Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hey! Hey Buddy! Hot enough for ya?

Hey pal, you don't know me, but I gotta ask ya a question. And that question is as follows: hot enough for ya? Whadda ya say there? Is it hot enough for ya? I just wanna know. I'm askin. Hey! Can you hear me? If you can hear me, then why aren't you answering? I don't understand why you can't seem to hear me. I'm sittin right here. WHAT I'M TRYIN TO ASK YOU IS, IS IT HOT ENOUGH FOR YA.

Where ya goin? Aww, don't make me run after ya. Okay, fine, I'm running. Ya happy now, buddy? Cantcha see I'm sweatin like a pig? Why does it make ya happy for people to have to run after ya when all they wanna do is just ask ya if it's hot enough for ya?

So...whadda ya say? Is it hot enough for ya? Hot one, eh? That's a given. I KNOW it's hot enough for ME. What I want to know is, is it hot enough for YOU?

Washington Post
story link

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My new neighbor is this huge road

So the new Intercounty Connector highway officially broke ground today. This is a monster issue in Washington, D.C.'s Maryland suburbs. For literally half a century, people have been going back and forth on it. But unless the opposition groups decide to sue, it's going forward and will be all set by 2010.

With all this in mind, I checked out the Post article on the thing today. Absently, I clicked on a link to a map of the highway route. As I looked, my eyes widened, and my coffee mug clattered to the floor like I was Chazz Palmintieri in "The Usual Suspects."

The highway starts like a mile from my house. Wait....WHAT???

A mile! One freakin' mile! Er, is my house going to be okay? Someone answer me! PLEASE! What will become of the house? The nice green quiet neighborhood? I think this could go one of two ways: it will make my neighborhood more desirable due to its proximity to said highway, or the construction and subsequent road will absolutely mar the peacefulness of the neighborhood, which is easily its biggest draw (aside from, arguably, proximity to existing and forthcoming major transportation hubs).

But which one....which...will it the thing here.


Washington Post
story link

Washington Post
link to route map - can you see me waving?

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Memorial Day weekend erased some of my brain files

I must wait while I repopulate...rebooting...rebooting...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Say it ain't so, Timmy!

Former Redskins running back Timmy Smith - the guy who still holds the record for most rushing yards in a Super Bowls - got federal prison time today.

I've got nothing to add. I'll just sit and stew quietly as another boyhood hero goes to pot. Good day to you.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bob Dylan - Just Like A Woman

The times, they are a-busy for Bob Dylan. Er, what? Who wrote that? Sorry.

He's presumably hard at work on the second book in his Chronicles autobiography series, just started DJing a new show (which is getting great reviews) on XM Radio, just celebrated his 65th birthday, and a new biopic of his life will start filming this summer. Rumor has it that the young Bob Dylan will be played by - Toby Maguire? Leonardo Dicaprio? Jake Gyllenhall? Nope.

Cate Blanchett.


No, it's true. If you don't believe me, follow the hyperlinks.

The movie, reportedly titled "I'm Not There," also is set to star Heath "If I hear one more Brokeback joke, I'm going to start setting fires" Ledger, Michelle Williams, Christian Bale, Julianne Moore, and Richard Gere. Quite a cast. And hey, as long as it's better than "Masked and Anonymous," (the movie Dylan co-wrote and co-starred in a couple years ago) I'll be happy. And that's setting the bar pretty low. That movie SUUUUUUCKED!


UK Guardian blog story:
Cate Blanchett to play Bob Dylan in movie (I stole their headline)

More on
the Bob Dylan movie

Slate story on
the Theme Time Radio Hour

Billboard story on Dylan's
65th birthday

Rotten Tomatoes page of
Masked and Anonymous reviews

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I'm just saying: If I was a pedophile, and a racist...

It must be redneck week here at No One Appreciates Me. But it ain't about hate. Being part redneck myself, I not only tolerate, I celebrate. First, there was my story on The Wreckers' new album - a true country effort through and through. Second was that misunderstood piece of equipment - the whiskey still - finally getting its due in mainstream America for the marvel that it is.

And now, here's a story about Candice Hardwick, a South Carolina girl protesting her high school's ban on confederate clothing. She wants to celebrate something heritage something something. Now take a look at this girl.

She's just 15 years old...leave her alone...they saaaaid....

I'm not saying anything. I'm just saying. Just expressing solidarity with her protest. But seriously. If people want to wear confederate clothing - or Nazi memorabilia, for that matter - then I'm all for it. Not only is it protected under the first amendment, but it also helps me to figure out who is and isn't a jerk without me having to actually, you know, talk to them. It's like a public service.

Aaaaand, give me pensive, Candice

Yes, yessss, I like it. In a big-brotherly sort of way.

