Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ebay Scumbags trying to Exploit V-Tech

Found this article today, about two college students that purchased tickets to the Peach Bowl 4 months ago on Ebay, from Seung Hui Cho. His Ebay name was released and somebody, apparently many somebodies, back tracked the transaction through his Ebay history. The two students were notified of their connection to the psychopath by these Ebay detectives, and have found themselves in a pinhole spotlight.

The big question now, what do they do with the ticket stubs? Somebody has already offered them $75 for them and want to get in contact. What kind of person wants this?

On their behalf, the two students have mentioned auctioning them off themselves only to donate to charity, but the whole thing stinks. Not to mention the guy poses with the tickets like some big game hunter on his catch Does the bidding start here, this quickly for the droppings of that murdering piece of shit?

My vote: Burn it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

DVR Tragedies

I'm fairly new to the whole DVR/Tivo thing. In fact, I still usually just call it Tivo, and don't much care if it isn't or if that's the wrong thing to say. So what? If you say Tivo, everyone knows you mean recordable TV, right? Yeah, so everyone should get it.

We've had ours now for about a year, and have slowly let it change the way we watch anything. For instance, more than not I will wait for a show to be over or at least several minutes running to start watching it, and be able to scan thru the ads. I've also found that some shows I just let run and inhale like any other television, instead of being bothered to FF thru the ads. Our unit has a glitch that makes speeding thru them a pain sometimes anyways, going into loops so it seems like you are FF-ing forever.

What it's great for is getting the two of us together to watch the stuff we like, but lately, especially Mondays, there are so many programs on at one time that even with DVR getting two stations at a time and two different time zones to choose and record from, we have problems.

So tonight I actually had to go downstairs and watch the Cubs game because the unit had to turn to a station to start recording our late run of programs. I can't help but laugh at myself about that. This has to be some milestone.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Great Turtle Race - it's fun to be Green

I'm thinking of myself as a Green person today. I can blame it on the weather that has let me be outside most of the weekend, getting a garden ready, fence fixing, and landscaping, or just say flat out that I often at least try to be better to the environment. I guess I'm just lazy about it, but if it doesn't involve a lot of extra hassle or money, I will do what's best for the environment.

Online for promotion and fun is The Great Turtle Race, I first read about it on somebody else's feed, can't remember which one, sorry, but have gotten into it enough to be a permanently opened tab for the duration. Sure, it's just a little animated graphic, attached to a lot of literature about why Sea Turtles are endangered, but it's fun, and they're right, if a little tedious. Environmental protection and cleanup is a big snore, but watching this mock race across an ocean by a dozen sea turtles is oddly entertaining.

Someone slapped GPS monitors on these Sea Turtles, presumably while they were wintering in Costa Rica, and they are being followed, supposedly with ten minute updates at times, on the web by the world to promote their cause. You can even register and cheer one of them on, such as Stephanie Colburtle, the current leader.

There are a ton of links and information about the Turtle's plight on the web site, but I feel obligated to share at least this one

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thank God You're Here - and you don't suck.

Thank God You'reHere - Fill-in programming that doesn't suck

It's once again that time of the television season where we are getting fill-in programming,and luckily it can't all be Deal or No Deal. The first one I've actually checked out is Thank God You're Here.

Thank God You're Here is a mix of What's My Line, and SNL. They write skits, with several actors playing pre-written plots, and drop in an actor who is sworn in before the show as to having seen no script, scene, or costume until they are given them, to wing their own part. Guided Improv, with name actors and celebrities that are either going to make you laugh or stub out what is left of their usually dwindling careers.

They have some near top-shelf names, Jason Alexander for one, and a lot of other character actors and celebrities, mostly B(or C)-list, who you know when you see them. It's hosted by David Alan Grier with Dave Foley as a mock judge ala Drew Carey. He gives lightly weighted comments and picks the best each night to win a token trophy, which I am sure goes up next to the Emmies and Oscars these actors don't have.

To hear the premise, this show sounds like a train wreck, but for the first four episodes it works. Most of these people are really funny, and it shows through. The Malcom in the Middle Dad, Bryan Cranston, was especially good. The skit in the photo on the right, with Harland Williams was one of the best, though I barely recognize the guy. and there have been other standouts too. Even Shannon Elizabeth managed to get some laughs. The supporting cast that they work the skit with is very good and the scenes are wide open for someone to improv through.

