30 May 2008

Five Word Movie Review

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:

Gratuitous use of fake cobwebs.

29 May 2008

Pity The Poor Children

I was skimming the articles on CNN.com yesterday and noticed a particularly sad one: A woman who had been in a iron lung for 50 years died because her home lost electricity and her family couldn't keep the iron lung running. Our country can spend billions of dollars and lots of scientists' time and energy sending a remote-controlled soda can to Mars to look at rocks, but we can't keep someone's iron lung running if the power goes out. Awesome (not really).

(Look! Rocks!)

But the article also mentioned that the woman in the iron lung had written a children's book. Which makes me wonder: why is it that everyone thinks they can write children's books? I don't have children nor do I particularly like them, but I do feel sorry for them because an awful lot of people are writing books for them, especially celebrities.

Madonna has written children's books. Think about it. Do you really want your kid reading books written by a 55ish year old woman who still dresses like a two-bit whore and ruined the career of a once-promising British movie director? Is that the model citizen we want to promote to today's youth?

(And Madonna thinks, "I love you, Photoshop!")

Other celebrities who have written children's books: Will Smith, John Travolta ("Hey, Mr. Kotter! I thought you were L. Ron Hubbard, I swear!"), LeAnn Rimes (I'm not sure who she is but she wrote a children's book about a jaguar.... named Jag. How very original.)

Would it be too much to ask to have some decent celebrities write children's book? If I'm going to give my hypothetical child a book written by someone famous, could it at least be someone like Helen Thomas ("So I says to Netanyahu, I says...") or maybe Rob Halford? Seriously, children's books written by Rob Halford would be awesome.

20 May 2008

Starbucks Schmucks

I have decided to hate Starbucks. No, not because they are causing the death of the local coffee shop or because they have bad coffee (I wouldn't know - I don't drink coffee) or because of whatever fair traded-ness issues people have with them. Those are EEEEEEEEHHHHHH HIPPIE reasons for hating Starbucks. And I hate hippies.

I have decided to hate Starbucks for the smugness of their employees. I hate smugness in employees. Except for sommeliers; they've earned the right to be smug.

Dr. Nate and I rarely visit Starbucks although we have several in town. When we do resort to visiting Starbucks is when we are traveling, because they are as ubiquitous as nitrogen. Their ubiquity is not why I hate them either, though. Their ubiquity is driven by good old-fashioned capitalism, of which I'm a fan.

Back to the smugness. I refuse to use the Starbucks language code when I am in one of their establishments. I don't want to order a "piccolo, non-fat whatever-the-heck." I want a small, skim chai. And Dr. Nate would like a large, skim cappuccino. So, stubbornly refusing to play their stupid name game, I never use their language code. But then they get smug with me. They repeat my order back to me using their language with that "you're supposed to call it this, you trifling nit" look on their face.

Which makes me hate them.

14 May 2008

Take Stock of Your Home Arsenal

This is what Dr. Nate and I learned from Personal Defense Television the other day. We learned all about options for our Home Arsenal. Right now our Home Arsenal consists of: two cats who hide when anyone comes to the door, a can of mosquito repellent (expiry date of 2006), a chef's knife, and a half-empty Bic lighter. We also have a pair of candlesticks on the kitchen table, but those come in handy only against Colonel Mustard in the drawing room.

According to Tom Gresham, your host of Personal Defense Television, our Home Arsenal is laughable. Personal Defense Television works under the theory of (I swear I'm not making this up) "any gun is better than no gun." I tend to work under the theory of "no gun is better than any gun someone can take away from me and shoot me with," but that's just me.

Although the focus of your Home Arsenal should be guns - many, many guns - you can also consider knives and TASERs. Incidentally, the TASER shown on the show was pink, presumably because the 'lil woman likes things that are pink. We also learned that a cell phone could be part of your Home Arsenal, but only to call the police AFTER you've killed an intruder with one of your many, many guns.

So this weekend I know I'll be taking stock of my Home Arsenal and purchasing a new bottle of mosquito repellent and a TEC-9.

07 May 2008

R.I.P., Sergio

We had this huge opossum in our neighborhood who used to eat birdseed from under our bird feeder. I named him Sergio.

(Not actually Sergio, but this is what he looked like)

Last night, right in front of our house, someone hit Sergio with their car. And then they drove on. But they came back, found that it was just a mortally wounded opossum, and left again (backing down the road, lest they actually have to drive by the poor thing). Thanks, assholes. You're really great humans to leave a wounded animal in the road to bleed to death.

