Thursday, February 28, 2008

Desmond, Penny, and Overwhelming Confusion

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I really hate all of the Favorites on "Survivor". Plus, Joel made a huge error in judgment tonight. He could have given the leadership role back to someone else, while still maintaining his influence. This season has some work to do to live up to the last one.
    • Are any of the people on "Celebrity Rehab" going to stay sober after they leave? Doesn't look too good.
    • I can't argue with who went home on "Idol" this week, although Amanda Overmyer was really, really bad. Moment of the night: when Alaina Whitaker was bawling her eyes out, the camera cut over to the guys, where Luke Menard and David Archuleta were laughing a little and Danny Noriega was standing in front of them with his bottom lip literally quivering.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • If you've read this blog at all, you know that one of my big pet issues is civil rights for LGBT Americans. Well, needless to say, I'm more than a bit excited by this, from an ad that appeared in Texas newspapers.
    • I'm miserably behind on college basketball this year. I watched most of Memphis-Tennessee last weekend, but I have some serious catching up to do in two weeks. That would be Championship Week, the best sports week of the year.
  • "Lost" Questions of the Week:
    • Huh, wha' happened??
    • I think we've known that time is weird on the island, but not in this way. Even though the time on the island seems to run slower than off the island, the calendar on the boat seemed to be accurate in terms of how long since the plane crash.
    • If Minkowski was the radio guy until he went nuts and was tied up, why did he recently answer the phone every time Farraday and team called?
    • Widmore, Hanso, the Black Rock -- things may be starting to come together.
    • I have a hunch on who Ben's guy on the boat is. I'm keeping it to myself for now, because I really think I'm right.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Finally, An Idol Recap

While sipping (and working on acquiring the taste for) a very smooth Mackillop's 17-year single cask scotch, we finally caught up on both nights of "Idol" from this week. I say "we" because our guest co-judge tonight is my wife, Elisha. On to the comments.
  • Tuesday night was the guys. As Clarice Starling searches for Paula after the death threat on David Archuleta (check out the 3:55 mark here), here's what we thought:
    • Michael Johns:
      • Elisha: He's cute.
      • Josh: He was amateur and sweaty.
    • Jason Castro:
      • E: He has longer eyelashes than a camel.
      • J: He was pitchy as hell. I think he has extensions.
    • Luke Menard:
      • E: I want to like him, but all I can think of are those weird a capella group moves.
      • J: Elliott Yamin is the only guy who's done justice to Freddie Mercury.
    • Robbie Carrico:
      • E: His voice isn't as bad as I thought and I approve of the removal of the 'do-rag.
      • J: He's a douchebag and he's about as "rock" as Avril Lavigne is.
    • Danny "Sanjaya" Noriega:
      • E: He reminds me of Christian on "Project Runway", but he most definitely is not fierce!
      • J: I hate him, hate him, hate him.
    • David Hernandez:
      • E: I like his voice, but he had some weird facial stuff going on.
      • J: If you're using backup vocals, be on key with them, but this wasn't all that bad.
    • Jason Yeager:
      • E: He's wearing a half-heart locket! He just doesn't really stand out.
      • J: He SUCKS! Nice bangs, tool.
    • Chikezie:
      • E: I like him; he has natural stage presence.
      • J: I'm not fond of goofy smiles during blues songs, but I really like this guy.
    • David Cook:
      • E: I like him, but the instruments may be a distraction.
      • J: He's a little dorky to be a star, but he's a more authentic rocker.
    • David Archuleta:
      • E: Great voice, but I think he's too young.
      • J: The kid is a superstar. He took one of the greatest songs ever and made it fresh and different.
    • We both think that Luke Menard and Jason Yeager are going home.
  • Tonight brought the ladies and a very funny joke where Simon implied that Ryan is a cross-dresser.
    • Carly Smithson:
      • E: I like her, but I just wasn't excited by this one.
      • J: She looks like Steve Perry. I don't like her whole ringer thing.
    • Syesha Mercado:
      • E: I really like her; I think she has the whole package.
      • J: She had serious pitch issues down low, but she's going to go far.
    • Brooke White:
      • E: Good voice, but nothing special. She does really well with those types of songs, but I want to see her doing something different.
      • J: I'm in love. She has a sexy richness to her voice and the Carly Simon was a great song choice (also one of my all-time favorites).
    • Ramiele Malubay:
      • E: Eh, I remember liking her more than I did tonight.
      • J: She's standing too still. This is pretty average for someone with such a good voice.
    • Kristy Lee Cook:
      • E: I'm bored of having to comment on everyone.
      • J: She rubs me the wrong way, like she got on for her looks and no discernible talent.
    • Amanda Overmyer:
      • E: She looks so old; I just don't understand this.
      • J: (Laughing out loud) I hate her, I really think this is the worst non-audition performance ever.
    • Alaina Whitaker:
      • E: (Shaking head) I just don't like it.
      • J: She's got a good country vibe, but it's boring and a little pitchy.
    • Alexandrea Lushington:
      • E: Bad song choice and worse outfit. Hip-hop clothes just don't go with a ballad.
      • J: She doesn't have the voice to hang with the others. I've heard of people not being able to pull off Whitney Houston or Stevie Wonder, but Peter Cetera?
    • Kady Malloy:
      • E: I can't hear her voice and what I can hear doesn't sound good.
      • J: She's lost in the song, she has no edge -- she's awful!
    • Asia'h Epperson:
      • E: She's really struggling with her voice. It's not her best performance.
      • J: Pitch issues early like with Syesha. This is a really bad song choice; she's too spunky for a ballad like this.
    • We both agree that Amanda Overmyer and one of the blondes need to go. She has Kady Malloy, I have Alaina Whitaker.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tim Russert, Evil Megalomaniac

