Thursday, July 28, 2005
What could be even better news for me than a record-breaking heat wave of a summer? More daylight! As if reading my mind, Congress is set to vote on extending daylight savings time. This move would save energy. More importantly, it would make ME happy. We need more laws like this. Ones with my personal stamp of approval all over them.
Speaking of stamps….the Corvette will appear on a commemorative stamp celebrating Sports Cars of the Fifties. Corvettes got really cool in the sixties, but I’m not complaining. It’s a start. Can’t wait to walk into the post office and have to explain I want them to tear out just the Corvette ones from the big sheet…
No, no, I don’t want a whole book. I just want the Corvettes.
I told you, I’m not paying for the others. No, I don't want the Thunderbird.
Just rip the little Corvettes out until there are twenty…
Yes. I’m serious. Start perforating.
Ok, so that one didn’t end so well. Back to the daylight thing…
Guess who’s whining about the proposed change? The Chicago-based National PTA for one. What a bunch of sissies. Worrying about tykes walking to school in the darkness, boo-hoo. The real Luddites are the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Their whole ‘change your smoke detector batteries’ campaign is centered around Daylight Savings Time. This bunch whimpers that November is too late for the reminder. Oh give me a break! Like does anyone even do that? Don’t most detectors ‘chirp’ when the battery is low? Can’t they restructure their campaign? Oh, let’s not think outside of the burning box.
Did you know car accident fatalities are at their lowest point since 1924? Most likely it means you can’t get enough speed up to kill somebody on our gridlocked roads. But seriously, don’t you think this is a great reason to raise the speed limits? (see ‘Laws that Make Me Happy, above) That way you can rush home and change those smoke detector batteries faster! But wait until the sun comes up so you don’t run over any of those little studious flashlight-toters. Hey, wait a minute… are you connecting the dots here? I am! It’s all a grand conspiracy theory orchestrated by the Battery Producers Lobby to sell more product!! I knew there was a connection!
Poised for World Domination?
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
A 1960s federal law banned the practice. Now, I’m all for level playing fields, but I’m just not getting what the fuss is about.
Supposedly some one at Sony BMG’s Epic label was trying to promote the rock group Audioslave (which, you may recall from my previous posts, is a personal fave) and offered ‘Whatever you can dream up, I can make it happen’. Hmmm. Makes me want to dig out those Audioslave CD inserts and see if I think any of those guys are cute. Think of all the women who waste their time being groupies hoping to get a back stage pass. What idiots. The real power is in owning a chain of radio stations and concert halls.
Sony agreed Monday to pay $10 million in fines and stop bribing radio stations to feature its songs. Now wait a minute. What’s wrong with that? This isn’t the 1950’s any more. I know contestants get the questions in advance. Hate to spoil your fun, but ‘reality TV’ is scripted, ok?
As a semi-intelligent consumer, I do not expect any media outlet to not accept advertisement or not try and force its views upon me. We’re all a little more jaded now. What would be the difference between a station saying it will hire a sales force to sell ads with stupid jingles for carpeting and auto repair shops versus creating a price list for music placement? Want your song played first thing in the morning? $100. Dinnertime? $200. And so on.
What stops Sony from buying their own damn radio station? Playing anything they want? Front list, back list, have the performers act as emcees, what ever. As a consumer I will vote with my ratings. I don’t like what you play, I will turn the knob.
I can certainly see where paying a disc jockey was unethical. The station owner frequently did not know or profit, so it was an under the table form of exposure. ‘Request Calls’ could be generated to create artificial buzz, and girls hired to scream and swoon when the performer walked on stage. The Beatles and Frank Sinatra are examples of performers who employed these methods yet won lasting critical acclaim.
Now anyone has the capability of producing a medium-quality recording with limited funds and can pod cast it if they so desired. Bring it out into the open, I say. Let stations accept payola but have to declare it, just like any other source of income.
Educate the consumer. And let them decide.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Sorry I haven’t written for a few nights. As usual, I have plenty to say, just need about a liter of Diet Lime Coke under my belt to go on a marathon rant session and get it all out.
