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4 posts from July 2002

Oldies: Sunday, July 21 - Saturday, July 27, 2002...

Friday, 26 July 2002: I am so friggin' tired today. Yes, this time it was definitely all my fault. Katie was working last night, so it was time for a guy's movie night out. My Dad, brother, his friend, and I all went to see Reign of Fire. Not an entirely bad flick so long as you go in expecting nothing. The ending was a bit of a letdown, but the special effects were second to none. I have yet to see SFX better than these. Yeah, this movie did have scenes of dragons swooping by which would be easy enough to do on computer. However, it also had scenes where the full body of a dragon was hovering in midair over a target and rearing back it's head and neck, puffing up it's chest, and unleashing a fireball. The entire time the dragon was on screen, it looked so real. I was in awe at how realistically it came across. There was none of the typical digital artifacting that is always so apparent in computer generated effects (i.e. the horrible SFX in Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone).

Well, anyway, as we were leaving, I turned on my cellphone and had a message waiting for me from Kate. She asked me if I wanted to just stick around at the theatre and she'd meet me so we could go see a late show of Austin Powers in Goldmember. I figured 'what the hell' as it was an excuse for Katie and me to spend time together outside the apartment. So I called her up and we met for the flick. It's been quite a while since I've pulled a theatrical doubleheader (last one was Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back followed by The Others). It was pretty damned good and more than made up for what I felt were a lot of shortcomings in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The first 15 minutes of the film alone are worth the price of your ticket. Tons of cameos. Katie and I couldn't stop laughing. It was also nice to see how much they had expanded on the roles of Mini Me (Verne Troyer) and Scott Evil (Seth Green) - he was listed third in the credits and definitely deserved it... he had a big part in the flick. I will also admit that, as much as I was not looking forward to her being in this movie, Beyonce Knowles was surprisingly good as Foxxy Cleopatra. She's easily the best of all the Austin Power femme fatales (not that it really takes much to be a better actress than Heather Graham, but I was quite fond of Elizabeth Hurley in the first movie).

Well, by the time we left the theatre, it was around 12:15 or so. We got home and, of course, I couldn't fall asleep. And, of course, as soon as Katie's head hit the pillow, she was out. I am so jealous of her ability to do that. She can say she's wide awake (which she did last night), but she'll still fall dead asleep the second she lays down). Dammit.


Thursday, 25 July 2002: Ohmigod! Holy Hell! The Apocalypse is nigh! Why do I say this? Read on...

According to a foxnews.com article, a NYC-based lawyer is suing McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, and KFC Corporation for making his client fat.

...the dead rising from the grave... seas burning...

I've always felt that the legal system in the U.S. needs a serious revamping. Now, I think it's time I actively crusade for said changes. This is absolutely ludicrous. As Katharine Kim, a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association, said, "it's senseless, baseless, and ridiculous." Seriously, people, if you are afraid of getting fat, you know as well as anyone, not to go to these restaurants or to carefully choose a lower calorie/fat item from the menu. All four of these restaurants clearly post the nutritional content information in their restaurants on huge friggin' posters and they typically have little fliers that you can take home with said content listed. All this information is also available from toll-free phone numbers or off their websites.

...dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Jesus, even I acknowledge the fact that having eaten all that crap is the reason why I peaked out at 280 pounds during grad school. And not eating it is the reason I now have lost 42 pounds (and counting). Katie is the same way, she's lost about 18 pounds since we cut that crap out of our diets. Not that we avoid it entirely, but we realize how bad it is and, therefore, have reduced consumption of this stuff to a once a month treat. (Don't worry, when we get to our goal weights, we'll probably post before and after shots on the site. 'Til then, though...)

People, open your eyes! If for no other reason than to be able to dodge the hellfire and brimstone that's raining down around us all right now.

I suppose I should now sue my high school football coach for not clearly explaining that football is a contact sport that can, and did, cause me grievous bodily harm (I have two bad ankles and a bum knee). Or, how about suing the automotive industry for not telling me that driving their vehicles makes me walk less to get where I'm going and, therefore, I may not get as much exercise as I otherwise would? Hmmm, so many prime opportunities for a class action lawsuit. Time to jump on the bandwagon.

