Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RIP Leslie Nielsen

    Well Company, it's Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and since we have taken the whole long weekend PLUS an extra day off, I suppose that it is time to get back to writing posts.  So here we are.  The is so much to talk about from the last five days - Black Friday/Cyber Monday, how I spent Cyber Monday rounding the Unpaid Interns up and putting them back in their cages, I mean dorms, the major leak of US Diplomatic cables, the continuing row between the Koreas, the EU beginning to investigate Google for violating anti-trust laws - but I think we need to talk about Leslie Nielsen.
     By now I am sure you know, Company, that he has passed away at age 84.  The veteran actor, who began his career as a serious television actor, became one of the most beloved and quotes comedic actors in the industry.  After acting in over 150 live television dramas and a series of dramatic movies including Forbidden Plant and The Poseidon Adventure, he came across the script for the disaster spoof Airplane! and wanted in, because he knew that it would be the future of comedy.  And so Dr. Rumack was born with his now world famous line "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley" which was his deadpan response every time someone said "Surely you can't be serious."
     I was always a fan of "We have to get these people to the hospital.""The hospital!? What is it?""It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now."  Genius.  It was the method of his delivery, his dry wit and deadpan facial expression, that always sealed the laughs.  I personally have always thought that his deep, sort of official voice had something to do with it too.  He had the perfect cop voice for The Naked Gun and Police Squad, and would have made a voice-over guy on par with Phil Hartman.  Couldn't you hear him selling you orange juice?
     I think that my favorite part of the life of Leslie Nielsen, aside from the hilarious laughs, is that he always seemed to know himself but never be too serious about himself.  It takes a lot of self assuredness and a great sense of humor to make a movie like Spy Hard.  And so he will be missed from this world, even though he laid low as he increased in age, making cameos and the like, and even doing a one-man show on the life of Clarence Darrow.  That is the kind of show that your wife drags you to in order to force feed you some civilization, and you hate it until you find out Leslie Freaking Nielsen is doing it, then you are enthralled by him in his white hair and black tuxedo.  A lot of people could learn a lot of things from him, but I suppose that in the end we will always have Dr. Rumack and Lt. Frank Drebin under the dusty covers of our VHS tapes, and we will always be able to call him Shirley, despite that he doesn't like it.  Rest in peace Leslie Nielsen

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

     Well Company, it is the day before Thanksgiving, the turkey has been pardoned, the pies are probably already being baked, and as all or most or some of you get ready to head out for your trips to wherever, I thought I should just take a moment of time to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and the safest of travels.
    As those of you flying are flagrantly violated by the folks at the TSA, either via machine or special hand maneuvers so they can see if you are trying to sneak a travel-sized bottle of Pert Plus on the plane, try to think about what Thanksgiving is all about: thankfulness for family, friends, health, wealth, etc, etc.  If you aren't particularly thankful for those things - perhaps because your wife left you and took the kids with, your now ex-wife left you for your best friend and golf pro Travis, you were recently diagnosed with a particularly nasty form of blasomycosis, and your hours at the factory were cut from forty a week to two half days twice a month - then feel free to use the holiday to celebrate the fact that the Pilgrims, goofy belt buckle hats and all, were able to con the local Native American tribes in New England to sit down and share a meal with them, using nothing but the most primitive form of charades.  Or, if you aren't into history or historical recreation, use the holiday to be thankful for more modern things: pro football and green bean casserole.
    I, however, choose to spend at least one portion of the day being thankful for pregnancy pants, and another part being thankful for my bed.  One usually comes before dinner, and one after, but I will leave it to you to figure out which goes where.  That is sort of like a little game you can play as you get ready for whatever it is you are doing today.  As for me, I am also thankful that I have the ability to take the long weekend off, which I am going to do.  I am even going to let the Unpaid Interns take the weekend off too, but I have tracking chips implanted in their skulls so I can know if they are trying to go to the police.
     Anyway, the point here is that you shouldn't expect any fresh and exciting content the next few days, unless of course I decide there is something that I can write about, of course.  So I hope that you have a happy holiday doing whatever it is that you are doing, and that you get to your destination safely should you be travelling.  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter Driving

    Baby Doll was telling me the other day about a friend of hers who posted on Facebook something like this: "Attention all drivers of Minneapolis! Now that winter is here repeat after me: I will not drive like an idiot, I will not drive like an idiot, I will not drive like an idiot."  I don't know if that is the exact quote but it is true to the idea, and I couldn't agree more.
    Now I don't live in the Minneapolis, but I live in the north in an area that thankfully has a lot less snow than they have there.  But last night in an icy rain I had an experience with a winter driver who I am completely convinced shouldn't have been winter driving at all.  First of all, they had out of state plates, from a state where a lot of people around here come from and for the most part have gone back to.  But it is still a state in the north where they should know how to drive in rain that is quickly freezing into ice on paved surfaces.  So they were driving approximately ten miles per hour below the posted speed limit.  Let me come out and say that I am absolutely okay with this.  In bad conditions, where it is hard to see, and there is a mix of ice and standing water on the road, at night, I have no problem with ten below, okay?  I am not going to tell them to go faster, and I will gladly settle down at ten under and watch the dark tree-like shapes pass by.  No big deal.
    I do, however, have a problem with hitting the brakes every time that an oncoming car approaches.  I am not sure that hitting is the right word, and it certainly wasn't slamming.  But it was a purposeful braking every time oncoming headlight appeared.  And it was enough braking that, had I been following a little closer, I would have had to apply my brakes, and the same goes for every car behind me, and so on and so forth.  That is enough to cause a spinout, or a chain reaction if one car gets into another, or a number of other bad traffic incidents.  And there is no reason for it.  None.  If you are so nervous about conditions and darkness and unfamiliar roads, you shouldn't be out driving.  If you have to slow down a little more overall, then slow down a little more, but remember that there still comes a point where you could be driving so slowly as to be a hazard anyway.
     Here is the deal, folks: As you head out into the winter in your car, remember some things.  1.) Every action you have affects all the other cars around you, 2.) Doing anything quickly in the snow or ice is a recipe for disaster, slow and purposeful is the key, 3.) Don't try to do multiple things at once, either brake, accelerate, or turn, but don't try to do two out of three and 4.) If you are too scared or nervous then don't go out.  It's so simple.  Because if you are causing a problem by being overly cautious, or overly afraid, or overly stupid, you are going to compound problems by pissing everyone else off.  And that pisses off the rest of the people, even the ones who weren't pissed off to being with.  So don't be an overly aggressive asshole, don't be an overly cautious dingus, and let's all repeat after me: "I won't drive like an idiot.  I won't drive like an idiot. I won't drive like an idiot."