Washington Post story link

(Photo credits: Top - Mary Ann Chastain/AP; Bottom - CBS)

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Screw you, Chad Ford

I was checking out this thing on where you can fill out your own NBA mock draft. Sounds cool, right? So I click on the link, and where does it lead me? To Chad Ford's Top 100 Prospects, or Chad Ford's Team-By-Team Need Breakdown, or Chad Ford's Breakfast-to-Assist Ratio Calculator. Chad Ford this, and Chad Ford that. His receding hairline and goofy grin mocked me from the computer screen. But all these mountains of data could be mine if I joined ESPN Insider. Have your credit card ready.

As Ralph says in "A Christmas Story:" "A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!"

Well, I'm not giving in. It seems like every day, moves more and more stuff over to Insider, to the point where very little is free. And hey, I understand that poor little ESPN has to make a buck. But I'm not buying in. Screw you, ESPN and Chad Ford, with your little hoity-toity NBA insider info in your little ivory tower. I'm never going to read your crap, as long as I have to pay. NEVER! That's what the blogosphere is for. But you wouldn't understand that. Jerks.


ESPN Insider ad masquerading as fun mock draft

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New Hyperlinks section to harness the astounding power of the Internet

From this point forward, please note that I will now be experimenting with including hyperlinks in html - the language of cyberspace - at the end of every blog post, rather than embedding them in the text. I feel this will be a much more efficient way of bringing the World Wide Web to your doorstep. Catch the wave, and go surfing. For it is truly the wave of the future. Thank you for your consideration.

Hyperlinks of interest:
The Internet

American Idol: Taylor's got that mess on LOCK!

Last night's American Idol went pretty much true to form. Taylor dressed funny and endeared himself to everybody, Katherine sang pretty, and in the end, it was Taylor who emerged. The difference maker was those original songs - you know those awful, awful original songs that sound like they were written by robots? Katherine sang hers well enough, but had this look on her face the whole time like "I know this song sucks, but I didn't pick it or write it, and I'm making the best of it, so please don't hold it against me." And on the other hand, Taylor took his song - which was just as sucky - and ran with it. She's the better singer, he's the better performer. Edge goes to performer.

"I knew I should have cut this dress lower"

I was definitely
pulling for McPhee, but Taylor just has that certain something. During the obligatory flashbacks to the two finalists' very first try-outs, when they asked Taylor (as they ask everyone) why he wanted to be the next American Idol, he said "because I want my voice to be heard."

Simon asked him, "Why?"

And Taylor goes "Cuz I got one."


Is it bad that I really like this show? I don't mind admitting it. I know it's just a glorified karaoke contest, and it's not "real music," and they don't write their own songs or play their own instruments, and so forth. But still. What's the harm? When a guy like Taylor Hicks can rise to the top, and make us all believe again? Aaand, tear down the face, aaaaand cue Daniel Powter, aaaand fade to credits.

Hyperlinks of interest:

Washington Post
American Idol wrap

Jessica Alba weighs in!!!!!!!

Person who wrote
McPhee's awful song

Basic info on
Taylor's awful song

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(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

White lightning for the greased lightning

Rednecks and technology. Being part redneck myself, I understand only too well that those are two good tastes that go great together. So it only stands to reason that this is the next big wave in alternative energy. The moonshine still. I mean, ethanol maker. But note to all you rednecks out there: you have to add poison so people can't drink the product! Promise you'll do it. Cross your heart!

There she is - ain't she a beauty? I call her Nandine.

In all seriousness, though, this new ethanol still - brought to you by the good people at Dogwood Energy - looks kind of cool. All I have to do is buy the $1,400 still, get a bunch of fermented starch crops like apples and corn and sugar cane (and honestly, what was I gonna do with all that sugar cane anyway?), distill it in the still for two days so it becomes two gallons of grain alcohol, then add the poison that makes it non-potable, then mix it with my gasoline. If I add 15 percent ethanol to my $3-a-gallon gasoline, I'll save 60 cents per gallon! Can you believe it? MANNA FROM HEAVEN!

Oh, and you have to get a federal permit first in order to do this. But I'm sure that's no bother.

What was I saying? Ah, yes. I'm sure people will add the poison to make it undrinkable. Why would they not add in that step? I feel like this is really the best way to combat our little gasoline/emissions problem. I would totally have already bought one and put it into use, but I don't have a car. So you buy one, and let me know how it turns out. I'll be eagerly awaiting your response.

Houston Chronicle story link

(Photo Credit: Dogwood Energy)

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Who authorized a Michelle Branch side project?

In a bold stroke of content provider repositioning, former chanteuse of pensive teen pop Michelle Branch (30% more thoughtful than Britney, 10% less pensive than Avril) has partnered up with some hot model chick to form The Wreckers, a country-rock duo with a message. Think the Dixie Chicks meet Faith Hill meets Michelle Branch meets Faith Hill meets Ashlee Simpson meets the Dixie Chicks.