Yeah, so suffice it to say that this dipshit and his lawyer get a permanent spot in the "Darwinism Missed Me" file.

So, who y'all planning to sue?

N.B. The indented, italicized quotes are both from Ghostbusters when the four of them are describing a hypothetical apocalypse to the mayor of NYC. Remember?


Wednesday, 24 July 2002: The following entry is rated PG-13. Not necessarily dirty, but definitely sexual in content.

Everyone who has ever watched a movie or TV show or read some magazine that has dealt with sex has likely come across some kind of reference to the male inability to incorporate foreplay in sex. I will admit that foreplay is not necessarily always at the forefront (pun intended, of course) of every male's mind during an intimate encounter (myself included). However, until now, I have never heard any sort of defensive argument as to why males seem to fall short in the foreplay arena. It's pretty good, too. It comes from the book I'm currently reading -- "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby (the basis of the movie starring John Cusack). Here it is in its entirety...

Read any women's magazine and you'll see the same complaint over and over again: men -- those little boys ten or twenty or thirty years on -- are hopeless in bed. They are not interested in "foreplay"; they have no desire to stimulate the erogenous zones of the opposite sex; they are selfish, greedy, clumsy, unsophisticated. These complaints, you can't help feeling, are kind of ironic. Back then, all we wanted was foreplay, and girls weren't interested. They didn't want to be touched, caressed, stimulated, aroused; in fact, they used to thump us if we tried. It's not really very surprising, then, that we're not much good at all that. We spent two or three long and extremely formative years being told very forcibly not even to think about it. Between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four, foreplay changes from being something that boys want to do and girls don't, to something that women want and men can't be bothered with. (Or so they say. Me, I do like foreplay -- mostly because the times when all I wanted to do was touch are alarmingly fresh in my mind.) The perfect match, if you ask me, is between the Cosmo woman and the fourteen-year-old boy.

Makes quite a bit of sense, doesn't it? Think about it from a Pavlovian perspective (you know, the whole drooling dog experiment). If a guy tries to put the moves on a girl when they are both young... he tries to touch her... make her feel somewhat turned on (as much as a fourteen-year-old boy is capable of, at least)... she slaps him. Maybe he tries it again somewhere down the line either with the same girl or with another and gets slapped again. Eventually, he'll figure that one and one do make two and make the association that touching a girl erotically leads to being slapped, shoved, kicked in jibblies, etc., etc., ad infinitum. Hence, subconscious foreplay avoidance.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not using this as an excuse to avoid foreplay. I, like the author, do enjoy foreplay as well. But, I'm not necessarily the be-all-end-all King of Foreplay. I acknowledge this fact and realize that this, too, might be one reason why it's not always the first thing I, or other guys for that matter, think about. But it is always fun to partake in such escapades. I'm just presenting Mr. Hornby's argument for popular consideration.


Tuesday, 23 July 2002: Oh, thank God. Just when it looked like an animated mouse in a sequel, no less, was going to take the cake, the final tallies for this weekend's box office take were calculated. When all was said and done, The Road to Perdition eked past Stuart Little 2 by a mere $300K. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't stand the thought of that mouse (even if he is voiced by the likes of Michael J. Fox whom I do respect as an actor and all-around human being) doing better than a class act flick with the multi-star power of Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law. My faith in the moviegoing public has been restored. Thank you all.


Oldies: Sunday, July 14 - Saturday, July 20, 2002...

Saturday, 20 July 2002: Wanna talk about pain? Last Monday, Katie and I bought new bikes. Even though we used them on Tuesday (or was it Wednesday), we finally really broke them in today with a six-mile haul to Charlestowne Mall (thirteen miles roundtrip considering all the detours we took on the way back) to watch The Road to Perdition. It was a great movie, by the way, but more on that later.

Suffice it to say that Katie and I were in extreme pain by the time we got back. Me with my bum back didn't help matters much. Bikes don't do much for bad posture. In fact, I think it really just makes matter worse. Several times during the trip, Katie would yell back to me, "whose bright idea was this anyway?" I'd, of course, respond with, "your's." And she'd finish with, "smack me next time, okay?" I think we've just gotta go on rides like this more often to get used to riding again. It's been nearly three years since either of us regularly used a bike. I guess it's normal to assume that even though you never forget how to ride them, your body can definitely forget how to properly "work" them.

