Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Under the Gun

      So here I sit, at 6:07 pm on a Tuesday night.  I have to leave for bowling in about twenty minutes.  I am enjoying bowling, but ever since the onset of daylight savings time, I have to walk into the bowling alley in the light, and that just sort of seems wrong.  I mean, during the middle of the winter I was happy with walking inside a building with virtually no windows.  But now, as the weather turns nice seriously early in the season, and it's bright and light, something about descending into the flourescent cave just doesn't jive for me.  Anyway, that is where I will have to go, into the cave like I just said, and I have to leave for that around 6:30.
     So what does that have to do with you?  Well, Company, that's a pretty good questions.  What it has to do with you is that I feel a tremendous pressure to make something happen post-wise before then.  I don't absolutely HAVE to get one done but I feel as if I do, and twenty minutes is fine but it's not exactly forever when you are trying to put together an interesting and coherent blog post.  Hell, most nights it takes me longer than that just to figure out what I want to do, let alone to do it.
     I am under the gun.  Under pressure, and I don't know what to do.  I am drawing blanks, and even my tried and true system of just regurgetating an interesting news event is failing me.  I am freaking out a little bit, and I sort of feel like someone who has just fallen off the rapidly sinking Titanic and is thrashing around trying to find a piece of wreckage to hold on to, or something like that.  Like I would know what that would feel like.  I've never been on the Titanic.
     I have been on the Miles Standish, which is my kayak.  And I will be on it again soon.  Did you like that abrupt change of subject?  That's just how my mind is flowing today.  I am going to take it out: I have found a place where there is a break in the ice opened up at a boat launch, and I am there.  How do you feel about that?  It's going to be cold, but it's going to be neat.  I will end up on top of the ice at one point, and I sort of hope that someone has a camera around.  Maybe the newspaper.
     Anyway, I just don't know what to do while I am under the gun.  I can't think of something to write and my time is almost up.  What will I do?  Shit.  Looks like I just managed to spit out a blog post for you.  I'm sneaky like that, aren't I?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ricky Martin Comes Out

     So anyway, Company, Ricky Martin used Twitter to come out of the closet today, and I couldn't care less.
     I am not going to sit here and tell you that I saw this coming from a mile away, because I didn't.  It's not so much that I couldn't have guessed it, but I just didn't care.  Maybe ten years ago I would have thrown that one out there - when it was sort of in vogue because most guys were a little jealous that all the girls were fawning over him - and when he was flamboyantly dancing to all those latin beats in tight pants, but not so much now.  I believe that there are several reasons for this.  First of all, Ricky Martin has, for the most part, sort of receded from the American consciousness.  I don't know if he's still making a splash at the Latin Grammys these days or not, but I know he isn't on the Top 40 radio station around where I live so much.  Plus, there has been a sort of widespread acceptence of homosexuality in the last say ten years (okay, so maybe not as widespread as it should be, but we are making progress, aren't we?)  so it doesn't really make waves like it used to be.  Oh, and I am not going to say it because everybody else is going to be saying it, especially every Bubba and Billy Joe watching Entertainment Tonight while wearing their trucker's cap and cutoff flannel in their favorite hometown dive bar.  Now there is a stereotype for you.
     Ricky made the bold decision to admit that he was gay using Twitter, which I sort of think is cool but I sort of think is not.  I suppose that you could say that I am on the fence when it comes to that one.  In one respect I give him a lot of respect, not only for coming out, but for doing it in such a low-key way.  A lot of people in his shoes: famous sort of guy who hasn't been making a lot of noise lately, admitting he is homosexual in a time when that is not such a big deal, would stage a big press conference and make a big deal out of the whole thing, soak up the whole fifteen minutes of fame, get the spotlight tan, and look awfully desperate in the process.  Not Ricky.  He was a classy guy about it.  Some of you out there might say that he still wasn't, because he could have just been homosexual and not really made an announcement, but when you are Ricky martin famous you have to give some sort of statement.  A nice written statement to the media would have sufficed as well.  But I like Twitter because it speaks more to the fans.  Direct-like.
     It is, however, sort of a cop out way to go about it.  The thing about Twitter is that it is almost anonymous.  I mean, not when you are Ricky Martin and millions of people are following you because you are Ricky Martin, but it's only 140 characters and it could have been a staffer who wrote it.  You don't know.  It a very faceless sort of easy way to go about it.
     All in all though, I approve of how he went about this announcement, as if he needed my approval.  I like that way he conducted himself, I like what he had to say (he talked about how he was a vary fortunate gay man and had a good life - classy), I like the whole shebang.  I am also happy that he can live his life publicly the way he wants.  Good for him, it must be a big weight off his shoulders.  And man, he's really gonna get the chicks now.  Too bad.  So sad

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

     "It sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays."  That's the line that tormented Peter in the movie Office Space.  Uttered by the annoying but well meaning Nina in Accounts Reveivable whenever Peter was grumpy on a Monday, it drove him nuts because he simply didn't like his job.  Now, I am not at that point, but I am certainly having a bad case of what Nina would call "The Mondays"
     And I am all pissed off about it.  Not so much that it is Monday because this is a short week for me.  And I generally don't mind Mondays.  It's even supposed to be pretty nice weather wise around here too.  But it is Monday today and all of the fucking retarded retards are coming out of the woodwork, and apparently there is some sort of community group that is charged with teaching them life skills like using the telephone, because they are all calling my office today and I sort of just want to get a whistle and blow it into the phone whenever it rings.
     Maybe it's because I didn't have and coffee this morning.  I mean, this is not that complicated.  I understand that it might seem a little easy for me, because I deal with our shit every day, I understand what needs to be done and when and that maybe for a member of the general public walking in for the first time it is a little harder.  I try to keep that in mind, I really do.  But today, not so much.  This is so much beyond that.  It's like everyone wants something stupid and doesn't know how to go about it and wants it RIGHT NOW or maybe they wanted it like ten minutes ago instead.
     Here's the deal, asshole.  It's not my fault if you didn't do your homework prior to doing whatever you wanted to do.  And as such, I do not feel obligated to grab you by the hand and lead you through the process, okay?  Especially if you should know what you are talking about.  What I would like to do is reach through the phone and strangle the last breath out of you, because you are an idiot and that oxygen you are using up could probably be put to better use.
     Seriously, I feel like every time I answer the phone I should put on a helmet with a sicker of a duckie plastered on the side, some water wings, and velcro shoes so that I can understand what these people are talking about.  Here's the deal, either take some time to do your homework before you start asking questions, or say "Hey, you will have to bear with me, I've never done this before."  Because if you say that, I will above, beyond, and to the max to help you along.  You are never going to learn if someone teaches you, and if you tell me you are new at this I will know what to expect and we will get you taken care of.
     Oh, and when I say "do your homework" I mean do your God-damn homework.  Calling up and spitting out things that you heard through the grapevine or that Jerry Garcia may have told you once in a dream, or wildly making things up that you assume might be true is not doing your homework.  You'd be better off telling me you didn't know anything at all.  See above.  But when you start spitting out nonsense through the receiver and I have to spend a half hour correcting your incorrect assumptions before we get down to business, that is going to make me upset.  That is going to have to make me come to your house and backhand you in front of your wife and children.  And nobody wants that.
     The last thing, the VERY LAST thing that you should do is assume that you know more about my business than I do.  The last.  If I don't know, I understand that I don't know and I will hook you up with the people who do.  If you are asking me questions about something in attempt to better understand it, that's fine, but don't give me shit and think that you are right.  That doesn't fly.  Do I sit in the cockpit of the A340 and tell the pilots that I think they need more aileron during landing?  No.  They are the ones who know how to file the plane?  Do I call up the IRS and tell them that they are full of shit and of course I can take that deduction, my barber said I could.  No, I'd be in jail right now for tax fraud or evasion or for just generally pissing off the IRS.
      One last questions for you, dipshits out there in phone land.  Do you call your accountant and ask them how to change a light switch?  No, I bet not, even if you saw them on Ask This Old House.  No, you'd call your electrician.  So why do you call me asking about shit that I don't have anything to do with?  That doesn't make sense.  If I deal in apples, don't call me and ask about an orange.  That is a lot funnier if you scream it in Lewis Black's voice.  That was how it was coming out when I typed it.
     Anyway, that's the kind of Monday I am having, which is not good, because it can cast a pall over what is shaping up to be an otherwise pretty great week.  I have definitely got a case of the Mondays, as Nina would say.  But no time to worry about it now, the phone is ringing.  Pray for me.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Throwback Cinema

