Thursday, September 30, 2004

Take You Out Of The Ballgame

On the heels of Frank Francisco throwing a chair, Milton Bradley went after a fan who threw a plastic bottle at him after he muffed a play in the field. This is not to excuse Milton. Having experience as an Indians fan with both him and Albert Belle, the player clearly has a problem. But...

So do a certain breed of fan, the one's who take "No batter, no batter" to ugly, sometimes racial, always personal extremes talking about players personal lives and using talk too salty for a sailor. And throwing things at a player is never cool.

Tell me about pampered millionaires all you want and how you paid for your ticket, but remember that they're human just like you, and most of them are giving their best effort. You have a right to express your disapproval. But you have no right to behave in a manner that were you in an alley somewhere would get your posterior beaten up.

No player would ever come out and say this. They'd be called crybabies or somesuch. So I'm saying it. Stop being a jerk. It's just a game.

That Kerry-tone Tan

In all fairness, it says nothing about his ability to lead America or what his plans for the future are, but you just have to wonder how on Earth Senator Kerry could think he could shellac on a couple of coats of Instant Tan and not expect people to notice. And the problem is, this little gaffe could have already cost him the debate before it happens.

American Presidential debates are rarely about the issues being argued and rather how the people feel about the people on stage. Al Gore made it hard for anyone to like him and helped George W. Bush to the win as much as any individual thing Bush did. (If you are right now muttering to yourself that George W. Bush didn't win, you either do not understand the electoral college process and the law, or you're one of those. By the rules that were in place at the time of the election, George W. Bush won. Period.)

Ronald Reagan's amiability was a key factor in turning out Jimmy Carter. George H.W. Bush came off better than Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton better than Papa Bush. It may be short sighted and shallow, but it's the American way and the smart politician deals with it.

Which again leads us to Senator Kerry. His own advisers admit he has a "Thurston Howell" problem. Why then do something to make him seem further out of touch with America? Doesn't he know regular guys make fun of guys who turn orange overnight?

However, much like the "$87 billion" pirouette, there's no corking the genie on this one. Best he can do is relax, speak clearly and succinctly, smile, and not say a thing about sports. And wipe that orange goo off before someone calls him the Great Pumpkin.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Kool-ing off O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly explained in a political context what a Kool-Aid® Drinker is, but he missed one fact.
[Actual text of e-mail]

To: Bill O'Reilly
From: [me]
Re: Kool-Aid® Korrection

I think that the people at Kraft Foods would like you to point out that the drink that was actually served at Jonestown, Guyana was in fact Flavor-Aid, a cheaper imitation of Kool-Aid.

[Name and town, name and town, as I wished to opine]
Bonus nerd points: the flavor was grape.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Electoral College Undergrad

Since I was unhappy with the methodology being used by another person tracking the day to day changes in the Electoral College map regarding this election, I have decided to do my own version, which may be found here. It is my sincere hope that I will be able to keep this up on a daily basis until November's election, but between doing this blog itself, taking a class in Visual Basic programming, and actually working for a living, I am not sure whether I will meet this self-imposed goal or not.

As I say on the linked to page, I do have a rooting interest, but as far as the page goes, it will be an accurate reflection of the numbers. Since my source numbers are checkable, I will count on you keeping me on my toes. Good thing I borrowed my niece's ballet shoes.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Homework for the weekend

  1. Tell someone from your past that you appreciate that you do, in fact, appreciate them.
  2. Genuinely compliment one person each day.
  3. Find something about yourself you find positive. Celebrate it.
  4. Read an entire article in a magazine about a subject you have no interest in.
  5. Try something to eat or drink you've never had before.

Report back on Monday.

Why Bill Gates is worth a zillion dollars and Marvel Comics isn't.

Call them Micro$oft if you like, call his OSs Emmenthaler-ware if you must, but, like Aretha Franklin, give Bill Gates his propers when you get home. Because he knows at least one secret of staying on top: if you can't beat 'em, co-opt 'em.

Cross platform software and web deployment were ideas too good for even the mighty Microsoft® boot to crush, so, recognizing this, he decided that if there was going to be cross platform, it would be his, creating the .NET architecture to, basically, out Java™ Java™.

But what does this have to do with Marvel Comics™? Well, I play a game called Freedom Force™, where you take a team of ersatz superheroes through several adventures. The company that made it, Irrational Games, made it pretty customizable. And if you could get your hands on 3DS Max, you could make your own figures for the game. And of course someone did and did. And they proceeded to make Marvel characters among others.

Only problem is, Marvel wants to make and sell its own video games for its characters. So in true "Hulk smash!" fashion, it's been busting Irrational Games's chops about the Freedom Force fanbase making figures and scenarios. They want it to stop, so that people will play their games for their characters. I have no problem with that. But from what I am told, most of those games aren't as good as Freedom Force.

So what's a mother to do? Well, if that mother is Bill Gates, he licenses his characters for Freedom Force. He makes Irrational Games pay through the nose, who then passes those costs onto you. He gets rich, Irrational gets rich, fans are poorer but happy. Instead, Marvel aggravates a piece of their dwindling fanbase.