I wish I had watched something other than the debate tonight, but I didn't. Sen. Clinton lost a lot of the goodwill that she built up last Thursday. Anyways, here are some quick thoughts:
  • I'm not going to neuter these remarks by saying I'm biased because it doesn't matter -- Obama flatly trounced Clinton tonight. She looked flustered and angry, he looked presidential. This will be the last debate because she'll have to drop out next Wednesday.
  • Can we just have Keith Olbermann host everything by himself at this point? Maybe they can bring in Howard Fineman and Dana Milbank every so often. I'm sick of Chris Matthews' tendency to grab onto one point and not let go and I'm even more sick of the panelists acting gun-shy because one poll in New Hampshire was off (though not nearly as off as they pretend it was). Look, Obama is going to either win Texas or be close enough in both states that his delegate lead will be insurmountable. It's okay to have a freaking opinion and go out on a limb. That's what you're paid for. Only Pat Buchanan actually seems to understand this.
  • Tim Russert was beyond irresponsible in his hosting duties. He cut off Clinton too much, he misrepresented Obama's answer on public financing, he yelled way too much, and his insistence on reading Farrakhan's anti-Semitic language -- no matter how strongly Obama condemned the language -- was disgusting. Russert tried to make himself the story and that is the worst kind of journalism.
  • Finally, check out the tag line on this poll report. Yikes. (Thanks, Roy)

Monday, February 25, 2008

No Country For Ralph Nader

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • I'm happy about what Oscars were given out. Other than Best Actress (of which performances I had seen only Ellen Page's), I nailed the Screenplay, Acting, Directing, and Best Picture winners. I thought they were all blatantly obvious, having filled out those picks by seeing Tilda Swinton's performance in Michael Clayton on Saturday night. She is very, very good and the movie is edge-of-your-seat fare. I really enjoyed it, though I may have preferred to see Sweeney Todd get nominated in its place.
    • Jon Stewart was not all that good. He had a couple of lines here or there, but he came off as way too sycophantic for the most part. I really missed Chris Rock's edge. I don't expect them to allow that kind of edge, but it would make for one heck of an entertaining show.
    • Here's his joke that I hated the most: "Not all films did as well as Juno obviously. The films that were made about the Iraq war, let's face it, did not do as well. But I'm telling you, if we stay the course and keep these movies in the theatres we can turn this around. I don't care if it takes 100 years. Withdrawing the Iraq movies would only embolden the audience. We cannot let the audience win."
    • I can't say I'm in favor of making jokes comparing movies to the war. Last I checked, more Americans (not to mention the Iraqis) have died in the war than died on 9/11, and you sure as hell wouldn't hear him making a 9/11 joke about a movie.
    • I lived the quintessential "SNL" skit on Saturday morning. We were waiting in line for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and there was this guy who kept singing dumb songs about where everyone came from. He would stick in a few city names and every so often, he'd throw in a line like, "You should talk to black people if you desire to go to heaven." It was really funny for a few minutes, but then got annoying with no endgame in sight. Just like every "SNL" skit!
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Here's a cool take on the "Yes, We Can" video. Just mouse over the pictures.
    • If you haven't seen it yet, Jimmy Kimmel is f***ing Ben Affleck. How did he get Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford to do this, not to mention the tons of other stars?
    • I found this post on Andrew Sullivan's blog rather amusing in a really sad sort of way.
  • Daily Rant:
    • I'm quite disappointed that Tim Russert gave 18 minutes to some crazed old guy on Sunday. Does anyone even know that Nader ran in 2004? He's a total non-factor and giving him mainstream media time just gives him the soapbox to spout his junk. He can run for President all he wants, but let's not pretend that he has any kind of chance at getting 3% of the popular vote. Many of his views are already espoused by Obama. The two main exceptions are single-payer health care and one other small, crazy thing. He discussed Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine. Ralph, it's been over 40 years at this point. I'm pretty sure he'd be for the U.S. taking strategic land positions around its border if we were under attack on a constant basis. Give it a freaking rest. And continuously spelling out "org" in your web address? You sound 74, dude.

Back In The Saddle

Been gone the past few days in NYC. I got home this afternoon in time to watch this week's episode of "The Wire" and then head out to watch the Oscars with friends. I'm happy with the winners (other than Best Actress, I thought all of the big ones were really obvious) but I'm unhappy with Jon Stewart's performance and his Iraq War joke. Anyways, I'll write more tomorrow with a big recap of the weekend and the Oscars.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lost: TV Show and Election

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • "Survivor" -- How did they not vote off Cirie? Everyone could see how full of herself she was getting. That's the problem with the whole Favorites tribe. They think they know so much, they're so arrogant, and it's made them into awful players. How they could possibly be so open about everything is beyond me.
    • "Lost" -- I say it was predictable. More later.
    • The debate -- Clinton really lifted herself up in my eyes at the end there. Of course, part of that is because I felt an "I'm about to concede" tone in there. I'm more convinced that this thing is over than I was at 9:00 this evening.
    • And she was dead right about the Surge. The original goal was to give the Iraqis security and help them to build their government. The administration has re-framed it as a success because violence has diminished, but the lack of a working Iraqi government means it's a failure, just like the rest of the war.
  • Random Thoughts/Links (Cheesy Political Music Video Edition):
  • "Lost" Questions/Thoughts of the Week:
    • Here's what I thought was predictable, and then on to the questions:
      • We have to know Ben has a ton of money by now, or is at least connected to someone who does.
      • At the end of last season, when Kate said to Jack, "He'll be wondering where I am," I always assumed it was a son. It being Sawyer would a) be too obvious and b) not make a ton of sense with what we know about Sawyer.
      • If we're assuming that Kate has a son, it just had to be Aaron. It just seemed to make the most sense, obviously more so when we found out tonight that she wasn't pregnant.
    • Who does Miles work for? Maybe Penny's father?
    • Does Aaron count as #5 of the Six?
    • Where are Richard and the Others?
    • I think the biggest shocker of the night; if the story is that only eight survived the crash, who are the two that died on the island?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wonk If You Love The Truth

