Monday, June 30, 2008

i did not, however, fist bump my wife

Generally speaking, I have a strong dislike for reading about people's dreams in their blogs followed by their own strange interpretation of what their subconscious must be trying to tell them with it. So if you don't want to read any further, I hold no grudge.

I had a dream last night that I had done everything I ever wanted to do and was receiving awards for my efforts. Instead of making up weird people like I normally do, this had my real friends and my real family congratulating me and beaming with pride. I was successful, loved what I was doing, and the dream was strong enough that I had very real memories flooding through my head as I thanked all of the relevant people.

Waking up to an early AM call that turned out to be a wrong number is normally annoying enough. Being pulled from that and into my current professional state by an early AM call that turned out to be a wrong number was truly a kick in the pants, though. I'm going to be messed up over that for at least until lunch...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

maybe mandy moore makes you smarter, somehow

I'm tired of being in awe of Roger Federer(and talking heads all over the sports world feel as though his awsomeness is beginning to fade...), Rafael Nadal is worthless on any surface that isn't for pansies, Andy Roddick has all the talent in the world but suffers from major damage between the ears, and (as much as it hurts to say it) James Blake just doesn't have the tools to ever really get the job done.

That's why I'm only half way paying any attention to Wimbledon, in spite of my long-standing contention that it's the best two weeks of sports in any given year.

Thought you'd like to know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jesus probably wouldn't want me to punch james dobson, but i still really want to

So Andi just forwarded this little tidbit from the AP my way. It's about a response from noted destroyer of the Christian faith James Dobson to some well-reasoned thinking out loud from Barack Obama.

"Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?" Obama said. "Would we go with James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's?" referring to the civil rights leader.

Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy — chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said.

Yep. Pretty much. But this is old news. Stuff people like me have been saying for years to those who want to teach hatred as a Christian value because that's how they interpret certain sections of the Bible while ignoring all of the passages where, say, Jesus calls on us to help the poor. Or treat one another with kindness. Or act on our faith through the display of compassion and love. Or not calling anyone profane when God has made them clean.

All that stuff must be "fruitcake interpretations" of the Bible, just like Obama's "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution which apparently has all kinds of stuff about abortion in it, according to Dobson. And he'd be right if he weren't so very utterly wrong. Again.

But that's not even the kicker. Here's the most offensive thing he said:

"I think [Obama is] deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said.

"... He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter."

This isn't even the pot calling the kettle black. This is the pot calling the kettle a #*@%ing pot. Dobson is the one hunting and pecking obscure passages out of their context for an agenda of hate. Dobson is the one distorting Christian values and traditions in the name of keeping women as property rather than people. Dobson is the one chasing a lot of people away from Christianity with his rejection of intellectual study and interpretation of the very book he's trying to beat us over the head with because that would challenge his worldview and his own confused theology(if you can call the nonsense that comes out of his mouth "theology.")

I'm literally ill right now. I'm so angry that my stomach has turned sideways and I might just throw up. This man has turned the Christian Faith, my faith, into a hate group and a punchline. In the meantime, not nearly enough of us are standing up to announce that this "preacher" doesn't speak for us or our faith. We have to start and start soon, because I can't take this much longer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

cardboard signs sporting hair jokes to come to the RBC Center a few times a year

Barry Melrose is set to become the Tampa Bay Lightning's head coach. I assume he's only leaving his broadcasting spot because he finally realized that ESPN thinks hockey is kind of a joke.

I'm actually pretty happy that Melrose is returning to the sport. I would rather he signed on with some team out west rather than someone in the Southeast Division that's been underachieving for a few seasons now, but I think it can only be good for the NHL to have Melrose involved with one of their teams, as this is an off-season move that a causal fan can react to that doesn't involve the drafting of a player with a familiar-sounding name.

Given that Melrose will be heading up the 'Ning, though, I hope he understands that I wish him nothing but the most miserable of failures in his new gig.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How is The Daily Show the only place where I can see an interview like this?

This is fantastic. Just fantastic. This sort of interview deserves a better spot than the same interview segment in a late-night comedy show that Adam Sandler used to promote You Don't Mess With the Zohan.

