Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Sound of Music

NBC has recently remade The Sound of Music, starring Carrie Underwood in the leading role of Maria.

I don't like Carrie Underwood. I dislike any American Idol winner on principle.

But NBC remade the stage play enacted LIVE on TV (which takes some serious guts)

I ignored it at first. But I found myself flipping back to it for some reason.

When I was growing up, my mother and my sister controlled what we watched on TV. This meant that every year we watched The Sound of Music without fail. I grew to hate it.

However, several years ago my mother lost a long battle with cancer. Ever since, anything she shared with me has driven me to a strong state of nostalgia whenever I encounter it again.

NBC's remake was mediocre at best. As an actress, Carrie Underwood is a good singer. Julie Andrews, if she watched this performance, is pointing and laughing at her.

But I wish I didn't get so unfortunately melancholic whenever I encounter something like this that reminds me so strongly about my mother.

Memory is a great and terrible thing.

This Should Give You Pause...

This is an image of snow on the Statue of The Great Sphinx of Giza taken recently.

Just FYI, the SoTGSoG rests at roughly the same northern Longitude as Northern Florida. Try to think to yourself just how many times in the past few hundred years that you've heard reports of snow in Florida.

Then tell yourself Global Warming does not exist.

For your clarification, global warming doesn't mean it's warm all the time. It also means that weather extremes that normally never happen start to happen. A lot. See example: Hurricane Sandy.

Yeah. That's what I thought.


Yeah, well I was fooled! And apparently I wasn't the only one.

And I'm the first to admit when it happens.

This is NOT the real Great Sphinx of Egypt. Apparently it's one of the replicas of said statue that exist around the world. In this particular case, it's at a theme park in Japan. See this link for more details. You should, however, take note of the fact that there was a snowstorm in Egypt. It just never got cold enough (it is a desert country, after all) for the snow to last very long.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Permanently on the Naughty List.

This is a picture of Santa (or possibly one of his helpers) being arrested for protesting outside of a Wal-Mart. People picketed Wal-Mart for paying their workers so little that they had to have food drives to help their own employees have a decent meal on Thanksgiving.

Wal-Mart may have started out as a model of corporate citizenship, but right now, Sam Walton is spinning in his grave. If he could see what his creation has become today, he'd never stop screaming.

I don't fault those cops for doing their job. I DO fault them for not being right there on the protest lines with the others.

Monday, November 04, 2013


So...I saw this:

Seriously? "Instacurity"?!

I have a little tip for those who are afraid about what their on-line presence says about them: Don't. Post. Anything. On-line. That. You. Don't. Want. Anyone. Else. To. Know.


Facebook. Twitter. Worst. Inventions. Ever.

I do not possess a Facebook account or a Twitter account. I am not that desperate for attention. Merely posting infrequently on an on-line blog is drawing more attention to myself than I ever cared to. I don't advertise Voice, nor to I want to. I don't care if anyone besides me ever reads this.I simply want my thoughts preserved should my descendants ever happen to stumble across them someday.

If people fear becoming on-line outcasts, then the simplest solution to that is to not make every attempt to call attention to themselves on-line. I make frequent references to the fact that I'm lazy to explain the length of time that I take between posts. The truth, however, is that I don't post often because I don't want to call that much attention to myself.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Life in Chaos--but Safe

So...this happened.

That is what's left of my 1999 Ford Escort. I had an unfortunate argument with a Jeep Cherokee at one of the most dangerous intersections in Toledo. We both lost.

Fortunately, neither I nor the driver of the other car were seriously injured. Which is surprising, considering 2 things: My car was so badly damaged (as you can see!) that my father stated that he was glad he saw me before he saw the car. And the Cherokee ended up on its side and might have rolled over completely if not for the intervention of a metal light post.

My 14-year-old Escort had the safety chops to protect me from serious injury despite being totaled. And (possibly) an even older Cherokee saved its driver (and passenger(s)?) from even more serious injury.

