Saturday, September 25, 2010

You Don't Mess With Brutus

Last Saturday, Ohio University played Ohio State University at football. It was a typical matchup of a perennial powerhouse against a sacrificial lamb that almost always happens in pre-conference play in college football. The result was predictable--Ohio State won the game 43-7, with Ohio's only offensive touchdown occurring well into the 4th quarter when OSU had sent its deep backups into the game.

What was NOT typical, however, was the behavior of OU's Mascot: The Bobcat.

Before the start of the game, as the two teams were running onto the field, OSU, led by its mascot, Brutus, witnessed the Bobcat tackle Brutus not once, but twice, and wrestle him to the ground.

It's become a popular viral video. And everyone outside of Ohio may have enjoyed a good laugh about it.

But not here in Ohio. And not us Buckeye fans.

You see, this person in the bobcat mascot costume may have thought it was funny to tackle Brutus. And he (or she) may have thought they might have scored some fan points for doing so. But I have a message for this person: There are 100 Buckeye fans to every Bobcat fan!! And we don't like what you did!

You deserved to lose your status as Ohio's mascot. I got your mascot battle right here, bitch!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

1000 Ways to Die

I was surfing the web today, and I stumbled across the SpikeTV Network series "1000 Ways to Die".

This is, apparently, a half-hour series dedicated to displaying methods by which people across these United States have met their demise in quite spectacularly stupid ways.

Attention readers: If you try to find these videos on-line, you should be warned that the depictions of these deaths is about as graphic as you're going to find on non-pay-Cable.

I personally think this show should be renamed "1000 ways to earn a Darwin Award.

And I seriously think that TV has really gone too far. The show I watched featured, just to name a few, the graphic demonstration of a man accidentally blowing the bottom of his jaw off, the decapitation of a couple after accidentally hooking their tongues together via tongue piercings, and a man tripping and accidentally driving a meat hook through his throat.

I will NOT link to this episode. If you really want to see it, then go to the SpikeTV link above and find it.

I realize that the Spike network is an attempt to hook male viewers by glorifying all things male, but I fail to see why the producers of this show think men like me can be entertained by watching depictions of gruesome deaths.

If I wanted to see that, I would watch Saving Private Ryan again. By the way, if anyone missed the message of that movie, it was that war is nothing more than a way to cause the brutal deaths of thousands, and that it is something that should be avoided at all costs. If you can think of another interpretation, please let me know.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Have a Particular Interest

Any of the 3 regular readers of this blog know that earlier this year I spent a glorious week of vacation in Hawai'i. I've never had a more pleasurable experience. I was in a state of bliss from the moment I exited the Honolulu airport in February and immediately stripped down to a t-shirt and threw my winter coat into the trunk of the rental car. I even had no problem riding a public transit bus back to our hotel after returning said rental car. I'm a veteran of the public bus.

So I had a particular interest in this week's premiere of Hawai'i 5-0. I wanted to make sure that they treated the state fairly as I knew it.

This isn't the first time a TV show or movie has used Hawai'i as a substitute for a tropical wilderness. I can't begin to count the number of times it has been represented as Africa. The TV show Lost was filmed nearly in its entirety there. And I have no problem with it. Hawai'i is, in its current state, basically a third-world country masquerading as a United State. Most of the state is dominated by tropical wilderness. And it is pretty much entirely at the mercy of mainland exports--including tourists--for its livelihood.

Despite all this, the citizens there have adapted. They have perfected the art of extracting dollars from tourists. They are not alone in the practice of this art.

I might also point out that they have managed to produce a United States President. Despite the claims made by the Tea party, Barack Obama was born there. The number of states that can claim their place as the birthright of an American President is pretty small. Bravo, Hawai'i, for joining the club.

I'm about 16 years away from retiring. I hope to revisit your state on my retirement trip. And I love any show that has a chance of making you more prosperous. Maybe things will be cheaper the next time I visit.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Death to Marco's!

There is a local Pizza chain named Marco's Pizza. I have ordered from them many times. Hell, I WORKED for them for a couple of years way back when.

I've been satisfactorially served by them every time I placed an order.

Until last Friday.

I called in an order for 2 small pizzas with sausage and extra cheese. The coupon for which was in my possession. I figured I'd eat a few pieces out of one pie, and bag the rest up for future consumption. I do that a lot.

I picked the pizzas up on my way home from work. I neglected to open the boxes to check them, as I almost always do. When I got home, the pizzas had no sausage. Boneheads.

I took them back. The store insisted that I had ordered only pizzas with cheeses. I was forced to wait 15 minutes while they remade them. I was not offered a refund, a discount, or even a coupon sheet.

