification Gone Wild

I was watching a TV program (ok, I admit it was Oprah) about waste. First was featured a family that just was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was shown how much they wasted. By one week of living without wasting, they were able to save about $400!!! I was shocked people lived like that. Mom made 4 seperate dinners for her family w/3 kids. She threw out huge garbage bags full of spoiled food because they refused to eat leftovers. One kid had a half-dozen or so a day bottled water habit. After making breakfast, which the kids didn't eat, they went out to Dunkin for another breakfast, buying donuts and bagels. The one kid probably had 100 or so outfits in her closet, many of which she never even used. The family kept the heat between 75 and 80 because one kid felt a chill.
The second family had a kid (maybe around 7) who had a twice a week Starbucks habit, along with a 5 year-old with a video game habit. Dad had lunch packed for him, but most days he threw itout to get something different.

According to audience response, this large scale waste is apparently a common problem.

This all got me thinking about various things.

How freaking stupid are these people?

Who doesn't know that throwing out hundreds of dollars worth of food every week, along with keeping the heat on 75 is going to lead to ridiculously high bills? Who is surprised that eating out multiple times per week is expensive? And who didn't know how costly, both to the pocketbook and the environment, bottled water can be?

What I'd like to know most, I suppose, is who has hired these folks and why are they paid so much when they are not able to make the most common sense decisions?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The best we can do

As the election process winds down, it appears, barring any last minute miracles, that Obama will run against McCain for President. Not for nothing, but is this the best we can do? Once again, I will not be able to vote FOR someone, I will vote against someone.

Is it me, or are these choices really terrible? Not saying Mrs. Clinton is any better, either. The last person I voted for (with a legitimate chance to win) was over 20 years ago. I supported Reagan, and to be truthful, he didn't do as much as I'd hoped. Looking back, his record is not nearly as good as folks give him credit. To borrow a word that is making the rounds, there appears to be a Santa Clausification of Reagan. He has taken on mythical qualities, delivering prosperity and fulfilling dreams. Among Republicans, he is considered one of, if not the greatest, Republican President ever. I can only presume they never heard of Teddy Roosevelt or Abe Lincoln.

What is the answer? The only one I can see is a movement towards additional political parties. How likely is it that I could find someone who stands for me when I generally only have 2 choices? One of the most beautiful parts of our system is our President is powerful, yet not all-powerful. I can only imagine the progress we could make as a people if our Congress was composed not of 2 parties, each with around 50%, but instead a legitimate 3rd or 4th party, with enough clout to swing a vote either way. Voting would not always follow party lines, but representatives could actually wind up speaking for the people who selected them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Goodbye Verizon

I only have only one other option to Verizon, and that is Cablevision. Tomorrow, they will show up and switch me over. It costs a bit, but I will save around $40 per month, so in a month or two, I'll be even.
It stinks that we have such few choices, but, for today, at least one exists. Competition makes every one better, and keeps prices down. I wonder how good things would be if true competition was allowed to exist in a free market?

Not too much to say today. Feeling kind of bummed. One of the guys I went to grammar and high school died last week, and it was pretty impressive reading all he accomplished. Made me realize how much I screwed up, I guess. It's said, it's all about the dash. The part of a tombstone that is between the year of birth and death. I just got to feeling that my dash is pretty lacking.

All I can do is the best I can from this point on.


Monday, April 14, 2008

The Money Mess

I watch the ads for instant loans (Cash call and the like) and I wonder who is using them. The rate is a Mafia-like 99.25%. I thought we had laws against predatory lenders. Or is that considered a fair rate of return? Credit cards are bad enough with the 30% they charge some customers, but this is triple that usurious rate.
I realize they claim the rates are valid because the individuals are credit risks, but if they are that bad a risk, they shouldn’t get any loan at all, let alone one that is so high it almost guarantees that the borrower will default.

I’ve read a lot of the stories about people defaulting on their mortgages. Many are quick to point out that the reason people over extend themselves is greed, wanting it all at once--instant gratification gone wild. Certainly that is a lot of it, but it should be pointed out that in many cases, buyers were assured that before the ARM became too expensive, the buyer could convert from the ridiculously low teaser rate into a regular mortgage. So, who’s at fault? Do we blame the person who tried to make it work, or the lender lying to make the deal? Seems to be a combination of the 2. Couple that with plunging housing prices, and that makes it nearly impossible to get out of a house with a mortgage that is strangling one’s budget.

