Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Resolutions

It's the time of year when everyone starts to think about making resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. I don't really get into the New Years celebration of counting down and banging pots and pans but I do like making resolutions.

Last week my son asked if I was going to make any resolutions again this year. I told him I was and he said something to the effect that there is an entire galaxy of empty and unfulfilled resolutions I have set in my life. Thanks for noticing bud. At least I'm not alone. Every year I set goals and I usually accomplish very few of them. Despite the poor track record I won't stop trying. Just like Paul Newman in the boxing scene of Cool Hand Luke I will keep getting up after each blow even when everyone is telling me to stay down.

My goals for 2009 are:
1-Run a marathon in under 4 hours
2-Get 100 Followers on my blog
3-Graduate from College (19 years after enrolling)
4-Grow something besides squash in my garden
5-Be able to dunk a basketball in a game again
6-Pass legislation requiring identical twins to have the same name
7-Make some kind of low budget short film (I've been threatening to do this for over 20 years)
8-Dig myself out of the Hiroshima debt crater I'm in
9-Teach my family to perform the Duel of the Fates song from Phantom Menace
10-Become part of the Fed so I can print all the money I want without any consequences

These might seem lofty or unreal to some people but I just might accomplish one or two of them in the next 365 days. Now that I've laid out my plans I hope you are inspired and will set some goals for yourself for 2009. So tonight when you hear that lame song about forgetting your acquaintances remember to make some resolutions. Come on, it's cool and every one's doing it!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Years ago I was vacationing in Italy. The group I was with attended several dinners that featured background music performed by live musicians. During the meal they would come around the tables and play the violin and serenade you and basically sit on your lap and make faces until you tipped them. It added some ambiance to the meal but it was obnoxious.

I haven't always been a big fan of tipping. I guess I'm just cheap. I actually don't mind tipping when someone provides good service but I hate being expected to tip at some fast food places where they have a tip jar at the register or at a buffet where you serve yourself and an employee occasionally comes by your table and asks if everything tastes good.

When I go out to eat with a large group of friends the waiter usually informs us that the restaurant will automatically add a 15% gratuity for the entire group. I think the servers get shortchanged when this happens since most groups I've been with would usually tip better than that as long as the service is decent. Years ago I went out to eat with a large group of extended family members. The server that helped us took orders for nearly 20 people in our group and never wrote one thing down. She got all the orders right from memory and we were amazed with her service. She obviously got a good tip.

My son recently got a job playing the piano in an upscale restaurant. He plays background music and is paid exclusively by tips. He has learned that some people are more generous than others. One guy called him at home and requested that he learn his girl friend's favorite song since he was going to propose to her at the restaurant and wanted to have that song performed during his proposal . My son learned the piece and performed it during this special moment and everything seemed to go well until the couple finished their meal then walked out of the restaurant and didn't even tip him. I guess I'm not the cheapest tipper after all.

I feel bad for servers, hair dressers, and other hard working people who rely on tips as part of their compensation for the service they render. I'm sure many of them could tell horror stories about the tight wads they've encountered over the years. I think one of the biggest tipping offenses is when people don't tip bloggers. Many people don't realize you are supposed to or even know how. Experts recommend that is customary to comment and give feedback on the posts, refer friends, check out their other blogs, and of course actually tipping them with cash is always appreciated.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Role Models

About 15 years ago I was reading a leadership book by John Maxwell and he mentioned the account of of a young man who worked his way up from nothing to become one of the great success stories of our day. The man was OJ Simpson. The book was obviously published before OJ got into trouble with the law. I really used to like OJ prior to his widely publicized criminal activity. Over the years I've seen many role models and examples fall from grace and as a result I've been more hesitant to look up to people as examples for fear of being let down.

In our society few people look up to people like mother Teresa and Gandhi but instead they idolize Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and other celebrities. I know it's easy to bash celebrities who's scandalous lives are regularly featured in the news but I'd rather not do that now. Today in the holiday spirit I'd like to give some props to some positive examples who have inspired me over the years.

One of the coolest stories I have seen involves Dick and Rick Hoyt. Rick has cerebral palsy and he and his father have competed as a team in hundreds of marathons and triathlons over the years. No only do they participate in these events, but they compete with impressive times. They are amazing. If you haven't seen them before I have included a video link here.

After thinking about it I've realized there are actually many people who's examples we can emulate. They don't have to be famous to be a role model. They are often friends, neighbors and family members. At this time of year I am especially grateful for the the ultimate example of how to live. This role model is free of scandal and is the perfect example. We can follow him without fear of being let down. Thank you Jesus. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Requests Anyone?

I have recently attempted to increase the quality and quantity of posts on my blogs. It can be hard work coming up with a topic. Sometimes I feel like Bob and Doug McKenzie of The Great White North trying to come up with the topic of the day. I'm sure many of my posts sound as eloquent as theirs too eh?

So I have an idea how I can give back to my vast group of blog followers. I'd like to return the favor to all 6 of you and let you request what topics you'd like me to address. Please use the comment section aka "my tip jar" to list any topic you'd enjoy having me write about.

I am also open to any general suggestions you may have about my blog unless they entail me hitting the "delete this blog" button on my settings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rip Off Car Repairs

A few weeks ago I heard one of Jerry Seinfeld's jokes that I really related to. He mentioned how when his car breaks down it is customary to pop the hood and try to pinpoint the problem. He then said unless there is a giant on/off switch under the hood that just happens to be in the off position then he is screwed. That totally describes me.

I have never been much of a mechanic. I even struggled maintaining my own bike as a kid. When I go to Pep Boys or Auto Zone I usually buy things like air fresheners, sponges, and glass cleaner. I see other men lugging in oily car parts and talking in code language to the guys behind the counter. I know they are just putting on a show because they have a low self esteem and are intimidated by me.

I can actually name several parts of my car that are found under the hood. I can locate the battery, air filter, windshield wiper fluid reservoir (my favorite part), the radiator, and that big metal thing that burns you if you touch it. Aside from these parts the rest is just a bunch of confusion. I cold probably make repairs to the space shuttle as easily as I could my own car. Fortunately my repairs have been kept to a minimum recently unlike other times when everything seems to break simultaneously.

I used to hate it when I had to take my car to a mechanic because I never knew if they were taking advantage of me. You've probably seen the equivalent of "To Catch A Predator" that dateline does on car repair scams. A mechanic can tell within a few seconds of conversation if you understand cars or not. It's kind of like how a dog can sense if you are scared of it. It reminds me of the scene in Vacation when Clark Griswold's car breaks down near the Grand Canyon and he goes to the local gas station. When he asks how much the repairs will cost the red neck mechanic just smiles and says "How much you got?" I hate the vulnerable feeling of not having the automotive knowledge needed to know if you are being ripped off.

Several years ago I learned that the husband of a coworker was a mechanic. At times he would come to our house to work on ailing vehicles. I tried to use those moments to teach my boys about being a man. I would point out the tires and windshield wipers to them as he worked on the car so they would think I was in on the repairs. Over the years he has fixed my cars many times and does great work for much less than other mechanics but the best part is that I can trust him. He gives me the old broken parts after making repairs and actually shows me what he did. One of my little boy's called him "Car Fix" and the name sort of stuck.

Having a good mechanic is as important as a good lawyer or family doctor and I happen to think that Car Fix is the Thomas Moore of the car repair industry.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Facial Hair 101

Facial hair is a gift. Some guys look good with it and others don't. I'm one of those who don't and that's why I only dabble with beard growing once a year around Christmas time. The problem with being clean shaven all the time is that when you do start to grow some scruff everyone makes a big deal out of it. To avoid the attention and questions I just tell people I'm growing it so I can audition for the role of Tevye in Fiddler on The Roof.

