Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The reason I'm reminiscing about that store today is because the former face of Dunkin Donuts, Michael Vale, died today at age 83. In the Dunkin Donuts commercials, he was known as "Fred The Baker," and in the early incarnations of the ads he was perpetually exhausted because it was always "Time To Make The Donuts." The purpose of the ads was to show that Dunkin Donuts' doughnuts were always fresh. The funniest ads were when Fred The Baker would dress up in drag and visit other doughnut stores to interrogate their employees about how fresh their doughnuts were. If I remember right, the competitor's employees looked dumbfounded, especially because Fred didn't bother to shave his dark mustache while posing as a woman.
According to Newsday, Michael Vale worked as an actor on the Broadway stage, in film and on television, and appeared in more than 1,300 TV commercials besides his work as Fred, the Dunkin Donuts Baker.
So the next time you visit Dunkin Donuts for their coffee, pour a bit on the ground outside for your homey, Michael Vale.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Also, click here to view a holiday card from the New York Mets!
Personally, and I don't care if it's for unpaid parking tickets, someone's got to be able to get this man convicted of something just to show me that there is justice in this country for celebrities!
Set your Tivo: The four-hour, two-part season premiere of "24," will air Jan. 15-16 (8 p.m. EST).
The cast of 24 has been updated for the new season (Thanks John for the tip!) Can't wait!
The workers were nestled all snug in their booths;
Where oft they're found sleeping, to tell you the truth.
Toussaint wants their pensions to be like the cops' -
you know, 'cause it's stressful announcing each stop.
Read the entire poem here.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
"No trains," says a workman, after a contemptuous eternity,
"Stop here tonight. Upstairs for the Q Train."
They follow me, the passengers, through Canal
Street Station, and one in particular, Shirley,
introduces herself right there on the platform,
and asks, would I share with her a taxi across the bridge.
Read the full Sestina here, and find out what a sestina is here. I am going to try and write a sestina myself over the holidays. I haven't written any sort of poetry in years. Wish me luck!
Monday, December 19, 2005
Not trying to be a jerk here or anything, but when addressing holiday cards to a family, there is no need to put an apostrophe before the "s" when pluralizing the family's name. For instance: "The Smiths" is correct, "The Smith's" is not.
The apostrophe implies possession (or a contraction). Notice usage above with the phrase "family's name," Here the apostrophe is used because the name belongs to the family. Conversely, this post begins "Dear Readers," with no apostrophe needed.
Thank you all very much for the cards you've sent to me, grammar errors notwithstanding. It is very nice to be remembered.
Nestle and Hershey both think the next big thing in candy are sticks, or, more specifically, crispy wafers rolled up into a stick, and then filled with creme and sprinkled with bits of candy. Nestle will have Butterfinger Stixx and Nestle Crunch Stixx, while Hershey will launch a similar line with their own brands, presumably including Almond Joy and Reeses (different from the already available bar-shaped Reeses Sticks). They'll both hit your local candy distributors shelves this coming March. Just in time to give up next year's new years weight-loss resolutions!
"Advertising can be three things: (1) Fast, (2) Effective, and (3) Economical, . But it can only be two of those things at once. If it is Fast and Effective, then it is not economical. If it is Effective and Economical, then it is not fast. And if it is Fast and Economical, it is not effective."
This man is a genius.
Full article can be found here. (Search by author: Jones)
Kong was everything I expected, and then some. It was the "then some" that bugged me a bit. I'm not talking about the length of the movie; the three hours went by fast enough. My only issue with the film was that I thought director Peter Jackson went a bit too far with the love story. The love story between Naomi Watts' character and the big ape, that is. Poor Adrian Brody and his character were so overshadowed by this creepy love affair. My feeling was that Ann Darrow's affection for the beast would have been better portrayed more like the way a person feels affection for a pet. Jackson made Kong too human-like. He went just a bit too Lord Of The Rings fantasy for me. The magic of the King Kong story is the idea that it could actually happen, and Jackson went a bit too far for me to completely suspend disbelief.
Friday, December 16, 2005
"Coca-Cola Blāk is not just a flavor extension. It is a blend of unique Coke refreshment with the true essence of coffee and has a rich smooth texture and has a coffee-like froth when poured. We believe we have created a new category of soft drink – an adult product in a carbonated beverage – and a whole new drinking experience. This brand is ideal for any part of the day when people are looking for renewed energy or simply to take a break," said Marc Mathieu, vice president, Global Core Brands, The
People in France will be the first to try the new soda, in January, with Americans getting a taste sometime later in 2006. To me, the bottle looks like a beer. What do you think?:
I will definitely give this new drink a try, but I am not optimistic about it. I guess we'll have to see. Meanwhile, Pepsi is making sure they don't get caught in the dust. If Coca-Cola Blāk takes off, they'll be ready with Pepsi Cappuccino.
Not nearly as sexy a name, but I think it might come down to which company hits the U.S. first.