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Short Week in the Office

A short week is upon us,
And we go forth much filled with glee;
For those of us so lucky
Don't work five days, we work three.

So with holidays before us,
Monday morning is at hand;
We nurse productive feelings,
Or are too lazy just to stand.

For the short week makes us crazy,
In one bizarre way out of two;
For we work with extra vigor,
Or shun what we must do.

We dedicate to output,
With but three days we must face;
To get a ton of work done,
And increase productive pace.

Or else we just put time in,
No ambition can we fake;
We waste all time for time's sake,
Steal every minute we can take.

So if you are not like us,
And work the weekend through;
We owe a debt of gratitude,
A million times "Thank you."

For the end we know this,
In holiday's we're blessed;
Even though it sucks your soul out,
Sometimes office work's the best!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ice Skating in the Real World

It's an ice skate.  Duh.
     I am sure that you have watched ice skating on TV before, Company.  Men and women in tight, spandex, sequined uniforms do things that are actually unbelievably impressive in their complexity and degree of difficulty.  Since I have a personal policy of being impressed by and respecting the hell out of people who do things that I can't do, I respect them and am impressed by what they do.  That being said, it's not exactly a real world situation, because they are highly trained professionals.
     We, however, in the real world, ice skate as well.  And sometimes we do it in 2000 pound, self propelled hunks of metal that we call cars.  But often we do it on our own two legs.  Like today, when I walked outside barefoot in the wintertime and surprisingly there was an eighth of an inch of ice coating everything - cars, sidewalks, bushes, etc.  I, however, was not aware of this fact, so when I hit the sidewalk at a medium pace, I was doing all sorts of real world ice skating.
     And it was glorious.  None of that super safe penguin walking that most of us do when it's icy outside, like I was doing Saturday.  Oh no.  This was glorious in its own way.  I was sliding sideways around the corner like a car careening out of control, like Lightning McQueen when he finally figured out how to turn on dirt.  There were arms flailing about and - for a brief moment - I was on one foot and there was actually a leg flailing about as well.  I may have actually performed a triple lutz, or a double sow cow, even though I don't even know what those things are.  I am still pretty sure that I pulled them off, and they might have even been in a row.  There was an Austrian guy, a Mexican guy, and a Belorussian guy sitting on a bench across the street, and I got a 9.7, 9.5, and 8.5, respectively.  I always get screwed by the Eastern European judge.
     Anyway, the point here is that you can see ice skating for like six months out of the year if you go to the right part of the United States, or most of Canada.  And all of Greenland, because even if you are in the part that is actually green there is still a glacier nearby that someone will by trying to walk on.  So I guess that what I am saying is that if you are an ice skating fan, or an aspiring ice skater, there is no more buying sure expensive satellite TV packages to watch your sport, or waking up at 4:30 am to get to the rink and get ice time to practice before the hockey players show up.  Nope, just go outside in the winter.  Sit on a park bench, not only will you be able to watch lots of real world ice skating, you will be part of it on your way to the park bench.  It's great.  And hey, if you are on the right park bench, me and my super sow cow double lutz action might show up.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hybrids: The Silent Killer

     Sometimes, Company, all it takes to reverse one's opinion of a subject, perhaps to make you think it is less insane and more of a great idea, is for one to have an experience with the subject.  And it can spin your world on its ear.  And that is what happened to me one day recently.
      When Nissan and Toyota announced recently that they were thinking about adding SOUND to their electric and hybrid cars that are about to come out, I thought that was the stupidest thing that I had ever heard of.  I have lived in cities and downtowns and high traffic areas and I know that cars are loud.  New Yorkers wouldn't be able to tell you that because they hear it all the time, it is just part of the white noise and cityscape, but believe me you notice when you aren't around it all the time.  Cars are just loud.  So I always figured that nice quiet, fuel efficient hybrids and electric cars would be nice and help eliminate some of the din.  But what the engineers at Nissan and Toyota discovered was that their alternative fuel cars were too quiet, and that pedestrians were doing crazy things like stepping out in front of them because they just didn't know that they were there.
     I, of course, thought that was fucking retarded.  But they had science to back them up.  And now I have personal experience to back them up and change my mind.  Not that I almost stepped in front of a hybrid car, but I was standing in a parking lot when one started up and drove away, and I didn't hear a thing.
     Scared the shit out of me.  One minute the thing was there, the guy was getting in, and the next moment and the thing was moving.  No sound.  No starting.  No nothing.  Just rest then motion.  I couldn't hear anything, and I wasn't exactly looking.  But I was standing next to it looking down and suddenly it was moving.  If I wasn't paying attention and the driver wasn't paying attention, I would have been a pancake.  A big, sexy, blogging pancake, but a pancake nonetheless.  It was so quiet and so lethal.
     So I have changed my mind a little bit.  Maybe a little bit of noise would be a good thing.  If I was in the car and wasn't paying attention I wouldn't know that it was on.  And that would be dangerous.  Maybe a little bit of a rumble, or at least some fake engine sounds.  That would be nice.  Something to driver and passenger and pedestrian knows that shit is going on.  Not necessarily a clicking or a beeping or something, but engine sounds.  Just like automotive engineers spend a lot of time worrying about how their car doors sound then they close, they should worry about the driving experience, and that includes being able to hear your engine.  And that is all I have to say about that.  Just another reason for me to dislike the Prius I suppose.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Joy Through Food

