Thursday, June 30, 2005
More Cool Art
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
People Of Note
You all know the wonderful Witty Sex Kitten, our favorite future Bar Exam taker. She tipped me off to Over-Educated Nympho, who is a fun sexy read and pretty regular producer of content, unlike myself. Go for the Are You A Nympho quiz, stay for the discussions of sex and relationships. The quiz is here. You go test now!
Last, long-delayed, but certainly not least, is Nehring The Edge. Does it rhyme with nearing? How should I know? What you get there are movie reviews. Big deal? Well it’s not just current movies coming out in the theaters. You’ll get some current movies, but mostly it’s movies from the last five years or so, with frequent reviews of older movies as well. Nehring himself notes in some reviews that he is a religious person, and his religious values inform his criticism, to a greater or lesser degree. If you’re like me, you hate being preached to, and you may be thinking you’ll never read his reviews based on what I just said. I may have said the same thing. In fact, the only reason I went there in the first place is because he kept showing up in my referral logs and I was wondering what the heck this website was, anyway. Please do not let his religious beliefs stop you from enjoying his movie criticism. He isn’t bible-thumping you, I promise. He gives intelligent criticism, is funny, especially in his description of how bad some movies are (“It was a little difficult to watch the movie. The neighbor’s cat kept trying to bury it in the backyard.”), is, while a Christian, very willing to point how bad many Christian films are, and believes that he has a serious responsibility to mention when some films are not appropriate for certain groups, or are appropriate for other groups. He has an open mind; all I ask is that you keep an open mind and read a few reviews. I think you’ll come back for more; I know I do. Nehring The Edge can be found here. You go look now!
Schadenfreude writers Mark Felton and Daniel Felten recently invited him to contribute to that site on a weekly basis. You can read Scott Nehring’s comments on things other than film there. You go look now!
More on Code Name Eagle’s film school graduation soon. I promise you there was more to it than me whining about Thai food.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Hey, Hands Off The Kung Pao
So being finicky is not normally a bad thing. We are fortunate to live in a country where we have an almost unlimited number of choices available to us. The person who loves everything is easily pleased, and the person who loves one thing can also be pleased without much difficulty. Then again, the person who loves one thing can be totally ripped off by other people who are just trying to be helpful.
Case in point: eating at a Thai restaurant. Having a reputation for choosiness in my food selections, there was some concern among the fam that I might not enjoy the items on the menu. I must say that while I am choosy, at almost any place I can find something I might like, or can at least tolerate. I'm like the reed that bends with the wind; I can get along. Besides, isn't it all just Chinese food with different names? So I ask if Thai food = spicy, and was assured that there would be plenty of mild choices. But I like the spicy! Well, then in that case, I'll be all set, according to the aforementioned concerned fam. And so I'm convinced that I'll be ok. Now fast forward to the actual place, I think called Sunset Thai, on, coincidentally enough, Sunset Boulevard. Me travel good in summer!
We sit down, and looking over the menu, I do find something I like: Kung Pao chicken. Mmmmmm. Spicy chicken.
There's ten of us. And somewhere in this brain trust, some Einstein wannabe comes up with the brilliant idea. The idea that drives a chopstick into my heart. "Let's order a bunch of dishes, and everyone can take a little bit and we'll share it all." Oh, how I hated those words. Indulge me in phrasing it another way. "Hey Johnny, order something you want, perhaps the only thing on the menu you have even a remote interest in eating, save two bites for yourself and give the rest to everyone else. But don't feel sad, oh no. You'll get to have plenty of disgusting stuff that the other jerks you're related to somehow think is good."
"Bend like a reed. Bend like a reed. Bend like a reed." To myself, I said that. Yeah. It didn't help as much as I hoped. But I soldiered on. I couldn't complain, because I was too busy pulling out the chopstick that was jabbed in my back. You see, right on the heels of the "sharing is caring" solution to ordering, it was decided that we couldn't order anything spicy, because some people don't like spicy, and how would the sharing go if there was something spicy, and someone couldn't try it because they don't like spicy?
Ummm hello? Picky eater here! So I can't even order the one thing I want because it wouldn't be fair to someone who doesn't like spicy, and yet I'm going to be stuck with gross stuff that everyone else wants? What was so bad about each person having his own plate with his own food that he likes his own dang self? So I ended up with some rice, and a couple of shrimp, and a cup of some sort of soup that had mushrooms.