I'd love to see this showed ramped up a little bit, say, bring in a spoiler each week, one of the acknowledged pro's at improv, Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles, or their other cohorts from "What'sMy Line," the change-up could do both sides good.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Felix Pie : A Slice of Optimism

Am I having a Tuffy Rhodes moment?

I don't know for sure, of course it will take a season or more to know, but I am quite happy about what I saw happen for the Cubs yesterday in center field. Felix came in and acquitted himself quite nicely. Though it's been pointed out he batted only .167, those were an important 167 points, helping rally the Cubs to tie. Then, he made a throw from the outfield to home plate that threw out the go ahead run for the Padres and eventually got the Cubs into extra innings.

He didn't throw the Cubs on his back and carry them to victory, but he wasn't overwhelmed. Seeing this kid in uniform, in Wrigley Field, makes me feel all better, and almost able to ignore that our high-priced offensive arsenal went 14 innings without being able to score more than three runs. These are all things that Lou Piniella can and will address, and though I know he can't go over the top about Pie, the performance was not lost on someone as savvy as Lou.

Read the rest

Cho Seung-Hui, Poster Boy for Censorship or Bureacratic Failure?

Cho Seung-Hui, I won't commit his name to memory or learn to pronounce it, but everyone knows who he is, at least for a month or two, the psychopath that killed more than 30 people in Blacksburg Virginia, on the Virginia Tech campus.

As this tragedy is dissected in the national media, including the countless times this man/boy slipped through the grasp of safeguards in place to stop just such a thing happening, one thing jumps out at me; the way his writings are being used to bias a national public.

After this outrage, after the bodies are buried and grieving has been faced, will the only time we hear this sick, murderer's name be when some politician wants to advocate their issue on gun control or on censorship?

I've read the two plays that are up on AOL, they are bad. Yes, they are violent, but mostly they are just bad. In hindsight we can all say that they foreshadowed his actions, but it is not a direct line between violent, demented writing and killing spree.

Read the rest

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bullfighting - Sometimes the Bull Wins

I know almost nothing about Bullfighting, outside of the depiction in childhood cartoons and the occasional clip that appears on TV. This is surely because of what it is and that in general it is purged from the mainstream. The cruelty of it is shielded from the general public and not allowed to be glorified either.

Still, though I knew about it in general, I did not realize that sometimes the Bull wins. There is video of one Bull victory, but yesterday another incident occurred that can have the Bulls chalking up another mark. I don't mean to be insensitive, especially because this time, they got a teenager. Apparently, this 14 year old left Spain to fight Bulls in Mexico at his young age, and nearly got himself killed.

Public outcry has amped up even more, and I wonder, are the animal rights activists cheering for the Bull? It says in the article that the teenager had earned the right through several victories over his two years of bullfighting to cut the ears off of a defeated bull. WTF? Like I said, I knew little to nothing about the sport, but there can be nothing right about this teenager getting "carried several yards with a Bull's horn in his thorax and his lungs punctured." All reports that I have read seem optimistic about his recovery. Does the bull get his ears?

Okay, that was mean. Sorry. It should be his father's ears. Apparently, the Darwin Awards theory missed his father by allowing him to reproduce, to his son's misfortune.

Why I Want the Olympics to be in Chicago

Chicago Olypic IconGrowing up nearly oblivious to Sports, and I guess that is saying that the Cubs don't count, I always knew about the Olympics. Every four years, Winter and Summer, I watched, along with everyone else in the neighborhood. I watched Ray Leonard win Gold with my Grandpa, one of the first and only things I ever got to share with him, and when I went to Germany for two years, I had something to cheer about on the televisions and against my German friends, nothing quite like having something to rub in or get rubbed in to make sure you are actually friends. Being in Europe for that one Olympics also made me realize just how seriously the international community takes it.

Moly's First WalkNow they are trying to get the 2016 Olympics in Chicago, and I am very excited about the prospect, because in 2016 my daughter will be nine years old, and to be able to take her to an Olympics game would be as special as anything I can think of.

Already, the traditional grumps are out. Talking about the traffic congestion, the constant media hype that will not stop, and how it will throw the city into debt. All of these issues are not enough to ruin my thoughts of taking my daughter into the city to see the spectacle of the Olympics. To realize that an entire world has sent it's best to compete. To see the greatest athletes of whatever sport she may admire compete, and to experience this with her Mom and Dad. It beats the Hell out of Disney world or the County Fair.