These ladies have been beaten down by the world. And
they've got some downhome yarns to spin about it.

This is all just awesome. Michelle Branch singing those poppy ballads is so 1999 it makes me want to take a shower. So I'm glad she listened to the recording executives who wanted her to team with her "best friend" for this awesome new brand. Do your thing, girlfriend! Inside sources say these two "best friends" met for, like, two whole hours before entering the recording studio. And as they threw Chee-tos at the two fat girls who were laying down the actual album vocals, their chemistry as performers really jelled.

Uncle Billy taught the girls to drive in this truck. "Uncle Billy"
here meaning "image consultants," and "drive in this truck"
here meaning "pose on the truck provocatively yet tastefully
in accordance with focus group research."

The Wreckers' debut album, available in Wal-Mart stores May 23 (Ohmygodthat'stoday!), tells gritty tales of heartbreak, being misunderstood, and being judged on one's appearance - three of the biggest problems facing today's hot, rich 19-year-olds. Or, at least, their demographically calibrated potential consumer base. And at the end of those blue-collar workdays as cocktail waitresses or overworked single moms or whatever real-life experience inspired these gritty new songs, isn't that what it's all about? Consumer bases?

So do yourself a favor, and support this latest repositioning effort. It's always a special moment in someone's career. I couldn't let it pass unnoticed.

(Photo Credit: The Wreckers)

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I expect a call any time now...

USA Today reports that politicians are looking for some bloggers to assist in their campaigns. I think my proven track record of sports complaining, and general sarcastery has me in prime position for one of these openings. By putting my special stamp on your campaign, it will become more than just a campaign. I promise the first-ever Campaign of Pain! Here's a sampling of what could lay in store for you:

Dear constituents and voters,

Did you see American Idol last night? Is that Taylor Hicks a retard or what? And what about that Katherine McPhee, huh? She is one nifty number! And what the fuck is the deal with huge tumors. What's the fascination?


I await your response.

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If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is awake to see it...

It's official. After last night's Game 7 doubleheader, which saw Dallas upset defending champion San Antonio in an overtime slugfest, and the Suns, led by league MVP Steve Nash, derail the upstart Clippers in yet another barnburner, I have decided that it royally sucks that these freaking games are on so damn late on the East Coast that I have no chance of staying awake past the first freaking quarter!

I understand that there has to be some kind of time lag, but still. These games have lasted into the wee hours, with Game 5 of Suns-Clippers
ending well past 2 a.m.. Hey, I know I'm a sucker, but I've gotta work tomorrow. And it sucks that I've been missing all the games, only to wake up next morning to the ubiquitous talk, talk, and more talk about how These Playoffs Are Reviving The League. I wouldn't know. So if these really are keying a revival, maybe you want to make the games just a liiiittle bit earlier for all us East Coasters. AKA, like half the country's population. Thanks a bunch.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

I've a good feeling about this LeBron James person

So I watched Game 7 yesterday, in which the Pistons outmatched and out-teamed the cavalier Cavaliers, and I must say, that that LeBron James kid that Cleveland has? That young kid? I think he might become a special talent in this league. You heard it here first. Mark it down.

Everyone compares him to Jordan, but I don't think their games are similar at all, outside of both simply having a ton of talent. Where Jordan was the ultimate Ferrari, LeBron is like a Hummer. Or, more appropriately, he's like an NFL player who's tall and fast enough to be in the NBA. He just runs right through you. Or past you. There was one play yesterday that reminded me a lot of Culpepper-to-Moss those years they were both with the Vikings. Cavs got a fast break, LeBron beat everyone down the court, the Cavs player with the ball simply lobbed it toward the rim, completely confident that James would run under it, rise up and throw it down. And he did.

But in the end, the Pistons as a whole were too much. But remember me saying this - that LeBron James kid could be destined for big things.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Phew - the Nats are just incredibly, putridly bad

So the Nationals got blanked by the Cubs last night. The same Cubs who are playing without their best hitter and two best pitchers right now. The Nats got one hit - one, a measly single - from their best (and most disgruntled) player, Alfonso Soriano. And when Tony Armas, Jr. is your best pitcher, you are what they call, in baseball parlance, fucked.

"Is that Gatorade bucket big enough for me to drown in?"

With all the drama, injuries, and just general crappiness, the Nats have hit a new low. Like, a special low. It's hard to be this bad. Hey, I've suffered through plenty of lean times with the Bullets/Wizards and the Skins over the years. But I'm not sure if I've ever been associated with a sports team that was just plain, out-and-out terrible like this. Who's worse in baseball? The Marlins? They sold all their guys last year! They were supposed to be terrible. Here's hoping they turn it around. If for no other reason than I've got two Nats on my roto team.

Washington Post story link

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You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with Will

There are some people and things whose very existence just makes me feel better. The dry martini. Juan Dixon. The ACLU. McSorley's. The free change sorter at Chevy Chase Bank. Julia's Empanadas. George Saunders.