That night, we went out to dinner with Mary Ellen. She and her sister saw The Road to Perdition either the night before or two days before, I'm not sure which and it doesn't really matter. Neither of them liked it. It was too dark, too bloody, and too brooding for their tastes. Well, what did you expect? I told her this, too. Well, neither of them knew it was a gangster movie for one. The previews show that it is a period piece. The posters and all the displays show the silhouette of Tom Hanks and his son (played very well by newcomer Tyler Hoechlin) in period dress - Hanks in a fedora and trenchcoat (who wears a fedora these days) and Hoechlin in a po-boy cap with knickers. To top it all off, Hanks is clearly toting a Tommy Gun. Who uses a Tommy Gun and wears a fedora? Gangsters or undercover federal agents tracking down said gangsters, that's who. Either way, you are lead to believe that this movie deals with gangsters. If there is any movie that Hanks deserves an Oscar for, it's this one. He plays completely against character and does it very convincingly. Paul Newman was very good as well and may just get a Supporting Actor nom as well. Sam Mendes deserves a Directing nom and this movie should also get it for Best Picture and Best Cinematography. God knows that there is nothing else out there thus far deserving of anything really. Plus, you really do get to see a lot of Geneva in one scene. Katie and I were stoked by that.


Friday, 19 July 2002: Today was a jam-packed day to say the least. First and foremost, I took off the day at work. It's always fun to have a backlog of vacation days at my disposal. So, I took the day off and Katie and I slept in. Nothing quite like sleeping in on a weekday. I'm sure Katie can agree seeing as how she went from one of those normal, everyday 9-to-5 jobs last year to her new, all over the board, retail work schedule (she's back to working as a pharmacy technician, but now with Walgreen's). I'm jealous as all hell.

Well, after going through physical therapy (I have a bum back) in the early afternoon, my parents and brother and his friend came over to our place for a meal of pulled pork sandwiches... made to perfection by Katie. Afterwards, we all went to the Kane County Cougars game here in Geneva. The Cougars are a Single-A affiliate for the Florida Marlins MLB team... or so I think. Well, when we left the game in the eighth inning, the Cougars were down to the Burlington Bees 6-3. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

That night, my brother Brian and his friend Adam convinced Katie and I to go with them to Bachelor's Grove Cemetery. This is supposedly one of the most haunted cemeteries in the U.S. Katie and I have gone with Brian to "haunted" cemeteries before and never really seen anything. I honestly think there is far more hype than fact to Bachelor's Grove. Yes, I do believe in ghosts. No, I have never seen one. Bachelor's Grove was nothing more than an overgrown lot encircled by barbed wire. It wasn't even all that scary... unless you're a gardener, then the place is a nightmare. Katie's usually a bit scared by cemeteries. In this one, she was walking around freely on her own and laughing at the situation despite the fact that it was after 11 p.m.


Thursday, 18 July 2002: NOOOOOOOOOOOO... My friend and coworker Eric came in to work this morning and announced that he "succumbed to the dark side." Yes, he went out and bought a minivan. Oh, dear God, no. Yes, I realize that it is very practical for him and his wife considering they have three young kids, but there is just something inherently evil about owning a minivan. It's horrible, wicked, and cruel. It's not something that young people are supposed to do. He's only 31 for God's sake. That's just not right.

And for those of you who are interested in investing in the stock market but are afraid because of the current state of affairs, please read very carefully the following e-mail message I got from my coworker Stevie...

If you had bought $1000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49. With Enron, you would have $16.50 of the original $1,000. With Worldcom, you would have less than $5 left. If you had bought $1,000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the 10 cent deposit, you would have $214. Based on the above, my current investment advice is ... to drink heavily and recycle.

Of course, you'd have to travel out of state to get any money seeing as how Illinois doesn't offer deposits on cans and bottles. I never understood why Illinois doesn't offer money for cans/bottles. I would think that the sides of roads would be much cleaner as a result. But, I do know for a fact that both Iowa and Michigan take part in deposit programs. When I went to school in Iowa and Katie and I visited Michigan, we noticed that the streets are quite clear of can/bottle litter. Maybe other states nearby offer deposits as well; I'm just not sure which states those would be.


