Thursday, December 31, 2009

Prediction Results for 2009

Let's take a look at how our predictions for 2009 turned out now that the year is coming to a close...

- Someone with a Mickey Mouse T-shirt, with a denim shirt over it, will be seen standing in front of a Midwestern mobile home describing what it was like to live through an EF-4 tornado and how her brother-in-law almost died because he was too busy filming to take cover. I am pretty sure that I saw this one come true when that tornado went through the Iowa City area in the fall of 2009. In the immortal words of Bucko, prove it didn't happen.

- Billy Mays will pitch something totally unrelated to all of the other things he has pitched before. Well, this one took a hit because of Billy's untimely death, yet he was still on my DVR pitching something called the Jupiter Jack that you can use to talk on your cell phone through your car stereo. Count it!

- A young woman will wear gigantic plastic sunglasses that make her look like an insect despite the fact that it is not sunny outside. Go on YouTube and search the word "coastie." There you go.

- The History Channel will go one week without mentioning the name "Hitler." I think this might have actually happened, although they have a tendency to show their Hitler footage in the early morning hours while I am passed out from drinking too much, so I can't confirm it. However, the History Channel people have been trending towards more stuff about the future so it's a distinct possibility. We will have to research it more.

- Betty White will do a commercial about pet medicine and a pre-teen watching it will wonder who the hell Betty White is. Switch your TV from the Disney Channel to whatever channel the commercial is showing on and see what your 12-year-old daughter has to say about it. Do that before the end of the day or else this one might not come true.

- The guy running the Tilt-a-Whirl won't notice that your nephew is puking his guts out on the ride. Yeah, that happened didn't it, and it ruined your nice cardigan too. This probably only came true at some very cheap carnival in some very small town. Or maybe at like your family reunion if you have a strange family.

- Al Gore will say something. Nobody will listen. Check.

- Something zany will happen at a zoo somewhere. I am pretty sure that several animals escaped from zoos and went roaming around neighborhoods. Click here to see just one example of this crazy ridiculousness.

- A certified building demolition company is going to blow up a building on purpose, but it won't be as cool as the guy who totally does it by accident. This is true, because those certified companies always make you stay away and wear hard hats and junk. The guy who does it by mistake is usually drunk and starts the proceedings with "Hey, watch this." I know this incident isn't really that funny because two people died but you know what, I still think it counts.

- At a holiday office party, you will Xerox a part of your anatomy that you don't want anyone to see. Sorry, you have a Sharp copier at your office, don't you. I failed on that one.

- Two Words: Rectal Trauma. How's your bum feeling?

- Someone will discover a whole new, fantastic sensation when they get laid on an air hockey table. I've been working on this one for some time, but those people who work at the friendly local Chuck E. Cheese are such prudes. And so are the local police force. If Butt Hansen responds though I think I might have a chance to make this happen.

- The championship game of your fantasy's eight-week long air hockey tournament will be ended prematurely by your drunken frat brother Zach and his exhibitionist girlfriend Cassandra. Yeah, and that sucks because you were the number six seed and you made it all the way to the finals and you had your fraternity President Barf Bag on the ropes, and then Zach and Cassie rolled in but it wasn't all bad. The sixteen seconds of sex and the forty-five minutes of crying served as a refreshing intermission and Zach got a new fraternity nickname: Two-Pump. Classic.

- It will be on. It will be on 'till the break of dawn. Oh, it's on. It's on like Donkey Kong. Until the break of dawn.

So there you go. I thought we did pretty well as our predictions went. Thank you to all of you, Company, for reading as we made it through our first full calendar year. Pretty exciting stuff, isn't it? From all of us here at Big Dave and Company we wish you a Happy New Year and hope that you have a safe and enjoyable New Year's Eve. We will see you on the flip side in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sujata Sachdeva, You Are Getting Us All Riled Up

I have been trying for a long time to create an old axiom in the blogging community that says the blogs that you think are the most ordinary will be the ones that elicit the most comment. I am not sure if it has caught on yet but I am trying. Anyway, if there is one thing that I have learned in the six hundred-odd posts I have written is that it is true. If I think a post is great, no one else will. If I think a post is ordinary and maybe I sort of phoned it in a little bit, it will be wildly popular. Or at least it will generate a lot of comments. And so it goes with Sujata Sachdeva.
A week or so ago I took some time to write about the exploits of Sujata Sachdeva, the Milwaukee-area business executive who was accused of diverting millions of dollars of Koss Corp. money to feed her extensive shopping habits. At the time I wrote about how those investigating thought she had stolen about $4 million over a two year span or so in order to pay off the credit card bills she rang up at area stores buying cloths and jewelry. Well, since then, as authorities have dug a little deeper, they have estimated it at more like $20 million since 2006, which would be more like four years. Okay.
While all that was happening I was writing about how I was stunned that she never really seemed to cover up her crimes, although now that it seems she got away with it for a much longer times maybe she did. Anyway, my thoughts on her story generated not a lot of comments but a lot of comments for the amount we usually get here at Big Dave and Company, including the inevitable comment that I did not say but I admit I agreed with that she probably, somewhere in her sub-conscious, wanted to get caught for what she is doing. Uh oh.
Yeah, I didn't say it but I agreed, and so someone who is a little closer to the case who read about what I had to say (small world on this Internet, isn't it?) who came up with the following comment: "Who are you to say anything? You don't know the story. My store sold clothing to her monthly and I know she didn't want to get caught...or she would have many months earlier."
Now, I don't know who this comment was aimed at, myself or the person whose comment this directly followed, but I took the liberty of being deeply angry about and completely offended by this comment. I did, however, read this comment shortly before bedtime, and I had the good sense to take some time to think about it, sleep on it, and see what I though after some contemplation.
That was some days ago I have to admit, so I've been considering this comment for quite a while. And I hate to admit it, especially not here for everyone to see, but the more I think about it, the more I think you are right kmf2. Especially when we find out how long and how much this has been going on I think you are right, and less I sort of want to find a bright side in Sujata Sachdeva.
See, I was doing something that people almost always do, and that was to sort of want the person who is very obviously guilty to sort of be not quite as guilty. It is almost like we feel better about ourselves by trying to be nice about the naughty people, so we automatically slip into this mode where we try to make excuses for people. I mean, she was a community leader and gave a lot of time and money to a rash of good causes. Well, that stops right now. She's guilty as sin and she should be punished to the fill extent of the law. If you take a minute to do the figures, she STOLE twice as much each year as Koss Corp MADE in 2009. That's mind boggling. Think about how much difference that would have made in the world of Koss, if their profits were increased by 150%. That is a gigantic difference. So throw the book at her, and give all of her clothes to the poor. That would teach her.
Here is the thing though; here is the thing about the comment that still sort of gets my feathers up. The commenter was right, in my now revised and rethought opinion, and that is fine. Congratulations. The problem that I have is in the very first line: "Who are you to say anything?" Well I am no one, but that doesn't matter, okay? No, I don't have inside information, I only know what I read in the papers. So maybe I don't know all the inside details but you know what? I don't recall ever trying to bring up facts. If I remember correctly I was stating my opinion, and even though I am just some schmoe it is still my opinion, whether it is correct or properly guided or based in reality. It doesn't matter, because it is my opinion and quite frankly, just because I didn't sell Sujata any of her embezzlement clothes doesn't mean that I don't have the right to say what I think, or agree what I think. I didn't take issue with the guy who said she made it through Marquette Law School via affirmative action even though I don't necessarily agree. I respected his right to his opinion. And I am not taking stabs at you for having an opinion that is different from mine, in fact I have come around to agree. I am just taking issue with how you presented it.
That being said, I am over reacting to this. I know that. I am a grown adult throwing a sort of written temper tantrum, and I need to settle down and get over myself. And in all honesty although I am sort of picking on you kmf2, I really do appreciate your comment. Again, I have come to agree with you. But this is the fun of commenting, it creates debate and stimulates conversation. Can you tell that I am extremely worried that people will stop commenting now that I have done this? And this has certainly done so. So thank you, I am over myself now. Plus, I don't think you meant it to come off that way. Oh damn, there I go again, trying to make nice all the time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Man on the Bar Stool