I'll let Comedy Central's description and then the actual footage take it from here...

CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan feels responsible for Americans not understanding what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For emphasis, the opinion on American journalism from someone who has dedicated her life to news:
If I had to watch the news that you're hearing in the United States, I'd just blow my brains out because it'd drive me nuts.

counter myths > debunking current myths

Slate has compiled this list of Obama rumors that his supporters should be spreading rather than trying to debunk the ridiculous email forwards that proclaim things like "Obama's a Muslim," Obama hates America," and "Obama eats babies covered in kitten sauce."

Some of them are funnier than others, but I've been thinking that I can add more:

Obama refuses to chant "U-S-A, U-S-A!!!" But that's only because he chants "United States of America, United States of America!!!" since shortening the title would diminish the country itself, and only terrorists would do that.

Obama bleeds red, white, blue, and domestic light beer.

If elected, some of the names Obama is considering to put in cabinet positions are Christian Bale, Christian Slater, Christian Cage, the ghost of Hans Christian Andersen, and Jodie Foster (but only if she goes by her given name of Alicia Christian Foster).

Obama wants to make our national animal the Jesus Lizard.

Obama loves this country so much he's asked Michelle to change her name to "The United States of America" so he can make tender, sweet love to The United States of America.

(possibly more to come...feel free to add your own)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

dissenting opinions: blog entries of the supreme court

I must have somehow slept through it, but the Supreme Court managed to get something right on Thursday when they actually interpreted the laws and ideals of this country by restoring the right of habeas corpus to the "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay.

Certainly you'd think that an administration that has been telling us since it declared war on terror that "they hate us for our freedom" would applaud a court ruling that affirmed that there are freedoms to hate. You would think that, in what has been characterized as a war of ideology, at Supreme Court ruling that made sure we held on to the ideals we had before "9/11 changed everything" would signify a victory.

You'd be wrong.

On Thursday, President Bush said, "We'll abide by the court's decision. That doesn't mean I have to agree with it."

Of course Antonin Scalia, just possibly the worst person in the history of anything, has declared that the decision is "going to get more Americans killed" and tossed around all manner of doomsday scenario in his dissenting opinion, causing him to sound more like one of the current presidential administration's mouthpieces than a man appointed to rule on cases in an impartial fashion based on the law as written in the constitution.

The New York Times seems to think that this decision is going to make the Supreme Court a hot topic in the presidential election. I say that would be fantastic. I've been wrong about this sort of thing before, but I suspect that McCain's backing of the Bush administrations stance on the ruling puts him firmly in a minority. This is, of course, assuming that enough people care about habeas corpus.

If no one cares and McCain wants to keep harping on it? I suppose that will work just fine for me, too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

that old guy who lives next door

It doesn't look like I'll be getting back to sleep, so I may as well tell you a story.

A quarter after 4. In the AM. I hear laughing, the clanking of bottles, and a familiar-sounding, unison chorus of "Oh!" followed by louder laughing. Andi and I have new neighbors in the townhouse next door, and they had a few folks over for some drinks. I'd heard a smattering of conversation around 2:30, but in my mind the time meant that it would probably be wrapping up soon. I rolled over and managed some more sleep. At 4:15, though, the chorus of "Oh!" coming from pretty much directly below our bedroom window woke Andi.

Andi is a sleeper. It takes a serious something to get her to wake up. I'm pretty sure that a well-placed pin drop is enough to stop one of my R.E.M. cycles, so I have no idea how she does it. I do know that I've come home after a long night of being generally up to no good(usually with The Worx crowd) to find that Andi has already gone to bed. Trying to get to the bed in the dark, I'll trip over things, knock other things over, and smack my belt buckle against the wall to make enough noise that any reasonable person would be awake and saying "Just turn a light on, idiot." Andi, though, wakes up in the morning, roll towards me, and says she doesn't remember me getting home.

