Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow Doggies

That's Bosco in the picture opening up trails through the deeper-than-he snowfall. He puts his head to the ground and wedges it into the snow ahead. This is followed by trampling down the debris with his feet. The process is repeated until there is a trench that he and Smooch can run through freely. After a few days, he has created a system of roadways that link important trees and other places of interest.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Waxing Nostralgic

The basketball conversation about the nicknames given to pro players of the 50s and 6os led to Don Ohl. He was a journeyman guard from Illinois who was went by "Waxie". A little online research quickly revealed that the name can from the fact that he regularly used Butch Wax to keep the front of his crew cut standing at attention.

I used the stuff myself. It was a petroleum jelly based concoction that had a strong fruity scent and was applied by combing the spiked applicator to the front of your flat top or crew cut. I'm sure Waxie Ohl's defender could smell it from across the court.

Before JFK came around with his natural hair, there was a glut of products like Wildroot Cream Oil, Vitalis, and Vaseline Hair Tonic.

The old joke went: Elvis walks into a barber shop - the barber asks, "What do you want? A haircut or an oil change?"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fact Checking

One anachronism.

That's all it takes to taint, if not ruin, a movie for me.

I've always been fussy concerning films about music and sports - and now - thanks to this guy named Brenden, weapons of the military need to be in order for war films . After seeing Defiance the other night, I immediately checked the rifles and machine guns used in the film for their authenticity as soon as I returned home. I found out I'm not the only one who exhibits this behavior

That's why I missed my pause button. At home, if a ship appears at a certain battle, I look it up to see if the vessel was actually in the area at that time or is just a piece of stock footage that was patched in to fatten the imagery.

I once saw a satellite dish on a house in the background of an Elvis docudrama.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Educational TV

I learned on The Military Channel's "Hitler's Body Guard" series that Hitler, in his personal physician's words, suffered from "colossal flatulence." Yikes!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wimps and Idiots

Sure it's cold outside. Damn cold.

There was some well dressed yutz on the local news who let the cute reporter and all of central Indiana know that the wind was stinging his face and causing it to hurt. (It's killing me.) This was apparently an object lesson for to those who would venture out in such a hostile environment.

1. I've read a number of accounts of WWII on the Eastern Front. I know from this, that the business-type guy being interviewed has no complaints about his rosy cheeks. Maybe a few weeks camped out on the steppe under these conditions would toughen him up.

2. Common sense says that if it's cold, one needs to wear warm clothes and perhaps spare yourself from being chilled by staying indoors. My "meteorologist" spent 5 minutes passing on this advice.

What a softball story. A piece on those who had to be outside working, or a report on those without shelter would have been better. The average viewer, I guess, doesn't want to see that. The weather bunny describing the agony of uncomfortable pedestrians is about all the human tragedy that the 6 o'clock viewers can handle.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Enough with Jihads, already!

I see that bin Laden called for still another Jihad on Israel. I think he's gone to the well way too many times. Yes bin Laden, by all accounts, is a very, very, very bad man, and in his mind's eye isn't screwing around. If not him, we still have to be wary of the the multiple thousands who buy into his program. But, c'mon! How many Jihads are active right now? The man has lost all sense of the dynamics it takes to be an international menace. I'm assuming Jihads are equivalent to Defcon 1. If we were on Defcon 1 or red alert every time someone vaguely insulted our country, folks would stop paying attention. If we were on multiple Defcon 1s, wouldn't that be exponentially redundant?

This has to be annoying to his devout followers. No specific instructions or any semblance of a PLAN has been forwarded. Just the cry of, "Jihad!" What's an al Qeada member to do if he / she is stuck in a backwater town miles from Israel? I guess symbolically launching an RPG, firing his AK-47 into the air, or talking the neighborhood kids into blowing themselves up can be done to show support, but that's the extent of it. I doubt if the hatred of Zionists by these guys is any greater than before this estimated 763rd Jihad was declared. The part -time terrorist has to be saying, "Another Jihad? I was there for the last 16. I'm tired, get someone else this time. " The casual jihadi by now may have sold his weapons for something useful like maybe - food?

This looks to be a desperate plea for attention for Osama bin Laden. He watches CNN from his hideout and sees that yesterday's news, Sarah Palin, gets more press than he does. That has to be eating at him. Someone needs to whack this guy so he can get the ultimate headline he so richly deserves.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Something was amiss

I couldn't quite figure why today didn't go very well. It was one of those days that I accomplished very little, yet I didn't rest. Out of sync, I was.

The reason? No morning newspaper. That was just enough to get me out of my rhythm. The 30 minutes spent reading while eating a small breakfast didn't happen. I skipped breakfast mainly because the toaster oven which warms my raisin muffins caught on fire yesterday. No oven. No breakfast. No need for the paper. I only noticed that it wasn't delivered until later in the day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Yer gonna love my nuts."