Another one of my favorite things is the brilliant, thoughtful, and objective (for all intents and purposes) commentaries of George Will. In today's column, Will takes social conservatives to task for presuming to be more "morally awake" than others, and blames the media for going along for the ride. Specifically, he attacks the phrase "values voters," a slogan invented by conservatives to describe themselves and the "sacred bond" they have with politics by virtue of their views on abortion, gay people, The Children, etc. He then calls it irresponsible, as it "subtracts from social comity by suggesting that one group has cornered the market on moral seriousness." He then goes on to note that only one Republican Senator voted against funding a huge, largely useless bridge in Alaska in favor of spending the money instead on Hurricane Katrina relief. Check, values voters. Check, and mate.

This "values voter" thing, and other things like it, is one of many, many factors that have essentially made it impossible to hold a civil political dialog in this country anymore. Kudos to George Will for calling this bluff. When this guy gets his dander up, ain't nobody safe, son. NOBODY!

Washington Post
story link

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

American Idol - where everyone's a winner!

Last night's American Idol was pretty good, actually. All three contestants showed up and brought it. Elliott Yamin continued to prove that not only do dwarves, elves, and other magical creatures still exist...they're breeding! And Elliott is so brave to have stepped out onstage to share their magical song with us. Unfortunately, I don't see Elliott lasting past this week. But he proved once and for all that deformed dwarven half-breeds have a place in this world. No matter what you say. And for that, Elliott Yamin, I salute you.

Nextly, everyone loved Katherine McPhee's version of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" with Randy and Simon both saying it was the best vocal of the season. But I didn't buy it. Hey, I love me some McPhee, but it felt a little fakey to me. She was trying too hard to be beguiling. Or something.

But the highlight of the show - and the apple of America's eye - is clearly Taylor Hicks. He truly serves as the hero (well, second biggest hero) to us all, and particularly to the legions of special needs fans rooting on one of their own.

You look great, Taylor. Yay!
Did you pick that outfit out all by yourself?

I was bursting with pride as Taylor Hicks tore through his set. The highlight was undoubtedly Joe Cocker's classic "You are so beautiful." And it was true. You are SO beautiful, Taylor. To me. Your spirit. It soars. I kept waiting for him to pour water on himself as he sang, but unfortunately, it was not to be.

Taylor Hicks does a great Joe Cocker

Either way, if things go according to trends, Taylor will be the first white guy and first disabled person to win American Idol. And even if you don't pull it out, Taylor, you're still a winner. To me.

Washington Post
story link

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Michael Kennedy: dude, remember when I talked to you about killing people on Myspace?

Sad news today that the second police officer shot last week in Fairfax County by local-crazy-kid-who-played-too-many-video-games Michael Kennedy has died. Kennedy - whose house contained dozens of rifles, handguns, and other weapons - jacked a van, drove it to a police station, and fired 70 rounds on the officers. This only a couple of weeks after escaping a mental hospital, and apparently only minutes after telling some buds that he "needed an exorcism".

Of course, like every other person in the world under the age of 30 (including myself), Kennedy had
a Myspace page (it has since been deleted). I took a long look at it last week, and what grabbed me was how ordinary it was relative to so many other Myspace profiles. Myspace is a virtual slop trough of teen angst. So many kids on there meet to commiserate about the world and how they want everyone to die, and how they hurt and get hurt and so forth. There's this mind-numbing sameness to it all.

There was a sameness to the messages on his profile as well. No one directly expressed much grief for the officers -- or him, for that matter. It was mostly messages like "I hear the voices, too, man" or "Way to go down in a blaze of glory, bro!" or "remember when we always talked about doing something like this when we worked at Starbucks? I can't believe you actually did it." Had I not known, it may have been impossible to tell that he wasn't simply a guy who recently moved to a new town, or gotten punished for telling off a teacher.

I think this emotional numbness and lack of receptiveness to others on Myspace and other online communities (and thus, among the millions of young people in everyday life for whom these kinds of things are a primary social outlet) is a product of two things. One, it's because every profile loosely follows the same physical template of design and basic "about me" categories of information, thus limiting the ways in which one can communicate and express oneself, thus establishing a kind of conformity among the members. This might exacerbate the very feelings that person was joining this online community to alleviate.

Second, the distance between people and the fact that these are not direct encounters take away from the emotional vesting. Myspace is set up in such a way that not only do people never directly "see" each other, but there's no direct dialog either, no "hi, how are you doing...I'm fine," etc. You can leave comments, but can't have a back-and-forth Internet engagement. The result is that people begin to simply use other people and their opinions as platforms on which to build and distribute their own messages and opinions. So there's no need to pay attention to others - you just leave your own two cents and move on. In the post-rampage comments on Kennedy's page, there was no comprehension -- not even appreciation, but basic, simple comprehension -- that something very serious had happened in real life. It didn't seem real to them. It was just another opportunity to get on a soapbox.