Sometimes the force of a person's personality is far greater than themselves. Does that make sense, Company? This is sort of a hard concept to explain, so please bear with me as I try to search for the words. There are people in this world who through just their way of being, just the person that they are, extend themselves far beyond the personal sphere. They have an effect on people far and wide, some of whom they have barely had contact with. It might be in how they are. Maybe they did some small favor or act that was reflected much more immensely in the eyes of the other person. Whatever. There are just some people who have that thing about them, you know?
I only met the man on the bar stool once. And yes, he was a little drunk but that's okay, that how people are in the bar. It didn't manner. You could tell that he was one of those people who are far greater than themselves. You could just tell that he was huge in the way he is. I mean, it says something that I have only met him once and here I am waxing poetic. So there he was, the life of the party, one of the most affable and comforting personalities that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. It was great, and I am somewhat sad that I could only meet him the one time.
I have, however, heard many stories, and they serve as an immense store of backup in shoring up that monster personality, that monster being that the man had, the presence of personality that surrounded him at all time. We are finding out now, however, just how that force of personality is a double edged sword sometimes. See, the man on the bar stool, just through him being the way he was, effected so many people in so many good ways. And he had an effect on those close to him that could not be measured. But now that he is no longer with us, the hole left seems that much larger and gaping. Especially for those who had the fortune of being close.
I am not saying that the man on the bar stool should not be mourned, that would be preposterous. He should be. And he will be. However, in time there should be comfort in just how many lives he touched in such a tremendous way. The fact that someday I will be the man on the bar stool, reflecting on the time I met the man on the bar stool, or relating a story about the man on the bar stool, speaks volumes to the man that he was. To the person that he was. The fact that one meeting in I am feeling this sort of blanket of sadness as much for the fact that he will no longer be impacting the world as much as it is for those who have truly lost this man speaks volumes. While the man on the bar stool is gone, may his memory and that undeniable personality continue to live on forever. Rest in peace.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa's Summer Job

Well Company, with Christmas behind us (unless of course we are Orthodox Christians, in which case it is still right around the corner) I am sure that your thought, as mine, are turning to Santa Claus. After his night yeoman's work, bringing toys and holiday cheer to children all around the world armed with nothing but a sleigh, reindeer, and neatly ordered time zones you can imagine that he would need a break from all the action, especially when you consider that reindeer don't really fly. So I would expect him to take some time off until at least the New Year. But what about after that? I don't think that Santa makes any of his toys anymore, they are all stuff you can find on the shelves at any big box retailer. The elves aren't in the workshop making rocking horses out of wood like they used to, no no. I would imagine that the elves are more like warehouse workers and purchasing agents, striking deals in big board room with the folks at Tonka for a new truck for little Jimmy Smalls of Staten Island, NY.
So what does Santa Claus do all summer long? I mean, other than signing off on purchase orders and making out the list I can't imagine he has much to do. And he certainly doesn't get an unemployment check. But he has to do something, I mean, Mrs. Claus has a level of existence to which she has become accustomed, you know what I mean? Well, I have figured it out, and I am going to tell you. And, because it's the holidays and I am a super nice guy, after I tell you the answer I am going to tell you why. How do you feel about that?
* * *

In the summer, Santa is the Green Giant.

* * *
Yeah. Yeah. You see it now, don't you? It's just perfect. For those of you who don't see it let me go through a partial list of similarities that allowed me to make this historic connection.

1.) Speech. How is Tiger Woods different from Santa Claus? Santa stops after three "ho's." HAHAHA! Well, one could apply that same tasteless but HILARIOUS joke to the Green Giant. Or, to be more precise, one could replace Santa Claus with The Green Giant and it would still work. Haven't you ever seen it? The Green Giant standing proudly over a farmer's field saying "Ho ho ho, Green Giant." He slips his name in there at the end just to confuse you and throw you off his Santa tracks, but I am not buying it.

2.) Kids. Santa loves kids, but you and I both know, Company, that kids can be a little much sometimes. So after being bombarded with the little bastards from like August until the end of December, he's just about had it, so he moonlights as a purveyor of delicious vegetables because, well, let's be honest the bulk of kids don't like vegetables. Like spinach and asparagus and carrots and whatnot. So he gets a break from the little brats for the summer. Plus, he gets to be out in the fields in the nice weather and work on his sweet tan. One can't get a tan at the North Pole. Plus, because Santa still loves the kids even though he just needs a break from them, he makes sure they get their vegetables so they are still strong and healthy. Now that's a caring guy if I've ever seen one. Also, as a last bit of proof on the kids front, what is always one of the hallmarks of children being good for Santa? Eating their vegetables. He's a business mastermind as well.

3.) Magic. Oh yeah, magic. Let's be honest, we already covered that whole reindeer can't fly thing, so how are they getting across the oceans and how is NORAD tracking them in our airspace. Magic. Santa Magic. How do you think he delivers to like eleventy billion kids in the space of one night. Santa Magic. How do you suppose that he gets all those name-brand toys for all those kids without spending a freaking dime? Santa Magic. Or extortion. Whichever. How do you think that the Green Giant gets all those delicious vegetables canned so soon after being picked? Santa Magic. How does that little Green Giant outfit manage to cover his dong and how is it that everyone looking up from under doesn't see anything nasty? Santa Magic.

4.) Appearance. Now, I know what you are going to say, Company. Santa Claus and The Green Giant don't look anything like one another. Fair enough, I will give you that one. But that is why I think they are one in the same. Think about it like this: you have to lug a big heavy coat with complicated boots and an itchy beard around ALL WINTER LONG. Yeah, I think that would get real old real quick as well. So when I wasn't doing that, i.e. summertime, I would definitely be wearing as little as possible. Hence the leafy toga thing. And you would be amazed at how much cooler one feels when clean shaven as opposed to being bearded. Think about it man. Classic overreaction syndrome. I understand the The Green Giant is a little thinner than Santa Claus but let's be honest, who doesn't put on a little weight during the holiday season? Am I right?

So there it is: four slam dunk reasons why Santa works as the Green Giant during the summertime. Or why the Green Giant works as Santa during the winter, whichever way you want to look at it. Just a little food for thought, but I am behind it. I mean, he can't just sit on the beach sipping margaritas all day long, now can he?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Returns

Well we are back everyone. I sincerely apologize for the lack of posts over the Christmas holiday; I was away with my family and I made it a point to take my computer with me so that I COULD post but then I never made the effort to go out into the community and find Internet access. And by out into the community I mean to my sister's house. That being said, while that excuse essentially boils down to nothing but laziness and forgetfulness, nothing can be said about my lack of Twitter updates. I could have at least given everyone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Boxing Day for all of our friends in the Commonwealth, but no. I was neglectful. So my apologies. Please allow everyone here at Big Dave and Company to say that we hope you had a wonderful holiday, and that you made it everywhere you had to go safely, and that you were able to be with friends and loved ones. And I hope you got at least one good present. I know that I am lucky and got lots. Lots and lots and lots. So anyway, we are back, Happy Holidays and all that jazz, and we have all sorts of good stuff coming up for you as we careen towards the 2010. So look forward to that. Happy Sunday everyone! Or, as Bankingplanes would say, may this be the happiest Sunday of your life.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas everyone. Best wishes to you and yours in this holiday season, and safe travels for those of you traveling this holiday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Almost Total Freedom in New Zealand

New Zealand is like 1000 miles from the nearest continental land mass, so one could imagine that those Kiwis get just a little bit stir crazy from time to time. I mean, this is a place where they use hedgehogs for weapons. And where they sell their souls for profit. So the fact that they ride around naked on bicycles should not surprise you. Nor should the fact that they didn't get away with it. The reason why, however, might throw you for a bit of a loop.
At about 10 pm local time on December 7, 2009 Senior Constable Cathy Duder stopped two men riding bicycles completely naked in Whangamata, a popular New Zealand beach resort and tourist destination, especially around the holiday, which, by the way, happen during the summertime down in those parts. So anyway, Frick and Frack were stopped butt naked, free as a bird, riding on bicycles that, quite frankly, I would not want to use after they were done. Well, maybe the bike but certainly not those particular seats, that's for sure. They were described as "happy young men in their mid-20s [who] appeared to be as sober as two judges." Apparently judges act very differently in New Zealand than they do here.
Senior Constable Duder, as any good police officer would do, asked the boys what they were up to, and they, being as sober as two New Zealand judges, responded that "They were wanting to experience total freedom." Hmmm...well, they were pretty close. I am sure that the feel of the cool summer New Zealand seaside night air flowing across their ballsacks was about as close to free as one could get. I mean, I have never done it but I certainly can imagine. If you want to try this at home boys, sit naked on a balance beam with a fan pointing at your wedding vegetables.
My favorite part, by far, BY FAR, of this story is the response from Senior Constable Duder, both in her overall reaction and handling of this situation AND the one liner she delivered to our boys. First, the one liner. When they said they were "wanting to experience total freedom" she responded with "You may experience total confinement. You should head home and get helmets." Oh man. That's great. That's an action-movie-climactic-scene-I'm-about-to-shoot-all-the-bad-guys kind of line, but New Zealand-style. But, I dig it. That is how policing could work. You can be charged with offensive behavior for being nude in public in New Zealand, but in this case there was no reason to do that, and Senior Constable Duder realized that. She said herself that it was dark, there were no members of the public nearby, and the men were cooperative and they were not intending to offend anyone. BUT they were not being safe. So they turned tail and went back to their house, and no one but them knows if they ever finished their bike ride. No authorities ever saw them on their route again that night.
So what have we learned about New Zealand? Well, we have learned that you can't ride your bike naked there. Sorry boys and girls. You have to be wearing a helmet. So, your short hairs? Not necessarily needing to be covered. Your long hairs though? Cover 'em up. Seriously though, what we have learned is that Cathy Duder knows how to be a police officer, or constable as it were, because she uses her head and thinks clearly through situations the confront here and she has a sense of humor So good for her. And good for the boys. And for Whangamata, where the summer party season is beginning. Marry Christmas everyone and happy biking.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sujata Sachdeva, You Aren't Even Trying