In January, Howard will begin broadcasting on Sirius, one of the two satellite radio providers. The other is XM. Since leaving New York just over a year ago, I have missed Howard's morning show dearly. Every other morning show is absolutely dreadful! So it would seem to be a no-brainer for me to sign up for Sirius next month, right? Well, here's the thing...
I think the reason Howard Stern is so misunderstood is because of how the E! television show is edited. If you tune in to that show, nine times out of ten you'll see a stripper or a wanna-be stripper taking their clothes off or being humiliated for the right to take their clothes off. Now, I have nothing against naked women, but by far the best part of Howard's radio show was not that element.
The best part was the honesty. When Howard and Robin and Baba Booey and whoever happened to be in the studio would just sit there and talk, or argue, or make fun of each other, it was real. It wasn't contrived conflict, like what is so prevelant on every other morning show; it was real, even if sometimes it was real immature. Also, Howard's interviews with celebrities were fascinating. We always learned way more than on other radio shows or TV talk shows where again and again the same softball fluff questions were tossed at the stars. Howard asked the best questions, the hard questions.
So, as I go on and on about the greatness of Howard's show that I miss so dearly on my short morning commute, why wouldn't I be salivating at the opportunity to reconnect with Stern on his new Sirius gig?
Frankly I am worried. I am worried that with the FCC restrictions lifted, Howard's show is going to become an even raunchier, uncensored version of his E! show. A non-stop parade of strippers and profanity. I fear Howard's true talent is going to be lost among the mayhem.
And the celebrity interviews. Howard played to an ENORMOUS audience on his broadcast show. Even the celebs who were scared of answering his questions were almost obligated to appear on his show to promote their latest project to Howards giant audience. That audience will be decidedly smaller on Sirius. Sirius total subscriber base is about 2.2 million. Over the air his audience was about four times that. Will he still be able to book celebs on his new show?
Finally, my other hestitation has nothing to do with Howard at all. It has to do with the other thing I miss so much about radio in New York. XM Radio, Sirius' competitor, is the only way I can listen to radio roadcasts of Mets games down here in North Carolina.
Won't these two companies make my life easier and just merge already?
Thursday, December 15, 2005
When Santa came over to you that foggy Christmas Eve and asked, "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?," I couldn't wait for the part where you'd tell Santa to stick it up his ass, and run off with Hermey to open a thriving dental practice on the Island of Misfit Toys. So what if Christmas got canceled that year and all the little boys and girls all over the world would wake up to empty stockings by the fireplace. You needed to teach Santa a lesson in how to treat people.
However, you didn't do that. Instead, to my shock, you were happy that Santa asked you to guide his sleigh! You said, "Sure, I'll guide your sleigh! I'd be thrilled to!" Then off you went with that creep, who up until then had treated you like you were the bastard child of the Elephant Man.
Read the full letter here. Happy Holidays everyone!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Today at lunch we were discussing the excellent movie, Walk The Line, which tells the story of the life of Johnny Cash. We were talking about another person portrayed in the film, Jerry Lee Lewis, who is notorious for having married his 13 year old cousin. We got to talking about the always fun topic of 'kissin cousins,' which led me to come back to the office and look up a bit about the subject. Here's what I found out.
In addition to Jerry Lee Lewis, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein are also people who married their cousins. All three suffered for having violated a widely held social norm against "incestuous" unions. Yet there may be less reason for this norm, and for the laws enforcing it, than was once believed.
A panoply of state laws say cousin marriages are taboo. But a report in the Journal of Genetic Counseling concludes that cousins can have children together without running much greater risk than a "normal" couple of their children having genetic abnormalities. Accordingly, the report potentially undermines the primary justification for laws that prevent first cousins from marrying or engaging in sexual relations with one another. True, marriage among close kin can increase the chance of pathological recessive genes meeting up in some unlucky individual, with dire consequences. The problem isn't cousin marriage per se, however, but rather how many such genes are floating around in the family pool. If the pool's pretty clean, the likelihood of genetic defects resulting from cousin marriage is low. The report says that, on average, offspring of first-cousin unions have a 2 to 3 percent greater risk of birth defects than the general population, and a little over 4 percent greater risk of early death. While those margins aren't trivial, genetic testing and counseling can minimize the danger. An argument can be made that marriages of first cousins descended from strong stock can produce exceptional children.
The formerly high incidence of congenital defects, specifically hemophilia, among European royal families isn't the classic demonstration of the perils of inbreeding that everybody thinks it is. The short explanation is that hemophilia is an X-chromosome-related characteristic, transmitted only through the female line. The children of royal female carriers would have been at risk no matter whom their mothers had married.
The U.S. is virtually alone among developed nations in outlawing marriage among first cousins. European countries have no such prohibition. Even in the U.S. laws forbidding the practice are far from universal.