So basically, young people feel alienated and isolated, they join online communities like Myspace, which offer them a standardized means of expressing themselves and having impersonal communications, but in the end, it only makes them feel more isolated and alienated from others and, eventually, from humanity itself. Their attempt to become an individual and make meaningful connections is curtailed by the standardized and ultimately very impersonal nature of the online community, so it's self-defeating.

Does any of this make sense? Sorry for rambling - I'm just trying to work this all out.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A very special guest blog featuring Bill Walton

Throw it DOWN, big man, throw it DOWN! Yes, indeed, fellow hoopheads, now is the most special time of the year, as we hurtle ever closer to that climax of the basketball calendar, that contraction of ecstasy that is the NBA Finals! And as these fierce and valiant warriors square off in a battle literally to the very death, we see that some are more valiant than others, and those who once were mighty now crash to the earth around us like hailstones!

Take last night's
monstrous victory by the Cleveland Cavaliers, which proves once and for all that, despite all the hype, the Detroit Pistons are unequivocally the worst team remaining in these playoffs! They say a wicked man has all the chance of reaching heaven as stepping through the eye of a needle. And similarly, the beautifully talented but wicked Rasheed Wallace, after making another of his patented GuaranSheeds of victory for which he is renowned the world over, only to be silenced after converting only three of 13 jump shot opportunities, has all the chances of reaching the Finals as the sinner does of skirting St. Peter!

These Pistons have been absolutely manhandled by the manchild, Marv! One LeBron James, now bulldozing his way through all comers and into world history! Did I predict that these Cavaliers would be the sleeper of these playoffs? Of coooourse I did! His game is truly staggering to behold, and I will say here, boldly, that we are all witnesses to his glory. That is the first time anyone has ever used that phrase for LeBron James. We are all witnesses.

As for GuaranSheed, he can only drink bitter tears of defeat, and wonder where it all went wrong. You are long and lean and gifted, Mr. Wallace, but this year, due to your audacity OFF the court, your glory ON the court...will have to wait.

So until next time, this is Bill Walton reminding you to THROW IT DOWN, young man! Throw it DOOWWWWWNNNN!!!!

Washington Post story link

Akron Beacon-Journal story link

My personal home page

(Photo Credit: CNN/

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Immigration - have you heard anything about this?

So Bush is addressing the nation tonight on his plan for immigration. I, for one, feel that this is a most unwelcome change from his semi-annual updates on the many hearts and minds we are winning so methodically in the Middle East. What I really want to know, however, is when did immigration, like, become this big deal or whatever?

Seriously, though. One year ago, who cared about immigration? What changed between then and now? It's almost like Bush had a nightmare about his daughters marrying Mexicans and woke up in a cold sweat proclaiming to himself that he was going to seal up the borders. Although I think maybe it's time to do something on the issue, it really sprang up out of nowhere.

And of course, the president decides it is best to simply
throw soldiers at the problem. And that's great. I really see no downside to that plan. Maybe when the entire African continent dies of AIDS, we can just repopulate those nations with soldiers? Maybe when the polar ice caps melt from global warming, we replace the ice with a bunch of soldiers on pontoons. The polar bears can walk around on the soldiers, and then eat them. It's like a two-for-one deal.

Washington Post presidential address story link

Washington Post
National guard story link

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Movie review: Poseidon - Throw it Back!

After seeing ads for Poseidon, opening today in theaters everywhere, the easy knock is that it's a Titanic retread. Just swap out the iceberg for a rogue wave, and bada bing, you’ve got yourself another $100 million.

However, what’s not mentioned in the ads is the fact that the film is actually a remake of the 1972 Oscar Winner The Poseidon Adventure, starring Gene Hackman. So it can’t really be that much of a “Titanic” rip-off, right?

Well, yes and no. Just because the original movie predates “Titanic” doesn’t mean the remake can’t take a page or 50 from the biggest movie of all time. And in any case, the actual sinking of the actual Titanic happened in 1912, so that event, which is clearly the antecedent for both, predates more or less every motion picture ever made. So I’m not sure what my point is here.

I guess it’s just that “Poseidon” is not exclusively ripping off “Titanic.” Inasmuch as it feels like a hastily thrown together Summer Blockbuster vehicle with a budget of approximately 20 gillion dollars, it doesn’t bother to come up with any original idea of any kind. Just bring on the CGI adventures, please. In other words, “Poseidon” has basically the same problems that every other Summer Blockbuster has. It’s all just derivative flotsam and jetsam, floating around like so many high-priced but tacky trinkets after a shipwreck. Or something like that.