     You know, Company, sometimes it is the little things in life that give us the most pleasure, and you find those little things in the strangest places.  Things like wildflowers, a child's laughter, or maybe just sitting down and putting your feet up when you've been on your feet all day long.  I could go on and on...driving past the bakery when they are making bread, hearing a professional musician practicing his clarinet, etc, etc.  But one of my favorite things that I was reminded of recently, and which will sound kind of stupid, is how much I like it when I am the first person who digs into some sort of food product that is unopened.
     For instance - and this is the exact thing that made me think of this - I love being the first person to dig into a jar of peanut butter.  It is so smooth and perfect and undisturbed, so pristine, sometimes I find it hard to disrupt things.  But...there is also that destructive side to everyone, including yours truly, that loves to just destroy all of that smooth perfectness.  I love to do that too.  So it is like the best of both worlds.  I know that it is probably just a trick of the human mind, but I will also swear to you up and down that the peanut butter from those first spoon or knifefulls tastes better than the rest.  I swear it does.
     Miracle Whip is the same thing, although that has like a neat little tip-like thing that looks like the top of your soft-serve ice cream cone.  I love that, but it is always the first thing that I destroy when I am making the first sandwich of the jar.  It actually sort of extends beyond jarred condiments too.  I love the look of a cake when it is undisturbed, but there is a pleasure in plunging that knife in for sure that comes as well.  Plus then you get to eat the cake, and that is always good.
     But anyway, undisturbed food.  Think about that the next time that you open a jar of anything, and it will bring a smile to your face.  Unless, of course, you are a Communist.  But we won't go there.  It will bring a smile to my face. And if you don't get the same joy out of it as I do, I will be happy to open any jar for you that you need opened.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pent Up Anger

I pretty much want to go outside and scream obscenities at the top of my lungs for like a half hour straight.  How's that for a blog post?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

National Unfriend Day

     I don't know if you have noticed, Company, but I am sort of against Facebook. I think that there are a lot of problems with Facebook and I generally think we'd be better off without it.  That being said, there are lots of people who disagree with me and think I would be left in a river with concrete boots on.  But I am glad to find that there is another person, who admittedly has access to a much larger platform to announce his feelings than I do, who has found a big problem with Facebook.
     That's right, Jimmy Kimmel has declared today National Unfriend Day, or NUD.  Last night was National Unfriend Day Eve, or NUDE.  But I digress.  The idea behind this day, today, National Unfriend Day, is that you go to your Facebook account, and remove as friends everyone on your friend list who isn't actually your friend.  For instance, all those celebrities? Unfriend.  That guy from high school that you didn't even know?  Unfriend.  Your boss?  Unfriend.  Anyone that you do not see socially outside of the Facebook realm should be unfriended.  Anyone that you wouldn't give your phone number to should be unfriended.  Anyone that you work with but don't genuinely like should be unfriended.
    The idea here is that you have Facebook "friends" who aren't really your friends.  They are just acquaintances or people you happen to know.  So your measure of 1200 "friends" isn't really accurate.  It just means that 1200 people happen to know or know of you.  Plus, you don't care about what half of your "friends" have to say, so how is it that they are your friends?  They aren't.  Some of them annoy the hell out of you with their posts, so they probably aren't your friends (although your friends might do that as well I suppose.)  On one episode, he featured the account of a young woman who posted that she was wearing her sneakers that day, and who posted the day before "Monday kickin me in da booty." and encouraged her to be the first person unfriended.  I tend to agree.
     That is the other segment of your "friend" population that Kimmel is encouraging you to unfriend on NUD: those people who refuse to post useful or interesting information.  If there is no reason really to have them as a friend, other than because they count as a friend in your total: Goodbye!  Get rid of them.  The irony here is that your unfriending them might cause them to begin to write interesting things on their Facebook page, in which case at least you have provided some sort of service for all the other people who still haven't unfriended them.
    The point here, Company, is not to hurt the feeling of, or deride, or embarrass the people you associate with on Facebook.  And it really isn't to bash Facebook either.  The point is to bring you closer to your real, bona-fide friends in life by filtering out all the other stuff getting in the way.  And isn't that what life is about?  Being close to the people who you cherish?  That, and making boatloads of cash.  Wait, what?  Never mind.  Life is about friends and loved ones.  Keep them, ditch the rest.  Happy National Unfriend Day.  And thanks Jimmy Kimmel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ten Pieces of Helpful Advice

Here is some helpful advice for you as you go through your life that we learned from recent crimes that were committed:

1.)  Don't commit a crime while driving a car with vanity plates.

2.)  If you go through all the work to remove a safe from its normal location, and then crack it open, make sure to take all of the money inside.

3.)  Get a permit or license if you intend to sell anything in a public place.

4.)  Don't expose yourself in public when already under arrest for something else.

5.)  You can get a DUI on a forklift.

6.)  If you are planning an illegal event, don't post notice of it on Facebook.

7.)  Don't smoke marijuana in the hospital smoking area to celebrate the birth of your first child.

8.)  Writing a robbery note on the back of your paycheck.  You will be found.

9.)  It is not appropriate to call 911 if you believe that you are locked IN your car.