The respective lives of 2 or more people were saved by the fact that American cars, even those manufactured more than a decade ago, are probably the safest vehicles in existence.

No matter what chaos occurs after living through a major vehicular accident (and believe me, there's a lot), it's a LOT preferable to NOT living through one.

In the meantime, I say farewell to my long-driven (14 years!) Escort. It was the first new car I ever bought and eventually owned outright. Its informal nickname was The Green Machine. Hardly original, I know, but fitting. I am sure that after what few parts can be salvaged from it are taken, it will be on its way to that Great Junkyard in the Sky. After the crash, its radiator bled its remaining fluid into the street. It's now just another part of the asphalt on the Anthony Wayne Trail (Look it up!) Hardly a fitting memorial, but by no means an original one.

Whatever car I end up with to replace it, you can be sure it will have 2 things: a 5-star safety rating, and full-curtain air bags.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Breaking News!

We now go live to our FAUX news affiliate with this breaking story:

(FAUX news anchor) Hitt Broom: In this breaking news, reliable sources who spoke to me directly from my ass have reported that it has been determined that Miriam Carey, the woman who was killed by Capitol police after leading the police on a chase after attempting to crash into the White House in her car, was actually the secret lover of President Barack Obama and that the child in the backseat of her car was the President's. We here at FAUX news are proud and privileged to be the first to break this exclusive story. We are certain that once our colleagues at CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, and HLN hear this news, they will be eager to join us on this witch hun - er, I mean valid story.

For more on this, we go to our regular absolutely-not-a-racist commentator, Wan Jilliams. Wan?

(FAUX news commentator) Wan Jilliams: Yes, it appears to any normal, not-a-liberal-media-stooge news person that Ms. Carey's only possible reason for attempting to crash through the security gates of the White House was that she was attempting to confront the President and demand that he acknowledge his paternity of her child and pay her child support. There can be no other reason for her actions, and our "colleagues" from other "news organizations" who are attempting to give other reasons such as the fact that she suffered from clinical depression and/or other mental illness are simply further examples of the "liberal media" covering for a Democratic President who is clearly unfit to hold high office. It's obvious that the President will have no choice but to resign immediately.

Broom: Yes, I totally agree. The sources that I pulled from my ass (it was easy to find them, by the way, since that's where my head is most of the time). For more analysis of this breaking story, we go to our regular news rancor - er, anchor, Rill O'Biley. Rill?

(FAUX news nutcase) Rill O'Biley: It's obvious that there is no way a communist socialist Kenyan should have ever been elected President in the first place! The fact that he was elected - TWICE! - can only be chalked up to rampant, ACORN-sponsored voter fraud. And now we have absolute proof that this "President" fathered a child out of wedlock. After all, stuff that came out of our ass can never possibly be wrong!

(FAUX news BIGGER nutcase) Hin Sannity: ARGH, GROWL, SNAP, BARK, SOCIALIST, MUSLIM, KENYAN, GROWL (foam comes from mouth) SNARL, UN-AMERICAN, IMPEACH HIM, DIE FASCIST SOCIALIST, ARGH, BARK! (Falls on floor in rabid seizure).

Broom: Um, yeah, OK, thanks for those insightful thoughts Hin. We'll be keeping you updated on this breaking story which we are all sure will lead to the impeachment and resignation of that vicious Kenyan Muslim Socialist fraud in the White House. And once President Cruz is sworn in, I'm sure all this shutdown and debt default nonsense that our "colleagues" in other "News Organizations" are covering will be over and done with, and we will be living in the new taxes-for-the-rich free utopia that we have striven for these many years. We'll be right back after this break.

(Note: The above is a complete piece of fiction. But don't be surprised it some right-wing organization somewhere isn't already thinking about publishing it as fact. If they haven't already.)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why I Miss Encyclopedias

The late syndicated columnist Sydney J. Harris used to be published in our local newspaper. I loved his columns and looked forward to reading them, which is really saying something since I was in high school when they were published. One of the regular features of his column that I thoroughly enjoyed was called "Things I learned while en route to looking up other things".