Wednesday, 17 July 2002: 11 hours. That's all the longer Allen Iverson spent at the police station before being released. What did I tell you? And during that time, he was kept in his own private cell so as not to have to worry about mixing with the general populace. C'mon people, knock his ass down a couple of pegs. Throw him in with the dregs and rejects. Make him squirm a bit. Wouldn't that be fun.

Oh, and on the topic of yesterday's post... Katie wanted to let me know that I wouldn't have to worry about picking the wrong cousin's house. She told me that if I ever Iverson'd her, her entire family would probably kill me before I got a chance to even try to find her. I believe it, too.


Tuesday, 16 July 2002: I don't get it. I just really don't get it. What is America's fascination with celebrities? Why do we take seemingly normal people and throw them up on such a pedestal? Aren't they just normal people doing their jobs? We fawn over them. We cry, jump, and scream when they come anywhere near us. We worship them. We try to be like them. We buy the products they hawk. We sing their songs. We recite lines from their movies/TV shows. I will admit that I'm not immune to such treatment (save for the crying, jumping, screaming, worshipping, and trying to be like them -- I will only sink so low). But, worst of all, we let them get away with almost anything.

Of course, I'm sure you can guess that this rant has everything to do with the whole Allen Iverson fiasco. For those of you living under rocks, Allen Iverson, the superstar guard for the Philadelphia 76ers and last year's NBA scoring leader, allegedly threw his wife out of the house naked on July 1. He then proceeded to try to find her by breaking into his cousin's apartment in the middle of the night with, I believe, his uncle demanding to know where his wife and cousin were hiding out. Actually, I shouldn't use the word "demanding" since he had a gun in his waistband... "threatened," perhaps... or how about "threw the smack down." Yeah, I like the latter. So, what happens to Iverson? The police take their damn time arresting him. In fact, they never officially arrested him at all. On July 11, the police put together a list of charges against Iverson and allowed his attorney to arrange a time when Iverson would turn himself in to the police... at his earliest convenience, of course. What the hell is that bullshit? Iverson waited until he threw a big ol' party at his house over this past weekend and then reported to police headquarters this morning. You know he's just gonna walk free later today or sometime early tomorrow until his hearing at which time he will be given probation and community service. Of course, "community service" will probably be amended to allow for his entertainment of the masses through playing professional basketball. After all, what better service does the community want than to be entertained? And his "probation" will, of course, have to take into consideration away games. God knows that the 76ers could never be expected to live up their current level of play if their star guard is confined by Pennsylvania state borders.

Now, if this were me. If I, an everyday schmoe, were to kick Katie out of the house naked and chase her down at her cousin's house with a gun sticking out of my waistband, what would be the result? First and foremost, I'm sure I'd pick the wrong house because she's got so damned many cousins. Back on the topic, though. My ass would be thrown down on the ground and the back of my skull cracked with a nightstick by our fair constabulary. Then I'd be cuffed and thrown in the back of the squad car. I'm sure, for effect, they'd probably "forget" to gently guide my head under the top of car frame. Then I'd be photographed, fingerprinted, insulted beyond belief, given one call and probably get through to only the answering machine, and then be thrown in a cell with a convicted rapist named Ben Dover who has a fetish for men with slightly receded hairlines. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Could my luck get any better? Yep, my court-appointed public defender would be a relapsed former AA member with a deathwish who is mourning over the fact that he lost his job as Assistant District Attorney in the city of brotherly love when he failed to convict Allen Iverson on any of his charges. Then, I'd be sentenced to ten to fifteen years in a maximum-security prison where my cellmate would be one of Ben's former anal breach buddies (I'm sure my references would be immaculate) and hold down a job for five cents an hour as a vomit mopper in the sick ward. Yay.

Soapbox dismounted. And I ain't bending over to pick that soap(box) up, either.


