Thursday, June 19, 2008

Smodder's Day Put a Smile on My Face

Smodcast keeps me coming back. I like it, and I like Kevin Smith.

I'm not one of the frenzied followers that filled his message board with pleas to come back throughout the hiatus in the podcast release while he was filming Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but I check in every Monday or so and see if there's a new podcast to upload, because honestly, nothing goes better with morning workouts than listening to the world's premier couch potato talk about regular stuff with his best friends and family.

Since the hiatus, he quickly quashed any high expectations and fell into his old groove with his buddy Scot Mosier, and sorry Scot, still not sure which guy you are, but I like you as a voice and person. This is not a wait up until the minute you can upload it podcast, it's a nice way to spend half an hour or so when you can't do much else and beats tuning into MSNBC or something on the gym TV's.

Read more at the new blog area
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Moving Day - All the Eggs into another basket

Red-tailed HawkImage by jim270 via FlickrHello, this is the day I've been thinking about for a long time. Meta4worldz has always been a multi-faced, splattered, web site. Today, everything is getting moved to my own domain, using Wordpress(for now).

I'm hoping that those of you that drop in or find me will follow over there. Lets just pretend I go on to extoll the new features and everything else that will be available in my new realm. Surely it will be nice, but we have all heard that.

I'm not even going to say that I won't be updating here, but it's less likely, so if you're following, follow me on over.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Cannot End Like This

Maelstrom (Battlestar Galactica)Image via WikipediaIf you haven't seen the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica, and care, don't read this.

Otherwise, can you believe what they've gone and done?
Found earth? It's a husk, I'm guessing those remnants of buildings in the frozen foggy distance are New York and Manhattan. For a second, I thought that was the end, but then, thankfully, previews of a next episode.

The fact that the next episode does not air until next year, and that they called this latest episode a "mid-season" finale, does not in any way detract from how good it was. From the other column link, ti seems like everyone that follows this show is sued to the long layoffs between episodes, and the dysfunctional way of airing them that SciFi has.

This show, which I two years ago decided to catch up on with DVD's and start following week to week, continues to be riveting. I was prepared to be strung out for the entire season, as one by one, the final five were revealed, and then maybe, as the show ends, they set foot on earth, epic music plays to the cast stargazing to where they'd been from where they were always searching for.

But, NOPE. And I have no clue who the final Cylon is. I'm very impressed with this series and glad that I got on board to watch it crash land into it's final episodes, even if it will take them two or three years. Whatever happens, it won't be predictable.
HOLLYWOOD - JUNE 06:  (L-R) Actors Mark Sheppard, Lucy Lawless, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber, Katee Sackhoff and Edward James Olmos attend the

This cast and writer's have earned the right to go out in style, but if there is not another season of this show, I can't see how they can end it anytime soon, in episode time, not actual time, which has already been extended. At least a spin-off is in order, or maybe a full-feature movie.
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Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Summer, Time for Trash TV

The title ship from Battlestar Galactica, fully covered in greebles.Image via WikipediaWe already sat through the bad television of the writer's strike, but that doesn't mean that the summer course of garbage still won't be served. Looking to put up long hours of cheap programming for the dwindling summer eyeballs, the usual course of game shows and second tier reality shows.

Yes, I said Second Tier reality shows, coined that just now, all by myself, or from somewhere in my reading that I am unable to conjure. Until I hear different, that's my term. "America's Got Talent" defines second tier reality shows. This truly is the revived Gong Show. So bad, the girlfriend could watch it topless and I'm not going to be there.

Nearly as bad, Last Comic Standing, an at least decent premise as reality shows go, but so poorly handled that it's near unwatchable. They spend more time doing the obligational waiting line shots, something called the comedy booth, and backstage shots than they do with the stand up. And, they cut far too deep too fast, using celebrity judges that usually get it wrong.

In the same category as "America's Got Talent", "So You Think You Can Dance," is so bad I have to leave the immediate area if it is on. For some reason, the g/f can't get enough of the three judge, people backstabbing, formula. I get used up with it pretty quick.

I'm just happy that I have Rescue Me, a few more episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and Cubs Games to watch.
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Plurking, Pownce-ing or just Tweeting, what shall I do?

3Have to admit, I don't really understand what Twitter is good for, but I found myself liking it. I was first drawn in by the app, Twittervision, and found myself pulled in. Of course, there was more action on it when I got dragged in, all those long months ago. I've noticed lately, more from other blog posts about it than personally at first, that Twitter is less active, often doesn't work right, let's face it, it's just not Twittering like it used to. Apparently the swarm is moving along, due to mismanagement, and short attention spans. Hey, if you are going to cater to my crowd, don't be surprised when our time together is fleeting.

PownceStill, as fun as it was, what the hell is Twitter really for? I used it like an open IM, and even more so when I put the twitter widget on my blog. I used it just enough to be hooked, and I'm looking around now for a substitute, stepping out a little. So far, through other blogs and such, I've found Plurk and Pownce, and more than my initial use of Twitter, have jumped on board quicker. At this point, Plurk feels better and has put a few more interesting voices in my world.