Twenty-four states prohibit marriages between first cousins, and another seven permit them only under special circumstances. For example:
- Utah permits first cousins to marry only provided both spouses are over age 65, or at least 55 with evidence of sterility. Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin also have laws stating minimum ages or proof of sterility.
- North Carolina permits first cousins to marry unless they are "double first cousins" (cousins through more than one line. For instance, two brothers from one family marry two sisters from another; if each couple has a child, those offspring are double cousins).
- Maine permits first cousins to marry only upon presentation of a certificate of genetic counseling.
The remaining nineteen states, including New York and California, and the District of Columbia permit first-cousin marriages without restriction. All states allow marriage of second cousins or more-distant relatives.
So, how common are cousin marriages? Well, he frequency of cousin marriages in the USA is about 1 in 1,000. In comparison, the frequency of cousin marriages in Japan is about 4 in 1,000. It is estimated that 20 percent of all couples worldwide are first cousins. It is also estimated that 80 percent of all marriages historically have been between first cousins. And in some respects, we are all cousins, as no two people are more distantly related than 50th cousins.
So there you go.
This post flagrantly plagiarizes from:
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Current: My name is Rocky and I was abandoned here at the center. I'm 10 years old and looking for a nice home to live out my golden years. Please come down and say hello. Until you come, I'll be waiting here. Full disclosure: I have a hyperthyroid and am blind in one eye. Hasn't slowed me down, though, and I'm sure it's something you can handle.
Suggested: Let's get real honest. If I don't come home with you, I'm taking a one-way trip on the needle express. And all those touchy-feely posters out front describing the center's painless euthanasia procedure? Says who? We can't talk, you know. It's your call.Check out all the rewritten ads here.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
This weekend, honor him by renting his cinematic trilogy of greatness, Brewter's Millions, Superman III, and The Toy.
Actually, donating to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society might be a nice idea.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Behold, the 2005 Word Of The Year, in all its glory. Congratulations, podcast. Although, personally, I was really pulling for squick.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
I just got this in my e-mailbox. A company called Encompass Media wants me to know that pizzerias nationwide are now offering up their pizza boxes as advertising space. For example:
I have two concerns about this:
1) Since they're now being subsidized by advertisers, will it make my pizza any cheaper?
2) What will happen to the stereotypical overweight Italian guys who usually model for the covers of these things?
"...one by one (counter to Noah's 2 by 2 I know, but if it is nasty who will want a second?), we will blaze a path through the animal kingdom and remind every last one of them who is at the top of the food chain...and who wears who as a coat."
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Q: Do you think [The Last DJ] did not do well because it was not what people expect from Tom Petty?Check out the Billboard Awards tonight on FOX. where Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong will present the Century Award to Tom Petty.
A: Well, too bad, you're going to have to take what he gives you. I don't give a damn what you want.
Q: Yes, you do. You have just spent hours talking about the respect you have for your audience.
A: Yes, well, that is respecting them. If I disrespected them, I would pander to them, but I don't. I never have, and I'm never going to. If you just think I'm going to sing "Refugee" every time, I'm not going to do it. I'm too old for that now.
Q: What do you want to do?
A: I'm more interested in what I'm going to leave behind me now than in making a big hit record. I've refined what I do for a long time. If getting better at it means it goes over the heads of those who only wanted to party, then so be it.
Q: There is a great line in the song "Joe" on "The Last DJ" that says, "We could move more catalog if he'd only die quicker." So death really is a good career move.
A: Well, you always sell more. It's just a downright vicious song. It's black, black humor. I think I was hurt inside that you guys fucked this up, just the business in general, you fucked up this beautiful thing, this music that spoke for people. You turned it into this thing that nobody trusts, and it's, like, all for money. Like you weren't making enough money.
Q: What can we expect from your next solo album, "Highway Companion," when it comes out next year?
A: It has a lot to say about time and the passage of time. It's not so much love songs, it's not going to be what anybody expects from me, I'm sure of that. But it's good music, it's really good music.
Q: Do you see a day where you do not make music anymore?
A: My wife will tell you I'm not any happier anywhere than when I'm in the studio. I'm over the moon about it. It keeps me young, it keeps me feeling like I have some purpose. There's some reason this stuff is coming through me. So I don't intend to quit.
Monday, December 05, 2005
(Makes 12 servings)
12 oz. Vodka
6 oz Triplesec
9 cups Pomegranate Juice
Oprah's original version can be found here.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
More Long Islanders say they are considering moving away amid difficulties paying for the high cost of housing, a new poll has found.For me, personally, leaving Long Island was really hard. It was hard to leave behind my friends, family, my beloved Mets, and the corner pizzeria. But having escaped, and now haveing been able to buy a house I never could have afforded on 'The Island,' I can safely say I don't think I'd ever move back to Long Island. I just need to get rich enough to buy a jet so I can still fly back on the weekends for Mets games!
