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22 posts from February 2002

Oldies: February 27, 2002...

Anyone out there who follows TV sitcoms must have heard about the supposed Seinfeld Curse. It seems that none of the former stars of Seinfeld can carry on in their own series since the once-great show went off the air. Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer) and The Michael Richards Show was axed after eight episodes. I'll bet Tim Meadows is kicking himself for leaving SNL for that one. Bob Patterson star Jason Alexander (George Costanza) was given his walking papers before they even finished an entire season. That's not saying too much. Now we have Watching Ellie on NBC with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. The premiere episode aired last night and, to put it mildly, it sucked. Katie fell asleep and I think I may have chuckled once or twice during the entire half hour. People thought she might be the one to break the curse. I'm thinking not. However, some people's sense of humor is just f'd up enough that they may actually enjoy it. I defer to the popularity of Scrubs - another new show I can't stand. But, then again, I enjoyed Inside Schwartz and that one got canned, so what do I know? Here's hoping Leap of Faith is better.


Oldies: February 26, 2002...

For those of you out there who have a personal website that doesn't get many hits, here's a tip, add the name "Apolo Anton Ohno" to your site. Anywhere. It doesn't really matter. You could be talking about guys who bite off sparrow heads and just have a randomly inserted "Apolo Anton Ohno" in the middle of the text. Why am I saying this? Because in the last three days, I've had single hits from Germany and South Korea and two from Canada. I've had hits from Siemens, S.A. in Paderborn, Germany, and General Atomics in San Diego (I don't know anyone who works there) as well as several network providers I've never heard of before. On Sunday, a day in which I usually have one or two hits, I had 11. Yesterday, I had 13 hits (two short of my record), six of which have never visited my site before. That's not a lot in the grand scheme of web design, but it's pretty damn high for my humble little site. And it turns out that seven of the last ten searches performed that found my website were searching for, you guessed it, Apolo Anton Ohno, the U.S. Speed Skater. Funny thing is, if you recall my entry on Feb. 22, I pretty much lambast Korea and their threat to pull out of the Olympic Games. I guess I probably pissed the guy off a bit if he read it carefully. Oops. But isn't that what the web is for? If you want your own opinion, get your own site. It's not that tough.


Oldies: February 25, 2002...

This one deserves not only a filing under "Darwinism Missed Me" but I think he should also be given an "Ozzy Lives" Award. I might have to create that one myself. Last night, the Avon, Indiana School Board voted 4-1 to suspend high school wrestling coach Aron Bright without pay for... get this... biting the head off a live sparrow in front of his players. Apparently, he was responding to a bet his athletes made and he was doing it just for some "innocent fun." I'm sure that's just what Ozzy told those record execs when he bit the head off a live dove right in front of them. Innocent... fun... those are exactly the words I first think of when I decapitate animals... with my teeth (do note the sarcasm as I would hate to have the ASPCA breathing down my neck). Sick, twisted bastard. I always suspected wrestling coaches were boneheads... this goes far to proving that theory.


Oldies: March 24, 2002...

Hey, I'm a movie nut. You had to expect post-Oscar commentary, right? Although, by the time they finally ended, it was nearly Monday. Suffice it to say, I'm glad I didn't really make any finalized picks and publish them on this page because I was in such a state of flux over my choices. Just before the Oscars, Katie and I made our picks for the sake of comparison. We did pick A Beautiful Mind and Ron Howard to win for picture and director, respectively. We both picked Denzel Washington for actor. Katie picked Halle Berry for actress while I teetered between her and Nicole Kidman before finally picking Kidman (my bad). We both picked Ian McKellan for supporting actor (went to Jim Broadbent) and Jennifer Connelly for supporting actress (we win). However, even though we both knew animated feature would go to Shrek, we were hoping against hope that it would go to Monsters, Inc. Once again, our bad. I gotta say, though, that the Oscars seem to be working some inverse relationship between broadcast length and interest appeal. As one goes up, the other goes down. The broadcast was nearly four and a half hours long, and God, was it boring. Whoopi had some good cracks in the beginning, but for the host, she was hardly featured throughout the night. Many of the speeches were about as fun as watching an armadillo run a marathon. Save for Halle and Denzel whose speeches were pretty good. If you saw her acceptance speech when she won for Intoducing Dorothy Dandridge, you knew what to expect in a Halle Berry speech... lots of tears, shock, etc. But you never know what she'll actually say, because she does it so off-the-cuff. I liked it. Plus, I liked Denzel's references to Sidney Poitier. Funny stuff. Oh, well... 'nuff said.