As the name implies, these columns would feature obscure facts about any number of topics. And I'm sure that one of the ways he learned these facts was by looking through the pages of a volume of a set of Encyclopedias and stopping at a page that looked interesting to him while he was flipping through it looking for something else.

That's the sort of thing that happened all the time with me. Whenever I was assigned a research paper in high school (back in the late Jurassic Era), my first source would always be the complete set of Collier's Encyclopedia volumes on the bookshelf in our basement.

This may come as a surprise to you young whippersnappers, but there used to be a time, way back when, when the internet did not exist. The only way to access information on something was to find a reference book that possessed that information. And that information was not updated every minute. In the case of encyclopedias, it was only updated every year, if then. Information that was in a volume one year could easily be obsolete the next year.

That's my roundabout way of saying that the information I often found in our circa 1960's Colliers volumes was not the most reliable. But the one thing it did do reliably was to point me in the direction of where to go to find what I needed. And I had to invest serious time and energy into following that direction. And the random things I found in pursuit of what I was looking for would often stick in my mind and lead me to other places I never knew I wanted to go but found fascinating once I got there.

That doesn't happen today. Today, if I need to find some piece of information, the first place I go is to Bing or Google, or any of the literally dozens of other search engines available. I almost never find anything that isn't what I was originally looking for.

That's not so bad for me. I have an insatiable desire to learn about things that I don't know. That desire was honed by years of being forced to devote that considerable time and energy to finding out more about things that I wanted to know.

That no longer happens. Anyone who wants to know anything about anything can find it on the Internet in less than 10 seconds. Trouble is, more often than not, what they find will be incorrect, incomplete, or misleading, or even all of those at the same time.

Which is why I miss the fact that encyclopedias are no longer our go-to source for reliable information. As out of date as they could be, at least they were exhaustively researched, fact-checked, and vetted until they were as accurate a source of information as they could possibly be. And they were one of any number of things that inspired me to a level of intellectual curiosity that I personally believe has made me, if not a better person, at least a smarter one, or, at the very least, one who wants to be smarter.

I challenge you to give me a better reason to miss them. No, seriously. You are welcome to come up with a better reason, and post same in the comments. I'm sure you will.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On This Anniversary

On this, the 12th anniversary of the horrible attacks of September 11th, I present to you this video. It's an extension of my TSIBTIEC series, only with some commentary:

It restores somewhat my faith in humanity to see that the one person who is the strongest defender of the "victim" is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. This is perhaps a demonstration of the fact that those who have volunteered to sacrifice everything to maintain this country's freedom are the ones most willing to ensure that freedom is enjoyed by everyone. Just a thought.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Want my Stuff Back!

So, this happened.

(Seriously, visit the link or the rest of this post won't make any sense.)

Yes. The bank took nearly all her stuff, sold and/or trashed it, and, when she asked them to be reasonable and give her what seems to me to be a very modest sum for just the actual cost (not the real value) of replacing what she lost, they basically told her to get lost.

This is going to end up costing the bank 20 times (or more) what the woman was originally asking for, and it's a PR nightmare for them. By now, this story is has gone viral. I've told lots of people at work about it. Their reaction was about the same as mine: After picking their collective jaws off the floor, they were in disbelief. They simply couldn't imagine how a bank could, after making a mistake like this, treat the woman with such blatant indifference and disrespect.

The best part is the part about them "trying to come to terms" with the homeowner. Here's a little tip for the bank president: The only way you "come to terms" with this woman is to admit that you made a terrible mistake, pay for her to fully refurnish her house, her garage, her shed, her car, and then maybe buy her a new, fully furnished vacation house in Florida, then pray fervently that she doesn't take you to court and get you in front of a jury and end up owning your bank.