10.) Working out on the freeway bridge is a fucking dumbass idea.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Listen to the Music

    Hey Company, did you know that people don't make a whole lot of money off putting TV shows on TV anymore?  Not really.  It's true, too.  The big money to be made is when those shows come out on DVD, a season at a time, for people to buy up at big box retailers around the world.  There is, however, a major problem with this plan, with all these shows being on DVD.  That problem, especially for older shows, is that most of them have some sort of opening and closing theme songs, and the folks making the DVD's always include those a.) probably because they have to and b.) probably because they are lazy.  Well, we need to cut that fucking shit out.
     Have you ever watched a season of Family Guy straight through in one sitting before, Company?  After hearing "It seems to me, that all we see, is violence in movies, and sex on TV." for like the fourth time in a row, I just want to buy a plane ticket and repeatedly stab Seth MacFarlane in the pubic arch.  Now, I am not going to do that, but I just sort of feel like I want to.  The ultimate worst part about that is that they arranged it so that if you hit the button on your remote control to go to the next scene, you miss the first part of the episode.  So you are forced to sit through the whole thing.  Seriously uncool.
     But it's not just Family Guy.  Try Ren and Stimpy.  MacGyver. The A-Team (although that one never gets old to me).  WKRP in CincinnatiThe X-Files.  The list goes on and on.  I don't understand it.  We don't buy the first season of the Facts of Life to hear the song, we download the mp3 for that.  We buy the first season of Facts of Life to get our rocks off to the thought of Blair and Jo making out at a sorority fundraiser.  Wait, what?  Or because we have a fetish for braces and we just can't get enough of Tootie.  Huh?  Anyway, the point here is that while there are important names of actors and actresses and executive producers displayed during those introductions, we really can live without the music.
    So get rid of it, we don't need it.  You didn't leave the commercial breaks in there, did you?  Or how about this, I will work out a compromise with you, DVD folks.  Why don't you just take pains to make sure that when I hit the "Next" button on my remote, the next scene starts immediately after the opening credits.  That would be okay.  Because I am a lazy sack of crap most times, but even I am willing to push a button so I don't have to see the artist painting in the Keaton family portrait for the sixth time today.  I am especially willing because the remote is probably just lying on my chest anyways so I don't even have to do a sit-up or anything.  That is a good meet-in-the-middle, everybody wins sort of solution as far as I can see.  All those washed up actors and executive producers still get to have their names shows twelve times on the DVD, but I don't have to watch it if I don't want to.  That's freedom of choice.  That's America.  And that's how I like it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Flying Whales

     Shamefully, we here at Big Dave and Company missed a very important anniversary yesterday.  November 12, 2010 was the Fortieth Anniversary of the time the Oregon Highway Division (now the Oregon Department of Transportation or ODOT for short) used a half ton of dynamite to clear the beached carcass of an almost 45-foot-long, eight-ton sperm whale from a beach near Florence, Oregon.
     Even though all beaches in the state are under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, for some reason it fell to the Highway Division, and engineer George Thornton.  After consulting with the US Navy, it was decided that the best way to remove the dead whale was to use the same method that would be used to remove a boulder.

The whale in question, pre-detonation.
      And who can blame them?  You stick to what you know, right?  And in Oregon, I would suspect that they know a thing or two about removing rocks from the path of new highways and roads.  So they are experienced at how to go about that.  And the way they go about it is blowing it up then picking up the smaller pieces.  In all fairness, they did consider some other options and ruled them out for various reasons.  So explosion it is.
    Now, you need to know, Company, that in the years since then explosions have been used on multiple occasions to dispose of or manage whale carcasses.  In places like South Africa and Iceland they have successfully detonated dead whales.  But usually they tow them out to sea first, and detonate them remotely.  Makes things a lot less messy.  I suppose that we could say they learned a thing or two about it as a result of what happened up in Oregon on that fall day in 1970, and I am sure we would be right.  But anyway, back to the story.
     A news crew was on hand from a friendly Portland television station for the event, and they caught the whole thing on tape.  What they and others present witnessed was an explosion that 1.) failed to eliminate the carcass and 2.) sent large chunks of whale blubber, guts, and flesh flying through the air, landing in parking lots and in front of buildings in some cases up to 800 feet away.  In once case whale debris even caused heavy damage to a parked car.  Most of the carcass was left lying on the beach where it started, waiting for workers from the Highway Division to clean it up.  Plus they had all that other stuff to clean up to.
     Quick note: this story received a lot of press and sort of became an urban legend when writer Dave Barry wrote a column about it on May 20, 1990, which led to all sorts of calls to ODOT when the column went out over the wires without noting that the actual even occurred in 1970.  The video is out there to be seen, Company, if you look around the Interweb long enough.  I am not going to go searching for it for you though, I got you pictures and that should be enough.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Crib Sheet Comfort

     Well Company, I don't like to talk about the Big Dave and Company Podcast here all that much, other than to trumpet the new and wonderful things going on there, but I am going to take a little bit of time to talk about it today.  I don't know if you noticed but yesterday we had another almost-award winning podcast come out, called the Unscripted Veteran's Day Special.  The reason that we called it that was because it came out on Veteran's Day, and we did it unscripted because I lost the crib sheets that we usually use moments before the show and we had to make it up as we went along.
     Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with how the Podcast works, it is never scripted work for word, but we always have a little bit of a crib sheet to follow along to keep some resemblance of order to the thing.  I use it to keep on time, to know what we are going to talk about in general, and who the sponsors are, etc.  And we always have a sort of ridiculous news article.  Generally though, most of it is unscripted, and we make it up as we go along.  So it is not like we are unused to winging things on the World Wide Interweb.  But I have to admit, the Unscripted Veteran's Day Special scared the shit out of me.
     That is right.  I am admitting to the world and all my Company that I was shaking in my boots with the fur when I realized we were going almost live with no net.  No nothing.  Just whatever we could come up with off the top of our heads.  I was scared because I thought for sure it would be an unmitigated, unfunny flop of a podcast.  And it might be.  I never listen.  But I think that maybe it was alright, and hopefully it was worthy of honoring those who have served and are currently serving our country.  And I will probably always be scared when I think about this particular podcast, because I won't be listening to it I am sure.  I like to think I didn't stutter all that badly, or mess up too much, and Mike-a-licious did a fantastic job of keeping things moving along.  So maybe it was okay.  But I haven't felt that kind of feat in front of the microphone since the first time or two.  It was kind of nice to feel again, to keep my grounded.  But I think I am ready to go back to crib sheet comfort.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