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Got home around 10:30 tonight, so still no "Idol". I heard who was good though, so I'll catch it tomorrow, I guess.
    • I did watch the view from the building I was in tonight. It's an 11th floor balcony that looks from a block away at the White House and the Washington Monument beyond it, with the Old Post Office and the Capitol to your left. Breath-taking, and more beautiful in tonight's faux snowstorm. I love D.C.
    • Reading, among other things, "Y: The Last Man" in graphic novel form that I've gotten from the library. It deals with the mysterious deaths of every male human and animal on the planet, except for one loser and his untrained sidekick monkey. Very funny and well-written, by Brian K. Vaughan (who writes for "Lost").
    • Bill O'Reilly needs to be fired. Now. There is no excuse for this type of statement.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Funny one: One of Bawlmer's finest gets bored at the Harbor and decides to take himself a little too seriously. Life imitates art? Can't you see Herc doing this on "The Wire" (when he was still with the force)?
    • Nerdy one: Chris Matthews now famously berated an Obama supporter last night about any legislative accomplishments that the Senator might have and the guy -- and there's no defense for this, though he provides a good recounting -- couldn't answer. So the Clinton campaign (and very soon the McCain campaign) would like you to believe that it's because Obama hasn't actually accomplished anything. Problem is, that's really, really wrong. Witness this long piece from 2006, before Obama announced his candidacy, that discusses the wonk that Howard Wolfson would deny exists.
  • Your List Sucks!:
    • Top 5 Blogs I Read for Politics
      • 5. -- They're a little Clinton-happy for my liking, but they're coming around.
      • 4. Huffington Post -- Very good contributors and a central place for all kinds of news.
      • 3. The Daily Dish -- Conservative Andrew Sullivan is remarkably open-minded and always provides good source material.
      • 2. RCP Blog -- Good digest of articles from around the country with other unbiased opinion pieces. Plus, it's parent site, is the place to go for poll numbers and analysis.
      • 1. DailyKos -- This is the leading progressive site on the web with amazingly in-depth analysis on any number of issues. It doesn't hurt that it's become the leading pro-Obama blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The End Is Nigh

Look, I didn't watch anything tonight except for election coverage and I didn't get to do anything other than work during the day today, so deal with it! And tomorrow is a 13-hour-day, so I'm hoping to catch up on "Idol" by late tomorrow or Thursday.

Some quick links:
  • Hands-down, the moment of the night. The Clinton campaign finds out where they stand in the pecking order.
  • 16 years early, Bill Clinton showed his prophetic ability by endorsing the Obama campaign.
  • Roy brought this video to my attention, apropos to tonight's results. I love 1970s music videos, so here you go.
  • Finally, this has nothing to do with politics. Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic goes close to horizontal to win the 2008 dunk contest. Yeah, he sort of threw it in, but it's still insane.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Howard Wolfson Has Been Traded To Japan

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Finished the miniseries of "The Corner". It becomes more and more moving as it goes on and the last few minutes are interviews with the actual people from the book. Incredibly powerful.
    • Fun fact from yesterday's "Meet The Press": Dick Durban and Chuck Schumer share a house in D.C. Durban makes his bed, Schumer does not.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • This is the greatest practical joke I've seen in a long time. If you're not a Phillies fan, you have to at least like them a little bit now.
    • You know, this LeBron kid is pretty good. Pretty, pretty good.
  • Daily Rant:
    • So Howard Wolfson says that Obama is guilty of plagiarism for using some of Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick's words in his speeches. Here's an article from the Boston Globe where Obama and Patrick talked about sharing language. FROM APRIL 16, 2007!!! So nice job, Clinton campaign. Plus, ouch, MSNBC reports that Hillary has twice used words from Bill Clinton speeches and John Edwards debate responses this year in her speeches without attribution. Hillary & Co. (who may not, in fact, be Ready On Day One with the campaign management skills she's shown), deal with it! Get used to those words -- I have a feeling you'll be hearing them again on March 5 considering how unfavorable the Texas delegate rules are to her.

Vegas Minor

Back from a successful day trip to Atlantic City. You could have called my table "the Aquarium". My instincts were pretty dead on the whole time, changing speeds as needed. I really feel like I'm playing the best poker of my life right now. Otherwise, fun day but relatively uneventful.

Can you believe that Russell Westbrook held O.J. Mayo to 4 points with 8 shots and 10 turnovers? Sick.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ninjas And Afflecks

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • If you still haven't seen "Ninja Warrior" on G4 then you are sorely missing out on great entertainment.
    • Maybe it's the subject matter, but I continue to be amazed at how open and honest everyone is on "Celebrity Rehab".
    • The writers are back and Bill Maher benefited greatly from it. Or his show did, at least. My opinions of his personal ability to be funny have gone down quite a bit.
  • Random Movie Review:
    • Gone, Baby, Gone: This is a crime drama based on a Dennis Lehane book (as Mystic River was) dealing with the disappearance of a 4-year-old girl and the efforts of local private detectives to find her. Amy Ryan ("The Wire") nabbed the only Oscar nod as the somewhat-grieving mother, but Casey Affleck might have deserved one as well. Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman are, well, Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman, and you even get a cameo from the great Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar on "The Wire"). This marks Ben Affleck's major directorial debut (he directed a student film) and he acquits himself well. He mostly uses the same gritty style that Eastwood used on Mystic River, but lacks the discipline of a master like Eastwood. He also, obviously from Boston, uses some shots to show off parts of the city, almost like a love letter, that really add to the importance of the main character's local ties. No Country for Old Men is great and There Will Be Blood is very good, but this kind of gritty crime film is more my cup of tea. I highly recommend it.
    • In fact, my "Movies You Didn't See But Should Of 2007" are Gone, Baby, Gone and The Lookout. You're really missing out if you haven't seen either of these.
  • Daily Rant:
    • We need a Surge at Costco. Baghdad can't be any more chaotic.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I Drink Your Milkshake!