I am meta4man on all 3 if anyone wants to track me, as if you couldn't guess.
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Monday, June 09, 2008

The White Sox Fan Chirping Begins

Chicago White SoxImage via Wikipedia
The Cubs don't want any part of the Sox right now.
-heard on WSCR, Mike North, this morning.
And the chirping begins. It's been a while, as the Sox struggled to stay above .500, apparently the line of demarcation is their ascendence to 10 games above the .500 mark. Congrats, Sox Fans, it's rareified air. Why can't you just enjoy it?

I know, because you're a White Sox fan. You get ahead in a bad division, (Yes, the division is bad. Let's all quit being stunned), made worse by injuries to your key rivals, and the first thing you do, take a shot at the Cubs.

To be frank, you would be in Third Place in our division, and you are exactly the type of flawed, puffed up team that we have made meals of this season. Read More
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Friday, June 06, 2008

If I Won Ten Million Dollars

Mega Millions logoImage via WikipediaAnother blog I linked up to thru Twitter put up a cool question, surely one of the generic but eternally interesting ones. Mega-Millions
What if you won ten million dollars?

Every one who buys a lottery ticket buys the chance to run down that pleasant mental lane, at least until they check the numbers. I wrote a song about it, long time ago, and posted it as a comment in that blog, as well as on my writing blog, and here.

Ten Million -

I actually wrote a song about it for a girl a long time ago when she told me that I would dump her if I won the lottery.

If I Won the Lottery

There’s a lot of things that I’d change in this world
But none of them have to do with you girl

There’re a lot of things that I would do
Baby all of them would still include you

I’d quit my job at the factory
Give my car and house away for free
I’m in love with you, You’re in love with me
None of that would change,
If I won the lottery

Baby Baby the day my ship comes in
We will never eat Mac and Cheese again
Never drive junk cars, Never wear old clothes
Never worry ’bout where my pocket change goes

We’d buy a house, no an estate
hundreds of acres of land behind a gate,
We’d stay up and party and sleep in late
That’s what I would change,
If I won the lottery

That’s what I got, not usually the type to leave prose in comments, but what can I say it’s in the moment.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

How to Know Your Password is Strong Enough

We are living in a world of passwords and usernames, one is getting simpler, the other is getting harder.
User names are no longer the exercise in clever letter play they use to be, as far as I can tell, most of us can get the name we want these days, with a minimal amount of added numbers or initials.
Passwords are a different story. These days, my old standby passwords don't quite pass muster, and as I continue to submit new variations, frustration brought about this revelation.

If you end up having to write it down, then your password just might be strong enough. Of course, you will lose that slip of paper, and have to get it reset, and the cycle goes on.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Four Reasons Iron Man is Cooler than Spiderman ..

Four Reasons Ironman is cooler than Spiderman and Four Reasons He Isn't - and a tiebreaker.

Now that the initial rush is over, it's time to assess the true validity of Ironman, now a movie star, and while I'm at it, let's compare him to his recent Marvel theater blockbuster counterpart, Spiderman.

In the Marvel series Civil War, Tony Stark and Peter Parker start out being buddies, and Tony trying to turn Peter into a corporate drone. He even started wearing s special Spidersuit that Tony made for him, with all kinds of big brother gadgets. Of course, that didn't last, and they put on a good fight in Amazing Spiderman #535.

In the theaters, despite Iron Man's good numbers so far, Spiderman is the grizzled veteran, with as many good movies made about him, arguably, as Superman. So, who's better?

Iron Man

Cooler Suit -
Without this, there is no point in going on, of course he has the cooler suit. And int the Movie, wow, they do a good job with it, there are only a few Power Ranger moments in this movie. Credit better CGI and John Favreau for doing that.

Cooler Actor playing him - Robert Downey acts like he was built for this part, because he's an excellent actor. Still, he's mailed in some performances before, and this time, he just cruised through it. Have fun cashing that bumped up sequel check Robert, and if you're going to go out and do drugs, hire hookers, and trash hotel rooms, go to Amsterdam or somewhere that it's legal.

Read More
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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Top 3 New Television Shows of the 2007-2008 Season

Except for the Summer shows like Rescue Me, and the pile of Reality Shows coming in as filler, the "scripted" television season is finally over. It sure took a while, and the writer strike might have changed forever how everyone looks at and appreciates television programming.

However, there was some good, new television happening, and some breakout characters worth writing about.