I have categorized and given a brief summary and examples of the 11 most common facial hair styles. For your viewing pleasure I have even included some visual aids which was no small task considering how difficult it is to import more than one picture into blogger.

1) The Original Moustache-This look was more popular in the 70's and 80's and was glorified by Tom Selleck. Today it is mostly sported by law enforcement officials.
2) The Goatee/Van Dyke-Is more popular today. This look was originally made popular by Satan then by Rembrandt paintings. Today it is a favorite of Stone Cold Austin and Jim Rome.
3) The Handle Bar Moustache-This is an ugly style but I won't say that to Hulk Hogan's face. If you let it grow really long and thin it out you have it's cousin which is...
4) The Fu Man Chu-The kung fu master look is especially beneficial if you are trying to get people to snatch pebbles from your hand.
5) The Stubble Beard-Don Johnson of Miami Vice and George Michael made the 5 o clock shadow beard popular.
6) The Full Beard-James Brolin has the best full beard I've ever seen. It is a full look yet it's trimmed and clean looking.
7) Mutton Chops-Also known as the reverse goatee. This is a nasty look that is achieved by only shaving the immediate chin area. Wolverine fits the description.
8) The Chinstrap-This one gives me the chills. Captain Ahab and Abraham Lincoln sported this look as does Mose from The Office. It's basically one long side burn or a uni-burn.
9) The Long Beard- Also known as the ZZ Top, the Civil War General, the Castaway, or homeless look.
10) The Soul Patch-This could also be called the hairy lower lip or "oops I missed a spot for an entire month." Thank you Howie Mandel.
11) The Waxed Moustache-Salvador Dali and Rollie Fingers take this look to the limit. It should only be appropriate if you are a member of a barbershop quartet.

After reviewing all these fashion statements I just might consider having a hairy face more often than once a year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Super Heroes

When I was a little kid my favorite cartoon was Super Friends. Aqua Man was my favorite. I'm not sure why since he is the least cool superhero and I have always hated water. Even as a kid I noticed that Super Friends was a little bit formulaic. In almost every episode they would find themselves in the villain's trap and would say "Getting dizzy, must contact Hall of Justice... or getting weaker must reach bat utility belt...". I also loved the narrator's customary segway "Meanwhile over the Mohave Desert... " The only negative was the inclusion of the Wonder Twins and Gleek. They were an abomination and didn't belong with the cool superheroes. As much as I disliked them I have to admit I have been guilty of doing the "form of a woolly mammoth/form of an ice shield" routine with friends to get our powers to activate over the years.

Most guys like superheroes. You can come up to any guy on the street and ask him what super powers he wishes he had and he will immediately share several answers. Girls on the other hand will just roll their eyes and think you are stupid. Growing up I could probably only name the most popular ones like: Superman, Batman, Hulk, Wonder Woman, The Fantastic Four, Captain America, and maybe a few others. Anyone who really knows superheroes would considered me a poser since I have never purchased a comic book and probably only know 1/10th of the actual superheroes that exist. The main comic book publishers are DC, Marvel, Image, and Dark Horse and they have created hundreds of characters over the years.

Most people probably hadn't heard of Iron Man, the Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Hell Boy, Elektra, or the Phantom before movies came out about them. I've been surprised to learn that some movies were based on comic books because they don't fit the typical superhero mold and there is nothing comical about them. Some of the darker ones are Blade, The Punisher, Spawn, Watchmen, Judge Dredd, etc. There have been some good superhero movies over the years. I've ranked my all time favorites below:

The Matrix (Neo may not be thought of as a traditional superhero but he flies.)
Iron Man
Batman Begins/The Dark Knight
Spider Man
Superman (Although the continual sequels just kept getting worse)
Hulk (The most recent one)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Tree Decorating

It's interesting to see how some people take holiday traditions so seriously. I remember Christmas the year I got married. As newlyweds we had to negotiate and compromise some of our traditions. It was interesting to see who had the dominant Christmas gene and ended up getting their way with the following questions. Does Santa wrap presents and put them under the tree or just arrange them on the couch cushions? Can we open a present on Christmas Eve? and the biggest one of all, should we have a fake or real tree?

I have participated in the fake tree vs. real tree debate for many years and with many people. I have learned that most people take less offense if you make fun of their mother than they do by expressing your tree preferences. I also call this debate the symmetrical beautiful looking safe tree vs. the sappy shedding needles fire hazard Dr. Seuss looking tree. I guess you can tell my preference. Even though I am an artificial tree enthusiast I will be the first to admit there is something unnatural about dusting and assembling a tree but I think they look much nicer as long as you don't get the really cheap ones. I know that a real tree also has a nice smell to it but the smell alone is not worth the trade off of your Christmas tree looking like a cactus or a bush.

Some people are so distracted by the holiday spirit that they don't realize that there is a right way to decorate a tree. The first step is to string the lights. Please don't use giant outdoor lights on an indoor tree! Do not wrap the light strands tightly in circles around the tree like you are trying to tie someone up. The lights are the foundation of a well decorated tree. I'm pretty sure I have OCD when it comes to tree lights. In the past I have taken them off and started over and rearranged them several times until it "felt" just right.

Ornament placement is an important part of a good looking tree but many people mess it up. Hang larger ornaments down low and smaller ones up higher up. Any ugly ones that you feel obligated to use can go around the back where nobody can see them. Symmetry and spacing are crucial so I don't let the kids do too much of the decorating and when I do I will usually rearrange them when they are not looking. By the time I'm done decorating our tree it looks great, but my kids are a little bit scared of me. It's ironic that someone with such enthusiasm for holiday decorating can give off the same vibes as Ebenezer Scrooge and micromanage the fun out of it.

Once the tree is decorated I turn off the other room lights and just sit down and just watch it while listening to Christmas music. This is a beautiful time. I enjoy it while I can because it is guaranteed that one of the sets of lights will burn out a week or two before Christmas. I cherish the time I spend reverently basking in the light of this sacred and beautiful symbol because after December 25th it is just a depressing, presentless, pain in the butt mess to clean up and put away.

I realize that in the past I have been too judgemental of other's trees and decorations. This year I think my heart finally grew a few sizes bigger as I watched my kids attempt to help me decorate our tree. I have been a Christmas tree elitist all my life and it has taken me a long time to chill out and understand that people who string popcorn or hang tinsel from their trees deserve to have a good Christmas too no matter how bad their trees might look. Just because my tree looks better than yours doesn't mean you can't enjoy yours. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Differences Between the Sexes

I was going to call this entry "The Difference Between Men and Women", but I thought I'd experiment to see if my web traffic would go up if I use the word sex in the title of this post instead. If you are new to this blog and just got directed here from a web search, sorry to let you down, but welcome anyway. I was not smart enough to write a book about men and women and planets, but I do have some observations I'd like to share. I admit these are obvious generalizations, but for the most part they hold true. There are many differences between men and women, but I've found that the obvious physical ones are the least of them.

Shopping-I hate shopping. I don't mind buying groceries since I can anticipate eating them and food makes me happy, but if we have to go shopping let's get it done fast. The two worst places to go shopping with a woman are 1) for clothes, and 2) to a fabric store. Clothes shopping takes forever and my feet and legs will literally give out after a few minutes of following my wife around. It is painful to wait for her to try things on. She has learned not to take me along since I will rain on her parade. Fabric stores are even worse. These are stores full of bolts of fabric and patterns. There are usually only a few places to sit down and you can see tired husbands fighting for seats like a game of musical chairs. Luckily they have magazines in case you are waiting for a woman who happens to be checking out every sample of fabric in the store. Unfortunately all the magazines are about fabric!