Every day, I see some bank do something outrageous, and I think that nothing can possibly top that. Then I find out I was wrong.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Perfect Royal Baby Name

Note: As I write this, no name has been selected yet. So I can still hope...

I have the perfect name for the new Royal Child.

Bear with me here. It's hard to write this without laughing, so I may misspell a few times.

Tdblsm Apwlfwa/

No that's not right. I'll try again...

Tuyrdlbsom Apwpleefrts

No, dammit, that's not right either. Hang on. I'll get it right this time.

Here goes. (*snicker*)

Turdblossom Applefarts.

Yes. That's it. That's perfect!

Now wait, hear me out. Seriously.

Think about it for a minute. A. This kid is being born into the British Royal Family. So that's strike one against him right there. I mean, centuries ago, the British Royal family ruled an empire that nearly covered the globe. People around the world lived in fear of them, because they knew their lives could end with a royal whim.

Now, the only thing people around the world live in fear of is which member of the royal family will be the next to cause a major scandal.

So the reputation of the Royal Family needs to be repaired. And by someone with the strength of character to do it. So if anyone is strong enough to overcome a childhood of constant harassment by press and paparazzi and gossip-mongers, while simultaneously wearing a moniker of (*chortle*) Turdblossom Applefarts, well then, such a person could singlehandedly restore the feared reputation of the British Empire.

Even if everyone still laughs behind his back at his name. A lot.

On second thought, maybe it wouldn't work. Oh well.

Still, I may put $5 down on the name. Odds makers would probably give me 15 million to one on the choice. The parents could get seriously drunk and make the choice. I would be set for life.

A man can dream.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

They Said It Better Than I Ever Could, 4th of July Edition.

Yet another entry in my ongoing TSIBTIEC series, presented without further comment:

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Guess it was Inevitable

"'Fifty Shades of Grey' hitting theaters in August 2014"

Here's the link to the full story. Fair warning: Read on an empty stomach.

I don't want to live on this planet any more.

The only thing that could possibly make this worse is if they might be considering Robert Pattinson as the male lead.

Oh shit.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thanks for Nothing.

An open letter to a very inconsiderate person or person(s):

This evening, around 6:10 p.m., as I was leaving my health club after a workout, I stepped wrong on a crack in the parking lot pavement and twisted my ankle. The pain from this, combined with the exhaustion from my workout, caused me to go sprawling onto my hands and knees, and nearly caused me to do a faceplant into the pavement. I scraped my knee badly, along with both hands, and also had the pain of a severely twisted, possibly mildly sprained, ankle to deal with.

This all happened in full view of  someone(s) in a black SUV as it was driving past. Neither the driver of said vehicle and/or any passengers stopped and offered me any help, nor did they even slow down to ask if I required any assistance or needed any first aid. So, as I lay sprawled on the pavement, cursing a blue streak and nursing a sore ankle and bleeding knee, I watched as this vehicle and its occupant(s) drove off without even slowing down.

Now I'm a firm believer in karma. Simply put, I think what goes around, comes around. I've seen far too many examples of this actually happening not to believe it's real.

So, if you happen to be the driver and/or the passenger(s) in a black SUV at around 6:10 p.m. today, June 19th, 2013, and you were driving in the parking lot of Southland shopping center in South Toledo, and you watched a man dressed in red shorts and t-shirt take a heavy fall onto the pavement, and simply drove past without even slowing down, I have a message for you: You suck. Karma is going to get you. Seriously. At the very least, you could have at least stopped and asked if that man was all right. I most likely would have told you I was OK, that my pride was hurt more than anything else, but thanks for asking.

But you didn't even slow down. You probably even laughed a little at my misfortune. In short, you are indicative of everything that's wrong with this country. You are only interested in yourself.


The person whose misfortune you ignored.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sometimes I Really Get Angry

Every so often I encounter something that makes me so angry I want to burn this whole damn internet to the ground.