Breaking Bad - the Jury was in for me about this show after I caught the first three episodes off the DVR. How can a lower level cable channel put together an ensemble of off-the-rail writing, excellent acting, and plotting that kept every episode interesting. Bryan Cranston has probably put being "Malcom's dad," behind him with this performance

Reaper - How this show only limps to getting renewed for next year I don't understand. It's original with a fun cast, and manages to continue to put new, funny, and interesting spins on the "Soul sold to the Devil" type-plot. Ray Wise, who plays Satan, or Jerry Belvedere to those that do not know his real name, is a special kind of slimy. Previously seen by me in "The Closer," as a cut throat attorney, he is perfect for this part.

Big Bang Theory - The collection of geeks and their weekly, hilarious dialogues, wrapped around the standard sitcom romantic plots, make this show one of my favorites. Sheldon, the uber-geek that makes Adrian Monk seem well-adjusted, is the weekly attraction.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sharon Stone's Still Making Movies??

Sharon Stone is making news lately, not her normal kind, you know, for flashing on film or picking bad movie roles, this time she opened her mouth about the chinese. Commenting about China's recent natural disaster, she said it was Bad Kharma. Nice one Sharon, should have stayed home and wrote your worthless, uninformed, insensitive, opinion into a blog where nobody would notice it.

She stepped on some toes and now the founder of a major movie theater chain and chairman of the Foundation of Hong Kong Filmakers is pissed at her too, threatening to boycott her movies.

Which begs the question, what movies has she made lately?
Surely Basic Instinct 2 was the last to see of Sharon Stone, right, both figuratively and literally? Personally, I thought her appeal was gone after she tried her Dr. Jane Medicine Woman impersonation. Does she have some Hasselhoffian foreign grasp on the chinese, well, not anymore. Apparently, she had four movies in the works, not worth typing in because they are probably all in the can now, and not the film can.

You Tube is probably as close as she's going to get film after this last stunt, here's video of a very hot girl telling the story, but not as nicely as I have.

Tommy Lasorda - Superstar 7th Inning Conductor

I'm glad they had Tommy Lasorda come up and do the 7th inning at Wrigley Field last night, one fo the few times the ritual didn't irritate me. Even with Fergie Jenkins in the booth, I got irritated because the game was going by below these announcers that seem to forget they are on air when a quasi-celebrity walks through.

Tommy Lasorda is a different story. He could sing every night and sit through tow or three innings if he wanted to in my book. Not because he sang "Root root root for the Dodgers.., " or because the Cubs rallied while he was in the booth. I can forgive the Dodgers reference, this guy bleeds Dodger blue more than even Ron Santo does Cubbie blue. Read the rest at Cubs Obsession.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Something I Am Proud to See

On my mind constantly these last few weeks, and not because I am driving over 500 miles a week these days is how we are going to stop this whole oil ordeal. If it was ever a driving force, obviously, bombing the hell out of the oil producers isn't going to work, but reducing our dependence on it is.

USA Today's article is the first hint that things may be changing for the better.

NASA Goes Hollywood - Panhandling for Bucks

NASA went Hollywood this weekend, finding the only way to draw interest to it's Mars Probe mission was to sensationalize it. "Seven Minutes of Terror," they called the Mars Probe descent into the atmosphere that more often than not ends up with a destroyed probe.

Luckily, all went well, it went "absolutely perfect," and all terror was unfounded, apparently, or prepared for, as every Jason chase victim learns is the secret by then end of each movie. The whole "Seven Minutes of Terror," kind of hit a sour note with me. An unmanned craft, a bajillion miles away, on a research mission, doesn't really seem like something to get that wound up about, but who can blame them. They've kept two robot probes running around on the surface of the same planet now for years, and they've fallen so far below the public's attention that one is being shut down for lack of finance.

Meanwhile, Billions are going into Iraq, according to Cosmic Variance, who made a nifty chart to show it, $14.9B has been misplaced in Iraq, while NASA's budget is $5.5B. Along with the DOE - $4.1B, and the National Science Foundation($6.4), the sciences budget is barely what has been lost to corrupt Bush cronies overseas. The sciences are floundering and our troops have to buy their own kevlar.

I'm not exactly Anti-Iraq-war, but I am leaning that way and believe that the way it is being done is an insult to our troops and the people stateside that are ultimately supporting it. Naomi Klein's book opened my eyes about this, and seeing the agenda she portrayed being continually carried out is more than frustrating.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Denise Richards is Digging Deep

I used to be a fan of Denise Richards. She was HOT, still is, but as she dissembles her family and leaves every hint of self respect on video for a cable channel, I'm jumping off.
Denise, Denise, Denise, what's happened?

Of course, she has this new reality show,(no link, I'm not watching or promoting it, even if to nobody at all), and she was on Larry King the other night, baring her soul.

I read the interview and could do nothing but shake my head. I guess it is no secret that I enjoy Charlie Sheen, I wrote about him, not in too flattering a tone, but clearly demonstrating that I do watch his show. I admire the guy. He was a good actor back in the day, and has cashed in for a steady paycheck. The parts about him being a partier, womanizer, and frequent solicitor, well, so what?

He's not trotting his kids out onto national television for a buck and some exposure.

