Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Are You Ready for Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke?

Get your taste buds ready, folks! Look out for the debut of Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke on the shelves of your local lovely beverage retailer in January. A spokesperson says the company is listening to their consumers:

"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

One Man's Perspective on the Nick and Jessica Breakup

So I suppose I should be saddened by the news that Jessica Simpson and Nick Whatshisname have officially broken up. After all, they are about the same age as my wife and me, so this could be viewed as a sad failure of another young marriage. After all, these two became super-famous with their MTV show 'Newlyweds.' One reason the show was popular was because it gave young women a role model for their own relationships. 'If they can make it, so can we, right?'

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

Adam Duritz Not Doing Well

Adam Duritz, lead singer of the Counting Crows, announced on his blog yesterday that the reason we fans haven't seen much of the band in the way of a tour or album recently, is that he is going through some personal mental problems. He says he's not "stable." Some excerpts:

"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.

"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."

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.

Imagine his electric bill!

My favorite free attraction in Las Vegas is the dancing fountains (click for wmv video link) outside the Bellagio hotel/casino. If you've never seen it, you must. It's basically a huge water fountain that seems to "dance" to music. It's right there on Las Vegas Blvd., and it happens every fifteen minutes or so at night. You could literally sit there for hours watching the different arrangements to the different songs. very cool.

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/

Kiner's Korner

Today the Mets traded a couple guys barely worth a bag of baseballs for one of the top-producing first basemen in baseball, Carlos Delgado. Mark Simon noted that Delgado is currently tied with Ralph Kiner on the all time home run list , with 369. In honor of these two fine gentlemen, here's a sampling of Kinerisms, courtesy of this Baseball Humor website:

"All of the Mets road wins against the Dodgers this year occurred at Dodger Stadium."

"If Casey Stengel were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave."

"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."

"The hall of fame ceremonies are on the thirty-first and thirty-second of July."

Click here for full list

People losing their minds over X Box 360

Reason #63 Why Not To Have Kids:

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

What are Zubbles?

Within the next few months, a new product will be released to the market. It's called Zubbles, and the concept is, quite simply, colored soap bubbles. Instead of just clear bubbles, they will be sold in many different vibrant colors. The concept might sound simple enough, but development actually took over ten years of work! It's a pretty cool story about determination. Check out this story on PopSci.com, and then check out the Zubbles website to see a video of the bubbles. Pretty cool stuff.

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.

Tom Petty, Prince, and The Beatles?

Check out this link to a streaming video from the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Induction ceremony. It's Petty, Jeff Lynne, and others performing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," in honor of George Harrison. The best part of the performance is Prince doing an incredible solo at the end. Petty called it "inspiring." If you are one of those people who still doubt the awesome talent of the artist named Prince, check this video out. It is worth it.

(You must have Quicktme).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mookie Of The Month - November

Mookie is so helpful around the yard. Here she is, helping us prune an overgrown shrub. (Click for larger view)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Free Crap

This was unexpected. AOL is changing from a paid Internet Service Provider into a free service, similar to Yahoo!. I've been telling my friends who use AOL for years that they've been paying good money for stuff that could be found free on the internet. Now that stuff can be found free on AOL.

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

The Milli Vanilli Law

H.O.P.E. is trying to get legislation passed that would require concert promoters to disclose when lip-synching is used during any "live" performance. Some people might feel that they have been ripped off to learn that the Madonna concert they just attended was actually only Madonna dancing and moving her mouth to the words of songs that were previously recorded.

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.

Back To The Drawing Board

Think an aluminum foil helmet will stop the government from controlling your mind?

Think again.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Blue Ball Machine

"The Blue Ball Machine" would have been a good nickname for a prudish girl I once dated, but it's also the name of this very strange website: http://blueballfixed.ytmnd.com/

Paris is Lovely This Time Of Year

Talentless twit Paris Hilton is no stranger to the camera, and this website gives evidence to the theory that if you make a certain face long enough, it might freeze that way.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Simpsons

Talentless twit Ashlee Simpson says she doesn't want her next boyfriend to be famous.

Said Ashlee, "I'm not looking for an actor, I'm not looking for a musician!"

I guess she's saying she wants to make sure they'd have things in common.

Mets Hot Stove Report

Haven't done a baseball post in a while...

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?

Sheryl Crow Annoyed at the Media

From Yahoo:

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

He's Back

I know I have put up more political posts than usual lately, and I have actually been making a conscious attempt at limiting them because they tend to be a bit polarizing, but when I saw a report on Yahoo! that Ahmed Chalabi would meet with Condoleeza Rice today, I couldn't resist comment.

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

Baseball is Back in Washington

Back in September, I posted word that since-confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts was apparently a baseball fan, as he was using baseball analogies to describe how he would preside as a Supreme Court Judge.

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

Don't Mess With Texas

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.