As a service to those who have yet to catch the new Vince commercial:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Surviving the Internets

One of my post retirement ventures was to offer computer consulting. It was akin to being a paramedic who fainted at the site of blood. The horrors I encountered had me waking up abruptly in a cold sweat. Fifty two "New Folders" on the desktop, printer queues backed up with hundreds of jobs, broken installations, bad or missing device drivers. . . pass the Xanax, please.

Computers I can fix, but unless I fixed the user, the problems would come back and somehow it was my fault that the computer was broken again. I had to be blunt and suggest that the user had no business having a computer, let alone venturing out on the Internet.

OK. So you have properly installed antivirus, spyware blocker , and other security features. You may have resisted clicking on ads that say you get something free or are a prize winner. Good for you.

But now we get this. We get folks passing on misinformation via bulk e-mails and then others spreading the contents via word of mouth. I tend not to believe any of it, but once in a great while, my dear Patti comes home with a tale that I poo-poo that actually turns out to be true. Mostly though, it's one of those false you-can-get-cancer-from ________rumors that are floating around that she reports. As it turns out, testicular cancer is not a high risk to those who scratch their balls in public. I make it a point to check the facts.

Folks, do me a favor and go to before telling me that Obama is going to be sworn in on the Quran, or a guy on the other side of town had his kidney stolen in Las Vegas, or that drinking Visine will cause diarrhea.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Back to the gym

The money I'm saving by pulling the plug on HBO and Showtime is going in going into monthly fees for a fitness center. I was a member before, but after going religiously for months, my attendance dropped off to the equivalent of going only on Christmas and Easter.

My excuse was that that equipment there was faulty. The pulse monitors were not picking up a my heart rate. So why not get free exercise from cutting the grass or walking the dogs? I quit. The dogs run away when they see the leash, and I paid a kid down the street to mow the lawn on days when the temperature was above 80 degrees or I had better things to do like watch HBO and Showtime.

Long story, but the equipment at the exercise place wasn't bad. It was me. Somehow, despite normal blood pressure , cholesterol levels and such, I acquired atrial fibrillation and the monitors couldn't dial in my heart rate. The malady went on without symptoms for a year or so before it was discovered during a colonoscopy. (Talk about thorough! No, actually the vital signs machine picked up the irregularity) Now, a couple of pills per day overcomes any problems caused by the chronic condition. I also kicked a life long caffeine habit for good measure and have paid for the meds by passing up more salty snacks and other I-don't-really-need-to-be-eating-this-at-one a.m. foods. The third ugly head of the beast is lack of exercise. My thumbs have never been stronger from flipping channels, but unfortunately they represent the fittest part of my body.

My iPod touch will help get me through the boring workouts as will the occasional hottie that comes in to get even more trim. My friend, Ron, and I think the treadmills should have a TV monitor showing a woman with a nice butt running ahead of you. If you maintain a good pace you can see her clearly, if not she runs out of viewing range. Odd, but Patti doesn't like the idea. Why not? If it gets the desired result, who's to quibble?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cash Cow milked tonight.

I have little interest, if at all, in tonight's Big Game. "What big game is that?", you ask. I'm told that Florida is playing Oklahoma for a so-called national championship of American football. I'm not here to poop all over some one's fun. I'm sure there are a number of folks in Gainsville, Florida and Norman, Oklahoma who are putting their lives on hold to see the game. Good for them. If Notre Dame or Indiana happened to be in this game, I would be more enthused. Indiana, because it's my alma mater and Notre Dame, because I was raised in South Bend. I figure locals and students should appropriately go crazy and enjoy the game.

What I don't like is the reality of college sports. It boils down to a place of learning sponsoring a professional team in order to raise money through TV revenue and alumni contributions. What results is exploitation of the student body. This includes the players given only a scholarship for a chance to earn a diploma. Many of the student-athletes would not qualify for admission under normal circumstances and are left with a few credit hours and are ill-trained for anything but football. How about the high school valedictorians across the nation who can't afford to go to school? Face it. Of two students at a particular high school, the star athlete has a better chance to be granted a full scholarship than the top student. The student not participating in sports gets no perks from the sports program. They get no tutors. They get no reduction in tuition. Their professors are paid a small fraction of the head football coach's salary.

The debate about this game is whether or not it determines the national champion. Should there be a playoff system? Give me a break. The game is basically won or lost by the college that is stupid enough to throw the most money at coaches, sports facilities, and bogus scholarships for athletes. If Oklahoma University wins, does that make it the best school in the nation? Of course not. Is the team the best football team in the land ? No. There are 32 NFL teams that are better. Besides this, the purity of amateur sports is lost.

I hope it's a good game and the students, locals, and players have a rewarding experience, because that's all they have to gain.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dead Horse Beaten

The History Channel used to show programs about history. You could actually learn something on The Learning Channel, and I haven't discovered anything new * lately on the Discovery Channel. I have heard enough about the following topics:

Asteroids and comets hitting the Earth.
Haunted houses
The Titanic
Templar Knights

How about new footage and topics that weren't inspired by popular movies?

* Isn't that redundant - Aren't all true discoveries new? And while I'm at it - What's up with past history?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pass It On.