     So, with the proliferation of television and cable channels that are devoted to showing old movies, and with constant harping from my elders, I have been taking some time to watch older movies and see what they are all about.  And I have to tell you: most of them are awful.
     Now, I am not saying that movies these days are all great, Hollywood lays as many stinkers these days as they did back in the days of yore.  But there are lots, and lots, and lots of bad old movies.  Maybe it's a matter of quantity, I don't know.  But they are awful.  I am not talking about the movies that are showing on TCM or networks like that: those have been carefully chosen to be shown precisely because they were pretty good.  But if you skeeze your way down to the digital subchannels, which are like the bars in college towns that cater to the locals (because they are still bars, and you are still going to be able to get laid, but the pickings aren't going to be like they are at the meat market down by campus) you notice a lot of crap.
     It seems to me that back in the day they had a thing about singing in their movies.  And I am not talking about musicals like Rent or Chicago.  I am talking about those stupid movies like Elvis did, where normal movie things are just going on but for some reason the main characters feel the need to sing songs all the God damn time.  Elvis did a lot of these movies because he was a shitty actor.  And I just had to watch one today with Franky and Annette.  These songs are meant to show off the musical talents of the stars, and they sort of work them into the story line, but they really aren't integral to the plot, and they generally just get in the way.
     And oh are they awful.  Cheesy awful, as are the rest of the movies.  And the special effects.  I understand that they didn't have the computer stuff that they have these days, and that's fine, but some of these movies they are showing just look like the producers weren't even trying.  I am talking Mystery Science Theater 3000 type movies here folks, and they are all over on channels ending in -2 and -3. 
     So why do we watch them then?  Why are these channels that feature them allowed to exist?  Good question, and as far as I can see the answer is the same one that created gaper's block - that annoying traffic jam that happens because there was an accident on the OTHER side of the freeway and everyone wants to slow down and look: we love disaster.  We love to see accidents.  If there is a train wreck of a movie showing we will sit and watch it just to marvel at how unGodly bad they are.  As Adrianne, she loves Road House.
     And so I will keep watching, even if just for the hell of it.  I mean, they take the time to create these channels, and who knows?  These movies were probably middle of the road when they came out.  And every once in a while one turns into something interesting.  If I can get past the 70s clothes that is.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

On the Big Board

Here is a list of things that I could buy and/or rent just from shopping on the cork board at my friendly local laundromat, including prices if available.

-  King Size Beadspread.  Pastel mauve, blue, and beige.  $35

-  Oak Firewood.  Split and Seasoned.


-  Dish Network Service.  $24.99


-  1968 VW Convertable by Karmann.  New tires. $4800

-  Lumber Jack's Services.   Expert tree care.


-  Apartment for Rent.  2 BR, 2.5 car garage, central air, appliances, dishwasher, first floor laundry, private deck.

-  2003 Ski Doo MXZ 550 Fan.  Black, 6,269 miles, does not start.  $1200

-  Professional Grade Woodworking Tools.  Rockwell (Delta) 10 in. Table Saw $550; 8 in. grizzly jointer (76 in. table) $450; 15 in. Shop Fox Planer $550.  Sold individually or as a set for $1400

-  Used 4-6 Person Hot Tub.  Square in shape.  Has cover.  $2000

-  Maytag Refrigerator/Freezer.  Side by side, 25.6 cu ft, 2006 model.  $600

-  Magic Chef Oven.   Propane, 2005 model, digital, self cleaning.  $300


-  Kenmore Electric Dryer.  Heavy Duty.  $75

-  2006 Ford Fusion.  98,600 miles.  I4 engine with manual transmission.  $8500


-  High Quality Bed and Dresser.  New queen log bed, mattress not included, 7 drawer dresser, mirror sold separately.  $800 for dresser, $900 for bed, $100 for mirror.

-  Cast Iron Box Wood Stove.  $50

-  Triton Canvas Shore Station Cover.  Brand new.  $699

What else could you need?  The big box retailers had better watch out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Suck-o

     I spent some time watching the local state girl's high school basketball tournament the last couple of days.  I know, it sounds creepy, and PePe even told me I was a perv, but it was the only thing worth watching on the channels that I get.  There were actually some pretty exciting and entertaining games, and I enjoyed (God I hate that word, the sound of it just grates at my insides) it as much as I enjoyed watching the boys high school tournament last weekend.
     Anyway, I don't want to name names or name teams, but in the game I watched tonight, there was this girl playing that I sort of latched on to, and not for the reason that you think.  She was all white headband and rec specs, and she was one of those girls that coaches and underdog lovers love to love.  She was all hustle and try: throwing her body on the floor with abandon after loose balls, fighting for rebounds, setting tough screen, playing good defense, and generally doing all the stuff that needed to be done but didn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet.  She was all effort.
     Unfortunately, however, she wasn't very talented, which speaks volumes for just how important effort can be in team sports.  If it wasn't for that aspect of her character, she wouldn't have had a chance of playing, yet there she was.  Anyway, I sort of latched on to her not because she was good to attractive or because I liked her number, I latched on to her because she was so awful.  Every time she touched the ball something bad happened.  So I nicknamed her Suck-o.
     I know, I understand.  That's terrible.  But it seemed to fit.  Because for every amazing play she made, she promptly turned the ball over or something.  She made a great steal at one point, dribbled warily up the court, and promptly got the ball stolen back by the only other player within 16 feet of her.  She dives into the pile for a loose ball, then comes up with it and passes it to the wrong team.  She gets a tough rebound and throws the ball into the stands.
     And so it went.  On and on and on.  Every time she got the ball I was like "Don't give it to Suck-o!"  Whenever there was a stupid foul 40 ft from the basket I was like "Watch, it's on Suck-o."  And it always was.  I called it time and time again.  When she got the ball one time I simply shouted out "Turnover."  And that's exactly what she did with it.
     All that being said I sort of admire Suck-o for her all out effort and stick-to-it-ive-ness.  I think she will go far in life if she keeps up that attitude.  Suck-o's team ended up losing the game, but I can safely say that it was not her fault.  Sure, if all those mistakes she made hadn't been made they would have had more points maybe, but without all the gritty tough plays she made they might have been blown out.  It's tough to quantify that kind of player, that kind of person, but you always just sort of know that you want them on your side.  So congratulations Suck-o, wherever you are tonight, on a great season.  I wish you the best in whatever area your life takes you.  You really aren't that talented on a basketball court though.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Real Text Message Hell

     One time on this blog, I wrote a post called "txt msg hell" in which I talked about how I hate text message spelling and lingo.  While I still don't subscribe to all that jazz, I think now that the title of that was a little off base, because text messaging, which really has become the stupidest thing around, has casued a very real and very different hell for some Florida families.
     Now normally in this situation I would sort of Quentin Tarantino this and talk about what happened and they lay out all the stuff that led up to it and whatnot.  But not today.  Today I am going to lay it out as best as I can right from the beginning.
     Wayne Treacy, a 15-year-old freshman at Deerfield Beach High School in Florida, found his 28-year-old brother hanging from a tree in front of an area church in October, dead by his own hand.  That's is pretty traumatic I would think.  Since then, he has begun to date a 13-year old Deerfield Beach Middle School student.  Treacy has never had any disciplinary problems in his school career.  But that all changed on Wednesday.
     On Wednesday, Treacy's girlfriend, who doesn't have a cell phone, asked another 13-year-old - Josie Lou Ratley - to borrow her cell phone to send Treacy a message.  After that, Ratley began to text Treacy herself, expressing her disapproval of his relationship with her friend.  Ratley, apparently, had issues with the two-year age difference, which, in her defence, is much greater at 13 than it is at 30.  Ratley, also, had no disciplinary problems in her school career.  That is still true.
     Anyway, the two continued to debate the subject via text message - sorry, txt msg - getting more and more heated with each push of the "send" button.  This is stupid, because if you want to argue at least have the dececy to place a phone call.  It would have saved a lot of typing and probably would have stopped this incident, because you can't hide behind a phone call as easily as you can hide behind a text message.  But the argument escalated higher and higher until Ratley made a comment about Treacy's recently deceased brother.  Treacy apparently responded with "I'm going to snap your neck."
    At that point, Wayne Treacy made a fateful decision.  He put on his steel toed boots, rode his bike over to the middle school, found his girlfriend who pointed Ratley out of the crown, and he proceeded to almost beat the life out of her.  He threw her to the ground and smashed her head against the concrete.  He then began to punch her in the neck and kick her with his steel toed boots, soccer style according to a student who was interviewed by friendly local station WPLG.  Other students spoke of the puddle of blood that pooled around the girl's head.
     Eventually a teacher pulled Treacy off the girl and the fallout began.  Ratley is in the hospital, in a medically induced coma with a portion of her skull removed so that the swelling in her brain can go down, and she is black and blue from head to toe.  Treacy is sitting in juvenile detention in Fort Lauderdale as courts decide if he will be tried as an adult.  Prosecuters are watching Ratley's progression in the hospital, waiting to know if the word "attempted" belongs between "premeditated" and "murder" when it comes time to charge Treacy.  His girlfriend is sitting in juvi as well, for being an accessory to premeditated attempted murder.
     This is a sad case all around.  Sad for all three childred involved, sad for all three families involved, sad for the community, which saw a young man from Treacy's high school burned over 80% of his body last November after a dispute regarding a video game.
     It is easy to look at this unfortunate incident and place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Wayne Treacy.  But I don't think that is right.  I think it goes deeper than that.  I am not saying that he wasn't at fault, and I am definitely not condoning his actions.  He could have, numerous times, checked himself and prevented this.  He could have dealt with his anger in many, many other ways.  I believe that he was wrong and he knew it, since he has admitted what he did and appears ready to accept the consequences, and as such he should be tried as an adult.  He made an adult decision when he decided to physically harm a 13-year old girl.  But there is a lot of gray area here.
    I am not saying this girl had coming to her what she received, but she has to share in some of this blame too.  She didn't deserve to be beat within an inch of her life, but you don't make a comment about someone's brother who committed suicide especially when he is the one that found the body.  That is in poor taste, and your disapproval of a relationship because of age is not something important enough or strong enough that it should invoke that sort of comment.  Now, I am ready and willing to give her a little more leeway when it comes to this, because she was only 13 and he was 15.  At that age, years of life are like dog years - they count for so much more than one year because you grow and learn so much in that time.  I sort of half expect a 13-year old to be immature enough to make a crack like that (even though it should never be done regardless) but I expect a 15-year-old to be mature enough not to respond like that.  She should, however young and however much the victim, share in some of the blame for this incident.
     One of the reasons I think this goes deeper, is because obviously Treacy had some issues.  And I, for one, can't blame him.  He seemed to be a relatively normal kid as kids go, but at 15 you can't find your brother dead and not suffer some sort of damage somewhere inside.  I think it's a credit to him that he was able to continue on somewhat normally.  I am abohorred at how suddenly and violently things changes though.
     The main reason I think things went deeper than a simple text message is because of what happened this morning.  I made the decision to turn on my television, which I almost never do in the morning because I usually don't have the time, and I happend to be tuned to ABC, which was showing Good Monring America.  Fine.  I found out about this story because they were interviewing Treacy's family.  This is what caused me to raise my eyebrow in a questioning way and which makes me angrier the more I think about it. One of the undescernable GMA hosts (seriously, they are all pretty much the same, just try to tell them apart in a dark alley) was interviewing Treacy's family.   I didn't catch how they were all realted, but I know that one was the boy's grandmother, who was also his guardian.  While this isn't an uncommon situation in America these days, it automatically points to some sort of problems at home.  There had to be a problem somewhere along the way because teenage children don't end up with their grandparents as legal guardian just because.  So that's not good at all.  As for the other two people, I can't say for certain who they were, I didn't catch their names or their relationship.  But they were family members in some way.
      Judging the book by the cover, I wasn't surprised to see them there.  The family members were saying all the right things: they were praying for Ratley, they hoped beyond hope she would be okay, they disapproved, etc.  But they weren't trying to deflect blame, and they weren't selling the boy out.  That is fine.  That is what the family should do.  The thing that doesn't sit right with me is that they were sitting on GMA yakking as the fate of their child was being decided in a courtroom somewhere.
      Now I understand that I am just myself, and that there are a lot of people out there who are not like me and who don't think like I do, but I just don't understand this.  I can comprehend wanting to speak out and wanting to clear your relative's name, but not like this, and certainly not now.  If I were in their shoes, I would be at home making no comment.  It seems to me that the day after something like this goes down, you have more immediate concerns about the welfare and future of your child.  You can run damage control later.  Even then, the world wouldn't get anything more than a prepared statement from me that was released through my lawyer.  I sure as hell wouldn't be up on Good Morning America while my kid was in shackles.
     I wouldn't be looking at this as a way to get my mug on television, to get my name in the papers, or to get my fifteen minutes of fame.  No way.  That's just wrong.  If I were using something like this that a young relative of mine did to boost myself, I don't know that I could look myself in the mirror.  I am not saying that is what they are doing - they might have only the best of intentions - but it certainly seems that way to the untrained eye.  You aren't up there to clear the boy's name.  He has already confessed and everyone saw him do it.  You don't need to go on national teleivion to express remorse and best wishes to the family of the victim, or to grieve with them, it would be more appropriate and classy to do that in private.  But then again what do I know.  Maybe you don't get a chunk of change from ABC for doing it in private.
     These are my opinions, that is to be sure, and I can't verify anything.  I wasn't there, I am not in the families, and I have never gone through this.  All I can really do is make educated guesses, form opinions from intuition, and maybe lob an arrow or two across someone's bow.  And that's that.  I could be wrong about everything you've just read, and I hope that I am.  But I would wager that I'm not.
     Regardless of all that, this whole episode is tragic, for everyone involved.  I sincerely hope that Josie Ratley pulls through her ordeal and goes on to live a healty, productive life.  I also hope that the Florida justice system treats Wayne Treacy and his little girlfriend fairly but still meets out an appropriate punishment.  And I also hope that I never, ever have to opine about something like this again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Like Ships Colliding in the Night