One time, many years ago, my mother went out of town. Because I was a poor high schooler, and because I got sick of driving my sweet Pontiac Bonneville around all the time, and because my mom had a full tank of gas, I was driving her car around and about. No big deal. Well, while I was doing that, someone else, who shouldn't have been, was cruising up and down the block in my car. When I got home, and was walking into the house, I noticed that all the lights were lit on the dashboard. I noticed that it was still in gear. And when I pushed the eject button, I noticed that there was a CD that I would never listen to in the CD player. So I went and confronted the person that I suspected, and I wound up saying a not really famous line "I am not so much upset that you did it, I am more disappointed that you didn't even try to cover it up."
Well, I could and should be saying that to Sujata Sachdeva. She goes by the name Sue, so I would say it like this: "Sue, I am not so much upset that you did it, I am more disappointed that you didn't even try to cover it up." By now, if you haven't already hopped over to one of the many quality search engines available and found out what Sue did, you are probably wondering what kind of tomfoolery she was involved in. Hmmm...well that's a good question. As it turns out Sue liked clothes. A lot. A lot more than she had the personal wealth to back up. But she did, however, work for a large corporation that had plenty of case to support her habit. Some of you...yes...you can see where this is going. I'll lay the punchline on you. So it should be no surprise then that recently she was accused of embezzling $4.5 million dollars from Koss Corp, the makers of fine headphones, etc.
Now you might be thinking to yourself, or even saying out loud to the guy next to you on the bus "$4.5 million dollars, wow, that's a lot of clothes." And you would be right. But I am not sure that you have begun to understand just how many clothes that really is. The reason I say that is they found a bunch of said clothes in Sue's office when they went to see what was up, many of them had their $2000-plus price tags on them. But let's not skip too far ahead. I don't want to have to Tarantino this thing and start at the end. Let's look into how it all went down.
It was pretty simple, really. Sachdeva was a major financial officer at Koss, holding a variety of titles, including some which allowed her to sign financial documents that were required to be submitted to the United States Security and Exchange Commission, which is the government branch that oversees publicly traded companies. In this capacity she obviously had access to all sorts of financial information: account numbers, balances, etc. So what she would do was go out shopping, ring up big bills at fancy-pants stores that like to call themselves "boutiques" and "jewelers" and "salons" and other things that I would be tempted to put in "quotation marks." Anyway, she would go there, charge Lady Rebecca-esque amounts of money to her American Express card, and then make wire transfers from Koss Corp accounts to pay off the balances.
American Express, of course, noticed this, and so they called up Koss CEO Michael J. Koss and said "Hey, ummm...I don't know if you know this but someone is wiring huge amounts of money from your corporate accounts to pay off their credit card bills. Oh, and that someone is Sujata Sachdeva." I would assume that Koss' answer was somewhere along the lines of "Hey, thanks for doing me that solid, American Express. You're the best." He then proceeded over to Sue's office where he found the aforementioned piles of clothes. Some with the price tags still on. Oh, and there were AmEx statements. Ouch. The scene was similar at her house when authorities confronted here there. Smoking guns in abundance.
I will give Sachdeva some credit, however, because she never turned tail and tried to save herself. I mean, I am sure that she knew the gig was up but she has at least been cooperative and has sort of realized that her had was caught very much in the cookie jar, and she isn't just lying through he teeth to save herself. So that's good; I am always in favor of that sort of behavior.
I am not, however, in favor of not even trying to cover up your misdeeds. I mean, I would have at least funneled the money through some other entity so I didn't get caught. Oh, and I probably wouldn't have left my purchases just lying around for everyone to find. I would have made them at least pull some receipts and track down a storage shed in some bad part of town. Oh, and I wouldn't have left my credit card statements just hanging out on my desk or wherever, I would probably have lugged them around with me in my backpack, or briefcase or whatever I carried stuff in. Because those are evidence of the naughty things I was doing so I would want more control over who was looking at my business.
So she didn't even try. But the fact that she was so bad about covering her tracks kind of says to me that she wasn't going this to be like a greedy fuck, she was doing this because she had a sort of shopping addiction and was in desperate straits. That still doesn't excuse what she did. $4.5 million dollars of the course of a year or two is pretty significant to a company that only made $2 million in profit last year. They immediately set up an inquiry into exactly how much she embezzled and how she did it and for how long. And they have asked Nasdaq, where they are traded, to suspend trading of their shares until they get their figure out what is going on. Smart moves. I really hope this doesn't destroy Koss, and I really hope that she does a significant amount of time, which she won't because this is a white-collar crime but she needs to learn. And other people need to learn. I know I have learned one thing from this all. If I am a corporation, I want to have American Express. Definitely American Express.

Monday, December 21, 2009

That's the Man Keeping Someone Else Down For A Change

A long time ago we as a society lost out common sense. Or at least we lost the ability to listen to it and follow what it was saying. That is why we have to have warnings on hot things that say they are hot; that is why we have warnings on sharp things that say they are sharp, that is why everything is labeled and why it has to say "Don't try this at home" on the bottom of every sweet commercial or television show. That is why I had to put a disclaimer on this blog. Well, thankfully we have gone ahead and ramped things up a notch.
In a smart but ultimately sad move, the United States Federal government issued a proclamation, an edict, something, that forces airlines to allow passengers off planes that have been delayed on the ground for three hours. I am appalled that it took a Federal law to make this happen. It seems to me like it it mostly common sense, or even good customer service, or even morally correct but apparently letting people off planes that aren't moving anywhere anyway is a new and scary innovation that needed to be made happen by Federal law.
This is all, of course, in response to that incident in Minnesota where all those people were stuck on a plane for like six or seven hours. Somewhere along the way leading up to that incident the airlines forgot what it was like to be human, to fly, to be cooped up in a toothpaste tube with a couple of hundred strangers, all breathing the same stale air, all watching the same stale movies, all using the same limited toilet facilities, and all, ALL, wanting to be somewhere else. Anywhere else.
It just makes sense to me that you should be letting people off of the plane long before the three hour mark, because, honestly, if your flight is delayed by more than three hours things are sort of a clusterfuck anyway, no? I mean, an hour because of a passing thunderstorm, I can understand that. Two hours for deicing? Sure. But at three hours you are probably getting into conditions where you don't want to be in the air anyway. Either there is some massive blizzard or the plane is broken or something is completely amiss. At that point the system is breaking down and you probably don't want any more planes in the air. That is how I respond to airline industry insiders who claim this new policy - there's the word - will do nothing but cause more delays and canceled flights. I just told you why that is not necessarily a bad thing.
In the end this is good: people shouldn't be on planes that aren't moving for that long, especially when they are paying the kinds of prices that they are paying. I just very sad that it had to come to The President and Secretary of Transportation sticking their heads out the window and saying something. It really should have just been something that was done all along. I actually think that it would have been a master stroke of public relations for some airline to have enacted this on their own somewhere along the way. That is even more genius than bags fly free. But then again, what do I know. I am not a top airline executive. And I didn't just get smacked down by man.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Days of the Week

