Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Showtime is rumored to have picked up Arrested Development for 26 new episodes.
Contractor who bribed Randy "Duke" Cunningham also made illegal contributions to Katherine Harris. Apparently, she pled ignornace when the same thing happened in 1994, so she's decided ignorance is a good plan this time around, too. It seems a good plan, as who could possibly believe that she knows anything?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Apparently, the Trio television network recently ceased to be, but they now exist as a broadband pop culture outlet. I was always bummed when I'd hear about various things being shown on Trio, which I didn't get on my cable system, so hopefully a few of the cooler things will eventually pop up on the website.
First, your critically-acclaimed sitcom gets cancelled, and then, out of all the possibilities, your celebrity feud has to be with Larry the Cable Guy.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Friday, February 24, 2006

With apologies to Johnny Cash, Dick Cheney's new hit single, "Go Fuck Yourself" (The audio plays automatically upon loading the page). I made a conscious decision not to mention the whole Dick Cheney thing here (it seems that making fun of this story is no more sporting than what Cheney was up to on that ranch, hunting "Quail-tards," as The Daily Show put it), but I thought this was pretty good.
Avenue Q leaving Las Vegas in May. The writing's been on the wall for some time; the play makes money, but not enough to make it worth Wynn's while to build a second theater for Spamalot. On Gambling With Mike Pesca suggests the conservative nature of the play led to its downfall (he also mentions that the Republican-bashing was way toned-down for Vegas). I think that class issues are more to blame: A $100+ Vegas show tends to draw an audience of financially-stable individuals, while Avenue Q tells the story of young people trying to get established in the real world. I suppose the same could be said about the audience at a typical performance of La Boheme, but then I don't think that opera contains puppet sex. In any case, the audience when I saw the show didn't seem to connect with the material; the elderly couple dressed to the nines seated next to me were not there after intermission. Of course, the detachment between the intended audience and the actual audience might have had some positive effect. For instance, see this review, from someone who was horribly offended by this show, which she felt was like an R-rated Sesame Street. This, of course, is the standard metaphor that pretty much everyone uses to describe the show. So apparently, this woman paid $110 or so to see a show without asking any of the hard-hitting questions like, "What's that?"

To reiterate my own review of the show, I found it somewhat amusing, and liked some of the individual numbers very much. But I found the whole thing rather smug about it's daring, while really saying nothing new. I'm sure they're very proud of offending a TripAdvisor member from Bridgewater, MA, but I think most people just appreciate the validation they receive from the show for being such edgy people. Vegas will get by without Avenue Q, and now maybe Avenue Q can reach an audience that will better appreciate its veneer of daring.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Toll road through San Onofre State Beach approved. Ruin the environment and build a costly toll road, when the other toll roads in Southern Califronia have already proven to be boondoggles. Idiotic.

Monday, February 20, 2006

David Irving sentenced to three years in prison for denying the Holocaust. I don't see how putting him in prison will do anything but turn him into a martyr, and cause more people to seek out his hateful writing. But while the civil libertarian in me may be disappointed in the sentence, Irving's willingness to try to stifle free speech himself, through his libel lawsuit (which he lost, despite Britain's harsh libel laws), allows me to take a little satisfaction that the bastard got his.

I also was amused that he caved like a little bitch, claiming that he now believes millions of jews were murdered. "History is a constantly growing tree," he said in court. "The more you know, the more documents become available, the more you learn. And I have learned a lot since 1989." Gee, that's swell. If only, somehow, there had been some shread of evidence, available in 1989, to suggest that it was possible that the Holocaust happened, Irving could have went on to have a steller career as a historian, denying the Crusades or something. He goes on to offer up what could be his epitath, or at least that of his career: "I don't know the figures. I'm not an expert on the Holocaust."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

La Mesa threatening to sue a resident over comments made at a city council meeting. Apparently, the speaker hurt Mayor Art Madrid's feelings, and he went crying to his lawyer. Of course, every lawyer the paper talks to confirms that it is almost impossible to sue someone for slander for speaking in a council meeting. And they don't mention California's anti-SLAPP legislation, which would force the city to pay the defendant's legal fees for using a lawsuit to quash free-speech rights. And, of course, the whole thing just makes it look like the mayor and his cronies really do have something to hide, if they're so eager to hide behind their consiliere rather than letting this pathetic slight go.