     Today, Company, is the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  I bet you didn't know that.  For those of you who are a little young and reading this, let me give you some background information.  On this day, March 24, in 1989, Captain Joseph Hazelwood turned over control of his ship to two crew members who hadn't had the required amount of rest, who proceeded to go out through the in door (the ship received Coast Guard permission to use the inbound shipping lane to avoid icebergs) and promptly slammed the tanker, fully loaded with crude oil, into Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska.  10.9 million gallons of oil then spilled from the fractured ship into the sound, precipitating one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
     This anniversary comes at a pretty coincidental time, because lately I have been looking through a pretty cool book about Great Lakes shipwrecks.  They have the stories of all the recorded shipwrecks from all five lakes and their connecting waters, as well as information about each vessel.  They have even dug up pictures of most of them.  So I have been reading a lot about ships being overwhelmed by waves during storms, but even more so about ships running aground or running into other ships.  That, combined with this whole Exxon Valdez thing, has got me thinking.  How hard can it be to not run these ships into things?
     Okay, here is the deal.  These ships are huge.  Like, gigantic huge, and they all have radios and these days, they all have radar.  I understand some accidents.  Two ships appearing out of a fog on top of one another?  Sure, that might happen.  Striking a submerged reef back in the olden days when the charts weren't great?  I understand that too. Getting in trouble during a storm and getting grounded?  Yeah, I have seen the waves.  That jives with me.
     There are a lot of things that are unexcusable though.  I read about two thips that collided, and they first made contact, visual contact, with one another when they were 4 miles apart.  4 miles.  That's a long way.  Gratned, these ships are huge and take a long time to stop and turn.  But with calm seas, visibility on the water is usually pretty good, especially when you are up high in a pilothouse.  So one would expect that with 4 miles to maneuver, two ships would be able to avoid one another.  Like, during the time it took for the two ships to meet, don't you think your human brain would be able to sort of calculate out the paths and make sure you just don't touch?  I don't understand it.
     Same with this whole Exxon Valdez thing.  There was no excuse for it.  None.  First of all, they were in an established shipping lane.  Now, I will give to them that they were going the opposite direction, and things can look completely and totally different from the opposite direction.  If you come from the south 90% of the time you pull into your driveway, and then you come from the opposite way one time, it's going to throw you a little bit.  But that is no excuse whatsoever in this case.  They were in a known and marked shipping lane leading to Valdez, a very well-known and very busy port.  There are reams and reams and reams of charts showing this channel.  This reef has a name which means that people know all about it.  It's known.  The ship was on auto-pilot, which should have known there was a reef there if it was linked up with GPS.  If not then sure it would run the ship blindly into the reef.  Hitting a reef in the water is like running off the road.  There is just no excuse for it.  If you are doing what you are supposed to it's pretty easy to stay in bounds.  You have to be either seriously deficient or totally screwing around to pull that one off.
     And most of our sailors are not seriously deficient.  Most of them have been at sea for ages and know what they are doing, especially the officers.  If I were on a Great Lakes freighter, or an oil tanker, and the Captain had a gut feeling, I would trust it.  100% trust.  100% of the time.  They don't get to be Captains by not knowing what they are doing, although some become complacent, which is the feeling I get about Joseph Hazelwood.  So anyway, the bottom line here is that there really isn't an excuse for two gigantic boats under power to run into one another.  None.  And there is no excuse to hit a reef that has been there since time immortal and which is well known enough to be named and marked.  That's like running an airplane into a mountain because you didn't know it was there.  No excuse.  And that's the bottom line.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Food Fight