The recent drought/heat wave here has me smiling. There hasn’t been this many 90 + degree days this far north in a long time. Perhaps never. This Sunday the area recorded 102. Whoo-hoo! All those years of my aiming the Aqua Net aerosol can at the sun and depressing the button has paid off! Global Warming, here we come! Best. Summer. Ever. I’m actually getting to wear those three thousand pairs of shorts and summer tops I have accumulated over the years. I love summer clothes; I just don’t get much of a chance to wear them.
Another attempted murder in my hell-hole of a home town. Think I’ll petition the City Council for a Tour Bus Permit. CSI: Cowtown. Tours daily. Meet at the Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Motorola Drive) at 8 a.m. Sharp. Adults: $5 Seniors: $6 Children: $12.
“And here’s where the police said the transient out-of-towner-with-no-family murder suspect was surrounded by police and decided to end his own life by falling on a small knife. Mighty convenient way to solve a killing, wouldn’t you agree? Over to your left, you’ll see the famed illegal underground disco – directly across the street from City Hall and the Police Station…”
Wonder if I could get the permit? Bet I could bring in more money than Main Street, the Jaycees, the creation of a TIF district or any other local brainchild. Not like I’m giving any of my money to civic causes. They can just take the applicable taxes. Wouldn’t it be a hoot to apply? Have a business plan in place? Dot my I’s, cross my T’s and show up seeking a small business loan from a local bank and livery license from the city?
I’d love to notify the local paper of my plans and have them cover the story as the plan gets shot down. No economic growth is going on in this city, and I’d love to make a fuss about how they DISCOURAGED a local entrepreneur that wanted to promote tourism. Outraged Aldermen would be saying how disgusted they were that someone wanted to portray the town in a negative light, etc., etc. Yeah. Your rah-rah golden boy with the water park really came through, didn’t he? Let’s not forget the imaginary cap on restaurants in town. What was that strange deal that drove one restaurateur out to make way for another? Why couldn’t a second eatery be built? Can’t stand a little competition? Only one corner in town is good for sit-down dining?
I’d need a little depot to meet at before the bus ride, and then you would be brought back there to Exit Through the Gift Shop. There’d be little chief of police bobble heads for sale and calendars with little flip boards that say “X” days with out a shooting.
Thought for the day:
A Developer is someone who wants to build a house
in the woods.An environmentalist is someone who already owns a
house in the woods.
Have you heard Garry Kasparov wants to run for president of Russia?
The former chess star has been trying to garner support despite the black out on his candidacy enforced by the state-run media. This brings up so many intriguing questions: How would a chess grandmaster run a country? In a logical, orderly fashion? Or would he start world war three? Kasparov has always been known for emotional outbursts. Imagine him having a spat with his advisors and invading three Balkan states just because he’s in a foul mood. Bet he could take them in five military maneuvers.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Beckoning me over with a twitch of its 18 inch glossy black tire, I was blinded as if a shaft of light burst forth from the heavens and illuminated its burnt orange exterior. A commanding voice (would James Earl Jones do car commercials?) bellowed: This Is The Car You Are Seeking.
Pulling out my check book and a second-job application for work as a telemarketer, a choir of angels sang Alleluia.
That’s how bad I wanted this car. It wasn’t a car, it was a religious experience. The last time I had one of these little epiphanies, I came home with an old Corvette. Lust is truly the deadliest of all seven sins. Pictures cannot do this machine justice. It must be seen.
5.7L Hemi V8. High polish rally wheels. Metallic orange, with flat black trim. It was huge. A real muscle car. Did I mention the sunroof and the spoiler? Gets a respectable 25 mph on the highway. The way the back doors were seamed was unusual – very artistic. The front end and trunk seemed very snub – the distance between the wheels great, doors large. Not a tiny box sedan by any means. The sticker said something about suede seats – I doubt it was real suede, most likely a man-made material of some sort. I don’t know, I couldn’t sit in it.
You see, the only think that kept this fool from parting with money she doesn’t even have, is the fact that the dealership was closed. At 8 p.m. on a Friday night! How do they expect to sell any cars here? What, one Viper, one Charger, and we’re done for the month! Let’s knock off on the 22nd?