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Tonight was one of the funniest episodes ever of "The Soup". I was drinking water and almost spit it out when he dropped his "The Price Is Hell" line.
    • What a confusing episode of "Monk"... I don't know that I buy that he would do any of those things (shooting aside, of course), much less with any level of non-chalance.
    • Saw There Will Be Blood. Day-Lewis will win the Oscar, obviously. He's beyond brilliant. I compared the movie as a whole to this year's Super Bowl. A fabulous ending makes you forget some of the really, really boring parts in the middle. It's good overall and I caught some of the Jacob and Esau and progress vs. tradition symbolism/themes.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Check out the 3:13 mark of this video. This was the Clip of the Week on "The Soup". Just watch Scarlett's body language -- hilarious.
    • I love Nancy Pelosi. If you love freedom and the Constitution, you should too.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Speaking of...

Friday, February 15, 2008

How I've Begun To Agree With Newt Gingrich, And Other Sad Musings

A questionable and very interesting move on "Survivor: Micronesia". More of the Clemens fall-out. Jane Fonda saying a no-no (REALLY NSFW!!!). But it's Valentine's Day, so I'm going to try to keep it short while digesting some great Melting Pot fare.

  • Mini-Rants:
    • I hope it's relatively apparent that I often overdo things on here. There's a need to spice it up a bit in order to have fun and make it entertaining. Hence, while I joke about separating the Blue states from the Red states, I don't really mean I want to be part of a different country (I do wish we could clean up Mississippi). So I joked a few days ago about being part of the "Elite" and Angie made a comment about whether or not Michigan was my kind of "Elite Blue" state. All of a sudden, this kind of talk has lost much of its humor. Hillary Clinton and strategist Mark Penn have been dead serious lately about why many of the states don't matter or are, in their words, "insignificant." Forget the argument about whether or not a big Obama win in Virginia or Colorado is more significant than one in New York because of its implications for November, this kind of talk is so horribly insulting to the people of Nebraska or Louisiana or Connecticut or Idaho that I can't believe she isn't taking more flak for it. How will she mend those bridges ever? Or maybe this is the real Elite and they just don't care. I defended Clinton politics for years in the '90s and I'm beginning to come around on that.
    • Quick note on the FISA vote in the Senate: The bill would grant telecoms immunity against lawsuits for spying on people without warrants and with no reason. Pretty sure that goes against the 4th Amendment. McCain voted for the immunity, no surprise, along with Dems like Harry Reid and Barbara Mikulski (they should be ashamed). Sen. Obama voted against immunity. But what, pray tell, did Sen. Clinton do? She was campaigning in the DC area, but skipped the vote. I've become so disgusted with her that I can barely even look at pictures of her anymore.
  • "Lost" Questions/Thoughts of the Week:
    • I missed Sayid. I feel like he was barely on last season.
    • If time is weird on the island, how long have they actually been there in real world terms? Think about what looked like ancient remains of a Dharma site in Africa.
    • I'm guessing that Jin and/or Sun make up at least one more of the Oceanic Six.
    • What was up with the bracelet on Ilsa's hand? Is that maybe something given to all of Ben's enemies on the outside?
    • The ending... While not a total surprise by that point, it was still kind of a WTF moment. I feel, and this is not a complaint, like I'm watching an entirely different show than I did last Spring. The fun is going to be in seeing how those two shows tie together.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's America's Turn... To Pick A Mediocre Singer

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • "American Idol" narrowed it down to 24 tonight. I've been a big fan of both Brooke White and David Archuleta all along. I don't love Carly, the Irish chick.
    • I'm super-bummed that Sanjaya-to-be Kyle didn't make it. It probably would have allowed to hijack the show again. Not that I'm against that.
    • This Million-Dollar-Mission crap on "Deal or No Deal" is ruining the hidden intellectual value of the show.
    • Of all of the politicians that showed up on MSNBC's coverage last night, the best, by far, was Adrian Fenty. Dude is a superstar.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Great job by Diane this morning on DC101's Elliott in the Morning. She reported a news story that the KKK has endorsed Obama because they hate Clinton so much. Uh, no. Good fact-checking, class, Snopes being an obscure site and all.
    • Major thanks to Roy for my new favorite YouTube video of the year. Attention voters of Wisconsin and Hawaii, you must watch this song and then vote for Clinton. She is the coolest candidate with the coolest supporters. Who needs Scarlett Johansson when you have these folks? In all seriousness, sort of, notice the one-star rating and, even more important, that comments have been disabled? And doesn't it remind you a bit of this classic 2007 clip?
    • OK, because I'm all about honesty, I choked up a bit yesterday when I looked at the confirmation screen on my voting machine and saw for whom I voted for President and what it meant.
  • Daily Rant:
    • How far will Clemens push these lies? Will he totally destroy his Cooperstown bid? As much as I disapprove of Congress drilling down to this detail for the camera time, I'm also on a big old Elijah Cummings kick right now, so you go, Elijah. Tell that liar what you think and keep repping B-More!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Movement

Don't have much to say tonight, just basking in overwhelming victory and excited about what's to come. So, I'll agree with what Steve wrote and leave it there. I can't wait to see how this Clemens thing plays out.

You WANT me on that wall, you NEED me on that wall

Tomorrow begins the WWE Steel Cage match of Brian McNamee v. Roger Clemens. Two men enter, only one man (if that) will leave with his reputation intact. What once began as a public interest study on steroids in sports has now become a high profile case to determine which man is lying. Although I disagree with Congress playing the middle man on this, I am deeply intrigued with this case. I couldn't figure out why this was so. However, on my trip home from work today (see below), I figured it all out. The only reason why people care about this case is that there are no other well known court cases currently going on. No OJ trial, no Robert Blake, Anna Nicole Smith etc. With the TV strike still ongoing, people need the day-to-day drama that this case provides. This case has so many twists that Hollywood writers could not come up with a script this absurd without being laughed at. This once was a story based only on Brian McNamee's testimony but now has turned up unknown evidence like syringes and it could potentially include the testimony of Roger Clemens' wife. Stay tuned. The story is not even close to over.