If Andi is awake at 4:15, there's definitely a problem. I spent 15 minutes hoping they would miraculously quiet down so we could go back to sleep, having horrid flashbacks with each "Oh!" to living at Lake Park in Raleigh and losing whole nights of sleep to drunken rednecks screaming "I'm Rick James bitch!!! What!?! Okay!!!" in a continuous loop(one of a million reasons why I hate Chappelle's Show to this day). Something needed to be done. The noise was only increasing as the drinks next door continued to be consumed.

At 4:30, I walked downstairs and pushed open the door to the back deck. I hurled a few polite words over the storage closet that separates our deck from theirs, but it didn't get through the noise. Crap. Those jerks are going to make me put pants on. Stumbling around in the dark (why I feel like I can't cut a light on is a question I'll leave to the philosophers), I found a pair of jeans. I was on the way out the door when it occurred to me that, for dignity's sake, I should also probably throw on a shirt. I really need to start exercising again, by the way.

I walked up the stairs to their deck, and saw a collection of about eight folks sitting around with bottles of Coors Light. Some of them looked young enough that I'd believe it if someone told me that the Coors Light in question had been purchased by an unseen 9th person. I explained that I wasn't trying to be that guy, but it was 4:30 in the AM and we were basically trying to sleep right next to the brouhaha.

"Oh. I'm sorry sir."
"We can take it inside, sir."
"Sorry sir, but thanks for coming out here instead of calling the cops."

Sir? Every last one of them who spoke to me called me "sir." I don't know if I'm ready to be "sir." I thanked them for being cool about it, and was called "sir" one more time as I walked back to my deck. Like an idiot, though, I had to throw out there my objection to being called "sir."

"All those 'sirs' are making me feel old," I informed them.
"How old are you?" An honest question, deserving of an honest answer.
"Oh, you're not old, I'm twenty-three and I'm, not old."

Twenty-three. At least I know who bought the beer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

all the comforts of stalking without the hassle of balancing a pair of binoculars

Facebook is a tremendous interweb tool. It lets me keep up with people I want to keep up with and silently check in on the people I'm curious about, but not enough to ever really interact with them beyond sending them a meager request to be their friend.

It was through a Facebook status change that I learned that my friend Scott, who I've been remarkably bad at keeping up with since his move to New York with the exception of that weekend where Andi and I were going to be in the city and in need of a place to crash (thanks, Scott!), had gotten himself engaged. I might still not know about this had it not been for the grandest of internet networking applications (until something better comes along - watch your back, Facebook, you will get MySpaced), but there was still something amiss.

Traditionally, when friends of mine have betrothed themselves to another, I took great joy in passing a silent and unfair judgment upon the persons they had decided to hitch themselves up to. When I was married myself, the tradition extended to include Andi. I'm pleased to report that she was quite happy to participate and quite adept at the art of future spouse appraisal.

Unfortunately, though, Andi and I had nothing to base a quick and unfair judgment upon, thereby making it an even more unfair judgment and sucking all of the fun out of the judging process. On what basis was I to either approve or disapprove of Scott's impending nuptials? Then, Facebook came riding to the rescue.

For the uninitiated, Facebook has a feature that allows you to know when someone has posted a picture of one of your friends. Usually, this announcement should read something like "here is a picture of someone you know with their arm around someone else, possibly standing in front of something you've seen in a movie." However, Meaghan, when she posted this picture, delivered me a basis upon which to pass my unfair judgment of Scott's promise to marry her.

If she loves you enough to take your picture when you're in that getup, that's considerable. If she loves you enough to pose for a picture with you in that getup, that's remarkable. If she loves you enough to pose for a picture with you in that getup and then posts said picture online in a place her friends are most definitely going to see it, then you hold on tight and never let go. You marry her.

Congratulations, Scott. You've got yourself a keeper.

Monday, June 9, 2008

looks like i'll be spending the fall proclaiming Matt Forte to be a Rookie Sensation

Cedric Benson is no longer a Chicago Bear. After getting a DUI and claiming he did nothing wrong, this bright boy decided to throw back a few drinks and get behind the wheel of yet another vehicle. Then he has the nerve to shurg his shoulders and say "Wha'd I do?"