I can assure you I won't be voting for Art Madrid in the future. And he and his associates on the city council will be getting a stern letter from me about a little thing called the first amendment. And maybe I'll bitch about those annoying "It's our neighborhood, slow down!" signs. They didn't have those when I was a kid, and I survived. If their parents wouldn't break for me, I'm not slowing down for their kids.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My sister's home got robbed this afternoon. The burglars kicked in the back door, and then apparently took their time going through the house. They took most of her jewelry, including the earrings she made out of our grandma's wedding ring's stones. They stole credit cards (which they proceeded to try to use at a jewelry store--but went over the card's credit limit and were declined), and Michelle's disability paperwork, which includes her social security number. Beyond that, what they took seems rather random. They left a lot of stuff, though, and didn't ransack the place, so that's something. A friend of Michelle's walked by during the crime, and saw their car (a white BMW with dealer plates), and they might have surveillance footage from the jewelry store, so maybe the police will have a little to go on.

One more thing to add to the list of disturbing developments my mother has been harping on. There was a plane crash over La Mesa last week, and the airplane landed on the house of the daughter of someone from Mom's church. Fortunately no one was home (and they were thus spared the sight of a dead body sprawled in the lawn), but the house is a total loss. And a few weeks ago, the son of a family friend was on vacation in Argentina, and was run over by a car, getting his ear ripped off in the process. The strangest thing being, apparently the driver intentionally ran him and several others over, killing at least one. And now Mom has this to fret over, too.

Burbon Street Casino imploaded.
Democratic leadership still clueless. A look at a 2005 In These Times profile of Brown reveals him to be a strong progressive, and Hackett's attempt to turn a vote by Brown in 1998 into a vote for the Iraq war seems a cheap shot. But still, this could have been handled better.
The Elements of Spam.

Monday, February 13, 2006

People's ability to accurately interpret the tone of on-line communications no better than chance. And let me say right now, I'm so, so happy you've taken the time to read this blog. It really made my day.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Paul Collins on the origins of "non-fiction."
Major American casino interests unsure on how to procede on on-line gaming. On the one hand, they'd like to outlaw the competition, but on the other hand, seeing as prohibition seems futile, they'd like to get a cut. The end result is they've remained silent, leaving anti-gambling interests unopposed.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I was just puttering about on the internet, with Celebrity Poker Showdown playing on the TV in the background, when I heard what I assumed was another commercial promising "natural male enhancement." Then the guys switched from talking about how great their sex life was, to how great the food was. I looked over, and realized it was actually an ad for Nutrisystem. Apparently, the male dieter is the next untapped market for weight loss companies. And apparently they've decided the way to reach that market is to tout the sexual powers to be gained by using their product. Because in the cutthroat world of the diet industry, where a company's reputation for integrity is key to winning over skeptical customers, what could be a better plan than making your commercials resemble, as much as possible, ads for pills that make your wiener bigger.

Also, they seem to be aiming at an older audience, with lots of older men discussing thier fantastic sex life. You know, Nutrisystem, their might be younger men who need to lose weight, who might not be receptive to ads featuring men old enough to be their father, bragging about how much action they're getting. News flash: Young men find older people discussing their sex lives disturbing. Thought that might be a good weight loss plan, actually. Judging from the reaction on snarky pop culture TV shows (The Soup, The Best Week Ever, et. al.) to this legendary clip from Dr. Phil, perhaps the new Nutrisystem ad will serve as a better appetite suppressant than any product they have to sell.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Turko's still going after the Parkway Bowl. I almost went over there to play pinball the other day, but decided not to because of Turko's strong words. Ended up going to class instead.

San Diego CityBEAT had some interesting revelations about Turko in this undated article. Between him and Coleman, Weather Channel founder reduced to mid-market weatherman, KUSI really does employ some colorful characters (fun is fun, but I should add that KUSI is the only local channel producing local news of substance, so don't think the Pagentry of Turko takes away from their hard-hitting coverage).

