Sunday, July 31, 2005

A brief explanation of my leave from Incongruent-Affect

As you, the readers know, I am one month into a residency in psychiatry. This has been a month of adjustment. I have found people standing behind my calling me doctor and asking me what I want to do.

One than have taken the liberty of calling me Doc. Which as some of the readers are aware, is a heritage I have earned with mixed meaning.

I have had a week of call, which entailed nurses calling me when things went wrong at the hospital. No one died including myself.

Speaking of death, however, another week was taken by the loss of my wife's grandfather. He had end stage Parkinson's disease. His battle totaled 16 years and the decline of the past year or so has been so much that it was relief that he was no longer suffering.

All in all a busy month.

One other bit of news; my wife got a very good job. As many of you may know she was my sugar mamma through med school, and over the past months I have had the honor of being the bread winner. Looks like things are back to normal now though: me mooching off of my wife.

Life is good.

Running a-Muck.

I don't know how often you as the good readers of our blog pay notice to our links over on the sidebar. Let me take a moment to call your attention to one of them.

The Muckrakers is a band in the tradition of comedic, melodic performance. Reminiscent of the Bare Naked Ladies, U2 (the older good stuff), and a better version of Matchbox 20. This is a band I know well; I should say I know the two lead singers well. I was at Western KY U in undergrad with them and they were making the college scene an interesting place to be. After being they couldn't play their most popular hit, "The Stripper Song," at the BSU; they begin to hit small venues around campus and nearby. Mind you all of the BSU-ers were there. I guess just not at the BSU itself.

I have lots of great memories of listening to them in Dorms or at the Happy Inn which was across the street from my dorm. One night in fact, they passed the fire code capacity by so many people that they were shut down. Their solution was an unplugged continuation at the old football stadium next to the Fine arts building. So many people were out there in the dark. It was a great show.

My personal highlights with them include winning the honors dorm trivia pursuit tournament with them (I provided the science) and arranging a winter break concert at the church Piccu, Bratch and I grew up in. Bratch was there. Mind you it isn't necessarily the kind of music the two of them listen to, but our tiny fellowship hall hosted a band for 25 people.

Now they have a record label. On Sept 12 this year they will have there first national album release.

I reccomend downloading a few of their songs. If you like them, then buy there old albums now and await the new one.

A Festival of Pain (the good kind)

That is hilarious!!! In a way it does seem rather convenient. One of these days we are going to get together and film a movie. We will be able to retire and spend the rest of our lives attending some obscure genre of movie festivals, which our first film fell into. Then after our umpteenth blockbuster we will still be getting questions about the first one and realize nothing we have ever do or will ever do, can live up to the first big one. This started out to sound like a great idea, but now I'm just depressed. I mean the other movies were good too. Why can't they just let the first one go..... but I digress.

Piccu has unveiled our master plan. I think the whole thing would rock out. I'll give you the specs later, but if there is any over flow from the cabin could stay at her grandmothers house. See they have kids and grand kids strung out all over the place. Every christmas and July 4th, they all come in. So they built this new house several years ago to insure that everyone would be under one roof. The bottom line is that the house is 15minutes from the cabin and there is more room at these places than our house, my parent's house, and Piccu/Bratch's parent's house all combined. I think the white house used the same floor plan.

So I say we set up our first company blog picnic to the backdrop of horror movies like you have never seen.

Oh, and one other thing. Those with crumb snatchers (Ella and ????) can stay in the grandparents house as there are ajoining rooms that would be incredibly quiet.

Merlin is slackin' on his pimpin'...

Well, that's what "the kids" would say. We would say that he's sitting back while Piccu and I do the dirty work and to keep our millions of readers happy.

However on the e-mail front, apparently Piccu and Merlin have been plotting a devious plan behind everyone's back that would move our annual scary movie marathon into another time zone.

Granted, our scary movie marathon has pretty much turned into Piccu and myself watching A movie while everyone else sleeps. Now that I think about it, I usually only get to watch the last half of THE movie because I usually had to shoot a football game before I made the "party." If you can call it that.

Now it seems that Merlin has come up with a plan (scheme) to try and get us to come down to South Carolina for the scary movie marathon. Actually, he wants us to come down to some cabin on a lake his wife's family owns. I'm thinking it will be pretty cool, but for Merlin's reference, Oct. 14 is the only Friday where I would be able to leave early to come down. Otherwise Piccu and myself would be rockin' an all night caffeine fest of a drive starting at around 9 p.m. at the earliest.

Everything sounds cool if this mystical cabin can hold everyone since I'm sure we aren't the only ones invited. Not that I'm opposed to hitting a Motel 6 since they are leaving the light on for me.

My only reservation about this whole thing is the irony that is at stake.

See if you can follow me.

A member of a pretty close knit group of friends goes off to med school after he marries his girlfriend. He graduates and heads off to South Carolina with his bride to begin his psychiatry residency.

A few months after they get settled in, it's time for the friends to come down and see them. They say, "Hey come on down to the cabin. It's been all fixed up and the lake will be gorgeous in the fall. You all can come down and meet some friends and well watch some scary movies like we used to."

(This is the part in the movie trailer where Piccu and I would throw garbage bags with our belongings in the back of my truck for our midnight run to South Carolina.)

Then we get to the cabin only to find Merlin standing over one of his friend's dead body covered in blood saying he didn't do it.

And then of course, hijinx ensue.

Needless to say, some details are going to need to be ironed out before I make the trip.

And I'm not doing the film for anything less than $1.5 mil.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Sen. Bill Frist breaks with Bush on stem cell research.

Sen. Bill Frist has broken away from the President and is now supporting government funded stem cell research. When something like this happens, you have to wonder a couple of things. One, did he actually have a change of heart? Has his being a doctor shaped this decision? Two, is this just something he can use for his proposed run for President that can help him in the future? Does the Senator think this stand against Bush will bring him more liberal votes in the future?

The more cynical, conspiracy believing me will always choose the second option. I think politicians in general, be they conservative or liberal, will do anything they can to grab a couple of extra votes. But, in this case I believe he is thinking like a doctor and not like a politician. I think most of us can appreciate where he is coming from, all of us have known someone with an incurable disease that could perhaps be helped by stem cell research. The only problem is we DON’T know if the research could help us. I think that is one of the main sticking points for those opposed to stem cell research, beyond their religious and ethical reasons. All that being said, don’t we have to try?

I am a Christian and at the same time I do have liberal tendencies. They battle back and forth and sometimes the most logical answer will go against either my conservative or my liberal side. I feel like most of us are more moderate than our politicians will believe. I do not feel comfortable with scientists creating embryos just for the purpose of destroying them during research, which makes me sound like a moron because I believe we need to do this research. However, I feel that if a fertility clinic is going to produce embryos only to be destroyed in an incinerator, then why can’t scientists use them for research? If these embryos are going to be destroyed, then wouldn’t their death be better served as research to heal others?

I feel that the government has to do what is right for the people, and I would believe that a majority of the people would want this research done. It is apparent that most Californians believe more should be done. Why don’t we put this up for a vote and see what the country thinks? I don’t know all the answers, no one does and I think you just have to believe that what you are doing and feeling is the right thing. We won’t know if we are right until our time comes, but I have to believe that if there is a way to help our fellow man, then shouldn’t we make that attempt?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bigfoot lives, perhaps?

Today’s the day. Today, July 28, we find out if the hair some people collected from a mysterious hairy being is indeed sasquatch. Although, as far as I know, no one has any sasquatch DNA to compare the sample to, but that is of little consequence. An Alberta lab (those wacky Canadians) is testing some hair that is believed to be the hair of the long sought after sasquatch. The lab is prepared to release the results today. The lab claims to have the DNA of most of the large animals in the area and if they can’t find a match, it is Bigfoot DNA! Actually they said they would do some more detective work and try to figure out what it is. Needless to say, the people at the lab are doubtful they have Bigfoot hair in their possession.