Monday, 15 July 2002: As much as I'm sure this poor guy will become the subject of many jeers both in the popular American media and on the late-night talk show circuit, I don't feel it's warranted. A security guard working at the British Open at Muirfield refused entry to the grounds for warm up to none other than Tiger Woods. According to the guard and his superiors, Woods did not have his player's credentials when asked to show them. Yes, I do realize that some people may forget their I.D. every once in a while. However, in this age of security consciousness, I feel that everybody should have their I.D. on them especially at as high profile an event as this tournament. I will concede that Woods is one of the most easily recognized faces in the sports world, but that shouldn't afford him the ability to completely gloss over the security demands of the course. Don't get me wrong, I don't even know for sure if Woods put up any sort of stink over the whole thing. For all I know, he may have just realized he made a mistake, said "my bad," and left to go get his credentials. Or, perhaps he did put up a fuss over the whole thing. Until that is clarified by the media, I won't know for sure. But, either way, he's liable for sticking to the rules as posted by the host of the tournament.

For those of you who don't agree with me, think of it in this perspective... is a cop going to let you off if you don't have your driver's license when you get pulled over for speeding? Is the airport going to let you get past security without your federal/state issued photo I.D. anymore? Not friggin' likely. Think of it like the Visa CheckCard commercial with Kevin Bacon. Regardless of who he is and how recognized he is, they still weren't going to let him cash his check without an I.D. The same should go for Tiger. I have nothing against Tiger whatsoever. I think he's a great athlete, a great role model, and he strikes me as the sort of person that can be a great friend should you need one. So I'm not out to get him. It is just my humble opinion that the security guard was simply doing his job and doing it very well. In this day and age, the world needs more security guards as attentive and rule conscious as this guy. Give the man a raise! I think what I"m waiting for is someone to come out and claim that the security guard is racist. You just know it's gonna happen. For when it does (not "if" mind you), I'd just like to say "get a life" to those who

[not sure what happened to the rest of this post]

Oldies: Sunday, July 7 - Saturday, July 13, 2002...

Friday, 12 July 2002: This one was too good to pass up... Joel Schneider, the vice president and senior adviser to the Sesame Street Workshop, announced to the 14th International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, that the long-running kids show would be introducing an HIV-positive Muppet to the African broadcasts of the show (known as "Takalani Sesame" -- sounds like Chinese food, doesn't it?). Now, I can certainly understand his reasoning behind this move, after all, one in nine Africans have either HIV or full-blown AIDS. I even think, to some degree, that it's a good idea. Schneider went on to say that they may introduce an HIV-positive Muppet to the American broadcasts as well. He also emphasized that the show will not, as a result, focus on HIV/AIDS. Instead, it will answer questions about the disease and bring it down to a child's level of understanding on an occasional basis. But the emphasis will be on showing that an HIV-positive person can be a productive member of any society and that it's safe for them to live among us. I agree wholeheartedly.

My concern arises when, for the sake of honesty and realism, they will be forced to kill off said Muppet. After all, an HIV-positive Muppet cannot live forever, right? This ain't gonna be a case of Big Bird who has been on the show from the start and will be until it goes off the air. How do they deal with a dying Muppet? Or do they deal with it at all? Once this Muppet, who has yet to be named or even designed, dies off, do the producers create another one so that this lesson isn't thrown by the wayside and/or completely forgotten by the kids who are the targets of these lessons? There are just so many questions that I wonder if the Sesame Street Workshop and PBS have taken into consideration. But it will definitely be interesting to follow the genesis of this character.


Thursday, 11 July 2002: Care to guess what I got in the mail today? My notice from the bank that owned my credit card saying that my card will be rendered unusable as of July 10, 2002. That would've been nice to get a couple of weeks in advance. I think my big concern right now is, what would've happened if all this took place one month ago today? Katie and I would have been on vacation in Florida without a working credit card. And no knowledge that this was going to happen at all. What about if this was still yesterday, before I discovered that my card was going to be killed, and I had a blowout on the road and the only way to pay the tow truck was with my defunct credit card. I don't carry two credit cards for safety's sake. In case my wallet's stolen, one credit card is enough of a hassle to cancel out. I also never figured that this sort of sudden cancellation would ever be a concern. Jeez, is anything sacred anymore?


