Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I'm truly ashamed of myself...

For probably at least 4 months or more I haven't watched hardly any TV at night. I can usually make it home for ESPN's Around the Horn and PTI at 4 p.m. with an hour of Seinfeld reruns on TBS following those shows, but I don't usually watch anything after that. I usually jump on the Internet, listen to music and surf until my heart is concent before then listening to XM radio when it's bedtime, bedtime.

Well, tonight I broke that tradition and at this point I really wish that I had a wife or girlfriend to blame it on like Merlin, but alas I cannot. Somehow, some way, I got into Dancing With the Stars. Just typing the name makes me want to delete this and never speak of it again, but I'll keep going and see what happens.

The worst part about this is that the show I started watching was a rerun from last week and then this week's came on right after it. And I watched all of it. (This is getting worse.)

It was kind of like watching a car crash in that you want to look away but can't. The whole time you are sitting there saying to yourself, "Why am I watching this?" Like when you and your buddies in college used to watch Kiana's Flex Appeal each morning on ESPN before class after Sportscenter. Or was that just JoJo and me? I digress.

I do see how they make it work though. First of all, every chick on there is hot and John O'Hurley is hilarious. You all may know him as J. Peterman from Seinfield. The woman he is dancing with is older than the others that were in it, but it would look odd for him to be dancing with a 20-something chick.

The second thing that it's got going for it is that all of the women that are dancing, celebrity or pro dancer, wear next to nothing half of the time and wardrobe malfunctions have occurred.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the women on this show are pretty much the only reason to watch if you are a guy. John O'Hurley is going to win in the finale next week, but he's funny and a pretty good dancer as it turns out, so there is a reason to watch him. He is fighting Kelly Monaco, I believe it's Kelly, in the finals. She is a soap opera actress and is incredibly hot as well, so she's worth watching.

Unfortunately, the public ousted Joey McIntyre, of New Kids on the block fame, from the competition tonight. The only reason he was worth having around was because he had the hottest chick on the show dancing with him. And she actually verbally reprimanded a judge of the competition for saying their dancing wasn't a proper fox trot.

Other than the chicks and John O'Hurley, another thing that is funny is the crazy music they pick to have this orchestra play. I'm willing to bet that Eye of the Tiger is never played in ballroom dancing competitions, but it is on this show.

And since we are talking about celebrities here, you always are looking for someone to fall and concuss themselves or something. That was the original reason I started watching. They said the dancing there were fixing to do was tough and I figured, "Why not?" Kind of like figure skating, the only reason anyone watches figure skating is for that big fall. If they don't fall, ratings suffer.

Anyway, I'm ashamed of myself and I can't believe I watched, but you'll get a chance to watch it next week and next season because the BBC created the original show or this show itself and whatever the BBC touches turns to gold.

Gold, Jerry! GOLD!

Tom Cruise is an idiotic fairy.

I don't know where to begin.

Cruise made a fool of himself on the Today Show. Unfortunately, there are people who are ignorant enough to just follow what he says blindly. Much like the entire following of the "faith" of scientology. Obviously research is out there proving the efficacy of multiple drug treatments for multiple types of psychiatric disorders.

Depression has many causes and most people with depression have several contributing factors. For starters, "vitamins" will help patients who have vitamin deficiencies leading to psychiatric disorders, and beyond that there is no proof that it will help anyone else. Another note on vitamins s that it is a supplement, which means that no matter what they put on their label it is not regulated by the FDA. In other words, you can fill a vitamin jar with dirt and put whatever you want on the label. I do believe there are good supplements out there and I do take multivitamins. But it is not a primary treatment for depression. Second in this treatment of depression are the drugs. Studies prove the efficacy; enough said. Third is psychotherapy. Studies show this to be equally effective to drugs. Fourth, studies show that psychotherapy and medication together is the most effective way to treat depression.

Finally is the issue of exercise. I did a literature review of this in my third year in med school and it turns out that several studies show that it works. It didn't matter whether it was weightlifting, running, or whatever. The studies were limited and debatably flawed in several cases, but I believe it does work. The details I do not know and may do my own work in the area in the next few years. We'll see.

The bottom line is Cruise is wrong.

Oh, and the fairy bit, he went to highschool and was openly a gay thesbian. He also allegedly refused to sleep with Nichole Kidman. Does anyone have any idea how much money he will make from this publicity and the engagement publicity. A friend of mine made the comment that he would sleep with Tom Cruise for that many millions of dollars.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Now watch for the mushroom cloud...

The mushroom cloud you will be looking for is from the explosion that is going to happen over the next few days/weeks. Today Apple released an update to it's music software application iTunes and it now supports podcast subscriptions so those of us who dig podcasts don't have to have a crazy little program to get them.

Normally you would have to download an application like Podcast Tuner and when you found a podcast you enjoyed have it download the podcast for you automatically or you would have to track down the website and get them manually like I do at work. Then you would have to copy and paste in a line of code or an address like a URL called an RSS feed into the software so it would automatically download the latest podcasts from those folks. It sounds somewhat technical, but it was really easy to do.

But now you don't have to worry about that because Apple made it easier and it's all built into iTunes.

What is even better about this release is that Apple has set up a podcast directory that is almost identical to their exquisite iTunes Music Store. For those of you who don't know about the music store, you can pay 99 cents for a song or as low at $9.99 for a CD and download the songs. There are other music downloading services that you can use and they sometimes are cheaper than iTunes, but what makes it great is the way they have it set up. There is something to be said about the shopping experience and it seems like most people will pay the few extra cents to go first class with iTunes.

So in this podcast directory you can easily search through all of the podcasts that have signed up and even publish your own podcast if you get frisky.

To put it in perspective, there are only about 3,000 to 5,000 people at the most that are actually podcasting. You might think that this is a big number of people, but it's not in the grand scheme of things. There are millions and millions of people on the net and some say about 8 to 10 million are blogging like we are here at the Incongruent-Affect.

Basically Apple has just spent probably millions of dollars developing this software and setting up this directory for iTunes and they did it so these 5,000 or so people could have a way to distribute their little radio shows.

5,000 people did this and Apple obviously sees a lot of potential in this podcast medium. Imagine what will happen when those 5,000 are 100,000. And I'm not sure that I may not start a podcast myself. I can just post the links and RSS feed right here for you all to download. Merlin could create the first ever psychiatry podcast and go off on Tom Cruise every other day.

If you get in on it now you have a chance at labeling yourself a pioneer.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Summertime Movietime Pick: The Cheyenne Social Club

This week’s summertime movietime pick is The Cheyenne Social Club. This is a Western, but only in the most basic sense. It is more of a comedy set in the West and it stars two of the greatest actors in history, James Stewart and Henry Fonda. Stewart and Fonda are two cowboys just drifting through life until Stewart receives word that his brother has died and left him the Cheyenne Social Club. Stewart and Fonda leave immediately for Cheyenne. When they arrive they soon find out that the Cheyenne Social Club is not a saloon as they first thought. Stewart has a hard time with his new profession and has quite a time deciding what to do with his new business.

As I said this movie is more comedy than Western and Fonda has some great lines in this film that made me laugh out loud. I may be biased because I am a big Western fan as well as a huge Fonda and Stewart fan. The only reason I watched this was because of Fonda and Stewart and I was very surprised how much I enjoyed it. If I were to compare this movie to another, it would be the Trinity series starring Terrence Hill. If you like that series, then you will like The Cheyenne Social Club and if you are a fan of Westerns but do not know the Trinity Series, then go to and look up Terrence Hill. You won’t regret it. I would also compare this movie to a movie called My Name is Nobody, a spaghetti Western based on a story by Sergio Leone, with music by Ennio Morricone, starring Terrence Hill and Henry Fonda. It is very good. If you want to check out The Cheyenne Social Club, you need to consult the Westerns channel of Encore. It is not on DVD and the VHS is out of print so you may have to pay a little too much for this.

Baseball's Small Market Blues

I ran into a friend last week while pumping gas and we got off on the conversation of sports, of course. The subject two men can engage in anytime, anywhere and without even thinking about it. We were discussing the Cincinnati Reds, because we are both long suffering Reds fans. Well, not as long suffering as the Cubs or White Sox fans, but it has been 15 years since the Reds have been to the World Series. It seems like it has been 15 years since the Reds were even in second place.

After we parted, I started wondering about the state of baseball, money wise. I am not a financial genius, far from it, but it seems that there are some things that baseball owners could do to make things a little more competitive and draw more fans into all the brand new tax funded retro ballparks that are going up every ten minutes.

Take the Reds for instance, the Reds have a really great new ball park, I have been there many times and I think it has a great atmosphere for baseball. The only problem is the Reds play there, and they do not provide a great baseball atmosphere. The Reds have two problems, the owners do not want to spend any money and the baseball men they hire do not know how to spot or develop talent.