I, for one, believe it is indeed Bigfoot hair. Why would a group of people lie about this? If Bigfoot is running around in your backyard and you have no proof other than his mangy hair, of course you have it DNA tested. It’s CSI:Yeti. When and if this is found to indeed be Bigfoot, I may have to travel to the Yukon in search of him. Can you imagine the fortune and fame you could receive for capturing a sasquatch? It would last at least 18 minutes. Until the results come out, I will be practicing my Bigfoot mating roar and fashioning a huge net out of bedsheets.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More shuttle debris, America held hostage

I'm not going to say that I've been following the launching of the space shuttle today, but I have been following the ever changing headline. I hit a lot during the day. It's been my homepage for a long time. On Yahoo! when the site loads up it has the top stories of the second, minute, hour listed on the right side.

Every now and again they add a separate space for a big developing story. London bombings and stuff like that. Well today it was following the shuttle launch.

I saw probably at least a half dozen different headlines, but they all had one thing in common. I can't remember the headlines exactly, but here are some examples and see if you can find a pattern.

"Space shuttle hours from lift off for first time since Columbia disaster"

"All clear for shuttle launch, 2 years after Columbia disaster"

"2 years after Columbia disaster shuttle launches toward space"

"Space shuttle reaches space 2 years following Columbia tragedy"

Now of course some debris fell off of the shuttle and the news media couldn't be happier. They've gotten a follow up the same day that the darn thing lifted off. They figured that it would be until about 48 hours until they were ready to come back home that they could get a follow up.

Now they have the headline to catch you and a chilling lead for the beginning of the story that urges you to read on. Then you find out that junk falling from the shuttle has happened before. Most likely during every single launch. It happens at least enough that NASA refers to most all of it as "expected."

I'm not trying to say that this isn't something that doesn't warrant a story, but this is something that will be talked about every single day until those astronauts are safely on the ground.

This type of thing is happening far too often.

It's kind of like when baseball went nuts about steroids before the season started and we started to hear about dozens and dozens of minor league players testing positive. What they didn't bother to bring forward in the stories is that minor league players have been getting caught for years and years and they just decided to pump up the story to make it look even worse than it was. But in all actuality it was normal.

This kind of thing reminds me of an editorial one of my colleagues wrote in our newspaper about the missing girl in Aruba. We caught some flack over it, but the point he made was that sometimes the media will just pick and choose a story to blow up. Sure the missing girl in Aruba is a terrible tragedy, but the fact of the matter is that there are children who go missing each and everyday and those stories aren't on CNN and MSNBC for hours at a time.

I guess I'm being a bit of a hypocrit about it all too. I do it all the time with the pages I layout. Today I picked and chose which stories were making it this week and those that were waiting until next week. How I layout the page tells the reader what they should be paying attention to.

However, instead of beating the proverbial dead horse by rehashing the same story every hour or everyday, they should concentrate of trying to find a different angle and dig deeper than the obvious.

Why is everyone against me?

Before you jump to conclusions, I'm only talking about people when they are driving. Not all of the time. To be more specific, people when they are driving around me.

I've almost come to the realization that whoever is in the cars that are in front of me, they are trying to figure out how to impede my progress. They will go out of their way to make sure that I can't drive at the speed I want to go.

Here in town we could blame it on the new road. Several years ago our little county upgraded to four lanes of highway with a turning lane to boot. When people drove badly we could blame it on not being used to the new road way. Now I'm blaming it on incosiderate stupidity.

And I'm not even a driver that speeds all that much, but I'm also a driver that knows how stupid other drivers are and I don't want them around me. That being said, I can't understand why people like to drive up beside a car and just pace them. Almost to the point of turning the cruise control on. And those of us who would like to actually get where we are going have to suffer.

Sometimes you can run up behind them and they'll get the picture that you would like them to kindly move into the right lane since they are driving 10 mph under the speed limit. But for the most part they don't know. I hate to throw out blankets statements, but you're all horrible drivers. I guess you all like to be able to see what the person next to you is doing.

I'm always operating on the notion that it's just not safe to have another 4,000 pound vehicle next to me when I'm driving 40 or 50 mph. If a car pulls out in front of me, and they always do, I want the luxury of being able to take evasive action if need be. And if there is some sort of mechanical malfunction on a vehicle next to me, I'm not confident any of the idiots around me can handle that situation. I don't want some 16 year-old girl to cover her eyes hoping that my pretty purple 4x4 can slow and stop her Ford Tempo as it slams into me just because she gave up when the clanking started.

So here are some rules to live by when it comes to driving.

1) Stay away from the other vehicles. The faster you go, the move space you need. That's just self preservation. I really like my truck and I know that everyone is out to destroy it with their bad driving. Adopt this attitude

2) If you are rushing to pull out into traffic in front of me, STEP ON IT! If I pull out in front of someone, I'm not going to assume that they are smart enough to use their brakes to keep from hitting me. Chances are they aren't that smart anyway.

3) If your brakes lights don't work, fix them, because if I ever figure out when you are actually stopping, I'll drag you out of your car straight murder your *&^%$.

And last but not least...

4) If you see a purple 4x4 around, get the heck out of it's way because I have more important things to do as opposed to watching you impede my progress.

Summertime Movietime pick this week: Bad Day at Black Rock

My summertime movietime pick this week is Bad Day at Black Rock. This movie stars Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, and Anne Francis. If that isn’t enough to get you interested, check out the co-stars, Walter Brennan (one of my personal favs), Ernest Borgnine, and Lee Marvin. That is without a doubt an all-star cast.

The movie is about a stranger that comes to a small town, almost a ghost town, and starts asking some questions. The questions make some people really uncomfortable and the questions make some downright homicidal. Robert Ryan, who if you have seen in the movie Crossfire, sure can play a bad dude and in this movie he is the ringleader of the whole town. Spencer Tracy plays the stranger and does a great job at being a seemingly nice old man, while hiding a stronger person within. You seem to get the idea that if push comes to shove, then Tracy’s character can handle his business.

This is a great movie and I highly recommend it. It was so good that it seemed like it was over in a half hour. The suspense is high and to see the people either crack or keep their allegiance to Ryan makes the lesser characters as interesting as the main characters. It is a Western without the cowboys and Indians and is well worth your time.

Kickball, the wave of the furture.

I was sitting at my computer trying to think of something to write about this week, but it’s so hot, I wasn’t sure I could get my brain to process words and sentences. I thought about writing about the baseball trade deadline, but in all actuality, I don’t keep up with things like that. Then I thought I would write about football, but to tell you the truth I dislike football generally. I then turned to soccer, why I don’t know, but I quickly regained my senses and realized my mistake and moved on. As I was just about ready to retire from my lucrative sports writing gig, it hit me. It hit me like a red balloon ball to the face. Kickball, that’s it, kickball.

Now before you start to think of me as a bigger geek than you already thought me, I must explain. In grade school, I must humbly tell you, I was the kickball king. There was nothing I loved more, and it was probably the only sport in which I could have been an all-star. As I moved on from grade school to middle school, kickball disappeared along with all recess opportunities. I along with about 80% of the male population lost one of our true reasons for being, but we picked up the pieces and moved on, reluctantly.

With the back-story out of the way, I happened to stumble upon a story on the internet about the growing popularity of kickball and how kickball leagues are being formed around the country. With softball having been driven out of Ohio County, I need something to do during the week besides reading sports mags and watching TV.

A kickball league should be the easiest league to run. You need a ball, to kick, you need Frisbees, for bases, and then all you need is a field and people. In fact, it is so easy to run, that there is an association that helps you by giving you all the rules and regulations you need. It is the World Adult Kickball Association or WAKA. I know that sounds weird, but you would be surprised how many weird associations there are in this world.