Anyhoo, the sticker price was $33K. Now that sounds like a lot, but after test driving a Mazda 6 ($27K) and Subaru something or other ($31K) this is starting to look like a good value. Heck, the Chrysler Crossfire next to it stickered at $36K!
The sticker also had ‘custom ordered for Name’ on it. I don’t know who the guy was, but if he special ordered a 2006, he may well have paid over sticker for this beauty. (Be the first on your block to be price gouged!) There most likely was a deal where he had to let it sit on the lot for a month to attract other stupid moths like myself into its destructive glow. I’d be having a heart attack if that was my car. It was literally six inches from the highway, and anyone could have hit it pulling into the dealership. It had imaginary day-glo letters above it saying ‘steal me’ as well. I predict this will replace the Buick Grand National as Most Wanted on the Gone in Sixty Seconds crowd’s To Swipe list.
If the car could speak it would say, “If you don’t buy me, your empty meaningless life will have amounted to naught. You will never know what true cool is. You will die alone and unloved in the slow lane, with the Yugos and Hybrids. Might as well buy a mini-van, you loser.” Just what this confused and procrastinating car-buyer needed to hear. From a smart-alec sedan, no less.
Sigh. Better start selling advertising on this site.
Click here to donate to the Underprivileged Car-Lover Fund…
Every night, thousands of first-world country citizens go to sleep not knowing where their
next high-performance sports car will come from.
For only pennies a day you can sponsor a needy auto enthusiast…
Monday, July 18, 2005
After years of tedious training, (Food needs refrigeration. Refrigerated items need covers.) the big payoff came last week. Mr. Right-After-I’m-Done-Eating cleaned up the kitchen and put all leftovers away sealed!!
Joy was brief in Mudville however, as I noted he used aluminum foil to cover the bowl of coleslaw. Do you know how expensive that is? I ranted. Use the cling wrap! Tinfoil is only for items going in the oven.
I retold this story at work and received some surprising reactions. One person thought the way to go was plastic stackable containers, and agreed with my outrage over foil wrap. Another (a gourmet cook, no less) felt I was being way too picky and offered to buy me a roll of Reynolds Wrap the next time they were at the store.
I speculated that the reason Al gravitated towards the aluminum foil was because of its sheen. Perhaps I could use this to my advantage. The next time I have some bad news, I’ll tell him while holding the box of foil.
Honey, I wrecked the car today…
“You what!? What on earth happ...”
Rrrriiiip! (Wave foil in air with exaggerated motion.)
“Oooh. Shiny. You were saying?”
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Went to the Burpee Museum of Natural History to see Jane, the juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex. I’ve been a T-Rex fan since I was four, and I’m pleased to say that I have seen the three most spectacular examples known: Sue (Chicago, IL), Stan (Black Hills, South Dakota), and Jane (Rockford, IL). Apparently you don’t have to actually discover the fossil to have it named after you. Jane was a rich benefactor that gave Burpee the money (despite any misgivings she might have had about their stupid name) to go out to Hell’s Creek, Montana and make this wonderful discovery.
Sue is the most complete T-Rex ever found, and I met the woman who discovered the fossil, Sue Hendrickson. She is most personable and spent hours signing autographs and meeting her fans in Chicago. And yes, I was the only one in line older than nine. So what’s your point?
Anyhoo…no one can sex these specimens for certain, but a theory holds that the female would have greater calcium stores in her thighbones, like modern-day chickens, that would assist in the production of eggs. Age of the dinosaur at death can be determined by counting the rings of their growth in a bone cross-section. Sue died at twenty-eight, and the maximum end of the lifespan is thought to be thirty. Jane was eleven.
There was some debate as to whether Jane was a Tyrannosaurus at all, since she looked quite different from the adult specimens. Supposedly they went through an incredible growth spurt in their teens, reaching maximum size at twenty.
The Burpee museum in general was very disappointing; thank goodness it only cost $5. Without this find, they well may have closed their doors. There’s not much else to excite, and this put them on the map forever. At least the gift shop had a reasonably priced T-Shirt and I was able to get a $15 proclamation that I have indeed been to the museum.