Oldies: February 24, 2002...

Well, the Winter Olympics are over and the U.S. wrapped up the games with 34 total medals, just one behind the leader Germany. Not bad, I think we doubled our Winter Olympics record. Or something along those lines, I can't remember exactly. Let me just tell you how cool it was to watch Kiss play "Rock and Roll All Night" with Kristi Yamaguchi and Katarina Witt skate around them. That was pretty damned cool, indeed. The thing I wanna know is was that actually Peter Criss on drums or was it Eric Singer in Pete's Criss Cat makeup? I ask this because during a leg of their farewell tour, Criss, the original drummer for the band, left because he felt he wasn't being paid enough. So, Kiss responded by bringing back their drummer from the 1992 album "Revenge," Eric Singer. But, to fit in the makeup scheme and since he didn't have a makeup persona of his own, Singer was told to dress in Criss' makeup and outfit. This pissed off a bunch of Kiss purists. I, myself, didn't really give too much of a damn. I think Singer is a far better drummer than Criss ever could be and I'd much rather have him dress as the Cat than to wear the other available drummer makeup schema, the Fox, worn by the late, great Eric Carr when he took over after Criss' first break from the band in the early 80s. Honestly, I think it was Singer. He looked like he was in too good a shape physically to be Criss. Have you seen Peter Criss in recent years? Aging hasn't been too kind to him. Nor has it been kind to guitarist Ace Frehley. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley don't age. I think they must've discovered the Dick Clark fountain of youth or the Holy Grail. Dunno which for sure.


Oldies: February 22, 2002...

I've got three words to describe Sarah Hughes' performance in the women's figureskating long program last night... wow, wow, and wow. She was absolutely incredible and deserved to win the gold. Michelle Kwan skated well, but she fumbled it up. Irena Slutskaya skated well, but it wasn't too technically difficult. Sarah, enjoy your newfound fame, but don't let it go to your head. Keep working hard and skating harder and you'll have fans in Katie and me and millions of others for a long time to come.

Now, it's time to board the soapbox... What the hell is wrong with the Korean and Russian teams? They're threatening to boycott the closing ceremonies, pull their teams out of the remaining events, and maybe even skip the 2004 Summer Games in Athens?!? Get a life.

To Korea, Kim Dong Sung did cross into Apolo Anton Ohno's lane in the 1500M Short Track. It was clear as day. And you should face up to the fact that he broke the rules and, therefore, deserved to be disqualified. At the press conference announcing their intentions to boycott as well as sue the Australian judge who DQ'd Kim, their rep said that the winner should be "the first person to cross the finish line, not the person who is the crowd favorite." I think that should be ammended to say, "the first person to cross the finish line who does not break the rules." Morons. And don't worry, It's not like I'm biased towards Ohno. I respect him as a skater and enjoy watching him skate, but I would say the same thing if Ohno had cut off Kim and the U.S. was creating the same stink.

To Russia, your pairs skaters were good, the Canadians were better, and the judging was biased. There is no question about it. The French judge even admitted to being pressured. How can you argue with that? And you know that if the roles were reversed, you would have fought just as hard as the Canadians did until your skaters received their just desserts. The co-gold medals was the best way to deal with the situation. I applaud the IOC and the ISU for their decision.

To both, think before you speak out of your asses again. Do you realize how ridiculous you sound? If you boycott the closing ceremonies, you only come across as a bunch of crybabies. If you pull out of the remaining events and/or the 2004 Games, the only people affected are the athletes on your teams. Did you even bother to consult them before your announcements? Do they support your decision to pull out? I somehow doubt it. If you take away the opportunity for your athletes to participate in the greatest international sporting competition of all time, you will only drive your athletes to participate on behalf of someone else. They won't sit back and take it. Athletes are only of the age to participate in the Olympics once or twice in their lives (some more, some less). Don't ruin their dreams because of your petty bullshit posturing.