Kickball has been growing as a regulated league sport over the last 7 years. WAKA started with 8 teams and 150 players and now has 700 teams in 18 states and has 17,000 registered members. They even have a world kickball championship, the WAKA Founder’s Cup. Who wouldn’t love to have a shot at a world title? You and I, the average Joe’s and Jane’s could be called a world champion in the sport of kickball. Of course we would be laughed at by about 90% of the population if they knew what sport we were champions of, but that’s ok. They can be world champion haters.

I had heard a nasty rumor that Owensboro had a kickball league, but this was about two to three years ago and I don’t know if this is still the case. Why do we always have to go to Owensboro for sporting events? Is it not bad enough that we have to go to Owensboro to play softball? Why can’t we start a kickball league of our own? It can’t be too hard, can it? As I said a ball, four Frisbees, a field to play on and a group of people to play and you have your league. I would be one of the first to find a team to enter and if someone, meaning not me, wants to put this thing together, then I believe we could have a fun time and quite possibly see some people get smashed in the face with a ball.

For me that was one of the greatest parts about kickball. You get to throw the ball at people running the bases. Many was the time I blasted the feet out from under someone sending them crashing to the ground in a heap. Ah, those were the days. One of my greatest kickball memories is the time I smashed a kid in the face with a ball I had kicked. He was sitting on top of a slide and WHAMMY! I know, I know, that sounds harsh, but he was ok and though I was just a kid when it happened, I gotta tell you, it is still funny to this day.

Am I a former washed up kickball athlete who is looking for any way to recapture his former glory? Yes, but this glory isn’t too hard to recapture, I mean you kick and run, even someone as out of shape as I can pull that off.

So that’s what was rolling around in my head and I hope it starts a countywide kickball renaissance and we will have the biggest league in the state. I just hope that if Ohio County someday does get its own kickball league, it won’t get run out of town like softball. I have seen the wave of the future in the world of sports my friends, it is kickball. I plan to ride it all the way to the WAKA Founder’s Cup championship.

Monday, July 25, 2005

TCM's Summer Under the Stars a movie lover's dream.

This ought to take care of my summertime movietime picks for the month of August because TCM is once again giving us a Summer Under the Stars. Beginning on August 1, TCM is going to pick a star a day, and for 24 hours in that day, TCM will play nothing but movies starring that actor. Lauren Bacall kicks off this edition of Summer Under the Stars on August 1 and in addition to her slate of movies that will be shown that day, she and Robert Osborne will sit down for an interview entitled “Bacall on Bogart.” I cannot wait for that program because I am a huge Bogart and Bacall fan.

Other stars that will be featured throughout the month of August will be James Stewart, James Cagney, Marlon Brando, Katherine Hepburn, and many, many others. I hope you have your DVRs and TIVOs cleared off and ready to record because I can tell you mine will be getting a workout. For those of you who have always thought about watching some classic movies, now is your chance, I recommend you take advantage of it. If you have access to a star rating like I do with DISH Network, use that as your guide. I generally stick to 3+ and 4 star movies unless it is a movie with one of my favorites, then I throw ratings out of the window. So good luck and happy hunting as August is Christmas for movie lovers thanks to Turner Classic Movies.

Veronica Mars is well worth your time this summer.

I know I haven’t made any summertime movietime picks in a while and perhaps I will later on this week, but right now I need to talk about a show that I have found to be the greatest show of all time. Well, maybe not of all time, but definitely in the history of UPN. This show is Veronica Mars. I had heard good things all fall and winter about this show, but I never checked it out until I started to watch the summer reruns. I have now found out why it got such good buzz. It is a well written show with great characters and smart dialogue. It has a new mystery every show, while continuing the mystery that is the foundation of the show.

Let me give you some background. Veronica Mars is a former “popular” girl who was thrown from grace rather than she had a fall from grace. Her rich popular jock boyfriend dumps her and her rich popular best friend is brutally murdered. Veronica’s dad, Keith is the sheriff of the town and accuses the father of the slain girl of killing her. The father of the slain girl is the most powerful man in the town and Keith Mars loses his job as sheriff and is looked at as scum by the most of the town. Veronica has the same outcome in school and is looked at as the outcast of the school. To top things off, Veronica’s mom, perhaps because of the loss of social status and comfortable life, has abandoned her family and disappears in the night. Keith Mars starts his own private investigation business and Veronica helps out by answering phones, taking messages, and solving her own cases.

All that takes place in episode one through a series of flashbacks. Throughout the show you meet different characters and just when you think you have them pigeonholed as a formulaic “TV” character in the show, they change or do something totally against what you would believe them to do. This show is so interesting and I can’t wait to watch it on Wednesdays on UPN.

Unfortunately for most of you, this great show comes on UPN. UPN is a network that only appears in about 4 households. I have the channel through DISH network, but I am unsure about its availability through local cable services or Direct TV.

I have however discovered something very interesting. I always look through my program guide on my satellite and I noticed that the first two episodes of Veronica Mars are going to be on my local CBS channel at 7 and 8 PM Central time this Friday, July 29. If this is the case with all CBS channels, and if I am not mistaken, CBS and UPN are owned by the same company, I believe that you too can catch a glimpse of one of the best shows on TV. The only problem with this is, if it sucks you in and you become a fan, you won’t be able to watch it in the fall unless you have a UPN channel. I think you should take the chance and let yourself enjoy a smart, hip, fun show that shines in a summer full of Hiltons, Hilfigers, and other garbage.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Gunner Palace

I just got finished watching a documentary called Gunner Palace. It is about a group of soldiers who were in Iraq to provide security after everyone declared that the war was officially over. The movie gets its title from the fact that this group of soldiers were stationed in Saddam's son Uday's party palace.

The palace is huge and it was pretty bombed out, but the good news for the soldiers was that the pool was fully functional and they had a driving range and putting green out back as well.

Gunner Palace was a pretty solid little flick. It really let the soldiers tell their story, but I can see what some people were saying about it in that there were a lot of different soldiers instead of sticking with one or two and following them. But they did stick with Stuart Wilf a lot. Other than that the only problem I had was the narrator's voice, which was the director/camera guy of the film. You could tell that he was trying too hard to sound like this great voice instead of simply telling the story.

It really put a lot of focus on music and all of it was generated by the soldiers themselves. A lot of doodling on guitars and tons of rapping.

What really drew me to this movie was how they made it. They basically ordered up a couple of Canon miniDV cameras, namely an XL1 and an XL2 and headed for the Mid East. The XL2 can be had for about $3,500. While that isn't chicken feed, the couple that made this film probably would have spent more on a pro camera than they spent on the entire movie otherwise. They edited the film on an Apple G4 Powerbook and a Power Mac along with a Sony video deck. In fact, they did a significant portion of the editing in the field at the palace.

I first heard about this film while browsing through in the "pro" section where they have interviews and articles about people who use Macs to do whatever. Photography, print design or in this case, making a movie.

It's really amazing when you think about what is offered now in the computing world. Major motion pictures (i.e. Sky Captain, Intolerable Cruelty) are being made on computers that you and I can purchase for $2,000 and are being produced with software that can be had for about $1,200. And that's just if you feel like you need to go high tech. I've made a couple of DVDs already with just my $600 Mac mini and Digital 8 video footage and photos.

The software I use is able to take digital video and edit it with some pretty professional results and it was just updated to handle HD video even though no DVD player can play it yet. There is no degradation of the footage so it comes out looking just as good as the footage on high dollar machines. With the exception of the fact that the software I use can be had for about $79 plus shipping or free in my case since it came with the computer.

Ridiculous ain't it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Teacher claims she was insane when having sex with student. Ya think?

A teacher in Florida is claiming she was insane when she had sex with a 14 year old student. I think that seems to be a good defense. As her lawyer said, “What teacher in her right mind would do something like this?” I have to agree, I mean look at her! Let me tell you, she could have had 90% of the men in FL, but she went for a 14 year old boy.