The Reds owner seems to be saving his money in hopes that something clicks and this team of mediocre players will “get it” and rattle off a 30 game win streak leading to the World Series. I don’t think that is how it happens. The Reds went out this year and picked up some pitchers to bolster it staff. They signed Eric Milton, traded for Ramon Ortiz and brought in some young minor league talent. The only problem with all of these signings is that none of these pitchers that were brought in are a top of the order guy. In baseball, pitching staffs tend to be ordered 1 through 5 with 1 being your best pitcher and 5 being your worst pitcher. The Reds have got about 5 number 4 starters. They are horrible and they aren’t getting any better this year and until something with ownership happens, I don’t believe they will be better in 10 years.

I do give the Reds credit; at least they went out and tried to spend a little money. Their problem is that they don’t know who to spend money on. When you go out and sign a fly ball pitcher like Eric Milton and stick him in the worst park for pitchers this side of Colorado, you can guess that it may not work out. Maybe the bigger problem is the fact that the Reds ownership is known for being stingy and they have such a bad history of losing lately, that even if they were to go on a HUGE spending spree, no free agent in his right mind would sign onto this sinking ship. There are a lot of teams in this boat. If you were a big time free agent, would you want to go to Kansas City? Cincinnati? Tampa Bay? I think not. Baseball in small markets is in trouble in this respect.

Owners build new stadiums in hopes of drawing in the crowds to make the money to buy the players to get to the World Series. That sounds fine and dandy; I don’t care how great your new stadium is, if you team stinks, no one wants to watch them. I think the owners in baseball have overlooked something that is very apparent to me. You can’t expect to make a profit every year you run a baseball team, especially if you are trying to run a team to make money and not to win.

The Reds I believe fall into this branch of owners. They can’t spend money because they are not making money, so they can’t get the players to come and play in Cincinnati. This hurts the Reds chances of ever competing for the Series again. Another example is the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the whole Lou Piniella situation. Piniella left a good job in Seattle to come back to his home town to manage the hometown team, the Devil Rays, arguably the worst team in baseball. Piniella was promised by the ownership that they would put more money into the team and they would strive to become a competitive ball club in a few years. I do not believe Piniella expected a championship, but he is unhappy that there hasn’t been any money at all spent on the team, as in bringing in good players to help the team win. It seems that the money is just going to the owners and the team just has to make do. That is how you run a business. A sports team is not a business. It has to be treated as a hobby.

Major League Baseball engages in revenue sharing based on the rich teams paying a luxury tax, but there is no rule that the baseball owners have to spend the extra money on the team. Most owners would be satisfied to pocket the money and keep on running the business exactly as they had been. Baseball needs to step in and fix this. Owners need to spend the money to make the money.

Major League baseball needs to look into getting rid of the teams that do not want to compete. The owners that are happy to make a small profit and be able to say they own a baseball team need to be returned to the business world. Major League baseball needs to contract the teams that regularly do not spend money to improve and do not compete at any time in the season. It may come down to teams like a Kansas City, a great baseball town, being contracted. If contraction is not the answer, then baseball should enforce a set of guidelines that owners must follow or they will be asked to sell their team to someone who wants to be successful and spend money. I know this may never happen, but when you are a fan of a team like a Cincinnati or Kansas City, this may be the only hope you have of ever reaching the World Series again.

What's going on in Tom Cruise's head?

Merlin, I'm sure you will have a lot more to say about this than myself, but Tom Cruise has apparently gone off the Scientologic deep end.

I'm sure everyone has heard about his comments about Brooke Shields' problem with post partum depression. Merlin blogged about it. So last week Cruise went on the Today Show to talk about his new movie and his brainwashing... I mean, engagement to Katie Holmes.

Like the good interviewer that Lauer is, he asked Cruise about his comments about Brooke Shields and Cruise absolutely flipped out. To quote the article I've linked in the title of this post, "The high school dropout launched into a diatribe about mental illness" and called psychiatry a pseudoscience.

I will say this, Tom Cruise makes some great movies and for the most part he seems like a really nice dude and most everyone always says that he's one of the nicest people in Hollywood. But if you don't have a high school diploma there are certain subjects that I feel should be off limits for you to talk about.

Anything to do with the study of the mind and/or treatment of mental illnesses are two of these things. In fact, they might be at the top of the list.

We have to realize that something is up with him. He just went nuts on probably the second biggest name in morning television in Matt Lauer and he was jumping around on Oprah's couch like a monkey just two weeks ago.

This is coming from a man who in involved with a "religion", and I use that term loosely, that teaches its followers that aliens crashed to the earth 75 million years ago and they are having some sort of adverse influence on our lives. There is also something about a monster trapped under a volcano or that's where the aliens are or something. I never really sorted that part out. But the alien part is enough for me to throw it in the "cult" category.

Matt Lauer kept his cool throughout the entire interview and it made Cruise look like a total fool. Lauer even started laying out obvious trap statements and questions and Cruise just fell right into them without hesitation. Everyone could see what Lauer was doing, even Cruise, but he didn't care.

Check out It is an anti-Scientology website, but it gives you more information into the cult itself than it seems Scientology will give to its followers.

What Tom Cruise is unknowingly doing right now, it seems, is he has started the process of bringing himself an Scientology down. The crazier he acts, the more people are going to look into why he's acting this way and chances are Scientology will be the reason most people attribute this to.

Friday, June 24, 2005

You can rest easy... The goats are protecting us.

You know, as ridiculous as this sounds, it makes perfect sense. Having seen our neighbor's 4 horses (now two) turn a fairly large grass field into a putting green in about 8 months, 700 goats could probably eat up all of Cali's grass lands and several homes if left unattended.

However, I don't think that we should label them as homeland security's secret weapon. I doubt the terrorists are belly crawling through the high weeds of an open field toward a city of 30 million.

They're taking the bus.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hospital lingo.

We were doing a run through of all of the emergency lingo, such as Code Blue is an adult having a cardiopulmonary arrest. Code Blue jr is a kid having a cardiopulmonary arrest. Code Red is a fire. Code Adam is a kid dissappearing. Where I get tripped up is that they say Code Brown is a bomb threat. I always thought code brown meant something quite a bit different. I just hope it doesn't get called and I don't just avoid the bathroom for a few hours.

2 Rules of psychiatry

Apparently, there are two rules in psychiatry that are the only two hard fast rules that exsist. One of them must be for all of the medical practice as they have repeated it in every lecture we have had for a week now.

Rule #1: Don't have sex with your patients.

Rule #2: Once a patient always a patient.

We also learned that psychiatry as a whole is the most likely specialty to break rule number 1; thank god it isn't pathology.

I told you so...

I caught the first episode of MTV's Real World last night and like Piccu said when we started watching, I think this show is going to make my head hurt.

The first episode is always the same. Send a guy to pick up a girl or vice versa and get some footage of the guy talking about how he would love to hook up with her. The chick could be a cyclops and you'd still get that confessional footage of "I could see myself hooking up with her. Definately."

We did have a first in the show last night in that one of the girls declared that she is a nymphomaniac. At least she's honest.

So the climax of the first episode is a nice brawl outside of a club. What is the cause of the brawl? There were several contributing factors.

The first was bad information from a drunk roommate. Second, was a sober roommate leaving the club because the drunk roommate was, like myself, making his head hurt. Third, was the fact that everyone in the city where the show is being filled hates the Real World cast. And since they travel with a substantial camera crew, they aren't hard to find.

Without getting into too many specifics, the drunk roommate was fighting with the only sober roommate and told the two drunk frat boys that someone was trying to fight the sober roommate after he left the club.

The frat boys think that the sober roommate is dead in a gutter since they couldn't find him and before you know it other drunk club goers are starting to get a little unruly. So when the frat boys go after one of the club goers, a couple of guys grab one of them from behind and caves in a portion of his skull. Literally.

The conclusion of the show involved a trip to the hospital with a swollen eye and questions about whether the Real Worlder was going to lose his sight in one eye. The doctor also told him he needs surgery to fix his head. But the drunken nurse of the cast did realize that they needed to go to the hospital, so she gets a gold star for noticing the divot on the side of his head.

Like the drunken nurse said at the end of the show, "It's day two and we are going to the hospital."

I told you so.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Since gas is 8 bucks a gallon, perhaps we should look elsewhere...

Apparently the experts are thinking that since oil prices are skyrocketing, maybe that will make it more competitive for bio fuels. Ya think?

Without getting into a rant, maybe we need a billionaire soybean tycoon in the White House so we can look into biodiesel a little harder. You can get biodiesel here at local farming centers. The only problem with it is that is gels like molasses in the winter which means that your diesel vehicles and farm machinery won't run. Normal diesel can sometime do this, but it takes a heck of a cold snap to do that.

Anyway, now you can only get biodiesel mixed in with regular diesel at 2 percent, but that supposedly increases engine lubrication by something like 66 percent. And you can just pour this stuff on the ground if you need to get rid of it because it's just soybean squeezin's.