     Have you ever watched a comedy show where there is a sort of sexual pervert who maybe hits on a lot of women in a very outlandish way?  Inevitably, some lady will pull out her pepper spray or mace while he's hitting on her and give him a blast in the face, to which he will respond by wiping his eyes, smacking his lips and saying something like "I've been hit with it so many times I'm immune to it, baby" and continue on with his advances.  Yeah, you know what I am talking about.  Well, apparently the Indian Army hasn't seen a show like that, which boggles my mind, because they have introduced an anti-terrorism weapon based on the world's hottest chili pepper.
     Yep, that is right, the military in India, which has produced its own atomic weapons, has turned to the indigenous "bhut jolokia" pepper, whose name I always want to read as "butt joke" although I would guess that it is no joke when it comes out that end the next day, and which the Western media sometimes calls the Ghost Pepper.  Anyway, the bhut jolokia is a pepper that is grown in the northeastern part of India, where it is eaten for its taste, and it is used as a cure for ailing stomachs, and as a way to fight the intense summer heat.  I am not sure how burning off one's taste buds would help to accomplish either the taste part of the heat beating part, but I suppose it would cause one to sweat a little extra and cool off the skin, or maybe it just makes you pass out so you don't notice that it's 91 degrees outside with 112% humidity.  Whatever, who am I to pass judgement, I've never tried it.
     Anyway, the bhut jolokia is the hottest pepper in the world, according to people who measure these things.  They have even devised a scale to prove it.  They use something called a Scoville unit, which measures how much capsaicin is in each pepper, and here is the breakdown:  A sweet bell pepper has no capcasin, so it is at zero Scoville units, standard Tobasco sauce - the kind that Sue Too pours on everything from salads to pizza to Tobasco Sauce - clocks in anywhere from 2500-5000 Scoville units.  That seems to me to be a pretty big range, but I guess it all depends on that year's batch of peppers, etc.  Jalapeno's are in the 2500-8000 area, which makes the Tobasco Sauce range look like a precision measurement.  Habaneros check in at around 200,000 (which means that their extract must be diluted over 300,000 times in a solution of sugar and water before a panel of five testers cannot detect the presence of any capsaicin.  I am not making this up, people actually spend time doing this stuff ).  The red savina pepper, which is the second hottest chili, is rated at 580,000 Scoville units.  The bhut jolokia?  Try 1,040,000.  That's a lot of zeroes.  And twice as many units as the next closest competitor.
     So anyway, one could imagine the potency of bhut jolokia spray being rained down on protestors or whatever.  That is what I am guessing that the Indian Army was thinking about when it devised this plan.  That among other things.  I am guessing that the fact this wouldn't really hurt the people who were exposed to it also came into play: there aren't going to be any long lasting chemical side effects from getting sprayed with chili juice.  Or in the case of this stuff, like a sort of chili powder gas smoke.  That sounds like something MacGyver would mix up.  Anyway, the Indian Army was probably also thinking about cost: nothing has to be imported, and you have a renewable resource.  They could probably even buy the stuff from local farmers and pump some money into the local economy at the same time.  So everyone is a winner, right?
      Now, they have refined and tested this stuff in Indian defence laboratories, and the "chili grenade" has been found fit for use.  "This is definitely going to be an effective nontoxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them out of their hide-outs."  That's a quote from R.B. Srivastava, who is the head of one of those defence laboratories.  So it all sounds good right?
       I, however, have a few questions.  First of all, law enforcement grade pepper spray usually rates around 5 million Scoville units, which means that it is like five times as strong.  Granted, I can almost assure you that it is more expensive, and it's chemical which means that there could be adverse effects, but I sometimes wonder if it is strong enough.  I suppose, though, that in a confined space like a cave or an apartment or something it wouldn't matter.  But I always just sort of wonder.  Then again, I didn't test it.  And I have never had a bhut jolokia pepper.
      But what about the people who have?  I wonder if anyone has thought about that?  What about the people who live in Assam and Nagaland?  That is where this pepper is grown and eaten.  What if those are the terrorists.  What if those are the people you are lobbing chili grenades at in order to disperse them?  Is is going to be effective then?  Are they even going to skip a beat then?  Or will they just lick their lips like the mace-tolerant pervert from the comedy show?
     What if the batch of peppers the Army uses to make a particular batch of chili bombs isn't as potent.  A lot of things can affect how much capsaicin gets into a particular pepper, hence all the ranges.  A 2005 study in India found that bhut jolokia peppers grown in more arid regions have 50% less heat.  So what is that is where the Army got the last batch from and they just don't do the trick?  I have so many questions.
     This is, however, a defence project, and has been thoroughly tested.  And I am sure the guys in the white lab coats with the guys in camouflage looking over their shoulders have already asked and solved all the questions I just did.  So I suppose I shouldn't worry.  Despite all my questions, I do like this project, however.  I like the thinking behind it and the intent and I am whole heartedly behind this sort of thing.  I wish other groups would take the hint and think along the same lines.  I hope this works well for the Indian Army when they are faced with a group of protestors thowing potatoes at them.  That would make for a food fight for the ages.  Although, it seems to me, a bit of an unfair one, don't you think?

Monday, March 22, 2010

NCAA Tournament FAIL

     I apologize for the lack of new material here over the past weekend, but I was out of town and wasn't near the Internet, and quite frankly I can't really trust my current batch of Unpaid Interns to make up something to post other than an article about forced slave labor or a plea for the authorities to come release them from their shackles, so there was nothing.  Sorry about that.  But that's okay, because you probably wouldn't have wanted to be around me anyway, Company, since the NCAA Tournament and CBS pretty much invaded every nook and cranny of my being this weekend, and they totally messed with my head the whole time while doing it.
     Yeah, that's right.  We are talking about the NCAA Tournament today.  Brad talked about this over at Gotta Keem 'Em Bloggerated the other day, and we are going to do the same here.  First of all, let me go on record as saying that the NCAA Division One Men's Basketball Tournament is my favorite sporting event, every year.  I love everything about it - most of the time - and I always look forward to it.  In fact, back in the day, I used to take the entire first weekend off and my buddies would come to visit and we would just sit and be guys and play video games and watch the tournament.  It was fantastic; a real guys weekend.  No girls allowed, not that they wouldn't have wanted to join in because most of the girls I knew back then didn't care and plus sometimes we wouldn't shower for a couple of days at a time.
     Anyway, this year has been totally different.  First of all, I didn't find a tournament pool to enter.  I filled out a bracket and made a friendly bet with Mike-a-licious in front of God and everyone on the Big Dave and Company Podcast, but I couldn't find a pool.  So I was forced to create one and forced to force all the Unpaid Interns to enter it, but since they are unpaid I had to kick in their entry fees, so I am really just playing to get my own money back and to not lose it.  And in fact, some of them are beating me pretty handidly as of right now.
     That's the other problem.  My tournament bracket is currently in shambles.  If it were a person, it would have to be institutionalized and probably placed in a padded room for its own protection.  That's how crazy it has gotten to be.  That being said, most everyone's is like that this year.  High seeds have been falling like trees on a cable network logging show, and the Sweet Sixteen looks like your solidly lower-middle-class high school valedictorian's list of colleges that he is going to visit.  Cornell.  Northern Iowa.  Baylor.  Mt. Mary's College.  Univeristy of Washington.  West Virginia University.  Butler. Kansas State. Xavier. Oh, and Michigan State, Ohio State, Kentucky and Syracuse.  Let's not forget them. But still, upsets have been rife this season and anyone seems to be able to beat everyone, no matter which conference they come from or what sort of résumé they boast.  It is turning out into one of the most exciting and watchable and unbelieveable tournaments in memory.  And I haven't been able to see any of it.
     See, the tournament is on CBS.  The Columbia Broadcast System, which claims it is America's most watched network and which most of the rest of us think is a network for old folks, always broadcasts the tournament, which is fine, but is not available to me where I live.  I can't pick it up on the antenna that serves my wing of the Worldwide Headquarters, and I don't have cable or satellite hooked up yet.  So fine.  As such I missed the first couple of days of rounds.  I thought that this would be no big deal because I was going out of town.  See how sneaky I am?
     Yeah, turns out that CBS and the Tournament are even sneakier.  First on Friday, I tried to watch during my fantasy baseball draft but the draft took most of my attention.  Second, on Saturday I was busy going from here to there to the other place and didn't get to watch.  LAME!  Then Saturday night I made my way to my mom's farm and was ready.  They have comfy couch.  They have a giant TV.  They have satellite.  But wait.  There is a catch.  A big one.  No local channels.  They made the conscious decision to not subscribe the local channels on their satellite package because they weren't from the market that they wanted.  Like, they are right between market A and market B, and they want the market A stations but they get the market B stations.  So they said no thanks.  And their antenna wasn't strong enough to pick up any CBS from anywhere.  Oh, and no Internet there either so I couldn't stream the games on my computer even.
      Oh yeah, CBS Sports, on their website, allows you to stream to your computer any of the games that they are showing, so like if you don't like the one that they are giving you, you can choose a different one.  This is super cool, and it's super popular because CBS has this nasty tendency to continue to pump into your television games that are blowouts just because it thinks you will care, as opposed to games that are close and exciting.  So lots of people go stream games off their computers.  Millions of people.  Do you realize what kind of strain that puts on the resources of the CBS Sports website?  It's nuts.  So when you try to have your fantasy baseball draft on a tournament night, the website just can't handle the whole package and your fantasy baseball draft gets all messed up.  Great.  Fantastic.  Thanks CBS.  Thanks NCAA.
     So that's the long and short of my troubles with the NCAA Tournament.  It has been elusive to me all weekend long, yet it has managed to frustrate me at every turn.  This is turning into the lost year of the Tournament in my life, which is a shame because it's been such a fantastic version.  Oh well.  Next year I will be ready.  Next year it's on like Donkey Kong baby!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pull the Trigger

     Have you ever seen the movie Zoolander, Company?  In that movie, Zoolander is prompted to kill the fictional Prime Minister of Malaysia when he hears the song "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  They call it the trigger.  Granted, Zoolander was taught that trigger, well, it was psychologically implanted into him anyway, during the week he spent at a day spa, (he spells "day" d-a-i-y-e by the way - hilarious!) but it is still amazing how certain things can trigger the human brain to do just about anything.
     The reason that I bring this up is because recently I had an experience like that.  I went to a day spa.  Just kidding.  You totally believed me, didn't you?  Because that is the sort of thing that I would totally pull on you, isn't it?  I know, and I don't blame you.  This time though, I am going to play it straight.  I had one of those moments when I saw something and it sort of triggered some thoughts and emotions.  It was less a single event as a sort of swirling together of circumstance that created it.  I am not sure this particular thought would have been triggered by what I saw if I hadn't have been in the mood I have been in lately, or been in the circumstances that I have been in lately.  It was sort of the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.  But that is neither here nor there.  The bottom line is that you never know what might trigger the flood of thoughts and memories to come rolling around.  In this case it was a newspaper ad.
      It got me rolling and thinking about regrets I have had in my life.  A lot of people have said that they have lived their life with no regret, and I envy those people because I an definitely not one of them.  I have never regretted anything that I have done, and I mean really regretted it in the long run, but I have certainly regretted opportunities that I have let pass for reasons that at the time seemed valid but now, in the perfect vision of historical recollection, don't seem quite as compelling.
     Scrolling across my computer screen at work today was a saying that grabbed The Boss' eye.  It said "Behold the turtle.  He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out."  That is attributed to James Bryan Conant, and while it appears on several "funny quote" websites and it is a bit amusing there is really nothing funny about it.  It is, however, packed with pounds of truth. 
     I completely understand that quote and the meaning behind that, and as I reflect on things that have passed and I look around at where I stand today, I often wish that I had come to understand that a little earlier.  But such is life.  Some people have to touch the burner to know it's hot.  Unfortunately, some of us have to wait until it doesn't work anymore to realize that it used to be on.
     See what can happen when that trigger kicks in?  And see why it's important to pull the trigger on things in life?  And do you see how I was able to find a title for this post that incorporated both of those elements in a super slick way?  Yeah, I know, I am the best.  I just hope that you can learn from your mistakes a little quicker than I did - that me telling you the burner is hot is enough.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