The folks I feel the most empathy for is the homeowners who borrowed to either make needed repairs, or to pay medical bills or some other unusual expenses. They tried to do the right thing, and are getting punished for it. One of the biggest problems with government intervention is that it either becomes too onerous, or it will exclude those who are normally responsible and truly need the help.

What is the happy medium?


Sunday, April 13, 2008

I made it!!!

The Crotchety Old Lady goes back to work tomorrow. She's been home recovering from her toe surgery, 24-7 for 5 years. Ok, it's felt like 5 years. It was only about a month, but one of the longest months in recorded history.

Not that she isn't fun to have around. She has a great sense of humor, and is fun to talk to, but I need my space, dammit! I've watched so many Soap Operas and Oprah, I think I'm beginning to menstruate. If there is bad TV, I swear that woman will find it, and become enamored of it.

And speaking of Oprah, what is her deal? I admit I have seen the show a few times, and it is occasionally interesting, but the majority of it is basic celebrity yammering. I don't give a crap what 99.9999% of Hollywood types say or think. I could not possibly care less about what book Oprah is reading. I don't dislike the woman, but oy vey, her program is annoying as hell.

Some odds and ends

I watched a pretty decent movie last night. Surf's Up is an animated film that kids would like, but I enjoyed it a lot. Sure, it had a lesson, and was very predictable, but it was funny.

I have seen a trailer for the new Harold and Kumar movie, Escape from Guantanamo Bay. They are the Cheech and Chong of a new generation, but much funnier. And NPH as himself is the best.

Kal Penn, the Kumar of the duo, has appeared in a serious Bollywood film, The Namesake, and I highly recommend it. It's not what one usually associates with Bollywood, as it had no musical numbers, or lame comedy. It was a touching, dramatic family film.

A little teaser for Guantanamo Bay


Saturday, April 12, 2008

I'd like to give a shout out to Jesus

I was watching The Price Is Right the other day, and I was amazed by what I saw. First of all, the show is much better without Bob Barker. I started to find him rather smarmy-- an old man surrounded by “Barker’s Beauties.” I only watched the show when I’m in the hospital as channels are limited. But I have started viewing it since Drew Carey became the new host. Drew is one of my all-time favorite comics, a very funny guy, although he does tone it down a lot on the show. Still, it cracks me up when he gets the occasional hot chick contestant. It’s subtle, but he definitely acts differently. He also does get in some really good one liners during the show.
But I digress from what had been the main focus of today’s writing. Drew always asks the contestant spinning the big wheel to try to get into the showcase at the end of the game the same question: “Is there anyone you’d like to say hello to?” At least twice this last week, a contestant said, “I’d like to give a shout out to my Mom, and to Jesus.”

This really starts a stream of questions in my mind.

Will Jesus then help the guy on the wheel?

Does Jesus think, “Hey, that guy just gave Me a shout out. Cool”

And probably the last question, and the one that resonates most loudly in my demented brain, what would the show do if the contestant said, “I would like to give a shout out to the hoary Lord of the Underworld, Beelzebub. Satan Rocks!!!”

And lastly, everyone always thanks Jesus or God when they do well. Did anyone ever complain that they lost because God liked the other contestant better? I would.


Friday, April 11, 2008

The ethanol "solution"

Once again, government is foisting some phoney, feel-good scheme upon the people of the USA. And, once again, we are falling for it.
"Let's get fuel from distilling corn," is the latest example. On the surface, it looks great. After all, we produce millions of tons of corn. Corn is a renewable resource. Alcohol burns cleaner than petroleum based fules. What could be better?

Woohoo, time to go order my new SUV. My fuel woes are over.

But wait, Newton postulated that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Does his theory apply equally to economics as to every other immutable law of the universe? Can it be stated that for every action, there is a reaction? Certainly, for our economic systems are so integrated that a significant shift in one industry will disrupt various other industries. This new use for corn will drive up the price of corn (there's that pesky old economic law of supply and demand kicking in) and so, therefore, other grains will be used to replace corn for animal feed and human consumption.

Guess what happens as the demand for wheat and soybeans begins to rise? If you guessed they will also go up due to demand, then you are one of the few Americans who are paying attention. Unfortunately, again due to the silly one person, one vote rule, you get the exact same ability to make an impact in the next election as the clueless voter down the block who gets all their information from Fox News. Isn't it sad that ones who confuses news with infotainment get to choose our leaders?