Hopefully, the Olympic committee will come through next year and make this Olympic bid a reality. Along with my dreams of spending countless precious moments with my daughter, downtown Chicago, watching it all.

The Dresden Files - Season review

Harry and FriendsHarry Potter doesn't wholly appeal to me. It's come around a little later in my life, and though the child in me wants to like it because of the fantastic worlds and magic-themed stories, I just can't help but look at these kids and think that very soon they will be shaving and making bad "coming of age" movies, then playing secondary characters on second-tier sitcoms. Of course, that's a whole different avenue and I'm not here to put down the Harry Potter kid. I'm here to talk about Harry Dresden.

I found a new way of looking at the Sci-Fi channel that has me watching more than a few hours of their porgramming lately, a nostalgic theme. I see the movies they usually offer and am reminded of my afternoons as a youngster, tuning into WFLD ch. 32 in Chicago for the Saturday Afternoon Sc--Fi Block, Godzilla, Gamara, and Kung-Fu. The Sci-FI Updates to that Genre are bearable, but make me realize that I'm tired of that formula.

I got pulled into the Dresden Files pretty easily. Despite being disappointed by most series I saw on the Sci-Fi Channel, I decided to check it out one night. Saving it to the DVR and figuring ti would be better to watch sometime than what I end up scanning through some other times. Now I have it on automatic recording and have developed an opinion about the series itself.

It's fun. I like the constantly grungy Dresden and still appreciate the weekly hot female they bring in along with the other supporting characters. It's not high mission television, it is just good entertainment. It remminds me more of "The Night Stalker," than the actual remake of the Night Stalker, which I could not get into, and it isn't so deeply plotted that you have to get the season on DVD to follow the plotlines. There are some plot strings throughout the series, but mostly you get one story per episode, with the big three, beginning, middle, and ending.

Last Sunday night was the Season Finale. I'm not really sure about the status of this show for next year, but Sci-Fi channel being what it is, they will be airing this season's episodes quite often I am sure, and probably bring it back. They should.

Most Internet buzz I have found so far is about the books, which are of course lauded as superior, but I don'tHarry and Murphy know about that yet. Fans of a book series seem to usually hate the video adaptations, but if the books are so much better, I am checking them out. One things the television series does is bring some orignality to the old cop show formula. Harry's recurring partner in crime-solving, Murphy, is a Police Detective that keeps landing cases that need Harry's special abilities. Slowly she keeps finding out about the world of magic and Harry's place in it, something against the rules of what serves as Harry's governing board, the High Council. This is one of the plot strings and so far Murphy is the only female that Harry is involved with that is recurring.

The tone of the show is just a notch below camp, not taking itself too seriously but not being overly melo-dramatic or throwing out dialogue that just makes you groan with incredulity. It's nice to have something like this that doesn't make you have to deal with Charmed or Buffy and their luggage.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Take Down Imus - Check ...Next?

It was an inglorious process, anybody celebrating the fall of Don Imus has missed the point as mush as he does himself. How it went from a stupid, insensitive comment on an obscure cable show to the nightly, news scrolling, cross platform beating that it was has been well chronicled, even I jumped in a little bit, because I didn't think that dragging his comments out into the public eye was good for anyone.

Am I glad he got fired? I'm indifferent.

He was less than a blip on my own radar, coming into my zone only slightly before the public put him in their cross-hairs. There are much worse people saying worse things out there, but he definitely had no business saying what he did. I'm glad those girls got to show the country they were not what he called them, and I'm glad that has been called to national attention.

Now I see some media people trying to throw others under the bus with them. One is Jay Mariotti(wiki), writer, Chicago loudmouth, and sometimes "Around the Horn" guest/host. I'm really not sure if he is on television anymore, because I definitley don't seek him out. He has a tired act in Chicago, acting like the Rosie O'Donnell of the Midwest by picking fights with everyone. There is a hater web-site that carefully chronicles Jay's misploits. What I did catch, was his Sun-Times column where he tries to lump Chicago radio personality Mike North of Chicago's sportstalk station, 670 the Score, in with Imus and the recently exiled Pacman Jones and Chris Henry. It is an undisguised hatchet-job on North, who didn't ask for or deserve it, but he can take the shots.