She is insane or the coolest teacher in the world. Where were teachers like this when I was in school? It seems that hot teachers looking for underage love has only just recently occurred. Is it something in society? Are these women scarred by some past molestation or sexual abuse? Maybe Merlin can figure this out. He could do a paper on it and be published in Psychiatry Illustrated.

It pains me that this phenomenon skipped my generation and all these young punks are living the dream. Maybe I should react with a little compassion toward the victims, but I find it hard to believe that the victims are not too upset about what happened and the parents and government are the ones upset, for good reason. We can’t have teachers having sex with students, there are already enough distractions and things to worry about without having to satisfy your 24 year old teacher.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Kentucky's got a new plate...

It may have been friendly, but it was a bit too happy for me and everyone else. I'm talking about the license plate of many Kentucky passenger vehicles. For those of you who don't know or remember, the state of Kentucky adopted a new slogan and license plate design a couple of years ago.

The slogan was Kentucky: "It's that friendly" and the license plate had a nice little green field in the foreground with the sun coming up behind it. The only problem with this plate involved the smiley face that was placed on the sun. It was really bad.

People just didn't want to have that goofy smiley face on their vehicles. Luckily, I drive a truck so I didn't have to purchase a specialty plate with a flower or a bird on it. I just got a white plate with blue lettering. But I'll tell you right now, I was not going to have that smiling bolted to the back bumper of my 4x4. It simply wasn't going to happen.

I personally believe that if the smiley face had been left off of the plate, the designers and everyone who signed off on that chuck of tin would have been able to show their faces in public.

Now we have a new slogan that is "Unbridled Spirit". The new plate is pretty simple as well. Nothing like the last couple of them, but simplicity is bliss.

The comparison that Piccu came up with when we found out about the new slogan and plate was an incident in an episode of Seinfeld.

The episode was the one involving Elaine's boyfriend, Lloyd Braun, who was working for a mayoral candidate for New York City. Well, Elaine came up with an idea that all of the people of New York should wear name tags so that everyone would be more friendly. Needless to say, it was a fiasco and not only did it lose the election for Braun's candidate, but it also help begin the short journey that ended with Braun's institutionalization. (Side note: that's a huge word.)

So Kentucky's former license plate is the Seinfeld equivalent to the name tag fiasco. And getting rid of Mr. Smiley Face may get Ernie Fletcher re-elected if he doesn't clean up the government so much that he sweeps himself out of office.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rehnquist should use good judgement and step down.

Something needs to be done. When you have to issue statements that despite the rumors, you are not stepping down from the Supreme Court, then you need to go. Supreme Court Judge William Rehnquist was in the hospital last week and from his sickbed issued that statement. If you have to tell people you are still alive, then it means that you are in bad shape.

I don’t really understand why he is still there. He knows that George W will just replace him with a judge made in his image. Rehnquist should retire and enjoy what time he has left on this earth and know his position will be well taken care of. I don’t know about you, but I start to feel a little queasy when I realize that we have 75 and 80 year old judges deciding the most important legal decisions in our country. I know they are more than qualified, but come on; these people were in their prime in the 70’s and 80’s. Do they really understand the ways of the world at their age? Times have changed, the judges have not.

I don’t just feel this way about the Supreme Court Judges, I also feel this way about the Pope. I just can’t imagine having a job that you can keep until you die or decide to step down. What happens if these people who stay on into their 80’s start to develop Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia? That is what scares me the most. I know I am just some dumb guy in Kentucky who doesn’t know the ins and outs of these matters, but it seems to me that there should be a mandatory age limit. Maybe this is totally inconceivable, I don’t know. I just find it hard to believe there isn’t more said about this issue. Rehnquist should do his family and his country some good and just step down and enjoy the rest of his days away from my legal system.

Japan's newest law makes me proud to be an American

It’s over; the biggest sign of the apocalypse is here. The Japanese government has now made it illegal to fast forward through commercials on your TIVO. I thought that our government had some problems, but even they aren’t this stupid. If I may ask the question on everyone’s mine, what good is having TIVO if you can’t skip the ads?

Skipping ads is the only reason I have a DVR. You noticed I said DVR. I do not own a TIVO, if that is the correct name for the box, I have DISH Network DVR. Is it also illegal to skip commercials with any DVR device, or just TIVO? TIVO should be looking into a lawsuit.

I just recently read that TIVO hasn’t turned a profit since day one and has started to sell pop up ads to advertisers who thought they were being skipped. Just as a way to generate some revenue and to perhaps dissuade the advertisers from raising even more cane about the ad skip ability. I know, I know, do we really need MORE pop up ads?

I find it hard to believe that a company that could come up with what I believe to be the greatest invention since fire could not make any money on it. I hope our government, who loves to do what companies and people with money tell them to do, doesn’t see this horrible law and decide it would be good for us. I do not want to go back to VHS. It’s dead to me.

It's poker season once again.

Hide the women and children, people, because it’s poker season. I know what you’re saying, “I thought this was a sports column, poker isn’t a sport.” I beg to differ, my friends. Poker is indeed a sport, and how do I know this? Well, ESPN tells me it is.

ESPN is about to embark on 600 Tuesdays worth of poker leading up to the legendary World Series of Poker. Starting with this past Tuesday you can begin the road to the World Series. You have to wait until October 11, to see the main event, but ESPN will be sure to pound you relentlessly with poker until then.

The World Series of Poker is not just a five day tournament, oh no, it is an event. It is an event that takes 44 days to complete, and you will see every bit of it. I don’t want to sound like I am anti-poker. On the contrary, I enjoy a good poker game among friends. I will admit that since you can’t turn on the TV without seeing a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament, I am getting a bit burned out. I mean it really is getting out of hand when PBS has the Sesame Street World Series of Poker for Toddlers.

I enjoy other poker games, you know, games that are so outlandish that you really need no skill to win. I like to be able to sit down and let luck carry me to the big bucks. With Texas Hold ‘Em you practically need a degree in quantum physics to be a professional. If I wanted to think I wouldn’t have dropped out of school in the eighth grade. But seriously, you need to keep up with how many cards are left in the deck, the odds on what your opponents have, the odds on your winning the hand, the effect the natural oils in the dealer’s hands has on the cards, whether or not your opponents have seen the movie Rounders and know when to cuss you with a Russian accent. You see, that’s too much information to process for me.

Perhaps the hardest part of poker is trying to figure out your opponents tell. A tell is most commonly a physical reaction to your hand, whether it be a good hand or a bad hand. For instance, when I have a good hand, I tend to yell out, “Woooooo hooooo!” That is a tell. I would imagine most of us don’t play with a simpleton like me or a smug Russian who eats Oreos, so it may not be as easy to catch a tell from your opponents. For professionals it’s easy. They know within five hands that you have a bad hand when your arch your left eyebrow, while at the same time, flare you right nostril. For a guy like me, I know you have a great hand when we show our cards at the end of the hand. I am not going to strike fear into most poker players.

As I said, I enjoy games with the craziest aspects and the most ways to win. I love wild cards because I am too lazy to bluff someone into thinking I actually have the natural three of a kind, remember, I don’t like to use my brain during most activities, much less a card game. I also enjoy a game that has a card that guarantees you half of the pot. That aspect requires no skill and as soon as I receive said card I stop playing cards and start waiting for the hand to end to claim my part of the pot. If I make a good hand, who cares, half of that is mine, buddy.

I know that ESPN has shown a lot, and I mean A LOT, of poker over the last couple of years and this has caused a very heated and important argument for our generation. Is poker a sport? Hmmm, that’s a prickly one, isn’t it? My rule of living life is like this, if you see it on TV, then it must be true. If ESPN tells me poker is a sport, well, by my rule, it is.