We should all be looking into diesel vehicles anyway because they get 25 percent better fuel economy anyway. And on top of that, even a small diesel engine has a ton of power. Way more than a normal gas engine could produce.

Take the little 2.8 liter 4 cylinder diesel engine in the Jeep Liberty for example. Everyone talks about horsepower when it comes to engines, but torque is what makes your beast move. Torque is what greasy men refer to as stump-pulling power and the little Jeep 4 cylinder diesel is pushing almost 300 lbs of it. You'd have to get a fullsize Ford or Chevy truck with a substantial V-8 to get that much power and instead this engine is tucked under the hood of a 3,000 pound Jeep instead of a 6,000 truck.

So how much better would the gas mileage be in a your car if it dropped almost half of it's weight and half of it's engine but still managed the same power?

And all that the scientists of this country have to do to make corn the hottest commodity in the world and astronomically reduce the world's oil consumption is figure a way to keep the bean squeezin's from turning into Jello.

Batman began alright...

I had several people tell me that Batman Begins was a pretty good movie, but I don't think that I expected it to be a good as it actually was. It may end up like Pirates of the Caribbean was for me last year. Maybe not the "best" movie of the year, but probably the most entertaining by far.

I had a friend of mine say that he would probably have liked to have seen more of Scarecrow or Alfred or some of the other characters, but we were learning about how Bruce Wayne became Batman. We get to see the evolution of his weapons and toys. So you kind of have to focus on just Batman.

I do know that I'm growing tired of Katie Holmes. I realize that she's probably going to end up being a big time "It girl" soon, but one thing in this movie kind of annoyed me. Since Holmes works the girl next door vibe better than anyone on the planet we can let her have that, but for some reason she always seemed to be giving this coy half smile all the time. Occasionally she would actually give us a smile, but for the most part it seemed like the director probably had to always film her right side. Otherwise there was a chance that she could showing that she was fairly happy and we would never know it.

Her performance was pretty good anyway and most everyone, with the exception of Batman, really had limited roles.

However, after seeing Katie Holmes on the big screen for the first time, I think that as she ages and loses that girl next door vibe, it won't be pretty.

And that saddens me a great deal.

Wow, you're from the south...

After reading Merlin's post about smalltowning, I guess he invented a word, for some reason it reminded me about an incident my dad told us about when he and mom went to Florida one year.

Merlin mentioned Florida and I think I know the reason why Merlin has discovered that it is indeed a small world and that kind of sparked this memory.

The reason is because like himself, none of the doctors he's meeting right now probably didn't get their number one choice of places to spend their residency time. They ended up in South Carolina. So his little psychiatric coffee clatch he's visiting is kind of like 90% of the population of Florida. None of them are actually from South Carolina, they migrated there for some reason or another.

Having said that, a few years ago my mother and father went to Florida on business. Not dad's business, but mom's business. He just goes to see the pelicans. Anyway, he told a story one time about going into a convenient store one time to pick up a drink or something.

He gets what he needs and I guess he probably asked the clerk for a pack of cigarettes and showed off his glowing Kentucky accent. Now I realize that we all have a southern accent because that's just how it is. I can even tell when mine is getting a little out of hand sometimes. It also kind of depends on the company I'm around.

The southern accent can be really fun to use sometimes too. Especially when you are up north and people automatically assume that you dropped out of high school and thought you would head to the big city and ended up at the Pizza Hut in Utica, New York.

So following dad's sparkling audition of his southern accent the clerk looks at him and says, "Wow, your from the south."

So dad looks back at the convenient store clerk, in Orlando, Florida mind you, and says, "Where do you think you are?" You can get much more "south" than Florida. Any further south is a totally different accent all together.

But then again, like all of Merlin's shrinking buddies, no one you see in Florida is actually from Florida.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Today, I met all of the residents I will be working with for the next few years. I also met a couple of attendings and the chair of our department. For some reason, the world shrunk today as I talked with people about Kentucky and how someone new so and so and so on and on. Within that room there were several people, whom I we either had friends in common in Kentucky or people I have met other places around. So it brought me to analogy of with my past that I had expereinced and enjoyed so much. When I was in high school I met people through tennis and academic team and other random ways. It was always great knowing people from around so that as I met new people I could connect better with them by finding our friends in common. Then I went on to WKU and there went to school with some of the friends I had made and made many new connection through them. The point is that it felt exactly like starting college today; making the new connections. By now I have friends who are in virtually every line of work you can think of. So when I have an eye problem I call one of the five optometrists I know and get advice before going in. When I need to know about car mechanics, I have people to call too. So on and so forth. The beauty of this it is exactly how small town America works. Growing up we were all somebodies "boy" or "grandson." It makes it easier when you need help so that people will bend over backwards for you and you can have the opportunity to do that for them too. And it is rewarding to help someone, but it is more so when it is a friend (or a friend of a friend). So today, began "smalltowning" the entire country; with connections that I will have from now on. Now Dr. So and so in Florida feels a lot more like Dr. so and so in the next town over.

Monday, June 20, 2005

My Path

My Path

I look for my path among the stars
And across oceans deep and blue
But the day I found it, I looked down
And found it beneath my shoe

written in late 1999/early 2000.

Summertime Movitime Pick: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

This week’s summertime movietime pick is a movie called The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse. I know, I know, it sounds as though this may be an double entendre laden adult movie, but I assure you it is a crazy little movie that while you may never ever find it on video or DVD, you may luck out like I did and see it on Turner Classics. The movie was produced in 1938 and stars one of my personal favorites, Edward G. Robinson. Robinson is the amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, a well respected doctor who in his thirst for knowledge decides to begin an experiment to figure out the criminal mind. He does this by becoming a criminal himself. He overnight becomes that mastermind of a criminal ring and while trying to bow out of the game gracefully is forced into committing the one crime that he had not attempted during his experiment. This premise sounds incredibly stupid, but it works very well, and I could see it working as a film today.

A costar of Robinson and his nemesis in this movie is Humphrey Bogart. Bogie plays his usual tough guy gangster role that he was known for early in his career. He used to be the number one guy until the good doctor arrived and when the doctor tries to leave, Bogie tries to pull him back in only to work for Bogie’s needs. It is not his best performance, but this movie is not his, it belongs to Robinson. As I said, I doubt you will be able to track this down at the local Blockbuster and I don’t know that I would recommend going to Amazon and buying it right away, but I do believe that you will enjoy just how crazy everything seems but how it all works out to become a very plausible scenario.

So are the Days of Our Lakers

The NBA Finals were in full stride the last few weeks and of course all the basketball talk has been focused on the Los Angeles Lakers. What’s that? You mean the Lakers didn’t even make the playoffs? Well, that doesn’t mean that we can’t spend the entire Finals discussing Phil, Kobe and, even Shaq. As far as the TV ratings are concerned, it seems most NBA fans have no problem ignoring the NBA Finals. That is what happens when you have two TEAMs involved and not just two superstars with his own set of lackeys going at it, but enough about actual basketball action; let’s get to the real story or soap opera as some would say, The Days of Our Lakers.

Phil Jackson announced that he was ready to continue coaching and was ready to continue his career in LA. Now, why in the world he would decide this I have no idea. I can only imagine that $10 million a year helps, not to mention a beautiful girlfriend whose dad happens to own the team, but didn’t he leave LA with a bad taste in his mouth the last time? In fact, wasn’t he pretty much sent packing by the resident “next Michael Jordan” Kobe Bryant? Kobe Bryant, a player that Phil trashed in a tell all book that came out after his last season in LA. Among other things, Jackson said Bryant was uncoachable and he would never coach him again. Funny how time and straight up cash can heal all wounds.

You have to wonder how this whole thing will work out. If you follow the world of the NBA, then you know that Phil Jackson is perhaps the greatest coach of all time. He has 9 world championships, for the record, he and Red Auerbach are the list when it comes to most titles, both with 9. For a guy who always wins, he doesn’t seem to get much credit for it. I know some of you are already mumbling about how you could win 9 titles with Jordan, Pippen, Kobe and Shaq, and you may be right. One thing that always seems to get under my skin about people who knock Phil Jackson for winning all his titles with great players, is how many championship teams in any sport win with mediocre players? I know this year’s Finals do not have the big superstar matchups that you used to see when Magic, Bird and Jordan were in the game, but is there really any doubt that these are not the two best teams playing in the game right now? I don’t see the LA Clippers winning any titles.

I’m sorry, but you need the best players to win, and even then, it’s not a lock you will win a title. There have been more than a few times the most dominant team did not prevail, while rare, it does happen. I’m not sure if some of you know this, but trying to keep a team of overpayed prima donnas motiviated and happy can be a full time job, and without a doubt, Phil Jackson is the best personality coach in the game. Any man that can deal with Dennis Rodman for as long as he had to obviously knows how to relate to people.