I have eaten the last Marco's pizza I will ever eat. And I encourage the 3 readers of this blog to never order from Marco's, if it ever becomes available in your area.

One of the most common axioms of business is that it costs 6 times as much to replace a regular customer as it does to keep a regular customer. Good job, Marco's. And good luck replacing me.

Or anyone else I tell this story to...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No "Yanks" for Delaware!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Republican Nominee for the open Senate seat from Delaware:

As near as I can tell, she hasn't changed much in the last 20 years. (In case you were wondering, the title of this post is my attempt at helping her choose a campaign slogan. Think she'll like it?)

Seriously, folks, the inmates are running the asylum.

The NRSC has announced that they will NOT be supporting her run, financially or otherwise. Basically they are saying to the Tea Party lunatics that got this woman the nomination: You cooked this rancid meat. Now eat it! We're putting our resources behind someone who actually has a chance of winning.

I have a gut feeling that all of these T.P. (pun intended) folks are going to get a rude wake-up call come November. And it's going to hurt. A lot.

But suppose they don't. Suppose every T.P. backed candidate (and there are a lot of them) wins? What do these folks think is going to happen? Do they think the corporate lobbyists won't immediately start whispering in their ears? Do they honestly think that they will operate any differently from the ones who are there now? I think that they will actually be more vulnerable to influence from corporate lobbyists, since, from what I've seen, these T.P. candidates are mostly utterly unqualified to hold the elected offices they aspire to. After all, how can they help but not be? Look how unqualified to hold high office the leader of the T.P. is.

(*cough* Sarah Palin *Cough)

By the way, I have a question for Christine O'Donnell: You believe the bible forbids masturbation. How, exactly, would you enforce a ban on same?

The mind boggles...

UPDATE (9/16): The NRSC has caved to the T.P. and announced that it will support her candidacy, to the tune of at least $42,000, and several prominent Repuglicans have announced that they support her candidacy. The T.P. says squeal like a pig, Elephant, you Squeal!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Utterly Ridiculous

It is ridiculous. Ridiculous. RIDICULOUS, I say. The fact that a crazy Florida preacher with a congregation of 50 people can virtually take the world hostage and hold it to his whims.

The mere fact that he managed to manipulate world events simply by merely threatening to burn a book publicly is simply astonishing. It has invited comments from the President, a three-star general, the United Nations, and various other notables from around the country, and, indeed, around the globe.

And it is entirely the fault of the society we live in today. This society, with its social networking sites, Youtube, and 24 hour cable news. 20 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago, if this lunatic had announced his intention to publicly burn the Qu’ran, more than likely the reaction of the few folks who were around to hear him at the time would’ve probably been, “Meh. Who gives a shit?”

But not in today’s world. A world where rumors can spread all over the world via text message with a speed that would make a wildfire green with envy. Where anyone with a camera phone and a Youtube account can be an instant internet celebrity. Where tens of thousands spread gossip around the globe via Twitter within seconds. And where the cable news outlets, desperate to fill 24 hours a day of programming, latch onto any juicy story they find from these sources and inflate its prominence into something hundreds of times more than it ever should be. Florida made a simple threat. And through the power of the internet, he was able to hijack the agenda of an entire nation. And we’re all to blame for it. We let this exploding genie out of the bottle. And now we have to live with it.

I’m not saying it’s entirely a bad thing. The internet, and, by extension, Youtube, text messaging, and Twitter, has many useful functions, on a societal, governmental, economic, and humanitarian level. But for every useful function you can think of, you can probably think of at least 10, 100, or even 1000 harmful ones. I’m not sure that’s an acceptable trade-off.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


So. Apparently some evangelical church in Florida has announced its intent to hold a Qu'ran burning day this Saturday on the anniversary of September 11th.

This, on the list of stupid ideas, ranks right up there with leaping out of airplane without a parachute, tying a side of beef to yourself and jumping into a shark tank, and jumping rope while walking through a minefield.

Of course, if this happens, the media will be there to cover the whole event, in the name of ratin--er, I mean, "keeping the public informed".

Of course, these people have every right to burn as many copies of the Qu'ran as they want to. Although they might want to think about what Jesus would think of their desecration of the word of God in the name of religion.

I am not a Muslim. I never have been, and I never will be. But one out of every 6 people in this world is. And I would imagine that the majority of them would be offended to see the symbol of their religion burned publicly in front of the world's media.

So I have this to say to the "Reverend" Terry Jones: How would you feel if you saw someone burning a bible?