Friends-Guys don't do a lot of talking with their friends and when they do it is usually superficial stuff like sports and movies. Most guys keep to themselves. Girls tell their friends every intimate detail about their lives. A while back I went to a movie with a friend who I had not seen for several years. We went to go see The Bourne Identity. We met at the theater and I asked how things were going and he said good. We sat down, watched the trailers, and then the movie. When it was over we walked out and we said "see ya" and left. When my wife asked how things went I told her it went well. She asked me questions about my friend that I did not know I was supposed to ask. She was appalled that we were so aloof and impersonal. Sorry we are guys.

Multi Tasking-It seems that women can do a variety of things at the same time. (One of these is usually talking on the phone). The fairer sex can carry on conversations, cook, clean, send e-mails, and discipline kids all at the same time. I need peace and quiet just to open a can of peaches. Guys are like DOS and women like Windows. Women are almost always better at multi-tasking than men except for one are...

Watching TV-I just said that men are bad mutli-taskers but this is the one exception. I can watch 3 or 4 TV shows at the same time and have excellent comprehension of each program. It's kind of like speed reading but instead of impressing people it just annoys them. A guy obviously invented the jump channel feature on a remote control. I can tell if something is worth watching in a fraction of a second. My wife is not as judgemental. She will watch a show for several minutes to decide if it has any merit. This can be frustrating when you have already determined that the channel should be changed. Women want to know what is on TV, Men want to know what else is on TV.

Self Confidence-Women are usually harder on themselves and guys are more forgiving. Women look in the mirror and complain about their imperfections regardless of how beautiful they may be. Guys look in the mirror with unwarranted confidence and are often clueless about their negative attributes. When a woman starts to gain weight she complains about getting fat. When a guy gains wait he blames his clothes for shrinking.

Men and women obviously have their differences but I have found that whenever there is a disagreement between the two, women usually end up being right (except for the channel changing scenario). It is frightening to think how lame life would be without the influence of women in our lives.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time Travel

There have been many movies over the years featuring time travel. Some of the more popular ones are: Frequency, Back to the Future, The Terminator, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Time Bandits, Deja Vu, Star Trek, Groundhog Day, The Time Machine, 13 Going on 30, Time Cop, Superman, 12 Monkeys, Kate and Leopold, Timeline, Planet of the Apes, Somewhere in Time, etc.

This is a topic I am very familiar with and have given alot of thought to. My wife thinks it is a waste to spend time thinking about this topic but someday she will be grateful I was prepared. I have often thought about what it would be like if you could go back in time to when you were in High School with the body you had as a teenager but with the wisdom, experience, and maturity you now have? Not that High School is the place one would want go if they had the ability to go travel back in time, but I have thought about this as it relates to basketball. If I had the jumping ability and fitness level I had as a teenager combined with my current understanding and knowledge of the game then I could have been unstopable. I was totally serious as I typed this and then I realized I sound like Uncle Rico in Napolean Dynomite.

The problem is that if I were able to do this then there would probably be time travel police hired by the NEA doing the same thing. They would be on a witch hunt to find out which students were really adults in a teenager's body. How would they catch the guilty parties? Maybe they would work in the lunch room to see who ate well balanced low cholesterol meals. I think another way the bounty hunters could identifying potential time travelers would be to watch which students had a better understanding and concern for politics and current events. They couldn't let the student body or faculty know what was happening so it would have to be a secret operation and they would also have to be posing as teenagers. (All this talk of adults posing as young students reminds me of an episode of Beverly Hills 90210).

Maybe one day at a pep assembly in front of the entire school you realized a fellow student was a bounty hunter and he realized you knew his real identity. Just imagine what might happen as these two time travelers were playing mind games and sizing each other up while at the same time trying to perform the skit they had been working on for the assembly. That would be awesome.

Sometimes I have wished I could go back and take advantage of investments for trends or technology that are common place today. I have imagined how things would be different if I had money to invest in companies like Apple, Microsoft, YouTube, Google, or others when they were just starting out. If I could go back in time and make investments in those companies I'm sure there would be time travel police there too. They'd keep a close eye on anyone who did well with their investments and would scrutinize your every action. I think it would actually be far more stressful to try and deal with that scenario and keep from being discovered than it would to just try and survive in today's economy and that is the main reason I haven't gone back and taken advantage of prior historical events.

I know none of these ideas are original. but anyone who copies my idea and writes a book or makes a movie about this had better pay me some kind of residual! If not I will go back in time and steal the script from you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Grumpy Old Man

When I turned 30 I noticed that store employees started calling me sir. I turned 40 a couple months ago and was dealing with it pretty well until this week. A 20 year old kid was in my office and saw pictures of my kids and asked if "those were all my grand kids. " At first I just figured he was clueless but then I also remembered that I have recently been getting flyers in the mail from a hearing aid company. So while I was in my rocking chair yesterday I was thinking back about the many changes in society and advances in technology that have happened during my long lifetime. I felt like Dana Carvey's character "Grumpy Old Man" when I think back about how things used to be when I was younger. Here are a few of my observations.

In my day kids had to have an attention span to watch TV. It took metal toughness to watch Mr. Roger's 15 minute hushed toned monologues before we could get to the real action of watching Lady Aberlin and Bob Dog visit the place where they make apple sauce.

In my day nobody have ADD. It was just called "childhood". Since when were young kids supposed to pay attention for more than a few minutes? They weren't so quick to prescribe drugs to anyone who struggled in school either. Instead they'd just put you in the brown reading group. People didn't have Alzheimer's back then either, it was just called old age.

In my day very few people had child restraints in cars and if you did you quit using them once a child was old enough to walk. Today you get a ticket if your 12 year old is not in a car seat. We also used to pack 7 kids into a station wagon with the back seats folded flat with no seat belts. It built character.

In my day it was normal to skin you knees and elbows and get cuts, bruises, and road rash. The only people who wore helmets and pads were a football players. I guess you could have worn them to ride a bike if you were looking to get beat up.

In my day it used to take 45 seconds just to dial a phone number because we had to actually "dial" the number. Most young people today don't know what dialing means. Today nearly every 6th grader has his own cel phone and you are a neglectful parent if your child doesn't.

In my day when you wrote a paper for school it was either hand written or typed. Yes they taught typing with typewriters when I was in high school. We also did our research out of actual books like encyclopedias.

In my day the controls for video games consisted of one black stick and one orange button. Today you need a PHD to operate a game controller. I could go into more detail on this topic but I already have on a prior entry.

In my day when you watched a medicine commercial on TV they had a simple slogan like plop plop fizz fizz and that was about it. Today medicine commercials use most of the time listing close to 20 horrific side effects that are far worse than what ever might be ailing you. But that's ok because they usually show someone walking on the beach or curled up in front of the fireplace with a good book with a smile on her face as they list them.

In my day shorts were actually short. Today they should be called baggys. You could make uniforms for my entire high school basketball team out of all the fabric from one of Karl Malone's uniforms. (I'm not complaining. This one actually is an improvement). Speaking of the NBA, when I watched games growing up I can't remember one player who had a tatoo. I recently watched an old video tape of the 1992 NBA Allstar Game and not even Dennis Rodman had any visible tatoos back then. While I'm on the topic of sports, that reminds me that in youth sports only the winning teams used to get trophies!

I know that there are people much older than me who think I had it easy and can't wait to jump in and say "that's nothing" and one up me with stories about out houses and starting their car with a crank, but fortunately most old people are scared to death of computers and don't know what a blog is so I don't have to worry about that happening. If I'm hip enough to have a blog than maybe I'm not ready to join AARP yet.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Biased Media

I hesitate to address this topic since some people might confuse the complaint I have with the media as a gripe against a political party. Let me start by saying I have friends with a variety of political beliefs and I try to be respectful of them all. I definitely have my opinions and values as I'm sure everyone else does. I believe it is healthy to have debate and dialogue as long as it's respectful and civil. I 've been sickened by how rude many people's comments and posts are on the internet. I think it brings out the worst in people when they don't speak face to face and have unknown identities. Anyway this topic is not about politics or candidates or who is right or wrong. It is about media bias.