Now as the dinner is winding down, the former Inspector Clouseaus masquerading as dining companions are suddenly Heisenberg clones, and the person sitting across from me makes a comment about how I didn't eat much. Well no freakin duh! I didn't eat much of stuff I don't like. Who could have guessed?
And now there's a couple of bowls of ice cream making the rounds. Mint tea ice cream and coconut something ice cream. I don't like coconut. As for mint tea? For all I know, it might have been good, but have you met my cousin Spite? Needless to say, I wasn't screaming for ice cream. Ditto for the banana rolls. They're like egg rolls, but with banana inside. And you get chocolate sauce for dipping. Also could have been good, but I was sulky and refused them.
Finally, we're down to the fortune cookies. Which I do like, and wasn't too stubborn to refuse. I forget what the fortune was, but don't worry; someone else will remember. After all, between the ten of us, we only had three different fortunes. Put another way, three other people got the same fortune I did. Time to make a call to the cookie factory, Sunset Thai.
What really ticks me off? I had to eat food I didn't like to have a meal with sensible portions and reasonable nutrition levels. And eating healthy, balanced meals is what I hate most of all.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Ha Ha Ha I Love Google
Oh yeah. I'm back. More later. Like how I hate sharing food at restaurants.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Out Of Town
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Emerging Leader? Not As Impressive As BFD
I was invited because, as fearless leader put it, they’ll all be gone soon, and they need younger people like me to fill in the leadership as the old guard retires. You may recall that I’m the oldest of the new wave, and that we’ll be facing the loss of a lot of institutional memory over the next five to ten years as the old guard retires.
I am not particularly motivated to take over and take charge of these sorts of things. A few years back, in a fit of management pique, all division heads had to reapply for those positions, and my name somehow came up as a possible replacement. So did Miss Baker. But when the time came, she was smart enough to bow out. At the time, I didn’t know I could do that. Fortunately, the powers that be ended up deciding to stick with Subtle Boss, who has been division head as long as I’ve been there. Look, I’m just not that guy; I don’t need the grief.
Unfortunately, I seem to be a grief magnet somehow. I hear the rumbles, and it ain’t my belly. From time to time I’ll get these sort of leadership comments. I’ll get asked to sit on interview panels for new hires. I’ll get suckered into managing client bases. And now this leadership conference. Because I’m supposed to be some sort of emerging leader. So what is it with me? Is it the simple fact of being around for ten years now? Is it because I’m the calm, collected sort, who only freaks out away from the prying eyes and gossiping mouths of my fellow workers? Is it because I crack good jokes sometimes? Or is it because the rest of the time I’m so quiet that they think I must be some sage with a wise soul? It can’t just be because I’m a guy, and not a nut like Captain Burnout, can it?
I’ll have a roommate at this conference, another guy, of course, because coed rooming would be a no-no with all the sex issues that entails. Which is a pet peeve of mine. Because the whole thing ignores the whole gay thing. Which I’ve griped about before. I wasn’t going to look for the link, but why not, so here it is. Or you can settle for the rehash: Same sex roommates are required, to avoid sex issues. But gay people want sex with same sex partners. So work travel with roommates is perhaps ideal for gay employees. The solution? Coed roommates! Maybe the third time will be the charm and I’ll get into this a little more. Right now, I’m distracted.
More on the conference as it gets closer.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Team Magnum Cocktail Hour. Part Fourteen, The Final Chapter
Fast forward a couple of months. We’re going to an employee issues gathering to discuss various problems with management. Kind of a biggie, with maybe 1,000 or so people. But the meeting is a few hours after work. So we go to visit Sweetcheeks at our regular alcohol dispensing establishment. We could have gone home, and then to the meeting, but why not hang out for the couple of spare hours? Captain Burnout is in a slightly different position. His commute is about an hour each way, so he had to hang out somewhere in Bunktown if he was going to go to this meeting. So he came along too. And we enjoyed perhaps more adult beverages than, to varying degrees, would be prudent. Miss Judi and I are still capable, but Miss Tori, Princess Wolfie, and Captain Burnout are going to need a ride. Unfortunately, neither of us can carry five people in our respective vehicles.
Now PW and Miss Judi are best of pals, so I know they’re riding together. Miss Tori is going with me. CB volunteers to ride with them. Miss Tori and I shared some private chuckles and speculation on Captain Burnout’s actual level of inebriation, since he had asked Princess Wolfie about after work activities that other time. Now he jumps at the chance to ride with her? Hmmm.