I would also say this: You have the right to free speech. But you do not have the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater. And while that may not be what you are planning to do, our American military personnel are deployed in not just one but two crowded theaters right now: Afghanistan and Iraq. And what you are planning to do is the equivalent of tossing a Molotov cocktail into the front row of both of those theaters.

You are also playing right into the hands of the very people who inspired those who flew planes into buildings nine years ago, and on the very anniversary of it.

So why do it? Are you really that convinced that it's a good idea? And how were you convinced of this? Seriously?

I will wait for your answer.

And I have this to say to the national media: STOP COVERING THIS!!! You are just adding fuel to the fire! I realize that you have to fill a 24 hour news channel with something, but the only way to stop people from saying and doing things that are objectionable is to stop paying attention to them.

Monday, September 06, 2010

I Would Buy This

It seems that a startup company based in Seattle has come up with easily installed, do-it-yourself Solar Panels that can be purchase for an average of $700 dollars each.

Think about that for a minute. For the cost of a home appliance you can buy a solar panel that you can install that will hang over a window, or a door, like an awning, with a cord that you can plug into any outlet of your home. And it will feed the power it generates back into the electrical grid.

And this is not a system that you have to spend $20,000 on and hire a team of experts to install--this is a system that (presumably) you can install yourself using step-by-step instructions and basic hand tools. And you will recoup the cost of it in four years or less. AND, most importantly, the system is portable, meaning that if you move, you can take it with you.

A few years ago, my neighbor went to the expense and trouble of having solar panels installed on his roof. He uses them to heat his water. It never made any sense to me to do the same, since the 200+ foot tall Oak tree in my neighbor's back yard blocks the sun from shining on my house for most of the early day and a goodly portion of the early afternoon (something I am very grateful for in the Summer). But for most of the afternoon and evening, the front of my house is in direct sunlight. 2 or 3 of these panels would, I think, reduce my electric bills considerably. I even have the perfect location for them.

And I might actually be able to use my front porch for a change.

So if this company is a success (and I see no reason for them not to be, other than corporate greed), I hope they will soon offer their products for sale at my local hardware store.

I'll be one of the first in line to buy them.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

It's An Outrage

The new division format for the Big Ten (now up to 12 teams) was announced today. As per usual in college football these days, the almighty dollar has prevailed.

You see, in order to secure more money for itself, the Big Ten TV network has ensured not only that it will have a Big Ten championship game to broadcast, but that there will be a chance that there could be a second OSU-Michigan game.

You see, OSU and Michigan will be placed in separate divisions, and, although they will still meet in the last regular season game, there is also a chance that they could meet in the championship game that follows.

The thinking behind this, of course, is that since the rivalry between UM and OSU has been voted as the greatest rivalry in college football, and that the ratings for their annual game are always spectacular (ABC broadcasts it every year nationwide), then what could bring in more money other than a second meeting between the two?

Of course, the "thinking" behind this is flawed. The last few years notwithstanding, "the game" has often decided the Big Ten champion. It's been the source of thousands of bets, monetary or otherwise. It was the showcase for one of the most storied rivalries in college football, one that one can be described to any fan using only 3 words: Woody versus Bo. It's a rivalry that really brought college sports into the limelight as a valuable source of income for many schools.

But that has really become the problem. College football has steadily become less and less about getting kids the education they need and more and more about making money hand over fist. It is money that is the reason College football sticks with a bowl system that grows more ridiculous every year (there is now about one bowl for every 3 division 1A teams) and rarely leaves anyone happy with the result (By my count, the Bowl Championship series has worked exactly once--when undefeated OSU played undefeated Miami in 2003). And it is money that is the reason the Big Ten is setting up a system wherein OSU and UM could meet twice within the span of 3 weeks or less.

I realize that it is hard for any university to have a profitable football program. The costs associated with fielding a football team every week of the season are astronomical even for the largest schools. And every dollar that the schools must pump into athletic scholarships deprives them of one less dollar to provide scholarships for non-athletes who may be far more deserving of it.

But allowing money considerations to diminish the greatest rivalry in college football history, a rivalry that has included such legendary names as Howard Cassidy, Archie Griffin, Art Schlichter, Rex Kern, Desmond Howard, Deion Sanders, and Eddie George, just to name a few, is an outrage and an insult to the millions of fans (myself included) who voted that same rivalry the greatest one in college football.

If colleges were serious about keeping their costs down, they would demand that the NFL fund the scholarships for all Division 1A players. It is only fair, considering that the NCAA football system is really nothing more than a free minor league system for the NFL. Not only would this help them keep costs down, it would also help more students attend college.

Which would help everyone.