I think every reporter is entitled to their opinion and political preferences. I have no problem with them expressing their views but it drives me crazy when they do so under the guise of an impartial reporter of the news. Recently my brother in law forwarded me an article written by an experienced journalist Michael Malone who was admittedly embarrassed by the media's one sided favoritism and bias towards certain candidates and issues. This was not a surprise to me. I have noticed this occurrence for years. When I was a teenager growing up I watched a lot of TV and had more liberal leanings than I do today. I'm not sure if my views were the result of my heavy media diet, but back then I gave 100% credibility to everything the media said.

The first time I started noticing this bias was in the mid 90's. I remember when Clinton was running against Dole in the 1996 Presidential race. It was obvious that Clinton was loved by the media and they seemed to forgive anything he did. If Dole would have eaten at McDonalds and not put his tray away afterwards you could expect to see an exposee on 60 Minutes the following week entitled "Blatant disregard for order, is this sort of anarchy we can expect if he is elected?" Ok, maybe it wasn't that bad but you get my point.

AOL used to be my ISP provider, but every time I logged into the home page I was welcomed with heavily biased propaganda. I don't have a problem with news updates but it always had such a heavy political spin to it that it was insulting. I noticed that every picture of Condaleeza Rice or Bush or any other conservative showed them with a furrowed brows or eyes half shut while liberal politicians had glamour shots posted alongside the stories about them. I would also see polls following news stories with leading questions such as "Is George Bush a bad president because of: 1) his incompetence or 2) his dishonesty? I got so tired of the one sided slant that I finally changed providers. Getting rid of AOL was no easy task but that's a story for a different topic someday.

It used to make me mad when I'd see such one sided reporting but now I'm just entertained by it. The fact that some people refer to themselves a journalist rather than an editorialist is amazing. Today I give the media as much credibility as I do the "referee" in a WWE match who gets distracted by a tag team partner and doesn't notice someone jump in the ring with a chair and hit the other guy over the head . They are however quick to turn around after the damage is done and apply a quick 3 count. The media is talented at looking the other way when it benefits their agenda. If my all star wrestling analogy was too low class for you to relate to then let me try another. The Truman Show.

The actors and extras in Truman's life are constantly trying to steer and manipulate Truman where they want him to go and when a camera falls from the sky they are quick to cover it up and distract him. My favorite scene in the movie is when his wife is panicking in the kitchen as he is catching on that something is wrong and she launches into a commercial to cover up. Sometimes I feel that the same thing is happening to me. You have to admit there are some similarities. When I feel manipulated by the media I can relate to Jim Carey trying to drive out of town despite all the overwhelming opposition.

I admit there is corruption and incompetence with both parties but the major media outlets choose to ignore certain facts or occurrences for one candidate while pouncing all over the other. I also acknowledge that some news sources are biased in the other direction but they are the minority. You have to tune into Fox or AM radio to find them. I'm afraid that by calling out the media I have probably jeopardized my blogging contracts with CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS, and have been blacklisted from all the major motion picture studios. Now I kind of know how Martin Luther must have felt after posting his 95 theses on the doors of the Church.

I hope you take notice the next time you see a supposed impartial journalist report on a topic with the same professional neutrality as an infomercial host. I always find it refreshing when someone in the media or a certain party calls BS on one of their own or asks questions that may be unpopular. It seldom happens but when it does it shows that there still may be a glimmer of hope that some people in the industry still have integrity. This seems kind of weird but I think I just wished for Glasnost here in the USA.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Recently several friends of mine have recommended a book called The China Study by Colin Campbell. When I found out what it was about I was a little reluctant to read it because I heard it contained tons of data showing the benefits of a vegetarian diet. During the course of my life I have wished to be many things, but one thing I have never aspired to be is a vegetarian. Some of the vegetarians I have seen over the years appear to be much thinner than the average person, but they haven't necessarily looked healthier to me. Some were gaunt and appeared undernourished. Others even looked like their eyes would roll out of their sockets if they leaned forward.

I don't have a problem with vegetarians unless they get too extreme and push it on you. Some vegans can get militant about what they eat and what they think others should not. These are the people who say you "shouldn't eat anything with a face" and are known for joining PETA, protesting, throwing paint on furs, etc. In fact over time the word vegan has conjured up an unsavory connotation in my mind to the point that if I were a stand up comedian one of my lines would be "So do we have any vegans in the audience"? Two people raise their hands. I'd then say "Dang, well never mind then".

I've never had a problem with eating animals or animal products. I think they were intended to be used for that purpose. Until we live in a perfect world where sharks no longer attack people I will continue to claim my spot atop the food chain. However; I am not one who advocates cruelty to animals either. I don't hunt and have never killed an animal (unless you claim that my willingness to eat meat produces an increased demand by society which causes the killing of many animals). I don't have a problem with those who do hunt if they use what they kill.

So if I finish this book and finally accept it's suggestions how can I make the change? I am never going to go all out and stop eating animal products completely. Fortunately I know there are many levels or degrees of vegetarians. The most extreme is the Vegan which has the commitment level of a Jedi Knight. A regular vegetarian is more like a 3rd degree black belt. Others adhere to a semi-vegetarian diet. This is more like Fonzie. I will shoot for a flexitarian diet which puts an emphasis on plant based foods but still allows eating animal products but just less frequently. Unfortunately this only has the commitment level of Homer Simpson. At least this way I can still go to barbecues, pizza parties, etc. without having to take a celery stalk and soy shake so I can prove to others how much fun I'm having by depriving myself of all the bad food everyone else is enjoying.

I can appreciate people trying to eat healthier but it seems to be an uphill battle in today's society. I've noticed that unhealthy food is much more affordable and plentiful than healthy alternatives. The few times I have been to health food stores I always get a kick out of the organic produce section. I once saw produce that was labeled as oranges. They were small, shrivelled, and hard. They had a brownish orange color to them and only cost twice as much as the regular gigantic juicy oranges that got that way from "the man" using evil chemicals and pesticides.

Most Americans are overweight and are plagued with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and other diseases and are on many medications. Nutrition obviously plays a large role in their health. I admit that as a nation we eat too much processed food and empty calories and I think everyone would benefit from eating more whole and natural foods (especially plant based foods). I encourage you to join with me by trying to eat healthier. I am willing to step up to the plate (no put intended) and give it my best shot. At least until someone offers me something unhealthy that I totally feel like eating.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Movie Quiz

I thought I might be fun to test your movie trivia skills with a quiz. To show you how it works I will give you a very easy example. What do Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Michael Keaton, and Christian Bale have in common? Yes they all make more money than us but I was looking for the fact that they have all played the role of Batman. See how you do on the rest of the questions. Answers are listed below. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to write them upside down so try not to cheat.