Well, it's Sunday, which you probably can't tell because well, there aren't dates that come with posts anymore. It's not that I can't figure out how to make it happen with this great new look (I can for as much as you know) it's just that my posts are timeless and don't need to be shackled by dates. Yeah, that sounds good; that's what we will go with. Anyway, it's Sunday, and I am watching football, and later I will watch Sunday Night Football. Tomorrow I will watch Monday Night Football. That makes sense. right? I thought so. So one would expect that I watched Saturday Night Football last night as the super evil Dallas Cowboys beat the previously unbeaten New Orleans Saints. Nay. I was watching Thursday Night Football. Wait, what?
No, no. It wasn't some sort of voodoo DVR or VCR magic, although that's a pretty good guess. I mean, that is the first thing that I probably would have thought as well, and it certainly would have been the easiest way to make that happen. Unfortunately, not everyone has DVR capabilities. I know, it is quite the sad situation. Happily though, the good folks at the NFL Network, who have managed to hijack several games a season to hoard them away from the general viewing public, have provided for all of us who can't confuse time with a DVR by airing Thursday Night Football on Saturday night.
So, if you haven't figured out what I am talking about yet, the NFL Network aired a football game on Saturday night and proceeded to brand it as "Thursday Night Football: Special Edition" which is the stupidest fucking thing that I have ever seen. And I have seen a lot of stupid things. I apologize for my crude language but I think it was warranted. Thursday Night Football, which NFL Network has features for like the last two or three years only, is not a well known enough brand for you to be able to pull that off, okay? That's just the way it is, okay? You aren't Monday Night Football. You aren't Saturday Night Live. Those are about the only specific day related television brands that can pull a move like that. Saturday night live on a Thursday can still be Saturday Night Live, but it doesn't work the other way for Thursday Night Football. It's not a unique or established enough product for that to work.
I want to know what executive at the NFL Network green lighted that idea and I want to backhand him. Or her. Because it shows an awful lot of hubris, and a lot of stupidity, and a stunning detachment with reality, for that to go ahead. Not only for that to go ahead but for them to blatantly and shamelessly plaster it all over the place. It's really quite appalling, and so, so completely stupid. I mean, just call it NFL Network Saturday Night Football Special or something like that. That is something that everyone can understand. Not, apparently, in whatever reality the NFL Network folks are living, which if you know anything about the history of the NFL Network you will understand is not the same reality in which the rest of us are living. How does this sound for the next NFL game on Saturday night: Thursday Night Football Special Edition with Sunday Morning Pregame Show Special Hosted by the Monday Morning Quarterback Crew On Special Assignment. I can only assume that right now someone at the NFL Network is furiously scribbling that load on nonsense on a little notepad so they can be the big star at the next meeting with the network big wigs. Oh, and Roger Goodell just had to wipe the cream out of his pants. Don't forget about that part.
This is just the dumbest thing, and I don't understand why they did it. I really don't. All it did was make me angry every time the graphic showed, and I desperately wanted to go dial it in on the AM radio where they are more sensible and they just call Saturday Night Football, well...Saturday Night Football. Makes sense to me. And it makes sense to just about everyone else, which is why no one at the NFL gets it. I guess it's time to rename the "No Fun League" the "Needs Flip-calendar League." Because they really need help with the days of the week.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Santa Does His Job

We sort of felt bad for Santa. He was dressed up and doing a great job, and he had his usual assistant. However, there were no kids. None that we could see anyway. It was the second busiest shopping day of they year, and since in this little town there is not proper mall, Santa had set up shop in one of the friendly local grocery stores. He was Ho Ho Ho-ing at someone, and the assistant was saying "He can't take his eyes off you" but again, there were no kids to be found.
All of us Unpaid Interns were there, and for a split second we thought that they were talking about us because we were looking at Santa on his throne. But we weren't so much staring at him as sort of using those non-evil shift eyes because, well, we are Unpaid Interns and we didn't want to seem uncool. You know, when you don't get out of the Worldwide Headquarters very often you don't have too many opportunities to make a good impression. So there we were, trying to find out who was looking at Santa Claus and the leading candidate seemed to be an equally sized group of senior citizens. And one chap who might have been learning disabled in some way. So that was it, unless there was like a little dog in the friendly local grocery store that we couldn't see down below the fruit trays, which would have been strange and certainly unsanitary.
So we went about filling our shopping list, since Big Dave gave us a dorm fridge, toaster oven, and hot plate (all used by the way) for the Christmas holiday and now we could have our own food in our rooms instead of the cold sandwiches we always get served in the Worldwide Headquarters cafeteria and we got to talking about how we sort of felt bad for Santa, sitting there with no kids to come and make their wishes. Seriously, there he was all in the spirit and raring to go and there was nothing but a bunch of old skids and bitter Unpaid Interns there to see him and we came the consensus that if any of us were in his shoes, we'd be wondering why we were even bothering.
Well, we got our answer. On the way out of the store, seven steps into the parking lot, a family passed by. The man was carrying his precious twelve-pack of Miller Lite, the woman was pushing the cart, and in the cart seat was a little girl, maybe three, possibly four, and undeniably pretty. The other two were talking about something else but she had only one thing on her mind: Santa. She must have seen him, because she was indiscriminately singing his name out into the cold afternoon air. There was an undeniable joy in her voice, in her eyes, in her being. Well, turns out that is what being Santa Claus is all about. That is what Christmas is all about. So Merry Christmas little girl, may you get everything your heart desires from Santa and his reindeer. And his Elves too. And the same to you. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all from the Unpaid Interns. May the season bring you nothing but happiness.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Guaranteed White Christmas: Rethought

So, as you may know I was a little bit upset about the results of The Weather Channel's Guaranteed White Christmas promotion. Okay, I was more than a little bit upset. But I digress. Anyway, this morning to greet me between the Local on the 8's was a little video about the Livingston family of Florida who won the white Christmas. Turns out that they used to live somewhere where it snowed and decided to seek a more laid-back, peaceful life in the Keys.
Well that changes everything. Or does it? My very first, knee jerk reaction was that maybe this kid deserves a white Christmas more than I thought. Like, they moved to the Keys four years ago, when the young kid was two and a half, so it's conceivable that he knew snow and remembers it. So maybe, just maybe.
But then I started to think about it. And since I am bitter and hateful and don't really think that anyone deserved the good things that they get, it was easy to find a reason why they still don't deserve to have the fluffy white stuff on Christmas morn. Actually, it will be manufactured snow so it will probably be a little more icy and fine than large and fluffy but whatever. I sort of realized that they are almost worse, because they used to live in a snowy place, they used to make the sacrifices and endurances that are required to receive a white Christmas. But they chose to give it up. They willingly made the switch to tropical wonder and therefore they deserve white Christmas EVEN LESS.
You what though? No. It doesn't really matter. The kid deserves his snow, alright? He's a kid. A six and a half year old kid, and he should have the opportunity to make a snowman and watch it melt in the hot Florida sun. No kid, at Christmastime, should be deprived of anything so I shouldn't be mad. Maybe I am just jealous. Maybe I just am upset because the Weather Channel has a very pronounced Southern and East Coast bias (Even though they WERE in my home town a couple of weeks ago covering a cold snap. I just become more and more of a hypocrite the more I type today, don't I?). I just don't know, but a couple of days on and a couple of nights to sleep on it and you know what? I am glad for the Livingston family, and I truly hope that they enjoy their guaranteed white Christmas. It had just better go to a kid in Alaska next year, that's all that I'm saying.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rolling Stone

I get Rolling Stone and I don't know why. I mean, it's not like I don't understand Rolling Stone, I mean that every month it comes to my house and I don't know why. I never asked for it, I don't remember anybody giving it to me for a present, I have no ideas as to how it began to appear in my mailbox. But it does, so I sort of feel obligated to read it. I don't want to but I know that somewhere some people worked very hard to make this publication come to my door so I kind of want to do it for them.
Aside from that however, I don't know why I read it. First of all, it sucks. It is not what it used to be at least. Back in the day it was bigger, and that in itself was cool. It set it apart as something that you don't see everyday. It was the journal of rock n' roll at a time when rock n' roll was so much more than music. But what is it now?
It's something that I can can barely stomach to read. I am sorry to all of you Rolling Stone fans out there, but that is the truth. I find it preachy, pretentious and off-putting. Whenever I read through the pages I get the distinct feeling that I am not good enough to be reading it, that I am not cool enough to have even the slightest clue as to what they are talking about, that I don't listen to the right music and that I don't do enough to help the world.
Well here's the deal, Rolling Stone: I don't give a rats ass, okay? I am definitely good enough to read you, because glossy pages and writing like you are taking dictation for Dennis Miller does not a high end publication make. I am definitely cool enough because I don't walk to the beat of whatever drummer I think that I should be walking to, I definitely listen to the right music because it is the music that I like and that is what I am supposed to listen to, right? And I think that I do enough to help the world, because while I might not be running around Africa sniffing Bono's ass I would like to think that I make the world a little better for the folks with whom I come in contact. That's called grass roots but I wouldn't expect you to know anything about that, Rolling Stone. Because grass roots is not "cool," so you don't do it.
Unfortunately, Rolling Stone, the bulk of us walking around out there live in what is called the real world, in which we don't really have time to comb through college record stores in San Francisco because, well, the BART doesn't stop there and we are probably going to be late even if we take the express train. We don't have time to run around doing concerts with U2 because we can't just do work for free, except on weekends when we maybe can get some time to work with Habitat for Humanity or maybe raise some money for the friendly local fire department, which is smart because those people will come save my house if it starts on fire. We can't spend a bunch of time taking pot shots at President Bush because we are busy taking pot shots at Rolling Stone. Well, at least I am.
And then, just when I was getting all riled up at Rolling Stone, it prints something like the following sentence: "The surprising train-wreck season of sniveling NFL superdouche Jay Cutler proves it beyond any doubt..." How can you walk away from a sentence like that? There are not many other magazines that would have the balls to print something like that, so I suppose that you have to give them some credit. But that's how they do it. That's the trick here. That's the method to the madness. It took me a while to figure out, but I think I have a handle on it now. Rolling Stone is like that friend who is always plugged in, always knows more than you, and always knows it. And they always make sure that you know it. So they are consistently looking down their nose at you sort of, but every once in a while they do something redeeming and completely cool, and they let you in on it. So then you are sort of cool by proxy and you can go on about your business and sort of ride the coattails to whatever it leads to. With Rolling Stone you are cool by association, even when it comes to your door unrequested. So maybe I will keep letting it come and I will keep thumbing through the pages, even if there aren't any pictures of hot chicks in it anymore, even though I don't care about a word that it says really. Plus, one can't get enough cool in their life, right?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Guaranteed White Christmas