Speaking of which, he took another shot in the tribune from Ed Sherman for his Friday morning interview with Jesse Jackson, who wanted to grab one last bit of spotlight before he goes home to wait for the next 'national crisis' he needs to speak about. I nearly changed the station hearing that he was coming on, because I'm tired of the 'Jesse Jackson Show', but I'm glad I listened to most of it.

The interview is available online at the Score's web site if anyone else wants to hear it now, but this is what I took away from it. Jesse came on, I guess he insisted on doing the interview face to face with North, and wanted to talk about how he had helped rid the country of another evil man, and helped the cause of equality, and North made him work for it.

Very quickly, Mike North switched from the topic of Don Imus to that of the Duke Lacrosse Team, and tried to hold Jackson accountable for his condemnation of the accused boys now that they have been cleared. Jackson tried to wiggle of the hook, but North made it stick for a while. Mike North is not Mike Wallace, but he held up for some time.

In the end, we did get some of Jesse's personal agenda over the air, but I have to admit, that once he gets past his sensationalized sound bites, Jesse has valid things to say, if not original. He admitted that he actually felt sorry for Imus, who is now national media roadkill, but never admitted much of what he said about the Duke boys, though it is on videotape.

As for North, he came away even better in my eyes, because rough edges and all, he remained true to the image he portrays, which I really think is actual, and did whatever he could to pin down one of the most slippery politicians of his generation. I don't hold it against him that he didn't quite nail him down.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SMODCAST - Hanging out with Kevin Smith


I've fallen behind the times, near critically. There has to be a juncture in which a person realizes that he or she is so detached from anything that is current that they give up and content themselves with the way of life they had grown comfortable with. You really don't have to change with the times if you don't want to, to put it in programming terms, going about your business is backward compatible. Sure you can pay your bills online and get just about everything else, but how many people still make sure they mail everything off?

My Dad, now gone, refused to use answering machines, or own a cell phone. How many people are there like that walking around that you don't even give a single thought to? Cell phones themselves are a cultural divide, now compounded with texting, camera phones, and MP3 players. At some point, everyone comes around a little, but it wasn't too long ago that the phone in my grandparents house was so important that we turned down the television and all sat in hushed silence as Grandpa answered.

All this just to say that I just recently discovered Podcasts. Yea yea yea, I know, but I have always and still do listen to a lot of talk radio, sports talk radio. I like music just fine, but after a while the songs start repeating, no matter what station you listen to, and none of them play the off the chart stuff I like. I started listening to Podcasts because I get tired of Sports talk radio too, or at least certain hosts that only grate on my nerves, adn sometimes you can't get good radio reception out here in the sticks.

The first Podcast I've found I can just sit back and listen to, often entertained and rarely annoyed, is Smodcast, with Kevin Smith and Scot Mosier. Everyone knows who Kevin Smith is, Scot Mosier is in his movies too, but I'm not sure who he is. I'm just not enough of a fan I guess, but listening to these two guys talk, I don't think it will bother either one of them for me to write that.

It's not a crazy zoo atmosphere, it's just the two of them talking, and they are funny a lot of the time. Just Kevin Smith's sheer openness helps things along, but he is a little too obsessed with homosexuality sometimes. Every Smodcast, at this point there are 9, at some point covers some homo-erotic episode or comparison, and though there's nothing wrong with that, it gets tedious.

5 Minutes to Kill Yourself - A Game

Found this game on the blog, a Fiend's Folio, looking at sick pictures of a spider bite. Apparently this guy's Dad got bit in his backyard in AZ, and it looks bad.

The game, 5 Minutes to Kill Yourself from Adult Swim, is good old office fun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Parkour - French for OUCH!!

Parkour - French for OUCH!!

Watching Casino Royale and most of the Jackie Chan movies, I was familiar with what Parkour looked like, but I had no idea there was a name for it. Before reading an article in the New Yorker, by way of, I just thought it was crazy-ass chase sequences and jumping.

Apparently, some french guy named David Belle decided to give a name for his jumping and climbing around on building. The name came from a friend of his,derived from the names for some obstacle courses,and he went on to give names to several maneuvers like climpbing up walls and jumping over railings. There is a very well done Wiki page with a glossary of terms, and if you just want to watch it, click on the videos in the side bar, below, or search Parkour in Youtube believe me, it is entrancing to watch, and I am so very glad I didn't have something like this to encourage my friends and I into doing more of this crazy shit than we actually figured out on our own.