.com

     Well Company, I am not sure if you realize this, but without the Internet there would be no Big Dave and Company, there would be no Big Dave and Company Podcast, and you would have nothing to do at work besides work.  And maybe listen to the radio.  As such, we really like to focus on inportant events in Internet history.  Well, Monday was a busy day, it was the Ides of March, so we had to talk about that, which we meant to on Monday but something got screwed up with the posting, so we talked about it yesterday instead.  Plus, we had to talk about the Republic of Georgia and the tomfoolery that went on there over the weekend, so you probably thought we'd forget about the important Internet milestone that passed on Monday, March 15, 2010.  But we didn't, so here goes.
     Monday was the 25th anniversary of the first registration of a .com name.  Wow, what a landmark.  Nowdays there are .org, .net, .just about every country you can think of, .gov, and they are even attempting to get a .xxx started for all you porn addicts out there.  But .com is still the original and the most desirable, unless of course you in Canada in which case you will most likely want one that ends with .ca.  But I digress.  There is something about .com that people just like, and on March 15, 1985, Symbolics computers of Cambridge, Massachusetts got the ball rolling by registering the first .com name.
     That was like the one little hold in the dyke, that would eventually turn into a flood.  But very slowly.  Five other companies followed suit that same year, and it took until 1997 to register the one millionth .com domain name.  There were 21 million or so registered in the 15 years between that very first one and the turn of the century.  There have been 57 million registered since then.  Now, there are 668,000 names ending in .com that are registered every month, give or take.
     Today, a company names Verisign is tasked with looking after the .com domain, and it registers about 53 billion requests for access each day.  For comparison, that is how many they handled total in 1995, ten years after Symbolics registered that very first name.  They expect that to increase to 3 or 4 quadrillion by 2020.  Thats 3,000-4,000 billion.  Most of those, I am sure, are people trying to access Big Dave and Company.
     Now that, Company, is truly the flood.  If you want to see a J-curve in action, bust out your TI-83 and plug in those numbers.  Once the thing stops smoking you will see exponential expansion at its finest.  Roughly a quarter of the world's population uses the Internet, making it the most powerful information tool since the television, or maybe the printing press.  But it all has to start somewhere, and while the Internet may have started a little before that, .com came to define what the Internet was and how it was defined, so it is equally important.  Sort of like, the car was developed before the Model T came to define what an automobile was. 
     Everything has its tipping point, that one small action, that single thing, that leads to more and more and more and more and more.  And so it was with .com.  Symbolics was its tipping point.  Symbolics was what got the ball rolling.  And it all happened 25 years ago today.  Well, 25 years ago Monday in any event.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

     Well boys and girls, it's St. Patrick's Day today, which means it's the day of the year when everyone wears green whether it's their color or not, Americans of Irish ancestry attempt to make out with every one, Americans of Irish ancestry wander down the middle of the street disrupting traffic and call it a parade, and it's okay to be drunk at 11 AM.
     Speaking of being drunk at 11 AM, Bucko and I were waiting at a stoplight at the bottom of a rather steep hill one St. Patrick's Day at around 11 AM local time, and we saw a sort of hefty gentileman stumbling up the sidewalk, piss drunk.  He was wearing a green shirt, tall sort of Cat In the Hat looking hat, except in green and light green, lots of beads, as would be expected, and some of those huge novelty glasses as I recall.  He was innebriated to the point where the combination of the hill and gravity were pretty much winning the battle, and after noting his resemblence to a certain other buddy of ours brother, the light turned St. Patrick's Day green and off we went.  That is my favorite St. Patrick's Day memory.
     So anyway, go out and enjoy whatever you are doing on this day when supposedly everyone is Irish.  Eat your corned beef and cabbage, enjoy a pint of Guinness, Riverdance on the Boardwalk, whatever you so desire.  Just have a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day, will you?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Ides of March

      Well Company, yesterday was the Ides of March, which is the coolest name for a day but no one seems to know what it means.  All I know is that Caeser was assassinated on the Ides of March and that Ides of March is the group that sings the song "Vehicle" which I like to sing at karaoke.
     Well, I was right.  Sort of.  First of all about the group.  And second of all that Julius Caeser was assassinated on this day in the year 44 B.C., and I am not going to say 44 BCE like all those politically correct losers who have nothing better to get on about, but we won't get into that here.  We should probably, however, take a look at why this date was so important to the Romans.
     "Ides" was the word used to describe the 15th day of the month in ancient Rome, but not ever month.  Just March, May, July, and October.  For some reason.  I am sure there is something that you can do with your knuckles in order to remember that, like you can do with the dates, but I don't know the trick myself.  Anyway, the reason that there were only ides in certain months I believe has to do with how the Romans figured their calendar, which was lunar and consisted of either hollow months with 29 days or full months which had 30.  But don't quote me on that because I am just not sure.
     What we do know is that on the Ides of March, May, July, and October there were celebrations, usually including a military parade and all dedicated to Mars, the Roman God for whom the planet is names, and the candy bar, and the month of March.  Strange how that works, isn't it?
     So yeah, that is the day, and why the ides of all those other months haven't survived is really sort of puzzling.  I would expect that it has a little bit to do with the holiday, as it were, being dedicated to Mars, and Mars being intertwined with March, etc, etc.  But I would have to believe that it has a lot more to do with Shakespeare.  See, when Julius Caeser was assassinated on the steps of the east portico of the Roman Senate on the Idea of March, it was a pretty big deal, and it marked the change in reality of ancient Rome, taking it from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.  And it made for pretty good drama too, what with the betrayal and conspiracy and the thwarted attemps by Mark Antony (not Mark Anthony, the Latin American singer, - Mark Antony the guy who banged Cleopatra) to prevent the assassination at the last minute.  So it is only natural that a creative guy like William Shakespeare would seize upon it.  In the play, Caesar is warned to "beware the Ides of March."  DING! DING! DING!  We have a winnner!  I am willing to bet all of Little Jeffy's paycheck that Shakespeare and Caesar are behind the Ides of March still being known.  Shakespeare will do that to a day.
     It doesn't hurt that some other semi-significant events happened on the Ides of March.  Nicholas II of Russia abdicated on that day in 1917, which is kind of a big deal because that is one of the events that led to Russia becoming a Communist nation, right at the height of World War I by the way.  No big deal though, right?  It's only a world changing event.  George Washington put down a mutiny by his officers in 1783 on this day, which is important too, because that came at an important time in the adolescence of our nation and it asserted his hold on the Army and nation, and allowed us to become what we eventually became.  So there must be something about the Ides of March.  And that was yesterday.  I hope that you made some history yesterday, Company.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Georgia on My Mind