Wednesday, 10 July 2002: Want to talk about "modern inconvenience?" I went to get some gas for my truck on the way to work this morning. I put in my credit card to pay and went ahead and pumped my $15 worth. However, when I went to get my receipt, the view screen on the pump said "please pay inside." I was a bit confused as I had already paid. I went inside and asked the attendant what was up and he told me that my card was declined. Talk about Carrie Bradshaw's worst "Sex and the City" nightmare come true. I've known that my credit card was going to expire this month, but I didn't know exactly when during the month as the face of the card simply stated 07/02 as my expiry. The 10th just seemed a bit too arbitrary a day for it to die especially since I used the card last night... twice. And I know I'm nowhere near my credit limit nor have I defaulted on any of my monthly payments. So I was at a loss.

When I got to work, I called the customer service number on the back of my card. When prompted, I entered my card number and that's when it happened. A recorded message came on saying my account had been closed because the bank servicing my account had shut down and they failed to sell my account to another bank. Of course they prefaced this with "through no fault of your own" and ended with "this will in no way affect your credit record." Good news, I suppose. Unfortunately, they also tacked on that I still needed to pay the remainder of my balance. Damn. Just when I thought I was gonna get really lucky. They also suggested a website for me to check out for more details, so I went there. The first question in the FAQ was something along the lines of "I just got a letter/e-mail stating that my account was closed. What do I do now?" Funny, I never got a letter or an e-mail. That would have at least served as fair warning.

So, now I'm down to one card. A card which I really don't wanna use but have no choice at the moment. Guess it's time to pull that card out of its Kevin-imposed moratorium that it's been in since I charged our honeymoon on it. Don't worry, most of it is paid off now. I just wanted to get it down to zero before I broke it out again. So much for that plan. This particular credit card that is now dead was also my favorite card. I was one of the first cardholders ever. It was one of the first online cards ever available and had more anti-fraud security features than any card I've seen thus far. Plus, being one of the first cardholders allowed me to customize the face of the card. I put the poster for the documentary I helped make in grad school on it. Talk about your major conversation piece at the store. People always looked at it kinda funny because it's so odd looking. And, occasionally, somebody would ask me about it and I'd answer. They always thought it was cool that I could do that. Now I can't use that card anymore. What a pisser. Got any suggestions for a good credit card with good online security features? Let me know.

In other news, Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli have announced, through their reps, that they are getting divorced. Didn't see that one coming... *cough* bullshit *cough*. I'm just surprised it lasted the 21 years that it did. Maybe Valerie finally realized that Eddie's career really is not gonna go anywhere. Hell, the guy can't even decide on a lead singer for his band. Now his two ex-frontmen have one of the highest grossing tours of the summer. Hey, at least she's actually doing something with her life right now. Granted it is a role in "Touched by an Angel," but at least she's doing something. More than we can say about Eddie (and his brother/drummer Alex... bassist Michael Anthony is also on tour this summer with Sammy Hagar, so he's got a life by all accounts).


Tuesday, 9 July 2002: There are some people in this world that, when they come up with a good idea, they just reach out, grab on, and don't let go. I say this because the man of whom I am about to speak has one of those wonderful, hands-on sorts of jobs that we all long for. It's a real "reach out and touch someone" kinda career. Okay, enough with the puns.

Apparently, there is a new kind of psychic in Germany. He comes, in a roundabout way, from the Palmistry school of fortune telling. You know what palmistry is, right? Palm reading for those of you still scratching away at your noggins. He believes that reading lines can tell you everything about a person. However, the lines that this blind guy shoots for are not those on your palms, but those on your backside... you know, your pooper. Okay, stop making your scalp bleed already... I'm talking about your ass. This guy requires that his suckers... er, clients... remove their pants so he can feel out their butt to read their future. I've got ten bucks that says this guy, 1) ain't no fortune teller just an ass fetishist, 2) ain't even blind, and, 3) has got to have some kind of video feed in his workplace somewhere. So, be warned, if you visit this guy, don't be surprised if you eventually find a video of yourself somewhere on the Net getting your butt groped. I wonder if he owns stock in Handi-Wipes.