Let’s look at the evidence, shall we? What qualities must an activity possess to be considered a sport? Endurance is one, I would say. Sometimes you have to play poker for hours at a time. Sometimes a good poker game will last longer than a double header in baseball. That is a lot of pressure….for your rear end. So we are agreed a poker player has great endurance.

Another quality to be considered a sport is courage and heart. I guess you could also call this quality, guts. A poker player shows his guts every time he sits down, not because most of them are a bit portly, no, it’s because every time you enter a poker game you may lose some money. I don’t know about you, but I don’t make enough to lose it in a silly card game. The poker players who enter backroom, back alley poker games show the most guts because they never know when someone may have a little too much to drink and pull his pistol and shoot them right between the eyes. Guts, courage, and heart has been established; poker has got two qualities for sportdom.

I am saving the most important quality for last. Without this aspect of an activity, the others don’t mean anything. To be considered a sport, the participants must have or show some athletic ability. This is the quality that makes Lance Armstrong an athlete; otherwise he is just riding a bike with some friends. Poker players, I believe are athletic. I have only one example to prove this and it proves my assertion. Poker players are expected to be able to eat, drink, listen to music, watch TV, and perhaps smoke, all the while having to keep up with their hand and their money all at the same time. That, my friends, takes some athleticism. Poker is a sport. The debate can now end.

I hope you enjoy the poker season as it has already kicked into to full swing this past Tuesday on ESPN. Maybe you can pick up some pointers from the pros to take the hard earned money from your friends. We all know what the real goal of a poker player is; it is to humiliate and leave your friends broke at the end of a game. Just like in any sport, you play to win the game and anything beyond total domination is not acceptable. Or maybe that is just me.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The latest sports craze... POKER!

I'm checking out the sports page of the local daily paper's website and what is the final story? It's a story about how many are left at the final table of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

I realize that poker is huge right now, but it wasn't much of anything in 2002 and then after the 2003 World Series of Poker, it just took off. But is most certainly is not a sport.

Just because ESPN broadcasts it doesn't mean it's a sports. Spelling isn't a sport but we see the Bee every year on ESPN. Just like programming on MTV isn't music. Literally.

And for the record, any activity in which you can eat, drink and smoke during, while being a participant is most definately not a sport.

Poker was fun in its infancy, but now you can see a poker or blackjack show every night. Sometimes with Q-list celebrities, but that doesn't make it any better. I actually think that ESPN can be blamed for why myself and many others hate it now.

Last year's World Series of Poker was over for maybe 30 days or more before they actually aired the final Texas Hold 'Em table. We all knew who won and never watched. ESPN also aired all of the stupid little games that go on with the World Series, but all we wanted to see was the tourney that led up to who made the final Hold 'Em table. They also filmed the table in what seemed to me like a primitive manner. I guess they were trying to make it seems more like poker in the den of Chuck and Pete's hunting cabin instead of the biggest poker tournament in the world in the gambling Mecca of the universe, Las Vegas.

Now I'm not a poker player, I used to have a chance to play about once a week with my friends, but I did enjoy watching the broadcasts before the TV world pulled a Millionaire. You remember the Who Wants to be a Millionaire show, don't you?

It is still on TV, but when it first came on it got such great ratings that they had a new show 6 nights a week. Pretty soon it got very old and you began to hate and fear Regis Philbin, but you couldn't get away from his monochromatic ties and shirts because he was on TV for 3 and 4 hours a day. If he didn't get you in the morning, he could find you in the evening.

Before too long they had to up the cash prize to $10 million just to see if throwing money at the problem would fix it. Unfortunately for them, about 2 nights into the $10 million shows, you realized that they were going to make sure that no one actualy won the cash.

So tonight I'm going to a bachelor party where everyone is going to be playing poker which I kill people and play golf on the Playstation 2. My night will be much more productive than everyone else's.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hillary actually has it right...

When I first saw on the news this morning that Hillary Clinton was "going after" video games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, I assumed she was going to go about it the wrong way, but she actually didn't.

Clinton just wants to institute a law that would fine retailers $5,000 if they sold a violent or sexually explicit video game to a minor. Since I'm not a minor, I don't really have a problem with it and I actually have San Andreas in my PS2 right this very second. I haven't played it in a long time, but it's still in there.

I figured that Clinton would call for something drastic and therefore stupid, but I give her credit since it is due.

I do however believe that they should give a thought to regulating movies in the same fashion. Just because you get to interact with a video game and not a movie, it doesn't mean that movies aren't a problem either. Granted some horror games can get crazy, but I'm sure Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects is going to be ground breaking in all that is disturbing.

That being said, at some point the parents are going to have to take responsibility for being just that... The parent. If you let your young impressionable child play GTA: San Andreas, you probably should take a long look at whether you are cut out for this whole parenting thing.

But if the child has made it to the age at which they can play San Andreas and you let them, chances are the damage is already done. So rock on.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

We have a new number 1....

In working for a newspaper and especially as a photographer, I have a short list of memorable events that I otherwise wouldn't have experienced without my job. Some exciting and some interesting while one inparticular just freaked me out a bit.

One that was at the top of the list before was a giant forest fire that was most likely set by arsonists that are now about 4 months into their 20 year sentences. It was several hundred acres and I was there for about 8 hours and was actually in the woods for a bit. This was exciting because there were only so many dirt roads available to get away from the fire if it turned.

Now we have a new number one.

It was about 1:30 today and I figured I would check my email and hit the road since we had the paper out and there was no need for my editor and I to hang out.

So I sit down at my desk and I hear an open mic pop off on the scanner and it sounded like there was a car accident somewhere. So I wait to see what is going on because I'm not going to be the first on the scene of an accident seeing as how I'm just there to take the photos.

I waited around and cops and ambulances and troopers were scrambling about. I finally figured out where I needed to go and headed that way thinking that a cop was in the accident which is why all the cops were rushing instead of a few.

I finally get to the scene of that accident and as I roll up I noticed something new. All of the cops that were there were hiding behind cars with shotguns and M14 rifles locked and loaded. Police Standoff Deux.

The last standoff I covered, we weren't allowed to get very close to what was going on. We couldn't see anything and I think it worked out for the best since my buddy and I didn't need or want to see the guy commit suicide.

So I get out of my truck after calling my buddy and telling him what was up so he wouldn't leave work early like we both had planned.

I grabbed my camera and started walking to see how close I could get. Luckily for me, the dude threatened that he had a gun with him in the Jeep he was driving that was now on its side in a ditch. With two cops hovering on top of a bank about 20 feet over the Jeep and every cop with his or her weapon drawn, this meant that everyone was pretty much occupied.

I was getting some decent photos but I wasn't pressing my luck since I figured that the cops were going to ask me to leave anyway so I just hunkered down behind a cop car. Then the rains came. This hurricane is getting old. I would take the gale force winds for 24 hours over this rain that can't make up its mind.

I needed a little relief from the rain and I went back and put on my coat that I keep in the truck. It kept me a little dry and being green it somewhat made me look like I was supposed to be there at a glance.

About 30 minutes later the cops had decided what they are going to do and asked everyone who was hanging out to leave. They never personally came to me asking for my departure so I continued to get rained on behind the police cruiser. Some family friends of the guy holed up in the Jeep were just hanging out behind the cops anyway. I guess they weren't as worried about stray bullets as I was should the dude come out blazing like Butch and Sundance.

So a friend of ours, who happens to be a state trooper, actually gets the dude to come out and, lucky me, I have a 210 millimeter zoom lens. The dude comes out and is talking with my cop friend out in the road. It seemed odd to me because they were just standing there talking as if they had happened upon each other on the street.


The 6 foot 7 inch neighboring county sheriff swung around and attempted to light him up with a tazor.

As if sensing I wasn't quite ready to take the photos, the dude rips the electrodes off as one of them didn't find its mark. Needless to say, the group of cops that were ready to take him down stopped in their tracks when the tazor didn't work. That gave me the split second I needed to get the photos of him taking the second hit from the tazor and dropping like a bag of dirt ending a very successful standoff.