Isn't it equally interesting/sad that a self-described "fake news show" like the Daily Show has more journalistic integrity than most of the major news outlets?

I've got to go buy soybean futures. Hope I make enough to pay for fuel for my Hummer.

The Player's Edition works for me.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Getting political

I am so annoyed at the latest government subterfuge--the economic stimulus payment. On the surface, it appears to be a good idea. Pump up the economy by putting more money into it. But wait, isn’t that then inflationary? Of course it is. Each additional dollar in an economy makes the other dollars worth less. I’m not sure of the impact of the money being released, but what really cheeses me is that radio stations are running PSA’s encouraging those who don’t file due to low income to file just so they get the “rebate.”
According to a rebate is

return of part of the original payment for some service or merchandise; partial refund

So please explain to me how someone who doesn’t pay taxes gets a rebate on them?
I call shenanigans. That is all it is. An attempt to get more votes. The Romans placated the masses, and thus controlled them, through bread and circuses. Anyone who doesn’t believe this is the same method being used by modern governments is foolish. And the worst aspect of this is we are creating an entire class of people who not only regularly feed at the government trough, but develop an entitlement mentality whereby they start to believe this is the way it should be. And government, whose ultimate goal is control, is complicit in this. After all, who is easier to control than one who is dependent for food, clothing, and shelter?

Just look at families today. It was reported that 1 in 5 NYC kids eat from a food bank. And, while I don’t have the statistics available, I’m sure more than half of NYC kids eat 2, sometimes 3 meals at school. While I do not think kids should go hungry, don’t parents have an obligation to provide for their families? If one can’t feed one kid, should they continue to have more? I have seen families with generational welfare recipients. The government has created this system to control people. It’s a shame.

And all this government deception knows no political boundaries. I have always believed one can’t tell a Republican from a Democrat without a scorecard. It has never been more true than today.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Verizon still sucks

Quick update: my phone is working, but it won't be correct and static free until Verizon comes through with fiber. In the meantime, I can expect the occasional 1 week interruption in service.
They advertise the new fiber network on TV a few hundred times a day. They ask me to switch and get the whole package from them, TV, DSL, and phone. Guess when they estimate I'll have fiber available?

20 freakin 10. I live in one of the largest and most wealthy counties in the country, and it will be 2 years to get phone service that isn't much better than that of some 3rd world countries?


At one time in our country, monopolies made sense. We never would have had the Transcontinental Railroad if it was totally left up to private enterprise, and anyone was allowed to build. We would have been left with dozens of RR's connecting some East Coast cities and Chicago or some other cities that were more or less towards the West. Same thing with communications systems. Cities would have hundreds of telephone poles per block, and the sun would be blocked out by the veritable spider web of wires strung between them.

But that time has passed. The infrastructure is in place. Real competition, whereby 2 or more cable companies can be in the same area, along with multiple phone companies. But, as usual, business has influence over the politicians, and, as usual, we get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


“Such exquisite and admirable things can be done with words. They can be used to build great cathedrals of thought, and to decorate those cathedrals. They can arise from the depths of the soul and ascend to the heavens.”

Edwin Faust

Language, or rather the misuse and abuse of it, has always fascinated me. Not the comic things like parking on a driveway, and driving on a parkway (why do we do that, anyway?) but instead the dumb things that are said.
“I need to use an ATM machine.” Really? An Automatic Teller Machine, machine.
Or “we need a new hot water heater.” If the water is already hot, why heat it?

Colloquialisms also give me pause. The one I have the most trouble understanding is “I could care less.” What the hell does that mean? And why does that mean exactly the same thing as “I could not care less?” While I’m at it, how is it that flammable and inflammable mean the same thing? Excusable and inexcusable are opposites, just as effective and ineffective are.

My mind is starting to wander. Again. Back to the topic at hand. The written word seems to have taken a back seat today to basic communication on a level which is, for lack of a better term, sophomoric gibberish.

For example: “This is pretty stupid becomes:”


I wonder what will happen to our rich language and its nuances in 25 or 50 years when an amalgamation of Spanglish, Hip Hop, and text combines into some form of communication that a person from just a few years ago would be hard pressed to understand.