1. What do Kenneth Branagh, Mel Gibson, Ethan Hawke, and Laurance Olivier have in common?
2. What Does The Fellowship of the Ring, Back to the Future, The Matrix, and the God Father have in common?
3. What do Gary Oldman, Klaus Kinsky, Wesley Snipes, and George Hamilton, have in common?
4. What do Jackie Chan, John Wayne, and Buster Keaton have in common?
5. What does Stand by Me, My Giant, Saving Private Ryan, Supersize Me, and the Sandlot have in common?
6. What do Alec Baldwin, Harison Ford, and Ben Aflec have in common?
7. What does Star Wars, Police Academy, Harry Potter, and Rocky Have in common?
8. What do Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Adam Sandler, Robert Redford, and Clint Eastwood have in common?
9. What do Al Pacino, John Malkovich, and Mark Rufallo, Ben Affleck have in common?
10. What to Rosamund Pike, Famke Janssen, Sophie Marceau, Jill St. John, and Jane Seymour have in common?
11. What do Paul Giamatti, Mel Gibson, Mark Whalberg, Bryce Dallas Howard,and Bruce Willis have in common?
12. What do Patriot Games, National Treasure, Lorna Doone, and Goldeneye have in common?

If I would have had questions like this in school then I could have been a Sterling Scholar. Instead my parents were stuck with a bumper sticker that says "Proud parent of a movie trivia geek" . Feel free to post your scores.

Answers: 1) They all played the character of Hamlet 2) All are the first movie of Trilogies 3)They all acted roles as vampires 4) They did their own stunts 5) They all feature throw up scenes 6) They each played the role of Jack Ryan 7) They all have 4 + movies in the series 8) They have all been prisoners in movies 9) They all played blind characters 10) They are all Bond girls 11)They were the lead actors in M. Night Shayamalan movies. 12) Sean Bean was the villain in each.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Anniversary

It has been one year to the day since I started this blog. When I started this project my goals were to dominate the internet, re-define the standards of technology and entertainment, and make a ton of money. Although I admit I have failed miserably in all of these areas, at least I left the critics dumbfounded with my consistent and conscientious blogging efforts. Yes, this is a real blog not just one where you sign up with an initial entry and forget about it until you are rocking your grand kids on your lap and suddenly remember in horror that you have neglected your blog for the last 50 years.

If you are new to my blog I will list my top 10 favorite prior entries which include an asterisk (not asterix) if I feel they were unappreciated or received little or no feedback. This entry is a celebration not a cheap attempt to turn you onto my re-runs . I think Saturday Night Live is the worst re-run offender. They have maybe 5 or 6 shows each season and just show reruns the rest of the year and bill them as "encore performances". Anyway, here are what I believe were my top 10 blog entries from the last 28 + entries.

10. Jealous about Money
9. The Real NBA Top 50
8. Talk Radio
7. Video Game Frustrations
6. The Enneagram*
5. Rival Movies
4. Evil Twins
3. Least Motivating Songs*
2. MMA*
1. Movie Pet Peeves*

So after an unbelievable year you are probably asking what is next for me. I've had a lot of offers from Hollywood to write movie scripts and sit coms, acting opportunities and body double/stunt work for Vin Diesel and Mark Whalberg, but I have turned them all down in order to stay loyal to my blog. I stand vigilant as the lone sentinel in a troubled world. Wherever people suffer, I will be there. Whenever someone needs movie trivia, cheering up, or the ramblings of a twisted mind, you know where to find me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Parental Video Curse

In the early 80's my family would rent videos on the weekend. We would also rent a VCR since they were so new and not everyone owned one back then. I remember watching the same video 2 and 3 times in a row like I see my kids doing today. I also remember the feeling of watching a movie and just as an uncomfortable part (swearing, sex, or nudity) would come on my parents would always come walking in the room. These were not bad movies we watched. This would happen regardless of what they were rated. You could rent some rated G Disney movie and Polyanna will start doing some inappropriate nasty dance as soon as a parent came in the room. (Not that Polyana ever did that and not that I ever rented it).

On one occasion I was at a friends house with several others watching a murder mystery which was very entertaining. My friend's Dad came in and sat down and within 15 seconds of that time there was a major shift in the direction and content of the movie and it got extremely uncomfortable. I just remember the TV ended up getting turned off and our video party was over. I walked home in a daze wondering what had happened and where that scene came from. I now know that it was just the parental video curse.

I remember when my brother in law rented Conan the Barbarian and later brought it by our house. I didn't even think about the rating and I started watching it with my friend Sam. We didn't get too far into when my Dad came downstairs and sat down. I remember Conan had killed some guys in a competition and his slave masters brought a lady wearing a leather/fur bikini to his cage to reward him. My spidey senses kicked in and I knew where this might lead so I said "I just remember I am supposed to draw a basketball for my art class" and I ran out of the room. I left my friend with my Dad and came back about 10 minutes later. Sam was red in the face with a mixture of embarrasment and anger and was furious with me. My Dad suggested we turn the movie off. I never did see how that movie ended but I'm still glad I took off when I did and Sam is still mad at me for ditching him during such an uncomfortable situation.

Another thing I have noticed over the years is how we forget so much about a movie we saw a long time ago. Many times I have told someone how much I enjoyed a certain video I saw when I was younger so I recommend it to them or rent it for myself and later find myself saying "I don't ever remember that scene" or "I had no idea they swore so much in this", or "I promise this is rated PG". Some examples of movies that I have been surprised to re-watch 20 years later are: Logan's Run, Agatha Christie movies, Clash of the Titans, Jaws, Monty Python, Dragon Slayer, Benny Hill, Airplane, 16 Candles, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, etc. There were alot of movies made in the 70's and 80's that were rated PG that today would be PG-13 or R, but I am not going to complain about MPAA rating inconsistencies now. That can be a topic for another day.

I just wanted to give a heads up to all the young people out there and let them know next time you are planning a video (DVD) party go to IMDB or screenit first for content details because your parents will walk in the room at the very most inopportune moment.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Movies that might have made me cry

The other day I was at a luncheon that had an assortment of drinks. I randomly selected a can of Fresca. I don't think I have tasted this drink since I was a little kid. It had just a hint of carbonation and I really liked it. I felt a little sheepish afterwards since Fresca has a somewhat feminine connotation associated with it. There are many other more masculine drinks I could have chosen. Anyway while I am getting in touch with my feminine side I think it would be appropriate and entertaining to confess which movies I have either come close to or actually almost maybe cried in over the years. Keep in mind that many of these were viewed back when I was young and tender hearted.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was the first movie I remember crying at. These were tears of horror not sadness. That frizzy headed freak was knocking kids off left and right. This didn't go over well with me. My parents had to take me out of the theater. (No this was not the recent remake)
Roots-When the slave owners whip Kunta Kinte until he accepted his new name of Toby or was it Jordi LaForge?
The Great Santini-When Red bullies Toomor and breaks his bottles of honey he was about to sell at the market.
Forrest Gump-The scene when Forrest finds out he has a child and is trying to ask Jenny if he is dumb like him.
Cypher in the Snow-When the bullies take his hat and put it on the snowman they are making. The part that kills me is when they leave and Cliff also donates his stick of gum for the mouth.
Christmas Snows Christmas Winds- This is a low budget cousin to Cypher in the Snow but anyone who can make it through the french horn scene unaffected is heartless.
MASH-The final episode when Hawkeye admits he pressured a villager to smoother her chicken to keep it quiet so they would not be found by the North Koreans. At the end of the episode while meeting with the psychiatrist he breaks down and admits it was a baby and not a chicken.
Life is Beautiful- When Guido is protecting his son in the Nazi prison camp and trying to distract him and keep him happy despite the fact he knows he is going to be killed.
Titanic-Back off, I need to explain myself here. I saw it alone since my wife refused to watch it since she knew the happy ending involving almost everyone drowning. I had a hard time with the scene when the ship is sinking and the mom in the poor section of the ship was reading a book to her little kids trying to get them to sleep before they die. That movie also made me wonder "when I die will I be reunited in heaven with the strangers I met on a Carnival cruise that lasted a week instead of my own family and friends?"