There’s a symposium in September that will gather all the heavy hitters of the T-Rex world for a two-day conference, and the public may attend. For a mere $85. If I really thought I could understand more than 10% of the technical jargon they may be spouting, I would consider it. Lunch included! Cold cuts, whoo-hoo!
What I’m Reading: Secret Life of Bees
What I’m Watching: Daily Show
What I’m Listening to: Kira, Kira
What I’m Recommending: I’m Not the New Me, by Wendy McClure
Stay away from: Homicide Bombers
Friday, July 15, 2005
So let me finish telling you about my vacation, since it’s the only thing worth blogging about in my bleak little existence…
We headed back home on Thursday, and I again drove through the Twin Cities. Not too terribly long after that we stopped for lunch and I let Mr. Right of Way drive. This makes me very nervous. He is a much better driver than me on technical merit, but that doesn’t mean safer, smarter, or more courteous. (I recently criticized him for making a U turn. “It’s not posted ‘No U-Turns’,” he replied. Five seconds later he realized he was Mr. Right the First Time and executed another risky U-Turn, right around a sign that had the big red circle with a slash over the U-Turn symbol. “Now THAT’S an illegal U-Turn,” he exclaimed proudly.)
So we continue on for a little and the next thing you know he’s exiting the interstate. Bathroom break, I figure. No. He’s driving us smack dab down the main drag of the Wisconsin Dells.
P.T. Barnum wishes he could have dreamed up the exploitation of a once-pristine area to this extent. Natural splendor? I think there was some here. Pre-1820. Before the first yahoo with a covered wagon said to himself, “Why, I bet some other idiots would love to see this, and I could charge them! We could cut down those trees for a better view of the river. Why camp? We can cut down all the trees and just put in some motels!”
There are four lanes in some spots, with miles of hotels, water parks, junky souvenir shops, petting zoos, amusement parks and people, people, PEOPLE. You know that commercial where the guy dressed up as an Indian sheds a tear over pollution? That’s exactly how this whole thing makes me feel. Not to mention how real Native Americans must feel! I bet they have a casino up there, I just didn’t notice it right then. That’s the red man’s revenge, you know. Taking the white man’s retirement money. Good for them.
So Al is looking for a tourist trap that sells some supposedly great beef jerky (spoiler: you know the animals that are too old or nippy for the petting zoo?) but can’t find it. He takes me to the Dells at the height of tourist season for beef jerky??? Oh, thanks, I think, rolling my eyes skyward just in time to catch a glimpse of a huge Trojan horse effigy marking the gateway to a roller coaster park.
As we creep along in bumper to bumper traffic, we approach the Tommy Bartlett Water Show complex. I think this guy started off with a pair of water-skis and an out board motor, and now it’s this billion-dollar conglomeration. I suspect it’s the only place for a water skier to ‘go pro’. I’m not impressed.
“Wanna ride the Ducks?” he asks. Is it a heart-stopping dangerous thrill ride? “Um, no. Not at all,” he replies. Good, I could use a break from your driving.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Let me get this straight: you can't get a prescription filled at Walgreen's, but you can get an advance copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince?
Once in a great, great while a story has a happy ending. Click here and here to read more.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
No Emergency Room Visits!
That pretty much sums up the success of our trip to Minnesota. I checked, and it was about 500 miles one-way, but it is a very beautiful stretch of interstate, filled with trees and a few curves, so it was not boring. Didn’t care for the traffic through the Twin Cities (why do people speed up for a tunnel, jockey for position, then pass anyway in the tunnel, all quarter mile of it, which you aren’t supposed to do?) but survived it twice.
Got a hotel room the first night in Saulk Centre so the next morning we went to tour Sinclair Lewis’ boyhood home ($5@, but what else was there to do in town?). Things were going fine until an elderly woman in a gigantic older red Cadillac came thisclose to my Vette at the only stoplight on Main Street. Still not fully over that scare.
It was a nice tour, and then we headed over to the ‘Interpretive Center’ (because that was free, so why not?) and saw more Lewis memorabilia. Lewis was an unusually sensitive child from a tiny Midwestern town that was always teased for being bookish. He could wait to get out of Saulk and promptly put all the town’s hypocrites into a roman a clef he dubbed “Main Street” and won the Nobel Prize for Literature! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! I CAN SO RELATE!!