I was pacing the floor of my bedroom at the Worldwide Headquarters this morning, Company, which is odd because, quite frankly, I usually don't have time. But this morning I was because I was so very angry. I was angry at The Weather Channel because this morning they released the winner of their "Guaranteed White Christmas" promotion. I fucking knew how it was going to go down, and I called it, but when they released the results I was still made even though I made the exact right call.
Here is the deal about the "Guaranteed White Christmas" promotion: you send in a video to The Weather Channel about why you should have a guaranteed white Christmas, like why you need and deserve snow in order to celebrate the birth of Jesus and properly receive presents. Then, the poor meteorologist who has to do this promotion on Christmas morning will roll up to your house with a snowmaking truck and blanket your yard. Which means that you will then have to shovel on Christmas morning. HAHAHAHAHA! Suckers.
The reason that I am so pissed off about this whole thing is that, just like I and probably everyone else predicted, they gave it to a family that lives in a place where they don't usually get snow. Yep, of course. We all knew that it was going to go to someone in California or South Texas or Hawai'i or the Florida keys, where the winning Livingston family lives.
Okay, fuck that. The Livingston family has a cute kid, six and a half years old, and all that jazz. But they live in a home whose backyard is taken up by a swimming pool that is surrounded by palm trees and is like 37 feet from the ocean. THE OCEAN! Now I am not saying that the Livingstons aren't nice, hardworking, salt of the Earth kind of people, because I don't know them. But I am going to say that they don't deserve to have a guaranteed white Christmas, and that is because of where they live.
See, there is a give and take regarding where each of lives in terms of the weather and climate and location and culture, okay? So for everyone there is something that we have to endure in order to sort of get the perk of living where we live. There is also something that we have to give up. That is just how it works. I guess that is the triumvirate of reality I guess you would say. For example where I live: we give up things like warmth and endure things like cold AND blizzards AND tornadoes in order to get things like the leaves changing colors and white Christmases, okay? If you live up in the mountains you give up distance and endure huge amounts of snow in order to get the amazing views and pure air. In New York City you give up privacy and grass in order to get culture and public transportation. And you endure, well, The Pharaoh I suppose. Well, let me lay out for you the three things for the Florida keys. You get tropical fantasticness just about year round and an ocean right outside your pool. You endure things like sharks and hurricanes and sweltering humidity. BUT YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP SNOW! YOU FORFEIT THE ABILITY TO HAVE A WHITE CHRISTMAS BECAUSE YOU GET TROPICAL GREATNESS FROM JANUARY TO DECEMBER! God, doesn't anybody understand this? I feel like I am taking crazy pills here, people. If you got to have tropical greatness all year long AND white Christmas on whatever key they live on then everybody and their fucking brother AND their aunt would live there.
No. That's not how it works there. You have to give up white Christmas to live in semi-tropical paradise, okay? That is the deal. If those people are going to have guaranteed white Christmas when they live in the keys I should get a guaranteed beach holiday New Year's party. That's only fair. And I don't mean me standing in my fucking snowmobile boots on top of the ice where the beach would normally be. I want them to roll in with a big exterminators tent and like sixty of those torpedo heaters, and I want it to be about 90 in there. And there had better be sand and at least a kiddie pool and some of those lamps they use in the Arctic to simulate the sunshine. That is the only way this sits well with me. Because if they get to have white Christmas when they don't live in white Christmas territory, then I should get New Year's Beach Party when I don't live in New Year's Beach Party territory.
That six and a half year old Livingston boy seems pretty smart, so I am sure he knows all about snow. But he doesn't know what a white Christmas is like, so I don't think he's being deprived of anything really. For instance: I have never driven a Ferrari Daytona, yet no one is saying that I am being deprived of a basic driving experience because I have never done it. It's just one of those things that you don't get in life. I am sorry. If anyone, those guaranteed white Christmas should have gone to someone in like Virginia or Missouri or Ohio, where they have snow sometimes for Christmas but maybe haven't for the last couple of years. Those are the people who are being deprived and deserve it, because they are giving something up and enduring something in order to get that. That's fair. Or how about this: why don't you bring it here where we need snow SO WE DON'T GET OUR BUSINESSES REPOSSESSED! How about that?
Anyway, all my anger aside congratulations to the Livingston family. I hope you enjoy your snow. I say that begrudgingly though because I don't think you should have the snow, I am sorry. Unless I get some tropical in my life right quick. I do hope that you have a wonderful Christmas though, and that is true and heartfelt. And since you live in the Florida Keys, and that snow will be melted off by like 10 am, you can still spend Christmas afternoon lounging by the pool. That's how it should be. Let the white Christmas belong to those of us who have suffered through -11 when we walk out of the house in the morning. Because that is earning it right there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The John Stamos Affair

The TV show Full House was on air from 1987-1995. Keep that in mind as you read this post suggested by Little Heather, who dropped a line to bigdave@bigdaveandcompany.com to recommend an idea to write about. We are always open to suggestion, and we thank her. So here we go...
About two weeks ago, on December 2, 2009, two people waited in the terminal at Sawyer International Airport outside of Marquette, Michigan. As representatives of actor John Stamos, who is currently starring in "Bye Bye Birdie" on Broadway, about 775 miles (1248 km) away from the aforementioned airport, authorities from several different jurisdictions raced in to arrest the people waiting. The reason was that the two, one of whom was a successful nightclub owner, were allegedly attempting to blackmail the actor for roughly $680,000.
Well, I say allegedly but the case seems to be that it is pretty cut and dry because, well, frankly Scott Sippola, 30, and Allison Coss, 23, did not a very good job covering anything up. In fact, they didn't seem to do a good job with anything as far as I know. I mean, I understand that for me to sit here in the warmth and comfort of the Worldwide Headquarters it is easy to point out all of the mistakes, and I understand that maybe I am not the world authority on extorting money from celebrities, but I would like to think that I am not completely useless. So even I can see how this all went wrong. But let's look at the details first, shall we?
The Coss allegedly met Stamos in 2004 somewhere down in Florida, where she was probably on spring break because she would have been 18 at the time. Okay, there should be red flag number one. But anyway, he was at the party and she was at the party and like all 18 year olds do she had her cell phone and camera and she took pictures. Apparently a bunch of pictures. And she kept them like on her camera or lying around her house or whatever. Fine. I suppose that if I had a picture of John Stamos I would keep it for posterity, although I highly doubt he would ever take a picture with me because the whole time I was at the party I would have insisted on calling him Uncle Jessie and he probably would have had his people rough me up when I went out to the car to take a phone call.
Anyway, she kept the pictures and somewhere along the way she and Sippola (Scotty doesn't know, by the way) decided that they would be able to make some money off the pictures, which I am sure were of all hot young teenage girls posing with John. No big deal, it happens all the time I would suppose. And the photos couldn't be anything bad because Stamos' people have said that they will release the photos to the press after the whole affair is settled. So Stamos, like any good Hollywood type would do, called his lawyer. His lawyer, like any good lawyer would do, called the police. Who called the FBI. Who set up a sting. When the friendly local Michigan police raided the house that Sippola and Coss shared they found a paper with Stamos' personal cell phone number on it in one room and a paper with the phone numbers for three, count 'em three, tabloid magazines in another room. Oh, and they took like the camera and computer and stuff too.
There are a lot of things wrong with this whole scenario, okay? First of all, the police can easily figure out computer stuff, okay? Like, they could, if they wanted to, see from what house I typed out this blog and on what computer and at what time of the day. That's just how it is. So you have to put a tremendous amount of effort into making it hard for them. You have to create a new e-mail account dedicated just to that. You have to go use the computer at a public library in a town in which you do not live. And then, you have to make them meet you somewhere else, okay? Don't make them come to your hometown in the middle of nowhere. Make them put the money in a locker in the bus station in Tampa or something. Or at least catch a plane to somewhere else and meet them at the airport in Memphis or something. And then, don't leave all sorts of evidence on paper and on your computer just lying around your house. That is just asking for it, because they will find you and you know that any judge in any state will give them a search warrant in like fourteen seconds flat. It seems to me that this is basic stuff, but it's not even the worst part. As far as I can see there are two major, huge, unbelievable flaws with this whole plan.
The first is that they really didn't have anything to blackmail him with, okay? They have pictures of him posing with fans. It's not like they have a twelve minute Flip video of him giving a handy to a bi-sexual goat or something. I mean, come on. I understand that this works sometimes, mostly on TV, but when you are uttering the phrase "I know we don't have anything, but HE doesn't know that we don't have anything." it seems to me that your chances of pulling off a complicated white collar crime are pretty low. That sort of thing might work well for an escape maybe, and only if you are MacGyver, but aside from that, not so much. You need something concrete if you want your $680,000 because eventually the person you are trying to blackmail, in this case John Stamos if you are just joining us, is going to want to see some evidence of why they should pay up. Especially if they know they didn't really do anything wrong, and that is the sense that I have been getting from the Stamos camp throughout this whole thing. You can't bluff your way out of this, it isn't poker. You need to have at least a picture of him playing footsie with a teenager or maybe deep throating a bratwurst at a ball game. Those would get you like at least $1500, which is better than nothing I guess.
Secondly, you really have to pick someone a little more famous than John Stamos. I mean, maybe if this was 1992 I could understand you pulling a stunt like this, but John Stamos? I mean, really? That wasn't a typo? He wasn't just letting someone more famous and important use his name to cover up their own shortcomings? You couldn't dig up something on one of the guys from Lost? Or like Gary Busey even? I mean that would have at least been more entertaining. Or should I say less pathetic. I just don't know that trying to blackmail someone whose high point came fifteen years ago changing diapers for a pair of twins while Bob Saget watched is really the best plan.
I mean, I live in the Great White North. And one of the jokes of living in remote, largely rural areas is that time is always like a decade behind. In fact, Wang Chung is just getting heavy rotation at a few Hot AC stations in the Great White North as we speak. So I suppose that the easy joke would be to say that popular culture is always behind so John Stamos is probably just getting popular there right now, and normally I would go there. But I am not going to, because I am just so stunned at how badly this whole scheme was put together. I mean, he married well, that's for sure, but he is on Broadway and happy to be there. He was on ER, which is where careers go to die. It's also the show that killed the introductory theme song, but that is for another time.
I just can't fathom how these two dipshits ever thought that a plan to blackmail someone who really isn't that big of a celebrity anymore (although he is more of a celebrity than I will ever be, so I guess I shouldn't talk) with pictures that aren't scandalous all while leading the authorities right to you would ever work. But then again, these people aren't that bright. I mean, I've been to his "club" and it sucks. And he puts extra "x's" into the name of everything, so you know he struggles with what is cool, which maybe is why he things John Stamos is worthy of blackmail. I just don't know. I really don't. I have to stop typing now because, well, there really isn't anything else to say. It's just ridiculous. I can't wait until the trial. And I really can't wait until the pictures come out. God do I hope that there really is a goat in one of the pictures and Johnny boy is just ready to come out. That would be cool. And you could knock me over with a stick.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Power of Snow