The poll found the biggest jump in those considering leaving Nassau and Suffolk counties came among those the local economy can least afford to lose - adults in their peak earning years between ages 50 and 64. The results come even as record-low interest rates have decreased homeowners' monthly housing bills, and as regional rental rates have leveled off or even decreased.
"It's just getting to the point that people really are thinking ... is Long Island really worth it?" said Carrie Meek Gallagher, executive director of the Long Island Index, which sponsored the poll.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
"Right now diet black cherry vanilla coke and black cherry vanilla coke are what consumers are telling us they want."
Of course, there's only so much space to spare on the grocery store shelves, so cola fans will have to say 'bye bye' to three other Coke flavors: Vanilla Coke, Diet Vanilla Coke, and Diet Coke with Lemon are on their way out. Get 'em while you can! They may be collectors items soon.
Speaking of retired sodas, to my dismay I haven't been able to find Holiday Spice Pepsi this year.
No fluff pieces here, folks. Only hard news at The Good, The Bad and The Mookie!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
But for some reason I couldn't help but feeling vindicated at the news of the breakup. I think other men might be feeling the same thing today. I am sure I'm not the only guy whose wife or girlffriend would complain that their man wasn't as romantic as Nick. Why couldn't we be more like him? To which we could only reply,
"You're right honey. I can change. No go out and make a few million dollars so I can stay home and figure out romantic ways to spend your money, all right?"
The news of the split validates my feeling that this televised relationship was a sham from the beginning. Not that they weren't really a couple in "real life," but that their real life couldn't possibly live up to the image they portrayed on their television show. What was supposed to be a "reality show," was really a fantasy show created with the help of the brilliant editors at MTV. The show had three main characters: The ditsy but devoted Jessica; the patient and grounded Nick, and the real star: the balanced, loving and super-romantic marriage. Once these characters were created, it put an impossible expectation on the shows' real-life counterparts. They had to be exactly as they were portrayed to be.
And how could they complain? They made their money-lined bed; they had to lie in it. They can't claim a gripe against an intrusive media. It was this invitation into their lives that made them rich and famous in the first place.
All in all, the split does teach us all a lesson: Nobody, and no couple is perfect. A happy relationship isn't hot-air balloons, expensive gifts or goofy sound-bytes from gorgeous people. A happy relationship is honesty. Honesty with who we are, flaws and all, and acceptance that our partner is being the best, imperfect partner they can be. My thanks to them for that.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
"Right now I'm just trying to live my life. I just wanna try and put it back together. The last few years I've been personally just slipping further and further downhill. It got to a point where I felt things were becoming unsafe for me. I've never been the most stable person but i was seriously losing touch with my surroundings and not thinking very clearly. It happens. For some of us, this sort of thing is just a fact of life. You have to try and learn to live with the way your head works or find the drugs that make it work better or whatever. Either way, that's all I'm trying to do. And i know I can't do it on a tourbus. I lost my way out there in the first place.As an enormous Counting Crows fan, I hope whatever demons Adam is battling, he comes out okay. Hopefully soon he'll feel well enough to get back to his music, which in turn might lead to his further healing.
"So I'm just trying to live my life and fix some things. Because I'm a musician and I wanna get back to doing the things I was born to do."
"My main aim in life right now is to take care of myself and avoid as much as possible the kind of people who want to waste their time judging me."
"I'm on sabbatical trying not to go too 'Smiley Smile' on ya. I tried it out. I grew the beard and stayed in bed most of the Summer. But in the end, things started to feel more than a little sketchy so I got out of bed. Kept the beard though."
The point of my seemingly random endorsement of a Las Vegas attraction is to direct you to this video link of a house decorated with Christmas lights. Christmas lights that appear to "dance" to rock music in the same manner as the Bellagio fountains. Pretty cool. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, good.
Link from: http://john.hoke.org/
"All of the Mets road wins against the Dodgers this year occurred at Dodger Stadium."
"On Fathers Day, we again wish you all happy birthday."
"Solo homers usually come with no one on base."
"Sutton lost thirteen games in a row without winning a ballgame."
Click here for full list
People are going to insane lengths to score a new XBox for the holidays. From camping out overnight to paying over $12,000 on eBay for the $400 system, I wonder: exactly how much crack is included with these game systems?
Monday, November 21, 2005
I predict this will be a very popular item at weddings and proms, where the bubbles are released in school colors or the wedding colors.
(You must have Quicktme).
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
AOL Mail? Free.
200 channels of XM Radio? Free.
Photo Storage and Sharing? Free.
Okay it's free, so the price is right, but I still don't see the draw. Google and Yahoo already offer free e-mail, Snapfish, Flickr, and Kodak Gallery offer free photo storage. Free XM is cool, but will the free service include MLB? Anyway, I'm glad to hear they've decided to stop ripping people off.
Now can they stop sending me those stupid CD's in the mail?
