News 2006

And no matter what you say or do...

Just when you think things can’t get worse for Van Halen, they do.

For one, they haven’t put out a studio album since I was still an undergrad in college putting it sometime before 1997. Yeah, they had that Best of Both Worlds hits collection a year or so ago with a few new songs, but that’s been about it. Three songs does not a new studio album make.

For years, we Van Halen fans suffered through a prolonged will they/won’t they complex in which we battled amongst ourselves about whether the brothers Van Halen and their bassist Michael Anthony would rehire original vocalist David Lee Roth or second vocalist Sammy Hagar as their singer, record an album, and hit the road. A few years ago, they did rehire Hagar, albeit briefly, for a tour and the three new tracks on BOBW.

Soon after, Sammy returned to his own solo band, The Waboritas, and VH returned to their perpetual state of professional silence.

This morning, at the gym, I opened up a copy of RedEye, a subsidiary tabloid-style newspaper put out by The Chicago Tribune, and found a snippet about VH in the “Whoville” section on page 75 (that’s how much merit stories about Van Halen warrant anymore). Here’s the text of the article…

A Family Affair
Van Halen is becoming a family band. Eddie Van Halen has tapped his 15-year-old son, Wolfgang, to replace Michael Anthony as bassist, billboard.com reports.

It is unknown who will serve as the band’s vocalist for the 2007 tour, but rumors continue to swirl that David Lee Roth will be back in the fold for the first time in more than 20 years.

The ever-articulate Roth said he thinks a reunion is “absolutely as an inevitability.”

“To me, it’s not rocket surgery,” Roth said. “It’s very simple to put together. And as far as hurt feelings and water under the dam, like what’s-her-name says to what’s-her-name at the end of the movie ‘Chicago’ – ‘So what? It’s showbiz!’ So I definitely see it happening.”

Three letters for ya here… WTF?!?!

Not just about Wolfgang on bass, but “absolutely as an inevitability”?!?! What does that mean???

“Rocket surgery”?!?! Huhwhudda???

“Water under the dam”?!?!  Oooooohhhhh… my brain hurts.

How much colloquialism mixing can this guy manage in one interview? Rocket Science + Brain Surgery as well as Water Under the Bridge + Water Over the Dam. What’s next? Is he really the best answer for Van Halen? What about having a incoherent, rambling ass like that around your teenaged son? I’m sure Valerie’s loving it right now.

Oh VH, how I loved thee. What the hell happened to you?


Rain, rain, go away...

I hate waking up in the morning to the pounding of rain against the siding, roofing, and windows of our house. That's never a good sign. What's especially disconcerting is that I can tell, simply by the pitch, that it is a particularly cold and nasty rain. Ever noticed that before? There's just something different to the audible quality of it. This morning, for example, it had a bit more "slosh" to it. Okay, maybe it's just me, but it sounded bad.

It was a strange weekend for many reasons. For one, the Bears lost badly to a team they should not have lost to. And I'm pretty sure all three of my fantasy football teams lost this weekend, too, simply because I forgot to play. I started to look at them early in the week with the intention of fine tuning my lineups on Friday. But I never got around to it. Considering all the players I had on a bye week, I would've needed to make some major add/drops for it all to work out. Alas, I did not. And I'm sure I'll be paying for it. Oh well.

What else happened? I think I'll take a bullet approach to it all.

  • Borat took over the box office and I'm still not entirely convinced it's a movie I want to see. We did go out with my brother and FSiL on Saturday and we saw Employee of the Month. Not as bad as I was expecting, but it was far from great. And not the best way to return to a theater after nearly two months in absentia. But, then again, there really isn't too much out there right now.
  • Checking through my TiVo's to-do list for the next couple weeks, I was reassured to see two more episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip scheduled to record. It's not dead yet! Yay!
  • The O.C. is moving back to its original Wednesday night slot due to poor ratings during its season premiere last week. It was on? More shockingly, it's actually still on the Fox schedule?
  • Neil Patrick Harris came out of the closet. I never really saw this one coming. I'm happy as hell for him, but was in complete shock when Katie told me.
  • And in more serious news, Saddam Hussein was found guilty (no shocker there) and has been sentenced to hang. Let's just say they better carry out this execution by the end of the year or it will never happen. Actually, I think it might need to happen before the end of the week. Call it "Kevin's Dire Prediction" if you will. But this is just how I see it.

There's a party goin' on right here...

I heard a crazy little rumor that the World Series wrapped up this weekend.

Wrapped up? Hell, I barely noticed that it even started.