I have good news for the Jackson and Lakers haters though; the best players in the game aren’t on this Lakers team. Sure you have Kobe, who may be the best in the league, but he needs more than a wilting Lamar Odom and a transparent Caron Butler helping him out. No man can win an NBA title alone, a superstar needs at least one other superstar to get to the Finals for a chance. The Lakers need to do some retooling to make the Finals in the next year or two.

Jackson sounds like he is excited to take on this challenge and the way I look at it, even if he fails to win another championship with the Lakers, the blame can always be placed on Kobe’s shoulders. Anything that happens in the NBA that has a negative connotation seems to be Bryant’s fault. While Kobe is not totally undeserving of the knocks he has taken in the last couple of years, he can’t be blamed for everything that happens in the NBA. The big question for Kobe is can he eat crow and admit that maybe he didn’t know what he was doing when he wanted Phil out of Laker Land? It’s obvious Kobe’s season didn’t go as he would have hoped. Shaq advanced to the brink of the Finals, while Kobe was barbecuing with the wife and kid. That had to make Kobe feel a little foolish.

Maybe that foolish feeling helped Kobe realize that he may indeed need a little more help in Lakerland. I would have to think the Phil and Kobe have talked and have at least agreed to be civil and professional for the sake of the team and its goals. While I do not believe that the Lakers are officially a Finals team, I believe with the same team as last year’s plus Phil Jackson, they are a sure playoff team, and with a little help, who knows. The success for the Lakers depends on the compatibility of the Kobe and Phil Dynamic, V. 2.0. I believe it can work, but I will not be surprised to never see these two win a championship together. Now that we have gotten the important NBA news out of the way, let’s get back to the Finals.

Something interesting, at least to me.

Schizophrenia has been documented for well over a hundred years, though still misunderstood by the general public and not much better understood by psychiatrists, we are getting there.

I was reading in a text yesterday and saw something about brainwaves and schizophrenia. Let me start by saying that when we recieve a stimuli, let's say a sound, our brain fires neurons which go to parts of brain to recieve and interpret that sound. That neural stimulation can be measured on an EEG as quote brainwaves. In schizophrenia, as it turns out, there are at least two of these that are effected. First, the P50 is a brain wave that occurs in response at 50 miliseconds after the stimulation. There is a test such that you are given two stimuli one after the other to stimulate these particular waves. In a normal person the response to the second stimuli should be much less than the first, such as a background noise we would "tune out." Schizophrenics do not have a reduced response which may show damage in the frontal lobes of the brain. The second is the P300 which is a response at 300 miliseconds to a stimuli. This brain wave is reduced in shizophrenics, also showing frontal lobe damage. The point of all of this is the zeroing in on the cause and eventually treatment/cure for schizophrenia.

A parting thought; there is a question that a very high percentage of schizophrenics answer the same way. Before I tell you the question, keep in mind that answering it the same way as a schizophrenic would in no way mean that you have schizophrenia.

What does a married couple and a table have in common?

They both have four legs.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

My wife talked me into it.

There is a scene in an old cheers episode where coach brings up starting every practice with handstand pushups and goes into them behind the bar. Sam reminds coach that that was someone else so Coach falls behind the bar in the middle of several push ups.

This was my experience with body flow today. This is a class combining Tai Chi, yoga, and pilates. Sound gay enough for you? It was pretty damn hard. Jennifer and I did that today and though I'm not prepared to give up the weights and running and get my own mat and special pants, I can see the utility in balance and flexibility. Anyway there was the one part where you are crouched down and go up on your hands and balance. The insructor told us to do it then ten seconds into I realized, "hey, I don't know what the heck I'm doing " and immediately approached collapse.

Anyway, it was a new experience that I'll try again at some point.

Empathy or sympathy?

I was doing some reading for work today and cmae across some phrasing and vocabulary that I needed to look up. To make a long story short I was seg-wayed into differentiating between empathy and sympathy. I thought I knew the difference, but after looking the two up I was even more confused.

This is my basic understanding, so please make posts to clarify/agree/correct.

Empathy-- to understand how another feels and "feel" how that person feels in there feelings
Example: someone just lost their job and you understand what it feels like to be in there shoes?

Sympathy-- to feel pity or sorry for someone who has a hardship
Example: a friend's grandmother dies and not having gone through that yourself and unable to imagine how that feels you cannot empathize, but you feel bad that they are having a difficult time and therefore sympathize?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Media times, they are a-changin'...

I was reading the latest entry in a blog that I frequently visit called It's linked above. Anyway, Mr. Porter has a section entitled First Draft on his site that focuses entirely on the newspaper media. Porter used to be the editor of the San Francisco Examiner. He talks mainly of large daily newspapers, but many of the problems he speaks of in his writings can extend down to the smallest papers.

His latest post was dealing with the Michael Jackson verdict and how it was covered by the media. I don't know about you all, but I was watching MSNBC when the verdict came down. However the Santa Maria Times, the newspaper for the town where Jackon's Neverland Ranch is located, published an Extra! about the verdict that afternoon when the verdict came out.

On Porter's website he had a photo on there of people just reading their Extra! totally engulfed in the paper. Porter's comment on this was that the Extra! is a thing of the past. Back in the golden age before the internet and 24 hour news channels, if you wanted your news up to the minute you had to rely on a newspaper printing an Extra! in the middle of the afternoon. The people were reading the Times out in the middle of a field near Jackson's ranch. That meant they had no idea that the verdict had been announced. I guess they could have used their cell phones, but they were in the middle of a field in central California.

There used to be a time where the local daily newspaper was how everyone got their news. The nightly news on TV was in its infancy and for the most part they were still only reading the newspaper and showing you the photos that would be printed for the next day. And on top of that they couldn't go in depth because they were only 30 minutes or an hour long.

Maybe this is why Porter is so down journalists these days. Everything is at their finger tips. Now a lot of the newspapers are the same because they don't want to be the ones that didn't print a significant story that was buzzing on the internet and TV even if it didn't mean a thing to their readers. But they don't want to hear anyone complain about not seeing that stupid story in the paper even though they read it first on Yahoo! News.

Back in the day all you really needed to do was get the facts our there, but now the facts are everywhere. Now journalists are pushed to find something unique about a story and emphasize it. Unfortunately, most papers are understaffed and are happy to just get the paper out instead of pushing themselves to improve.

Porter linked to some photos from back during World War II when 300 point headlines were a lot more common than they are now. People were showing the photographer their newspapers about how the Japanese surrendered. That photographer no doubt followed the delivery truck to the newspaper stand where everyone was waiting for the news.

The last 300 point headline I can recall was on September 12, 2001

We always hear and use the cliche–"I'll believe it when I see it". There used to be a time when you couldn't believe it until you read it in black and white in your newspaper.

A Witness for the Prosecution

After hearing my uncle and Piccu rave about the movie so titled above, I managed to catch it on TV the other day. It is astonishing that the movie is so old and seemingly ahead of its time. It reminded me of what a good movie can be without nudity, bad language, and special effects. Especially, in a time that any of those three can virtually be the main point of a film.

Now, I understand the value of escapism in a movie experience, but I also see the beauty in a set of talented actors drawing you in with just words and filmed actions. Then getting the same enjoyment in seeing it again and again. Independent films provide the largest new pool of this type of cinema, Napoleon Dynamite is more entertaining evrytime I see it.

I do like to see a good explosion, every now and then, but if it's not surrounded by acting and a plot then no thanks. If you like movies that draw you in with the acting, then you need to see Closer. It is brillantly dialogued with powerful scenes containing only 4 characters. There is only one part of the film that more than two of them are interacting at once. The remainder is powerful one-on-one scenes, that while not making it a feel good movie, give amazing performances. There is also a scene in the movie Insomnia, where Pacino and Williams are having a conversation and the way it is shot and delivered makes you feel like the screen is just too small to fit them both at once. Closer is like that.

Back to the original point of this post; Witness to the Prosecution should be on the list of must-sees for any movie fanatic. It was very well done.

Tonohoney is the name of a band I stumbled upon while listening to a podcast. I dig their music mainly because it's different. It's nothing that hasn't been done before, but it's music that doesn't fit in a specific genre. It's a little jazzy and bluesy type rock and roll.

Even if they weren't producing their own records independently, you still wouldn't be able to hear them anywhere. But they are cool and I dig them and they have two CD's available. They are $15 on their website that is linked above and you can even download all of their first album for free to check it out. I will warn you that the first song on the first album called Swoosh wouldn't download for me, but it's really good and I have it on a podcast already so what do I care.

So that brings me up to this, imagine what could happen with this podcasting thing for the music industry. Most every podcast, no matter what the subject of it is, will always give you some music to listen to. This music is called "podsafe" which means that you don't have to worry about the RIAA knocking on your door with a lawsuit in their hands if you download it or distribute it in anyway. Or if you play it on your podcast.

Imagine what could happen if the bands made all of the profit instead of getting a dollar from every CD bought from their record label.