Monday, 8 July 2002: I love long holiday weekends. There's nothing like being given the opportunity to be a lazy ass slug for a four-day weekend as opposed to just the normal Saturday and Sunday routine.

Okay, so I really wasn't all that lazy. Katie and I went to Naperville's Ribfest on Thursday and had some BBQ as well as listened to a band comprised of New York City firefighters cover some classic 60s, 70s, and 80s tunes. Their musicianship was spot on while the vocals were only a little bit off of perfect. At times, I'd have sworn I was actually listening to Journey play live. If you wanna get more info about them, check out letfreedomsingtour.com. Okay, so their schedule of shows is now passe, but keep checking the site as more shows may be added in the near future. The fireworks after the concert were incredible as well. As much as I diss Naperville, they really do put on a good show on the Fourth. I realize now where all the tax dollars go.

On the 5th, Katie and I went shopping in Naperville. Not much to report other than the weather finally cooled off. It's been hot as hell around here lately. Also went to see Mr. Deeds afterwards. Wait till this one comes out on video. It really ain't all that great. I love Sandler's movies, but this one was just so far off par from the rest of his classics. Okay, not that I actually saw Little Nicky either since I heard it was pretty bad as well. Seems like the unfortunate start of a downward spiral for Sandler. He really needs to kick it back in gear or nobody's gonna be willing to pay him his $20 million per film.

On Saturday we pretty much took it easy until we went out to see Men in Black II with my coworker Eric and his wife Michelle. We all enjoyed it. But the best part was an animated short that came on before the film featuring a cute little alien trying to warn everyone in a bar (a la Star Wars' creature cantina) that alien invaders are coming to destroy the place. Hilarious. If you go to see MIB2, make sure you get there early enough to see this short. If you thought the bird one tacked on before Monsters, Inc. was good, you'll love this one. It has cameos by Darth Vader, Yoda, E.T., and Jar Jar Binks. We were laughing our asses off.

Finally, on Sunday, we went for a cookout to Katie's boss' house. Very nice pad in West Dundee. Very ritzy area of Dundee that you'd probably never realize existed.

So, was that enough of an update? If not, tough luck.


Oldies: Sunday, June 30 - Saturday, July 6, 2002...

Thursday, 4 July 2002: 1 year... 12 months... 365 days... No more... With potential to be far less...

I just found out this morning that Julia Roberts married her cameraboy Danny Moder or whatever his name is, and this is my prediction for how long it's gonna last. I hate to be so pessimistic, but you've really gotta take Roberts' track record with dating and marriage. Suffice it to say, she's worse than George Clooney. Why would Moder even want to risk it? Some could argue that this would help his career. But, if they get divorced, she'll have him blackballed all over Tinseltown. Moder, you shoulda run, my friend.

And, by the way, Happy Birthday U.S.A. You lookin' good for a 226 year old.


Wednesday, 3 July 2002: "Gay Mafia"...

The Gay Mafia... I gotta admit, that's a pretty good one.

Apparently, the Gay Mafia is the "group" of homosexual entertainment and news types that former Disney head and founder of the now defunct Artists Management Group (AMG) Michael Ovitz claims conspired to and actually executed the destruction of his career and reputation. Supposedly, the Don Cornholeone (I mean no offense, I swear... and, yes, I'm planning to trademark that name) of this Gay Mafia is Dreamworks SKG co-chief David Geffen and also includes N.Y. Times reporter Bernard Weintraub, several Creative Artists Agency reps (CAA - a competing talent management agency to AMG), and Disney Chief Michael Eisner among others. It would seem that the combined powers of these gays and gay sympathizers was more than enough to bring down the house on AMG and leave Ovitz's life in complete shambles to the point where he no longer feels safe or wants anything to do with Hollywood anymore.

Gee, you don't think his downfall would have anything to do with Ovitz's inability to secure financial backing, do you? The fact that AT&T and Diller (whoever they are) both backed out of potential multimillion dollar deals with AMG had absolutely nothing to do with it, did it?

So, should we reserve a special place in the "Darwinism Missed Me" file for Mr. Ovitz? Yeah, I think so.

I just kinda wonder what the Gay Mafia's secret handshake would be.


