Sunday, December 31, 2006

It was nice while it lasted

This just occurred to me - the guy who invented/makes these glasses is so boned in three years.

Heh, sucker.

Oh wait, he's a millionaire selling these to stupid people.


(Image from:

Happy New Year

OK, for the record, no one is having as much fun tonight as the people on the front page of Yahoo! (see picture at right).

No one.

For us, it's frozen pizza, frozen roads, a fire and the Packers/Bears tilt which has lost much of its luster with the NFC playoff picture now in complete focus.

Play nice, campers and I might be checking in later tonight to try and push this old bitch up to 250 posts total for the year. It'll be like Michael Strahan going for the sack record - complete with a Brett Favre gimme because I'll bet dollars to donuts that the "Favre's last game" bullshit gets kicked up again tonight - only no one will notice.
(Photo from

Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam is dead is reporting that Saddam Hussein has been executed this evening. Does everyone feel better now?

Not quite sure what it solves, but honest to God, the Iraqi prime minister's office is passing along word that people are dancing around the body. Doesn't that seem a little off?

Far be it from me to say what is and is not appropriate - especially across borders and cultures and all sorts of other factors - but can't we all agree that someone who just witnessed an execution shouldn't sound like there's a kegger about to break out at any moment?

In the background, Shiite chanting could be heard. When asked about the chanting, the official said "These are employees of the prime minister's office and government chanting in celebration."

The witness reported that celebrations broke out after Hussein was dead, and that there was "dancing around the body."

Oh, and this one dude totally showed up with a stop sign and no one knows where it came from but it's super-funny and Nick and Lisa totally might hook up. Also, grab some Coke and more ice if you're heading over now...

Makes you proud to have been a part of this whole process, huh America?

(Photo from

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The dark side

I'd held off on the MySpace pressure for as long as I could, but Disconnected in Suburbia has finally broken down my spirit.

The funny thing is that I was poking around the site when it was still primarily used to promote bands because most of the show promoters lose CDs as often as most people urinate, so it was cheaper to send a link with a music sampler already enclosed.

To be honest, I thought it was interesting enough, but clumsy and sorta ugly. It's still pretty clumsy - at least off the bat - but there's really no stopping it now, huh, campers?

Anyways, if you're into that sort of thing, head over to and check things out. If you're not streaming RSS feeds, I'll be updating blog posts here on MySpace now and at the very least you can hear the new Nas track.

There's got to be something said for that, right?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

People? Not very smart

Just to get the wheels moving after the time off, here's a quick link I found through that grabbed a story from Maryland about how shops are scattered throughout the mall.

It just goes to show that no matter how special you think you are, how many works of art you see or massive European cathedrals you've been awed by, at the core, we're all pretty simple monkeys.

It's like the studies you see about people always turning right when they enter a new space and you realize that most of us are hard-wired the same way. Now, with a few precious hours left before I'm due back at work, I'm off to smear Cinnabon over a few dozen pairs of pants.

Prove that I'm a simple animal, will they...

Friday, December 22, 2006

A musical sandbox

Surf over the if you're bored over the long holiday.

It's a link I picked up from G4's Attack of the Show and it lets you mix and match from sound clips, drum loops and different samples that people upload.

I tacked on mine below, so feel free to build off of it, or just bask in my awesomeness.

Go ahead, I can wait, you basking SOB's.

Christmas came early

I'll admit I was never a huge fan of Donald Trump and then this beauty showed up on What Would Tyler Durden Do today.

Now? I couldn't be a bigger Trump fan, it's literally impossible for me to be a bigger fan of his if I actively tried to love him any more.

Here's the problem if you're Rosie O'Donnel - you never had that many fans, lost the Asian vote with your "ching chong Ching" bit and now there are better reasons to hate her even more.

I have to say, that final slot on The View is just a magnet for losers and no-talent knuckleheads, so maybe there's hope for K Fed yet.

If you're scoring at home, I liked this part of The Donald's message of disgust: "So, probably I'll sue her, because it'd be fun."

I'm adding the feed of Rosie talking smack and here's where I get a degree of sick satisfaction - she's yapping away and the studio audience is eating it up, so she's got to feel pretty good about the whole situation leaving the studio.

It's akin to talking shit in a high school hallway, never taking the time to realize that in a fishbowl like that, word will spread like wildfire and then you're stuck with a sick feeling in your gut because you realize you really outran your coverage.

I'm with Anderson Cooper - utterly speechless.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Favre's not retiring, OK?