So where is DC Comics, the house of Superman, in all of this? Nowhere, it seems, and that's a shame. Because if DC were to license Freedom Force first, it would give them a monster share of the action and leave Marvel out in the cold. But DC isn't exactly Bill Gates either, it seems.

So the moral of the story is that, as a capitalist, Bill Gates has earned a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Radio Show Progress - a haiku

Haven't called station.
Too much work and too much fear.
Must do something soon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Even I wanted to punch me

I am taking a class in Visual Basic. I did my homework over the weekend (between football and baseball) and turned it in today. The teacher was impressed, so much so that he called the other students over to look at what I had done. At that point I had that old feeling I had from the days I was "the smartest kid in the room," which is to say that they were going to beat me up for showing them up. Only I wasn't showing anyone up, I was just playing around with stuff, learning stuff off the page (which in my mind is really what learning is about.) The problem with doing stuff like that, though, is that other people feel (without reason) that they have to match you in order to stay in the picture. It's how in sports they say someone like Michael Jordan makes his whole team better.

At any rate, the next time you see someone turn in a stellar effort, remember that it is not meant in any way, shape or form to be a reflection on you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

You Drive Me Crazy

Driving is a much different activity depending on where you do it. In New York State, it's pretty quick and aggressive. It is fairly common for my wife to be passed by State Troopers while she's doing five to ten over the limit. In Northeastern Ohio, it's almost like a ballet. Everyone seems to know everyone else moves. There is a flow that is just beautiful. And North Carolina is very friendly. Lots of courtesy, relatively few cutoffs. That is to say, in most parts of the state. In the part where I live, there is a problem. It's not the number of people. Charlotte has far more than where I live. No. The part of the state I live in has been invaded by escaped northerners such as myself (OH) and my wife (NY.) And there are still plenty of locals. Which means there is no driving style. I'm trying to get across four lanes, so I slow down to move right after the car next to me pulls ahead (classic Ohio ballet style move.) Well, the car next to me starts to slow down. So I slow down further. So they slow down further. They're trying to let me in in front of them when it would be much safer if I went behind them as there were no cars behind them. So why didn't I go in front? Because, had that been a transplanted New Yorker, I would have been rammed. I've lived here for years now and I still dread trips across town. At this point, I really don't care which way to drive. I'd just like it to be the same way every time.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Weekend Sports Report: Ohio State Luckeyes? Hardly.

There is an all too clever nickname going around for the Ohio State University football squad: Luckeyes, due to the fact that they seem to always get the breaks they need to win a close ballgame. But such a nickname diminishes the talent and ability the players at the school have. It also is wrong.

When the Buckeyes made their national championship run in 2002, one of the players in an interview revealed something very telling: the Buckeyes practice "It all comes down to this" moments. They
practice them. Funny thing about that; most games can be seen as strings of moments of that kind. So if you're prepared, if you're ready, and your opponent isn't, you have an advantage.

The ABC announcers for this game figured it out. Ohio State, other than their kicker, didn't do a whole lot to win this game. However, they were disciplined enough to not do almost anything to lose it, unlike North Carolina State, who played valiantly, but primarily on their own end of the field. Several times the ABC crew talked about how just about every Buckeye point had a gift from NC State attached.

If you must be a smart Aleck, call it luck. Just remember: luck is the residue of design.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Were you the salmon or the river?

The late Steve Allen (bespectled first host of the Tonight Show, the one before the one before the one before Jay Leno) wrote in one of his books about how atmospherics could create a mood over an entire city. He would call after his Sunday variety show over to the Ed Sullivan Show (which was on at the same time and performed across town from him) and he would ask how their audience was. Invariably, if he had a less than energetic audience, so did Sullivan.

I believe these atmospherics go beyond individual cities. In fact, judging by Giant Multinational Corporation, Inc., they blanket the entire USA. Conversations with my compatriots revealed bad days all over the country. In fact other parts of the globe as well.

But I have also seen at GMC, Inc. (not to be confused with General Motors Corp.) one person blithely skipping along down the hallway while the rest of us are grimacing and throwing things. [Special bonus points to me for using blithely twice in one week.] These people are the salmon in the river of life, blissfully swimming against the current. I wonder what is their secret. Are they wired backwards? Do they have a stronger faith in the positive outcome of life? Are they just really, really stupid?

So I ask you, were you a salmon this week or the river. As you can guess, I was just a drop in the mighty Mississip.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Chargers Broadcasting System

In my youth (that is to say the late 70s and early 80s, not the stone age, Mr. or Ms. Wise-Guy) the San Diego Chargers were a point scoring powerhouse who lived by the edict "the best defense is a good offense." Well, it didn't work so well for them then because eventually they ran into another team who could score more points than they did. Yet it appears Dan Rather and the Columbia Broadcasting System have taken a page from their playbook.