Saturday, November 12, 2005
If a performer is going to lip synch in their concerts, H.O.P.E. feels this information should be disclosed in any and all advertisements for the concerts, and be printed on the ticket as well. For those of us to go to concerts expecting to see a live performance, this legislation would ensure that we are getting what we paid for.
By the way, H.O.P.E. stands for Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment and the group aims to expose mediocrity in entertainment. They offer a free CD of an artist of "higher entertainment value" in exchange for an Ashlee Simpson album. Their website is http://www.hopeinamerica.com.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
The Mets had a decent season, but now is the time of year where the media speculates on how teams will try and tinker with their rosters to build a better ballclub. Here are my comments on some of the players that have been rumored as possible Mets in 2006:
Manny Ramirez. Of course it would be amazing to get a guy who puts up the numbers he puts up. He is clutch, and he is awesome. I don't even think Heilmen and Milledge is too much to ask for the guy. HOWEVER, can someone please tell me why every year he asks to be traded? He's getting paid a ridiculous amount of money, he's beloved in Boston, and the team is really good with a chance at winning a championship every year. I've never see a reason for his trade requests teh past few years. Are the Boston sportswriters that lazy to ask the question? If we get him, will he ask to be traded after the first year and then we've lost him and our top prospects?
Carlos Delgado. This would be pretty sweet, to get a guy who can play first base and hit like crazy. I think it would be crazy to see him in a Mets uniform after all the Minaya bashing that Delgado supposedly said last spring. But I wanted the Mets to sign him last winter, and I think he's a better idea than most of the others I've heard. Would he really come here and not ask for a trade next winter?
Sheffield. No, thank you. We should have gotten him 8 years ago. Move on. The guy is a complete ass and a whiner. I don't need to read reports of him complaining about how bad he hurts and how much he's underpaid.
Sammy Sosa. Okay, last season Omar was the only guy in the universe who thought Sosa in a Mets uni was a good idea. If he still thinks it's a good idea, after his atrocious season, I think we should really question his sanity.
Trading Benson and Trachsel. Yes, Benson is overpaid, but is there really anyone better available? Trachsel's making like 8 cents next year. The only reason to trade him is if you're gonna give his slot to Heilman or Seo.
Kenji Jojima Wow, the Mets have had soo much success with importing players from Japan. I mean Shinjyo, Matsui, Komiyama are all sure-fire, first-ballot hall-of-famers. Sooner or later the Mets luck would have to run out.
Pudge Rodriguez. His production is way down and he'll be 34 next year. I thought that was why we were letting Piazza move on.
Furcal. If he really is willing to come to teh Mets and play second, and it isn't just his agent trying to jack up his price by getting a New York team involved, pull the trigger on this one. No-brainer. The guy can field and hit and run. Nice to get him away from the Braves. Maybe that would make up for how much Glavine sucks.
Aubrey Huff and Baez Landing Huff sounds like something the Steve Phillips Mets would do. Acquire a second rate player and try to sell him to teh fans as a savior. IIt doesn't sound like Minaya's style. Baez I guess would be good if we don't get Wagner.
Wagner. I think everyone will be shocked if it doesn't happen. Which means it probably won't happen.
Thoughts? Comments? Did I miss anything/anyone?
Crow said celebrity magazines are more interested in seeing a couple break up than reporting on them being happy together. The 43-year-old singer and Armstrong, 34, announced their engagement in September.
"When we were rumored to have split, and when our publicists called these magazines to say we haven't split, the magazines were all so disappointed because that's really what's selling, rooting for a couple and then they split," she said. "That's what sells the magazines."
And Crow says it's not just tabloids that perpetuate the negative vibe.
"There's so much harshness in the world now, there are so many hard edges," she complained. "I cannot pick up a magazine or really even for that matter a newspaper without some kind of nasty editorial comment that just offends me. Why can't we just report things the way they are or see things for the good in them? ... It's an insidious energy." Full Story on Yahoo News
I would like to say these statements are inane, but that might offend a lot of people who I have personally heard say the same thing. This idea, that the media should run around looking for "good" and "positive" things to report. The reality is that it is not the journalist's job to tell warm and fuzzy stories. Leave that to Disney. The job of the journalist is to report NEWS. And yes, news is predominantly going to be "negative," because news is about (among other things) corrupt politicians, lying corporate executives, and tragedies. The press is supposed to be the public's watchdog. To look out for our common good by exposing abuses of power.
My biggest gripe with the press is their laziness. We have too many talking heads and puppets, too many pundits and commentators, and not enough real investigative journalists who actually do fact checking.
I really like Sheryl Crow's music, but she sounds like a moron with this whining. If she doesn't want the tabloids to write about her relationship she shouldn't do things like go on Oprah Winfrey with her husband.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Ahmed Chalabi is Iraqi's Deputy Prime Minister, but those of you who pay attention may remember him as the guy whom President Bush met with in the Oval Office, but then whom Bush later claimed he had little recognition of ever meeting, even though Chalabi was a special guest of First Lady Laura Bush at the President's Jan 2004 State Of The Union Address .