      Georgia, oh Georgia.  Not the state with Atlanta and the big gold tournament, we are talking today, Company, about the former Soviet Repblic that sits on the shores of the Black Sea in the Caucasus Mountains, sort of sandwiched between Turkey and Russia.  Now, in case you didn't know, that is not really a very stable neighborhood these days, and to be honest, Georgia is part of the reason.  Okay, a big part.
     Part of it is that it is parked right between a bunch of bat shit crazy neighbors.  First there is Turkey, who is pretty powerful but gets along with Georgia mostly because it spends all of its time worrying about what is going on across the tracks in Europe, and trying desperately to be included in that club.  Then, there are Armenia and Azerbaijan, who are too busy trying to slit one another's throats to worry about Georgia.  Fine.  But to the north lies Russia, and Russia and Georgia, well, they don't get along very well.  Not very well at all.  In fact they came to blows in 2008 over an area known as South Ossetia, which boggles my mind because that place isn't all that great.
     Well Company, we aren't really going to get into that, but suffice it to say it has made Georgia just a little antsy and a whole lot paranoid, which I can't say I really blame them for.  I mean, what would you do if at any moment you thought your big, strong, next door neighbor might come in and just pound the hell out of you just because your bedroom light was on, right?  But paranoia and fear often cloud judgement, and make people and countries and etities do things that are not rational, not in the best interest and certainly not sane.  Things like broadcasting on state television that Russia had invaded your country and assassinated your President.
     Oh Georgia.  Let me make something very clear to you, something that is painfully obvious to, oh all the other 194 or so other countries on the Planet Earth.  It is perfectly okay to report on the news that your country is being invaded by your mortal enemy who just invaded you a couple of years ago and that your President is dead as long as you are being invaded by your mortal enemy who just invaded you a couple of years go and your President is dead.  IT'S NOT OKAY TO JUST FUCKING MAKE IT UP!  Never.  Never ever ever ever ever ever ever is it okay to just make something like that up and put it on TV.  Do you know what that does?
     Well of course you do.  Because you just did it, and it caused panic in the streets.  People poured into the boulevards and squares around the nation in a tizzy.  Some people even had heart attacks when they heard the news.  HEART ATTACKS!  I am sure it caused a lot of confusion among the people who were in the area that was supposedly being invaded when they looked out their windows and saw a noticable lack of Russian armor in the streets.  It also proably surprised, confused, and whipped the UN people wandering around into a frenzy, because they are supposed to be making sure shit like that isn't going on, and they probably were afraid they had fallen asleep on the job.
     You know what else it does?  It undermines whatever credibility you might have had and it makes you look bat shit crazy, that's what it does.  Especially when your very obviously not dead President comes on the air and defends the crazy stunt.  You are getting dangerously close to ex-girlfriend-trying-to-embarass-new-girlfriend-because-she-can't-take-the-hint-that-it's-over territory.  Yeah, you warranted that many hyphens.  Especially when you claim, right in the middle, that the head of the opposition party is teaming up with the Russian during the attack that isn't really happening.
      Ah ha.  Now it's all becoming clearer.  So let's get this straight, Georgian government.  You created a false attack on your country on a government-friendly television network, caused panic in the streets, and severely damaged whatever credibility you might have gained when you were invaded for little good reason by a world superpower simple in order to discredit a member of an opposition party.  Wow, that's awful.  Truly awful, and so misguided that I can't even being to bring it to words.
     So here is the deal, Georgia, this was wrong.  I don't care if you ran a very brief and extremely missable notice beforehand saying that what people were about to see was a "simulation."  Unless you said it every five minutes during the broadcast it wasn't enough, okay?  Nobody pays attention to an anchor saying "What you are about to see is a simulation of what might happen if Russia invades the country." Nobody.  But when someone sees a picture of a mortar blowing up their children's school, that might make them sit down and pay attention to what the TV is saying.  That's why you needed the every gfive minute thing.
     You know what else, Georgia, I can't fathom why you even needed a simulation of what might happen if Russia invaded your country, because that just happened.  THAT JUST HAPPENED!  Like a year and a half ago.  So unless you are shooting for the 0-2 year old demographic - one not generally regarded highly by advertising types - there really was no sense in it.  Because everyone remembers what happened last time.  In fact, that was where you got all the images of Russia invading your territory, from TWO YEARS AGO WHEN IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.  I really sincerely hope that it was a bright, sunny day on the day the invasion happened, when the video was taken, and that it was rainy and gray the day you aired this horseshit so you look even more whacked out. 
     Georgia, the next words out of your mouth should be an apology, to two groups.  First, Russia, because even though you don't like them it's not okay to just slander them.  They should take you to World Court small claims division in The Hague, or maybe they should get Judge Whapner off Animal Planet to preisde over this very special edition of The People's Court, because that's wrong, and they shouldn't have to stand for that.  In fact, I wouldn't blame them if they did invade you now just for being a dickhead government.  Second, you need to apologize to, oh, everyone in your country because you scared the shit out of them for no reason.  That's the only words that should come out of your mouth now, Georgia, is "I'm sorry to Russia, and I am sorry to the Georgian people."  Feel free to say it in Georgian if you so desire.
     And don't do it again.  That's the second part.  Just sort of lie low and keep to yourself for a while, let the heat die down, before you do something again.  Otherwise you are going to get a bad rep, and Armenia and Azerbaijan are going to be looking like the sane ones in the neighborhood.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts about the world and the things in it that are floating around my hear today, done in a sort of choppy, random, Larry King style that makes no sense and flows in no way, shape, or form.  Mainly it's a way of me copping out of doing a real, full-lengh blog post for today.  Enjoy.

- Sony introduces the Play Station Move.  Sony has come out with a new controller for the Play Station 3 game system which closely mimics the style of controller that is used on the Nintendo Wii.  I can't say I am surprised, but I am surprised at how stupid looking the thing is.  While the Wii controller looks like it belongs, the Sony Play Station Move is kind of lame.  It looks like a variety of things -written in the freaky PlayStation Move pastel colors - including but not limited to: 1.) One of those brightly colored gel bouncy balls that is stuck on the remote control for a massage chair, 2.) Pastel karaoke microphones with one of those old-time spongy foam heads on it 3.) a female sex toy, 4.) anthing from a Sharper Image catalog.  I am not sure why they felt the need to but the buttons in an awkward arrangement or the giant oracle ball on the end, but these things look stupid and I am not sure how they could be comfortable in the hand while playing any video game.  By the time you read this you will know what games are available for it but you know what?  It's too little, too lame, and too late.  I don't care if Sony claims it outperforms the Wii controller.  Release your next PlayStation console with a controller like that to begin with and you will be fine.

-  Banks are struggling.  Listen, we all know about the bailout and mortgage foreclosures and the sky high interest rates on our credit cards.  But banks have become just plain stupid.  See, I have been seeing a lot of articles about banks foreclosing on the wrong homes or businesses, or getting names mixed up.  If you have too much property that you are taking control of to know exactly what you own, then you own too much.  Sell it.  I understand that's what you are trying to do.  But maybe your overextended yourself a little bit there, Billy Banker.  Or maybe you should have just written down everyone's name who owes you money on a big list somewhere.  How novel.

-  I have a pro-Pop Tart agenda.  I love the little things, and right now I am committed to eating one every day for breakfast until I can't stand them anymore, which I think will come faster than anyone thinks.  I love that they are economical, and they can be eaten on the go like while driving the car to work or while tubing down the friendly local river.  They are good both hot or cold, and they come in just about every flavor under the sun, as long as that flavor involved chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, or fruit of some sort.  I can still remember when I was a kid and Pop Tarts were full of mystery because we never got to have them.  Those were the days, when brown sugar and cinnamon would drive me wild and they came in a white box, as opposed to the current blue ones.  Love it!

WKRP in Cincinnati was a great show.  I've been watching it on DVD recently and I have found myself totally impressed.  I think it's hilarious, witty, and surprisingly topical, at least for the topics that were important in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  I am baffled at how that show was ever taken off the air, especially after only four years, but maybe it got played out.  I just don't know.  But to me it's better than The Simpsons, and that's been on almost as long as I have been alive.  Think about that.  And The Simpsons has never made me laugh out loud at the jokes.  Plus, if I were in Boston, I would have to say that the WKRP in Cincinnati girls are wicked good looking.  So that helps.

-  Speaking of TV... It's not hooked up yet in my new wing of the Worldwide Headquarters, and it is scaring me.  I never realized just how much time I spent devoted to that electronic box, or just how completely addicted to it I was.  I pine for the shows I used to watch, and that isn't good.  That being said, I am finding myself to be much more productive without it.  How about that for a shocker that really isn't.  Maybe I will just leave it off and I will be better for it.  Naw, probably not.

-  Let's get over ourselves already, shall we?  Dingus McFadden, excuse me, Peter Jackson, who directed all those annoying Lord of the Ring movies is causing controversey with his plan to place a giant "Wellywood" sign in his back yard in the city of Wellington, New Zealand.  And it's not who you would think that is causing a stir.  It's not the neighbors or naturalist groups.  Nope, it's Hollywood.  See, the sign would be similar in design to the iconic "Hollywood" sign in California (which by the way was put in in 1923 as part of a housing development I think).  And the Hollywood people, who take themselves way too seriously, are all up in arms about trademark infringement.  Yeah, like anyone in their right mind is going to confuse Wellington, New Zealand, with that sin pit of greed and degredation, Hollywood, California.  So anyway, they are threatening to sue, but meanwhile mayor Kerry Pendergast approves and planning approval has already been given.  In fact, the sign is tentatively scheduled to be erected in June.  He says that Wellington is the heart and soul of the New Zealand film community, which as far as I can tell really just consists of Peter Jackson.  Ready for the twist?  Mayoral candidate Jack Yan is against the sign - calling it "tacky and unoriginal", and I agree with him - was the one who called Hollywood and tipped them off, in a bid to get the construction stalled.  Classy move nimrod.  I mean, I don't want the thing but that wasn't the way to go about it.  Maybe you should run for mayor of Hollywood.