When one lives in a place that embraces winter recreation as a mean of economic and metal health survival, one has to be prepared to have motorized winter sports surrounding them for roughly half the year. I live in such a place, and I am prepared for such a situation. I don't mind seeing snowmobile tracks everywhere I go, almost getting hit by the groomer, and smelling two-cycle gas everywhere I go. It comes with the territory, literally I suppose.
Inside, under, around and between the whine of the engines and the scrape of front skis on pavement lie the non-motorized recreation options that do a great job of supplementing the whir of the motors. Things like downhill and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice sculpture and ice fishing. They sort of fill in the empty spaces, and if you can escape the snowmobile tracks you will surely stumble upon snowshoe tracks in the snow, or the unmistakable path laid down by an ice fishing sled being pulled out to that secret place. The place where the bulk of this winter activity, be it motorized or non-motorized, are the frozen lakes where the tracks seem to start everywhere and end everywhere else.
Well, tonight I stood on the end of the municipal dock in the lightly falling light, fluffy snow as it silently covered the world around me and it was the most amazing, serene thing. My favorite part was that it had covered the ice, there was not a track to be found as far as the eye could see. As long as I didn't turn around and look at the street, that is. But out on the lake, it was silent and smooth and uninterrupted and perfect as it could ever, every be. I loved it. And, as added effect the snow was obscuring the opposite shore, save for a long light in a house somewhere that suddenly seemed to be far, far away. It was just so nice. So very, very nice.

Editor's Note: This is Big Dave and Company's 600th post. That's pretty neat too we should think.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Fall of the Four Horsemen

Hello there Company, it's me, Big Dave. Please, please, keep it down. A long time I wrote about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Oh, and Randy Stevens. For those of you who don't remember or who couldn't be bothered to click on the link that I so generously provided let me tell you that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are, of course, Ron White, Coach McGuirk from the show Home Movies, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey. And Randy Stevens is the fifth, but we don't need to worry about him. It seems to me that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are slowly falling away, one by one, to leave us to be until another time.
First, Home Movies was basically canceled. Well, not really canceled so much as relegated to the wee hours of the morning, when even the night owls like me have gone to bed. So we don't have to worry about Coach McGuirk wreaking a whole lot of havoc from his 4:30 am time slot.
Second, I am tempted to write of Ron White but I know he's out there somewhere, lurking in a liquor store or on the stage at a casino doing his thing, just waiting for his chance to strike. So I am not going to make him second. So let's try that again.
Second, we all know what happened to Martha Stewart. She was standing around, placidly baking an evil cake or pie or series of tarts in her studio kitchen when the Feds busted in and hauled her off, not to Federal Pound-me-in-the-ass Prison, but to Federal minimum security oh-I'm-sorry-but-you-are-in-prison-so-you-don't-get-jam-with-your-English-muffin prison for insider trading. Which was nice, because someone needed to put that woman in her place, or at least in a jail in West Virginia that scares the Connecticut out of her. Since then she has come back and managed to get another show with a neat looking title card, and she has shown a remarkable sense of humor. I say that because I swear to God and all that is Holy that she appeared on The Soup, and no one who takes themselves seriously would go on that show willingly. And she was there willingly. That being said, I don't know that she came out of her Federally mandated staycation a changed woman, other than to not tell people she is insider trading, but I think we have staved off the apocalypse for a least a little while longer, at least where Martha is concerned. I mean, I am sure that she is still evil and her brain is working overtime and a half to conjure something up, but at least we have beat her back a little bit for the time being.
So now, thirdly, to continue the theme, we have come to Oprah. She is the latest of the Unholy Quadripartite to be making a splash is Oprah Winfrey, who if you haven't heard, is quitting her show after the 2010 season. Thank God. This news couldn't have come soon enough. She has been on TV for too long, and she has been getting more and more ridiculous as time has gone by. I mean, I suppose she does a pretty large amount of good most of the time, but for some reason she has become, and acts like she knows she has become, way more important that she should have ever been. But she has decided that twenty-five years has been long enough, so she is hanging it up. Or is she?
No, no she is not. Apparently, much like the NFL or the game show, one show is simply not enough to contain Oprah, because she is quitting her show to start up her own network. Actually, it's already been started. If you take a closer look at your channel lineup you will see that it has replaced The Discovery Health Channel on most networks. Great. So not only are we getting an ever larger dose of evil with Oprah at the helm of an I am sure completely bonkers and estrogen-tastic network, but she has removed television programming that was focused at making us healthier in our daily lives. Great. Smart move everyone. I am glad that we all sat idly by and let that happen.
Thankfully, I think that we can still count this as a win against evil, since this network will only by available to those with super duper expanded cable or satellite services and her show is available over broadcast media to just about every household in America, Canada, Europe, and even parts of Russia. So while she will be blasting us with more of her blasphemy but it will be going out to a smaller audience. So less people will be exposed to her ridiculous brainwashing on a daily basis. Call it a win against evil, albeit a small one, but we will take what we can get when we are dealing the the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Coach McGuirk, canceled. Check. Ron White M.I.A. Check. Martha a convicted criminal? Check. Oprah penned in by cable. Check. Now, if we could only take care of Randy Stevens we would be all set. Hahahaha. Just kidding, Randy. Or am I?
Link

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Army vs. Navy

Go Army, beat Navy. Go Navy, beat Army. The shouts are ringing out across Philadelphia as I type because it is time for the annual Army-Navy football game.
I am sorry, but this is the grandest of all the major college football rivalry game, beyond Stanford-Cal or the Red River Shootout or Michigan-Ohio State. And I love everything about it, okay? All the troops in uniform in the stands. The fact that these two teams for a lot of years weren't very good. The fact that this year they both might go to bowl games, depending on if Army can win or not. The fact that there are more soldiers around the world caring about this game than any other this year. The fact that all the players wear a patch for their unit or division or ship or whatever on their uniform. How awesome is that? The fact that there are two of the most disciplined teams you will ever see on a football field.
My favorite part, however, is the young men who are playing in this game, because they are so far beyond traditional student-athletes. They are student-soldier-athletes, and that cannot be easy in any way, shape, or form. Especially at West Point or Annapolis, because not only do you have to be super smart and incredibly dedicated to get in, you have to have an in. You can't just show up with a Federal Loan in your pocket and start school. So to be a talented athlete and still choose Army or Navy means that one has to be a truly remarkable individual.
After the game, most of these young men will be deployed overseas in order to serve their country and fulfill their destiny. They will become regular and ordinary soldiers and the animosity and rivalry that exist between the two service academies will melt away into cooperation for the sake of their country. It's great and it's monumental when you and I start to think about it, but for these young men it always seems to be a matter of fact and everyday. That in itself is extraordinary.
So it's an extraordinary game every year, and I watch it every year because it brings out in me a lot of pride for my country and the young men playing in the game, and it also brings out a lot of admiration for the Armed Forces, which is how it should be. It truly is America's Game, one of the few times a game lives up to what it claims to be. So go Army, beat Navy. And go Navy, beat Army. I don't care who wins, you guys are both great. But wouldn't it be nice if Army won so you both could go to a bowl game?