February 7, 2004, G.W. Bush on Chalabi: "...right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. [Adnad] Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment, that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion. "
June 1, 2004, Bush, again, on Chalabi: "My meetings with him were very brief. I mean, I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just kind of working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders. But I haven't had any extensive conversations with him. "
Okay, here's the long story of why he is such a controversial figure. Long ago, Chalabi was viewed by the U.S. as our "inside man" in Middle East relations. Chalabi was born in Iraq but moved to the U.S. back in the 1950's where he recieved his education. He started a bank in Jordan, and was subsequently convicted of bank fraud and sentenced to 17 years in prison. He fled the country to avoid serving the time.
In the 1990's he created a group called the INC (Iraqi National Congress) designed to overthow Saddam Hussein. The INC recieved funding from the United States and helped to organize a failed Kurdish resistance movement against Hussein's regime.
Fast forward to 2003. When the U.S. was readying its case for war on Iraq, Chalabi was counted on as a source; he provided key information that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and ties to Al-Qaeda. Once that information turned out to be false, Washington was suddenly backpedaling from their ties to Chalabi.
Then, in 2004, Chalabi was reported as giving United States state secrets to Iran. Yes, Iran.
So, why was Chalabi welcomed in Washington today today for meetings on Iraqi energy plans with Rice, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, instead of with FBI investigators to discuss the intelligence failures?
Someone please explain.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Well it seems Bush, who used to run the Texas Rangers, has appointed another baseball lover to the highest court in the land. Nominee Samuel Alito grew up a huge Phillies fan, according to former star pitcher and current U.S. Senator Jim Bunning.
Bunning... ran into the Supreme Court nominee in a Capitol bathroom last week.
Alito grew up rooting for the Hall of Famer in New Jersey, and had no problem speaking his mind about the Phillies' epic collapse.
"This jurist is probably the biggest Phillies fan in the world. He proceeded to tell me about the 1964 season and how we blew the pennant," Bunning said Tuesday.
I don't know if Alito is a good choice for the Supreme Court or not, but being a baseball fan is at least as legitimate an indicator to me as what religion he is.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
So I was in San Antonio for a few days last week. It was my first time in Texas, and I'd certainly be interested in visiting again. Check out my flickr set of the most interesting sights I saw during my two night stay. Just don't ask me what The Alamo is all about; I don't remember. If I ever go back I'll check it out and see if Pee Wee's bike is in the basement.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Yes, you read right. In 2006 moviegoers will be blessed with a sixth Rocky film and a fourth Rambo film. Now we have to keep checking the newswires for word on a sequel to Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. C'mon! Estelle Getty needs the work.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Hershey's says: "The clothier is trying to capitalize on the name recognition of Milk Duds to avoid having to build up its own brand."
Milkdudz co-founder Kiersten Wall says that Hershey has a trademark only for candy, not clothing: "It's not like we'd be right next to them in the candy aisle. We're in boutiques. We're not anywhere close to competing with Hershey's."
What do you think? Is this a case of copyright infringement, or a situation where a big greedy company is stepping on the little guy?
My opinion is that the name "Milk Duds" makes a heck of a lot more sense for clothing ("duds") than candy anyway.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
I can't believe Miers caved to pressure (from the right) to withdraw her nomination. Isn't it, as Republicans claimed during Roberts nomination, the President's right to nominate and appoint anyone he chooses?
I can't belive the blatant hypocrisy from the right throughout this whole process. As soon as Roberts was nominated, we heard complaints from conservatives that he was not conservative enough. Not that he wasn't fair enough, but rather that they weren't sure that his agenda wasn't what they wanted (i.e. Pro Life). This after all this grandstanding about how supposedly Democrats wanted an "activist" judge. Well isn't that what they were really upset about, that Roberts wasn't enough of a Pro-Life activist? Since abortion is legal, a judge who wants to overturn Roe V. Wade is an activist.
But the Conservatives stood by their man and voted him in, howling at the Democrats who had reservations.
Then Miers gets nominated, and the sh-t really hits the fan. Again, conservatives are mad that she's not hard-line enough. Then we start to hear that she's wholly unqualified. Bush tries to save her by saying her religion is the right religion (wink wink she's pro life). Didn't work.
As poll numbers start to show America is ready for a change in 2006, I think we'll finally start to see Conservatives distance themselves from Bush, like rats leaving a sinking ship.
First though, now we are hearing Republicans HOWLING about the possible indictments of Rove and Libby. They are saying that #1 this is all political and unjustified. Then they say that if there is an indictment, it better be for a "real" crime, not perjury. Because prejury isn't really a crime, right? It's not a crime to lie in court about a possible crime. Apparently perjury is only a really big deal when you lie about sex, but not about a crime.