When will people learn to drive in the rain? It took my almost 3 hours to get home tonight. I did the first 25 miles in 60 minutes (not so bad) and the last 2 miles in 120 minutes (very bad). I can't stand the *$&#%$*#$^@# , @!#holes who made the decision to close off the entire Springfield mixing bowl. I hate when you can walk faster than you can drive. This traffic would be understandable if there was 6 inches of snow, but the traffic due to rain drives me absolutely bonkers.

The new Mariah song, Tough Steve's Body, debuted this evening. My initial impression is that it is a little uneven but I could see it sticking in my head after hearing it a few dozen times.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Drunk on Kool-Aid

"You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and
they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they... won't take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said
fifty people a day walking in singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement."
-- Arlo Guthrie, "Alice's Restaurant"

Allow me one final day for a while (with the primaries slowing down after tomorrow) to gush about the Junior Senator from Illinois. You see, today I took that final, deadly sip of Kool-Aid and joined 38,000 of my fellow Marylanders in personally attending the Great Rockstar Tour of 2008 and seeing Senator Obama speak live.

Let me dispense with the speech straight away. At this point, I could give most of it by heart. The fact that I saw his Saturday night speech in Richmond and some of his Sunday speech in Alexandria meant that I wasn't blown away by the words themselves because I knew what was coming. He added in some regional stuff like complimenting Camden Yards (this was the speech in Baltimore in front of 13,000 after his morning College Park speech drew 25,000) and there were some funny impromptu lines about "Chi-Town" and "South Side!" Otherwise, standard stump fare. The real experience was the movement.

They had to turn people away in College Park after moving the speech from old Cole Field House to the larger Comcast Center and upon arriving in Baltimore, 30 minutes before the doors opened, the lines wrapped around the building. As would be expected of an Obama rally, the crowd was mostly made of African-Americans (it was Baltimore, after all) and young people, but there were a fair amount of older White people and Latinos. Even though it was below 30 degrees, everyone was in great spirit and excited to be there. We got in, settled, and there were some speeches, most notably from Mayor Sheila Dixon (Juan's aunt). And then we waited. For two-and-a-half hours. We heard "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield more times than Tom Brady got sacked in the Super Bowl. Nobody lost patience though, and when Rep. Elijah Cummings took the stage, screaming, "Fire it up! Fire it up!" the crowd responded with a roar. Cummings spoke briefly and had to stop in the middle of his final line because the crowd got too loud. Finally, as he finished and the now familiar U2 song started, people went apoplectic. Obama walked out, people jumped to their feet, flashbulbs exploded everywhere. The crowd stayed standing throughout his 35-minute speech.

This is why Obama's time is now, why he's going to win the nomination and then the Presidency. He's not just the first legitimate Black candidate, he has struck a chord that nobody has before him. He's creating a fervor among populations that are usually politically inactive or feel disenfranchised. This is indisputable -- a movement has grown around him to the point that the man Barack Obama pales in comparison to the idea, an idea attractive across any aisle. In this generation's darkest time, enough people are looking for hope that they locked on to the man who made this speech. Since I'm taking myself way too seriously here, compare the man growing into the movement to Hot Rod opening the Matrix of Leadership to become Roddimus Prime. There are four left in this thing, but only nine short months 'Till All Are One.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Answer, My Friend...

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Friday's "Real Time with Bill Maher" was the worst I've ever seen. Maher went on some crazy rant about how all prescription medicine is poison and we don't need it. To make matters even worse, Bob Costas said, "whatnot."
    • There are a lot of dismaying things that happen on "The Wire", but not much worse than seeing what Randy's become.
    • Watching Season One of "The Amazing Race" from Netflix. Team Guido has to have been two of the great reality show villains ever.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • An analysis agreeing with my thoughts on Obama's speech last night.
    • Farewell to Roy Scheider, 75, who was in Marathon Man, The French Connection, and of course Jaws. With Robert Shaw long dead, only Dreyfuss remains from that magical threesome.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Can someone explain how high wind can knock out my cable for a while today? First of all, isn't it underground? Second, you can shoot me a picture that looks better than real life, but you can't account for the wind? The Dutch have been using the wind to power stuff for hundreds of years, but Comcast can't withstand it. Can't they build some sort of windmill that will make it so that gusts will upgrade the non-HD channels (especially Comcast SportsNet) from pixels to just plain old grainy?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pounding The Pavement for Change

The wife and I decided to go canvass for Sen. Obama today instead of passively participating in the process. The big surprise was that a photographer for the campaign asked if he could follow us for a bit. Here is the resulting article and slideshow on Obama's website. Notice my MSNBC plug; I did it purposefully, but had no idea it would actually get printed anywhere.

It's tiring but a ton of fun to go door-to-door. When you hear about "grassroots" or "the ground game," you get an appreciation for what that really means. T-minus-3 days until Chesapeake Tuesday and I feel good about the Old Line State.

  • If you weren't one of the ten people who watched the speeches at tonight's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, you missed a doozy. Clinton was good, if subdued, but Obama came out firing. With all of the victories tonight in his pocket by then, he was unusually aggressive and specific. It had some of the language from his Super Tuesday and stump speeches, but it was fiery and attacking. It felt much more like a convention speech than a stump one.
  • Not finished yet, but Huck slaughters McCain in Kansas and is leading (so it will be at least close) in Louisiana and Washington. If they hold, those results will be way more shocking than the Dem side tonight.
Daily Rant:
  • You always hear the question, "If you could have dinner with any one person, who would it be?" That answer for me is now clearly Mike Huckabee. I just love the guy to death. I troll the news channels on primary nights, hoping to see a live interview with him. I think it would be fascinating and entertaining to talk with him one-on-one. He's so open and clear about his opinions that it would lead to a great conversation. The problem, at least politically, is that I think a lot of his positions are absolutely insane, specifically when it comes to amending the Constitution. So I could never vote for the guy, but as inspiring as Obama is, I would much rather be in the company of Huck. It's a bit frustrating, but such is life.