     Happy Veteran's Day to all those who have served or who are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces.  If it were not for your hard work, dedication, and courage we would not be able to engage in all of the wonderful activities that we do.  It does not matter when you served, whether in peacetime or at war, you served as a vital part in the success and security of our nation.  So from everyone here at Big Dave and Company, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We hope that everyone takes a moment today to think about those who have served and who are currently serving.  And wish them all a Happy Veteran's Day.  You deserve it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cheaters Never Win

     The University of Central Florida has sort of garnered a reputation for cracking down on academic dishonesty.  And by that I mean cheating.  They have cameras like one would find in a Las Vegas casino in all sorts of classrooms and student lounges in order to spy out people who aren't taking their own tests, copying, etc.  So while the fact that a recent professor was able to find out that over 200 of his students in one class cheated on an exam shouldn't surprise anyone, the fact that so many of them (approximately 1/3, and they were all seniors about to graduate by the way) were doing it should.
     When Business Professor Richard Quinn noticed that test scores on a particular exam were running a grand and a half higher than ever before, a little detective work and an anonymous confession led hm to discover that one-third of his six hundred students had cheated on the exam.  So he did what any good professor did.  He called them out on it.
      Since he was able to discern just who was cheating, he offered the cheaters the opportunity to come clean and take a four-hour ethics course and have their records wiped clean, or keep their mouth shut and run the risk of not graduating.  After watching their professor tell them that he was "physically ill" over the scandal, and that he was "trying what the last 20 years were all about" about 50% have fessed up and learned about ethics for four hours.  He is also making everyone, cheaters or not, take the exam again in order to graduate.
     The most shocking thing about this scandal is the attitude of one particular student who was interviewed by ABC News.  Konstantin Ravvin apparently doesn't want to ever have a job after college that doesn't involve saying "would you like fries with that?" because he said, on camera on Good Morning America "This is college, everyone cheats, everyone cheats in life in general.  I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in this testing lab who hasn't cheated on an exam."  He also accused the university of engaging in a "witch hunt" in order to teach them a moral lesson.
     What amazes me is not his opinion - I happen to agree with him - but the fact that he was fucking stupid enough to say it on national television.  I went to college, I work in life, lots of people cheat.  On everything from exams to presentations to bringing in a treat on their birthday.  But not everybody does, and to have such a cavalier attitude about it is not cool.  And especially when your University and class are caught up in the largest cheating scandal in school history.  I would suspect that guy is fucking retarded enough that he was probably one of the cheaters and he hasn't fessed up.  I can't confirm that but it wouldn't surprise me one bit.  What a moron.  And what morons who got the test in advance, to try and cheat the system at a school that so aggressively attempts to stop cheating.  That's like trying to rob the police station.  Maybe they don't deserve to graduate after all.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Charlie's World

     Oh Charlie Sheen.  I think that just maybe, you might be the coolest guy's guy in the history of ever.  Let's look at the facts.  First of all, he bought tickets for an entire section of Angel's Stadium because he and his buddy wanted to catch a home run ball.  That's awesome.  I would do that in a heartbeat.  It was especially cool that he looked like a total fool standing out there and he did it anyway.  And I sort of feel bad that he didn't catch a ball.  But whatever.  He did it and that's cool.  He also has a tendency to drive sweet cars, hang around with adult film actresses, makes $2 million for each episode of his TV show, and all sorts of other things that only a guy would think was cool.  He even hung out with Michael Jordan in that commercial.  But what I love that is making him cool right now is what came out when he opened his mouth to address the incident that happened in New York City a couple of weeks ago.
     For those of you who don't know, the NYPD were called to Sheen's room at the ultra ritzy Plaza Hotel and found a naked, drunk, and irate Charlie Sheen in a completely trashed hotel room.  He was upset because he claimed that 22-year old (Sheen is 45 by the way) Christina Walsh, the porn star that he had in his room with him, stole a $150,000 watch from him.  He was taken to a friendly local hospital, supposedly because he was suffering from a reaction to an allergy medication, not because he was drunk, and he was accompanied by his second wife, Denise Richards when he went for medical treatment.  Oh yeah, we should probably mention that he is married to his third wife, Brooke Mueller, from whom he filed for divorce four days after the incident.
     Haha.  What a guy.  Partying with porn stars, watches that cost more than any house I will ever own, more wives than you can shake a stick at, and kids with all of them.  But I love what he had to say when he finally opened up about the incident.  He told Extra "If a guy has one bad night, everybody goes insane and panics. I'm not panicking, everything's good."  Awesome!  I couldn't agree more.  People have bad days, people let it snap from time to time.  Granted, when you have a history like Charlie Sheen's, and you are a super famous actor, you have to expect a slightly different set of consequences, but he still has a point.  Guy had a crazy night, got a little drunk, and got a little worked up.  It happens all the time, let's not get all worried about it.  Walsh plans a lawsuit because she claims that she was afraid for her life, but let me just say this: Before October 26, very few people knew who Christina Walsh was, and if it was anybody un-famous who did this with her in the room she wouldn't have even batted an eyelash.  So there.
     You want to know what is even better?  Charlie has a reasonable view on life, wealth, and celebrity.  When asked about the watch that apparently started the whole incident, he said "The way I look at it, if you have expensive tastes, you gotta be prepared for expensive losses."  Wow.  Now doesn't that sound like common sense.  I was so refreshed to hear him say that.  Now, $150,000 is no small sum of money no matter how you look at it, but it probably hurts him a lot less than it would hurt, oh, say you or I.  SO he has a pretty good handle on how things work.  He isn't one of those people who buys a Ferrari and then complains about how much it costs to replace the bumper.
      So good for you Charlie.  I wish you the best.  I am not going to get into your divorce, other than to maybe advise you that your third marriage has not failed, and you seem to like porn stars a lot, so maybe you shouldn't be getting married a fourth time.  Just seems like common sense.  And you have proved to me that you are a common sense kind of guy.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Child for Sale