In response to the mounting evidence creating suspicion, CBS blithely dismisses it with the thinnest of answers: "Yes, the 'pressuring' officer was out of the guard at the time the memo mentioned, but he still had influence! Our typewriter expert says there were typewriters that did superscript since the 60s but we're not saying which ones nor whether any of them did the memo. Yes, the secretary said she never typed those and the colonel would never have typed them himself, but she said he did think Bush was a poopyhead!" But beyond that, CBS, in trying to throw the dogs off their scent, is trying to put the onus back on Bush. "Notice how he hasn't answered our charges of patronage and failure to report!"

Well, CBS, I have news for you: he'll answer your charges as soon as he answers the ones that say he and Bigfoot sired the Batboy of the Caves after receiving an alien probe. Expecting him to answer credible charges is one thing, but right now believing those memos on just your say-so requires an almost religious leap of faith.

Right now there is but one thing that CBS could do to restore any credibility and give their intended story any traction: turn the documents over to the FBI for validation. Even if they are copies. The FBI can do wonders with document analysis; just watch Forensic Files. But you see, there is a big, big problem with that. If the FBI says they're forgeries, CBS has no excuse to protect their source because a pretty big crime has been committed. And there is growing suspicion that the real story here is not what the documents say, regardless of their veracity. It's where the documents came from.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hasenpfeffer, Incorporated

"There is nothing we won't try. Never heard the word 'impossible.' This time there's no stopping us; we're going to do it." — from "Making Our Dreams Come True" by Normal Gimbel and Charles Fox
No. I'm not having a Laverne and Shirley flashback, although that's where the words are from. I am talking about my return to radio by a year from now. I have decided that while still maintaining my day job for Giant Multinational Corporation, Inc. that I am going to go back on the air.

A radio colleague once said that doing radio is like being circus folk; it gets in your blood and you can never totally leave it. Well, it has gotten into mine. So I have decided to get back on the air. Now those of you who know me from my previous life on the radio might suspect I'll be doing some sort of hybrid of Gary Burbank, Rush Limbaugh, and Sporting News Radio (and that may happen down the road) but actually I have something much different in mind.

I want to do a radio show where people help each other make their dreams come true. Not monetarily, but with encouragement, advice, introductions, et cetera. You still have to do the work. You still have to have the chops. But if you need a babysitter so that you can go back to college and get a degree, we'll help find you one. If you want to sing with a band, we'll get you a tryout. And after you get shot down and you
still want to do it, we'll find you a music coach. We'll encourage you and kick you in the patootie as needed. I think it would be fascinating radio to listen to (sort of reality radio) and I want to do it.

But part of the key of making your dreams come true is committing to them. So here I am. I will be back on the air in a year. I will note my progress. I expect your encouragement. (I also expect Lenny and Squiggy jokes, so don't let me down.)

Also, if you would like to be one of the first cases for my program drop me a line at and we'll talk.

(BTW, speaking of, the proprietor of the place, who uses the login name Ender, was an inspiration for this latest idea, as he has decided to put several aspects of his life in order and is persisting against obstacles. I'm proud of you, E. And if you like comic books, I encourage you to stop by his place and say "Hi." Especially since he's letting me use his e-mail account.)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Easy as A B C

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." Alexander Hamilton

What do the letters AARP stand for? If you said anything like the American Association of Retired Persons, well, you used to be right, but now you're not. Also, you'd be hard pressed to find Kentucky Fried Chicken in the letters KFC these days. What brought this relfection on was another move to an acronym without meaning by a local company. While it is very American to reinvent yourself, it's rather odd when people know what your initials stand for to simply deny they stand for anything. It comes off as you being ashamed of your origin. And it's a weak way to try to have your cake and eat it too, keeping the power of the alphabet brand while getting rid of the meaning. Ultimately in life, in order for such a symbol as a corporate acronym to be effective it must stand for something. Just ask The Artist Currently Known As Prince.

Syndicate Hit

Just a quick note to say that you may get these pearls of wisdom syndicated to you at:

Not sure why this isn't posted on the blog, but then it's not my company.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

With one magic word...Shazam!

I'm back in business! In lieu of restarting the late, lamented Duck, I have decided to become a blogger. Not that the world needs to know what I am thinking on a daily basis (and by daily I mean "so sporadically that it may never be updated ever"), but simply, some of you enjoyed my forays into the insane and with precious little joy in the world, it's the least I can do to give you some. Joy, that is, not insanity.

Just as Dan Rather has given me some. (Joy, that is.) The veteran newsman who tilts slightly to the left continues to stand by documents that are more fake than a feature dancer's bodacious tatas. Anyone actually
alive in the 70s, and this should include Rather, should have known that a D.O.D. memo should have been typed and should have looked something like this (In case your browser makes a subtitution, I am using the Courier font to type this, usually thought of as the typewriter font. I am using it not so much to poke fun at Dan as I am just used to the look of it. That's because I typed on an actual typewriter. Back in the stone age. I used to ride the bus with Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. But I digress. A lot. Moving right along...)

Here you're likely to hear about current events in the the worlds of politics, entertainment, sports, and bodacious tatas. (Perhaps if I use the phrase "bodacious tatas" enough I'll actually develop an audience.) So welcome. Enjoy your stay. And until you start having fun the beatings will continue.