Remember when Toni Braxton was the biggest star in music, but was dead broke even before her fame died down? She didn't get but a tiny portion of the money made from her millions of albums that she sold. Everybody but her was getting rich.

This podsafe music allows the bands to get all of the cash and sure there will be kids that will distribute the music after they buy the albums, but for the most part people will support the bands they like. Either way it could give bands a little more leverage when it comes to actually drawing up a contract so that they can get better deals.

There is a podsafe music network forming and it could really change the music industry as we know it in a dramatic way.

You have to wonder if some of the horrible bands that are our now really deserved their record deal or if they were just in the right place at the right time.

The Runaway Bride, Rides Again

Just when you thought it was safe to read the news again, the Runaway Bride is back. When will someone find that perpetually surprised freak and put us out of our misery with a well placed kick to her face? She is selling the rights to her story for a half a million dollars and has secured an exclusive interview with Katie Couric for the Today Show. I’m sure Katie is gearing up to ask the tough questions.

What is it like to be known as one of the biggest morons in the universe? What kind of crazy voodoo like spell have you cast over this poor man that you ran out on and wouldn’t it just be easier to kill him? What exactly did you do the whole time you were on the lam? At any time during this brilliant scheme to get out of your wedding, besides just telling this poor weasel you didn’t want to get married, did you think perhaps you took things a tad too far? What is wrong with your eyes? Do you know that your eyes have no pupils? Is it even possible for you to close your eyes, or do you just sleep with your eyes open? Why does the mere sight of you make me so angry? Is it because if you weren’t some crazy woman whose family wasn’t big shots in your small hometown you would be in the can? Why would anyone want to watch your lame Lifetime Movie of the Week in the first place? Why should you be paid for committing a criminal act?

I’m sure those are some of the questions Katie will ask the Runaway Bride. Katie is known for her hard hitting journalistic approach. I won’t be watching, but I will be hoping that anyone who is trying to make money of this insane wench will fail miserably.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I don't know about you, but I'm still recovering...

I'm beginning to think those two movies in one day were just too much. I'm still recovering from my injuries.

It's amazing that we're still alive. It would have killed 10 ordinary men.

And they probably wouldn't have even made it to the sushi and quail egg intermission we had between the movies.

Two movies in one day you say, that's insanity

Piccu, Bratch, and I met up last Friday for an outing that would have killed a mortal being: we watched two movies at the theater in one day! Insanity you say, well maybe not you but Jennifer might. She wasn't up for two movies so she and the James Duo met us for the second one.

First on the list was The Longest Yard. I go on record up front saying that I have yet to see the older version and I believe it is the feelings of my comrades that it was much better than this remake. In that situation or one where I have read the book first, I am usually highly critical. Since I am not yet in that position, I can say that I enjoyed it, Sandler was much better than I expected (compared to what I imagine a young Burt Reynolds would be), and it is worth your time. If there is anything else at the theater you want to see then this one could wait until it is rentable.

Mr and Mrs Smith was viewed by all six of us, and I think most of us liked it. I think Pitt is underrated as a talented actor (or overshadowed by his looks). Jolie is also very talented. With that said, they played the roles they were given, easily pulling off the ultra-cool characters they portrayed. But for what it was (a fully loaded action films complete with comical cheesy lines) it was good. This is a better choice in the theater than the first because explosions just look better on the big screen.

DVRing is fun and streamlines brain rot

I have begun using my DVR to tape things. It truly is a miracle of science. While I have "noting but time" on my hands, I have DVRed movies that I would like to watch if nothing else is on. I see the utility, however, in fitting a few things into a busy schedule, skipping comercials,...etc. My first two classic movie DVRs are going to be The Longest Day and then tomorrow, Witness to the Prosecution. I just watched Jagged Edge which wasn't bad, but fit into the "better than the other crap" category and not so much a must see.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Speaking of Michael Jackson...

Any of you who thought that Michael Jackson was actually going to be doing jail time have obviously never heard of the term "reasonable doubt". And the prosecutor who took this case and ran with it is a fool.

When your star witness has a mother who has tried to extort money from people by accusing them of doing the exact same thing they accused Jackson of and you proceed with the case, you're an idiot.

Sure Jackson is a wierdo who is a glutton for punishment, but regardless of what we think, people target him for money. If you ask me, it seems as though his affinity to have children around is because he never had a chance to be a kid when he was growing up. He was too busy touring and recording albums and being famous with his family.

And besides, if you have seen his father you know that man could scare off a charging rhino.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Petifores and pedaphiles?

Today I experienced one of the greatest cullinary creations known to man: the petifore. For those of you non-high brow shower-goers, a petifore is a tiny, square, bite-sized cake that has been dipped in candy chocolate. It's like eating a tiny wedding cake all at once! It is indeed a tiny wedding reception just for your taste buds. My favorite thing about the petifore is that you can eat three or four before your stomach knows what's happening, and that's less filling and tastes great.

Raining all of the sudden...

So my muched needed vacation has come to an end and I'm worried a bit about tomorrow. All of this rain we are having isn't helping a bit either.

See before I left on vacation it was gloomy and wanting to rain and the forecast called for rain all week long. As soon as my vacation starts the rain stops and it's blue skies all week long. Since this weekend was technically just another weekend, it's been raining the entire time.

I hope this isn't a bad sign, but I appreciate the vacation gods smiling for a little while.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

MTV movie awards...

I'm not going to get too in depth with the movie awards because that is Piccu's territory, but who do they think they are at MTV?

Case in point. Best Female Performance. Hillary Swank is nominated for the role in which she WON AN OSCAR FOR in Million Dollar Baby. Then you have Lindsey "Cocaine's a helluva drug" Lohan who was nominated for her gripping role as a hot chick who isn't accepted in high school by the popular hot chicks in the teen suspense-drama-thriller Mean Girls.

I know what you're saying. It's a toss up. Sure Swank has two Oscars under her belt, but what are Oscars anyway? Lohan on the other hand is the "it" girl right now.

Oscar winner? It girl? Oscar winner? It girl?

And the winner is.... It girl, Lindsey Lohan because at the rate she's losing weight, she may not make it to next year.

Clint Eastwood is rolling over in his grave. Wait a minute...


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Why would anyone want to be on MTV's Real World...

Why would anyone even think that they would want to be on the Real World? Anyone in their right mind has to know that it's set up for trouble. However, after seeing a bit of the Real World Lauch Special today on MTV, I have realized that anyone in their right mind, or somewhat right mind, wouldn't make the cut to be on the show.

This show started out as an MTV sociology experiment. Put seven different people together in and see how they react to living with each other. For the first few seasons not many paid much attention to the show. The only reason any of us started watching was because a guy from a town near us made the show.

After watching a few seasons we all realized that they had a formula. You get a white boy frat guy, a lesbian, a gay guy, a black guy and a black girl. Those types of people have to be there. You can combine some of these by having a black gay guy or something like that, but these elements must be present. Then you have to get someone from the south, the deeper the better, and the rest of them can just be diverse, but they must be good looking. If they will consider sleeping with any human being they come in contact with that also puts them ahead of the pack.

If you also have a few alcohol related arrests on file that puts you even closer to making the cut. Nothing big, but you have to show them that the only occasion you need to drink is that you're alive and upright. And if you come out and openly announce that you are not in anyway prejudice toward anyone, you're in. If you have to announce you don't hate some people, you probably hate some people. And around week 5, it'll be out in the open.

Now it seems like MTV has added another criteria to becoming one of the magnificent seven. You have to be emotionally scarred somehow. Some of these people come in and you can just tell that they have had some trials in their lives. Whether they have been raped, molested, lost a parent or loved one, watched someone die of cancer or was there when their best friend was shot, they have had something in their lives that altered them in the blink of an eye.

Then when they get to the house for the show they are deprived of a lot of the things they take for granted like TV and other forms of entertainment and are given an open bar. This way all they have to do during the day is drink and talk. So by the second or third week they've gotten past the chit-chat and they delve into subjects that only God and they know about.

The last couple of Real Worlds were pretty bad, but what I've seen on MTV about this new one in Austin is going to take the cake. Between emotional breakdowns, hospital runs and trips to jail, they probably won't even make it to the first day of the job.

What happens if they are picked up by the Federales in Mexico?

What it boils down to now is that if you are actually chosen to be on the Real World and you consider yourself to be a normal person, you had better take a long look in the mirror.

Because of the several hundred thousand people who sent in tapes, they decided you were crazy enough to be "interesting" TV.

The leather hit the gym floor tonight.

Who ever said high school basketball ends sometime during March hasn't visited Gaffney, SC. Tonight, I witnessed the end of a game as exciting and spirited as any regional final I have witnessed in Western Ky. The Gaffney summer rec league was underway in full swing tonight. I should start by setting the scene. Imagine any descent sized elementary school gym (for those Ohio Countians, about twice the seating or more of Western Elementary) completely packed with standing room only. It wasn't state championship. It wasn't even a rec league championship. Just another night of good ole fashioned rec league ball. Oh, I should also mention that I was there because Jennifer's 9th grade cousin was invited to join the League. Furthermore, he is the only white player. Further still, in a gym with between 2 and 3 hundred I counted 7 white people including the cousin playing, my wife, her aunt and uncle, myself and two other random fans.