Tuesday, 2 July 2002: There is going to be no way for me to possibly say what I am about to say without coming across as an insensitive asshole... ignorant American... or any other combination of seemingly derogatory terms (I, personally, don't consider the word "American" to be derogatory, but there are many other people the world over who certainly seem to). So be it.

In regards to yesterday's accidental bombing of a wedding party in Afghanistan by an American warplane, I say, "tough luck." Face it people, this is war and, everyone knows that in times of war, shit happens. I will admit that it's unfortunate that 30 someodd people were killed and many more injured. I feel bad for them. Do I agree with the Afghan claims that all the people at the wedding were innocent civilians? Hell no. I'm sure there had to be at least a couple of Taliban sympathizers in the crowd keeping their mouths shut due to their current level of unpopularity. However, these same people were firing guns in the air in celebration of the nuptials at hand. Who the hell in their right mind in the middle of the war is going to be stupid enough to fire a gun in the air!? Especially when there is a warplane passing nearby. Jeezus. It's an everyday occurance for civilians who oppose the presence of an "enemy" force in their country to retaliate in any way possible. I feel that the pilot and crew of that plane were quite justified in interpreting that the ground fire may have been directed at them. To that crew I say, "well done." Yes, that may be insensitive, but I don't give a damn. Did the Afghan government (oops, sorry, I should say "Taliban Government" seeing as how Afghanistan really had no legitimate government of its own at the time) send over a "Fact Finding Team" to investigate when the Trade Center came down or the Pentagon was hit? Nope, didn't think so. Were the innocent civilians taken into consideration when both these facilities were hit (not to mention the fourth plane going down in PA)? Actually, yes. They were considered targets. They were considered an added bonus by Al Q'aida. I know that the government in Afghanistan has changed since that time, but, like I said earlier, this is war and civilians will be killed whether you like it or not. It was a horrible and unfortunate case of mistaken identity, but not something that the rest of the world should get their panties in a twist about. It's over, move on.

Not that anybody actually will but... care to share?


Monday, 1 July 2002: Oh, if only it were truly this easy. This is an actual e-mail I found in my inbox this morning. This e-mail is reproduced below in its entirety including typos and all other errors. Enjoy...

FROM THE DESK OF MR.BAMBA MALICK
BILL AND EXCHANGE MANAGER,
FOREIGN REMMITTANCE DEPT.
BANQUE INTERNATIONALE DE COTE D'IVOIRE
ABIDJAN - COTE D'IVOIRE

Dear friend,

With due respect and huminity, I write to you this proposal.I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance department of Banque Internationale du Abidjan . I am writing following the impressive information about you through one of my friends who run a consultancy firm in your country. He assured me of your capability and reliability to champion this businees opportunity. In my department, we discovered an abandoned sum of U.S$17m US dollars (seventeen millionUS dollars) . In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in november 1997 in a plane crash. Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come forward and claim his money because we cannot release it unless somebody applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines and policies but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claims. It is therefore upon this discovery that I and other officials in my department now decided to make this businness proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming forth and we don’t want this money to go into the Bank treasury as unclaimed Bill. According to our Banking policies and guideline here which stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after five years, the money will automatically be transfered into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner an Ivorian,that someone from ivory coast here cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner. We agree that 25 % of this money will be for you as foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, 10 %will be for reimbursement of any expenses incured during the curse of the transaction and 65 % would be for me and my colleagues. There after I and my colleagues will visit your country for disbursement according to the percentages indicated. Therefore to enable the immediate trnansfer of this fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as relation or next of kin of the deceased indicating your bank name, your bank account number, your private telephone and fax number for easier and effective communication and location where the money will be remitted . Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the application. I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is hitch free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer . You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive this letter.

Trusting to hear from you immediately.

Your’s faithfully,

FROM THE DESK OF MR.BAMBA MALICK
BILL AND EXCHANGE MANAGER

If you'd like the real story behind this obvious hoax of an e-mail, check out the Urban Legends Reference Pages. The sad thing is that some people have actually fallen for this scam. Anybody falling into this category deserves to be listed in the "Darwinism Missed Me" file. Unfortunately, I currently have no names of such suckers.