Apparently, the advertisers for General Mills, which makes Cheerios, a cereal I've enjoyed since I was old enough to eat solid food, created this cute little commercial below. I don't think it ever actually aired on TV, just on Youtube:

Isn't that the cutest?

At any rate, after it was posted, the posters had to disable the comments for the video. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out why. After all, not only did this ad feature an interracial couple, it showed them happy, prosperous, and living comfortably with a young daughter. 


Finding out about this makes me so mad I just. Want. To. Vomit. And then maybe punch a baby seal right in the nose.

Fortunately, others out there have found much more creative ways of venting their anger and outrage:


Friday, June 07, 2013

It's Been Six Months

6 months ago, an extremely terrible thing happened. I doubt if you have to think very hard about what it was.

At the time, I was completely in shock about it. I posted this entry about it. That was the extent of my reaction at the time.

Over the next few weeks and months, I pondered this. I found out that one of the girls killed was almost exactly the age of my oldest nephew. I got a little scared. I started to wonder about what might happen if some madman or madwoman got it in his or her head that it might just be a great idea to do the same thing in the school my nephews attend. It's really not that difficult to imagine in this day and age.

I also watched as the crazies of the NRA and other right wingnuts worked extremely hard to kill any attempt by the more sensible members of congress (a few still remain, but not many) to make it harder for people like the Newtown shooter to obtain the weapons he used. And I wept.

I weep for the 20 young children who will never grow old.

I weep for the 20 doctors, lawyers, mechanics, librarians, business owners, secretaries, CEOs, film directors, firemen, policemen, waiters or waitresses, bartenders, taxi drivers, or any of the other hundreds of possible careers these kids could have chosen to go into and become contributing members of society in their own ways.

I weep for the children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other future generations that these 20 will now never add to our world.

I weep for the parents, grandparents, and any other relatives of these 20 children. I can not and probably will not ever know what they will have to face from now until the day they die. But it can't be any fun.

But mostly I weep for this country. How can we allow this to happen and not want to do whatever is necessary to stop it?

If you figure out the answer to that question, please let me know.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Speech to the Graduating Class of 2013

In this current season of college graduations, I have been called upon by exactly no one to speak to the graduating class of no college or university anywhere. So, in the interest of sharing the benefits of my accumulated wisdom with today's impressionable young minds, I offer to you, the 3 readers of this blog, the benefit of my thoughts:

To the Graduates of the Class of 2013:

You're screwed.

Completely screwed.

Plain and simple. There's just no getting around it. You don't have a chance in hell in this world.

Those of you that are here ARE here because you apparently somehow managed to scrape together enough usable credits to meet the ever-changing requirements for graduation that every institution seems to change at the drop of a hat. ANY hat. Or you hacked your way in the registrar’s computer system somehow.

You are here, though. However, odds are, unless your last name is Romney, Koch, Trump, or Buffett, you are graduating with a mountain of debt that you will NEVER crawl out from under. It will follow you from job to job, from state to state, from country to country. In fact, you could move to a deep cave on the far side of the moon, and those student loan bill collectors will find you there. And they will keep lumping extra interest on your debt until the pile is so high that even if you jump off the top of it and kill yourself, they'll follow you into your next life to collect from whatever job you get once you get there.

But don’t worry, you'll be able to pay all your debt off in just a few short years thanks to that good, high-paying job that your fancy new degree will get you! Sorry, just kidding. Yeah, that degree in American History or contemporary fiction or Liberal Arts and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's. What? It costs two now? Eh, whatever.

Speaking of McDonald's, that's most likely where you're going to end up working for the next 10 years or so. Right on the counter next to that stoner high school kid who never went to college in his life but who still managed to wind up making the same amount of money as you. More, probably, because he realized his possible career options earlier than you and has been there longer, so he now has more seniority than you and is probably your supervisor.