Apparently he lost the right to even stop his ex-wife from doing that in court. I caught a promo for the show last night, the kicker line is, "Watch, then judge.."

No need.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Book Review: XML Weekend Crash Course

I have spent a lot of money on Programming books, even since graduating from school. They are one of my favorite hobbies. Very often, for various reasons I don't finish or get a lot out of them, BUT I've never had an experience that made me want to write a negative review of one, until now. I am so disgusted with this book that I decided to at least get the word out.

XML Weekend Crash Course is a book that will surely make anyone that makes the mistake of buying it, as I have, crazy. I picked it up because a long time ago I got a Java Weekend Crash Course book that wasn't too bad. After I finished it I knew enough Java to be dangerous, well, almost enough. Unfortunately, the age of this book and bad or lazy planning by the authors makes it more than obsolete, it is a waste of time.

I realize that this book was published in 2001, I know they could not foresee everything about this programming language, but you do not set up more than half your book based on one piece of software. Of course there are other ways to go further with XML without the Instant Saxon software they tout and insist you must use. It is included on the disk, but doesn't work and is not supported(the web site they send you to is vague and the downloads you may use there are confusing and not helpful). Now I will be looking elsewhere for that information when I bought this book for that reason, and all of the fragments of code they have had me updating, waste. The SUPPORT Web Site is non-existent, and the disk harder to access than a 1999 magazine demo disk.

It starts out pretty good, but then they begin doing more complicated code that apparently needs to use an application called Instant Saxon, for reasons which I now do not know. Of course, I might have known if only they had stayed with the 'program'. As somewhat of an experienced reader of these types of books, I realize that this type of work is quickly being replaced by well-thought out, creative franchises like Head First and Pragmatic Books, but this one kind of stung.

I mean, it's like they set me up. 233 pages in and they drop the ball like that. In even a couple more days retrospect since my initial writing of this, I have decided that I was most angry because it was moving so good a the time, not at all like a poorly, lazily written work, then WHAM. It's like getting kicked out of the car at midnight, when you've already gotten to third base.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Smallville Season Finale - Preparing to be a Man

I got onto the Smallville bandwagon just recently, in the last couple years, but I've talked about that already.

Every sporadic Thursday, it almost quenches the thirst for all things comic book, and this season, it's been hitting closer to the mark. Over the past few weeks, as the CW seasons end, I have read a lot about Smallville. I hear Lex Luthor is leaving, I hear that next season they are bringing in some different villains, including Doomsday, the only one to kill Superman. As I don't read the ccomic anymore, I am not sure how DC danced around that particular comic stunt, but of course it is nothing new.

Wait, I was writing about Smallville, which is a television show which for many years kept a distance from the comic book Superman, building it's own mythology and it's own Clark Kent, not doing too terrible of a job either. Thing is, this season, they aren't really staying away from the comic book anymore. In fact, they keep bringing in more of the mythology only previously referred to in the comics. For one, in the episode two weeks ago, "Apocalypse," where Clark did his own version of "It's A Wonderful Life," time-traveling and jumping into a world in which he did not arrive from Krypton, he for the first time sported the classic reporter look, broad-rimmed glasses and all.

This last week, in the finale, more walls came down, and all signs were go that Clark Kent was going to quit being a watered down version of SuperBOY, and become a TV-version of Superman. It's risky, but I'll be tuning in.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ditchdigger's Rant: Working Men and Women

I grew up with a father, step-father and two grandfathers that told stories about hard workers and hard work with reverence that I always sensed. It left me with a respect for hard work and hard jobs that I will never lose. It is nearly unhealthy, because I have always been drawn to those jobs that make most people turn away, even now, as I try to get out of the hard work, construction field. I love coding, and using my mind instead of my back, but there is a part of that will always be a ditch digger.

Today, my battery ran down. There in the parking lot of the big black glass tower amongst the imports and giant SUV's, I needed a jump. I didn't even consider asking anyone I am working with, I wished that the crew that poured the front sidewalks was still there, and thought about the window washers. Because these are people that I can relate to, and tend to know their way around some jumper cables.

Don't get me wrong, I drive by the guys doing roadwork on the interstate every day, crews I could easily walk on and know what I was doing, maybe a step slow for a week or two, and think, "Wow am I glad I don't have to do that every day, right now." I don't miss it, and I'm going to code, blog, network, and every other damn thing I need to do not to go back, but I respect it. And I respect the people that do it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Is CBS Blowing Up Shark?

I thought CBS had a good thing going. James Woods, Jeri Ryan, in a lawyer drama that had a little bit of an edge, a little bit of slick CSI style, and an actor in James Woods that can turn a phrase and stick a line like no other on television. Sometimes popular film actors look cramped on the small screen, sometimes they diminish to nothing, and sometimes like Woods, they take it over.