Sometimes we can get a little bit of a routine at the office. We can create some fun for ourselves occasionally and we can hunt down some good stories, but nothing beats a good old fashioned standoff for a little excitement on a rainy day.

I haven't checked out the photos yet, but I think they'll be pretty solid.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

When Oprah and her friends play poker, they play with race cards.

Look out world, Oprah is gettin’ all mad because she wasn’t allowed to enter a Paris store after hours to spend her hard earned money. Some, including the "Big O" herself, are throwing the race card into the mix and Oprah herself has promised to talk about it on her show when it comes back from hiatus in September. Apparently Oprah wanted to do a little shopping at an upscale boutique in Paris, but was rebuffed with extreme prejudice, or so some say. Oprah arrived about 15 minutes after the store closed and the staff was reportedly working on a private event scheduled for the store. Oprah asked to run in and purchase something and the store employee told her she couldn’t.

Poor, poor Oprah, isn’t it enough that you have more money than 99.9% of the people in the world? She now needs to be able to enter any building in the world whenever she wants? Racism may be part of this, but I can’t see someone not recognizing Oprah whether or not she has her “TV” makeup and hair on. Oprah, except in some backwoods Southern towns, has transcended race. She is not black, she is Oprah. What else does Oprah need? What does Oprah not have that she has to get 15 minutes after a store closes? Isn’t it enough that you own the minds and hearts of the entire female population of the United States?

The only way I see racism playing a part in this case is the fact that the French hate everyone. They even hate themselves. I mean, what can you say about a country who criticizes the way that London gained the Olympic Games in 2012, just days after they suffered their worst bombing since Hitler? The mayor of Paris called shenanigans in respect to the way that London acquired the Olympics. He claims they used underhanded techniques in the wooing of the Olympic Committee. Couldn’t they have waited a few years? Doesn’t this look like France is trying to kick London while it is down? France is the largest consumers of Haterade. They even have a Minister of Hateration. They hate people. One of Oprah’s friends claimed that if it were Barbra Streisand or Celine Dion and not Oprah trying to enter the store after hours, then they would have let them in. Wrong! Wrong! They would not let Babs in, but I do concede they may have let Celine in because she is essentially French Light, as she is Canadian.

Welcome to the real world Oprah. I am a tall, white male, and I bet you my salary to Oprah’s, that the store would not have let me in. In fact the employee would have flicked her still burning cigarette in my eye for just asking. You got off lucky. My advice to Oprah is to just buy the store and then shut it down. And stay out of France, it doesn’t want you, it doesn’t want anybody.

Could 9/11 have been just a warm up?

A word of warning, I heard about this article on a radio show that talks about aliens, government conspiracies and cover-ups, and ghosts, so this may not be something to take too seriously, at least I hope so.

A scary article has come to my attention. I hope it is not true and is only used to sell books or get website subscriptions. I have linked this article through the title of my piece. According to this article, al-Qaida has already smuggled many nuclear weapons, as well as agents into the US and they are planning to use them in a plan they are calling “American Hiroshima.” They want to kill millions and destroy our economy. If that isn’t scary enough, it seems that these sleeper cells have been smuggled through our very porous borders, with help from a street gang. The gang has been paid for every operative that they have brought into the US. It also seems, according to this article, that al-Qaida has been paying former Russian Special Forces soldiers to show them hidden nuclear weapons that were placed in the US during the Cold War, among other things. Bin Laden seems to have a steady supply of money from the drug trade in Afghanistan and is able to fund anything that al-Qaida wishes.

As I said, I hope this is not true, but I can’t help feel a shiver run down my back as I imagine the fate of the world, much less the US. With most of our military across the ocean, what would our plan of action be in if this did happen? Who would protect us? Who would provide aid? Would those concerns even matter if this did in fact take place? Why is the opium trade in Afghanistan being allowed to thrive and provide al-Qaida with a steady cash flow? I hope that our government can do something to stop this alleged plot from happening, but if this is indeed taking place or going to take place, then it would be very hard to keep every man that al-Qaida has in this country from carrying out his mission as this has, allegedly, been in the works for a decade. As I said, this may be something just put out there for who knows what reason and not even close to being true, but it definitely makes you think. I think to myself, why didn’t our President try to seal up the borders? I know that is almost an impossible thing to do, but it seems that nothing has been done to secure our nation when it comes to illegal border crossing.

This is a scary time to be living in and maybe this is what the article is trying to do more than everything. It is making this scary time seem like a walk in the park compared to what this predicts will happen in the future.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Bare essentials

Ok I admit to hearing this from Mike back in March, and didn't give it much thought. The shoes seemed ridiculous inapproriate for distance running and the people at a Charleston, SC shoe store were apparently as ignorant to the information as I was. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, there is a fairly recent article in the NY Times about the benefit of running barefoot (or nearly so).

The thrust of the article is this: running on mid and fore foot puts the constant pounding evenly distributed throughout your leg. It has been well documented for many years that "heavy steppers" with poor cushioning in the heel were most prone to back, leg, and feet problems from years of running. It looks like barefoot runners, in addition to having greater foot strength, have fewer back and knee problems. The article further discusses one long time runner and his career ending chronic back and knee problems who trained with a tribe of runners south of the border some fifteen years ago. He has been running since without any problems.

I won't regurgitate the entire article, but it is referenced in the title of this and highly reccommend it.

Strike two, they're out.

There are times in interviews with schizophrenic patients that they will say something that is absolutely bizarre. That doesn't bother me so much except when in a room of ten mental health professionals, I am the only one who seems to think it is bizarre while everyone else acts as if it is exactly what they expected them to say.

I had a similar experience looking at an article in The State today. The olympic committee has apparently decided to remove baseball and softball from the summer games. Am I the only one who thinks this is insane? For God's sake, they're keeping handball and badmitton. Is this some kind of jab at the US? You can't get more American than baseball. Obviously, Japan and other countries have picked it up too, but it just seems insane.

I could understand and support a decision that removed many sports that are not in the "roots" of the olympic games, but to seemingly randomly remove these to sports. Take a look at the list of summer olympic sports . These are not the first picks in my mind.

A look at the sporting landscape.

Well, back from a short break and I’m ready to make up for skipping a week by going off on several topics this week. The first being the biggest story in baseball this year. What is it you ask? Well, I’ll tell you, a baseball legend is just about ready to enter a statistical land that only Willie Mays and Hank Aaron inhabit. Who is the superstar? Let me first tell you his accomplishment. This man, perhaps this year, will become the third man in baseball history to have both 3,000 hits and 600 home runs. Now you know who it is, Barry Bonds, right? Wrong, this superstar is Rafael Palmeiro.

Yes, Palmeiro by all appearances is going to end his career as the quiet legend. His numbers are going to be as good as any baseball player who ever played the game, yet no one is talking about him. I don’t think we have ever seen a player put up these types of numbers and receive virtually no recognition. I remember when Palmeiro hit home run number 500 and the media started asking the question, “Does Palmeiro belong in the Hall of Fame?” It turns out that is one of the dumbest questions ever asked. If you look at Palmeiro’s numbers now, he is a lock for the hall. Just because a player is not on TV or in magazines every week does not mean he doesn’t belong in the Hall. By the numbers Palmeiro is one of the best to ever play the game. Check out them out and educate yourself on one of the best to ever play the game.

Another topic I wanted to spout off about is the whole Larry Brown mess in Detroit. Just do something, anyone. According to ESPN, the Pistons are about to do something. ESPN was reporting on Monday that the Pistons were going to fire Brown and hire former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders. The way I see this is Larry Brown never stays forever and he is always looking for his next job. Detroit won a title with him and that title team is still intact and can go back to multiple NBA Finals. Get rid of the Brown headache and begin anew. Now Larry Brown can go home to his “dream job” and coach the Knicks and try to coach one of the biggest team killers in NBA history, Stephon Marbury. Marbury has so much talent it is scary, but if you check his history, he kills a team’s chance of success everywhere he goes. Good luck with all that Larry and I look forward to seeing where you head next, in about four years.