Soapbox dismounted.


Oldies: February 21, 2002...

Here's a cool one for you. It's a David Copperfield magic trick that you can try at home. Don't worry, you don't need to make the Statue of Liberty disappear or anything like that. This has been going around on E-mail lately, so you may have already seen it. This is a PowerPoint file, just to warn you before you click on it. I've figured out the trick behind it, so if you need help figuring it out, e-mail me.


Oldies: February 20, 2002...

I loved this one. In what could be slightly construed as a Freudian slip, E! Online announced this little bit, "There's got to be something in the water at Dawson's Creek: Show stars James Van Der Beek and Kerr Smith each confirmed to E! News Daily Tuesday that they were engaged." Now upon a single reading, you, much like me probably thought, "Wow! This is even bigger for the gay movement than Rosie O'Donnell coming out and saying she's a lesbian!" Well, no. Despite E!'s horrible wording, both Van Der Beek and Smith are engaged to women, and not both to the same woman, either. Sorry, just had to share. It made me laugh.


Oldies: February 19, 2002...

Not that he will ever have the technological know-how to check this page and see this himself, but I would like to take a moment to wish my grandpa a Happy Birthday. Don't worry, I called him as well. I don't think he's ever even sat behind a computer let alone try to access the Web. So I don't think e-cards will work in this case.

Speaking of e-cards, has anyone noticed how Blue Mountain has become a pay site? Yep, you have to pay for a membership to send their cards on holidays. You can still send them for free on generic occasions, but otherwise you have to pay. What a load of crap. Try e-cards instead, it's still free. Not that I'm intentionally trying to promote them, I just have very negative feelings towards sites that suddenly start to charge for a service or product they've been providing for free for so long (*cough* highschoolalumni.com *cough*).


Oldies: February 18, 2002...

I have slightly mixed feelings about this next tidbit of news. Today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former Oakland Raider coach Jon Gruden to a five-year deal. I like the Raiders a lot (granted this is mostly because of Jon "King of the Gameday Face" Gruden) and I'm sorry to see him go. This is definitely one of the smartest things the Bucs could've possibly done. I'll admit that I wasn't happy when they dumped Tony Dundy as their head coach several weeks ago. After all, the guy had brought them from the cellar to make them one of the most dominant defenses in the league. Their offense is pretty good as well, but it's their defense that is feared more. Plus, they've now got one of my favorite coaches. I'm sad that Gruden will no longer be a Raider, but I think he stands a better chance of claiming a Super Bowl title with the Bucs.


Oldies: February 16, 2002...

I'd like to wish a big old Happy 25th Birthday to my wife Katie. Yep, today's the day she turns 25 despite her best attempts to convince the world that she is really only 24. I still love you, hon. And remember that no matter how old you may be, I will always be two years older. Not that that helps all too much, but it's gotta make you feel somewhat better. If you'd like to wish her a happy birthday, e-mail it to her.


Oldies: February 15, 2002...

As was expected, the French figure skating judge who admitted to being pressured to vote for the Russian skating pair was suspended for the remainder of the games. Also, Sale and Pelletier were awarded the gold medal... actually, I should say they were awarded the co-gold medal. After my little rant yesterday, I guess I should clarify one thing... I do not hold any ill will towards the Russian pair. They just skated. I hold ill will towards the judges and the entire judging system because it needs a swift kick in the ass. The Russian skaters did nothing wrong. You guys can come out of hiding now, it's not your fault.

Hey, I finally finished the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This just hasn't been one of those times when I've really wanted to do much reading. I work in spurts. When I feel like really reading, I'll breeze through six books in a month. The Fellowship of the Ring has, in total, taken me one month and ten days to finish. Granted most of the book was read while I was on the road to and from Minnesota (nearly 250 of the 448 pages). So I guess it's even sadder that I needed over a month to read 200 pages. It was a good book, it really was. It's just that it took about 160 pages for the action to really kick in and I get so tired anymore when I read. C'est la vie.

Finally, will this week ever end? Work has been dragging and my will has been broken repeatedly. No creativity, no motivation, no desire. I'd thank you kindly to just knock me unconscious until 5 o' clock.


Oldies: February 14, 2002...