The game I went to watch wasn't close so it was just an ok game. I got to see the end of the game before though. One team came back from a 7 point deficit to tie it up with 22seconds left. The other team got the ball and a kid with two dunks already, broke away for his third dunk to bring down the house. Well, we all waited patiently for him to get there, but somewhere along the way, one of the defenders had a different idea. How in god's name he caught the guy I don't know, but he proceeded to jump out of the gym and a send a missle out into the crowd. Let me tell you, no one was sitting in the house. Immediately the ball was thrown back in, stolen away and with the remaining 20 seconds the the comeback kids made it to the other end, moved the ball around a bit, and finally dropped in a bomb from the rafters. He indeed was shooting daggers.

All of this and it was just rec league; 2-3 times a week for the summer.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

This week's summertime movietime pick: Fail-Safe

I had just finished reading an article in Premiere magazine on Henry Fonda. It mentioned one of the roles he was born to play, the President of the United States in a movie called Fail-Safe. I love Henry Fonda and have seen many of his greatest performances, but this one had somehow slipped past me. Luckily, I happened to see that it was on AMC and I TIVOed it and watched it this weekend.

Fail-Safe could be easily classified as a horror movie, but it would more likely be classified as a suspense-thriller. It is a movie that shows what might happen if the computers that seem to run everything in life malfunction and cause a mistake that could change the world forever. The computers in this case are the computers that run the military and control the instructions for the military during the height of the Cold War. The mistake in this case is the very real threat of nuclear war. It is up to Henry Fonda and his staff to figure out how to stop this from happening.

For a movie that was released in 1964, it holds up extremely well. I didn’t expect to be sucked in and on the edge of my seat, but I was sweating the outcome. The acting is very well done and that is to be expected with the director being Sidney Lumet. Henry Fonda does not appear until about half way through, but he really takes over for the rest of the movie. The supporting cast is very good, including Walter Matthau portraying a scientist you wouldn’t want to be deciding the outcome of this situation if this actually happened. Dom DeLuise also appears in the movie with a small supporting role.

I believe the premise still works to this day because computers control more now than they did in the 60’s. Who’s to say there won’t be a malfunction that causes a crisis like this in our times? Who’s to say we haven’t already suffered something like this, but we just don’t know about it? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to go all X-Files on you, but you never know, and that is why it translates so well.

This is a serious movie; don’t go into this film looking for light entertainment. It will get you on edge and keep you there until the heart stopping end. I highly recommend this movie and think it will continue to mess with your mind many days later.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Summer time is the time for unorthodox sports.

When the weather gets warm and the days get longer, even I put down my remote control to come outside and enjoy the summer season. I didn’t say I did this very often, but nonetheless, I do enjoy the warm weather. Summer is a great season if you like to be active because there are many sporting activities in which you can participate.

I say sports, but we all know there are different kinds of sports, and summer sports are on a whole different level. You can play the organized sports, such as basketball, baseball, softball (not in Ohio County), but you can also play a number of, shall we say, unorthodox sports. Sports like washers, horseshoes, and lawn darts. Ah, lawn darts, I remember playing that game, but it has been a long time. I believe it was known as the most dangerous game of summer. So dangerous in fact, I don’t know if they even sell it in stores anymore.

Thanks to the internet, I found that lawn darts are in fact banned in the USA. They were banned for sale in the US in 1988; it HAS been a long time. Apparently they were harmful if you happen to be struck by one, who knew? Owners of lawn darts were advised to immediately discard of or destroy all lawn darts. I am glad my family didn’t stake their financial stake in the lawn dart industry. Lawn darts were indeed the most deadly summer game and I had often wondered why it never became an Olympic sport. It can’t be more dangerous than the javelin throw or even the discus throw. I can remember summers filled with lawn darts and firecrackers and only recall minor injuries coming from that combination. I did find that if you are a lawn dart enthusiast and you like to live life on the edge, you can find a set of lawn darts if you scour the internet for about 2 minutes. Happy hunting, you daredevils.

Other summer games that are not quite as homicidal as lawn darts, are washers and horseshoes. Those two games are very similar. You throw both washers and horseshoes. You get points for throwing them, other than that, I guess they really aren’t that similar, but if you have played both, you know what I mean. I myself am a washers man; this may be because I am a very weak man and cannot throw a horseshoe farther than an anvil. Washers can be played many different ways, while a game of horseshoes is very simple. Two stakes, four horseshoes and you throw them around the stake. There it is. With a game of washers, there are many different ways to play.

My first introduction to washers came as a kid and we threw the washers into a hole in the ground. Not exactly the hardest game to set up, is it? I have also played washers with a couple of paint cans filled with gravel. That can take a little while to set up, but it is still pretty simple. I have also played the fancy boy’s washers. The fancy boy’s washers are played with two boxes that are built angled downward with holes in them and different point totals for each hole. That is fancy. You also have a bonus because most boxes have a screw sticking up from the upper middle of the box that if ringed by a thrower is worth major points. I call this the fancy boy’s version because you have to spend a little time on the production of this game. It’s not as simple as digging a hole, but if you have the boxes fabricated, than this is easy to set up. This is the version I like best. That’s right, I’m a fancy boy.

I have just recently found a new summer sport that is just as fun as washers and horseshoes and at the same time can be as potentially deadly as a set of lawn darts. No, I don’t mean a fireworks war, although that is a rite of summer in and of itself, and a longstanding tradition of the Bratcher clan. The game I am speaking of is Ladder Golf. “Ladder Golf?” you ask. Yes, Ladder Golf. I was introduced to it a few weeks ago and my first impression was this is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. And I was right, but it is very fun and addictive.

You may have heard it called by many different names, but it is best known as Ladder Golf. Ladder Golf is what it sounds like. You need a ladder with three rungs equal distance apart and you need some golf balls. Take two golf balls, drill a hole in each, and put some rope through the holes and knot it off so you make a bola with a golf ball on each end. You need six of these bolas. You don’t need two ladders, but I find that it is better if you do. I like to be able to stare down my opponent and at the same time receive encouragement from my partner across the way. You then place the ladders apart at a distance and throw the bolas for points. You get points for each rung you hang the bolas on. This may not sound as dangerous as lawn darts, but a golf ball can raise quite a welt if you get caught napping and are thwacked by an errant throw.

There are other aspects I could go into, but most of you have quit reading after the first paragraph and I can’t take up all the space in this section. So, if you want to find out more about this, you can search your friendly neighborhood internet for more information. Some sights may explain how to make them and some will offer to sell them. My brother made two ladders and six bolas for around $50. So I would advise finding the dimensions and making your own.

I know you probably have other unorthodox summer sports you play, but those are a few of my favorite. If you have some crazy games you play in the summer time, feel free to post your comments. Maybe I will revisit this subject later in the summer. I most likely will not because I will be too busy dodging lawn darts and lighting firecrackers.

Apple looking to switch to Intel processors...

So it looks like Apple is finally looking Microsoft and Intel straight in the eye. While this idea has its drawbacks, there are a lot of good things that could come out of this.

A drawback is that a lot of software that is being produced for Macs now won't work in Macs with Intel-based processors and vice versa in the future. So my Mac mini that is only about 3 months old might have a limited library of software that it is able to run.

On the other hand, it will help Macs get faster and most likely cheaper in the long run. I'll be the first to admit that the Macs that I'm able to afford aren't nearly as fast as the Windows/Intel-based PCs that I could have spent my money on. But Apple was the first to offer dual-processor based computers on a large scale basis for consumers.

As far as pure speed goes, PCs do have a bit of an edge, but Apple makes that up in the best operating system money can buy in OS X. However, if Apple switches to Intel chips, the PC world is looking at being able to get their grubby mits on OS X.

If Apple and Intel join forces, the monopoly that is Windows will be in serious danger. OS X Tiger (version 10.4) is literally years ahead of Windows. Microsoft has this great new operating system waiting in the wings codenamed Longhorn, but Apple beat them to the punch by at least a year with OS X Tiger. And OS X is the sole reason why I feel that the most expensive PC in the world can't touch my $600 Mac mini. I'm running OS X and I've never once crashed, never once had a virus and am able to edit movies, create photo slideshows and author DVD's with software Apple practically gives away.

When I hit high school I jumped on the PC bandwagon with both feet and at the time Mac operating systems were terrible. In fact, they were terrible up until OS X. I learned everything I knew on a PC and I knew them pretty well inside and out. I helped set up Windows NT 4.0 networks and I had a small computer business for a couple of years. I lived the PC so don't even begin to think that I'm one of these Mac-heads that talk smack without having ever used a PC. Chances are I know more about them than you do, if I may be so bold.