Stephen Colbert profiled in Newsweek. When the show first premiered, I thought it was hilarious, but figured the joke would wear thin fast. Surprisingly, I find The Colbert Report funnier than The Daily Show on more nights than I would have ever imagined. Comedy Central finally has found a late-night line-up that makes me (almost) forget about Adult Swim.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I filed my taxes this evening. Only took about 90 minutes, and was relatively painless. I owe the state an awful lot, but am getting a hefty federal refund, so I came out ahead. I filed federally using TurboTax, via the Tax Freedom Project. They offer free federal filing, if your income is low enough, but they really gouge you on state taxes ($24.95). And they are constantly trying to get more money out of you with various add-ons. But I shouldn't complain; I've used their program to file for several years and am always impressed by the ease of use, and can't blame them for wanting to make money off it. Last year, I had free access through my retirement provider, but this year they were charging me for use of the service, a modest $5.99, if memory serves. But they wanted $10 more for state filing, so I just went for the free state-only option. California offers free e-filing via their website, and while that program was fairly primitive, it got the job done in about fifteen minutes. So now I just have to wait for my federal refund to arrive, so I can go squander it on hookers and blow. A joke, of course, I'm going straight to the casinos with my refund.
Randy Newman broke his wrist. The Disney Hall performance I'm attending is the only show he hasn't cancelled, but depending on whether he needs surgery, that could be gone, too. Get well soon, Randy!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Just a quick word of thanks to the good people at Animal Planet, for giving us another Puppy Bowl. And for yet again casting an abundance of canines with beagle backgrounds to cavort around for my amusement. Tanner has been known to pay attention to the TV in the past, including during last year's Puppy Bowl, but when I got home from work tonight and turned on the Puppy Bowl, he just flipped, bounding up and down and nearly knocking the DVD player to the ground. I try to distract him during the Pedigree ads about shelter animals, no need to traumatize him.

As for the real game, word on the street is Vegas took a bit of a hit...all the dough was on the victors. Not may people say, "Dude, I have to get to Vegas and lay down all my cash on Seattle!" And to answer your question, I didn't have any money on the game. Though I did hear some online bookie was taking bets on weather the Burger King mascot would score a touchdown in their advertisement. I would have liked to have gotten some action on that; sometimes it's nice to know that, whether your bet wins or loses, you will feel like a tool.

I think someone at the Egg Advisory Council has finally snapped. Catchy, though.
Natalie Maines interviewed in Entertainment Weekly.
Stephen Colbert interviewed by The Onion's A.V. Club.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Betty Friedan, dead at 85 (on the nose).
Al Lewis, dead at 95, or 88, depending on who you ask. This article notes his earliest political experience came working for the Sacco and Vanzetti defence committee, so unless he was 9 when he worked for them, 95 sounds a bit more plausible.

He did seem to live quite an interesting and well-rounded life.

Quality Paperback Books, or QPB, sucks! I'd actually been a member for several years. I joined to get one of those sign-up bonuses, six books for a dollar, or something like that. But I actually bought quite a few books from them over the years. But I hadn't bought any in some time, so when I got a shipment from them in November, I decided it wasn't worth the hassle, and after returning the book, I cancelled my membership. But even though I returned the book, they've been trying to collect the cost of the shipment (lucky for me, the credit card they have on file was recently involved in fraudulent activity, and the account number changed, so they couldn't just bill my card). And despite replying to my e-mail requesting cancellation, and even sending me a "please re-join" mail offer, they are still sending me books. I returned the last one, and then e-mailed them that I would consider any future books received to be a gift. They replied by saying, "Well, you never send in the card that you didn't want the book," which of course I didn't because I had cancelled my membership two months prior. And today I got another e-mail trying to get money out of me. So now I'm having to send them a letter under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to demand that they not try to collect any unvalidated debts from me in the future. Wankers.

Stay far, far, away from Quality Paperback Books. And while I'm on the topic, the customer service at McSweeney's leaves a lot to desire. Their book club is a pretty good deal ($100 for the next ten books they put out, shipping included), but I think I'll just buy the ones I want through Amazon in the future.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cute Overload
The Turko Files goes after the Parkway Bowl for discriminating against a disabled bowler. Not surprising at all, given the atrocious customer service I've experienced there over the years.