Saturday, April 14, 2007

Irregular routine maintenance

Apologies to anyone foolish enough to have me blogrolled; I'm tinkering with the blog, and cleaning up some errors with old posts in the process. If you don't like it, shove off.

If you don't care, then let me point out that I switched two entries around (It's a small wonder and Tom Jones, Welsh Warrior), so if you missed the Small Wonder post, maybe you want to look at it. I'm not saying to watch the clips, but just give the post the once over. It's really your call, though. Don't let me pressure you into doing something you don't want to do.

Tom Jones, Welsh Warrior

This early morning, Tom Jones will help me play around with YouTube. Be serenaded by his majestic voice, the kind that will leave your heart swooning and your thighs glistening.



It's not Unusual

What's New, Pussycat? (with Cerys Matthews)

She's a Lady

I'll Never Fall in Love Again

Baby It's Cold Outside (with Cerys Matthews)

Sex Bomb

It's a small wonder

For some reason, comment options didn't appear on my last post about the great Tom Jones, so I'm going to try again and see if a new post resolves it. In order to test, I am going to post the pilot of Small Wonder, an 80s television show about a creepy, soulless android girl.

Update: No! It didn't work! Curse you, The Internet! I will just have to delete and repost the Tom Jones entry, and hope that works.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In the Imus of the storm

I never listen to Imus on the radio while driving around in the morning because I don't want to fall asleep at the wheel. However, apparently he said something stupid that a lot of nappy-headed hoes found offensive. I don't have much to say about the Imus comments and the fallout, although I do have three points that I wanted to address:

1) If people are going to be censored because of what they say, then can we please get rid of everyone on the radio? It's quite horrible, to be honest. Most radio talk programs are 50% commercials, 50% nonsense. NPR is the most recognizable exception, although I've never really cared to hear paint dry on the airwaves. Let's also get rid of the media that has spent way too much time on this issue. If ever a dead horse was beaten as brutally as cable television harps on an issue, I have not seen it.

2) Oprah had the Rutgers women's team on her television show today. I wonder if she will invite the Duke men's lacrosse team that was falsely accused of rape? No? Okay, well, I appreciate double standards, too. Of course, this is the same toad that thought she was being discriminated against in Paris simply because they wouldn't let her into a store after the store closed.

3) People need to stop bringing up hip hop. Ignoring the fact that hip hop is (bad) art and talk radio is not art at all, the music cannot help itself if teenagers are more attracted to it than anything else. Hip Hop is more appealing to teens because school is boring, extracurricular activities are virtually non-existent, parents have no interest in their kids' lives, and they're stupid. If you want to get rid of racism, sexism and the appeal of racist and sexist music, then you need to change society, not the music. Music reflects society, that's it. It's art. Getting rid of a talk show host or a rap album will not change the way the world thinks and feels.

Rangers @ Philadelphia 3/31/07

The Rangers are in the playoffs for the second year in a row, and I am looking forward to them doing better than last time (ended in a sweep in the first round). However, before all of that starts, I wanted to share my experience at a Rangers game a couple of weeks ago.

The anticipation ran high as I drove my car along the blackened highway pavement, making a quick turn off to get onto Broad Street. This was my first Rangers game I was going to attend, and I couldn't wait. Unfortunately, I was going to have to, as the traffic jam around the Philadelphia sports complex due to the hockey game and the indoor soccer game (Kixx) was massive. I've seen honey ooze out of a jar faster than we moved. The honey was in a coma, too. I loved her. As such, I was a few minutes late to the game...and had already missed three goals! Thankfully, it was 2-1 Rangers.

As I climbed my way up the stairs to the second to last row, surprised to see so many Rangers fans but also hearing the loud, drunken shouts of disgruntled Flyers fans, the stench of beer and tension filled my nostrils. The latter was from the close contest between two heated rivals, as well as the fact so many New York fans were in the Flyers' arena watching the Rangers win. The former was from the streams and pools of overpriced, watered down beer that covered the concrete floor.