I don't want to take anything away from the St. Louis Cardinals and their World Series win, but for such a big deal event in which the "best" team in Major League Baseball is crowned as champion, it sure seemed to pass without creating so much as a blip on my radar. I think the entire story warranted nothing more than a bottom corner of the sports page of  one of our local papers. Hell, the Red Sox, when they won two seasons ago, got banner headlines... in Chicago newspapers!

Perhaps this is Chicago's revenge for having the White Sox relegated to a call-out circle on the cover of Sports Illustrated after winning the whole shebang as opposed to being given the entire cover like so many World Series champs before.

So is it just a Chicago thing that nobody really knew or gave a rat's ass about the Series this year? Were we just oblivious because we didn't have a team in there? Or am I not the only one around the country who thought this baseball season just wasn't worth squat and we should, finally, officially crown football as "America's Sport"?

"I think we shocked the world," World Series MVP David Eckstein was quoted as saying.

I'll bet you did, but not in the way that you may be thinking.


Fox on the run...

The headline in the print version of an article I saw in a local newspaper yesterday read "Michael J. Fox stumps for Duckworth." So, when considered along with the accompanying photo, can someone please tell me why I feel so enraged?

Foxduckworth

After some research, I discovered that this headline was part of an Associated Press article. Of course, when they type something, their subscriber papers run with the articles hook, line, and sinker.

Thankfully, the local newspaper I was reading changed the headline in their online edition. It was replaced with "Fox's drive for stem cell research stops in Wheaton." But that doesn't help the fact that the bad headline made it to press and was in circulation with the suspect headline in several newspapers including The Chicago Tribune.

How does that one make it past editors? Inexcusable.

For the record, Tammy Duckworth is running as a Democrat for the 6th Congressional District in the western Chicago suburbs. She is an Iraq War veteran who lost both her legs above the knees in an accident on November 12, 2004, while serving as an Army helicopter pilot.


Who in the world do you think you are...

I just read word about a third school shooting within the span of a week. In this case, a 32-year-old man broke his way into an Amish school in Nickel Mines, PA, and, much like the situation in Bailey, CO, last week, kicked most people out save for a few girls.

After some to do with the state police, he killed three girls execution style and then shot himself.

Whatever happened to the relative safety that we enjoyed when we were kids?

For the record, I am 31 years old(I will be 32 in December). I started kindergarten in 1980 and high school in 1989... just in case you needed some point of reference.

Did I live in a bubble when I was in school? Did this sort of stuff happen back then and I was just completely oblivious? Or did it happen and just not wind up as such an enormously newsworthy bit because there was no World Wide Web to proliferate it out to the ignorant masses?

I hate to pull the "Grumpy Old Man" bit from SNL, but back in my day (oh dear sweet God), we never worried about this sort of shit. We never had nor needed metal detectors at school. We didn't need state police-trained security. My parents and other visitors were able to come and go so long as they informed the front office and, occasionally, my dad even dropped by for lunch when he had a free moment. I went to school and, while I may have feared the occasional fight with a bully, I never had many worries other than that.

I would hate to be a kid in this day and age, though. There is so much crap happening that is beyond their control that threatens to take away their innocence with no warning whatsoever.

And to be a parent sweating out each day that your child is in school is probably the number one thing making me wary about the jump into parenthood. Public. Private. Large. Small. Rural. Urban. Religious. Non-denominational. It doesn't matter anymore. Nobody is exempt.

It truly terrifies me.

Why is our world so messed up? And why did it suddenly seem to go downhill so damn quick?


He would sing his, "Go, Cubs, Go!"...

Wanna hear something funny? I'm finally starting to get into the baseball season. Just in time for... the end of the season. Heh.

Now you wanna hear why? Because the Cubs, whom I like a lot, but have despised with a passion this season, may finally do some good next year. Not only has team President Andy MacPhail (or "MacFAIL," as we like to refer to him) stepped down, but the Cubs' press corps have announced that Manager Dusty Baker will not be back next year either.

Woo hoo!!!

The Cubs may actually stand a chance.

Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, good bye!

Has Joe Girardi been given his walking papers down in Florida yet? He'd be a great manager! We'd welcome him back to the Friendly Confines considering both that he's a former Cub (1989-92 and 2000-02) and what he's done for the Marlins.

Sorry if you non-baseball types find this post boring. But someone out there will appreciate it. I hope.


I am Iron Man...

I am a fan of Robert Downey Jr. Always have been a fan. He always plays quirky, flawed characters that you just can't help but love. And this despite how screwed up his real life tends to be.