While language constantly evolves, and always has, it seems to be doing so at such an alarming rate. I fail to see the upside of this.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Verizon Sucks

I hope I can get this entire blog written because my computer keeps shutting down because, well, quite simply, Verizon Sucks. Big time. My phone went out on Saturday. I used a cell (fortunately, I have service with a different company that doesn't suck like Verizon) to call Verizon. They scheduled a repair for Tuesday. I'm disabled, and it takes me half an hour to put on the equipment that it would take to get out of the house in case of an emergency. So, I talked to a rep who said since it is a medical emergency, they will get someone out Sunday. No one showed. I called back, and they rescheduled for Thursday. I called again, and spoke to some sarcastic supervisor/bitch who told me everybody has a medical emergency, so they could not accomodate me.
So, until Thursday, I have limited DSL service (it cuts out every so often due to the line problem) and the phone will ring once in a while, and sometimes the call waiting will work. Sometimes the phone will work, sometimes not.
I should expect this since I live way out in the middle of nowhere in a 3rd world country. Oh wait, no, I live in a highly populated county, which also happens to be one of the richest in the USA. What possible excuse could they have? They have none, they just suck. I'm so happy to write that check for $82.00 a month for such shitty service for my phone and DSL.
So far this morning, I got 2 calls. Both were from Verizon. Both let me know my phone was fixed. Of course, there was so much static on the line, I could barely hear them tell me it was fixed. Bastards. So, I called them on my cell (using my prepaid cell cost me to do this) and they are still coming out Thursday. Guy said he wanted to make sure I was going to be home. I asked him if he missed the part where I said I was homebound and couldn't walk. Stupid bastards.

Verizon sucks.

And for the visual learners:


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Living la vida loca

Why can't I get this stupid song out of my head? I barely know the lyrics, in fact, about all I know is the refrain. One song, which I will not name because the mere mention of it makes me have to sing the entire song in my head for a few days. It's that hard to get it out. It's sort of like the South Park episode where Cartman had to sing all of Sail Away if he heard any part of the tune. The mind works in strange ways. Right now, I have been watching "I Can Make You Thin" on TLC with Paul McKenna. ( The premise is that he can help reprogram a fat person's brain to make them think, and eat, like a thin person. Both the Crotchety Old Lady and me could stand to lose a few pounds (ok, for me, a lot) so we are trying his methods. So far, we seem to be doing better. The scale will be the final judge. I'm not going to hit it for a month, though. I want to give it some time to work. This ain't the Biggest Loser.
I'll provide updates next month.

Just got back from AC

I just got back from Atlantic City. I had a very interesting and enjoyable time. The Crotchety Old Lady and I played the slots and found video roulette, a new addition to the casino floor. One can get the feeling of gambling like James Bond in Monte Carlo using quarter “chips.” Maybe I was wearing a Yankees shirt instead of a tux, and she was in a sweat suit, but damn we looked as fine as any jet-setter.
The Old Lady also discovered the joys of 3 card poker. This is a very interesting game. From what we saw, and how we played, simply put $45 on the table in stacks of 3, and (usually) the dealer laughs and scoops them up. Every few hands he would give us a couple back. We sat next to a guy who knew the game very well. We lost a hundred bucks in about a half-hour, while the guy who knew the game dropped over $600. I’m hoping we don’t learn to play as we can’t afford to get better.
We stayed at the Trump Taj Mahal, and Mr. Trump does it right. We usually stay at the Showboat, which is right next door, but we found we like Trump much better. The food is superior. We ordered room service, and had the best onion rings and burgers ever. And, most surprising of all, the pizza was great, too. Thin crust, and a tasty sauce made for a really good pie. The first night that’s what we ordered and liked it so much, we had the same thing the next night. Who knew?
We also visited the buffet. Because we went at 3:00 on a Tuesday afternoon, the place was empty, and the choices were fairly limited. The Old Lady had a steak smothered with onions and mushrooms. It was cooked to order and she loved it. I had some pasta and a small piece of chicken.
But a casino is more than great food. The room was really well appointed, with a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean. I need handicapped “facilities” and they made my stay very pleasant. Also, the staff was wonderful. Showboat staff is fine, but Trump’s people were so friendly and helpful, it was as if we were the glitterati renting the penthouse, rather than some schmoes who had a free room.
One of our favorite hobbies is people watching. We like to notice things at various spots in the casinos. Some of these things really gives one pause. We notice a lot of seniors who look like they can barely afford to eat, let alone gamble, sit at the dollar slots. I was surprised at the number of folks dragging oxygen tanks with them. African Americans seem to crowd around the dice tables, while Asians fill the tables in the big money rooms. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it is fun to speculate.