It had been at least ten years since I had attended a professional hockey game, and this was my first NHL game. I had attended IHL games before, always with much better (and cheaper) seats, but the view from where I sat was actually not that bad, considering I was eye level with the banners that were hanging from the rafters. It might have been the aura of watching the team live. I sat and was immediately enthralled.

Following the puck at a game is remarkably easy, much more so than on television (I don't think following the puck on TV is particularly hard, but don't forget Fox once had a glowing puck effect on their broadcasts, and regardless, it's still amazingly easier to follow the puck in person). Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander were beasts on the ice, netting two goals and two assists, respectively. Henrik Lundqvist got the win but honestly did not play well, allowing four goals after giving up six goals in his previous game. I can't complain too much, since he has been stellar the past two months. Other goalie Martin Biron was not so hot, and I think the Flyers just signed him to a contract.

There's been much debate about fighting in hockey, but let me say that no such debate exists at games. There were many cries of "throw the gloves down" and "hit him," and many cheers when checks occurred and players fell. No one actually came to blows, much to the great chagrin of many fans, but there were plenty of hard hits and occasional verbal confrontations that had to be broken up by the refs.

I was surprised at the number of women at the game, not just with boyfriends/husbands but also with female friends. Considering that the NHL is a "niche sport" and the Flyers are the worst team in the league, attendance was near capacity. This meant that the near capacity crowd, when their bladders reached near capacity, had to use the restrooms. The Wachovia Center is relatively new, so they should have known to build more restrooms. The lines were ridiculous, creating a mob of people who needed to piss, and may have been pissed. While I urinated, I heard many people argue with each other and boast about which team/city was the best. I'm not a big fan of speaking to others while taking a leak.

The recaps of the first and second periods shown on the jumbotron were surprisingly lacking in Rangers goals, but the Flyers' people couldn't hide the fact that they occurred. The Rangers won, 6-4. Here are some pictures I took at the game (click thumbnail for larger), as well as an NHL video recap.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Woman shot, wounded at W. Phila. antiviolence rally"

April 11th Philadelphia Inquirer:
A stop-the-violence rally near 61st and Market Streets in West Philadelphia last night was interrupted by gunfire.

At least two shots were fired about 8 p.m., and a young woman at the rally was shot in the back, according to police. The woman, whose name was not available, was in stable condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
You can say many bad things about Philadelphia, but never let it be said our criminals don't have a sense of humor.

Also, never let it be said Philadelphia is not a violent cesspool.

Bud Selig: Major League Buffoon

After heavy snow showers continued to cancel Cleveland's home games, Major League Baseball decided to move the Indians' series against the L.A. Angels of Anaheim to Milwaukee, which has a retractable roof. The smart thing would have been to switch the series location, and have Cleveland play in Anaheim now, and have the Angels play in Cleveland later. Actually, the really smart thing would be not to schedule early April baseball games in cold weather cities that don't have dome or retractable roof stadiums. Maybe his apparent OCD has something to do with it. Or maybe he's just a filthy toad.

MLB has been pissing me off lately, and it has nothing to do with the Extra Innings debacle (although every time a game, postgame, or baseball-related show is blacked out, I am annoyed). It has to do with the fact that while sports leagues like the NHL and the NBA are trying to encourage people to see highlights of games and get interested in the sport, MLB spends all of its time on YouTube complaining ("This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by MLB Advanced Media"). Well, they can't stop the creative people:

(as an aside, many kudos to the NHL for providing all of its radio broadcasts for free)

Stupidity: the universal language

From Reuters:
A famous Chinese comic has been sued by a diet-tea drinker who accused him of making false claims in an ad for "Tibetan Secret Fat Elimination Tea," Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.
* * *
His slogan -- "No big belly after three boxes of tea" -- soon became a popular catch phrase.