For those of you who managed to graduate with some kind of "useful" degree, perhaps like mechanical, chemical, or aerospace engineering, or maybe organic chemistry or applied physics, well, good for you. You might be able to wrangle a job with some high-tech firm that makes smart phones that can deliver porn more efficiently to horny teenagers. You might be able to hold onto that job for about 5 years, until some smart-assed fresh-from-college kid takes your job and throws you into the unemployment line. I suggest you then apply to Wal-Mart where they'll be selling Chinese knock-offs of the devices you spent the first 5 years of your post-graduate life creating. See you there.

However, if by some miracle, you manage to find a job that gives you a good career that you can keep and work there for 20 years or more, well, then, congratulations. You might even be able to find a spouse and raise a family. But before that, I suggest you check outside, if we're not there already. Have you noticed how hot it's getting? And how much severe weather we're having? In case you missed it, our level of atmospheric CO2 just hit 400 ppm. That means parts per million. And before you go thinking that's a really small number, let me point out to you that it was 350 ppm just a decade ago. Carbon dioxide at a level of 10000 ppm can be toxic. Before you think that's out of reach, /it's taken us less than 100 years to increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere from 300 to 400 ppm. It’s really not a coincidence that 2012 was the hottest year on record. Don’t expect that to change much in the years going forward. That much CO2 increasingly traps heat, which leads to more CO2, which leads to more heat, etc, etc.

So, congrats, class of 2013. You're totally screwed. If you want to have a chance in hell of doing something to change that, then I suggest you do one of 2 things: Invent a car engine that runs on nothing but solar power and produces no emissions, or create a device that absorbs CO2 and produces food, but only enough CO2 so that it cools that planet enough to reduce global warming back to temperate levels.

Unless you can do one of those two things, count on never getting what you want out of life. And even if you do manage to do one of those two things, count on your idea getting stolen by some soulless corporation and either appropriated for it to profit from, or hidden away, to never again see the light of day.

I’m really sorry to tell you this, class of 2013, but you. Simply. Have. No. Future. We did it to you, and we’re really sorry about that.. We’re not proud of it. But that’s the way it is.

Yeah. It's hard to believe why I haven't been called upon to give any speeches to graduating classes.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Had To Happen Sooner or Later

It's almost as if Charles Ramsey, the hero who rescued those girls in Cleveland, had just watched Sweet Brown's video and thought to himself, "I can give the internet meme-makers some better material than that."

"Big Testicles"?! Really?

Saturday, May 04, 2013


There's really no limit to how far they will go...

...or how much money they will spend...

...or to what lengths they will go...

 prove just how nerdy they can be.

By the way, just in case you think this is an isolated group, check out this website.

There's liking a movie, there's loving a movie, and then there's having a fetish.

Oh, just in case you missed it, that R2 unit on the left in the 3rd picture is wearing an Afro hairpiece. Seriously.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

It's Truly Terrifying

By now I’m sure you have all seen the horrifying video of the cargo Jet crash that happened in Afghanistan a couple days ago. If by some chance you’re one of the 3 people in the world who hasn’t seen it, you’ll find it in a ten-second YouTube search. Be warned – it’s seriously cringe-inducing. I’m certainly not going to link to it here.

Obviously, all 7 crew members on board were killed. I don’t know what was going through their minds as it happened, but I’m sure it was something along the lines of, “oh fuck, we’re all gonna fucking die!” or something like that.

The model of plane that crashed, a Boeing 747, is often used as a cargo jet. When Boeing first designed the 747, their original plan was that it would be eventually relegated to almost exclusively flying air freight, as its use as a passenger jet would become limited after the development of the supersonic airliner.

That, of course, never came about, and the 747 and its variants quickly became the workhorse of intercontinental air travel, and the staple long-range passenger jet for airlines around the world. And, of course, perhaps the most famous use of the plane is as Air Force One. That is changing, however, as the 747 is increasingly being supplanted as a passenger jet by smaller, more fuel-efficient airliners. While it will probably remain in use for decades to come as a cargo plane, its days as a passenger jet are numbered.