Fast forward again to just recently. You may recall from way back that Princess Wolfie applied to go to the new office when it opened. Well the future is now. We won’t be seeing her around the office anymore. Which posed a big dilemma for the good Captain as it turns out.
So we’re at a time of rejoicing around the office here, with one of the biggest cocktail hours we’ve had, and it was Princess Wolfie‘s last day at the office. Mr. Texas, Dr. Cool, Miss Lola, Miss Judi, Sista Girl, Miss Tori, Drinking Buddy, Neighbor Lady, Miss Sexy Shoes (remind me later to tell you more about her) and Princess Wolfie. Well Princess Wolfie absolutely stole the show with a certain document that came into her possession earlier that day. I would have totally kissed her feet for bringing it, because it was just that great. She had in her possession a letter from Captain Burnout.
You see, we hadn’t really let her off the hook, joking around, calling CB her new boyfriend, asking if she invited him to this or that get together, where he might be and why he wasn’t with her, and this had gone on for a couple of months. And she comes in with this letter. Turns out, he and Mrs. Burnout are separated. This was the first time any of us had heard of this. He informs PW that he is pretty much free and clear to hang out with other women! He’ll be traveling for much of July, out of the country, but maybe Princess Wolfie would like to come up to his place in either June or August for a little visit!!!
Seriously, what do you do when the joke you’ve been making becomes reality? We all teased her about it in the past because we thought it was impossible. He is at least 20 years older than her. And he’s Captain Burnout, for pity’s sake. Princess Wolfie may self-identify as a liberal, but she’s no bra-burning hippie. Although if she was, I wouldn’t complain. At least about the bra burning.
I must say, I was totally surprised and overwhelmed reading that letter. Miss Tori was wondering what could possibly be in this thing I’m reading that could be causing this reaction, cause I’m typically Mr. Placid, calm and unperturbed. Until I passed it to her, and she was similarly bowled over. And so on, and so on, and so on. Maybe it’s a good thing PW is going to the new office, cause she’d definitely never hear the end of this.
A great ending to a great time. Now everyone is on to other projects for a while. I’ve got training to do and materials to write up, and so does everyone else, so we‘ll be out of the office for a while. Our clients are off to other things. It may be a while til the next cocktail hour. And a good time was had by all.
A Couple Of Quick Tidbits For You
And thanks to Andrew, also posting at Dean’s World; I think just about any guy will be more receptive to this information, and it’s delivery, than hearing it from some guy in some stark and uncomfortable room. If told I was going to croak soon, somehow I wouldn’t mind it so much if it came from her.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
"Did anyone ever tell you that you have the face of a Botticelli and the body of a Degas?" What Movie?
Thanks everyone for stopping by. And humble belated thanks to Empress Pink Kitty, the one person I neglected to note yesterday. You can find her here. You go look now!
And our secret connection was exposed here. You go look now! Unless you came here from her place, in which case you just saw it there.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Has It Been One Year Already???
Alternate title II: Happy Blogday To Me.
Yes. June 14, 2004 was when this thing got started, with this post. There have been I think three ups, and probably plenty of downs over the course of the year. Here’s a nice down comment from Allie Cat: “I thought your blog was about to die.” In all fairness though, it was a busy time at work. Still, three posts in eleven days was pretty lame, even for me. Yeah, and when I started this thing, I told myself I would post something every day, since I have this habit of being really enthusiastic at the beginning of something and really bored shortly thereafter. Come to think of it, she hasn’t posted since New Year’s! Of course, she’s busy running the web stuff for Nothing Less. Who are on the Vans Warped Tour. At which you might see me, if you look carefully. Oh yeah, and if you do go see them, tell them I sent you.
But the blog didn’t die. Maybe it was just slightly comatose. I’ll probably be hanging on long past the freshness date. Still, a year is a year. I may have heard somewhere that if you make it a year you’re doing all right. Sort of like how they say half of all new teachers quit within five years, so if you make it past that, you should be able to last for the long haul. Sometimes I don’t know when to quit.