Where I work now uses original iMacs running OS 9.0 and they are terrible. I kept reading about how great OS X was so I bought an iBook laptop running OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) and that was when I knew I was finished with Windows forever.

What Apple does that makes the Mac superior to the PC is that they make the software and build the computer as well. Dell might build your computer, but they rely on Microsoft to make sure that all of the hardware jives with Windows. And all of the other hardware manufacturers have to make sure their hardware jives with other hardware.

Sure Apple uses ATI and Nvidia video cards and various other manufacturers for their computers, but if I have a problem I can go back to the source at Apple instead of having to call tech support all over the country. The Windows people blame the hardware people who blame other hardware people. And before you know it you are calling tech support in Japan for your motherboard when your cutting edge video card was the problem initially. (I've done it before.)

So a lot has to happen just for a PC to work properly without even getting into viruses and all the problems associated with the Internet. Ultimately the only problem with the Mac is that you can't pirate software from your neighbor and save a couple of hundreds bucks on Microsoft Office.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Politics in a rural setting...

Politics somewhat fascinate me. I can get into some national politics and a little more state politics, but hometown politics take the cake. The reason is because local politics are possibly worse than national politics if given the right setting. Small time politicians take their jobs a whole lot more seriously than big time politicians because they have to answer to their neighbors when they see them in the local grocery store. You can never really find a big time politician around because they are always on the road unless there is a free meal and photo opportunity available.

Unfortunately, most of the time the only people that ever get into rural politics are the people that most likely shouldn't. There are a few that get into it for all the right reasons, but I've known a few that were forced out because they weren't falling into line.

Here where I live there are a lot of things going on at a city level and county level that the citizens around here should rally around but don't because of egos and the right people knowing the right people.

One is the local budget getting passed. Now I live in a rural county that is perennially broke, but every year we have just enough local magistrates to get together and make sure that nothing gets done. They always rally behind one or another to ask for hundreds of thousands of dollars to be placed in either road funds or water funds. They don't want to take anything away from anything else, that might lose them 2 or 3 votes out of the 150 they need to get re-elected, but apparently they think that when a budget is made that there is always a half million dollars setting around collecting dust. Which would negate the whole budgeting process since a budget plans out how we are going to spend our money for the next fiscal year.

Either way, when everyone talks about home much money the county doesn't have, asking for any money muchless hundreds of thousands of dollars is just plain ignorant.

The next issue that is up in the air is a proposed sports complex in the largest city in the county that has a population of a whopping 3,300 citizens. This sports complex has been planned for our beloved children. That's what is behind the planning, the knowledge that we are going to get this complex built so that our children can have a place to play baseball, football and soccer. Among other things.

The only problem with this is that no one at the city level wants any help in the building process. The county has put up $50,000 toward getting the process going. Granted 50 grand isn't much, but it's $50,000 more than the city can put up. Even if the city wanted to put some money toward it they probably couldn't get together more than a hundred bucks.

The mayor even drove out a 30 year tradition of men's softball so the kids could have a place to play baseball. There were only about 12 kids that needed a place to play at the time, but 12 kids take precedence over 150 softball players and their families because they had just the right parents to make some phone calls. Of course the softball league wanted to work it out so that both baseball and softball could coexist, but apparently at the time, one baseball team needed the park 5 days a week so the 10 softball teams had to go elsewhere.

My friends and I were big into softball for about 10 years or so, but to tell the truth, we didn't miss it much and I could have let the sleeping dog lie. Unfortunately the mayor had the nerve to ask why weren't playing softball a year or so ago and that angers me. If I had been there, she would have known exactly why we weren't playing softball.

So this planned sports complex is all being done for the kids. Phone calls where made and strings were pulled... No, yanked so that softball could be driven out and our baseball leagues could be built. It grows every single year and sooner or later they will out grow our softball field.

Unfortunately, because of the mayor and the other local politicians around here, the only kids that are going to be playing in that sports complex are going to be my great-grand children.

I'm still on vacation, but I thought I would get that out. I'll get into the not-so-booming bluegrass tourism project later on.

To catch a spot on my favorite movie list

Piccu and Bratch gave me several old movies as a recent graduation present. One of which was "To Catch a Thief." For those of you who haven't seen it, and don't mind a movie without nudity and explosions ( which most truly great movies don't need), this is the one.

Cary Grant is probably my favorite classic movie star. He is witty, humorous, and either can fit any role or make it fit him. The movie was quite entertaining.

Grace Kelley is phenomenal in everything she does. I recently saw an article describing what women that men found attractive versus what women that women found attractive. On that list, Grace was a woman's woman. Not in my book. She is easily near or at the top of my all time favorite actress list. She sexy, fun, and cool all in the same breath. She is indeed timeless. No wonder she became a princess.

The movie is great, somewhere near the top of my favorite Hitchcock. I like Rear Window better and probably North by Northwest with Cary and Grace respectively.

So begins another chapter...

We're in! Finally we are "completely" in the new house. The furniture came in on Friday night at about eight. By nine we were relaxed on our new leather coach watching the fifth season of Cheers.

The neighborhood is fairly great so far. We are in the middle of town only minutes from work, yet there are evergreens everywere. When I stand on the front porch and look down the street, I can only see woods surrounding the end of the neighborhood. It is ver reminiscent of the rural road my parents live on. We were running a few days ago and out in the middle of this street with woods on both sides of the road was a giant snapping turtle (which I side-stepped). Still though it is a very cool neighborhood as far as non rural areas go.

The next chapter of our new house and of our life will begin tomorrow: cable television. The average Joe would say "what's the big deal?" We haven't had more than four stations in the last three years, and I'm not sure when I had cable before that. In addition, a measily $5 amonth gets us two channel simultaneous DVR capabilities. We are indeed pretty stoked about that too.

To our humble home in Columbia, SC; welcome to the 21st century

Friday, June 03, 2005

The first day of freedom... And it rocks!

Yesterday was a very bad day for me. First of all, I had to go to work which is somewhat at the root of it all where my POS computer caused me to lose a month of photos. Second, I've needed to get some photos for some people printed at a local supercenter (hint,hint) and the their super cool printing machine has been down for about 10 days. And third, my XM radio receiver was broken and since I couldn't find my receipt and I had to send off the bar codes for the buy one get one free deal, they couldn't take it back. Meaning I was down a C-note. And on top of that the people at XM were fighting me on my free radio.

Coming into the day I was looking alright. Last day of work before a good long vacation and it just went straight down the tubes. The supercenter's photo machine was working again so my buddy and I went to get some photos before we headed to get a story.

We loaded up our photos and while I waited for him the service desk was telling me I was SOL on the radio and to just grin and bear it. So I was immediately mad as a hornet.

When we get back from getting the story to pick up our photos, my buddy gets his and when I ask for mine the girl tells me that she couldn't get mine to transfer into the machine and on top of that, the machine was now broken. Again.

I was ready to murder some people yesterday and since I was already paying for my XM radio service I went and bought yet another XM radio receiver in a fit of rage thinking that good radio would calm me down. I was clearly thinking that the way the day was going I wouldn't make it home alive.

Today is a new day. About 1 a.m. this morning I finished Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and saved the world on my Mac by stopping Hitler dead in his tracks and I then went to sleep listening to my beloved XM radio.

So I get up this morning in enough time to catch Combat! on the Action Channel on TV and that's always a good thing. Then, while I'm watching, Piccu walks in and tells me he found the old receipt for my broken radio. Now I can just send in the new bar codes and get my other radio.

So I saved the world, didn't have to go to work, got to watch some good Combat! and got a $100 refund for the broken XM radio a few minutes ago since I bought the last one they had in stock yesterday.

It can't get any better and it's officially Miller time.

What about The Lords of Dogtown...

I was watching TV tonight and I noticed that a movie had popped up that I forgot about and didn't realize that it came out today. It's called the Lords of Dogtown.

For those of you who don't know, the Lords of Dogtown is about a group of radical SoCal skaters who revolutionized the sport of skateboarding back in the 70's. I had always heard of a place called Dogtown and I knew that it was associated with skateboarding but I really never knew what it was all about.

That is until the Independent Film Channel presented me with an opportunity to watch a documentary called Dogtown and Z-Boys. The Z-Boys were the skaters and Dogtown is what they called L.A. in the summer because it was so hot. I think that is right, but I remember exactly. It was a really great documentary because these were just kids doing something that they loved and pioneered what we see today on ESPN's X-Games.

Now what the Z-Boys were doing back in the day wasn't anything compared to what is being done now, but it all started back in Dogtown. Everyone gets to see how skaters push the envelope in skating and the Z-Boys are the reason there is an envelope to begin with.

They went around and scouted out locations of rich houses that had in-ground swimming pools. Then when the owners left, they would drain the pool and skate it all day long until either the owners came home or the cops showed up. Then they decided to start going to skate competitions which were rare in the beginning. However when they showed up and skated they were doing things that people had never seen. While others were rolling nice sweeping lines they were making hard turns like they did when they surfed.