By the way, kudos to my cousin John, usually a supporter of Republicans, for pointing out the hypocrisy on his blog. Together we can make a difference!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Now the band has taken the program one step further. Often just a few hours after any particular show has ended, fans can now download high resolution digital files of the perfromance, complete with special downloadable artwork and a slideshow specific to each night's show, for just $9.99 per show. This is really an amazing deal, considering most shows could fill two or three CDs. A real nice thing about this offer is that the files have no DRM protection on them, so fans can dowload them into whatever format they like best, listen to them on whatever device they choose, and share them however they'd like.
Personally I plan on monitoring the playlists from the band's current world tour and buy a few recordings myself. Thanks Pearl Jam!
Bobby Valentine (former manager of the Mets) led his Chiba Lotte Marines to a 3-2 win over the Hanshin Tigers, to win their first Japan Series title in 31 years. Valentine became the first foreign manager in the 70-year history of Japanese baseball to win a Japan Series (Japan's equivalent of the World Series).
"I feel wonderful," said Valentine. "We started in spring training with a dream to be here for the last game. We wanted to win the last game and we did,"
Bobby thinks it's long overdue for the winner of the Japan Series to play the winner of the World Series to decide the true World Champions.
"Maybe it's just time for our owner to make the challenge to the owner of the team that wins the World Series,"
Bobby V has been rumored to be a candidate for open MLB managerial positions with the Dodgers and Devil Rays but has dismissed the rumors, saying he is happy in Japan.
Bobby V is my favorite manager of all time and if he were ever going to manage in the MLB again, I'd only want him to be back at the helm of the Mets.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Mary J. Blige is including a cover of "One" on her upcoming Greatest Hits album, featuring Bono on vocals. I usually am unsure about R&B covers of rock songs, but for some reason I am expecting this version to be pretty good. Blige is a real talent, and might have an interesting interpretation of the song. Let me know what you think once you've heard it.
Speaking of interpretations, Melissa Etheridge's cover of Tom Petty's "Refugee" on her Greatest Hits CD is outstanding.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
The music in Elizabethtown does not disappoint. However, whereas in his previous films Crowe used music as a device to help capture the emotion of the story, Elizabethtown's story and characters are underdeveloped (despite a two hour running time) and far too much reliance is placed on the soundtrack. Crowe seems to have spent too much time creating a wonderful mix tape and not enough on the screenplay. Perhaps because the film was based, in part, on his own healing following the death of his father, Crowe did not dig deep with his characters, and we are left without the personal introspection that usually follows seeing his movies.
The film does leave us with great new imagery to think of whenever we hear the highly mocked but honestly great "Freebird," and we do feel a renewed interest in creating mixtapes and taking roadtrips, so it was not a total waste of time. Also, Nancy Wilson's score is magnificient, and I've already added her CD's to my wishlist. Sadly though, I regret to report that so far, for me, the most enduring images of Elizabethtown weren't what Crowe was attempting. Unless he indeed wanted me to ponder Kirsten Dunst's odd smile.
Of course the true test of any film is time, and perhaps I'm rushing to judgement. The film's messages of appreciating life, love, music, and America may endure after all.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
WARNING!! The following video contains highly graphic and gruesome imagery. It depicts grossly inhumane treatment of dogs and cats. The animals are first shown during the transportation stage, packed in tiny cages of top of one another, and then dropped from thirty feet down on to the ground. Then the animals are de-skinned for the use of their furs in clothes. Allegedly the cat and dog fur is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from other species and is exported to the United States to be sold to unsuspecting customers in retail stores. PETA further alleges that if you buy fur from J.Crew you may be wearing the fur from abused dogs and cats.
Watch this video if you have the stomach for it, but definitely visit www.jcruel.com and tell your freinds about it.
Some people think PETA is a bunch of freaks, but they were successful in getting PETCO to stop selling large birds such as parrots in unsafe conditions, and helped convince Mary Kay and Revlon to stop testing their products on animals. They also got McDonalds to require improvements in the treatment of the animals raised and slaughtered by its suppliers. This in turn makes the meat safer for us to eat.
Again, you don't have to be a freak to think there's something inhumane about the treatment of the animals in this video: http://www.petatv.com/tvpopup/Prefs.asp?video=jcruel_china_dog
The last time I was up visiting New York I discovered two things that so far I've been unable to find down here in The South. My message to the manufacturers: PLEASE try and secure distribution down here! The items:
Velamints Vanilla Mints
Velamints Chocolate mints have been around for awhile, and are readily available here, but these vanilla flavored mints are awesome. They taste kind of like cream soda. They're sugar free and fat free, and work great as a breath freshener. So far I haven't found them anywhere but at Trader Joe's on Long Island though...
Thomas Corn Toasting Bread
No, not corn bread, which is very much available in The South. This is sliced bread, with a look and texture just like the bread you make sandwiches with all the time, except it tastes remarkably like a corn muffin! If you toast a couple slices with butter, it makes an amazing snack! Delicious!