Which can be handy if I’m critically ill. Serious doctor: “We’ve done everything we can; it’s up to him now. He’s got to fight.” Of course I hardly ever get sick, so that’s not likely to come up. I think I took a sick day maybe eight years ago. No, I’m more likely to be a drooling, shriveled, ninety year old lump that hangs on, mindless, helpless, useless, draining society’s resources until some kind soul pulls the plug. Don’t cry for me, Terri Schiavo. And while I’m at it, is it Terri or Terry? The first two pages of Google give me Terri nine times and Terry eight times.
What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, one year here. Being a forward thinker, I actually started writing this post at about month three, trying to put together advice for a new blogger. But I pretty much chucked all that stuff. I mean, me giving advice on blogging is like Michael Jackson giving advice on how to run a boys sleep-away camp. If you really need to know, ask me later. I hardly throw anything away. I mean, I wrote an Arnold speech saying why he is against an amendment allowing foreign born citizens to run for president. It’s hanging out with an analysis of how That 70’s Show parallels the 2004 elections. And all the character details of the Vigilance Squad, who made a couple of brief appearances, but never got into steady rotation. And all the nicknames of the people or places I’ve written about. I write all this stuff in one big text document, and cut and paste to the blog as I go. I see that I’m up to 277 pages now, with maybe twelve pages of that being the background stuff just mentioned, and the rest being posts. How many posts? Well my trusty Blogger counter has been stuck on 268 and somewhere around December since, well, December. The actual number is I think 403, and this post is 404. So even if I didn’t post every day, the average is still there. Of course, someone like Glenn Reynolds probably does 400 posts every three weeks.
One bad thing that can’t be said about this blog is that I don’t pester people for links. I know I’ve asked for four for sure. Maybe five. But three of them paid off. We’ll get to those later. One bad thing that could be said is that I don’t do nearly enough self-promotion. I rarely comment on other blogs. I link to plenty of blogs in my posts, but rarely am I diligent enough to trackback to those blogs. I don’t often have good Google keywords in the titles of posts. Another bad thing is that my creativity is limited. I can do a lot when pointed in a certain direction, but I’m terrible at finding the direction myself. That’s where Better. Stronger. Faster. comes into play. I’ll have posts that are sort of my take on what someone else has done. With the other person being the Better. Stronger. Faster. one, just to be clear. We’ll get to those later too.
So what should I write about, anyway? Most of the good bloggers seem to have at least two things going for them: expertise and writing skill. My own writing skills are moderate at best, and I’m barely an expert on myself, let alone on some interesting topic. I’m really only good at cruelly despising the idiots who surround me wherever I go, but that’s more of a you had to be there sort of thing. I figured I’d just be blathering on about the typical stuff and people in my life, more of an online diary type thing. Which is pretty much what it’s been. Oh. And boring.
So from that perspective, maybe there is some advice I can offer: write whatever you want, whatever makes you happy, and even if no one reads it, you’ll still have a satisfying experience. People keep photo albums, digital or otherwise, to remind them of moments in their lives. To anyone else, they’re not that interesting, but to you, they’re precious, one of those things you keep forever. If nothing else, your blog is an album of your thoughts, of who you were then. That’s why your mom kept all those assignments you brought home from school. Like everything in life, keep your expectations realistic. If you end up famous, so much the better. But at the very least, enjoy it.
On to the three links that paid off. Donald Sensing gave me a nice little boost for my post about how John Kerry saved my sex life. Jim Treacher came through on a rip-off post I did about John Kerry and space unicorns. Dang, it’s like I have a Kerry fixation and I didn’t even vote for the guy. And just a few days ago, Roger L Simon pitied me from his high perch and linked a post about the terrorists just down the road from me in Lodi. Thanks again, guys.
Here are some posts, not necessarily highlights, that seemed significant for some reason:
Most searched posts: When Google comes calling, they’re usually looking for this medical post here. Running second is this post on ponytails.
Speaking of medical posts, here’s a Better. Stronger. Faster. hospital post. A quick look reassures me that this isn’t the embarrassing one. Whew.
Follow the links on this post for a bit on the Vigilance Squad and the secret transcript of Whoopi’s fundraising comments last summer.
I liked this series about a work conference we went to last summer. It’s in the August archives, but here’s part one to get you started.
Another series, eight parts, in the December archives. Here’s part one to get you started.
Here was some advice about sexy tattoos. And about toilet seat etiquette. And flirting. And sharing a bathroom.
Here’s an early Team Magnum where the issue of whether or not soul mates exist was brought up. I argued the negative.
Here's a summary post on the military hammers that will propel me to the status of Benelovent Dictator.