Zoom Zoom, Boom Boom, Neptune

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Mary Carey has come off as one of the heroines (no pun intended) on "Celebrity Rehab". She seems to be one of the people most affected (and hopefully helped long-term) by everything.
    • This is 8 minutes long, but well worth watching. Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert have a gang fight and then the lovable but insane Mike Huckabee chastises them.
    • "The Soup" tonight made fun of some "rural" people from "WifeSwap". I realized while watching it that it's rather elitist for me, from the East Coast, to be watching Joel McHale, in L.A., make fun of someone from the middle of the country. I also realized that I'm very happy being a part of that elitism. Just another reason for Northern Secession.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • Here's Romney's Florida speech where every man behind him looks like a serial killer. Especially the guy directly behind him with the weird smile.
    • Little-known hip-hop fact: Did you know that Pharrell Williams co-wrote "Rumpshaker"?
  • Daily Rant:
    • Leave it to our political system to screw up a perfect opportunity. There's a sitting President who everyone thinks is horrible and the country is excited to vote in someone new like never before. So what happens? One party nominates a candidate that the vocal part of the party seems to hate. They'd rather have a guy who, if he were in the other party, would get torn to shreds for being a flip-flopper. The other party has two candidates who nobody can agree on and they risk losing a generation through back-room dealings and disenfranchisement. It's a great election, but it could end very, very badly for a lot of people.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Feel The Vibrations

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • The Greatest Reality Show Ever premiered its new season tonight. I'm pretty disgusted with what Fairplay did. What a jackass. I did realize a little bit into the episode that I'm rooting hard for the Fans. I got sick of the Faves immediately.
    • Damn confusing episode of "Lost". More on that later in my new Thursday feature.
    • Indeed, sources say that Marlee Matlin will appear on "Dancing With The Stars" this season. I don't watch the show, but the announcement hits close to home (sort of).
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I'm not happy that Duke won at Carolina.
    • A few NBA GMs say that the Shaq-for-Marion trade is a good one. I don't see it. I know Marion was famously unhappy being in the shadow of Nash and Amare, but the Diesel just doesn't seem to be athletic enough anymore to fit into the 7-seconds-or-less offense.
    • This really cool girl at work said that she was driving into one of those ride-in car washes when "Riders On The Storm" came on the radio. This brought up the conversation about if that is the best song to listen to at a car wash. "Car Wash" is an obvious choice, but I think she had a point that that song works better for a do-it-yourself one. After some thought, I think "Yellow Submarine" would also be good.
  • Lost Questions of the Week:
    • Who sent the team after Ben and how are they connected to Oceanic Airlines?
    • Was that a picture of a grown-up Ben off of the island? If not, who escaped from Dharma to bring it to the mainland?
    • I suppose there were other Dharma sites, but why did it seem like the polar bear bones were really old?
    • If we're to assume that Miles was there to talk to Jacob, who besides the obvious knows he exists?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

House Party

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Amazingly brilliant "House" from Tuesday night. What other adjectives can I heap on it? Unerring attention to detail with the Hasidic storyline and as good interpersonal play between House and Wilson as there ever has been. The Sunday one was good; the Tuesday one was one of the best ever.
    • There are some really interesting (in a good way) people that made it through to Hollywood this year.
    • This Persepolis thing looks like art straight out of the editorial page. Can I actually watch that for 90 minutes or whatever?
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I'm mostly staying away tonight, but I have to marvel at over $5 Million in 24 hours. Even Alex Rodriguez can't pull that kind of lettuce.
    • Sorry, Steve. Everyone else, let's watch it just one more time.
  • Daily Rant:
    • To that play... Why is it that shows like "SportsCenter" are as susceptible to the Recency Effect as monkeys are to throwing their poop around? Manning-to-Tyree was most definitely not the greatest play in Super Bowl history. Lynn Swann's catch was way better and the Mike Jones-Kevin Dyson play decided the game. If Tyree's grab had been for the winning score, it would rocket right up to the top. But it wasn't even on 4th down.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Getting Hit Where It Hurts

An unexpected kick-in-the-groin moment came courtesy of my co-worker, Corey. Corey was walking around the office with about four or five empty, dirty tupperware containers. Our exchange was as follows:
Steve: You've got a lot of Tupperware there.
Corey: Yup. Sometimes it accumulates.
Steve: Marissa will do that sometimes. She will bring home two weeks worth of Tupperware at once...usually after we realize that we have none at home.
Corey: It sucks losing Tupperware
Steve: Yeah, I have a whole bunch of mis-matched pieces at home.
Corey: Sometimes I accumulate 18 pieces of Tupperware. I anticipate getting that 19th piece of Tupperware only to realize that it was shamefully lose. It definitely sucks to lose the big piece of Tupperware...The one that was the most special while everyone in America watched me lose it.
Steve (now getting the joke): 18-1...very funny...Eff you Corey. The Raiders have sucked for years.

I didn't see it coming at all.

Super Tuesday -- Jokes and Jokes and Jokes and Jokes

It's 6:30 and I'm settling in for a long night of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. I kind of liked what I did for New Hampshire night, so here is a semi-running diary of the biggest Primary night in American history:

  • I actually would have started at 6, but I left work a little late and to help deal with the horrendous Lower MoCo traffic, I stopped at 7-11 for chips and a Diet Coke. Let's see, was I held up by the fight going on at cash register 1, where a woman had gotten a UPS guy to help her yell at the cashier that another cashier (who obviously wasn't actually there) had just stolen her lottery ticket? Or was it the guys at cash register 2, who were incredibly slow of body and mind, mouth-opened and drooling a bit, who had to get that cashier to check out for them the wrapper of the granola bar they had eaten WHILE IN THE STORE?!? I bet I can find a way to equate that 7-11 with a Huckabee-led America, but who knows?
  • Hey, Huckabee won West Virginia! I'm sure this can't be related to my last comment at all!
  • Roy commented about how Hillary wants to debate once a week after tonight. Two things on that -- I read somewhere that Obama is heavily favored to sweep the upcoming primaries, and Clinton agreed to having one of those debates on Fox News, which smacks of, wait, what's the word, desperation. The Dems had agreed not to feed into Murdoch, but of course they had agreed not to campaign in Florida either.
  • 7:00 -- Let the games begin! Polls closed in Georgia at 7 sharp. MSNBC projected Obama 30 seconds later. Exit polls show him with 43% of the White vote and 49% of White people age 40-59. Tremendous, unexpected numbers for him and maybe a harbinger for later on.
  • 7:42 -- All this talk about McCain working with Huckabee to hurt Romney in exchange for the VP spot doesn't quite strike me right. If McCain stands for bipartisanship and bringing Democrats and Independents over, I can't see how Huckabee as running mate would help with that, no matter how much he'd help in the South.
  • 8:05 -- David Shuster may have the most animated mouth in cable news. He's like a human Clutch Cargo. When the sound is a little off, like it just was, it's disconcerting.
  • 8:11 -- Romney wins his home state. Upon hearing that the Mittster was the favorite of Massachusetts, Justin Tuck sacked him.
  • 8:22 -- I think if Dubya and Tom Ridge had a lovechild, physically that lovechild would resemble Mel Martinez (R-FL).
  • 8:29 -- Arkansas polls close in one minute, but let me be the first person in the nation to officially project them for Clinton and Huckabee. Remember, you heard it here first. Well, except this probably won't be posted until like 1AM.
  • 8:40 -- They're saying that Huckabee and McCain are pounding on Romney from both sides. He shall henceforth be known as "Fingercuffs".
  • 8:51 -- Bailey, Official Dog of Random Babbles, came out tonight as a Ron Paul supporter. Unfortunately for him (and Dr. Paul), the only thing he'll ever be able to vote for is Abigail for MVP of "Puppy Bowl IV".
  • 9:27 -- Not a whole lot happening. The speeches will be the real humor. There was an apparently drunk cameraman filming GW (and Kappa Kappa Psi - Alpha Kappa chapter) alum Chuck Todd.
  • 9:42 -- No call still in Arizona for the GOP. A lot of Mormons there which helps Romney. Judging by Fingercuffs and his campaign, are Mormons the best-looking religion? No wonder so many women flock to them. And by "them" I mean one guy at a time. Okay, maybe not so much anymore, but I do like "Big Love" so there you go.
  • 9:52 -- There is an ad campaign that calls for any children under 4'9" to be in a car seat. Where does that leave little people? Tell me you don't at least snicker at that image.
  • 10:01 -- Utah to Romney. How much would you pay not to have to go to that victory party in Salt Lake City?
  • 10:09 -- Huckabee says, "The widow's might is more powerful than all the armor in the world." Look, I'm not a Christian, so maybe I'm not in on the joke, but that can't possibly be anything but a symbol for Tom Cruise to try to steal something from Langley, can it?
  • 10:11 -- Anyone who wants a government agency to be disbanded understands that it would take away a lot of people's jobs, right? It's okay to root for higher unemployment at any time, especially in this economy.
  • 10:14 -- Huck makes a ton of college football analogies that I barely get and follows it with a boxing one. He's one hockey reference away from locking up the Versus channel vote, and I do mean "vote."
  • 10:33 -- Here's Fingercuffs and his weirdly-hanging shoulders. As opposed to a Giuliani staffer, it must be nice to work for Romney because you know you're getting paid no matter how bad it gets.
  • 10:35 -- Romney slips and thanks people for "how many doors you've knocked up." Somewhere, a pregnant Jim Morrison shakes his head sadly.
  • 10:38 -- I have to say, I couldn't vote for Mitt Romney because I'm too afraid that he'd let Roman Grant run the nation. Regardless, you know the difference between Romney and Obama (at least one of the many)? His tag line is the awkward "They Haven't!" while Obama's is "Yes, We Can!" Which do you prefer?
  • 10:42 -- Huck takes Georgia. No call on Arizona still. What is going on with the GOP?
  • 10:51 -- Clinton takes the stage, leaving McCain and Obama to speak last tonight. Not that she'd want to follow him, but I don't feel like letting Obama be the last voice heard is a great strategic move. Of course, she'll make the 11:00 news in the East.
  • 11:02 -- Just a blah speech with a lot of reading. I felt like the speech wasn't horribly inspiring or emotional.
  • 11:38 -- And here comes the worst public speaker in the race finally. He stares at the teleprompter like there's a naked picture of Mae West on it.
  • 11:41 -- Every time he tries to laugh, he gets like two chuckles into it and then loses steam and looks like he'll quickly lose his smile if he doesn't get back to action. You think any other part of his ancient body might be like that?
  • 11:44 -- Sen. Obama starts before McCain is finished. CNN and MSNBC dropped Mac like the plague.
  • 12:05 -- A bit on the long side, but a stirring speech, as always. You just can't compare his ability to inspire and flat-out speak to anyone else's.
  • 12:11 -- At this point, no matter that Clinton actually has now actually won CA, this has been a HUGE night for Obama. He's stolen Connecticut and Minnesota, at least kept it very close in Missouri, and should win most of the delegates of the day. We'll see what the spin says, but he has at the very least pulled himself equal with her. On the red side, Romney is nearing his end, but Huckabee has jumped back into the race. So, with Alaska still to come tonight, the battle comes to my home next Tuesday. With Super-Duper-Tsunami Tuesday past, the votes will keep counting. This continues to be the greatest election of my lifetime.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Why People Google Family Guy Instead Of Politics

Okay, so I have to admit -- I included a horribly failed experiment in yesterday's post. Here's the background. I can see how people have gotten to this page if they clicked on a link to get here. Sometimes it's from my Facebook profile or someone's RSS reader. Generally, it's from some Google search. Steve's "Golden Girls" post drew a good number of people who Googled the lyrics to the theme song. There a decent number of people who have Googled about "Lost". My favorite has been the people who got here by searching, "Take a seat, Zach's dad!" Honestly. So awesome.