It’s still a terrifying thing to actually see one crash catastrophically. For sure, when one goes plummeting out of control into the ground it’s going to kill everyone in it, and likely anyone unlucky enough to be underneath it. And it may take a while to find the cause of the crash. The Taliban, of course, immediately claimed credit, but the most likely cause is probably cargo that shifted accidentally during takeoff. It’s a tricky thing to distribute cargo on a plane, so tricky that it takes a specially trained loadmaster to do it. And if that cargo moves in-flight, the result can easily be what happened in Afghanistan.

Of course, the whole idea of anything that large even being able to fly in the first place defies belief. A fully loaded 747-8 weighs nearly 500 tons, roughly the weight of 16 fully loaded tractor-trailers. Each of the plane’s four engines must generate over 66000 foot-pounds of thrust just to get the plane off the ground.

Part of that weight, of course, consists of over 64000 gallons of aviation fuel, meaning that any crash is going to result in a fireball hotter than the hottest fires of hell over an area of roughly 4 city blocks. In other words, your chances of surviving such a crash range somewhere between slim and none.

And yet, every day tens of thousands of people load themselves willingly onto these flying firebombs. I realize that the safety of commercial air travel has come a long way in the nearly a century now that people have been traveling by air. And your odds of dying in a plane crash are roughly equivalent to your odds of winning the lottery while simultaneously being struck by lightning.

But if you do happen to be in a plane crash, it’s probably going to kill you. There’s simply no getting around that. It’s simply something we have to live with.

There’s no denying, however, that it’s still horrifying when it happens.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

So, Okay, I Can Admit to a Grudging Admiration.

I have posted before about my dislike of the University of Nebraska joining the Big Ten.

But after seeing this, I can admit that they have moments that I can admire.

Friday, April 26, 2013

From the What. Were. They. Thinking. File. Cont.


Speaking as someone who knows someone who knows someone who killed themselves this way, I can only say that this couldn't possibly be in more shockingly poor taste.

Update: Video no longer available. Sorry about that.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I've Never Been a Real Fan...

...of Neil Diamond, but I have to admit that even at his advanced age, he still has the chops to entertain a crowd.

Reportedly, Diamond flew into Boston on his own dime, and about 40 minutes before the game started, Diamond called the Fenway switchboard and asked if they would like him to come to the stadium and lead the crowd in the song. Of course, they said yes, and so it happened.

Terrorists can't possibly comprehend what this country can withstand without giving up. It's going to take a lot more than a couple of bombs to destroy America.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Movie Review: "42"


Chadwick Boseman as Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson
Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey
Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson

My rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
(Advance warning: This review contains some outdated terms that some of the 3 readers of this blog may find offensive. If you do, I apologize in advance)

The following is a paraphrase of a brief conversation with my dad:

Me: Do you want to go see "42" with me?
Dad: What's that?
Me: It's a baseball movie about Jackie Robinson
Dad: Sure!

When it comes to my dad, if it's a baseball movie, he's there. So naturally we went to see this movie.

As it opens, Branch Rickey (Ford), a baseball General Manager and part owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is itching for "dem Bums" to be the first MLB team to break the so-called "color barrier". After examining the best prospects from the Negro Leagues, he settles on Jackie Robinson, a player for the Kansas City Monarchs. We are first introduced to said player during and after a Monarchs game. While the team's bus is on the road, they stop for gas, and the station owner refuses to allow Jackie to use the "whites only" bathroom. He threatens to take their business elsewhere, and the owner relents, proving that the universal rule that "Money Talks" trumps everything, even racism.

Jackie meets with Rickey, who offers him a standard contract, but warns him that he must do one thing: Control his temper. He can't respond to any verbal abuse that is thrown at him, and, most importantly, he can't respond to any physical abuse. If he does, all anyone will remember is that "The negro lost his temper" (paraphrase).