And now let’s go to the highlight reel. I’ll just stick to one for each month. I mean, why prolong your agony?
June 04: I liked this Prince concert post.
July 04: Here’s a not too sappy 4th of July post. Ok I lied. Here’s a second post, this one with my annoyed response to one of those “funny” male bashing bits that get circulated through emails. This must have been a good month. Here’s how I did on one of those psychological tests, and a look at the results I should get.
August 04: Here’s a nice wedding I went to. With hot babes. Here’s one of the few times I would comment on current events.
Sept 04: Here’s a bit on Michael Moore and documentaries. And here was a lost tale of my adventure at a local music festival.
Oct 04: More movie criticism, Team America this time. And here’s an early appearance of Captain Burnout, typical liberal. And me wanting a Hummer, which became the point of gentle ribbing at the office. The silver lining? Drinking Buddy buys me beer so I can save my pennies!
Nov 04: I expanded to social commentary here. And got my sweet justice here. Plus Green Day here.
Dec 04: Here I realized even the holiday season doesn’t stop me from hating people. And Green Day revisited.
Jan 05: A new year, and I still hate jerks. Plus a summary/intro to office gossip about the relationship between Miss Tori and I.
Feb 05: February is the month of love I guess, so here’s a nice ritual you can perform to get out of one night stands and into the arms of a long term snuggler. The office gossip about my love life also got its own dedicated title this month. And here’s the story of perhaps the biggest laugh ever in the office lunchroom, featuring Captain Burnout and a science experiment you can do at home. And I thought this would be a good meme; no one else did.
March 05: Part one of three parts on lipstick (starts March 6th in the archives) that began with a brief bit on camel toes. Easter came early this year. I was at the Hall of Elders.
April 05: Who could forget the Pope? Nobody. Absolutely nobody, as I observed here. And Captain Burnout hinted (and at a later date, confirmed) that civil war and massive deaths in Iraq is better than success, because success would make Bush look good. I mentioned he’s liberal, right?
May 05: Another dedicated post to office gossip here. Sure, weddings make me think about hot babes, but funerals too?
June 05: Here’s one where I saw a national magazine mention something I discussed a couple of months before. Good for the ego I guess. And here’s the first law that will pass when I’m Benevolent Dictator. And it took me a year to liveblog something.
Of course this month by month highlight reel wasn’t my idea. I ripped it off from Michelle Malkin, whose first blogiversary yesterday reminded me of my own today. You can read her Better. Stronger. Faster. version here. You go look now!
I suppose I ought to mention all the biggies who have inspired me along the way. Even if most of them are mentioned up there somewhere, I might have missed a few. First and foremost must be Rand Simberg, the very first blog I ever read. All the rest I found from links on his blog, and then links from those blogs. Then there’s Instapundit, Powerline, Wizbang, Ace of Spades, Dean Esmay, Roger L Simon, Captain’s Quarters, Jim Treacher, Donald Sensing, Frank J and Sarah K, Chris Muir, the Llama Butchers, Witty Sex Kitten and Pink Kitty, and late arrival Nehring the Edge, with movie reviews that always leave me wanting more. Oh yeah. Can’t forget The Shape of Days, where the excellent Survivor recaps have actually made that show worth watching. Thanks Jeff.
That pretty much sums it up. I guess it’s been an ok year after all, and I’m glad you could share it with me, all six of you.
Now who can I pester to link to this?
This Blog Is One Year Old.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Jacko Whacko? Or Cut Some Slacko? Slacko Wins!
So . . .
guilty or no?
Maybe 1:32. He's late. They're thinking 1:45 now. 50 or 60 cops putting helmets on. Cops telling mothers with small children in the crowd to consider leaving before the verdict, for the safety of the children. is that supposed to mean something?
1:54. Did I mention I'm following this on Fox News? What will happen to Jackson if he does go to jail? Scary. He may very well fall to pieces within the first month. Literally.
2:02. These guys all seem to think the police presence indicates a guilty verdict; that they would have to be notified for the sake of dealing with any sort of crowd outrage. It never occurred to me before that anyone but the jury, judge, and clerk would know before it was announced.
2:05. First two counts, conspiracy and lewd acts of some sort, are the biggies it seems. If he escapes those, he may very well be in good shape on the rest. Of course, I'm no lawyer, as you can tell by my description of the two charges above. "Lewd acts of some sort" is probably not in many law books.