So there you have it. Proof that you can be a manly stud and still have a sensitive side. I challenge any other guys to join me with your confessions. Please only submit sincere movies. No Dirty Dozen, Robocop, or Die Hard examples.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Dark Knight Review

Let me start by clarifying that this is less of a review and more of a request for help to break a record. For years I have followed movie revenue statistics (I know, get a life) and have been baffled that Titanic is still the top domestic money making movie of all time. Everyone loved it when it came out but almost everyone rips on it now. It was a strange deal because it started slow and picked up steam. It didn't set any opening week records, but after it had been out for a month or two word of mouth and repeat viewers fueled it to take off for the next couple months. This is the same rare occurrence that happened with My Big Fat Greek Wedding although it was not nearly as successful. Titanic ended up making $600,779.00 in the U.S. before it was released to video. The next closest money maker is the Original Star Wars at 460,998.00 and that was even after Lucas cheated and re-released it a second time 20 years later. How can this be possible?

I have always watched and wished any movie would come along and replace Titanic as the top money maker of all time but nothing has ever come close. I have hoped in vain over the years as Lord of the Rings, The Star Wars prequels, and even Indiana Jones could not pull it off. After seeing the Dark Knight's numbers from the opening weekend I again have hope that this will finally be the movie to dethrone Titanic. I give this movie a solid 9 out of 10 stars and and I am very frugal when it comes to giving out stars. I am the Simon Cowell of movie reviews so even though the audience will boo me for saying this I have to admit if I would have liked to see a few minor details changed. I know it is a comic book movie and not real, but a couple small items distracted me. Especially considering how well everything was done. (Warning spoilers)

1) When Batman kidnaps the Chinese dude I would have preferred to see him strap the cable to a harness for them instead of just hold onto the bad guy and the cable and get ripped away by a speeding plane.
2) The make up for Dent/Two Face was a little extreme. No swelling the day after half your face is burnt off? I could have gone for a little less skeleton open eye socket and a little more swollen, charred look.
3) When he dives out the window of his skyscraper for Rachel he falls with her onto a car. That would kill anyone even if you were holding onto Batman. At least they could have shown a parachute or his wings open up to better show that their fall was slowed down.
4) Two Face and Batman had nearly the same raspy deep voice. It was like dueling banjos of who had the scratchiest voice. I was waiting to see Rod Stewart come out to challenge them to a voice duel.
5) I'd also cut out 15 minutes somewhere. I think the whole cell phone tracking/ sonar deal could have been eliminated and was only included to show how his sonar bat eyes worked. This felt like 2 or 3 movies in one. It was long but didn't drag on like Return of the King where they should have ended the movie about 6 scenes sooner than they did. I got my moneys worth in the first half hour so I'm not complaining.

There are a lot of reasons you should see this movie if you haven't yet. (For those of you who are either in prison or a coma and haven't yet). First of all if you divide the cost of admission by how many minutes the film is you are in for a bargain. The cost per minute is quite competitive at 2 and 1/2 hours. Compare that to an animated Pixar/Disney movie that lasts 90 minutes and you can see the value. The cast is top notch and there is great acting by many well known actors including Heath Ledger's last performance. It has amazing special effects, action, and drama accompanied by an intense James Horner music score.

I really enjoyed this movie and encourage everyone to go see it. (with the exception of young kids). Some people look at this as entertainment but I am looking at it as something far more important. I feel kind of like Jerry Lewis during one of his telethons. I will keep pleading with the public for their support and help over the next several weeks no matter how tired I get. This is the only movie that has a chance to sink Titanic. Together we can make history and do this. If we accomplish this goal I will throw a party at my house and I will invite Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. I'll let you know if something comes up and they are unable to make it.

Addendum 08/17/08
In less than a month, The Dark Knight has grossed $471,793,000 and is at the #2 domestic all time rank. Titanic didn't really start setting records until it was out for a month. It was the top earning movie from the 4th-12th weekends it was in release. Despite the great start, the last 129 million will be very hard to get. Gut it up and go see it again with some friends before school starts.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Things that bug me

No need for an introduction here. It is time for me to whine and complain again. I have noticed that I have become increasingly critical and judgemental in my entries so I apologize in advance. Please don't take offense if you happen to enjoy any of the following items. We can still be friends. It is just much cheaper for me to rant about stuff occasionally than to go to therapy or buy medication.

Let me start my list with something really disturbing. It is sock gloves. These are basically gloves you wear on your feet. I have to admit I have never tried them, but I don't think I could even put them on because I would freak out. My toes would be claustrophobic and there would be too much added girth to my feet if I had to wear them.

An irritating thing I see when I check my e-mail are the stupid skin care before and after simulations. They are getting worse with time. At first they'd show a pretty model in the after picture then they'd airbrush crows feet and wrinkles on her for the before picture. It was a subtle transformation but you could see a discernible difference. Now they have a picture of what appears to be either a gorilla or a severe burn victim for the before picture. It was insulting before and it is just ridiculous now. The only thing that could be more extreme would be to show a dog poop in the before picture. I wish these complexion ads would take a hike with all the dancing silhouettes from the mortgage rate pop ups.

There are many songs that bug me but one that drive me crazy is Mr. Roboto by Styx. What's up with that? If you have ever heard the song you know what I'm talking about. Whenever I hear this song or even a reference to it, it takes me days to get the song out of my head along with the images that have been burned into my mind from watching the music video on MTV in the 80's.

I like Carl's Jr. but there are a couple things that bug me. First is their commercial with a young hungry guy eating like a pig with food dripping all over him. He doesn't seem to notice or care that he is a slob. It reminds me of watching a two year old eating an icecream cone. I know this is intentional but it just doesn't work for me. Another thing about their commercials I don't like is dropping overloaded hamburgers in slow motion and watching them bounce. I'm OK with watching grapes or cherry tomatoes bounce but not giant hamburgers.

While we are on the topic of food let me address raisins. I have a great idea how you can ruin a perfectly good cookie. Put raisins in it. That way some of us might get our hopes up when we see a cookie with what looks like chocolate chips in it. If you want to see the classic face of disappointment check out someone who bit into a cookie and just realized it contains raisins instead of chocolate chips. Raisins are actually awesome when they are fresh. I believe they are called grapes during their fresh stage.

I have noticed that sometimes in social settings people try to impress and outdo others. The classic example of this is when you tell a story and immediately someone has to one up you. I don't mind being out done, but it does bother me when they are not tactful at it. Anytime someone stars a sentence by saying "That's nothing" then launch into their more amazing story I have a problem. "It was 104 degrees last week. We were dying". "That's nothing, I'm from Phoenix and we hit 115 over 20 times last month." OK, never mind your are better and I suck.

Let's finish with the worst offender. It is the stupid sideways gang banger gun holding technique. Why are some people compelled in movies to hold the gun sideways when they shoot? Is there some benefit that produces a more accurate shot? I doubt it. I think it's like the sideways hat thing which insinuates "Dude look at me I'm so rebellious that I wear my hat sideways" What could be more crazy than holding someone up? Holding them up with a sideways gun! I think it is dumb unless there are gang members reading this blog who love to brandish their weapon as described. In that case it rocks!

I'm sure you all have things that drive you crazy so feel free to share them. We can call it group therapy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Healthy Eating

Today I am in a serious mood. I had my body fat tested this week and it came back higher than it has ever been. I am pretty much lugging around a 50 lb. built in bag of fat with me everywhere I go. On the bright side the fat that was tested came back as high quality lard so at least it is good fat. This recent discovery coupled with the fact that I am turning 40 in a few months has gotten me down a little bit. My problem is that I am now at the point in my life where I would rather lie down than exercise, but I think the real culprit is food.