     I often have tried to figure out how much my life is worth.  Sometimes one would add up the value of all the things that you own - house, car, TV, etc. - and sort of peg it to that, like the Argentine Peso is pegged to the US Dollar.  Sometimes you think about your value to the community and the people around you.  Some people with warped minds like myself would think about the value of the oxygen and other elements that I consume, plus the value of the tissues and other minerals, etc. within my body and I would calculate that.  But in the end, no matter the method I choose, I am never comfortable putting a monetary value on my life or that of someone else.
     Fortunately for us, Patty Bigbee and Lawrence Works of Holly Hill, Florida don't have that problem.  They were recently arrested in Daytona Beach (I am not sure why you would go there and not be on Spring Break, but whatever) when they met with an agent of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and tried to sell Bigbee's grandson for $30,000.
Patty Bigbee
     Yikes.  Bad grandma.  I don't think that I would be letting my child stay overnight at her house.  The mother, though, probably didn't have a whole lot of choice as she is currently incarcerated on unrelated charges of organized fraud.  The father was unable to be reached by the folks at the Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF).  So grandma was watching the child, and as part of that watching offered to sell it to someone in October.  That person informed the FDLE that Bigbee was trying to sell the child.  So they did what authorities do and set up an undercover sting sort of operation.  I am sure you will see this case on some sort of Law & Order spinoff in a season or two once the courts have had their way with it, because this is the kind of case that they love, and Glenn Close or some other special guest will be in heated negotiations with the main police character of the show over the price of the child.
     I say negotiations because - this is the best part - Bigbee originally wanted $75,000 for the child, but the agent was able to talk her down to $30,000.  That is a mere 40% of what she originally asked for.  Good job agent, way to stay cool under pressure and get a smokin' good deal.  Anyway, money and child were exchanged in a parking lot neat the Speedway in Daytona Beach, and the agents swooped in and hauled Bigbee and works off to jail on charges of illegal sale or surrender of a child and communication fraud.  That communication fraud'll get you every time.
     The baby is in the care of the folks at FDCF have the child in their custody now, but I am not sure I like that idea, because this is where this case sort of goes from sad to strange: the FDCF must have dropped a ball somewhere, or maybe the courts did, or maybe the law is written in a way that the ball had to be dropped, but there are some sources that told WFTV in Orlando that Bigbee has been involved before in giving away babies and extorting people for money.  Wait, WHAT?  The child care authorities let that baby live with a grandma who has tried to give children away before!?  That's fucked up.  That is the kind of shit that gives government a bad name.  I am not sure why you would even consider doing something like that.
     If you were in charge of hiring someone to watch the police gun locker, would you hire someone who was previously involved or even implicated in a bunch of gun crimes? Hell no.  So why would you let that baby stay in the custody of that lady?  I just don't get it.  Common sense people!  It's just a shame.  Luckily, Bigbee and Works, who I kind of think had a bigger role in this than we know, tried to sell the child to someone with morals and common sense and didn't just put an ad out on Craigslist like everyone else would have done and we were able to have a sort of happy ending.  I just hope the judge throws the proverbial book at these skeezoids. Hell, I don't care if he literally throws the book at them.  They tried to sell a child on the black market.  It doesn't get a whole lot worse than that.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Spring Forward, Fall Back

Even the time changing guy is all screwed up.

    When people go on long flights, to places that are far away, they are often plagues by what is called jet lag.  That is the phenomenon by which your body takes some time to adjust to the change in time.  For instance, if you fly from Boston to San Francisco, that is a 3 hour time difference.  So when it is 4 pm in Boston it is only 1 pm in San Francisco.  But your body still thinks it is 4, and all the complications you would expect to happen, happen: you get sleepy at strange times, you wake up at strange times, and you get hungry at strange times.  It usually takes a day or two to acclimate yourself to the local environment and time.  No big deal.  But what you do not realize is that same sort of jet lag can happen with a time change of only an hour.  A lot like the time change that just happened.
     That's right, Company, since our extended period of Daylight Savings Time ended last night, or more correctly early this morning, I have been all fucked up.  I don't know what time of the day it is, I don't know if I am coming or going, and I ate dinner at a ridiculously early hour.  Now it is only 6:41 pm and I am starting to feel tired.  I hate this.  One wouldn't expect the change of only one hour - sixty measly minutes - to have such a profound affect but it does.  Wait until tomorrow morning when it is light out when I get up.  Freak me right the hell out.
     And it's not just the Daylight Savings Time change that gets me.  Oh no.  I have noticed this change before.  I used to live in a time zone that was one hour ahead of where the rest of my family lived, and when I would go home to visit it would always screw with my internal clock.  I would be awake at strange times and everything would just be out of whack.  It really is amazing.  Now, in a day or two all will be back to normal, but for now I am just sort of freaking out.  Because my eyes are inputting to my brain that it is 6:44 pm, but my body is inputting all the things that it would normally input at a quarter to eight.  It is almost like my body is the last room in the building whose clock is changed by the maintenance staff, so everybody in it is all out of sorts for a couple of extra days.
     That being said, if you see me in the street, cut me a little slack.  I don't have the slightest clue of what is going on or what time it happens to be.  I might be liable at any time of the day or night to go to sleep or try to eat breakfast.  Probably not though - I am a smart kind of guy and I will just eat brunch for the next couple of days until I figure out what time it is supposed to be, then I have a better chance of being sort of right.  But until I figure out what's up, just steer clear.  Because I would suspect that you are having similar problems, and if we happened to get together we would probably end up on some time that is a half hour off like Newfoundland Time, and that would probably make me pass out.  God help me as I head into the work week.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Working for the Weekend