2:12. Not guilty. Guilty. On how many charges? A conscientious blogger would make a list of charges, with a little yes or no next to them. I'll do what I can, but don't expect that. Unless Fox makes a graphic I can copy. Of course, you saw the verdict somewhere else. What was even the point? Dunno. Maybe just a little live blogging practice. Lots of time on my hands now; I have to do something with the boredom.
Still more waiting. What the heck, here's a list. I'll be too slow to type the charges themselves, I'll just put it in the order in which they are read.
1. Not Guilty Conspiracy to do something or other
2. Not Guilty Lewd act upon a minor child
3. Not Guilty Lewd act upon a minor child
4. Not Guilty Lewd act upon a minor child
5. Not Guilty Lewd act upon a minor child
6. Not Guilty Lewd act upon a minor child
7. Not Guilty Administrating intoxicating agent/ lesser offense administrating alcoholic beverages
8. Not Guilty Administrating intoxicating agent/ lesser offense administrating alcoholic beverages
9. Not Guilty Administrating intoxicating agent/ lesser offense administrating alcoholic beverages
10. Not Guilty Administrating intoxicating agent/ lesser offense administrating alcoholic beverages
2:21. Which is kind of funny because right before the verdict, some female reporter was telling Shep that Jackson was obviously guilty based on what was going on and the timing of the announcement and all. Even Shep, in the tone of his voice, seemed to be thinking how can this woman make such a blunt statement like that, without any wiggle room. I mean, it was like she was Alec Baldwin saying she'd move to France if Jackson was acquitted.
2:31. Dang that woman (missed her name again) is really upset. Jackson was obviously guilty, the jurors will have to wake up every morning knowing they put targets on the backs (at least she didn't say backsides) of vulnerable children everywhere. That if you can't get a guilty with this huge amount of evidence, no one will ever get convicted of child molestation again. Shep pointed out that, on the other hand, maybe the jury looked at the evidence and decided it wasn't such a huge mountain of obvious guilt. I don't think the woman was too happy about it. Her opinion was so strident, I'm not sure if she's even a reporter. Maybe she's just some law prof giving comments.
2:40. I thought I heard some questioning of DA Tom Sneddon's motives, like he had a grudge because Jackson escaped charges back in the 1990's. So does the verdict make it look like the county spent over $4 million to prop up Sneddon's ego? Or nurse his grudge?
2:56. Son of a gun. Some reporter actually asked it! Sneddon denied, I think the term he coined was "unequivocably" no. Oh what bloodthirsty sharks. Asking if Sneddon had family members in the KKK. That's got to be kicking a guy when he's down. Unequivocably.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
If I Made The Law
I’m talking about a much more reasonable law, about junk mail. Not Spam. I mean the regular paper mail delivered by the post office. One thing I like about FedEx, ok time out.
I’m sure I complained about this before, the fact that Kinko’s are no longer open 24 hours. At least in my local Kinko’s, and I learned from my Kinko’s source that while it hasn’t reached all stores yet, within a matter of months, you won’t find a 24 hour Kinko’s anywhere. FedEx/Kinko’s of course haven’t been bragging about this. I mean, can you hear the ads? “Go to Kinko’s, now open less hours for less convenience!” Shoot, I’m old enough to remember AM/PM’s bastardization of “Rock Around The Clock” when they became maybe the first big chain that bragged about being open 24 hours a day. I take that back. I’m sure there were places like Denny’s or Lyon’s restaurants, and 7-11 stores that were open 24 hours back then. I more precisely mean AM/PM was the first place I knew of that touted 24 hour operations as the key selling point of their gas station mini-marts. So back to the song (I shall do my best): “At the AM/PM mini market, you can drive right up in your car and park it. We’re gonna shop around the clock tonight, we’re gonna shop shop shop til broad daylight. We’re gonna shop, gonna shop around the clock tonight.” All these years later, and I still (perhaps imperfectly) remember. I hope the guy that came up with that got a bonus that year. What was that other one, back when the Bears were big, with Refrigerator Perry, for the burgers and fries? For 99 cents? He sort of rapped it, and it went something like this: “Burger and fries for only 99, for a guy like me that’s mighty fine. Burgers real fresh I wanna make that clear, with new wedge fries both done right here.” Then a couple of lines I forget, with the amusing, thumb your nose at authority finale: “Coach might get mad cause I’m cheating a smidge, but what the hey (insert turntable scratching sound) wrr-wrr, wrr-wrr, wrr-wrr, gotta fill up the Fridge!” Whatever happened to him anyway? Hope he’s doing all right. The point is, I haven’t heard a lot of positive comments, or any comments, about Kinko’s from anyone, which I guess means that they’re getting away with it. I mentioned it at the office the other day, and Tough Boss was surprised. Had no clue this was going on. And seemed disappointed. Oh well. I guess it’s just my own pet peeve. Time in.