Thanks to the wonder of local broadcast rights, the Packers/Vikings game is on local TV tonight and has the NFL Network crew working the game.

Wow, is it bad.

Between Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth the gay factor is way, way up tonight - and I'm not making a "that's so gay" type thing out of this - to the point that it's uncomfortable to watch.

Gumbel has a real problem with overusing the phrase "in so and so's arms" and there was a string at the beginning of the game where someone was always coming, someone was always in some else's arms and another golden phrase "a whole lotta man."

(We just had another "Jackson in the arms of Kampman yet again..." sighting with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter if you need me to cite my sources.)

This goes way beyond John Madden's sick fascination with fat guys sweating down the inside of their legs - this is borderline obscene. God bless cable, campers.

A few quick thoughts:

This isn't Brett Favre's final game at Lambeau. He's too close to too many records and even several of the studio guys aren't buying into the hype of Favre hanging them up just yet.

Last year was close, but why would he walk now? In a rare moment of clarity, Collinsworth said he knew he was killing the storyline, but he didn't see it happening for those reasons and the fact that with a young team and offensive line, the hard work has been done - it makes little sense to give up now.

I'm torn, because if anyone has earned the right to overstay their welcome, it's Favre. That said, he should have walked a season or two ago. He's not aging well with the revolving door of injuries to the team's running backs and wide receivers and the whole "gunslinger" routine is wearing thin by now.

Danny and I were at Sunday's game and while seeing him in person was as much fun as it's always been, the charge in the crowd was different than it was in the Super Bowl years. Where you always felt that you had a chance with him in the game before now it's an uneasy proposition where he could go the length of the field in two minutes, he could get to the red zone where a bad pass or butterfingers by the receivers will kill the drive.

You just don't feel as secure as you used to with Favre at the helm, but it's not entirely his fault.

Still, the Packers just pulled off the win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive - Playoffs? Playoffs? I'll be surprised if we win another game... - and everyone will have warm and fuzzy feelings in Green Bay tonight.

The face of the franchise helped work up another win, but against an awful Lions team and an inept Vikings squad, it's hard to feel good about this week in Packers football. Therein lies the problem.

Favre will win enough games and the rest of the NFC North will lose enough that you never really get much better with that setup. Add killer injuries at the wrong time (starters on the offense last year and the year before, including Javon Walker blowing out a knee on opening day) and you'll get middle of the draft picks, but not enough to really help much.

With a season in the toilet last year turning into AJ Hawk this season, you can see how that's a better option than constant mediocrity.

I think the key to Favre's future will be the same as last year - how much crap is he willing to deal with in order to pass Dan Marino in the record books? Who will stay and who will go? Who'll play alongside Donald Driver to give the team two options inside the five-minute mark and who will play on the defensive side of the ball.

(Let's all think about teams a QB away from a breakout season and get together early next week to see what we've come up with, OK? That would be the best situation for Favre to go out on a high note.)

My big concern? Can the media shut the hell up from February to July about Favre's status?

He might be done, but he's not retiring yet.

(Photo from Danny M.)

Snow Day!!!

You know what makes me happy to be working in Minnesota in the winter? Well, not much, actually - the weather is cold, the wind is really, really cutting and your car makes weird noises when plastic and metal are exposed to sub-zero temperatures.

Ypu know what's an nice, added perk? People actually understand when you don't want to face a soul-crushing afternoon stuck in a snow storm.

No, really - we had a snow day today. I'm just as shocked as you are.

Granted, it took 2 hours to drive 20 miles, but who's counting? I guess the thought is that if we're going to live in a snowy climate, you might as well get something out of it.

In Virginia, they'd let you come in later than usual, but you still had to be there. That was hundreds of times worse, though. Some of the worst bad-weather drivers you can imagine. Here, they let you make the call and it makes life a lot easier.

The common thread, though? Hills.

When you live in Illinois most of your life, the only hills you see are technically "underpasses" that dip under the train tracks. If you've never had the joy of being stopped on a hill in slush and ice, trust me - it's one of those things you can live without.

Sideways is bad - sideways and backwards is worse.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bring the kids!

I'm loving the embedded videos lately.

Here's a heartwarming Christmas commercial from our buddies out east (and linked through In case you missed the original, I'll include that, too.

Monday, December 18, 2006

God, please don't let this man save SNL

I'd be interested to hear what teenagers think of Saturday Night Live, considering it's been a punchline for as long as they've known.

And not a good kind of punchline, either, but the kind where it represents all that sucks about sketch comedy.