I loved him in stuff like Heart and Souls and Chances Are. He was great in Two Girls and a Guy, Wonder Boys, and Good Night and Good Luck.  Of course, who can forget such 80s classics as Johnny Be Good and Weird Science? And I really thought he was spectacular in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He was also the best Charlie Chaplin since the man himself.

But now he's been confirmed for a role I never thought I would see him take... a superhero. More specifically Iron Man.

Iron Man is not one of the more recognizable comic book superhero of all time. In fact, more people may recognize the name from the Black Sabbath song than from the comic book.

So not only am I surprised that Downey is playing the role, I'm simply surprised it's being made at all.

But, I'll probably see it. It has Downey in the title role and it's being directed by Jon Favreau of Swingers, Made, and Elf fame. Both can be pretty quirky kinds of guys so that may bode well for this movie.


Darkness falls across the land...

And yesterday started out so beautiful. A cool start to the fall. Bright and shiny.

And then it all went to hell.

About a half hour before work was to end, I got a call from my father-in-law that the western edge of the suburb where I work all the way north to where Katie works was under a tornado warning.

Of course, being me, I left work instead of seeking cover. It was still decent enough out so I hightailed it to my truck and got my cameras ready.

Within about five minutes, everything around me was covered in swirling grey clouds. Occasionally, I experience a fast-moving scud cloud of pure white whipping in front of the more ominous clouds above. By the time I got home, the rain was coming down in sheets and tornado sirens were blaring everywhere. Katie was hearing sirens up by her and was also getting hail during her ride home.

We both made it home okay. Obviously.

But, damn if it didn't make for great photo ops. Unfortunately, my digital camera only took one good shot. The rest, I hope, are on my Minolta. I'll have to wait and have those processed to see how they turned out.

For now, though, check out how Batavia and Geneva, IL, looked at about 5:00 p.m. last night...

Storm clouds
Click for a larger view.


It's a shame about ray...

I knew this was going to happen, but I restrained from writing about it because I really wanted to believe that the very prospect of it was ridiculous, at best. However...

Last night while closing the gym, Katie became transfixed by whatever was playing on one of the TVs. I stopped to check it out and discovered they were reporting about how upwards of a dozen stingray corpses had washed up on beaches along Queensland, Australia.

One theory, of course, being that these are revenge killings because of the death of Steve Irwin last week from a stingray barb piercing his heart. This would strike me as the logical explanation considering the timing and the otherwise nearly nonexistent probability of having that many "mutilated" stingray corpses washing up on beaches.

Three words... THIS IS SICK!

I can't believe some sick fucks out there in the world would think that the proper thing to do would be to take revenge on one of the most harmless creatures in the world for the death of Steve Irwin.

How can you people call yourselves fans and true believers of what the Crocodile Hunter stood for? Do you think he would want you to do this? Do you think he's sitting up in Heaven right now cheering on your "memorial tribute"?

NO!

He's just as disgusted as I am about this whole thing. He's cursing and swearing and wishing he could come back to life to bitch slap your worthless asses until you realize that what you are doing is wrong. WRONG! WRONG!

Goddammit. Get your heads out of your asses! If there is anything Steve would want you to do, it would be to educate yourself about the nature and habits of stingrays so that the same thing does not happen to you or someone you know and love. That's what Steve stood for... EDUCATION. And clearly you uneducated fucks can't grasp this concept.

Stingrays are some of the most beautiful and peaceful and magnificent creatures I have ever had the pleasure of beholding. They are elegant and calm and they wouldn't harm a fly unless provoked.

That's not to say that Steve provoked them. He came near one at what is typically perceived by them to be a hostile angle. So it lashed out. If it struck him anywhere else, he would've been laid up in bed for 48 hours with bodyaches (their venom is nonlethal to humans).

Instead, it unfortunately hit him in one area that is quite vulnerable. And it led to his death. It's sad, but it's not the fault of the stingray. If someone came from above you that you didn't recognize and looked like he was going to touch you, you'd react defensively, too. It's an animal response. It happens.

But, please, I know it's sad he's gone, but end these meaningless attacks immediately. This is the definition of pathetic. It's inhumane. It's barbaric. It needs to end.

I have swam with stingrays in the wild, held them, touched them, fed them. And I would hate to think that my fellow humans are capable of such vicious stupidity.

Swimming with rays

Please reassure me... my fellow man is not that ignorant is he?


There's simply no immunity...

Daniel Edwards is one sick bastard.

Drawing a blank on the name? Here is something to help jog your memory. He's the sculptor -- some might argue "artist" -- behind this...