So the one thing I do like about FedEx and UPS is that they only deliver things you actually ask for. If they’re at my door, it’s because I invited them by requesting something to be delivered. Not so with the postal service. Now I don’t want to interfere with anyone’s free speech. If you want to send crap to me, that’s your right, I suppose. And they wouldn’t send this stuff if they didn’t get some sort of return on the money they put out to send it. So some people evidently do want that sort of mail to come to them.
And look, I’m perfectly fine with the grocery type ads that I find every few days. Thing is, I can see it clearly for what it is, and I can toss it as fast as they can jam it in my mailbox. What I don’t like is the junk that comes in poorly marked envelopes. Uncle Ed tells me I could be a winner? It’s plain from looking at the envelope that it’s junk, and I can toss it. Others are not so considerate. I’m talking about envelopes that have my address, and a return address that is simply a street address or PO Box without any identifying information on who is actually sending it. I will grant you that 999 tomes out of 1,000 it’s guaranteed junk. But what if it’s the one time where I’m going to get screwed on late fees or something if I simply toss it unopened? So I’ve got to open every one of them. How else can I know for sure?
Then you’ve got credit card junk mail. In this area, it’s a benefit to only have one credit card. Any other company, and it just goes in the trash. But even my own company isn’t satisfied with sending me just my bill every month. I’ll get several pieces of mail from them, none looking too dissimilar from my actual bill. They want to inform me about this or that new credit card plan, or some payment protection plan in case I get fired. Not interested, but I definitely don’t want to screw up with Mega Credit Corp. Fees, penalties, higher rates, no thanks.
And now Mega Bank Corp is getting into the act. My mortgage is through them. Fine. It’s even directly pulled from my account each month so I never see an actual bill. So there’s really no communication from them, and therefore I’m not particularly familiar with what their correspondence might look like. And I get mail saying stuff like “Important Information About Your Mortgage” or “New Mortgage Rules” or some such. If I don’t want to mess up my credit card, I certainly don’t want to screw up house payments.
So what to do? I would require every piece of mail to prominently state that it is a solicitation, on the outside, so I don’t have to open it to find out that it isn’t some official communication from someone with whom I’m doing business. Is that so much to ask? How would it harm the junk mailers to point that out? People who want the product or service can still open the mail and place their orders, and people like me wouldn’t have to wonder if not opening the letter would screw me over.
Now that I’ve solved the junk mail problem, you can read what Dean Esmay and his commenters have to say about Spam here. You go look now!
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Oh No, Al Qaeda In Lodi Again
Hamid Hayat, 22, lives with his father, Umer Hayat, 47, and Hamid has admitted that he spent time in Al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004. He arrived in Pakistan April 21, 2003, staying a little more than two years there. While in Pakistan, he spent six months in training camps. The training included shooting at targets of President Bush and other government figures, as well as “providing structured paramilitary training, including weapons training, explosives training, interior room tactics, hand-to-hand combat and strenuous exercise.” Hamid specifically requested, when given the choice, that his jihadi mission be in the United States, where hospitals and large stores of food (the San Joaquin Valley is a major agricultural area) could be potential targets. An unconfirmed eyewitness report (again, I stress unconfirmed) suggests the men may have also been seen casing the California Aqueduct, a massive water transport project that delivers water from northern to southern California. Both men are currently charged with lying to federal agents.
Umer Hayat, who was denied bail as a flight risk, has just built a home in Pakistan and contributed money to the training camp his son attended. Hayat’s attorney is Johnny Griffin III, who said Umer Hayat "is charged with nothing more than lying to an agent."
Hamid Hayat was on a no-fly list, and his May 29 flight returning from Pakistan to the United States was diverted to Japan, where he was questioned. He denied being connected to terrorists. After being allowed to return home, he was questioned again June 3-4, including a polygraph test, at which time he admitted attending the camp. Shown the video of his son's confession, Umer Hayat admitted knowing what his son was doing, sending his son money, and helping to pay for the costs of running the camp. Hamid Hayat's attorney was not available for court, and his bail hearing will be on Friday.