-  Everyone is always all upset about the Kennedys.  Everyone gets up in arms about the Kennedy family being cursed and whatnot, but I don't buy it.  When everyone in your family is seeking wealth, fame, and power then of course shit it going to happen to you.  They would have been fine if the boys had gone off to become masons and computer programmers and shoemakers like the rest of us.  I don't see anyone capping used car salesmen in downtown Dallas, now are they?  Hell, they could have even been actors.  The Baldwins are all around and they are rich and famous, even though most of them suck balls.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jealousy is the Root of All Evil... and this Post

     Jealous.  It's an ugly word.  And an even uglier emotion.  But I suppose it is helpful in some ways.  What I am about to discuss is not one of them, however.  I am currently experiencing a very deep and intense feeling of jealousy over something.  It actually feels more like a mixture of anger, longing, and shame to be honest.  But more on that in a little bit.  In any event, I have felt this feeling many times before, and while it is uncomfortable when it arrives it does go away after a time and no one is worse for the wear.  At least I am not, but I am usually the only one affected because I try really hard to bottle it up.  Not today, however, today I am going to pop the top and let it spew like a warm Throwback Pepsi that has just been dropped on the asphalt but has miaculously not broken open.  So here goes, and remember that there is no offense meant in any of what is to follow, okay?  If imitation is the highest form of flattery then I would suspect that jealousy is a close second.
     I am jealous of "This Day in SPAM Fail" over at Enter the Man Cave.  There, I said it, and I feel much better for having done so.  I follow this blog and am always interested in what Geof has to say, but this is one of my favorite features.  In it, he takes a SPAM e-mail that he has received, prints it, then responds to it.  It is usually not a polite response.  The responses are usually laced with hilarity, sarcasm, and witty responses, sort of like when I sprout off about something but WAY more creative and without all the curse words.  And they always end with "GFY with a chainsaw" which I am sure you can figure out the meaning of.  So it's good, really good, and I enjoy it.  I just wish that I had thought of it first.
      That's where the jealousy comes in here.  I want "This Day in SPAM Fail" so badly.  I want it splattered across my blog with my thoughs and my ideas and my words.  I want it and I want no one else to have it.  But that can't be so, because I didn't think of it first.  I am not saying that Geof doesn't do a great job - I think he is fantastic at it, I really do - I just wish that I could be creating something that hilarious and original.
       But I can't.  I just can't.  I can't plagerize his idea, I can't even come up with something similar but a little different that I can call my own.  That's just not how I roll when it comes right down to it.  I can't bring myself to do that kind of thing.  So the only way I could have it is if I thought of it myself.  That's just how it goes.  But I didn't think of it myself.  See, long, long ago I got sick of the bullshit and put up SPAM filter after SPAM filter, like most e-mail users.  And the SPAM filters on the e-mail services that I use are pretty good, so I rarely get stuff like that which is features on Enter the Man Cave.  I check my SPAM folders from time to time just to make sure there isn't important stuff getting in there that I might need or want, but the thought never crossed my mind to take the annoying e-mail and just tear it to shreds.
      So there it is.  Laid open bare for everyone to see.  Let's look back at the list from the first paragraph.  Anger?  Check.  I am angry that it is not mine.  Because I want it that badly.  Longing?  Check.  I pine for "This Day in SPAM Fail."  Is that weird.  Should I seek professional help?  Shame?  Oh yeah.  Check, check, check, check, check.  I have always prided myself on being a relatively creative guy, so I am a little ashamed that I couldn't come up with something like that.  All I have are the "Open Letters" and those just don't cut it.  Not at all.
     Yeah.  That's the long and short of it.  I am jealous of Enter the Man Cave and it's "This Day in SPAM Fail."  I wish it were mine, but it is not and never will be.  So that's that.  I will, however, give massive props to Geof over that the Man Cave because he does a great job with it, and you should go check it out.  Hell, go check out his entire operation over there, even if he is not sticking it to some spammer, because he does a great job in all the stuff he does every day.  All that being said, I would still swipe "This Day in SPAM Fail" if I had the chance, and a little less of a conscience.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Longest 15 Minutes

     Well Company, Corey Haim is dead and I am struggling to find someone who cares.
     For those of you who don't know, Corey Haim was a child actor from the 1980s who starred in some sort of movie that people thought was significant for like sixteen and a half minutes.  But he is better known as being one of the Two Coreys, along with Corey Feldman.  In the 1980s they were young and famous and wealthy and brash, and they quickly became known for their partying around town.  Chicks dug them - a lot - and they liked to wear sunglasses and act like douchebags.  But it wasn't to last.
     Like many child actors, Corey Haim did two things as he grew up.  First of all he had problems with drugs.  Lots of problems.  He told the British tabloid The Sun that at one point he was taking 85 downers a day.  That's not good, especially when you started taking them because of your other drug addictions.  He also states several times that he felt that he let drugs ruin his career, which is bad because he needed his career so very badly.
      That was the other way in which he followed other child actors.  He always had this need, this craving, for a little more fame.  A little more fame.  A little more fame.  He had to be on camera, he had to have his face and his name out there.  He was the kind of guy you would see on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here or on Celebrity Fit Club.  Actually, he was the kind of guy who would gain sixty pounds so he could qualify for Celebrity Fit Club so he could make an appearance on The Soup every other week or so.
       His last attempt to extend his fifteen minutes of fame came not too long ago, when he and Feldman had a show on A&E that was sort of like a bad sitcom being played out in real life.  First of all, why it was on A&E boggles my mind, for it was definitely not art and it was barely entertainment.  Anyway, while Feldman grew up, got married, sort of made a normal life for himself, Haim never could, so he moved in with the Feldmans and brough along a TV crew to film the whole thing.  I always knew it was hokey but now that I type it I realize just how cliché it really is.  Anyway, as would be expected Feldman was the normal guy and Haim was the one who failed to realize that it wasn't 1985 anymore and that maybe he should grow up, or at least let Feldman do the same without interruption.
      And that was kind of the last straw, I think.  Once you are willing to be pathetic and do so on camera, just for the recognition and the quick buck, that is when you need to draw the line.  That is when you have sunk below Kathy Griffin and the D-List.  Watching that show, you always got the sense that Haim was the driving force behind its existence, not that he thought of it on his own, but more that he was approached by some producers somewhere and talked Feldman into it.  It was almost like Feldman was doing it just to help out his buddy for old time's sake.  So sad.
      So Corey Haim attempted to extend his fifteen minutes of fame time and time again, but was never quite successful.  In the end it just seemed like the longest fifteen minutes in the history of time, like the last fifteen minutes of work on a boring Friday, or the fifteen minutes you have to drive to make it to the next rest stop on the highway when you REALLY have to pee.  I can't say I blame him for his efforts, though, because when you are a teenager and you are cast into fame, when you are cast into the world of entertainment, you really don't know anything else.  To go out at 25 and get a new career when you've been in show business for ten years is like the average Joe having to totally switch careers at 40, and it's like going from being a police officer on the streets to crunching numbers in a cubicle for a faceless corporation.  Culture shock for sure. 
      Add that to mounting debt for medical expenses and back taxes and it was a pretty bleak picture for the almost-40-year-old Haim.  He filed for bankruptcy - Chapter 11 - in 1997, listing only a few thousand dollars in cash, clothing, and royalty rights as assets up against at leat $200,000 in debts.  While that wouldn't be surprising for the average American, that is pretty sad for someone who once sat on top of the world.  One can only wonder at how much of the money he made went up his nose, into his veins, or through a bong over the years.
      They don't know how Corey Haim died yet, the autopsy hasn't been conducted.  What we do know is he died at 2:15 am on March 10, 2010 in a hospital in Burbank; that he was 38 at the time; that he was suffering from flu-like symptoms, and that he was taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs.  I wouldn't be suprised if the autopsy found a cocktail of drugs in his system, like msot young celebrities they find on the floors of their homes these days.  It's not that all celebrities are druggies, but with the past and the circumstance it is hard not to jump to that conclusion with Haim.  After all, this the man who once called himself "a chronic relapser for the rest of [his] life." As the adage goes, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.  Even if it IS a duck who had the longest fifteen minutes of fame ever it seems.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Four Things

    For those of you who don't know, I recently moved to a different section of the massive Worldwide Headquarters.  No big deal, but it involved packing all my things and having the Unpaid Interns move them down long, dimly lit corridors and up precarious steps to get to where they had to go.  And I have some heavy shit.  So anyway, I have been in the process of unpacking, but the one room where we put most of the boxes has no lights, and I haven't had the opportinity to be home during the daylight hours lately, so many of my things have remained packed away.  That being said, the other night, in the space of about an hour, I found four things that made my life so much more comfortable and convenient for the time being.

1.) Flashlight.  This was the key to it all.  I groped around in the dark because I knew which container contained by flashlights, and it allowed me to begin searching through all the other boxes and packages and whatnot.    It also allows me to see out into the dark outside, or into dark recesses in closets and whatnot.  It's a godsend, mostly because I could see to unpack more of my other things in the darkness.

2.) Clock.  This clock is for my bathroom.  See, I am one of those people who needs clocks everywhere, in every room, in plain sight to I know where and when I need to be where and when I need to be there.  Fine.  Well, the bathroom is particularly important or otherwise in the morning, I will spend way too long in there standing in the shower wondering why I am awake at such a God-awful hour, usually with my head tilted back and my mouth gaping open, which then means if I spend too much time I will drown, and nobody wants to fill out all that paperwork, right?  So that's why I needed the clock, and I needed the flashlight to find the damn thing in the dark.  But now it's on the wall and all is well.

3.) Fan.  This fan is for the bathroom as well.  Every bathroom should have either a window or a fan in it, both is preferable.  Mine is of the window variety, which is fine, but sometimes you need a little help.  So I stumbled upon my little fan that I had used in the kitchen of a past Worldwide Headquarters.  It is only 4 inches in diameter and I got it to sit in the windowsill of the kitchen window and blow cool air in from outside.  Now it is perched in my bathroom to push moisture and odors out the open window.  It never hurts to help nature a little, and that little fan can move a fair amount of air for such a tiny thing.

4.) TV Remote Control.  So important, especially when you are a lazy fat guy.  And I am.  This was the one that I was really pining for, because although I don't have my TV hooked up yet, my DVD player certainly is, and I don't know if you've ever looked at a modern-ish TV and it's accompanying remote, but there is way more functionality built into the remotes, especially in terms of accessing menus.  Plus, I was sick of having to get up every time I wanted or needed to change the volume.  So there it is.  This was the thing I really, really, wanted to find.  To find this was the reason that I went searching for the flashlight.  How about that.  So when I found it I felt as if I were bathed in light and the angels were singing to me from upon high.  It was neat.