Woods took the standard star vehicle and drove it like a Ferrari on Top Gear, and it was a fun ride for everyone. I enjoyed the show for the first season, and thought it did very respectably in the ratings. Apparently, I missed something, because I think that they are blowing it up. There are all the classic signs, the changes of venue, the drastic changes in cast structure, bringing in new characters. This is all normal fare in the Law and Order and CSI franchises, but they let themselves build a following first.

Add to all of the constant changes in time slot, things just aren't looking good for this show, another sign that I know nothing about what people are watching. At least Reaper is getting renewed.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Two and a Half Men - Dancing on the Shark

Sometimes a show thinks it can get away with too much. Two and a Half Men gets a lot of passes, because of the likability of it's star, Charlie Sheen, and it's safe little time slot where nobody notices the raunchy tone of it. Well, people notice, but dialog and content now normal at later time slots is tolerated in the family oriented time slot of Two and a Half Men.

Making light of Charlie's previous public solicitation troubles and womanizing is old fare, dating back to Spin City, and why not, it's fun. This week, in a long plot string, the show took a dump on a much wider spectrum, trying to be high farce and ending up just being crude and insulting.

Back Story: Charlie's much-widowed mother is getting married to Robert Wagner, who's daughter, Jenny McCarthy has taken Charlie a couple different times for money. Wagner was fun on the show, and his turn of character and abrupt departure makes you wonder what they are thinking on this show. The ensemble needed some tweaking, and he could have fit in nicely. Jenny McCarthy, before this show, also had a nice plot string going. And was not hard to look at, either.

I'm spoiling it all right here, because I think it was a cheap shot of a script and plot turn anyway. If you actually care about Two and a Half Men plot strings, sorry. Last night could have been nice. The writers stepped out and tried to mock their network franchise, CSI. From the beginning, with the Who in their opening credits and throughout, using the CGI graphic style to explore Jake's stomach, and a Marg Helgenberger clone to interview all of them, also collecting ridiculous evidence samples, and with a real belly laugh as they used the black light semen detector in Charlie's bedroom. "It looks like a Jackson Pollock painting," was one great line.

Lets get this straight, NO sitcom worth watching is high art, and especially not this show, that's not why I watch it. I watch it because it's funny, but they can dance all over the line of acceptability. Last night, as they open the show with Robert Wagner dead in Charlie's bedroom, while his new wife was downstairs at their reception, the running joke is that he has lipstick on his hoo-hoo.

Then they go thru the mock interviews, and with nearly no pretense, McCarthy and Wagner are declared to be grifters, solely after Charlie's and his mother's money. He died while Jenny was giving him a BJ at the reception. This show can be hilarious, and gratingly raunchy, this was one of those low moments.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Totally Inadvisable All Over the Place List #1

The very first post I ever read about successful blogging, a couple years ago, long after my first forays, was very specific, make your blog about a special niche, don't go all over the place. Well, my ADD ass isn't so good about that sometimes, and when I am fighting for minutes to write at a computer, I've decided this burst of thoughts is what I have tonight. I actually think it will be fun.

  1. I'm very sick of Hillary Clinton, that woman changes tactics and stances like she does hometowns. Watching it has really put me off her, I hope the whole country doesn't feel the same way if she manages to snipe Obama off the presidential ticket.
  2. Brian Urlacher deserves a raise, but put in a clause that stipulates significant fines for banging skanks that mouth off in the press.
  3. Anyone that watches their child die when a Doctor can save them, for whatever reason, is an abomination, I don't care what god you pray to or what you think he says.
  4. Reed Johnson shall be now nick-named "Gopher".
  5. Whoever let the Oil barons believe that they could scrape every dime out of the middle and lower class pockets, and I don't think it is all Bush, should be strung up.
  6. Captain America is going to come back from the dead, again. Man, I keep falling for it, but I can't wait for the next time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Baseball! - A Catch for Everyone

I could not be a Cubs fans, or even remotely justify having even a free, lightly developed, Cubs blog, without taking note of this catch, made by Reed Johnson, one of my favorite surprises so far this season, and he just keeps getting better.

This guy, I'd never heard of him before Spring training, late in spring training, when the Blue Jays cut him and we picked him right up. What a pickup. Apparently, the Blue Jays are loaded, or maybe he just needed a change of scenery, but Reed Johnson is the Ryan Theriot of the outfield, with possibly a little more speed, and the same giddyup that is beginning to signify the Lou Piniella era.

I've come to believe that you can tell a coach not by his stars, but by his peripheral players. Rare is the coach that can really change a star player, especially if they are already successful, but it's the players that a coach keeps around to fill in the other spots that tell his ability, and character. I felt the same way when Dusty came in, because his Neifi Perez's actually were a cut above the guys we'd had previously coming off the bench. His unexplained overuse of them, despite performance, is another story.