Luckily, I stopped at riding my bike off of garage roofs, jumping off silos and tv antenna towers at the farm. This could have taken me to a whole new level.I guess I just didn't have the imagination for it.

Don Imus and his circus - One Last Time

The media bubble is nearly at his fullest around the ignorance of Don Imus. He has channeled some pathetic, humbled, spirit to make his continuing watered down apologies, once again missing the point.
"I'm not thinking it's a racial insult that's being uttered at somebody at the time. It's in the process of trying to rap and be funny." he said. But he added, "I wish I hadn't said it. I'm sorry I said it."

He has been suspended for two weeks and made a slew of new statements, looking and sounding very defeated. He put himself in the Dunce chair for Al Sharpton. After years of making fun of buffoons in the media, he is one. Am I the only on that sees the justice in this, despite being annoyed with it?

The only way that he really goes away is if people stop listening to him. I have met one person that listens to Don Imus, a hospital patient transplanted from the east coast that had him on MSNBC every morning. I liked the patient but never found enough interesting to listen to or watch Don Imus. So why have I wrote about him three times? Because of the media circus it has turned into, and as I said originally, before, just his viewers knew what he said, now the whole country knows. If I was a parent, I would be asking every media outlet why it is okay for them to REPEAT his comments over and over. Hold him accountable, and move on.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Usual Suspects Gather Up for Imus' head

Nobody can sniff a headline for Jesse Jackson, even if he isn't as quick as he used to be. The Reverend Jackson is planning a protest against Don Imus and his ignorance in Chicago now. The Rev. Al Sharpton has also stepped up, Imus will be on Sharpton's radio program, letting the whole region be a bug on the wall.

Imus' apology misses the point for me, he still doesn't get it.
"Here's what I've learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve it,"
- Don Imus on his radio show," courtesy

Sorry Don, to me it's not that they don't deserve it, nobody deserves it. If you can't find a better way to have fun with a subject(s), move to the next topic.

Worse to me is the bandying about that has come in response to him. Does Jesse Jackson have a strategic protest plan laid out in his office, a council that comes in the minute that race gets into a headline? Being from the Chicago area, I'm tired of him jumping on every bandwagon he can find. I'm not black, but I was offended. Now, I'm just irritated with the what was probably inevitable media blow-up around the simple, stupid, wrong comment.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Charlotte's Web - DVD review

Charlotte's Web - A Good Cry (if you're into that)

Some movies you see in such a distorted context that it's unfair to judge them, but I'll do it anyway."Charlotte's web came out last summer, just as I had learned about my child's impending birth. No matter who you are, news like that changes you, at least it better. Six months before, seeing that they were making a live film adaptation of one of my favorite children's books and animated movies, and I would have shaken my head at the thought of another needless remake.

After all, it's been a long time, but wasn't the cartoon enough. I remember that it made my little sister cry, and that it's about Charlotte the Spider and Wilbur the pig, and well, that's been a while ago.It was mostly memorable because it made my little sister cry, in a good way. Then we saw the trailer at another movie, and we both said that we just had to go see that when it came out, and we didn't. We ended up seeing it now as it is just out for rental.

This new version didn't stink or make me rue the day that movie producers realized they can try to do anything with CGI these days, it was enjoyable. It was also puffed out a little bit to be a feature length film,and not hurt by that. The voices behind the animals were adequate, but nobody was really allowed to jump out. The pig was cute,and Charlotte wasn't completely creepy. One thing that was annoying was the rat.It was a little unsettling that he seemed to have free reign over the world, dancing in slop, buttermilk baths(ewww), and cotton candy machines. Are they saying that Rat's are everywhere?

All of that said, it was fun. I laughed a little, wasn't terribly bored, and my girlfriend got in a good cry. That will surely be what I take away from this version of the story. Until I watch it with my daughter.

This is a movie that's worth watching, you can rent it now, but it is one fo those movies that will quickly be in the rotation on cable so you can wait to see it then. Just be careful, if you're trying to set a mood for your date, girlfriend, or other that is not weepy and sad, might want to watch something else. If she makes you watch it, keep the kleenex close and be the big shoulder.

Don Imus Makes A Stupid Comment - Why Do we Have to Keep Hearing It?

Don Imus Makes A Stupid Comment - Why Do we Have to Keep Hearing It?