Do I need to summarize the plot? Ship wrecks, people die, survivors fight for survival. I would give a rundown of “Poseidon”’s core characters, but I don’t want to bore you. They are all what I would generously refer to as Hollywood Cinematic Archetypes. You know – the depressed jilted lover, the aging lion and the sexy daughter he no longer understands, the daughter’s ne’er-do-well boyfriend, the hysterical mother and her high-pitched son, the ship employee with only two days until retirement (look at this photo – that’s the boat he’s going to own someday!), and of course, the tragic hero with the shadowy past and the tortured glint in his eye, angry at the world for what they done to him, and quietly yearning for a chance – just one chance – to set things right again.

I made a lot of that up. But you get the picture. And if I’d described the real characters in “Poseidon,” there wouldn’t be much to tell. You don’t even know whether you like them because they don’t seem real. They’re just sacks of potatoes that the director moves around his movie sets as a backdrop for the computer graphics (which, aside from the awesome crash sequence, aren’t even that good for a movie like this). They don’t even seem to have a discernible plan besides Escape. They just jump from expensive movie set to expensive movie set, splashing around in beautiful crystal-blue water and plotting out nonsensical exit strategies. One of the things that made “Titanic” kind of enjoyable was the fact that you believed those characters were freezing, dying, terrified, and utterly in the middle of nowhere, racing against time inside the creepy creaking hulk of a dying ship ready to drop at any moment below a thousand feet of icy water. With “Poseidon,” you never believe they’ve left that expensive movie set.

I guess the actors (including Kurt Russell, a totally wasted Richard Dreyfuss, and a very good turn by Jimmy Bennett as little boy Conor) were game. They just didn’t have much to work with. And if Hollywood is rooting so hard for Josh Lucas (“Glory Road,” “Stealth”) to take over for the aging Cruises and Willises and Hankses of the world and be the next big leading man, then maybe they should find a better leading role for him. The jury’s still out on that guy in a big way.

I suppose I didn’t really hate this film, but there was nothing to like either. It simply didn’t give me an opportunity to like it. Usually with these types of films, critics say “great special effects, but the story was lacking.” But not even that is true here. If you really want to check out a maritime thriller this summer, do what your instincts were probably already telling you to do anyway and check out “The Poseidon Adventure” or just re-watch “Titanic.”

Washington Post review link (which I completely disagree with)

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tracking phone records: It's just good government!

News came today that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone call records of ordinary Americans since just after 9/11. And I, for one, embrace this new policy. In fact, I say we take it even further.

Go ahead, Dick and George. Smoke us out of our holes!

I want an unidentified federal agent living in my house and tracking my every move. I don't want the name of this person or the reason for their stay. As long as they follow me around and record every coming, going, meal, phone call, e-mail, shower, kiss, television viewing, bodily function, letter opening, fight, chore, and pecadillo that occurs -- and as long as it is in the name of an unspecified national security interest -- then I am game and excited to be part of the team. And hey, if the guy could talk down to me every once in a while, well, that's just gravy. Hua!

Mr. President, forget all of these pansy naysayers. The sooner you start poking through my cabinets and up my ass for terrorists, the happier THIS happy patriot is going to be. Thank you, good night, and may God bless these ever increasingly impressive UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Washington Post
story link

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Yes! Yes! Just when I'm afraid the American people have hit moral and intellectual rock bottom, we rise up! Good-bye, Chris Daughtry! Peace! Good luck being the lead singer for Fuel, or at least with your career on the professional staring contest circuit.

Now, all we need to do as a people is address the war, global warming, immigration, Medicare and Social Security going broke, rampant government spending with little responsiveness to the public's wishes, abortion, race relations, the maldistribution of wealth, and the TV Guide Channel's John Henson, and we'll be all set. Personally, I am encouraged. Yesterday signaled a new beginning. It's a start. Excuse me...I have something in my eye.

story link

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chris Daughtry - the fix is in

I enjoyed all of last night's American Idol episode, except some of the singing. And oh yes, that small matter of the fact that I hate Chris Daughtry.

This one's for all you Chris-aholics out there! I love
you people! Rock on! Look for my profile in this month's
issue of Oprah magazine!

He couldn't be any more arrogant, and his rocker gimmick is completely fake. If this was 1999, he'd be doing a boy band routine. But unfortunately, the fix is in. The judges all want him to win, including lovestruck Paula, who was wasted again after a harrowing week of sobriety. You can tell Simon wants Chris to win, because during his comments, he speaks to him "man-to-man," even when the comments are negative. In other words, he gives Chris respect, as he mocks the others.

Since it was Elvis night, Daughtry sang "Suspicious Minds," one of my least favorite songs EVER. It was fake, contrived, and boring. The judges loved it. Then, as Chris waxed poetic on his millions of fans, he fixes the camera with that trademark stare and says "oh by the way, to answer everyone's's boxer briefs." Indeed.