Another topic that I would like to discuss is the MLB All-Star Game this Tuesday night. I am writing this before the game and I have just received word that NL manager Tony LaRussa is going to have Chris Carpenter start the game. I’m fine with that, so long as Roger Clemens or Dontrelle Willis have a debilitating disease and are in no way able to play in this game. I’m not saying that Carpenter doesn’t have the numbers, he does, and he has had a great year so far. I know you are waiting for the but, so here it goes. But, he is not Roger Clemons and he is not the very charismatic Dontrelle Willis. Clemens numbers hold up on there own, better ERA, about 20 fewer hits given up than both Carpenter or Willis. Oh, one more thing, Clemens is the greatest of all time. Clemens’ only knock against him would be his win total, but with an ERA of 1.84, you have to think that his team isn’t exactly helping him out. If your team can’t score 3 runs a game consistently, then you aren’t going to win as many games as you should. As far as I’m concerned, Clemens should start every All-Star Game until he decides to retire.

Willis has roughly the same numbers as Carpenter, but is better known, I believe, and baseball should promote their young charismatic stars any chance they can. Plus, Willis is African American and baseball is searching for ways to get African Americans interested in playing baseball again, instead of basketball and football. What better way of generating some interest than have Willis start the “Mid-Summer Classic.” Put it this way, if Chris Carpenter walked into my office wearing his uniform and carrying a sign reading, “I am Chris Carpenter.” I wouldn’t know who he was. On the other hand, if Willis walked into my office and just demonstrated his corkscrew windup or flashed his smile, I would know him instantly. Bottom line, Carpenter is not bad, but it seems like a hometown pick by LaRussa when you consider the alternatives.

The last topic I want to discuss has been raging for a couple of weeks now. It is about Kenny Rogers. Kenny Rogers “assaulted” a couple of camera men and the media has gone crazy. I know I am in the majority on Kenny Rogers, but I can’t change how I feel. Most people think the “Coward of the County” is his best song, but I have always thought “The Gambler” was the best. Well, at least until he hit the camera man.

He was invited to the MLB All-Star game and many are not happy about it. Rogers deserves to go to the All-Star game if for nothing else but all the great teams he has been a part of in his career. Who could forget his teaming with Dolly Parton or Sheena Easton or the great Dottie West? Kenny is one of the greats, and if Major League Baseball is going to allow him to attend the All-Star Game, I’m all for it. I have a feeling his performance will be unforgettable, that is assuming he doesn’t forget the words to the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Fantastic Four... Better than I expected

I saw a headline on Yahoo! that said that The Fantastic Four brought the movie industry out of it's slump. That may or may not be true, but I do know that the movie was entertaining and despite the fact that every movie critic in the country trashed it, I enjoyed it.

I wonder what some movie critics think when they go into see a film. You can't go into a movie based on a 40 year-old comic book series with the same mindset that you go into a dramatic film epic. I never really read much of the Fantastic Four when I was little, I was more of a Batman/Spiderman fan, but I was a kid and knew about them and watched the cartoon.

Therefore, when I went into the movie, I knew going in this wasn't going to be an Oscar nominee. It's basically an action flick with cool special effects and as long as it doesn't try to become something it isn't, it will be good. The Fantastic Four probably wasn't as good as the X-Men movies, but the X-Men were everyone's favorite and in the X-Men comics and cartoons they weren't afraid to kill off a main character or do something crazy and dramatic.

However, in the same vein as the X-Men, if you liked the Fantastic Four, they could sign all the characters to a 5 film contract and just keep making them and they would be very enjoyable.

I will admit that I'm able to enjoy movies much more than just about everyone. Most of the times I'll see a preview or two for a movie, but I usually assess what it is I'm about to see and take it for what it is. The movie industry loves people like me. If I think a movie will be worth seeing I'll go. Critics might bash it, but they have to really convince me that I shouldn't see a movie before I take their word for it.

The Fantastic Four was hammered by the critics and I went to a 1 p.m. show on a Friday and it was a packed theatre. The reviews that we read lowered our expectations and it was better than expected.

Kind of like Freddy vs. Jason and Jason X. Both of those movies were terrible, but we all knew going in that they were going to be terrible and we loved them. Old school horror films like those are more comedy than scary and that's why we dig them.

I guess my saving grace is that I don't dwell on things I notice that I might dislike during movies and most importantly I do not sit through movies and try to sort the whole movie out in the first 10 minutes. For those of you who do that, you might as well give the box office your 8 bucks and just go home because you are going to ruin the movie for yourself at some point.

It might be 20 minutes in or it might be 2 hours in, but you're going to get to a point where you'll figure out who the killer is. Then you'll sit in the theatre for the rest of movie thinking about how smart you are instead of enjoying the rest of the movie.

And if you figure it out too quickly you pretty much just look for flaws the entire time. That's wasting 8 bucks, a 20 foot movie screen and a $50,000 sound system.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

You'll go blind doing that!

These anti-impotence drugs just faced this strike on possible vision loss. Pfizer claims no sign of this risk previously; however it has long been known that many people have "blue" vision. The blue vision is due to the blockage of an enzyme in the retina, and usually only occurs in men taking more than the recommended dose.

So your mom may have been wrong about "going blind," unless of course you're on viagra.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Inside the mind of a monster...

It's interesting how technology is coming into play with high profile crimes. First with the BTK killer and now with Joseph Duncan.

I just pulled up and the headline that catches my eye is "Suspected kidnapper in Idaho kept blog".

In fact, the blog is hosted by which means that it may or may not be kept live. Is it good publicity for blogger or bad? That's not for me to judge, but Merlin, I'll bet you'll find it very interesting reading. According to the article it seems like you can see the change in his mental status.

The blog is called "The Fifth Nail blog". The fifth nail is a reference a nail that was created to end Christ's suffering on the cross.

On Wednesday May 11, 2005, the title of his post was "The demons have taken over". He only posted once more just two days before he took the children and killed their family. Actually the titles give you a pretty good idea of what was happening to him.

First was "The Boogeyman will get ya". He refers to the demons as "the boogeyman".

Next was "Wrestling with Demons" followed by "The demons have taken over".

The final was "Still confused" where he talks about turning himself in after being charged with child molestation before he kidnapped the little boy and girl.

He says in the final post that he has an encrypted journal that is "even more frank" than the blog. I would say that lawyers are working on decrypting it as we speak as if 16 months of this stuff on the blog isn't enough.

People have flooded the site and posted comments all over. Some posts have as many as 250.

For those of you who didn't know, the BTK killings were pretty much solved because people who were fascinated with the serial killings started an online forum. They would discuss their theories and review the evidence that was known.

It turns out that BTK was actually monitoring the site as well and he even posted his theories about how the murders might have gone down. Unfortunately for him, he was trying to show how smart he was and gave a little too much away in some of his posts. And since the police were also monitoring the forum to see if he would show up, a phone call was placed to hunt down suspicious posters' IP addresses. BTK's computer was sniffed out and he was caught.

If you feel like reading the oddly coherent ramblings of a madman the address is

Forget protection from terrorists, apparently we need protection from ourselves!

This is a sad country we live in when we have to have laws preventing us from suing fast food chains for making us fat. We need laws like in old China where the kids that wouldn't work in school got sent to the rice fields. We could do the same with stupid people.

I do feel for those people wanting to make themselves healthier, feel better, and even look better. I think support should be given as much as possible. The problem I have is when you blame other people for the problem.

Lil' Kim going away for a Lil' while.