It's hard for Jackie, obviously. During spring training in the South, he is the target of everything from racist insults to death threats, but manages to stand out during his stint. Things only get worse when he earns a place on the Dodgers. He faces enemies both inside and outside the clubhouse. Half the team threatens a boycott if they have to play with him, but this is quickly and ruthlessly squashed by team manager Leo Durocher (Christoper Meloni). Unfortunately, Durocher is suspended by the League for his off-field affair with a Hollywood actress (Those were the days, huh?), and there is no one to defend Robinson from the abuse he receives from other teams.

That abuse is brought into sharp display when his team plays the Phillies, with its incredibly racist manager (Alan Tudyk, playing wildly against his usual character type) constantly hurling racists epithets at Robinson during every at bat. Robinson nearly reaches the breaking point. Finally, however, Robinson's teammates come to his aid, realizing that winning games is more important than any personal prejudices they may have.

That's the movie in a nutshell, folks. The overriding theme of the movie is that you have to look beyond what a person looks like and look at what he or she can do!

And do he did! Jackie Robinson finished his rookie season with a batting average of .297, an on-base percentage of .383 (some of that, admittedly, was due to being hit by pitch deliberately, unfortunately) and 12 homers. This, combined with other stats, led him to MLB's first award for Rookie of the year.

Look, I realize this movie contains every possible cliche. But it also contains some great moments, including one brief moment where, during a game in Cincinnati, as the crowd is hurling racist slurs at Robinson, a young boy--sitting next to his father--looks around nervously at the others, and then joins in--until he watches as Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black) drapes an arm around Jackie to show his support.

It's small moments like that, from minor characters, that make this movie something special to watch. This is probably due to the direction of Brian Helgeland, who apparently threw his heart and soul into coaxing great performances out of all the actors involved. And it's impossible to overlook some the outstanding performances of Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman. Ford deserves at least an Oscar Nomination for best supporting actor. Boseman is a relative unknown right now, but I have a feeling that might change after this movie. Most of the rest of the performances (with the exception of Black's) are largely forgettable. But it is the movie's exploration of the relationship between Rickey and Robinson that sits at the heart of the picture. Rickey was a deeply principled man, who hated the segregation of baseball, and the opportunities that were denied to black athletes. And Robinson, whose own father abandoned his family when he was still an infant, looked at Rickey as a father figure.

This is quite a good movie. It's not without its flaws, and I'm sure it will get buried in the flood of summer releases, and ignored by the Oscar committee come next year. But that doesn't mean it's not worth seeing.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

They Said it Better Than I Ever Could, Cont.

Yet another post in my continuing TSIBTIEC series, presented without further comment:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

From the What. Were. They. Thinking. File.

What a better way for a Fox station to celebrate women's history month than to show nothing but boobies?

But then what else can you expect from a Fox affiliate...

Even the anchor seems to wonder why she's talking about this.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fifty Shades of HUUURK!

(Yeah, it's been a while. If I really have to explain to you people how lazy I am--again--then you really need to pay more attention!)

Well, the world may not have ended on December 21st. But that doesn't still mean we are not all hurtling toward some global apocalypse that will wipe us all out.

Doubts? Take a look at this headline:

50 Shades of Grey is best-selling book of all time

(full story here)

So, yeah, we're all basically fucking doomed.

You see, I'm a firm believer in not judging a book by its cover (literally). So, in the interests of fair play, I looked up this..."book"...on my library's digital book website. It was available, so I downloaded it to my tablet.

And I started to read.

Page one. I began to feel queasy.

Page two. My stomach was rumbling dangerously.

Page two and one quarter. I had to run to the bathroom before I threw up in my mouth.

I grabbed my tablet and, holding it gingerly with one hand, and pressed the "return/delete" button\ with the other hand. I didn't want to get sick again.

Seriously. I got less than 3 pages into this book before I knew it was the worst. Book. Ever. 

The worst part is that somewhere out there is a digital record of the fact that I, once upon a time, borrowed this book from the library. That's forever. God help me.