Meanwhile, Taylor and Elliott were singing their asses off, and no one seemed to care. But to me, they're both winners. Overcoming mental handicaps is never a laughing matter. My girl Katherine McPhee was simply at a disadvantage. She couldn't be any less suited to Elvis impersonations.

But whatever. At this point, I kind of hope Daughtry wins. That way, he won't be able to go off and be the lead singer of Fuel - no, seriously. He'll have to release crappy solo albums, slowly killing his rocker soul. What a choad. Anyone who can't see right through him is stupid. Sorry, but it's true.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Next on ABC: Satan delivers State Of Hell Address

Last night, expert takes-himself-too-seriously guy David Blaine tried and failed to set the world breath-holding-underwater record, while ESPN's takes-himself-waaay-too-seriously anchor Stuart Scott narrated.

And I just have one question: when, exactly, did I die and get sent to the Inferno, and what, exactly, did I do to get here? It was that dig on Chris Burke, wasn't it? I knew I shouldn't have made merry at the expense of the handicapped. And now, I am paying for it.

Yo. Dog. Blaine be on a mission, son. Believe that.

As Blaine struggled to escape from the life-sized snow globe in which he had floated all week, he lost his breath and had to be lifted from the tank. Of course, all of his distress was disturbingly captured live by ABC cameras as Stu Scott said things like "Yo, holla at this...astronauts experience the same feelings David is feeling right now. Heavy." Of course there is no water in space. But who's counting?

Blaine's poor condition was not a huge surprise, as reports hinted at his worsening state - a state which, of course, didn't prevent him from doing interviews.

And it didn't stop him this time either. Looking weary but satisfied, like he'd just saved the world rather than failing to escape a snow globe, he said "I am humbled." It was akin to a man holding up wads of cash and saying "I am poor."

I can't wait to see what Blaine's next trick will be. Maybe him and Stu Scott can lock themselves in a room. And that's it.

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Quick-hit music reviews: Ghostface, Flaming Lips, Drive-By Truckers

I must admit - I tend to fall behind the times with modern music. I have no home computer, and no money, so that's a deadly combination right there. However, this past weekend, I was able to journey to a Tower Records location (maybe you've heard of them - mom and pop operation, owned by Bill and Jean Tower?) to purchase not one, not two, but THREE brand new CDs. After a few careful listens, here are the quick-hit impressions of someone who really doesn't know much about music.

Flaming Lips,
At War With the Mystics: You know when you listen to a song on an album, and its place on said album feels totally out of place? Know what I mean, man? That's how I felt about the record's first track "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song." It felt like the perfect final song for a spectacular record, but as it is, it's a good first song on a mediocre record. There's just too much white noise and studio crap, and I'm past the age where I'm buying records to impress people (including myself) with sonic gymnastics. If my head doesn't nod with some consistency, it's probably never going in my stereo with any regularity. That said, it's not terrible. I mean, hey, it's the Flaming Lips. Maybe my expectations are too high. C

Drive-By Truckers,
A Blessing And A Curse: One of my favorite albums of the last couple years was "The Dirty South." This album just feels like "The Dirty South Lite." The edge isn't there. They break out the crunchy blues guitars and the gravely vocals and put the rest on autopilot. At no point did I think "man, this is a good song." Decent, yes. Good, no. I'll probably never play it again unless someone specifically requests it. C-

Ghostface Killah,
Fishscale: Yes! Yes! Now THIS is a good record! Who would have figured eight years ago that Ghostface would be the one to emerge as the true star of the Wu-Tang Clan? Everyone figured it would be Method Man, or if not, then surely RZA would become a mega-producer-star (like Kanye or Pharrell). Ghostface always got props, but was never really in that conversation. But now, it's clear who the star was, and is. Fishscale is great, top to bottom. The beats are soft but menacing, cutting-edge yet nostalgic, and Ghostface's free-associative but still somehow very lyrical lyrics are almost brilliant. They are the lightning to the beats' thunder. Together it's all just a quiet storm, baby. A

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Don't you hate it when you're so busy at work that you can barely update your blog?

Some people are so selfish! Jerks. I mean, I've got things to do here! You can shove your "pressing deadlines" up your ass! Sir.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

You dare call Katherine Harris' character into question? I challenge you to duel, sir!

Shocking - SHOCKING - news today that U.S. Representative Katherine Harris, the Florida Republican who fairly and impartially oversaw the 2000 presidential election recount in that state, is being accused of some shady dealings in her new life as a Congresswoman. They accuse her of granting favors to certain well-heeled acquaintances.

I only have one thing to say...where are these no-good rapscallions who besmirch her good name, and how would they prefer to die in the duel to which I am about to challenge them via this blog post? ANSWER ME!!!!!

How dare you impugn this lovely woman?
You have much explanin to do, sir!

After further reading, I see that it is local non-profit
Common Cause who leveled these accusations. Luckily, I know just where your offices are located, Common Cause. I will be arriving presently!