I know. Just linking up to stuff on one's blog and calling it content does not make for a strong entry. This, I guess, is not a strong entry. I came across two items that were pants peeing funny.

One was called to my attention by Attack of the Show on G4. Prerequisite is that you have watched The Price is Right.

The other is right from The Onion. You need to make this a regular stop during an Internet session. That way I can avoid recycling jokes.

In other news - it was a ferial day. Most of it was spent dicking around with my new phone, trying out the features and loading in wallpapers and ring tones. Although I ran a few errands and cooked dinner, I did little to help my fellow man or improve the quality of life on our planet.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No Movies for Old Men

Patti went to a movie last night with her girlfriends. It was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It looked sappy and besides the Colts were on, and I stayed home to watch the game. (ugh) The last movie I saw in a theatre was The Simpsons Movie, In this case, the couples split up with the ladies going to Hairspray.

I have enjoyed few recent films at home like No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. I thought Juno, American Gangster, and Talk To Me were worth watching.

Even so, keeping HBO and Showtime alive with no Weeds episodes or good fights in the near future could not be justified. The question remains: When will I go to a theatre again?

I'd go out to see movies if there were private screenings. I am easily tweaked by talkers, loud popcorn chewers, big headed,tall people who sit up straight in their seats, and seat kickers. This can be avoided by a weekday matinee, but going alone may give people the impression that I may masturbate during the film. Patti is usually at work.

Patti and I have trouble finding a movie we can both enjoy enough to pay full price for. The Movies 8 theatre is getting run down and I don't think they have cleaned the seats for 9 years - so that's out.

I don't care for comic book movies and Pixar stuff as a rule. I had a notion to see a 3D IMax feature, but the mummy film (sans mummies) supposedly sucked. Jim Carrey films are out as are other comedies that will be on DVD within days of their release. The rest seem to be directed toward the taste of ladies. I hear tales of some one's mate going to these types of films and liking them thus I should like them too, but I won't fall for that bullshit anymore. Patti can go with her friends . To be fair, I don't force her to see a movie that I might like. There are two possibilities coming soon and I'm sure she would only go if I included a big dinner and a $19 drink at the theatre. I'd also owe her a trip to see a girly movie in the future.

I want to see:

I don't see Patti liking either one. Will I visit the movie theatre in January? I'll probably go for 4 hours of Che as it is unlikely to be shown regularly on TV.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

120 HD Channels

120 HD Channels, my ass.

Dish network makes this claim, but I only count about 50 or 60. My locals come OTA and are not provided by Dish. This makes the count closer to 50. Many, in fact - most, of the 120 claimed are not available in my area. Of those available to me 10 are for pay per view movies.

So don't sign up for cable, Dish, or Direct TV and expect all those HD programs. Don't even expect that large quantity of SD shows either. Half of those seem to be religion stations or some sort of home shopping network. I think they even include channels that tell you what's on the other channels.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Vince Revisited.

I kind of like the ShamWow guy, now. In fact, I'm a fan. The commercial seems to gaining recognition and is destined to be an essential element of today's pop culture. I watch it every time it comes on. I feel bad that I ripped on poor Vince earlier. Sure the product is nothing but the chamois that has been around for years, but Vince does a great job providing the proper exploitation. He talks 90 miles a minute without pause or mistake.
Vince has given us a few quotable lines:

"You followin' me, Camera Guy?"

"I don't know? It sells itself"

"You know Germans always make good stuff."

If you don't know who Vince is, then you need to watch much more television! Say you're at a fancy dinner party or the inaugural ball. Vince is likely to come up in the conversation. You don't want to be caught off guard and let your ignorance seep into the room.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Back to Our Regular Programming

Don't get me wrong. Holidays are nice. The stretch between Christmas and New Year's Day provides at least a week of nice.

Now it's time to move on. Time to get back to the daily routine. Time to put the house back into a functional state. Time to put away the Christmas tree and the ancillary holiday decorations. Time to digest gifts into their rightful place. Time to get out and shop for needful things. Time to fill my schedule with productive activities.

No more Christmas songs for another year. No more kisses beginning with Kay. No more Trans Siberian Orchestra. The constant parade of turkey, ham and pastries peters out. The Salvation Army bell ringers leave their posts. It's over, because it's over.

I like January. I'm retired, but everyone else has to get back to work making me happy. Television networks air new episodes again. Businesses are running at full speed again. People are refreshed and give their best effort for the next few weeks. No annoying holidays like Valentine's Day occur this month. Sure, it's cold, but these are good days to stay at home. Most seem to be partied out. Cabin fever doesn't set in until after the Super Bowl.

Some folks just won't let go. Their outdoor decorations stay up for weeks on end. Santa Claus still comes on my TV and makes his own Capital One credit card. The lines at the Wal-Mart return desk remain long. The holiday kiosks and failed businesses hang on for one last month in order to move their remaining inventory. These vestiges can be easily ignored and we can go happily about the business of life without the support of holiday cheer.