While stars have emerged from the show since the early days, most didn't find their stride until they were edging towards the door and lining up movie careers anyways.

Lately, SNL has begun to put up a bit of a fight and today was the first time in a while I've heard someone ask if I saw the show this weekend. You'll find Justin Timberlake singing about putting his dick in a box at the bottom of the post.

Still, the common thread in all of the "did you see..." buzz has been Andy Samberg. Should this worry me as much as it does?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Weekend in paradise

While spending two days away from home - in a town I'll refrain from metioning by name, but within 45 minutes of Green Bay -I learned a few things:

* If you own a mailbox shaped like a bass, don't assume you'll be able to use it as a landmark when giving directions to friends. For example, if you were to say, "Head down off the paved road next to the county highway and look for the bass mailbox. Turn there and we're right down the driveway." your guests would be able to make no fewer than 15 wrong turns before finding your home.

* The elderly are out of control here. I thought when you got old you moved somewhere warm. Not so much the case here. Just try and drive the speed limit. Go ahead, I dare you.

* Home to some of the cheapest cars in North America. I shudder to think what is wrong with these things to be sold at the advertised prices on the used car lots. They must make Craigslist cars look like Bentleys.

* Line after line abound. I'm pretty sure it's because everyone uses cash like that Visa card commerical. I spent no fewer than four minutes in line to buy a Coke at the gas station and 10 minutes waiting on lunch at a Burger King. This does not help me at all. I'm a busy man.

* The highlight? Two Chinese buffets in town that I saw. That's gotta be up there in the per capita rankings, no?

Beyond words

I'm holed up in a motel in Central Wisconsin today, but thanks to modern technolgy, I'm not roaming the streets, looking for locals to annoy.

Instead, I'm here at the laptop and I bring you the Great Leprechuan Hunt.

I'd list my favorite scenes, but it'd basically be a transcript of the newscast.

Anybody here who seen the leprechuan say, "Yeah!"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Levels of pissivity

Gentlemen, gather around - today, it's all about you.

Not in a posting about beer, football and crapping in a hole in the ground in the woods kind of way, but in a nod your head at your desk in your cube, while the women in the office - were they to walk by - would ask, "What the hell is he talking about?" kind of way.

That's the long way 'round to my discussion on the Lady TV hosts that drive me crazy and categorizing the three biggest offenders by the level to which I have a violent reaction.

The Girl has her shows like I have my shows. The running joke is that the Food Network is her ESPN and that's not so much of a joke anymore. She watches it too much in my opinion like I watch sports too much in her opinion. If she could fork over an additional $200 to watch cooking competitions from around the nation, I bet we'd have that like we order our Extra Innings package.

The Passable - Great Hotels with Samantha Brown isn't too bad, but she's way too perky, makes stupid puns and over-involved set ups and plays to the camera in a more pandering way than the Teletubbies.

I always feel like she's 10 seconds away of telling me the fun things to do in the Fort Lauderdale area for those who have been kicked in the head by a mule.

All told, I can live with this show in small doeses, like once a day or less.

Still, some of the hotels are cool, but there's no way that normal people can watch this show and start planning vacations or anything (on the show we saw tonight, the fucking cabana cost $150 a day).

I guess they'd have no show if she stayed at the HoJo's and Holiday Inn's of the Upper Plains, but still. Tonight I found out she is getting another show to pander, lame-ass joke and perk away on.

Why? Was the outcry for a third Sam Brown show so great that they simply couldn't keep her off the air any longer?

You know who I think should have three shows?

Flavor Flav, that's who.

You're Pushing Me, Lady - Stacy London of What Not to Wear pushes me into the world of outright irritation.

She yaks and pokes fun and tells people that their wardrobes suck - which, in all fairness, they usually do - all the while looking like The Nanny's ill-tempered older sister.

This usually gets old around the four-minute mark. Here's the thing - the new gimmick is to embarass the victim in front of their friends, families and co-workers. This strikes me as a bit counterproductive in the long run.

If I came to your place of business, bitch-slapped you and called you ugly, would you want to listen to anything I said after that? It's one thing to claim you're a fashion expert - yes, apparently you need to go to Vassar to qualify for that (Class of '91) - it's another to make someone feel like shit because they're out making a living instead of reading fashion magazines in bed and calling your friends to discuss what dresses you loved at the Oscars three weeks ago.

Much like most of these shows, the whole thing boils down to a few vital parts - throw out anything made with puff paint, make sure your pants are tailored or at least fit and, Lord almighty, don't ever wear the same clothes you did in high school, even if you can still fit in them - but that doesn't make good TV, so they might as well take a dump on someone while they're at it.