Prepare, I say, prepare for satisfaction!

Washington Post story link

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Katherine McPhee: Getting warmer...

Last night's American Idol brought more of the same...Elliott pretended to be black...Chris pretended to have a soul...Taylor proved yet again why he is THE most charismatic mentally handicapped person since Chris Burke.

Only three things stood out for me...First, Paris Bennett trying to update herself by covering Prince and Mary J. Blige. The Mary was okay, but no dice on the Prince - only Prince can pull off Prince. Anyway, I'm tired of her constant simpering. I think she's the next to go.

Second, Paula Abdul seemed sober. So that's a HUGE relief.

But third, and most important, is the transformation of Katherine McPhee. She was a Plain Jane at first, but the apple-cheeked Californian has really blossomed lately. Maybe she was initially overshadowed by this year's unprecedented hottie crop, but I don't think so. Need proof? Here you go:


A little makeup goes a long way sometimes...

Emerging from the cocoon last week, into...

Full-fledged hotness! I believe I may have a touch of the "McPheever"...

Washington Post story link

(Photo credits: Fox, Katherine McPhee Fans, TVGasm)

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Legislative action items: tax credits for sand, horse blinders

What if I told you this could be you...for absolutely no cost??

While GOP lawmakers back off a proposal to give everyone who buys gas a $100 check, Congress still hopes to press ahead with some kind of action to combat high gas prices, including a Democratic plan to have no gas tax for 60 days.

And I, for one, think it's a great line of logic. Let's give out free money to people in a way that makes them feel better without actually solving the problem, or -- GASP -- admitting that the solution may require sacrifices. After all, we're rolling in money, right?

So I now propose the following solutions to world problems:

1) Full rebates for all sand box and horse blinder purchases

2) Every alcoholic gets $100 in "booze stamps"

3) Air conditioner credits for all those affected by global warming

4) Meal vouchers for lawmakers, so lobbyists can't buy them dinner anymore

5) Free picture menus for all school lunch programs

So there you have it. I think we're really on to something here. So let's implement these programs, and you let me know how they pan out. I've got a sandpile to buy.

Washington Post story link

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Washington Post search engine couldn't find elephant in a thimble

I typed in "Metro" and didn't get ANY stories on the first page that directly dealt with the Metro transit system of the same name. Isn't that, you know, kind of a big topic?

I then typed in
"Metro Chimes" and got some story about Dolly Parton and the Tennessee tourism industry. Ah, that makes sense. Wait....what?

You gotta rework that junk, The Washington Post. You know I love you, but your search engine SUUUUUUUCKS.

Monday, May 01, 2006

NFL Draft: Skins OK, Titans kick butt, Dallas sucks, Lions already in toilet

Here's a little draft report. And I guess this is as good a time as any to assess the Redskins offseason as well.

The Skins didn't have any really high draft picks, but that's okay - they didn't have a lot of glaring needs either, especially after signing Antwaan Randle El, Brandon Lloyd, and Adam Archuleta earlier this offseason. None of this stopped them, of course, from giving away next year's second-round pick to move up like two spots in this draft to get
Rocky McIntosh, outside linebacker, The U. Hope that's worth it. In the rest of their picks, they went mostly with defenders. I would have loved to see them go after lots of O-lineman. But that just wouldn't have been very splashy, now, would it?

I thought the Titans had a great draft, getting Vince Young (who I think will be good in the NFL, but maybe not necessarily as strictly a QB) and LenDale White, who I think is going to be a Terry Allen type in the league for a lot of years, haters be damned. I am also upset that the Cowgirls got
Bobby Carpenter, an Ohio State linebacker who played alongside A.J. Hawk and bears a strong resemblance to Norse thunder god Thor. I hate it when the 'Girls draft a player that I like. I'm just now getting over Dat Nguyen being a 'Girl, and now this. Ah, screw it.

Also, just as another aside, I believe it is now official that the Detroit Lions are the most poorly run franchise in professional sports, falling behind the resurgent Los Angeles Clippers, Cincinnati Bengals, and YOUR Montreal/Washington Expos/Nationals. They
passed up Matt Leinart for linebacker Ernie Sims, a name that just screams "10-year journeyman." And this is a team that has drafted a wide receiver in the first round of the last 29 drafts. They suck. They suck. The Lions suck!

Matt Millen is the worst GM in sports right now. He figured he would pass up Heisman winner Leinart for linebacker Ernie Sims and go to war next year with offensive coordinator Mike Martz helming an offense quarterbacked by either Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky, Josh McCown, or Shaun King. Just keep reading that sentence over and over again until you start laughing. It'll happen, trust me.

As for the Skins, I'll give 'em a C in the draft, and B+ for the entire offseason. It's gonna be another rugged year, but color me cautiously optimistic at this point. Go Skins!

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