Friday, December 11, 2009

One Man In A Grocery Store

Company, there are lots of cool things that happen to you in this world that you don't know are cool things until they have actually happened to you, so there is no way to really plan for them or like try to make them happen. They just sort of occur to and around you and then all the sudden you are like "Man, that was kind of cool and I am not sure why." Sometimes you can see them coming in the split seconds before they actually happen, but in that case then it's usually like the Homecoming queen shooting down the math geek when he asks for a date or you riding your bike into the back of a 1985 Ford Ranger that is parked around the block from your house: You can see it coming for like the last split second but by then it's too late to do anything about.
Anyway, this sort of neat-o occurrence happened to me just the other day, and it was just like I said. I saw it coming, I saw it developing, and I was lucky that nothing interceded to make it all go awry. I went to the friendly local grocery store and there was no one in there except me and the workers. I know, I know. You think that I am a nerd-mo-tron, and that's okay, because this is one of those things. You don't realize that it's neat because it has never happened to you before. But its amazingly cool, to know that there is no one to impede you or get in your way.
I saw this developing as soon as I pulled into the parking lot: there was only the one car, and it was way back in the employee section where aboslutely no one who was paying to purchase goods from that store would ever park in the history of ever. Not even the day before Thanksgiving. So I knew there was hope, and it actually sprung into my head before I even got out of the car :"Hey, moron, there isn't a single customer in this store. You can be the only one. Don't screw this up." I am not sure why I said this to myself because I don't know how I could have screwed up being the only person in the store unless I had called like sixteen of my friends and told them all to meet me in the bakery section or something.
So I went in and it was fantastic. It was totally quiet and peaceful and serene. I felt like a king in a castle and I want to do it again. I seriously doubt that I will ever be able to, but I want to desperately. The music was playing and there was only the sound of my feet clapping along the tiles. I even set my basket full of goods down - which you NEVER do, NEVER - and walked across the store to retrieve a cart. How cool is that? It's only possible when you are the only one in the store.
The moral of the story here, Company, if you are into morals, is that you never know when that cool moment is going to come and smack you between the eyes. So just enjoy it when it comes by and take it for what it's worth: a nice thing that may never, ever happen again. Strange how these things work, isn't it?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Write-In Votes

Some of you out there, Company, are confused by the idea of a write-in vote. Especially in my little poll that I have up. Listen, everyone here at Big Dave and Company really appreciates that you have taken the time to vote in our poll. We really do. But here is the deal, if you are going to vote for write-in you need to send an e-mail to bigdave@bigdaveandcompany.com. Otherwise, I don't which week you are writing in. Otherwise, I don't know which week you think is better than the ten that we so carefully and arduously whittled down. Otherwise, you have basically wasted your vote. It's like voting for Ralph Nader in a Presidential election.
So anyway, like I said, if you vote for "Write-In" and you don't send a suggestion to bigdave@bigdaveandcompany.com, which two of you did, you haven't effectively told me which week you think is good. And then the staff here will have to pick a week, and you don't want that. You really, really don't want that, do you? Because we all know that move never ends up working well.
That being said, please keep voting. We always like to have your input. And vote for the "write-in" option if you'd like, but please send us an e-mail to bigdave@bigdaveandcompany.com so that we know what you are thinking. I mean, that's all we ask.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

After the Sky Clears

After the sky clears...it gets fucking cold. At least in the winter. Unless you haven't been paying attention, a major snowstorm has made its way across the bulk of the nation, including where I live. It was the first major snow of the year, which is always, ALWAYS, bar none, the hardest to cope with. It would snow 56 inches on the Ides of March and while everyone would be sick of it and they would all sort of want to stab themselves with a rusty pen knife, they would all just be like "Whatever" and keep on moving.
Not so much with the first major snowstorm of the year. Not so at all. Roughly eight inches fell here at the Worldwide Headquarters and everybody freaked out. Hit the freaking ceiling. KA-BLAMO! It wasn't helped by the good folks at the National Weather Service, who put out all sorts of warnings that showed in all sorts of colors on all sorts of maps. But you know, that's sort of their job, isn't it? They often get a lot of flak for crying wolf, and making things out to be worse than they actually be, but that is what they have to do. I know, it's a pain when you get ready for 10 inches of snow and only 4 inches fall on you, but you know what? If they told you 4 and you got 16, you'd be dead. So there. Be glad. In this case, they managed to hit the proverbial nail on the head for the Worldwide Headquarters, because if my mathematics serve me correctly 8 inches is smack dab in the middle of the 6-10 inches they were calling for.
So, it began to snow and everyone went nuts. It was sort of like the world was ending in a way, because there were runs on all sorts of canned goods and meals in boxes and eggs and bread and milk, similar to the runs that people have on grocery stores right before a hurricane shows up, but not as bad. They all ran out to tie up their loose ends and run their errands before the snow buried us all dead. Because there is nothing worse than being dead and having your dry cleaning still sitting at the store, right? I mean, come on. What if you die buried in your house by a million billion inches of snow and when they dig you out they realize that you don't have any deposit slips in your checkbook? Scandal! You'd better run out and do all that stuff before the snow starts.
The problem with this is that everyone has to drive to get where they are going, unless you actually live in a major American city and not out in the suburbs or exurbs or countryside somewhere. So all these people with all these crazy thoughts running through their brains went out driving. And let's be honest, they weren't great at driving their SUV's when the roads were good. So you can imagine how bad it was during the first snowstorm of the year. It's by far the worst time to have to go somewhere, because everyone forgets how to drive in the snow. They forget that four wheel drive doesn't make you stop any better. They forget that turning the wheels and stomping on the breaks at the same time doesn't work well. And they forget that their driveways aren't shoveled.
So of course there were cars in ditches, on front lawns, just about everywhere that cars normally aren't. And the road crews weren't doing a whole lot to help. They were out working on the main roads, and they did okay to keep them passable, but they just sort of left the rest of town to struggle. I mean, I understand that there is no reason to be plowing the hell out of everything while the snow is still falling, but for two days? Sorry, you've gotta do something better than that. Now, I know that I have been a little harsh on the road crews in this little town before, but I have to throw them a bone here. When they did finally get around to cleaning up the streets, they did a really, really good job. I mean, not quite bare but removed of all the snow and the streets look good. Really good. And they ARE working hard at it.
I guess that my point here, Company, is that I live in the Great White North. And so do the people who live around me, but you already figured that out. Winter has come here every year for the last, at least 10,000 years, so this shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone, unless there is someone in town who just moved here from South Texas that I don't know about or something. We have all played our part in this fiasco before, so let's not get all up in arms. In the end, I suppose that things turned back to normal pretty quickly. In fact, I got my first glimpse of the snowmobile trail groomer last night. I have to remember to stay out of its way. But it's all good. Winter is here officially now I suppose, and we can all get on with it. Because it's just winter. That's how it works. It snows. We clean up. Then the sky clears. And it gets cold. Because it's winter.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Fly The Friendly Skies