Clearly he's under the impression that he's a star football player whom fans think of fondly outside of Austin, TX (and, given the location of Benson's infractions, maybe not there either) and is therefore subject to the beloved star football players' set of rules. He's wrong. The Bears traded away their good running back, leaving Cedric as their guy. During his tenure as Chicago's feature back, Benson perfected the art of running three yards and falling down.

He won't be missed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

she's not nearly as much fun as the dramatic hamster is

The long, painful, and occasionally seemingly doom-laden race for the Democratic nomination for President of These Here United States has (kind of) been won by Barak Obama. In spite of this, my spell check still insists that his name is all wrong. More importantly, though, Obama's victory (of sorts) has left a chunk of folks downright angry. And anger causes irrationality (which spell check says is a word). Take this disgruntled, sign-bearing Clinton supporter for example...

(I think she's a "Hillary Supporter," not informally getting Senator Clinton's attention with an informal "Hillary! 'Sup?")

...or perhaps this delightful new YouTube celebrity:

I took a short trip in the car this morning, and heard even more people who share this opinion call into crazy left wing and crazy right wing radio shows. Clinton supporters, at least the vocal ones, seem to be ready to vote for Grampy McCain. My question is why?

If you were supporting Clinton, pleasepleasepleaseplease tell me it was based on a more educated reasoning than "her undercarriage doesn't at all resemble the undercarriage of the last 43 folks to have the job." As a matter of fact, I'm going to take for granted that you're all far better than that and therefore assume that you think that McCain is somehow closer to Clinton on the issues than Obama is. It's an easy mistake to make, given how much love McCain and Clinton have passed back and forth during this seemingly endless primary season. Allow me to persuade you otherwise, though, using three examples.

Health Care

Here's an easy one. If you've been in Clinton's corner, I know you've sung the praises of what she would do in this area. And her plan was, in fact, the strongest of those offered by the three candidates in question. Go ahead and look at these side-by-side summaries of each candidate's health care proposal.

You'll notice that Obama's is nearly identical. Both want to expand SCHIP, get more people benefits, get those people more comprehensive coverage, and encourage employers to provide benefits or at least devote some of the payroll to helping employees' health care costs.

McCain wants to give "tax credits" to families, not require coverage for anyone, and rely on the awesome power of capitalism to provide better and more affordable health care from private companies. The problem is that the awesome power of capitalism is what drives our insurance companies right now, and that hasn't made health care affordable and it certainly hasn't made it anything that would even resemble comprehensive.

So if Senator Clinton was your candidate based on health care, you may want to reconsider that McCain vote and take a peek at what Obama has to offer this country.

The Iraq Occupation

This one's a little trickier, but if you look at what Senator Clinton is saying now (as opposed to when too many people were buying into the Bush administration's sales pitch and opposing the invasion would have been political suicide), she comes down in the same place as Obama. Also, like Obama (and very much unlike McCain), Clinton has a proposed date to start the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Here are the side-by-side comparisons on this one.

Of course, some may point out that McCain and Clinton both seem to have the same target date set (2013, for those keeping score or who didn't clicky-clicky the link) for a mostly completed finish to the occupation. Fair enough, but I'll point out that Senator Clinton's 2013 is a "goal" where Senator McCain's 2013 is a "projection." McCain was one of many who also "projected" that total victory was well nigh upon us several years ago. Obama, for the record, also has a "goal" for troop withdrawal.


The first three quarters (at least) of Sentator Clinton and Senator Obama's sections of NPR's side-by-side comparisons are, again, nearly identical. Roll back the Bush tax cuts, cover new spending with increased revenues or cutting other spending, and "strengthening the enforcement of trade agreements." See? They're even using the same catchphrases here.

McCain, on the other hand, wants to make permanent the same policies that landed the US economy in the crapper to begin with. So if the economy drove you to the polls in support of Clinton, perhaps you should start running away from McCain whilst flailing your arms above your head and screaming.

Not Convinced?

There are still things like abortion, stem cell research, the United States' policy on torture, gay rights, and the religious freedoms that I can almost 100% guarantee a President Obama would be more in line with a President Clinton than a President McCain would.