On the radio this week, radio and sort-of-television morning personality Don Imus made a stupid, sexist, racist, insensitive comment. I won't repeat it because then I am just feeding the machine, even more than writing this column. If you haven't heard it,or read the transcript, a quick search at all the regular media outlets will get it for you. He crossed the line, even with someone like me that completely disdains political correctness. If I'd been listening to him, I might have just shaken my head and changed the station, thinking that once again I should have known better than to listen to him.

That's what everyone should do when they hear something like that coming out of the mouth of people that they allow to clutter their morning sounds. Turn him off, tune him out. More radio disc jockeys get run off for poor ratings than for poor taste. And when he says something like this, though Imus is surely far past being a shock jock in these days, he has achieved the same results.

Now there is buzz about him, ESPN is running a full segment of the clip on Sportscenter, which means that not only did he say it, it is echoing through the halls of todays media. As I said, it is everywhere on the web, it is all over the major news outlets, why is it okay to repeat something that was so offensive in the first place? They cloak it in self-righteousness, yet repeat the offending phrases for millions more to hear.

How about handling it like this, "In other news, if you feel like hearing an ignorant old man display just how little he cares what anyone else thinks is offensive, tune in to Don Imus, but seriously, don't waste your time." Instead, Rutgers head coach Vivian Stringer has lashed back and surely soon the usual suspects will step up to a podium somewhere to get their own names attached to the outrage. Or maybe just start an equally ignorant, low rung rumor to counter.

What he's saying is the kind of ignorant prattle you can get down at the dumpy tavern on the corner or at the drill press in your local sweat shop, and it should be left there.

What makes it okay for ESPN to replay it so many times?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Steve Stone for Cubs (Senior Advisor to the Owner)!!

Throughout this week, after realizing that Mark Cuban owning the Cubs is less than a pipe dream, it took a column in the Sun-Times to make me realize who I was forgetting about that I should want to be in control of the Cubs.
  • Who is the voice that I home in on any time he is on a radio program talking baseball? (Well, this might be a negative because I know he definitely won't be doing that as much)
  • Who is a deep, Cubbie Blue blooded Cubs fan?
    • He would have gone somewhere else after getting run out of the booth if he weren't. You can't tell me there are jobs elsewhere for Andy Maser and not Steve Stone.
  • Who has the baseball and Cubs organization knowledge needed to do the job right?
Read the rest on my Cubs Blog

Thursday, April 05, 2007

American Idol: One more Post

Alright, I can't let yesterday's post go without now commenting on what happened last night. I guess this happens every season, but this time it happened while I was close to a keyboard. Last night they kicked off a girl that I liked, ahead of several others that deserved it much more. So, Gina, tough luck, I'd say good luck when you come back to Illinois and continue singing with your band Catfight, but you made it far enough that you will be touring with American Idol and will get a chance to break through and do your own thing. One thing, you ARE a rocker chick, trying to fit into the AI mold is what hurt you, now welcome back to the real world, at least until the tour starts.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

American Idol: Yes I Watch It

Who doesn't watch American Idol? Like every other pop phenomenon or fad, there are more than a few that say they refuse to watch such a farce, and three-fourths of them actually don't. Simply, if you are skipping this, you're missing out, a little.

For me, it is almost parallel viewing. As something that is on the television that is usually on while I am reading, writing, watching, my computer, American Idol does fairly well. It never gets so annoying that I change the channel, and that is a win. The very first season, coming on after Seinfeld repeats on Chicago's Fox channel, I found myself long minutes into the show without the urge to actually change the channel. If this is the epitome of laziness, so be it, but I ended up watching the whole damn thing, and have missed only two seasons since.

I even promised one blog that I would write about it for them. In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't try to do that, because though it isn't annoying, I don't want to analyze it too much. What is good about American Idol is it's simplicity. It's very often just a karaoke contest, with Simon Cowell saying the things that the country is thinking. Anyone that doesn't admit that Simon is right on most of the time is delusional.

This season, one side plot is the survival of Sanjaya, darling of the teenage set. His bad singing has not overshadowed his appeal to the little girls, and he has outlasted several better singers already. Even the judges have acknowledged his durability, Simon won't criticize him for fear that will feed the flames of the online Vote For the Worst campaign.