I like to eat food. I think I know deep inside when I've had enough, but I like to keep eating. I don't know if this is a learned response or hard wired to my nervous system but the whole taste, chew swallow thing can be addicting. I eat when I'm stressed and bored and I eat too much for my activity level. This means I take in more energy than I expend and the result is a softer, cuddlier version of me. I recently noticed that when I stretch and bend to the right or left I can't go as far as I used to. At first I thought it might be a flexibility issue, but then I realized it was an actual physical impediment of too much love handle mass getting in the way.

The hardest thing about what I'm experiencing is the guilt of hypocrisy. I have been certified with the International Sports and Sciences Association, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the American Council on Exercise. Having been a personal trainer I should know better. So in an effort to have a less depressing 40th birthday this year I am going to start to live by the following healthy eating tips I have compiled over the years. These are just little things but when they are combined they can make a difference. Feel free to apply them in your life if you find yourself in a similar situation.

1. Eat smaller meals and more frequently throughout the day (4-6 meals).
2. Drink at least 8-10 oz. glasses of water every day.
3. Avoid carbonated, caffeinated, and sugar based drinks (pop).
4. Avoid foods prepared in grease and oil. Steam rather than fry foods when possible.
5. Use non fat dairy products like skim milk, non-fat cottage cheese and yogurt.
6 Eat less highly processed foods like white bread and pre-packaged foods.
7. Choose whole grain cereals, breads, and pastas and eat foods high in fiber.
8. Eat all the raw vegetables you want, especially when you feel like snacking.
9. Don't grocery shop on an empty stomach.
10. Get familiar with food labels and watch for the misleading ones.
11. Avoid saturated, hydrogenated, and trans fats. Olive oil is a healthy replacement.
12. Don't snack late at night especially on high carb foods.
13. Use a multi-vitamin to insure you are not deficient in any micro nutrients.
14. Substitute fresh fruit for desserts.
15. Look for lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, or fish. Remove skin from poultry.
16. Replace jam jellies, and syrups with applesauce and fresh fruit toppings.
17. When eating out order a salad and order light dressing on the side.
18. Share large entrees with someone or eat half and take the rest home in a doggy bag.
19. Don't be afraid to ask for substitutions (salad or fruit for fries).
20. Don't confuse thirst, boredom, or stress with hunger.
21. Plan your meals the night before. Healthy eating never happens by accident.
22. Keep track of what you eat each day. Use a nutrition journal like you would a checkbook.
23. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Don't get bored with the same routine everyday.
24. Sit down to eat and enjoy your meals. It's hard to remember what you are eating on the run.
25. Set aside one day a week to eat whatever you want without any guilt.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Random Thoughts

You know how yawning can be contagious? Well so is cleaning your windshield. Next time you are driving on the freeway hit the wiper fluid button then check your rear view mirror. Chances are several cars behind you will do the same.

If you ever see an attractive woman remember even though she might be pretty on the outside there is a skeleton in there and intestines and other gross stuff. Don't give too much credit to outward appearances.

You've probably seen movies when a character stumbles across some top secret crime operation so they tell the police and they raid the place just to find out it is now an empty warehouse or some legitimate business. Usually the bad guy is there acting innocent and then the police chief rips on the informant for making up some story. I think it would be cool to have someone identify a criminal with a beard and when the police show up to arrest him the next day their plan is thwarted because they would point out that it couldn't be him because this guy doesn't have a beard.

I hate to see new drugs approved by the FDA even though they haven't been tested very long. I think things need to be proven over a long period of time so we can make sure they are safe. You know when you see the new drug commercials come out you can plan on seeing a wave of attorney commercials for the same drug in about 18 months. I still think mankind is in for a rude awakening some day for engineering the whole seedless watermelon deal.

I used to hate watching the anamatronic Chucky Cheese robots. They seemed so fake and stiff. After careful insight I think we are all Chucky Cheese robots to a certain extent. I can't really explain why I believe this but I call I get to be the guy who plays the drums.

Sometimes I am critical of statistics and facts that people throw out. The one I have the hardest time with is when people say if you were to take your nerves, blood vessels, or some other body part, and unravel them they are so extensive that they could go around the earth 2 times or even to the moon. I hope I'm not the only one who has heard this exaggerated claim. First of all I call BS on this. Until I see someone actually do this I won't believe it. They might go the length of a foot ball field, but give me a break with the around the world deal. Maybe when I die I will donate my body to science and let someone sick enough to try this give it a shot so I can prove them wrong.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Good Sneeze

I have always wondered if others perceive certain experiences in life like I do or if their perceptions are completely different. I understand that everyone has different tastes and preferences, but I don't know how anyone can not enjoy sneezing. I believe I have an enhanced gift to enjoy sneezing and that is why I am a sneeze advocate. I am not talking about a sneezing attack, hay fever, or an allergic reaction, but just your average once in a while sneeze.

I know sometimes people who have seizures experience an aura or brief warning before it happens. When I have a sneeze aura it is always good news. I love the feeling when you get the subtle tickling fizzy feeling in your head. You slowly breath in as your eyes slightly squint and your body prepares for the sneeze. If you ever feel a sneeze coming on but think you are going to lose it, try this helpful aid. Look up into a light source and it will help further it along. If you doubt this just think about when you go outside into bright light and suddenly feel the urge to sneeze. Little kids and babies are especially receptive to this and will often shoot off 2 or 3 sneezes as soon as they hit the light. I have had friends who doubt this but science does back it up and I know it is true.

I have noticed that there are different kinds of sneezers. Most women try to be polite when sneezing by muffling it. Not only does this destroy a good sneeze experience, but it is very dangerous. This can actually take years off your life. Next time you see a woman transform a sneeze into a little hick up remember it is worse for her than smoking a pack of cigarettes. It's like jumping on a grenade to save your platoon. Those around you might appreciate it but it will mess you up. I sneeze the way nature intended us to.

When I get ready to sneeze I visualize a little Yosemite Sam in my head and he has a lit stick of dynamite and is standing on a pile of boxes that say TNT and he is laughing. I sneeze with the fury of a Hurricane and I don't apologize to anyone . I'm sure the Tibetans who live past 100 do so too. As long as you say "excuse me" after it is perfectly acceptable. If you say this others will say "bless you" or "gesundheit" or some other german word. Sneezing is a great way to get other people to wish you health and blessings. So the next time you are depressed or stressed just sneeze. After the sneeze you get a whirlwind of chemicals spinning in your head for a brief natural buzz. It's time we enjoy the simple things in life like nature's ultimate comfort food, the Sneeze.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Least Motivating Songs

Over the years my wife has played the violin in recording sessions for movie soundtracks. One day she pointed out to me how much the music really affects the feeling of a movie. If you watch any horror movie with the sound turned down and instead listened to Henry Mancini's Baby Elephant Walk song or the theme to the Simpsons it would no longer be scary.

I wondered if this same idea could be utilized to deflate exciting sports moments one might find in the WWF or whatever they call it these days. If you have ever seen All Star Wrestling then you know that when the main event wrestlers are introduced they play loud rock music and shoot off fireworks. Usually it is an exciting song that gets the crowd pumped up. Hulk Hogan used Eye of the Tiger as his theme song forever.

I would like to be in charge of the music that is played when wrestlers come out to the ring for their introduction. I wonder if they could still go crazy and maintain an intimidating image if the following songs were playing as they approached the ring. I have ranked my top 10 narcoleptic gems in order of their potency or rather lack thereof.