"Zhang is seeking an apology and damages of 172 yuan ($22) from Guo, the tea producer, a sales agency and the advertising company with a claim that they are guilty of commercial fraud.
* * *
"Zhang said she bought three boxes of tea because she was a fan of Guo, but found she lost no weight at all and suffered nausea and vomiting," Xinhua said.
One suspects she consumed nothing but three boxes of tea. You have to respect the Chinese judicial system for not shooting her in the back of the head. Also of note is the low price of the compensation sought; In the U.S., someone would have sued for $22 million.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

All children love...the pony

That is a child with autism hugging a pony in Paris on November 8, 2003. Even with the cruel disconnect that autism brings, no one can resist a miniature horse.

Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Monday, April 9, 2007

John Inman: Dead

Why didn't any of you bastards tell me John Inman died last month? BBC, December 9, 2004:
The 68-year-old, best known for playing Mr Humphries in the 1970s sitcom, has been forced to cancel his opening night of pantomime in Richmond, London.

Inman's manager Phil Dale said he is recovering, and should be well enough to appear on stage by 20 December.

The actor was struck down with the liver disease after eating some contaminated food.
* * *
"It is not a serious illness and he will be fine," said Mr Dale.

The hepatitis A virus is caused by eating contaminated food, and although highly infectious, is not as serious as the B and C strains of the illness.
Sky News, March 8, 2007:
John Inman, the star of 1970s sitcom Are You Being Served?, has died in hospital at the age of 71.

The actor died in St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, after being ill for some time with hepatitis A.
Two important things are to be gleaned from this. The first is never to eat British food, and the second is not to trust British health care. I suppose a third, and unrelated point, is not to enter Britain.

As an American, food will undoubtedly kill me, although it will most likely be from clogged arteries. On our dollar bill it says, and I quote, "If you can't fry it, fuck it."

Some more stuff

I've become a big fan of Harry Hutton over at Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry. He's made me laugh countless times, or at least more times than I care to count. My estimate would be over 50 times but less than a thousand. Part of the appeal of the blog is that British vulgarity is much more colorful than our favored brutish curses; to call someone a "fucking moron" is harsh, but to call them a "cunting tosser" sounds almost literary. Mostly, though, he's a humorous gent.

Another new favorite of mine is Dinosaur Joe, perhaps the most erudite of all paleontologists, although he claims not to study fossils but to live amongst the dinosaurs themselves. A bit of a nutjob, I suppose, but who in academia isn't?

In other news, thanks to wireless Internet, I took a dump while browsing the Internet yesterday. Technology is astounding. The defecation was also a resounding success.

Keep your kids out of my way

Betsy Taylor, Associated Press:
RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. - Chaz Brewer visits the upscale St. Louis Galleria mall about once a week, checking out clothing stores such as Aeropostale and American Eagle and hanging out in the food court.

But come April 20, he will not be able to visit the mall by himself on a Friday or Saturday night under a new policy that prohibits teens under 17 after 3 p.m. unless they have a parent or guardian with them.
I am torn on this issue. On the one hand, I dislike children terribly, and wish they could be banned from all public places. Life would be better if I could go to a restaurant or a movie, or even the supermarket, without your little brats there.

On the other hand, I prefer teenagers to be situated in one area, like cattle, so I know where they are. Better in a mall than outside my residence. Besides which, I'm not a big fan of malls, anyway. What is there for me? Suncoast Video and Kay-Bee? Hot Topic? Do I really need to visit those establishments? Hardly. Malls are designed for cretins like teenagers. They can wander around, spend their parents' money, and eat crappy, overpriced food. Malls have always been a refuge for teenagers, at least since the early 80s, as Valley Girl (1983) would seem to indicate. That is the only historical artifact I care to base my opinions on regarding this matter.

Here's a music video from when Tiffany was touring the country and performing in malls. That's about the best signal that the 80s were winding down, that we got everything we could from it, and that it was time to move on. Unfortunately, we moved on into the 90s, which continued to degenerate from multi-colored, pastel shirts to zebra pants to ski vests. What a terrible decade.