In my opinion, Sanjaya highlights what is worst and best about the show. It is not a singing competition, it is a popularity contest. Taylor Hicks winning it last year solidifies that theory. He wasn't the best at all, but the best promoter of himself. At least Taylor could sing. Sanjaya winning this year might completely destroy the show.

Yet I watch. I can partially blame Lisa for this, but I manage to get out of the room when the other reality shows are playing. AI, I can stomach, and even find myself commenting on.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And the Train Takes Another...

There is a train track running straight through the heart of my hometown. Put there during the steel age it might once have been a center of commerce, a contact to the coast of Lake Michigan and all the wealth it brought to the mid-west through Chicago.
- the start of a the Steel Serpent

If you clicked the link above, or have read the story, or just know me. You know I've written about the Train before. I truly don't obsess about it, but I have observed others who do, and I often just have to stop and think about it as I watch the the story of the train continue.

I'm sure that every town, neighborhood, in every country, has their version of the train. In the Northwest it is the mountains, on the coasts it is the sea, but here in DeKalb, Illinois, it is the train that inordinately often takes away the unfortunate.

read the entire post

Monday, April 02, 2007

Meet the Robinsons - A Good Time

Saw Meet the Robinson's at the theatre this weekend and want to make sure I get this one on record. My first instincts about this movie, from early trailers, was dead-on. I thought, "Good, finally someone is going to put all of the great graphics and designs from "Robots," to better use. This is how this movie felt to me, very "Robots"-ish, but in all the good ways.

Being a connoisseur of kid's movie's, I enjoyed this one a lot. The effects are amazing, so very real looking and yet not crossing the threshold of being too close to real. I like my animated characters to be on the other side of the mirror, thanks. The story, complex for a younger kid, kept me following and there were a lot of neat things to look at. In the theatre, the kids all seemed to be kept interested, no aisle runners, and the adults, especially one lady behind us who laughed so hard that she got me through the slow spots, stayed involved too.

Generally, this one isn't quite as good as Happy Feet or the Shreks, but worth seeing in the theatre. The Shrek ratings system, under no pressure from anyone, has been dropped. It's just not quite as clever as it seemed.

Opening Day! New Manager, new OWNER, new team!

Over the last few years, bandied over the airwaves, blogs, and print media, it has been said that the sweetest four words of the year is the phrase, "PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT." I disagree, though it is a step in the right directions.

Spring training is simply that, training, and after more than a few games you quickly realize that he baseball being played there is as meaningless as minor league. It is the true mirage of the Arizona desert, very nice to look at but nothing when you bend to the fountain to drink. Look! I saw Derek Lee, he's leading the cactus league in RBI's... somewhere some very lonely, disillusioned man keeps track of those stats, but he is not heard from except for those few weeks that the teams return to the desert, or swamps for the east coasters.

Opening Day, Today, is truly when it is time for celebration. Today, everyone is in first place, even the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This is the sport whose season starts with the actual growing cycle of our continent for a reason. First day of baseball, first days of spring. It's like the beginning of the semester, everyone has an "A", everything is new and nice and never stops making me grin.

I can only wish good luck to all of the other teams starting their seasons, except for Cincinnatti of course, and hope that all the changes in the off-season come to fruition. I have a feeling that Lou will get the job done or else. The Cubs even get a new owner today , as I am typing this they are announcing the sale and I am getting details from the Mike North morning show(uh-oh).

Apparently the new owner, Sam Zell, already has interest in the White Sox and is expected to sell the Cubs right away. How's this for a Cub fan spin on the sale, even a Sox fan knows the Cubs are more valuable and liquid than the Sox. Honestly, I hope he has Mark Cuban on his speed dial.

Even more good news, it really looks like the Cubs are going to give Zambrano his money, enough to make him happy and save face in front of the other overpaid pitching free agents. The numbers being put out are 5 years and 80-85 million, ones that I can swallow much easier than those given to Soriano. I can see us starting to sweat in 3 or 4 years about getting his resigned again because I know "Z" will live up to this one. Soriano, well, I see us wondering why we are paying him so much towards the end of his deal but that is the going rate and he just might make us a great team now.

This post is also posted in my Cubs Blog, which I started because somewhere I read you should have a different blog for each topic, and I'd been writing post-long comments on too many other Cubs Blogs(Crawley's Cubs and BleedCubbieBlue [Check them out for spiffy lineups and better pics, you're welcome guys for all that extra traffic I'm sending your way, hope you have the bandwidth for it!]).