I'll start out by saying "Happy Valentine's Day" to Katie. I love you, hon. And, yes, you will love your gift.

Now on to the meat and potatoes... it's been a helluva long time since I boarded my soapbox. In light of the recent judging debacle at the Olympics, I think it might be time to jump on again. Everyone knows by now about the pairs figure skating controversy at this year's Salt Lake Olympics, right? To recap, the Russian pair of someone unpronounceable and yet another someone unpronounceable won the Gold medal despite having several flaws in their performance. Missed landings, a few unstable footings, etc. The Canadian pair of Sale and Pelletier (not my old friend Dom!) won the silver with what would seem a perfect performance. Now allegations have been made that the judging was biased. Well, isn't that always the case? Of course, countries that are "allied" are going to vote for their hometeam or the hometeam of their buddy country. Such was the case here except for the vote from the French judge. People figured she would be the deciding vote as she is not really allied with either camp. She voted for the Russians. Now, she's claiming that she was under undue pressure from the rest of the French Olympic Committee to vote for the Russians regardless of their performance. I'll admit that being asked to judge the Olympics is a great honor and one that you're not likely to want to forego. But, if you experienced this sort of premeditated prejudice, would you still want to vote knowing that you could not vote for the true winner?

As would be expected, an appeal has been filed and the IOC is reviewing the complaint. This is good. It would have been easy enough for the IOC to say "screw off" but they didn't. However, what they are saying they are likely to do would be to award a second pair of gold medals. So, we would have two pairs of gold medal winners and no silver medalists? I know the Russian pair is not likely to hand back their gold medals, but wouldn't it be best to just nullify the Russian gold and declare to all they only earned silver whether they accept the awards or not? At least the world would know who the actual "winners" really are and if they Russians want to still go around claiming to be gold medalists, then let them live in denial... no skin off our backs. Wouldn't it detract from the Canadians' hard-fought gold to know that they are still sharing it with the Russians? What the hell's the point? Aye aye aye. Soapbox dismounted.


Oldies: February 12, 2002...

It's Oscar time again! I'm not gonna bother to list all the nominees in this space because it will take up far too much room. Instead, I'll just provide you with a link to the complete nominee list on the Oscar website. I'm not really sure who I'm gonna pick just yet for most of the awards either. I've got some ideas, but for many, I'm still at a loss. The supporting acting categories have really thrown me for a loop. However, I would just like to say that I think both Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge) and Sean Penn (I Am Sam) should win in their respective lead acting cats. Both were incredible and deserve it more than most. I will admit that I have yet to see Russell Crowe in his nommed role for A Beautiful Mind, but I don't think he'll win because the Academy won't want to pull another Tom Hanks (back-to-back wins for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump). Despite the 13 noms for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, I think the film to beat this year is Moulin Rouge.


Oldies: February 11, 2002...

Here's a funny one... a research company out of Sydney, Australia researched the likelihood of drivers being in car accidents in relation to the driver's astrological symbol. I'm pretty well off despite the fact that I did have an accident (flipped and rolled a car is a bit more the truth). I'm ranked 10 out of 12 of the most likely to have a car accident. If you're a Gemini, you're screwed. It seems that the later you are born in a calendar year, the better off you are. Let's just hope that auto insurance companies don't figure this into their rates. Here's the list, in case you're interested (courtesy of Reuters)...

1. Gemini (May 21 - June 21)
2. Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
3. Pisces (Feb 19 - March 20)
4. Virgo (August 23 - September 22)
5. Cancer (June 22 - July 22)
6. Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)
7. Aries (March 21 - April 19)
8. Leo (July 23 - August 22)
9. Libra (September 23 -October 22)
10. Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21)
11. Scorpio (October 23 - November 21)
12. Capricorn (December 22 - January 19)


Oldies: February 9, 2002...

Anybody out there watch the Pro Bowl today? I'm just asking because one of the funniest calls that could ever come from a professional football ref came during this game. Late in the 2nd half, the head ref was following up on a flag thrown in against the AFC. So, what does he call? "Some kind of illegal defense against the AFC. 15 yards. First down." I realize that I didn't quite catch the real feel of the call by typing it here, but it was pretty damn funny when it actually happened.