The whole package might be a bit easier to swallow if she wasn't such a bitch throughout the whole thing and tried to be a bit more supportive before the 21-minute mark in the show. It's like they flip a switch on her back and she turns into Princess Sunshine, praising that week's sucker for picking out clothes that don't look like they came from a hooker clown college.

Banned in the Household As Long As I Have a Pulse - This brings us to the Queen Bee of pissing me off tothe highest level of pissivity.

Rachel Ray.

Another one who everyone but me has apparently writing non-stop to the networks beg them to slap her mug on every channel possible every hour of the day and night.

I mean, Jesus...

I nearly began foaming at the mouth when I saw her on the Ritz cracker box a few weekends ago and had a pre-emptive apology from The Girl, who swears she didn't see Rachel Ray on the box before she bought it.

I wish I could believe that.

This swamp donkey is obnoxious to no end and her show drives me batshit crazy. About the only real entertainment value I get from the show is seeing her and knowing there are rumors that a.) her husband pays women hundreds of dollars to spit on him - heh - and b.) that he also requested things so disgusting that a hooker said no, regardless of the money involved.

I imagine this playing out like that scene in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where Jay is so vile he makes a hooker quit.

According to The Girl, Ray has been told to knock that shit off or they're going to pull the plug on her new talk show as well, which I think is beyond awesome. She's running around, hopped up on sugar and oven cleaner and I can't understand half of the things that come out of her mouth and get driven crazy by the other half.

Would the ratings be that much worse if they ran non-stop episodes of Good Eats in her place?

The half-assed money-making scheme of the week? A grown-up version of the V-Chip that would block these three women and any other shows the viewer deems craptacular.

I'd keep this on the down-low in the in-store ads so the ladies wouldn't catch on, but I'd also include a short, 30-minute prep session on how to say, "Why no, honey, I think the Food Network isn't carried by our cable company anymore. I hear that Rachel Ray stabbed an intern and the lawsuit that followed bankrupted the network." without smiling from ear to ear.

( / /

Saturday, December 09, 2006

She's a looker

We took Lucky to the dog park today - which is so massive, it shouldn't be classified as a park per se, more of a dog national forest and protected wetlands enclosure - and while it's warm for Minneapolis in the winter, it's still pretty cold.

I gave The Girl the coat I had on, which is a brown, corduroy deal I bought at a thrift store years ago. Surprisingly warm, but when you take it off a 200-plus-pound frame and put it on a girl who is just over five-feet, it makes her look like a homeless Michelin man.

"You look like Tyrone Biggums!" I said with delight.


"Wait until we get home, I'm totally blogging this shit," I said.

The man to the right, honey? That's Tyrone. Try to stay off the crack if the coat will allow it.

(Image from

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Remember when?

It's been mentioned here before, but it's happened again - working in a high school made me stop, shake my head and do the old, "It wasn't like that when I was kid."

The funny thing is that when I got home, I was flipping through last month's GQ and there's a story about an editor who went back to his high school to hang out for a month. Every few months, something similar appears and I'd link to it here, but of course, it's off the Web site by now. (It's the one with Dwayne Wade on the cover).

The main premise of the piece was that yes, high school is different, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a lot like it'd been even 15 years ago.

There are more things to be afraid of these days and the possibility for violence and more dangerous drugs is a real problem, but just because there are more things to be wary of doesn't mean high school on a day-to-day level is significantly worse than it was.

The thing that stuck out was that the doors are locked on a mandatory basis whenever classes are in session following Columbine. The reason this stuck out was that I was stuck in the middle of a lockdown today.

Granted, it was a lockdown drill but strange in any event.

Seeing new classroom technologies is to be expected, but I can remember the biggest hallway threat being kids sneaking out to smoke in the bathroom. Now, twice a year, this school locks down on a practice basis and teachers snare any student walking in the halls while students get away from the doors and windows.

I remember tornado drills, fire drills and assorted timed exercises to make us safer, but this was pretty jarring. The students didn't bat an eyelash which is a pretty damning commentary in itself.

My folks hid under desks as a way to keep them safe from falling bombs and even in second grade, I didn't feel much safer in the hallway on my hands and knees in case the roof of the school got ripped off.

I'm sure to the indestructible youth of today, it's apples to apples - just another stupid thing they have to do because someone else is telling them to inside the school's walls - which is why they're so nonchalant about it.