     Well Company, it is Saturday, and as an 8-4 kind of office slug, I am graciously allowed to have Saturday and Sunday off.  The thing about it, about Saturday and Sunday, or Tuesday and Friday, or Monday and Tuesday, or whatever your days off are, is that they never really become days off.  They just sort of become two days of the week on which you get to do a different kind of work.
     For instance, I am working today, getting things put away and all set up for the upcoming winter season.  And you are probably working today too, cleaning or mowing the lawn or doing whatever you do.  Even if you are on vacation, or travelling out of town, you are still doing work of some sorts, because you know that whenever you come back from vacation you are always more tired than you were before you left.  And that is because you are doing the work of travelling - making plans, driving around, hauling luggage, spending obscene amounts of money. 
      So what is the point of your days off if you are just doing other, unpaid work?  Why bother?  Why not just work eight hours a day, seven days a week, and get a bunch of overtime.  Probably number one your employer won't go for that, and number two that would suck bad too.  So maybe it is the variety in the work that makes the days off worthwhile.  Maybe putting up plastic insulation on my windows is a nice change from answering phones, and that is why I bother.  Maybe putting the Miles Standish, my beloved kayak, up into dry dock for the winter beats typing hours worth of monotonous government meeting minutes.  I don't know.
      But that's about all that I can figure out.  It's just a change in the chores from workday to weekend.   And if that is how it is it is fine with me.  I am happy to do my lists of chores with the TV screaming in the background.  It beats answering phones anyway, doesn't it?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Netflix and You

    I am not a morning person, okay Company?  I like the morning time, I think it is the best time of the day, but I don't like waking up and getting going.  With that little kernel of knowledge, realize that I was pretty groggy and out of it when I saw it scroll across the bottom of my TV screen this morning that streaming movies and TV shows to Netflix is taking up 20% of US bandwidth.
    Yeah, that's right.  And you know what?  Turns out it is true and my morning mush brain wasn't just twisting together two other stories into one super crazy one.  During peak evening hours, Netflix's streaming services are consuming 20% of available bandwidth in the United States.  That is astounding if you really start to think about it.  That is one-fifth of the bandwidth of one of the most technologically wired countries in the world.  The mind reels, as Lewis Black would say.  Now think about this: for all that bandwidth being consumed by Netflix, that only represents 1.8% of their subscribers.
     Wow.  Now that is another stunning figure.  So 1.8% of people who have the option are using up 20% of the bandwidth.  That means that if every person who was a Netflix subscriber tried to stream a TV show at the same time in the evening there wouldn't be enough bandwidth for them to do so.  That is just how big Netflix has become.
     The other fact that is sort of hidden in between the lines of this story is that people are beginning to move away from live television at an alarming rate.  There are tens of thousands of people who would rather watch old seasons of TV shows and movies beamed to their gaming consoles and computers than current TV shows beamed to their cable or satellite or God forbid digital tuner boxes, which is absolutely amazing.  What would you be thinking if you were a network television executive and were reading this?  How do you process that?
     Almost everything in this world is available on demand, and as such we as a society have been losing a lot patience. And we now would rather have season or week-old television shows that we probably already know what happens beamed to us at our convenience rather than having to be sitting in front of the television at 8 pm on every Wednesday.  Out of control.  It just measures a very pronounced shift in the way we go about entertaining ourselves.  And the numbers are becoming staggering.  So enjoy your Netflix, Company.  But be prepared for things to load a little slowly, there isn't a whole lot of bandwidth to go around anymore.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

     It is snowing outside right now.  A lot of people don't count a snowfall until it sticks around on the ground for 24 hours, and that's fine.  But the fact of the matter is that right now if I were to walk out the front door of the Worldwide Headquarters I would have a million billion little frozen bits of water hitting my body, and no two of them would be alike.
     So what does this mean, Big Dave, and why should I care?  In truth it doesn't mean anything and there really isn't a reason why you should necessarily care.  All it means is that in my world, things like shoveling and getting my car stuck in a ditch are going to become a regular thing in a short period of time.  That's all.  But it makes me excited like a little kid because I like the snow.  I love to watch it as it falls to the ground, no matter whether is it falling softly on an absolutely calm night, or if it is blowing sideways with a 30 mph wind behind it.  I also like how it blankets everything for as far as the eye can see, and I love how it changes the way everything looks and sounds.
    Granted, once it has been lying around on the ground for a few days the snow cover becomes sort of grimy and sandy and icy and dirty and gross, but it is still beautiful when it first falls.  And when you get out into the back country on skis or snowshoes where there is nothing else around, and there is a nice layer of snow on everything, and it's a bright, crisp, sunny winter day, there is nothing better.  And all that has to start somewhere.  And it starts here, it starts today, with the small, icy flakes falling diagonally from the sky onto my car windshield.  It's coming.  And that's fine with me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Day Aftermath