10. Making Love out of Nothing at All-Air Supply
9. Lady-Kenny Rogers
8. If You Don't Know Me By Know-Simply Red
7. Cherish-Kool and the Gang
6. True-Spandau Ballet
5. We've Only Just Begun-The Carpenters
4. Three Times a Lady-The Commodores
3. Sailing-Christopher Cross
2. Suddenly-Billy Ocean
1. The Theme from Taxi-Bob James

To appreciate the care and effort that went into picking these easy listening classics you have to really visualize the Ultimate Warrior standing on the second rope in the corner flexing and facing the crowd and trying to get pumped up while one of these songs is playing. I think even the most angry wrestler/actor would be deflated after being introduced to any of these songs. Well there you have it. This entry was short and probably too abstract for most readers to appreciate but it was a story that needed to be told.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Video Games Frustrations

I am not a big gamer, but I used to enjoy blowing money on video games when I was in Jr. High. My first introduction to video games happened when I was a little kid visiting my cousins and they had just purchased a Pong game. I was amazed at how cool it was. There were tons of options with the pong game such as paddle size. Several years later my own family was lucky enough to get an Atari 2600. The technology was light years ahead of pong. I got good very good at Space Invaders, Missile Command, Tank, Breakout, and Centipede. It has been a long time since I last played video games (a quarter century to be exact) so I was in for a rude awakening when I realized what changes had occurred in the industry.

My first experience happened while playing mortal kombat against a ten year old. I could not make sense of the complicated controller because there were way too many buttons and options, so all I could do was jump up and down and run backwards. Needless to say this does not describe any martial art so I got my butt kicked. I remember the feeling of being defenseless and powerless in the presence of a little kid who I knew I could probably take in real life. It all comes back to the joystick. Give me one black stick and one orange button. Let's keep it simple. I could probably learn to play the violin faster than I could learn how to work a modern day game controller.

My second unpleasant experience occurred when I was describing the the glory days of Atari to my kids. I had told them stories about how cool the games were, but when they actually saw what the graphics looked like they mocked me. They asked "is that tower of Legos supposed to be a person?" It went beyond mocking to uncontrolled hysterical laughing and then they kept asking "Are you serious?" It hurt to hear their critical words, but deep down I knew they were right.

My third bad experience came from trying to play war strategy games like War Craft and Star Craft. These games are way too complicated. You have to start a civilization from scratch. You can't do anything until you grow crops, mine for ore to make weapons, pay taxes, get zoning permits, hold elections for city council, etc. Space Invaders never did that to me. I would just watch for the aliens and fire. The other thing that bugged me was cheats. It seems that all the games these days have some stupid code that can make you invincible and it spoils the fun.

My fourth bad experience is a more recent one. I enjoy looking up youtube highlights from the NBA. I recommend their daily top 10 plays. Sometimes I will click on a box that says something like "Vince Carter monster dunk". I am looking forward to seeing the action then I realize it is a stupid video game! Who puts video game highlights on youtube? What really makes me mad is the graphics are so good today that you can't tell by looking at the small box if it is real footage or a video game or not until you start watching it.

Looking back I have to admit that my memories of how great things were may have been biased and have probably improved in my memory over time. After reviewing the evidence I have to say the new generation of video games are far superior. I will be the first to admit that technology is much better today than it was in the 80's, but I will never say that about the music. I will go head to head against anyone when it comes to defending 80's music, but there is no need to do so now since I'm sure that will be a future topic.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Number Combinations are Here!

Numbers have been with us for a long time and have made the world a better place. They play a vital role in our lives and benefit our entire civilization. Now it is time for us to give back while participating in one of the most exciting crazes of our time. After years of research and development I am proud to announce that customized number combinations are finally here!

Now you can express yourself by getting your very own 10 digit number combination from me for only $9.95. With this offer you can mix and match any combination of numbers from 0-9, or you can just let me choose the numbers for you. Do you like prime numbers? Have a favorite lock combination? Need help remembering your new phone number? You can list wedding dates, birthdays, IQ's, ACT scores, etc. The possibilities are limitless. You can choose your combination with bold text, italics, or a larger font, commas, or hyphens for no extra charge.

This truly is your very own custom number and it will be printed out on high quality parchment that will be worthy of framing. Be one of the first 100 people to order and I'll mail your number combination out with free shipping. Remember these number combinations are unique and no two same numbers will ever be issued by me. They will be recorded in my official number registry and you will receive a certificate of authenticity with each number combination you order. Order now and I will include a clear plastic carrying sheath to protect your investment. You'll be able to carry it with you all the time in a pocket or purse without damaging it.

These numbers also make great gifts. You can dedicate a number to someone you love and have it shipped directly to them. Just leave your order in the comments section along with your 10 digits and mailing address and I'll send you your numbers within a week. You don't even have to pay until you get your number combination and have tried it out. I am also offering a 90 day guarantee. If you are not delighted with your number combination just return it to me within 90 days for a full refund. Now let's start turning numbers into memories. Act now. Collect them all.

Addendum 09/25/08
Due to the current state of the economy and the fact that I underestimated the value of my number combinations in the past, I am increasing their cost to $49.95 per combination.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jealous about money

I find myself getting jealous of people who make a lot more money than me. That makes me jealous of just about everyone, but I am especially jealous of those who are much younger than me. Don't they understand the seniority system? Let me start my bitter grapes gripe with the young movie stars and entertainers like Dakota Fanning, Daniel Radcliffe, The Olsen twins, and Hanna Montana. These people have made a lot of money as children! I wish I would have thought of being a childhood star years ago. I could have had the stage name Hootah Utah and been a millionaire before I got my drivers license.

I once heard that the actors on "Friends" each made $1,000,000 per episode. I'm not sure if that is true, but just hearing this messed me up for a couple days. I didn't ever watch the show but I don't think I could concentrate enough to watch an episode now because I would always be calculating how much a person made by the minute and by the joke. " Hey Chandler just made $17,400 by making that silly face"

I also have a hard time with championship boxing matches where someone can lose and still take home $2,000,000. I understand that they have paid a price to get there and are soon to be members of the distinguished brain damage club, but even so I would gladly face the meanest of men in the ring for that kind of consolation money. I also struggle with other professional athlete salaries too. When you divide their annual income by how many rebounds or points they make per game in can be very motivating. Even I could box Shaq out for that kind of money. Ok, so I couldn't but I can at least pretend I could.

The next category is the "You've gotta be kidding me" money makers. These are people who think of an idea and say "wouldn't it be cool if we could make money by (insert ridiculous idea) and then somehow get people to pay for it". The best example of this are drug dealers actually getting people to pay for drugs. How do they do it? What does their commercial sound like? "Try our new meth makeover. It will turn you into a scabby skeleton and it's one of the hottest diets these days".

Another crazy concept was the classic pet rock. Today's version of this is the star registry. I can't believe people pay to have a star named after them. Unless God is making this offer don't count on the name sticking. After considering what people have gotten away with I have been thinking about starting a sand registry. There are other crazy things like buying viles of Elvis sweat or garbage that belonged to celebrities on e-bay.

Another one of my favorites is when farmers are paid not to grow crops. I want to know how I can sign up for that program becuause I have not been growing crops all my life and am dang good at it. I have recently been reminded of the utimate example of crazy money makers is getting people to pay for their carbon footprint. I thought the whole paying for indulgences thing got exposed a long time ago.

I know I sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not saying we should storm the castle with pitchforks and torches to take away their money and re-distribute it to me. At least not yet. I am actually happy for other people's success. These examples actually inspire me more than they drive me crazy. I acknowledge that it has just been my lack of creativity and ingenuity that has made me bitter and covetous. I realize that this is the land of opportunity so it is time for me to get my act together. I recently did so and I have some great news. In April I will unveil the greatest product ever on my blog. I have been working on this for years and the timing is perfect to release this product to the public. Stay tuned for my next my next entry on April 1st. You'll want to mark this on your calendar and be one of the first to take advantage of this revolutionary concept that is sure to please.