Of course the citizens of Sauk Centre were outraged and gave Sinclair’s dad a hard time about the whole thing. Sinclair was an alcoholic who couldn’t maintain personal relationships and died alone and forgotten in Rome. But he got his little small-minded town back! Bwha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system. Anyhoo….
Later that day we took a room in Albany, MN. Skated past beautiful ponds and lakes over to Avon (about 14 miles round trip) and back. Noticed many of the business had signs saying something along the lines of ‘No guns allowed’ or ‘this is a gun-free zone’, etc. Makes me wonder what exactly happened before we arrived. I mean, does a Kraft Foods plant have many holdups? Actually, the only person I can imagine uttering the words, “Hand over the Velveeta and no one gets hurt”, is Mr. Right-After-I’m-Done-Blocking-My-Areteries-With-This-Preternatural-Yellow-Chemical-Brick himself.
Relaxed at the hotel (as there’s nothing, I mean nothing to do in Albany-perhaps we should have brought a gun) and went to sleep early. The next morning we skated to Freeport, MN, where they are making a big parking lot and shelter area for the trail. Right now it’s just a muddy pit, but some day it will be nice. Mr. Right After I Get Another Sports Injury was in a lot of pain since his skates are a dozen years old and have never been maintained. He was a trooper and made it back to the hotel (10 miles or so round-trip) but that was it for our skating tour. I really recommend it to anyone who likes to skate or bike.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Saw Mayor Daley ranting about how the city of Chicago was taking all kinds of safety measures and putting mass transit on high alert for terrorist activities. Unless one of the terrorists checked a book out of the Chicago Public Library, we’ll never catch him.
Oh, wait. What if they tried to board the El with a sparkler? Then we’d nab ‘em.
Explosive-sniffing dogs are being used to patrol airports and train stations. Why can’t we get some Bad-Intention sniffing dogs? Dogs can identify cancer. Why not extremism?
Condolence-ezza Rice wrote of Thursday’s bombing victims: “They will not have died in vain.” Whew! I know I’d feel better knowing I died to further her political career.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Here's a quick post to let you know I am in Rollerblading heaven, Sauk Centre, Minnesota! Didn't know you could skate here, eh? Well, rollerblades were invented in Minnesota, I mean the actual company that makes the brand name Rollerblade (which is the only I will buy, I feel they truly are the best). I wonder if I could tour the factory? I'll have to ask around and find out where it is...
The trail is named Lake Woebegon, after Garrison Kellior's creations, and I guess he cut the ribbon or did some inaugural bike ride on it as a dedication a few years back.
Anyhoo, it's not often that you can say a 400 mile drive is worth it, but in this case, it certainly was. Got rained on a little, but never needed to put the top up on the Vette and the scenery is quite beautiful. Staying at a nice hotel (Free High Speed Internet Access) so I thought I'd take the opportunity to post.
Skated from Sauk Centre (home of Sinclair Lewis! Might tour his boyhood house tomorrow) and skated all the way to Melrose. Did about 18 miles round trip, and we're pretty tired. Don't know if we will skate all the way to St. Joseph, but the trail is just incredible. It's a paved railroad bed, and it is in excellent shape and very well-kept. It's not crowded at all, and very scenic. It runs along Interstate 94 so sometimes you can see or hear traffic, but the trail is so level, it's amazing. No scary hills or right angle turns. Might skip that trip to the ER altogether this time!
Saw a garter snake, rabbit, ducks and something that looked like a swan. It was huge and white, but in a wetlands pond. Didn't seem to be a wading bird, but a swan seems out of place in a swampy area, so I'm just not sure. Found a little grocery store in Melrose that let us skate into the deli area and get a slush puppie, so my day was complete.
Need to wash the Vette, there's a little road film on it from the rain, but not too bad. Nice restaurant/banquet facility next door, very friendly staff.
More, if I keep spending the big-bucks for these hotels with public computers!
Monday, July 04, 2005
Who was threatened in O’Conner’s family? Couldn’t she hold on for three more years?