Lou Piniella plays the hot hitter, period. Want to play some baseball, Mike Fontenot, take advantage of the AB or two you'll get from sitting on Lou's bench and soon you'll be starting, keep it up when you get an extended chance, and you may start sharing time with a regular starter. Conversely, start playing stupid baseball like I've seen the last two outings and you will lose any tan you may be working on sitting back in the dugout shadows. You too, Henry Blanco. There have been some good points, but you need to start acting like the player that signed that nice fat contract.

Reed Johnson knows Lou's game. And he doesn't rest on his laurels, or bitch about his batting postion, or field position, he doesn't bitch, he doesn't even preen for the cameras after making such an outstanding play. One that might have required a five minute semi-pro dance routine anywhere else. He doesn't even bother to put his cap bill back down and he runs away, holding up the ball.

Read more of my Cubs Stories

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Biggest Loser, the Drinking Game

I watch the Biggest Loser, yayaya, get over it I know I'm lame and so are the other thirty million people watching it to justify the two hour episodes and lengthened season. It's fun sometimes, it's light watching, and every once in a while, it gets me to work out.

But I found another reason to watch the damn show, it makes for an excellent drinking game. In the tradition of "Hi Bob," from the Bob Newhart show, and *S*M*A*S*H* , both fine drinking games with full rules at the links, and joined by so many more you won't believe it at The Webtender , which I found with a simple google search and appreciate and have bookmarked myself. We always did want to know the rules to "Asshole" and "President".

Still, watching the Biggest Loser this season, okay, Biggest Loser "Couples", I have noticed far more than the allowed amount of man-crying. These guys start tearing up every time they talk. It's annoying, but it's funny, and it's a drink if you're watching with beer and playing the brand new Biggest Loser Drinking Game.

Maybe making drinking games out of television shows is also lame, but that is what I thought of as I watched this show tonight, fortunately on DVR to push past all of the fluff, and in this show, there is a lot. Past seasons, I have always gotten disgusted with the competitors, because they can be the very most vile of all the reality show competitors. This season, at least the "Couples" portion, they have been much more likable, probably at least partially thru editing, but more likable. There is still the required amount of whining and sniping, but it's toned down.

What there is is an uncomfortable amount of man-crying, so, drink again and laugh at them, because they aren't going to stop any time soon.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My love affair with baseball, and the Cubs

As long as I can remember, I have been a Cubs fan. Probably before I even realized that baseball was a game, or what a game was, I have been a Cubs fan.
Blame my mom.

As a little boy, before I can even remember now, she took me to Cubs games. I met, well saw and got autographs from, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and many others. Those were the days where the players hung around the field and the stands before the game, signing autographs and talking to the fans.

No, shit, talking to the fans.
I remember Billy Williams as being the nicest person outside of my family that I had met at that point of my life. I don't have any specific memories of those early Cubs games, when I was 4 and 5 years old, but they set a pleasant tone for the rest of my life, following the Cubs.

read the rest of this article

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

AT&T and John Caponera are just Creepy..

I didn't quite grow up with Harry Caray, unless listening to him do White Sox games counts. I didn't even really like him at first, but he did grow on me. Still, he really isn't sacred territory, make fun of him, so what? What's bad about this latest round of Harry Caray commercials is their creepiness.

You wait ten years and now come out with this? And John Caponera, I've heard you before on the radio, and I might be one of the five people that watched your TV show, has your career really sunk this low, this bad?

Maybe it's just one of those "Seemed like a good idea at the time," deals...
Is it? It has to be something like that, because I can't believe that anyone thinks this is a good idea. Cub fans are offended and everyone else is just annoyed.

Why shouldn't we be annoyed, obviously AT&T believes that we are all just a bunch of drunks who go to the park and laugh at our clowns. Harry Caray, apparently, is one of our clowns, like Bozo, or Mickey and Donald and Goofy. That doesn't mean we need to see a tired, twenty year old bit on every commercial break.

Of course, it is not lost on me that I am linking up to the very commercials that I loathe, but thats just for anyone that hasn't been forced to see them on television, yet.

John Caponera, you look like a stick figure caricature of Harry Caray, more like the weird Six Flags commercial guy than Harry. Every time one of them comes on, radio or,TV, I begin to miss the old days(maybe that was just last week?) when I was getting barraged by Frank Caliendo, at least his material is only three or four years old.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Smodcast - the waiting.....

Over at the View Askew board, thousands are anxiously, sometimes annoyingly, waiting for the new Smod.

Just exactly what does that mean, you ask? Well, the Smod is Smodcast, which I have written about before, a Podcast put out by Kevin Smith, director of several very good movies. As he puts it in the radio ad for 3 minute movies, "I've been known to direct some stuff.." paraphrased. He doesn't make a big production of it, but his podcast was my first, and still my favorite. The first one is always special, right?

The wait is for the last couple months while his usual weekly Smodcast went on hiatus while he was filming his latest flick, Zack and Mary Make a Porno. I mean, c'mon, he does Smodcast for free, what did we expect? From the incessant whining on his message boards, another of my first deep forays, you'd think he took a dump on every one of his fans by not getting somewhere and recording one of the precious Smodcasts.