Well, well, well, Lil’ Kim is going to the big house. I can only imagine the shower fights she will be involved in. She was sentenced to one year and one day, she got lucky. The prosecution was asking for around 3 to 4 years. I kinda feel bad for the Lil’ one because she will not be able to get her monthly plastic surgery adjustments, I don’t know if you noticed, but she actually needs it. She has had so much plastic surgery already, she looks like a gargoyle. I will say that she does look cute with sunglasses on; you know the ones that pretty much cover her face. I wonder if the prison will allow her to change her hair color every week like she does on the “outside.” I bet Lil’ will think twice about covering for her homies now.

If you don’t know what happened, apparently Lil’ Kim’s posse got into a shoot out with Capone N Noreaga’s posse. During Grand Jury testimony, Lil’ said she did not see two of her homies, who both pleaded guilty to gun charges, at the shootout. Unfortunately for her, there was a security camera that had pictures of Lil’ and both men she claims were not with her that night. Whoops! Kim must think that rappers who haven’t had a hit, without four of the hottest singers in the business (hello, Pink, Mya, Christina, and Missy), in 10 years can get away with lying to a Grand Jury. During sentencing she asked the judge to not just consider her days in front of the grand jury in which she lied, but to consider her life’s work. Ok, let’s look.

Lil’ slept with B.I.G. and then became a medium sized rap star, hmmm. Obviously she knows how to sleep her way to the top. She had enough plastic surgery to last dozens of superficial women. She has gone from about an A cup to a DD cup and she takes many opportunities to show them off. She obviously knows that sex sells. She is probably most famous for being felt up by crazy ol’ Diana Ross on the MTV Music Video Awards. By the by, she was also showing off her surgically faked hooters during this episode. Unless I am wrong, and we all know I am not, this is her complete life’s work. According to my math, this adds up to about 366 years in prison. Apparently the judge in the case was using that funny math and came up with 366 days in prison. Oh, I forgot that she won a Grammy for her part in Lady Marmalade, so that explains the difference in my math and the judge’s. Not as much time as most would like to see, but it is enough to make Lil’ think about getting all gangsta in the future.

Well, Lil’ one, I guess this is goodbye, at least until next year some time. You should really contact M. Diddy, Martha Stewart, and find out how to pass the time, especially if you have to spend some time in the hole. Martha can show you how to fashion a shiv out of the end of a toothbrush. You can walk around freely with the bristled end sticking out of your pocket and noone will be the wiser. That is, until you shank a new fish who isn’t giving you respect, but I digress. I’m sure you two hard core felons will have much to discuss. Good luck and good riddance, Lil’ Kim.

Terrorists bomb London train system...

I wake up this morning just like every morning and stumble around trying to get my head straight so I can come to work. I see on the TV that terrorists have once again struck and set off several bombs in London in its subway and train system.

On my way to work I started wondering what would happen as a result of this. Something like 40 people were killed and around 300 injured so this was a terrible attack, but what is gained for the terrorists and what are we going to do about it?

I realize that I said "we," but I'm using that meaning "we the intelligent people of the world who occasionally get attacked" regardless of where it happens.

So what are the London officials and people going to do about it? First off, they aren't going to stop using the train. Europe is as dependent on trains as we are of automobiles here in the U.S. Second, they are going to create some sort of new security plan for the trains. People will get trained and they'll figure out a way to keep the train system safer.

They can't turn it into an airport type security system because people have to take a lot of different things with them to work so searching and banning certain items won't work.

That being said let's look at the outcome of the September 11 attacks. I realize that many people died in those attacks and I don't mean make light of that, but realistically what was the overall outcome?

Well, we now have a new branch of government called Homeland Security. And through the implementation of this government agency, new jobs were created. Just like new jobs will be created in London and other European countries for their train system security.

So the terrorists plan these attacks for years and maybe even decades just so they can make one clever attack possibly killing themselves in the process.

And all they ultimately do is create new jobs for people to ensure that they, the terrorists, have a harder time executing another attack.

To say these terrorists are morons is an understatement.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

No switch hitters?

So it turns out you may swing one way or the other but not both? This new study showed that there are indeed no such things as bisexual men. In this arousal test, men were found to be aroused by either men or women. Those men claiming "bi"; turns out they're mostly gay closet cases.

Looks like my friend, Sam Scott is right. He has been saying this for years. Of course, he also thinks everyone is gay. Looks like your batting .500 Samuel.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Batman began with a bang.

Finally, I made it to see this movie and it was indeed worth the wait. I really enjoyed this one. Without a doubt it is the best batman movie yet. Bale was also the best batman too. It is amazing that this guy is 5'11" and weighs 175, but just three months before filming he weighed only 115 for his role in the Machinist. I have yet to see that one; I do hope to though.

Batman Begins was most impressive because it made me almost believe the whole scenario possible. The litany of actors was well done and entertaining too.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I truly believe MTV fears music...

Piccu pretty much summed up everything that needed to be said about Live 8, but MTV is by far the worst at everything they do.

All day long while showing Live 8 they never finished one single song that I saw. And the straw that broke the camel's back was showing every single second of Pink Floyd's set...

Right up until the final 60 seconds of Comfortably Numb, their final song of the night.

Right up until lead guitarist David Gilmour was about to set the stage on fire with a stunning guitar solo to end Floyd's set.

Right up until the members of Pink Floyd came together on stage, smiled at each other and bowed to the crowd of 200,000 awe struck fans for the first time in 24 years.

Good one MTV. You missed the highlight of the entire 11 hour concert by 60 seconds. You missed the moment that the world was waiting for.

The biggest feud in all of rock and roll's history was put on hold for 24 glorious minutes and you dropped the ball and proceeded to kick it around.

Live 8. Greatest. Concert. Ever.

I have just finished listening to and watching the Live 8 concerts and I am worn out. I feel as though was in attendance at the London show. I listened to just about every set on that show. The Toronto and Philly shows were the two others that were must hear. I listened to all this on XM satellite radio. I watched, if you could call it that, the concerts on MTV. I have to say that MTV really dropped the ball, and why this surprises me, I don't know. They seemed to be more interested in selling stuff, with wall to wall commercials and talking to the crowd. I'm sorry, but I don't give two craps about what Kip from Pawtucket cares about the show. MTV should be ashamed of how they handled this concert. They broke away on many occasions in the middle of songs. I know they have to take breaks to sell stuff, but they could at least wait until the song is over. I would not be suprised if the 2 hour ABC special on Live 8 shows more music than the 7 hour MTV show did. Very bad way to handle the greatest concert in history.

I do want to give XM radio much props and dap for doing it right. They had a channel for every show and kept you informed about who was coming up and what was playing on other channels. One gripe I have is that they kept hyping a BIG finale in Toronto with the Rolling Stones that never materialized, but that is small stuff. Highlights of the show were Paul McCartney and U2 with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Deep Purple had an amazing set, Green Day tore the house down, Snoop Dogg in London and Jay-Z in Philly were both really good.

Many performances and many highlights, but the day for me was all about Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd reunited for four songs in London and the performance gave me goose bumps. I figured they would play Money, Wish You Were Here, and Comfortably Numb, at least I hoped they would, and they did, but they opened with Breathe which I hadn't counted on. For a second, I thought they were going to run through Dark Side, but it was not to be. To see them together for the first time in over 20 years was definitely history making, but to see them all smiling and enjoying themselves was even better. It would be to much to dream that this would somehow kickoff a real reunification and some new stuff with a tour to follow. Unfortunatly it doesn't seem that is going to happen, at least not for another year or so, due to David Gilmour being involved with some solo stuff. But, we can dream. That tour would make so much money, it would make the Stones look like they were playing bingo halls.

Overall it was a great day of music and it was for a good cause. Check out the Live 8 webstie from the link above and sign the Live 8 List, it's the least one can do to try to make a difference in the lives of people who need help.