More on this conspiracy theory as it develops. Wait, wait, it’s developing...
Right-Wing Fundamentalist Faction’s Plot to Abolish Abortion #4,234 (for those keeping count)
More as the plot continues to unfold…
* * * * *
We’re Number One! Rise in Chicago Sales Tax – highest in nation! See if I ever shop or rent a hotel room there again. Have to pay for the flowers planted all over Migs Field, eh?
Antidepressants Linked to Suicide – what next? Aspirin found to cause headaches?
Taste of Chicago Shooting Suspect Surrenders – thank goodness he isn’t implicated in selling sparklers to children or anything.
Chances of being attacked by shark 11 million to one – are they considering land locked Midwesterners like myself, or is this counting only those who set foot in an ocean?
Mr. Right-Of-Way is busy planning another driving vacation. I suggested rollerblading the Lake Woebegon Trail in Minnesota and he went to their website. It had a little map and list of attractions, etc. He slowly slid the cursor towards the part that said “Hospitals”. Great. I’ve been reduced to touring emergency rooms of the Midwest for thrills. Oooh! Look honey, we can skate from the Greater Minnesota Urgent Care Center to the St. Cloud Trauma Unit! And if you really wipe out, Mayo Clinic is less than an hour and a half away! So I’m a little clutzy. What’s a major holiday without a few stitches? Maybe I can get a little tag for my skate that has my blood type on it.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Hey, am I the only one rooting for the sharks in Florida? These poor creatures are hunted to extinction - victims of man’s pollution, torture and hate. Why not snack on a few beach goers? Especially ones on boards who from below look exactly like a shark’s natural food of sea turtles and seals.
I’d also like to note that two of the attacks were confirmed as Bull Sharks, a small (6-12 ft.) but incredibly bold and belligerent species that likes to bite everything in the hopes some items are edible. They account for most attacks on humans, but few fatalities. Although they lack the size and glamour of a Great White or Tiger shark, they have been known to swim far upstream in fresh water rivers in search of prey, bumping into people along the way.
I’m rather surprised the 14 year old girl died from her injuries, as usually a shark takes a ‘test bite’ first to determine how tasty the prey is, and they don’t seem to care much for humans. This may be subject to change, as obesity rises world wide. One can’t help but think most humans now taste like whale blubber. Mmmm….Blubber!
Wonder what she was wearing –Yum Yum Yellow? Some years back bright yellow was the ‘in’ color for swimwear. That is, until it was noted that sharks really liked the contrast of bright suit against murky water. Several attacks took a bite out of yellow swimwear sales and gave rise to the nickname Yum Yum.
The loss of Jamie was very sad, and I hope surfing enthusiasts can continue to enjoy their sport, but remember – they were here first. About 300 million years first. And they deserve to live 300 million more – without you splashing around in their living room.
Late Breaking News:
House stained almost two months before predicted completion date!
Stunned wife must now participate in “Vacation Plans”.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Like this business with the windows. He asked me to help him tape off some windows last night. He’s applying the stain with a sprayer, so the windows need to be covered with newspaper. OK. I can handle that. He climbs the ladder, I hand up sheets of newspaper (as I’m done reading them). I learn Spain has sanctioned same sex marriages and there’s this queen in Africa who died of mysterious causes at age 28, and…hey, what’s taking so long? I’ve never seen anyone spend that much time applying masking tape around a window. I hand up a sheet of newsprint, and he positions it just so…90 degree angle to magnetic north, perpendicular to the ground, allowing a slight rise for uneven terrain…ZZZZZZZ.
I’m tired. Bugs are biting me. Bo-rrrring. I see he has four sheets going down the window and three others making up the little gap on the side. I go inside with another roll of tape and leave him to his trigonometry functions. I re-create the 4-3 pattern on the floor, slap a few bits of tape here and there, and carry out a pre-made sheet. Here. I walk back in to repeat the process. By the time I return, he has dismantled my sloppy mass-produced covering and is once again making origami folds and creases of perfection. All the print is facing the same way and in proper page order to boot. Never mind. I’m going back inside. I’m just sorry I didn’t suggest Christmas wrap, he could have put little bows on them for good luck.