I admit, I checked back to the download spot for Smodcast quite a bit these last few weeks, and occasionally looked on the message board to see if there was real news, but I was not part of the chorus of whines coming from his Smodcast thread. Oh sure, the occasional voice of reason, but most of the time, whining, on what is usually a very interesting thread.

And so this weekend, finally a new post on his blog, talking about the layoff, and the filming, and generally Kevin being the Kevin that makes his blog and Smodcast very interesting. The guy isn't Warhol, and thats good, he's just a decent guy, sharing what is a very cool life with everyone. I've never sensed posturing or backpatting, and it's almost always fun.

Also, he very often frequents his own message board, chiming in occasionally, but not getting into prolonged discussions. He even managed to reply to one of my first posts, after I had finally caved in and joined up. "Welcome aboard," I think it was, or something of the like. How cool is that?

It looks like the wait is almost over, Kev says, " soon as the recording equipment is back in L.A. ", and that works for me. I'll surely write some kind of review then, but for now I just wanted to talk about it, here. Not on the now slightly annoying thread. As I've mentioned, I pop up on the boards now once in a while, there are some good threads, about everything from the Writer's Strike to Reaper.

The header picture and smodcast links are pointing to where I am guessing the next podcast will be, so when they are not broken any more, the wait is over.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Superman, the Geek Test, and the Big Bang Theory

Comic books are sometimes treated as acid tests for someone's geekiness. And in that regard, I'm a full-blown, throwback geek from the dark ages, golden era if you will, but not in any unhealthy way, so get off me. The funny thing about it, is the way that comics always worm their way into pop culture.

Jerry Seinfeld had a bit of a Superman obsession, and his takes with the animated Superman in American Express commercials were hilarious.

This season, a Monday night sitcom called the Big Bang Theory has a bit about Superman and several other geek type exchanges. One was brought up on another blog (thanks for reminding me guys)! They also directed me to the YoutTube clip below.

Read more about my comic book obsessions.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Learning about Shock, and Evil, from Naomi Klein

How Naomi Klein opened my eyes, more than just a little bit, in the Shock Doctrine.

This is not my usual fare, not for reading, not for research, not in general. I'm not completely apathetic when it comes to politics, I vote, and I try to vote with at least some base of knowledge, but I am determinedly middle of the road in my politics, and just as devoted to keeping myself from being dragged into IT. By IT, I mean the anger that I see in everyone's eyes that is embroiled in partisan politics, both sides.

After reading this book, I can begin to understand the anger, but am able to hold it off within me. Yes, I am still in the middle of the road, but better informed, and wary of those that come bearing gifts after floods or fires or anything.

My friend, one of those angry people, told me that if I read one book about politics, and yes, this was my first, read this one. It may be a while before I read another, because still, this is not my regular reading material, but this was powerful. It is the voice of someone that has walked the walk. There is definitely bias in her prose, but it is footnoted, and comes over as "If you'd seen what I have, you'd be biased too."

I usually fly through books, inhaling 700 page volumes from Dan Simmons in a week or two, the 1200 page Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in nearly as short a time, but not this one. I read and reread pages, I let it soak in, I took breaks, and I was disappointed when it was over, and surprised because there are so many pages of footnotes that I didn't realize that I had come to the end.

In searching for images to go along with this post, I found out that a short film has been made about her book as well. Free on Youtube, it was made my the director of Children of Men, apparently a personal friend of Klein's, and gets right to the points she makes in her books. Starting with the theory of shock therapy, and how it destroys a persons humanity, then corresponding to the economics professed by a Chicago economist named Milton Friedman, of whom I had never heard of before this book.

Friedman and his disciples have privatized the world, making the follies that I saw in the Army, as the government tried to run things, look like full-fledged competence.I won't try to explain what I think I understand about it all anymore. It is instead a better idea to simply recommend the book, and the movie. It's less than seven minutes long, and very well done.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Yawnfest

After gushing over "Breaking Bad," I think it's time to weigh in on another show, but instead of being tucked away on a low exposure cable channel and receiving no real publicity, this show received the hype befitting one of Fox's can't miss supershows.

It mostly missed.
Not a Bionic Woman miss, but it started off bad enough, at a time when it had no viable competition and American Gladiators was ruling the world, that they are still waiting to hear if they are going to get renewed for next season.

Terminator's entire season consisted of only 9 shows, but they weren't utilized the wasy that "Breaking Bad" utilized their own. (And with this, I have made my last "Breaking Nad reference). Still, I thought that towards the end of the season, this show was starting to take form, and that it had gotten over the hump that most new shows, especially sci-fi based ones, need to get past to be able to continue. There just seems to be a point where the characters and storyline either demonstrate that there is enough to keep going, or not.