You Company, sometimes when you go ahead and do something, even if you think you've though of all the potential problems and consequences, someone somewhere will come up with something so bizzare, so specialized, so far out there that you could never have conceived it, and then you end up sort of trying to run damage control and looking like you should be wearing a helmet or something. Recently, something like that happened to the poor folks at the United States government, which probably won't surprise you very much until you hear which part: the US Mint.
Yeah, the US Mint. Their job is to literally make money, as in to create it and print it and strike the coins. Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it. And their product is money, which is pretty popular the last time I checked, so I can't image you really have to advertise that and have special promotions, but that is exactly what the boys and girls at the mint decided to do. What they did was offer certain presidential and Native American $1 coins sold at face value with free shipping. What happened I don't think anyone could have expected.
Some people out there in America, whose brains are apparently wired very, very differently than mine and probably yours, saw a unique opportunity in this sale, and it wasn't to acquire distinct coins. What they did, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, was go out and obtain high limit credit cars that provide airline miles and use the hell out of them. They would buy large amounts of the $1 coins - tens of thousands at a pop - with their free delivery and they would use the credit cars, racking up tons and tons of free airline miles. Then, when the face value coins were delivered they would promptly take them down to the bank, turn them in, and use them to pay off the credit card bills. Genius! I wouldn't have thought of that in a million, billion, trillion and a half years. Nope, not ever. Maybe it's because I am not rich enough to have a credit card with that kind of limit. Maybe because I am cool enough to earn or use airline miles for anything. Probably because I didn't know anything about those coins being released.
This is a pretty inventive and sneaky scheme, and I sort of like. Partly because they got away with it in such an impressive manner. Before the officials at the Mint were able to identify and cut off some of these opportunists they were able to rack up some impressive numbers. Really just staggering. One man noted that he usually bought about $15,000 at a pop and the UPS delivery man put the coins directly into his trunk. He never even unwrapped them. Another lady stated that she earned 10,000 miles towards a vacation. An third man worked several cards to get free airfare, hotels, and other credit card programs to get a basically free two-week trip to Tahiti for him AND his wife. All they had to pay was the gas to drive down to the bank. The king of this whole fiasco, however, is an unnamed man who claimed to have bought $800,000 worth of the coins, and even posted pictures of his "loot" on a website for frequent fliers, where the word of this opportunity was very popular. The man eventually earned over two million miles with American Airlines, which got him into their platinum-elite status for life. That means early availability of upgrades and other perks - FOR LIFE. Pretty sneaky, Sis.
The program began in July 2008, and it all began to unravel in August and September of that same year when two things began to happen. First, the Mint began to notice greater frequencies of "large, repetitive orders." Second, banks began calling in and notifying the Mint that large numbers of $1 coins were being turned in still in their US Mint boxes and wrappers. Not good, banks and their employees are trained to look for that kind of stuff to prevent money laundering. Investigators at the Mint used the power of the Internet to learn the rest of the details. In short time letters went out to some of the more notable offenders asking if they were on the up and up. Those who did not respond were blocked. As for the rest? Well, the Mint is on to the scheme, but it is still going on. It is not illegal if you want to do it. It has been tempered recently as the airline industry makes it harder and harder to accumulate and use those miles. But still.
The shocking thing is that the Mint sill offers this promotion. Many of the people who are taking advantage of it are people who run things like vending machines, car washes, etc. who actually use them as intended. And that is fine. But it costs the government to run this scheme, essentially making it so each of the dollars they send out actually costs them more than $1. First of all, they have to pay the credit card fees for this whole thing, which they can't really figure out apparently because the Treasury takes care of all of that and they aren't charged directly to the Mint. That means they could find out if they want to but they don't want you to know. The bulk of the costs, however, come from the shipping. It costs the Mint about $3 to ship a standard box of 250 coins. So a $10,000 order - 40 boxes - will cost $120 for the Mint to ship. Nothing for the receiver.
The Mint is working with the credit card companies to find a solution for this problem, because no one is winning. The credit card companies are making out I suppose, and the people, but the corporate partners are not so happy. And the Mint, who just wanted to get more dollar coins into circulation because they will save the government money over paper bills is ending up going through the ringer (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, I just can't stop laughing about the irony of this whole thing) and paying out the wazoo. Epic fail, US Mint. But it made for an entertaining story. And it made a lot of people happy in hard times, so you've got that going for you, which is nice. Fly the friendly skies, indeed.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Struggling Writer

Do you want to know how I struggle, Company? Let me give you a great example. For those of you who have never used Blogger before, there are two ways to go about making your posts. You can directly put in the html code to make the posts appear the way you want them too, which I suppose is nice if you know anything about html or just like writing in programming languages. Then there is "compose" mode, which is for people like me and functions sort of like Microsoft Word but without all the extra annoying features. It just lets one choose their font, size, color, etc. as you type. Most of these functions are not present on the html editor toolbar because, well, you can just put in the html code to take care of that stuff.
Well, for the last week or so I have been wondering why a lot of the functions on my toolbar were missing. I mean, my posts still came out okay but I could do the things I normally do. I even checked out a lot of Blogger help resources and was about this close (picture someone standing with their thumb and forefinger spaced about an inch apart) to writing them an e-mail to find out what was wrong. Imagine my frustration with myself when I realized I had been using the html editor instead of the "Compose" mode for the whole time. Yeah, I struggle.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Weekend Observations

I couldn't find anything to write to you kids about today, probably because I didn't try all that hard. That being said, how about some random thoughts and observations that I have from the weekend?

Fox and NBC didn't invent slow motion replay, yet the both act like they did. Slow motion replay and close ups have been used for football games as long as I have been alive, and that means they go back before Fox was even a network. So why they seem to have to brand them as Fox X Mo and NBCee It, which by the way is the stupidest name in the history of the known world and one more piece of evidence why NBC has the worst NFL presentation) is beyond me. Oh, and Fox, get rid of that dancing robot, okay? He makes me want to shoot people with blow darts or something.

The people behind the iPhone and OnStar seem to think that we can't live without them. Well, I have some news. We can, and we have very successfully for a long, long time. iPhone, whatever app you have for that I don't need because I have been surviving just fine without it. My phone has an application that allows me to change restraunt reservations just fine, it's called MAKING A FUCKING PHONE CALL! Oh, and OnStar, people have been getting in accidents since the car was invented, and we have done just fine without OnStar all that time. I am sorry, but I am willing to have to wait a few extra minutes for a passerby to call for help if it means you can't have a satellite keeping tabs on where I am and what I am doing 24/7/365.

The time to find out that my car is not good in the winter is not when a nice buck runs out from the woods to say hello. First of all, the deer, who is a dick, wasn't even like out along the road where I could see him coming, no, it's like he heard my car and came running out as if he were the family dog on the farm or something. That is a scary situation in which to learn that your car is the vehicular equivalent of the guy who is trying to walk out onto the hockey ice in loafers to give an awards presentation and is always just on the brink of falling hilariously on his ass.

Do bags fly free on Southwest Airlines? Son of a bitch, I hadn't heard. I wish they would make some commercials to that effect.

If you are playing bachelor kitchen like I always do, and you are going to make a pasta bake but substitute potatoes for noodles, make sure you either cook the potatoes first or make them very, very small or it will take like 6.5 years to cook them adequately. That's a tip. And by then your sauce will be just burnt around the edges of the casserole dish. Cook the onions too because they take forever as well. Maybe broil them or roast them or at least nuke the hell out of them because that ill make it infinitely better. Oh, and have some mozzarella around too, because it's just not the same without that.

I have never found beer to be refreshing. Not even Coors Light, the world's most refreshing beer. At least as they claim to be. I have never been like "Man, I am hot and sweaty and I really just want an ice old Coors Light, that will really make me perk back up." Nope, I just checked again and I have never felt that way before. Sorry every beer maker. There are a lot of things that I sort of expect out of my beer and refreshment is not on that list.

Speaking of Coors, if bringing Coors east of the Mississippi is bootlegging, then why did everyone in Atlanta know about it in Smoky and the Bandit? First of all, I can't imagine that the Federal government would allow any sort of law like that to exist. I mean, at very least Coors would have had that in court like six minutes after it was enacted, right? Was there a corresponding law that like Miller couldn't go west of the Mississippi? I am just full of questions about this. But my main one I guess is how did everyone know about Coors if it was bootlegging? I can't imagine that there was that active of a bootleg trade because Coors isn't really that special. And the police made it very clear in that movie that they would go to any length to stop that bootlegging. So I guess that I am very confused about the whole thing.

I am so sick of NFL players celebrating doing the things they should that I can't even begin to describe it. You are paid to make tackles. You are paid to make first downs. You are paid to score touchdowns. Only celebrate if it's like the game winning touchdown with .6 seconds left, or if you sack the quarterback on a big third down maybe. But making a tackle after a four-yard gain on first and ten from the 42? Not necessary. Let's use our heads because we are cheapening the whole celebration and excitement thing.

People don't seem to wear blazers anymore, and you know? I'm okay with that.

Snow is always sort of pretty when it is falling, but it is rarely pretty when it's melting off. Even a raging blizzard out your window where the snow is blowing sideways is still sort of neat, but when the big fluffy flakes are falling silently through the streetlights and covering everything with a blanket of the purest white it can be downright amazing. And when the sun comes out super bright and the snow is on the ground it's super cool too. When that snow starts to melt though, it's not so nice. I mean, you might be anti-winter and super psyched that the snow is melting, but it always melts in a sort awkward and dirty uneven sort of way that just shows the brown and nasty underneath. Sorry. I will take the aesthetically falling snow before the ugly melting crap any day. That's just how it has to be.

There are a lot of football teams wearing throwback uniforms this season and I don't know why. I mean, there are some that I understand, like the old AFL teams are wearing their old AFL uniforms when they play one another to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the AFL. That makes sense to me. But other teams seem to be doing it for some unknown reason. For instance, I don't know why the Florida Gators trotted out the circa-1982 helmets and pants for the SEC title game but it didn't work. Maybe they were trying to celebrate the 1981 team that went 7-5 and lost to West Virginia in the Peach Bowl, I don't know. If that is the history they were trying to conjure up it worked, because they got plastered. It seems strange though, especially since they only used the old style helmets and pants, but not jerseys. I don't get it, I just don't know. Oh well.