So, the experiment. My last bullet point was the following: "If I had the chance to vote on Tuesday in the California Primary, I would not be able to vote for Hillary Clinton after her lies regarding her support of the War in Iraq." I wanted to see if I could get anyone who Googles something like, "Clinton California Iraq." But did I? Nope. Instead, there was only one referral from a Google search and that was for "Shipoopi."

A few Super Tuesday-related links:
  • The American Spectator writes about why Republicans should fear Obama politically. Plus they use "schadenfreude", one of my favorite words.
  • If Pat Buchanan and The American Conservative hate McCain, he can't be that bad. Enemy of my enemy, and so on.
  • Finally, if you've been under a log for the last day or two, here is the video for Obama. I actually think it's kind of overrated, but it does co-star very hot Jewess Scarlett Johansson.

Some Sunday/Weekend Bits

Just a few final thoughts from a restful weekend:
  • Boring first 45 minutes; great fourth quarter. That play is going to be shown for many years to come. By the end, I would have been pretty much just as happy if the Pats had pulled it out. I just wanted an entertaining game.
  • Has anyone gone from first-round bust to super-duper-star faster than Eli Manning?
  • Good thing the game was intriguing because this was THE worst batch of commercials ever. Yes, even worse than the year after Janet.
  • If you didn't log any time with Animal Planet today, you missed "Puppy Bowl IV". Fun, mindless background TV with some actual comedy when the fake ref had to come out to clean up dog waste, of both kinds.
  • By the way, I think my favorite part of any Super Bowl is the beginning of halftime, when the fake crowd runs out onto the field to get near the stage. I don't know why, but it amuses the hell out of me.
  • I do have to get one other thing off my chest about the commercials. There was one about a dalmatian and a Clydesdale training or something and they used the Rocky music. Someone at the party shouted, "Drago!" The problem is that Stallone didn't actually use Bill Conti's music from the other films for Rocky IV because of a contract dispute. I didn't say anything at the party, but it was bugging me, particularly when "Burning Heart" by Survivor, the training song for that movie, came on the radio on the way home.
  • I think I'm more looking forwards to the Big Game on Tuesday in 22 states than I was to the one today. Watched "Meet The Press" this morning (is it weird to say that I really liked Mike Murphy's tie?), along with "Real Time with Bill Maher.
  • If I had the chance to vote on Tuesday in the California Primary, I would not be able to vote for Hillary Clinton after her lies regarding her support of the War in Iraq.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why, Kal Penn, Why???

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned reading one of the best books I've ever read. That book is The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. It helped illuminate my own religious and spiritual questions to an amazing extent. I've been meaning to write more and I will at some point. Just haven't been struck by the right muse yet, I suppose.
    • I saw The Baxter this morning. Written by, directed by, and starring Michael Showalter ("The State", "Stella", "Wet Hot American Summer), the movie deals with the travails of the nice, boring guy. Michelle Williams does well as the love interest and there are also good turns from the always-underrated Elizabeth Banks and the great Peter Dinklage. You'll also find the usual cast of characters from any "State"-related movie like Paul Rudd, Michael Ian Black, and David Wain. The Baxter has the same sense of humor, if not quite as wacky, and is a nice romantic comedy with better-than-average laughs.
    • I also watched a large portion of Epic Movie, which premiered tonight on HBO. When asked why, I compared it to watching History Channel earlier on the destruction of the human race. I just want to know why: why anyone would make it, why anyone would see it. It remains a mystery; I didn't so much as crack a smile the whole time. Well, that is until I turned to HBO Spanish and watched it dubbed. I pretty much laughed straight through at that. Maybe they showed it in Spanish in the theaters? Or maybe a lot of people really are that dumb. I'll let you figure that one out. I already know the answer.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • On the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship telecast, one dog was noted as going into schools to help kids learn to read. Huh? It makes more sense if you imagine that the dog is an enforcer. "I'ma read! I'ma learn to read!"
    • The more I think about people who let their compadres make racial implications and who try to rationalize (and, yeah, lie a little) about why it was okay to go into Iraq in the first place, the more I wonder if this will be the first Presidential election in which I do not vote for the Democrat. This is really troubling, but dead serious.
  • Daily Rant:
    • Technology is a great equalizer. It allows disadvantaged companies and countries to significantly improve their production. It helps children learn faster than ever before. It lets me play tennis in my living room. But when CGI becomes so accessible that it allows spoof movies like Epic Movie to get made? Maybe we could slow the price curve a tiny bit.

Poop, Bigotry, And Reality -- Just Another Friday

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • The last couple of episodes of "Monk" have been pretty good. I thought last week's (with the bank vault) was one of the best ever.
    • Daniel Baldwin is a tool and all, but this texting scandal was quite unexpected.
    • Bought the new Stephen King book today.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • I refuse to get my hopes up, no matter how the polling trends are going.
    • Here is the latest funniest video you may not have seen. The moral: don't look up!
    • All that's left of my cold is a bad cough, but that made it hard to watch "Monk" and "The Soup" tonight. Every time I laughed out loud, it hurt, which was quite often.
    • I believe if you play this video backwards, Dick Morris actually says, "I'm a despicable person."
  • Your List Sucks!:
    • Top 5 Reality Shows
      • 5. "The Biggest Loser" -- It is reasonably compelling. Cheesy at times, sure, but it's watchable.
      • 4. "The Amazing Race" -- There's a decent amount of drama and it is great to see all of the different places they go and cultures they experience. It's just lacking some oomph for me for some reason.
      • 3. "American Idol" -- If the finalists this year are as bad as last year, this will move down the list. However, Simon and Seacrest are still funny enough to make the auditions worthwhile. Here's hoping that they don't gloss over Hollywood Week like they did last time.
      • 2. "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" -- If you're still not watching this, you're missing out more than you know. It's actually replaced "Idol" as the third-most-talked-about show at the office (behind "Lost" and "Heroes"). I did a whole post on it, but that won't stop me from saying a million more times how much I love this show.
      • 1. "Survivor" -- Season premiere this Thursday. Don't sleep. The first and still greatest of the reality game shows.