Of course there were problems that came with their fame and fortune, but that's what makes it a good story.

I just might go check out The Lords of Dogtown simply because the documentary was so good.

If anything check out the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys. It's on IFC fairly regularly and if Piccu and I check out The Lords of Dogtown, we'll give you a review.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A salute to McQueen is something to check out

This comes a day late, but if you have access to TCM (Turner Classic Movies), set your DVR or VCR because TCM is having a Steve McQueen film salute. The salute will be tonight (June 2, 2005) and tomorrow night (June 3, 2005) during prime time. It starts both nights at 7 PM Central. It includes a brand new documentary on McQueen called Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool. No title is more appropriate. McQueen is in the simplest terms, a bad ass. Every movie he is in, good or bad, you will enjoy his performance.

I was introduced to McQueen in 2004, when I caught Papillion on TCM’s The Essentials. I had always heard about McQueen, about how he was the coolest, about how there was no star like him. After the movie I realized that everything I had heard were true. He has this certain something, it is unexplainable. When the camera looks into his eyes, you realize this is a man to take seriously. You can draw your own conclusions, but after that introduction to McQueen, I searched out every movie I could find. A few will be shown during the McQueen salute.

On Thursday the night begins with The Great Escape. This movie is three hours long and packed with recognizable faces. This movie is about prisoners of war who try to escape from a German prison camp. McQueen, of course, steals the movie as the loner who decides to join the group, if for no other reason than to annoy the Germans who are holding them captive. I highly recommend this movie, it is a must see classic.

After The Great Escape comes Hell is for Heroes, another war movie. This movie has a great story about a small troop of soldiers who must hold back a large brigade of German soldiers. McQueen is the bad ass that cares for no one, including himself. Not a classic, but a good flick. The last movie for Thursday is Never So Few. McQueen is not the main star of this movie, Frank Sinatra is, but according to the new documentary, he steals it quite easily from Ol’ Blue Eyes. I have not seen this movie, but I am going to DVR it and watch it this weekend. DISH doesn’t hold it in too high of a regard with a 2+ star rating, but I will watch nonetheless.

Friday night the McQueen salute starts off with a cult classic The Blob. This movie was supposed to be a huge box office failure but ended up making a pretty good profit in that time. McQueen is the hero, of course, and has to combat the, well, the blob. I haven’t seen this movie and I will DVR it, even though I believe that this could be one you can miss. It will be followed by the documentary The Essence of Cool. This I have seen and I highly recommend it. It looks back at his career and life. It has appearances by wives, children, and many who worked with McQueen. It is a fascinating look at the man onscreen and behind it. The McQueen salute ends with the Magnificent Seven. Once again this is a movie in which McQueen was not the main star, but he steals it from Yul Brynner. In fact, as you will find out in the documentary, McQueen and Brynner did not like each other at all. One reason was because every scene that McQueen had with Brynner, he did everything he could to make himself more noticeable in the background to draw attention for Brynner. If you are a fan of the western genre, this is one of the best. It also contains a couple of my favorite actors appearing in co starring roles, including James Coburn, Charles Bronson, and Eli Wallach.

You will be well served to check out some of these movies on TCM or seek them out yourself. One thing is certain, once you watch Steve McQueen you will become a fan. Even after all these years he can still garb hold of you and not let go.

One thing about 'Deep Throat'

I wasn't even around when the Watergate scandal went down but everyone knew that "Deep Throat" was responsible for bringing it to the front page of every newspaper in the country.

That being said, now that we know who he is, when is someone going to ask him how he feels about being his alias being named after a porn movie franchise?

Here we go again, but it's his prerogative

What is with Bobby Brown, and for that matter Whitney Houston? Talk about a dysfunctional family. The Osbournes have nothing on the Brown-Houstons. It seems Bobby is in trouble with the law, AGAIN. He is in trouble so much that he should just turn himself in to the nearest police precinct every weekend. It would save the law some time and the tax payers some money.

Apparently Bobby has neglected to pay the mother of some illegitimate kids he fathered. It’s not the first time this has happened, and I would be willing to bet the support payments that this won’t be the last time this happens. In Bobby’s defense, when you have six illegitimate kids running around the country, you tend to lose track of who has been paid and who hasn’t.

Bobby’s lovely crackhead of a wife, Whitney must be hiding out, or still in rehab. If you would have told me Whitney Houston would be in rehab, for no telling what, 15 years ago, I would have told you you were crazy. I guess that is what happens when you get some money. The Houston-Browns aren’t the only celebrities who get a little money and fame and go nuts, they just happen to be the least sympathetic of the famous crazies.

From Bobby crashing a car every other week and having a warrant issued for his arrest every OTHER week, you find it hard to sympathize. If he was Bobby Brown, local thug, I don’t know that he would have this many chances to screw up, only to screw up again. Whitney may be worse than Bobby. At least Bobby doesn't try to hide the fact he is a major league screw-up, but Whitney she is holier than thou. Just because your momma is a gospel singer, doesn't mean you can't be as big a screw-up as Bobby. She has gone on TV to vehemently deny she uses drugs. She was furious that anyone would ever suggest she was using. I guess the pressure of not doing drugs caused her to start because she has been to rehab twice since that interview with Barbra WaWa.

These two deserve each other and whatever happens to them. I said that I have no sympathy for them, and I don’t. The only one I have sympathy for is their child. How messed up must this kid be, and if not, how the hell does she do it? I remember, as a teen, when I was embarrassed to be seen with my mom, but it wasn’t because she just got out of rehab. If this kid doesn’t end up on the police blotter at least three times during her teenage years, it will be a minor miracle.

Idol recording..

It seems that the top two "idols" from American Idol are inking recording contracts.

I'm glad that they are going to be making their millions, but you have to wonder what Bo Bice is going to think about all of this in a few months or years. Carrie Underwood wants to get into country music so she is ready to have songs handed to her. Bice, on the other hand, strikes me as the kind of guy that would like to get a solid band together and make some music instead of getting lyrics and sheet music 2 weeks before hitting the studio. I doubt that he's going to easily become acclimated to the "pop" lifestyle instead of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

Bice said in the article linked above that his album will be coming out soon even though he didn't know anything about it. If I was serious about making a run a becoming a rock star I would probably leave out quotes about how I knew nothing about my album that will be out soon. He might as well say that the record company is finalizing all of the great songs he's not heard and then eventually they are going to let him sing on it and put his name on the cover. See, not very rock 'n' rollish especially when you have no input in the record whatsoever.

It's kind of funny how people are OK with the artists they listen to not being involved in much of the music with the exception of the vocals. They basically walk in the studio and the producer tells them how to sing it and then they go home and let the producers work their magic with computers and studio musicians.

To me, I need you to get involved a little bit. If you didn't write the lyrics, write the music. If you didn't write the music at least bring in some lyrics and at least play a little rhythm guitar in it or something. I'll even take a tamborine.

Why Country Music sucks

Country music is all about packaging and gimmics. If you have the "country" voice, you had better have the good looks because that's what it takes. If you can sing, look good and at least hold a guitar properly, you're in. You don't even have to play the guitar, just threaten to every now and again before the chorus where you swing it behind you.

But I have to give country music some credit, they have a solid formula that appeals to a lot of people. I however can't get into a song called "Redneck Woman" or a song by Shania Twain that sounds like a Def Leppard tune. And no, the fact that Shania Twain is hot doesn't increase the song's appeal.

I guess what I hate the most about country music is that they'll base a whole song around a catch-phrase and that gives off a wierd vibe to me. It makes it seem like they got a focus group together and the group really responded to the line "we'll put a boot in your @$$" in a song written for the soldiers overseas. So that song will be a single for Toby Keith because he's currently wringing every last dollar out of that gimmic.

"Save a horse, ride a cowboy." Huge song. Multi-platinum selling song. One of the performers doesn't even sing in it. He just talks loud over the singer and looks creepy. But the title is catchy, somewhat dirty and filled with just enough innuendo to make a half drunk redneck sing it at the top of his lungs and call it the greatest song ever when it's over.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A much needed vacation...

Friday I'm not going to know what to do with myself. For the first time in 3+ years I'm actually taking a vacation and then some. The "and then some" part is in there because I'm not sure exactly how many vacation days I have, but I'm staying away for 10 solid days whether anyone likes it or not and I'll not be fielding any tech support phone calls either. That's a biggie.

Have you ever gotten to the point where you just have to get away from work for a while? For maybe just enough time to convince the voice in your head that they are the crazy ones and not yourself? Well, I'm officially there. I'm going in one more day just to get a computer problem ironed out and then I'm not looking back until June 13.

I'm looking at this kind of like a father holding the seat of his young child's bike as they learn to ride it.

And come Thursday afternoon...

I'm letting go and heading for the house.