     So yesterday was Election Day here in the United States of America, and while there were a lot of sweeping changes and major upsets that went on yesterday, I don't want to talk about any of that stuff.  I don't want to talk about it because there are two things that are more divisive than anything else in the world - religion and politics.  And I don't want to talk politics and have everyone get all pissed off at one another.  But what I do want to talk about is how I am unbelievably excited that the election has passed and I don't have to watch all those stupid fucking political ads anymore.
      Oh my God was it terrible.  Every advertisement on my television was for this guy for governor, or that guy for Senate, or the third guy for U.S. House.  Or it was an ad for their opponent.  And I just couldn't fucking take it anymore.  I wanted to take my own life.  I wanted to take the life of my own TV, which is one of my most prized possessions.  I literally wanted to throw a rock through the tube (yes, my TV still uses the tube technology, and it works just as well as your multi-thousand dollar flat screen 1080p HD retardo monstrosity) so I didn't have to see anymore.  I wanted to rip the speakers out so I didn't have to hear them continue to tell me that they approved this message.
     Speaking of which, the politicians in my area approved some pretty stupid commercials.  Some that I watched in horror, and then when I saw him come on at the end and say "I'm Jack Mehoff, and I approved this message" I thought to myself "Oh man, you just attached your name to a petty and rinky-dink commercial. That probably wasn't a good idea."  That is how bad and cartoonish some of the attack ads where.
     And so it went, on and on, since about August.  And now, finally, mercifully, they will all be gone, and I can go back to seeing commercials for banks and Viagra and maybe a ski hill or two now that the snow is about to fly.  You know, the usual stuff.  No more of these stupid, childish attack ads.  Newcomers blaming the incumbents for losing jobs.  Of course they lost jobs, everyone lost jobs.  Incumbents saying that newcomers have no record to stand on.  Of course they don't have records to stand on, they are political newcomers.  I just made me want to scream.  And they are gone.  And I couldn't be happier.  Peace has finally settled over my television, although I am sure that now they are getting ready to ramp up for the next election in 2012.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

     Hope, Company, is a powerful thing.  There are few things in this world that can have as much power and effect over us as the feeling, the concept, the idea of hope. 
     A little injection of hope can go a long, long way.  It can take an otherwise normal, boring, drudgery kind of Tuesday and infuse it with happiness and promise.  Just adding a little dash of hope that something might come your way - that you might get an extra soda from the soda machine, that you might win a contest from your favorite TV station, that you might not hit a single red light on the whole ride home - can make your day when nothing was making it before.  That is the power of the feeling that we call hope.  It gives us a reason to look towards the future and it allows whatever is ailing us today to almost seem as if it might be worth it.
      The power, however, is a bit of a double edged sword.  Because not having your hopes realized can be devastating, depending on what you were hoping for.  For instance: You are hoping that the big check from your settlement will come in so you can pay the bills, but it doesn't show by the end of the month.  Or you are hoping that your cat pulls through the operation to remove the ribbon from its intestines, but it never comes out of the anesthetic.  That sort of having your hopes crushed can be as devastating as having them realized is helpful.  And hopelessness can be just as bad.  But that all comes with the power.
       So I guess that we can say that the power of "what if", the power of hope, is one of the strongest forces of human nature.  And it can be totally and completely uplifting.  So go out and find a little something to be hopeful for, and watch how it enlightens your day.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween Recap

    Now Company, I know that it is November 1, and I am usually the first one to discard the last holiday and move on to the next one, especially when the next major one is Thanksgiving, and that is my favorite of them all, but I want to take a minute to reflect on the Halloween that has just passed.  I understand that I have already spent an inordinate amount of time bitching about how parents and some kids act on Halloween, and I spent the afternoon at Baby Doll's handing out candy to the local little bastards and I have to say, I am half hopeful and half enraged.
     Let's start with the good.  There were a lot of parents who were out walking with their kids in the neighborhood.  Most of them stood on the street or the lawn as the kiddos came up and knocked on the door, but there were a pretty good amount of parents doing the good parent thing, although I think I saw one with a beer which is simultaneously awesome and scary at the same time.  And I would say that well over half, maybe like 70% of the kids were polite and said "Trick or Treat!" when I opened the door and "Thank You!" when I closed it.  That's all I ask.  The ultimate came when a set of parents accompanied their two children in sweet costumes to the door, and not only did the kids say thank you but the parents did too.  That is just a little extra classy, and the walked off to the next stop like a neat little family unit.  It was nice and it made me smile.
     What was not nice, and what didn't make me smile, was when I knew kids were coming to the door because I heard a car door close first.  Even when the kid was dressed up all nice, and they were polite and said the appropriate things, I was still always a little angry when I saw the parent or guardian sitting in the car.  And it was sunny and not terribly cold, so I see no excuse.  I could give a pass if it was 22ยบ and snowing during trick or treat time, but this was not the case.  I wanted, when I saw that, to pop back out the door and take out the car window with a rock.  But that would have been bad I suppose.  The ultimate in worst came when there was a knock on the door, and I opened it to reveal a kid who was about ten or eleven.  He was wearing an NFL t-shirt and sweatpants, which - I am sorry - does not constitute a costume.  Maybe if there was a helmet or some face paint involved I could understand, but just putting on whatever was in your drawer doesn't count.  So number one, kid is not dressed up.  Number two, he just stands there with a plastic bag in his hands looking at me.  So I just look back at him.  And he just looks back at me as if I am the retarded retard knocking on doors then standing there expecting something for nothing.  So I look at the kid and say "Well...?" and he sort of half ass mumbles "Trick or treat." So I gave him some candy and he trundled off on his way.  Oh yeah, number three, he was chubbly, which made the whole thing that much worse.
     So in the end, there was a lot of bad news but a lot of good, hopeful news that came out of Halloween 2010, the best of which is that we had a whole lot of candy left.  And that there is hope that maybe, just maybe, we aren't all as lazy and stupid as I was afraid we were.  Thanks for walking with your kids, parents.  And thanks for dressing up and being polite, kids.  You really did put a smile on my face.