So, please, To The Powers That Be at George Weston Bakers and The Wrigley Company: Bring me these awesome snacks!
And if only I could find some decent pizza...
Fans of Weird Al Yankovic and Queen will either love it or be outraged.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Well, as a public service, I will now summarize all of the show's major plotlines so that the uninitiated will feel comfortable tuning in every Wednesday night at 9 PM (ET) on ABC:
A plane en route from Australia to Los Angeles has crashed, leaving 40 survivors to try and find a way off the island. Think "Gilligans Island," but each episode is an hour long.
The new season of Drawn Together on Comedy Central is a parody of Lost.
June 27, Phoenix, "Thanks everybody, you're too kind...You know, I was talking to Neil Young yesterday (audience cheers at the mention of Young) and he said to me, he said 'Bob, you just can't hear cool music on the radio anymore...' and I says to Neil, I says 'sure you just... (a decent pause) you just need to stick your radio in the refrigerator."
Okay, so he's not the best comedian out there, but he is still the most influential and prolific songwriter of our time. Do yourself a favor and catch Martin Scorcese's documentary No Direction Home, airing on PBS.
I missed it the first time it was on so I set my TiVo to record anything with Bob Dylan in it so I would catch the documentary whenever it aired again. What I got was a nice surprise. Besides recording the two part documentary, TiVo also found an episode of Dharma & Greg (I know, I know) guesting Mr. Dylan. He isn't really in the plot, but the last five minutes of the show is Jenna Elfman (Dharma) playing the drums, jamming with Bob! They banter a bit back and forth. It almost seemed improvised, the way they were cracking each other up.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
...Not Taking Steroids
It was announced today that reliever Felix Heredia (6.28 ERA in 2004; missed almost all of 2005 due to a shoulder aneurysm) will be suspended for the first 10 days of next season for violating baseball's steroids policy. He could get the award for Worst Ever Results From Steroids.
...Keeping Prostitution Illegal
This woman, Camille Cabral, showed up in Brussels to represent French prostitutes at a rally to end the criminalization of prostitution in Europe. I'm trying to avoid saying something really mean here, but I'll just let the photo speak for itself and see if you don't draw the same conclusion, okay?
...For Moving Inland
Hurricane Wilma (and yes, a hurricane can be a poster 'child.' It has a name after all), as the 20th tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin and 12th hurricane in the same region this year, sets 2005 as the worst year on record for storms. As if the devastation from Katrina weren't enough, just the idea of twelve threats to my home in a single year ensures that I'll never have my primary residence on these shores. I'm just glad I am in a position to make that kind of choice. Not all of us get to pick where we live and have the luxury of moving if we don't like it.
Unicef is using a shock tactic to get attention for its anti-war ad campaign. The poor Smurfs' mushroom village gets bombed and look what happened to little Smurfette!
Want to grow your own mushrooms at home? Click here.
Monday, October 17, 2005
The thing is that we don't even own anything worth stealing, and we don't have a safe full of cash or even much jewelry to speak about. So now I worry about pissing off a would-be burglar!Ugh. What to do? Living in fear isn't how I want to live, but I am not sure how to feel safe. Can we count on Mookie?
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Here are some cool photography sites:
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Why would anyone buy a Nano?
ipod-------Nano ---- 4th gen. iPod ---- NEW iPod Video
capacity --- 4g ---------20g ---------------30g
price ------$249 -------$299 ------------- $299
Somebody please buy me one.
Apple Introduces New Video IPod
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Asked what he said back, Giambi replied, "Not a lot. I got choked up a little bit."
Then Giambi looked at Torre and saw "he was crying, too."
Touching. Just touching, really.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Friday, September 30, 2005
Conspiracy theories about what really happened on September 11th have circulated on the internet and in European newspapers for years, but this is the first time I've seen it as a front page story in a major American newspaper.
The reason it made it here is that the new FDNY chaplain, Imam Intikab Habib, the man who's job it is to provide spiritual guidance to New York's firefighers, has made comments questioning how the Twin Towers could have collapsed from the fire caused by the jets:
"I've heard professionals say that nowhere ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone," he said. "It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that. But it was pulled down in a couple of hours. Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?"
Habib is muslim, and was questioned by Newsday whether he anticipated difficulties performing his duties as chaplain when there may be resentment towards muslims because of 9/11.
"I as an individual don't know who did the attacks," said Habib, 30, a soft-spoken man who immigrated to New York in July 2000 after spending six years in Saudi Arabia getting a degree in Islamic theology and law. "There are so many conflicting reports about it. I don't believe it was 19 ... hijackers who did those attacks."
I wonder what the outcome of these comments will be.
UPDATE: 12:04 PM: "The Fire Department this morning received the resignation of Imam Intikab Habib from his position of FDNY Chaplain," said FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. "Based on comments he made to Newsday, Imam Intikab Habib would have been unable to effectively serve in the role he was appointed to."
Well, so there you go.