Oldies: February 6, 2002...

Apparently, during his State of the Union address, Dubya referred to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the "Axis of Evil." Well, as a result, a pretty humorous e-mail has been spreading which spoofs his "Axis of Evil" declaration. I don't know who wrote this originally as there was no signature on the e-mail version of the article. If you know who wrote it, please let me know and I'll give credit where credit's due (and it's definitely due here). Check it out...

Beijing - Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil," Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil," which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of in his State of the Union address.

Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new axis as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are Just as Evil... in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "Everybody knows we're the best evils... best at being evil... we're the best."

Diplomats from Syria denied they were jealous over being excluded, although they conceded they did ask if they could join the Axis of Evil.

"They told us it was full," said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"An Axis can't have more than three countries," explained Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "This is not my rule, it's tradition. In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So you can only have three. And a secret handshake. Ours is wicked cool."

THE AXIS PANDEMIC

International reaction to Bush's Axis of Evil declaration was swift, as within minutes, France surrendered.

Elsewhere, peer-conscious nations rushed to gain triumvirate status in what became a game of geopolitical chairs. Cuba, Sudan, and Serbia said they had formed the Axis of Somewhat Evil, forcing Somalia to join with Uganda and Myanmar in the Axis of Occasionally Evil, while Bulgaria, Indonesia and Russia established the Axis of Not So Much Evil Really As Just Generally Disagreeable.

With the criteria suddenly expanded and all the desirable clubs filling up, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, and Rwanda applied to be called the Axis of Countries That Aren't the Worst But Certainly Won't Be Asked to Host the Olympics; Canada, Mexico, and Australia formed the Axis of Nations That Are Actually Quite Nice But Secretly Have Nasty Thoughts About America, while Spain, Scotland, and New Zealand established the Axis of Countries That Be Allowed to Ask Sheep to Wear Lipstick.

"That's not a threat, really, just something we like to do," said Scottish Executive First Minister Jack McConnell.

While wondering if the other nations of the world weren't perhaps making fun of him, a cautious Bush granted approval for most axes, although he rejected the establishment of the Axis of Countries Whose Names End in "Guay," accusing one of its members of filing a false application. Officials from Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chadguay denied the charges.

Israel, meanwhile, insisted it didn't want to join any Axis, but privately, world leaders said that's only because no one asked them.

Tell me that didn't make you bust up laughing. I just loved the "Chadguay" bit. Heh.


Oldies: February 5, 2002...

This is one of those little tidbits of news that tends to go by the wayside during something as big as this whole Enron fiasco. What some people have forgotten in the wake of Enron filing for bankruptcy is that the company signed a 30 year deal with the Houston Astros back in 1999 to pay the team to allow their ballpark to be named Enron Field. Well, in light of what's been happening lately, and the fact that Enron has laid off thousands of Houston area workers, the team has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to find out if the agreement should be continued. Apparently, just the name "Enron Field" has been a public relations nightmare for the team. Like I said, these are the sorts of stories you forget about, but are important nonetheless.


Oldies: February 3, 2002...

Who watched the Super Bowl today? Who the hell was that team that played the Patriots? It sure wasn't the Rams that we've seen playing thus far this season. Kurt Warner was playing like Brett Favre in the Packers final playoff game of this postseason. Well, at least the Rams mounted some kind of offense in the fourth quarter to bring the game a bit closer. But, when you only play one quarter of real football, you don't deserve to win jack. Congrats to the Cinderella Patriots and the man who should be named post-season MVP, Pat's kicker Adam Vinatieri. As Katie constantly says, "it's a kicker's game." You damn skippy. And is it just me or should Internet companies be banned from ever advertising during another Super Bowl ever again? Ever since net companies started advertising, the prices have gone through the roof and the quality has gone to shit. As is usual, Budweiser was the only company to have commercials that were any good.

Today was also the day that I returned from my weekend trip to Minnesota with my friends Wiggy, Hodgie, and Frank. We had fun drinking and going to a St. Cloud State Huskies hockey game. The Huskies won 7-2 over the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers. Very cool and we sat right behind the Chargers bench so we could give them some shit. That was fun. Although over the course of the weekend, I drank way too much alcohol. Gotta avoid that for some time now.