We, or rather Dr. Nate (I was in the bedroom with the t.v. turned up and my fingers in my ears - I didn't want to go out and see/hear poor Sergio like that), took care of it. Dr. Nate would have taken care of it himself but we simply don't have any implement in our house that would have easily dispatched a very large opossum, and we didn't quite know how to get a very large, mortally wounded, and rather enraged opossum into the car to take to the University's wildlife emergency clinic.

Interestingly enough the city won't do anything about wild animals and they gave us the number of a wild animal removal/trapping service. The nice man came over right away and put poor Sergio out of his misery and took him out of the road. All for only $45! Which I think is a pretty good price.

I saw the car when it came back to see what it had hit, and I'm pretty darn sure it was a silver Impala. And so Dr. Nate and I took a walk around our neighborhood and did find a silver Impala parked about a block away from where we live. Unfortunately, Dr. Nate wouldn't let me sneak into the house's carport to see if there was blood on the front of the car. Something about trespassing and the fact that in jail they take your shoelaces away from you. (Note: I was wearing sandals). I walked by the house again this morning, but the car was already gone.

Either way, there are days I wished I wasn't an atheist so that I could believe in hell. Because I'm sure there's a special place in hell reserved for the sub-humans who leave defenseless animals to die like that.

And, to the person who did leave poor Sergio lying in the road: I would suggest you make a $45 donation to the University of Illinois' Wildlife Clinic. Maybe that would earn you back a karma point or two.

05 May 2008

Why I Love Comcast

Our old cable provider was recently purchased by Comcast, and we were rolled over to their channel lineup on April 30. This is bad news for some things. For instance, our Sundance Channel is now "Sundance Pacific," which means that Shameless airs at 11pm on Sunday nights and not at 8pm.

Thanks to TiVo, we don't have to miss our second favorite program on t.v. (first being, of course, Top Gear). A few channels that we never watched have gone away; some new channels have been added.

Other than the Shameless annoyance, I didn't think this Comcast change really amounted to much. And then....oh, and then! And then Dr. Nate and I were home on Saturday night being a boring married couple. We watched a movie (Brazil - it was okay) and finished it around 9:30 or so. We decided to flip around the channels and came across what may be the single best program in the History Of All Media: Personal Defense Television!

I swear I am not making this up. Comcast added a watch-people-kill-stuff channel to our lineup, and I assumed was just Babe Winkleman and Ted Nugent doing whatever it is they do in forests and/or lakes.

But let me tell you, folks, I assumed INCORRECTLY. The channel also airs Personal Defense Television - a must-see for anyone, like me, who plans to start a militia (okay, well, maybe it's just for me then). Feel free to check out the Personal Defense Television website and watch an episode or two. Here are synopses of recently-aired episodes to pique your interest:
"Vehicle Defense - Criminals attack people in their vehicles. Do you know how to manage your seatbelt, draw safely and effectively and shoot through glass?"

"Using What You Have -- Self defense with a single-shot shotgun? How about a bolt-action rifle? Learn to use anything available..."
And my personal favorite:
"You never know what can happen in a real personal-defense situation. If your shooting hand is disabled, can you shoot, load, unload and resolve malfunctions using only your "weak" hand?"
Note the similarities of everyone on the episode we watched:
  1. One X and one Y chromosome
  2. At least 50 years of age
  3. Caucasian
Don't discount how important information like this is to all the middle-class white guys living in the inner-city ghetto, and battling it out with the Latin Kings.

(Your host of Personal Defense Television - Tom Gresham)

I didn't realize one could buy a hands-free flashlight for nighttime shooting. Much easier and more effective than the "old" method, which, as Dr. Nate and I learned on Personal Defense Television, involved attaching a large O-ring to a small flashlight and hooking it around your finger. You see, the O-ring will keep the light handy as you go to reload your Colt 1911. You just flip the flashlight over the back side of your hand, then grab a new clip, and then...oh well - nevermind. I don't want to give away the ending.

02 May 2008

My Favorite Word

Although I like the words "piteously" and "smote" quite a lot, my favorite word has to be "defenestrate."

I also have an obsession with trying to bring back words and phrases that were once common and now aren't so common (or words that I simply like and think should be used more frequently).

"Look-see," "swell," and "keen" are ones I try to incorporate into my daily language patterns as much as possible. Dr. Nate is not allowed to have a "look" at the TiVo to see why the channels aren't changing properly. He is allowed to have a "look-see" at it, however.

I focus my efforts on the adjective forms of keen and swell, and not the noun and verb forms even though the noun and verb forms of "keen" are also interesting. It's just don't usually have cause to bring up lamentations for the dead in daily conversation.

I've been considering the word "hep" lately; it could be primed for a comeback.