Someday when the killer robots are picking off the elderly and stray dogs, I'm sure my kids with roll their eyes, slap a piece of aluminum foil over a lunch tray and wait for the bell to ring with an all clear, but today this was weird.

Today it made me shake my head, walk it off and ask when things got so bad. I never guessed I'd be nostalgic for the good old days in the early 90s.

I never thought I'd see 1996 as a safer time.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The first of what might be many defenses of Studio 60

I've made no secret of my undying man crush on Aaron Sorkin. His alcoholism speech that he gave to Leo in the West Wing episode where he has to explain why he never saw the president fall during debate prep remains one of the greatest things I've ever read next to "Grand Theft Auto will release a new game soon," "Lunch buffet - $6" and " AJ Pierzinski is dead of an apparent donkey-genital-related accident," whenever that happens.

Still, I find it difficult when he goes off and does stupid, pretty indefensible stuff like this bit, mentioned in Frank the Tank's blog this week.

I had been planning to get to all of the commotion about how the comedy show central to Studio 60 isn't all that funny - more on that later - but the critics, both professional and armchair who are taking umbrage to Sorkin picking fights and trying to marginalize the Midwest in general and Red States in particular.

While Frankie and others are right in calling out Sorkin for painting anything west of the Appalachians and east of the Pacific Time Zone as a bunch of Jesus-loving hicks, I tend to limit my ire on this because it makes for easy shorthand on a weekly television show.

In this particular instance, it wasn't a major plot point that all people in the Midwest didn't know who Abbott and Costello were - and honestly, you'd assume the Midwest would have a more intimate knowledge of the duo on a per capita basis - the point was that one character's parents didn't know the history of comedy, which was causing friction in the family.

It'd be different if the show had been written to have one character say to another, "Did you see the new Gallup poll? Nearly 72 percent of all residents in Indiana don't know who Abbott and Costello are!" but it wasn't. It was an important facet to the storyline and I think that it's been taken out of context, given the outcry I've read and heard.

In the biggest Red State baiting episodes, John Goodman played a small town judge in Nevada who toyed with the cast and network brass based on his position of power. In the end, he got the best of the fancy-pants Hollywood liberals and the whole thing played out pretty well.

Here's the deal on both of these fronts - it comes down to suspension of disbelief.

Rather than get too worked up over why Sorkin is picking on Ohio or Iowa or wherever, it needs to be taken as intended so that without having to burn screen time with an extended exposition on this particular town and their conservatism, they just break out the big brush and hit everyone at once.

I'm OK with this. If the rest of the Midwest wants to shift the blame back down to Alabama, then they need to stop voting Republican. No one had a problem with this same type of broad strokes in the West Wing when Midwest was equated with down-home family values, a blue collar work ethic and ethical folks who just wanted to do right by America.

On the same topic, I don't see a need to make the sketches rival the first years of Saturday Night Live in order to make the show work. Would I prefer to see hysterical sketches that broke up the scenes? Sure. But I don't really need that.

Again, if you can take this at face value and work with the premise that Matthew Perry's character is a sublimely talented comedy writer, why can't that be enough.

Again, I'd prefer it with better comedy, but what does it really detract from the overall show if the sketches aren't fall-down funny? It's still funnier than Home Improvement and that show was on for roughly 15 years.

I guess the point is that if you want to have quick-reference stereotypes for your weekly network dramas, you're going to have to break some eggs. Everyone knew that Jed Bartlet wasn't the real president, that the cowboy antics depicted by his staff wouldn't fly in the real world and that bi-partisan stunts in the name of public good weren't really in the realm of possibility, but it made us feel better about ourselves.

Is it really such a bad thing to have a show that makes us think that somewhere in America - outside of South Park - there are writers and actors on a television show that prize content above viewership and would prefer to use their positions on the show for something more than a springboard to further their own celebrity?

I know my TiVo is monitored and the contents sold to be sliced, diced and consumed to try and convince me to buy more crap I don't need, but still - once a week it's nice to step outside of that.

More so, West Wing made us care about the characters and worry about them to the point that most fans felt a double loss when the real John Spencer died because we lost both a talented actor but Leo as well.

If you ask me, that's the biggest problem I'm having with Studio 60 right now - that the character development is suffering because too much energy is being expended on taking shots at irrelevant causes. I agree with the Chicago Tribune columns that argue that the characters are suffering on the show and that there are too many loose ends and unexplored plots out there.

But to damn the writing because it follows the same formula as West Wing and SportsNight before it? That's just asking this show to play by a different set of rules.

(Photo from