I know you're angry, disgruntled, and excited to get the call from Fox News to come on TV and complain that the Democratic Party has abandoned you so their talking heads can get a chuckle. I think you can be better than that, though. If you were only going to vote for Clinton because she was a white female and figure that white male is at least half of what you were looking for where black male doesn't fit at all, do me a favor and please do some research - away from Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and any talk radio - to really look into what you'd be voting for before you help further ruin this country.

Thanks for that.

because forward momentum is good for the soul

Purposefully non-specific blog entry #24:

I did something this morning that I should have done last summer. This, in turn, lead me to feel much better about finally doing something that I also should have done a long time ago. None of this really means anything yet, but it will.

Monday, June 2, 2008

as soon as i post this, i'll bet the game will be over

Seriously, it's 11:13 PM on Monday, June 2nd. Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals is in OT (because The Penguins scored with 34.3 seconds left to force it) and demanding your attention. Holy crap, this is good. If for some reason you're reading blogs at 11:13 PM on Monday June 2nd, turn the game on now.

UPDATE: The prophesy in this entry's title will not go fulfilled. It's roughly 11:35 PM on Monday, June 2nd. Marc-André Fleury has seen to it that there shall be a second overtime. He was doing some serious goalie-ing. Good stuff. I am nervous that the second OT won't last that long, as the Penguins had a power play to end the first overtime period and now have 20 minutes to think about how they couldn't get it done.

If you're not watching yet, you should be.

FURTHER UPDATE: It's now 12:16 AM on Tuesday, June 3rd. This time it was the Red Wings that couldn't get a goal with a period-ending power play and Osgood who had to make the trickier saves. There will be a third overtime. I suppose I'm not sleeping tonight.

FINAL UPDATE: It's now 12:47 AM on Tuesday, June 3rd. Penguins win thanks to a power play goal. Playoff overtime hockey is as good as sports get. I'm going to bed now. G'night.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

the "ch-ch-ch ah-ah-ah" part is scarier than the high-pitched strings

Once in a while, a movie comes out that I have no chance of interesting Andi in the possibility of watching with me. This is when I call up the boys and declare it's time for a mandate(or bromance, if you prefer). This afternoon, I hit up The Strangers with Mayo, Derek Gregopher, and Tommy. Laul Peeland, noted mandater(or bromancer, if you prefer) wussed out at literally the last minute. The final verdict? It's a really scary movie right up to a point.

All of the scary in this movie comes not from the fact that people in masks are looking to kill our heroes, but from the fact that they want to mess with them first. I'm not talking about elaborate death traps like you see in the Saw movies, and I'm certainly not talking about the "aha, I've got you - now let's drill a hole in you somewhere" that "torture porn" in the vein of Hostel delivers. No sir. Those movies aren't scary.

It's the little things. The silent stalking, the knocking on the door, and the fact that the only hint of motivation you ever get from the masked trio is the freaky "Because you were home" line from the trailer. Telling the audience virtually nothing, keeping us just as in the dark as the prey we're seeing as they're stalked -- that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I'm frustrated by recent horror flicks (or recently, offending remakes) giving away too much backstory and therefore motivaton for the bad guys with sharp objects, essentially rendering them bad characters in a movie rather than a horrifying force that you want the protagonists to get away from now. Still, I think I've finally determined a more important factor in making or breaking whether a horror movie is actually scary: the chase.

I love slasher flicks, but seeing a large cast systematically knocked off (like in Friday the 13th) isn't as scary as watching one lone survivor try to escape a truly messed up situation involving a transgendered, mask-of-flesh-wearing, chainsaw-wielding maniac (like in the mother of all horror movies, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre). The chase in The Strangers takes up most of the movie, and most of the movie is very scary. As a matter of fact, I'd say that the movie is entirely scary right up until the chase ends. Then the scary is gone.

So to sum up:

1) Being chased by danger? Scary.
2) Being within an inch of danger and not fully aware of it? Scary.
3) Having been caught and now tied to a chair while someone creates new scar tissue? Not so scary.
4) If you like a good fright in your movie-going, watch The Strangers.
5) Laul Peeland is totally lame.
6) Today's mandate (or bromance, if you prefer) was a success.