Speaking of terrible, why is she dancing in this video? I guess I could also ask why she's singing, as she doesn't appear to be able to do that, either. Nor dress. So she can't dance, sing, or dress herself. Still, though, if we were alone, I'd give her 220 seconds to remember.

You can look at her nude here, if that's your preference. I can't see why you wouldn't at least look; perhaps you favor men. Still, though, I would never pass on the opportunity to see 80s celebrities in the buff. Your priorities might need to be rearranged.

Sign me up for two

An email from my friends at Amazon:
Dear Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have expressed interest in Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology by Deena Weinstein have also ordered Globalizing the Peasant: Access to Land and the Possibility of Self-realization by Virginia L. Lewis. For this reason, you might like to know that Virginia L. Lewis's Globalizing the Peasant: Access to Land and the Possibility of Self-realization is now available. You can order your copy for just $75.00 by following the link below.
I don't want to project myself as an idiot by saying Ms. Lewis' book topic bores me, but if you were to judge me by some of my favorite television shows in recent years - Andromeda, Heroes, Robin Hood - I may, in fact, be a dunce. However, Globalizing the Peasant sounds like a bit of a snore, although if there's practical tips for having peasants do major work for little money, I might be interested. The free market works best when other people do the work and I make the profit.

Update: Apparently, I do not have books as a label yet. Perhaps I am illiterate.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

NL Wild Card Predictions

TEAMS (solid) / WINS (elastic)

New York Mets - 90
St. Louis Cardinals - 86
Houston Astros - 85
Atlanta Braves - 84
Los Angeles Dodgers - 83

Once again, my bias against non-East Coast time zones shines through, corrupting my Wild Card predictions to favor a team on the Atlantic seaboard. Nevertheless, I think I am not overestimating the Phillies, and the NL East should be tight, with the Mets missing the division but grabbing the Wild Card. Presuming the Wild Card does not come from the East, then I think a Central team is more likely to win than the West, which means the latter need to win the division outright if they expect to make the playoffs.

To recap all of my predictions - Preview, AL East, AL Central, AL West, AL Wild Card, NL East, NL Central, NL West, and as for the NL Wild Card, you're looking at it.

Blue Sweden Shoes

From the BBC:
Michael and Karolina Tomaro are locked in a court battle with the country's National Tax Authority about naming their daughter after the rock band.

The six-month-old has been baptised Metallica, but tax officials have dubbed the name "inappropriate".

Under Swedish law, both first names and surnames need to win the approval of authorities before they can be used.

Offensive, unsuitable or inappropriate names, as well as those that could "cause discomfort for the one using it" cannot be used.
* * *
Baby Metallica is not the first Swedish child to fall foul of Swedish name laws - the names Ikea and Veranda have also been rejected in the past.

The name Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 - pronounced Albin - was also rejected by authorities in 1996. The boy's parents had chosen the name as a protest against Swedish naming laws.

But, the name Google managed to pass muster in 2005, when Oliver Google Kai was named by his parents, search engine expert Kelias Kai and his wife Carol.
It seems that Sweden is a bit of an authoritarian country, but on the other hand, their people do not seem to be smart enough to live without the stern hand of the father state. Of course, as an American, perhaps I should not speak so harshly. Between our black minorities, hippies, and celebrities, not to mention general unaffiliated incompetents, we are a nation leading in terrible children's names.

I'm pretty sure white Americans are the only ones who name their children Dakota. Note to parents: Dakota is a former territory that was divided into two states. Also, some Sioux refer to themselves as Dakota. Now you've done it, eh? Named your children after some ethnic riff-raff. Now your little ones will get nothing but taunts and diseased blankets in school. I hope you're happy.

God's sense of humor

Just as Jesus rose from the dead, so too does slapstick (via AP):
Cardinal Francis George fractured a hip Saturday after he slipped and fell on the marble floor of a church while blessing Easter baskets, according to an archdiocese spokesman.
Let this be a lesson to the rest of Christianity - stop being inane and moronic or God will smite all of you.