I can think of one good example, from years ago, "Nowhere Man," a show that I surely would have blogged about wholeheartedly if I was any more connected then than my AOL dial in and didn't spend all my time writing on Amazing Instant Stories. That show came out of the box much better than Terminator, but the writer's hit a wall, and about seven episodes in you knew it wasn't going to last. Then it was gone.

Terminator's run this year has been a little different, it didn't start off that well, despite the hype, the first few episodes were too predictaqble, and similar, as if they thought that they could get by trotting out the same parade of special effects every week and people would keep coming back.

Slowly, and in full stride by the season finale, they began to build back story, and develop some character, if only microscopically compared to ..,. well, you know. The teenage girl robot, Cameron, that was sent back to protect John Connor, is interesting if predictable, and provides most of the good possibilities for storylines coming up. They teased about her turning on everyone in then finale, but it didn't happen. If there is a next season I am sure that she will figure in prominently.

I have to admit, I slept through half the first few episodes, but really didn't miss anything, it was only the last two or three that started to get interesting enough to pay attention. Sorry Fox, thats just the truth. It was partially the addition of Brian Austin Green as another freedom fighter from the future joining the family, and partially character change and development, that brought me into the fold, if reluctantly. Along with others, according to the ratings

This show might simply have debuted under too harsh a spotlight. Battlestar Galactica took some time to find itself and it's audience, and maybe this show will too, next year.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Breaking Bad - Easily the Best of 2008

This has been a weird season of television, yes, mostly thanks to the writer's strike and the lack of selection of quality new programming, or just entertaining new programming. Still, I don't know the whole deal but this season seemed to break good for "Breaking Bad," though I have to believe that the writer's strike is responsible for the short, seven episode season.

Seven excellent episodes.
This picture, of the two partners in the last episode of the season, could easily be them surveying the distant competition in the television world.

It seems like I just discovered this series, and actually, it was not that long ago that I dove into it on my DVR hard rive and since then it has been a fast, fun, drive. Bryan Cranston has gone from a familiar curiosity to an actor that keeps me riveted for his performances as Walt Myers. His co-star, Aaron Paul, playing Jesse Pinkman, Walt's former student and new business partner
is keeping up, as are the rest of them, both with their performances and the writer's handling of them.

This is when television is good, every episode of this series has aimed high and hit the mark, and each character has evolved a little bit, in what is relatively a short period of time for a television. Yes, character development in a televison series that is not on HBO. They have dragged Dexter off of Showtime because of the dearth of programming, maybe this show should be next. This show outshines Dexter in it's uncensored Showtime version, I won't even watch the network television replay.

The show is entirely recapped on AMC's website, they have taken down the two first episodes, but are planning to replay the entire series almost immediately. I'm under the impression that it has caught fire, that maybe I'm not the only one to recognize how good it is.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cool Picture I wanted to share

A quick easy break from the TV show reviews.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Five Reasons to watch Dirt

Most of what I've read about Dirt has been bad, condemning it as a shallow, glitzy, grungy example of what it is ultimately trying to parody, and that is not all wrong. They aren't reinventing the prime-time drama here, or even the FX brand type, but it is worth at least a little storage space on your DVR hard drive.

  1. First, and most, Don Konkey(Ian Hart), Lucy Spiller's(Courtney Cox) schizophrenic photographer. At first, I didn't want to buy into this whole plot device, but the performance sells it. He's so pathetic, and yet ruthless and funny, and dances around one hamburger of a line after another, getting the best of them. I'd like to hold this one out as the last nail in the coffin, but he is just too good. The guy's filmography reads like that of two or three different people, Dr. Watson, Lord Voltemort, John Lennon?
  2. Girls, do you ever tire of watching smug, weak, arrogant men get emasculated? Well, Dirt has the character for you, sometimes the show seems like his personal dunking booth. Underage sex, inter-office dumping, and admitting his own humbling as stand-in editor in the season two opener, Brent Barrow(Jeffrey Nording) is a ready made whipping boy, just for you.
  3. Gratuitous cleavage, could you expect anything less. Courtney Cox and ensemble do little jigs on the other side of the line that NYPD Blue long ago blurred and FX predecessors obliterated. A Courtney Cox masturbation scene and over the top tease during Jennifer Aniston's appearance as lesbian friend?? cemented the fact that the producers(Courtney and husband David Arquette) know where their bread is buttered. One revelation while researching this, Disney/ABC is the overseas distributor for this show.
  4. Gaping. Just tune in to watch them skewer the latest celebutante calamity, breaking it down to what it really is, and expose the scavenging and manipulation. It's not poetry or pulitzer, but it can be fun.
  5. Lucy Spiller, the heartless witch editor with a dysfunctional past and family to rival anyone, and a penchant for the weak, to exploit, and care for. Her new personal assistant, a panic attack inclined, nervous man who fired himself before Lucy hired him, illustrates the point. Yeah, well, "overstates" is a better description, but that is what this show does, and that is part of what makes it fun.