I also found my extra couch pillows, which was nice.  And I found my white board, which doesn't really count or anything because I knew where it was, I just had to mount it once I bought some mounting strips.  And the whiteboard is essential, especially if you live with a rommate or family or spouse.  It's great for disseminating information between each other.  I use mine for writing notes about where I have to be or what I have to bring or what I need to do.  It's great, and when I am without it I sometimes wonder how I get by.  But, that being said, I got my four things and life seemed grand.  I can't wait to see what else I discover.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

You Look Delicious

     "Cannibalism is bad.  I'm not going to argue with you."  Daniel Tosh said that, and I have to say that I agree.  I am going to place myself firmly in the Cannibalism is bad and I am not going to argue with camp.  There, I said it.
     I can't seem to think of a single situation in which cannibalism is okay, at least not in my mind.  I understand that there are some cultures out there that practice cannibalism, and that's fine if that's what they want to do.  But I am certainly not going to condone it.  I am not going to encourage it.  And I am definitely not going to engage in it.
     There are no situations in my mind, none, in which cannibalism is okay.  I don't even care if I am a member of a South American soccer team and I crash in the Andes.  I will be the frozen skinny guy then, because I am not going to eat the goalkeeper, even if he did die of natiral causes.  Sorry.  That's just the way it is.  But no, it's not okay to do it then; it's not okay to do it in any situation.  End of story.
     I know that there are a few of you out there going on and on, harping about cannibalism being a natural thing, how animals in nature do it all the time and whatnot.  Fine.  I am going to assume that you are playing devil's advocate and I am going to assume that you are a retarded asshole as well.  Here is the thing: we aren't like normal animals, okay?  That's the neat thing about humans, we have evolved in a way that at times our social customs and norms override our most basic instincts, the ones that are included within our DNA.  And that is what is happening here.  That is what should be happening here.  That is what HAS to happen here.  Even those soccer players had a hard time coming to terms with what they did to survive, and if they talked about it, which the obviously did, I can assure you that their friends and families and spouses never looked at them the same way.
     So cannibalism is bad.  Don't do it.  That's all there is to it.  Unless you want to end up in some Time Life series about America's Sickest Serial Killers.  Because that is where you will end up, with Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein and the guy from Silence of the Lambs.  So settle down and do what I tell you.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Oscar Eats Raspberries

     Well Company, the Oscars were handed out last night and to be honest, I couldn't have cared less about it.  I didn't watch, I didn't look at the nominees, I didn't pay attention one bit, until this morning when I read a neat little article about an actress that I never much cared for.
     It was a brief article, but it one of those that instantly changes your perceptions and opinions of the sibject person.  It wasn't that I disliked this person, I was just sort of ambivalent about her.  I know some people who would drool over this particular actress, and who thought she was so hot and so great.  Whenever they would go on their Sandra Bullock kick I would never despute them, I wouldn't start lobbing shells into the sides of her ship, I would always just say something like "You know, I never really cared for her all that much.  You can have her."
      But now, now Company, I am starting to swing around a little bit into the Sandra Bullock camp.  Oh yes.  The reson being is that she is doing something pretty cool.  In case you didn't know, last night she stepped up on the stage at the Kodak Theatre and accepted the Academy Award for her performance in Speed 7: Terminal Velocity in which she is riding on an 18th Century steam train that can't go under 67 mph or a bomb will go off and blow up some orphans being held hostage in a bungalo on the Isle of Man by a rich and powerful ETA separatist.  Just kidding, that would be awful if that movie were made.  But what she did win was the Best Actress award for the film The Blind Side, which is cool.  I know that a lot of people maybe thought that she didn't deserve that, but I don't have a problem with that.  It was certainly a highlight for her career, especially considering what she did the day before the Academy Awards.
     The day before she personally accepted a Golden Raspberry Award - often called a Razzie - given out anually to what the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation considers the worst performances in film for the year.  She won this particular award, which consists of a baseball-sized trophy of a raspberry mounted on a 8 mm film reel and all painted gold like it's a Notre Dame football helmet or something, and costs about $4.79 each to create.  Anyway, she won this particular award for her starring role in the movie All About Steve, which was truly awful.  She started to endear herself to me when she showed up to collect her Razzie on Saturday night.
      First of all, the fact that she actually showed demonstrated a lot of character.  From what I have been led to understand, most film personalities do not show up to collect their Razzie, which I sort of understand because most people don't generally like to be recognized for their failings.  I know that I don't.  So the showed up in person to collect it, and think that shows that she has a fantastic sense of humor.  Second, she came with a trailer in tow, a trailer filled with DVD's of All About Steve to give away to the audience, like she was the travelling Oprah of crappy movies.  Now that is cool, because if you lay a stinker you might as well have a good time with it.  And that is what she was doing, making light of it.  She even went so far as to say that she had a "great time" at the Razzies.  And why shouldn't she?  If she has a good enough sense of humor to show up and hand our party favors I would expect her to have a blast.
      So you might be wondering how she compares her Razzie to her Oscar.  Well, even if you are not I am going to tell you.  She told the press, after her receiving her Academy Award, that she was going to display it right next to her Raspberry Award.  How cool is that?  She told the BBC that "They are going to sit side by side, as they should.  We're in the entertainment business.  That's what we're supposed to do - you take the good with the not so good."  Now that is the attitude to have, although later she did admit to a little bit of hubris, saying that she might put her Razzie a little lower on the shelf than the Oscar.  I can't say I blame her for that.
      But she's not throwing it away, or using it to prop open a door at her beach house.  No, she's leaving it up for public display in her living room, just to remind her, keep her grounded, etc.  And for that I give her a heaping helping of respect points.  Eleventy billion respect points as a matter of fact, since she did the DVD thing.  I really like her reaction to both of the awardsl; I give her a lot of credit for that.  So congratulations on both of your awards Sandra, and I am totally going to go see your next movie.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

An Ode to Maybe

     There is this wonderful class of words that denote uncertainty, that allow one to convey that something is unassured, that are just wonderful.  I use them all the time, because they are useful, and because they are powerful.  But for as good and as powerful as these words can be, they can also get one into an awful lot of trouble.
    Words like "maybe."  "Might." "Possibly."  I would even be willing to throw "I'll try" into that group.  Strictly defined, "maybe" means perhaps.  Hmmm...that's no good, and I am not making that up.  If I were to write that up like it was a dictionary entry it would just have three words: "maybe," "adverb," and "perhaps."  For serious.  If I go look up "perhaps" and it just says "maybe" I will be royally pissed, but you know what?  I'd have to admit that was pretty good, and I'd have to give a bunch of respect points to Daniel Webster or whoever wrote the dictionary.  I am just kidding, it wasn't Daniel Webster.  It was Emmanuel Lewis who wrote the dictionary, everyone knows that.  So let us see what perhaps has to say:

perhaps \pər-haps, praps\ (adv): possibly but not certainly syn: maybe

Well now that is a little better, and by a little better I mean a lot better.  That pretty much spells it out right there, which I suppose is what a dictionary is supposed to do.  And that's how I read it, and by that I mean the word perhaps.  I always look at it as just saying that whatever follows is not a certainty; that it may happen but isn't for sure.  But like I said, it can be so much more.
      Sometimes one will use a word like maybe to put someone back on their heels, or to keep them guessing.  Like when you are totally flirting with a girl and make an advance and she says "maybe."  I hate that.  Or like when someone asks you if you are going to the party and you say "I might."  That's a good one too.
      Another use of this concept in this vein is to make someone get a little stressed out.  Like if you are going to do something for them and you want them to think about how you are helping them out.  For example:  "Hey, Big Dave, are you going to be able to write me that letter of recommendation for Colorado State by the end of the week?" and I answer "Maybe, Unpaid Intern, maybe."  Relax, I'm gonna do it.  But I want the Unpaid Intern to sweat, and just jacking up the thermostat doesn't do the trick anymore because they are used to it.  Anyway, you can use that concept to do that.  "I might be able to get the done for you by Thursday." even though it would only take you like an hour if you really put your mind to it.
     Some people do the exact opposite, and use it to lead people on when there is no chance in hell of something happening.  "Yeah, maybe we will come to your baby shower, insufferable work friend of my wife's."  "Are you going to come to my graduation party, girl that I have had a crush on for the last four years?""Maybe, we will see."  Trust me, I am from the Midwest, I've played these games for a long time.
     I've played the game a lot of times because another great thing about "maybe" is that it can absolve one of potential sins.  If you never actually commit to anything you can't really not come through, now can you?  That's the part that most people like about maybe.  That's why everyone uses "perhaps, perhaps, perhaps."
      But generally no, that's not how we wield the sword of possibility most of the times.  Most of the time we just don't know, so that's why we don't commit.  Pure and simple.  Maybe it's too far out.  Maybe we just aren't sure.  That's why it is unfortunate when people read "maybe" as a metaphysical certitude.  "Oh, so where were you at the fair last weekend? I thought you were going to be there."  No, ass plow, I said we might go but then my youngest son had to go play in a basketball tournament.  I never committed.  I am sad that you are so unfamiliar with the concept of uncertainty.  It's not that I didn't want to go to the fair, but sometimes stuff happens.
     So let's remember that maybe means maybe, and nothing more.  Not for sure.  Not never.  It means perhaps.  I means uncertainty.  It means possibility.  That's it.  That's how I am going to use it from now on; I'm going to cool it with all the maybe-related bullshit.  Maybe.