Two other men arrested for immigration violations were Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammed Adil Khan, the current and former imams of a mosque in Lodi. They were arrested after Umer, wearing an FBI wire, met with them before dawn on June 4. The two men were apparently planning to open a religious school in Lodi. Hamid Hayat was also in Pakistan as a teenager, where he attended a madrassah, or religious school, run by his grandfather, where he was influenced to attend the training camps. It is unclear at this time if Ahmed and Khan’s religious school would have been a madrassah. No other details were available, as the investigation of the two men is continuing. The homes of both men were searched, as well as the Hayat home.
Both Umer and Hamir Hayat are American citizens, and Hamir was born here. Umer drives an ice cream truck. Lodi is 35 miles south of Sacramento, the state capital of California.
Information for this story was culled from the following sources:
KCRA channel 3 in Sacramento. This station is considered in the area to be a sort of local CNN; they are heavily devoted to news coverage. The story, and a short video report, can be viewed at the link.
The Lodi News-Sentinel is, you guessed it, the local paper on the scene, with lots of local flavor details.
The Sacramento Bee is the major daily in Sacramento, and they have the fullest report of the three. They also require annoying registration. Try username: Johnny_Newsie and password: lodicell
Other commitments prevent me from updates over the next few days, but if you stick with these three, you should do all right. This site is normally full of goofy stuff, but I’ve done my best to make this post as serious and responsible as it deserves. Please feel free to give comments or criticism for improvement.
Actual Update: Captain's Quarters isn't just for Canadians anymore. The good captain reaches out to the west coast in his report on this story here.
Actual Update II: Thanks also to Roger L. Simon for the link. Thanks to all of you for dropping by.
Actual Update III: Rusty Shackleford has a good roundup of links in a long post with lots of details.
Actual Update IV: How lame am I? I mean, why self-promote when things are hot, when you can do it after the smoke has cleared and everyone has moved on to something else? Here's a semi-old bit that never caught on with the three people who normally come here, but maybe deserves another shot at glory.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
The Tune Is Named
The song: Punk Rock Sister
The band: Nothing Less
Listen to the first, shop and get news at the second. And don’t forget; they’ll be on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. Go there and you might see me. Go there and scream my name to the band, and I’m sure some cool prize will be coming your way.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Test Your Knowledge. Part Eight (x2)
Your inner child screams for cartoons and sugary cereals, but your adult tastes love the buzz of quality mind altering substances. Sooner or later, you're going to have to grow up, at least a bit.
Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.
Nothing against Lance, but come on now, really. I assure you, I am somewhat grown up. And if you followed that link, I apologize.
And then we have “Which Dukes Of Hazzard Character Are You?” This one turned out pretty good, and when I read the description, I couldn’t help but wonder what was so bad about Boss Hogg.
You are Boss Hogg. Money and food are the most
important things in your life. You realize
that you have to take what you want in order to
What Dukes of Hazzard Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
That’s more appropriate for your benevolent dictator!
Everlasting thanks, as always, to our Official Quiz Screeners the Llama Butchers, who generously provided both tips.
Yikes! The Tune Shall Be Named tomorrow!
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Hey Napoleon, What Are You Going To Post Today?
So a while back, I wondered about Napoleon Dynamite, noting that it seemed different somehow from most movies. Within our culture, I was starting to see ND gaining the same sort of revered status that many people my age hold for movies like Caddyshack or Animal House. That was back in March.
My latest issue of Rolling Stone (June 5th, with cool Vader cover) has an article by Andres Pinter about just this very topic. It’s not online, but here’s a little tidbit for you:
“Now Napoleon has entered a bizarre third act where few films have gone, spawning festivals, lecture tours, audience-participation midnight screenings, a merchandising industry and a library of inescapable catchphrases, meaningless to all but the obsessed (‘Tina, come get your ham!’).”
I’d quote you a zillion lines from those other movies, but my computer would run out of pixels. If you can find the article, you’ll see why he gets paid and I don’t. I do have a slight interest in doing more on this subject, but I’m out of time now. I just wanted to toot my own horn on beating Rolling Stone by a couple of months. So toot toot!
Oh, and Name That Tune concludes tomorrow.