Britneysculpture

Suddenly coming back to you, isn't it? Yep, that's Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug. It's pretty twisted that anyone would want to "memorialize" this with a sculpture that is on public display.

I realize that childbirth is one of the greatest things a person can be a part of. Hell, you're bringing new life into the world. Well, the woman is, while her spouse/mate/significant other gets their hand crushed or passes out cold in the OR. That person is a bit more peripheral to the process, but I'm sure it's important to them all the same.

However, regardless of how amazing a process it is, capturing it artistically remains a taboo area in my book. My wife has already warned me that there will be no still or video cameras in the room during the birthing process. I wholeheartedly agree. I wouldn't want photos of that. So I can't imagine what she'd say if asked about having the moment memorialized in clay.

I digress.

Continue reading "There's simply no immunity..." »


Have you heard the news, makin' all the headlines...

Fletch_1 After years of speculation; a revolving door of stars, writers, and directors; and a series of hate-filled messages from Chevy Chase aimed at formerly attached Director Kevin Smith; it looks as if Irwin M. Fletcher may be returning to the big screen after all.

I, like Sandra, am a huge (nay... GINORMOUS) advocate of the movie Fletch. It's all about a snarky L.A. Times investigative reporter known as "Fletch" played to perfection by Chevy Chase.

It is easily one of the funniest films ever to come out of Hollywood and proves that you don't need gross-out humor to amuse an audience... just damn fine scripting.

And that's what Fletch is all about, the script. Quick-fire dialogue is the key to both the movies and the original novels by Gregory McDonald, which are also damned hilarious.

Hell, Kevin Smith even asserts that the inspiration for his dialogue-driven movies came from McDonald's writing style.

This time around, though, it looks as if Zach Braff (Dr. John "J.D." Dorian of Scrubs) will take the lead role of Fletch in what will become Fletch Won, chronologically the first book in the series (hence the need for a younger star). Scrubs creator, Bill Lawrence, will adapt and direct the movie.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this casting decision. While I like Braff... a lot... I don't see him as Fletch. Yes, he's better than some of the rumored casting "shortlists." But he's not nearly as good as two of the early frontrunners for the role. He's always struck me more as the goofy comic whereas Chase as Fletch was always more of a wry comic throwing out the subtle zingers that you may or may not even catch on to.

Continue reading "Have you heard the news, makin' all the headlines..." »


Woah-oh-oh, Janie's cryin'...

And for good damned reason.

I know this is a bit old (like a month old), but it's been quite some time since I've sought out any Van Halen news. I harbor no hope of them ever getting back together again and doing anything that a normal band would do like record an album, go on tour, make public appearances, sate the fans.

I've given up hope on them entirely.

But, for whatever reason, I found myself looking for news about Van Halen recently, and this is what I get...

Vanhalenchesney

Eddie and Alex Van Halen made a surprise appearance during Kenny Chesney's June 17 performance at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

During the show, the two brothers backed Chesney on the Van Halen original "Jump" and The Kinks' "You Really Got Me," a cover version of which appears on VH's 1978 self-titled debut.

It's the first time the Van Halen brothers have been seen on stage together since Van Halen's 2004 tour ended.

I'm at a loss... I... wow... um, yeah... I'm gonna go join Janie now.


My love for you is ticking clock, berserker...

Some little tidbits to carry you through the remainder of the weekend and into next week...

Best. Search Results. EVER.
You remember my post a little while ago about some of the weird web searches that found my site? I posted it because those were some of the best of a weak crop of searches. If you want some really funny and cool ones, you have to check out Karl's or Hilly's sites.

But I finally have a good one all my own. One I can be proud of. One I'd be willing to put on a T-shirt (worn underneath another shirt most likely). One that defines what my site is all about...

"housewives that love black cock"

Yes, you read that one right. Somehow or another, that search found my site. Is Randal on the Web? Woo hoo!!

Know your corporate identity
This Excel-based corporate logo identity quiz was sent my way at work. Off the bat, I was able to get about 40 out of 50 of them. How well will you do? Just save the linked file to your computer and fire it up. It's pretty cool and, if you're anything like me, you'll be addicted until you finally solve the damn thing.

Beware, though, you may have to get creative with some of them to make them work. Spelling has to be spot-on and some need both brand and item. However, it doesn't look as though it's case sensitive. Oh, and feel free to discuss the answers in the comments to see if you can solve the whole enchilada.

And let me know how you did as well. I did finally finish the thing. But some are really obscure. Hence why working on it with blogbuddies might just be the best method available.

News personalities have personality
One of the things I love about Chicago is the news. I try watching the news in other cities when I visit, but it's just not the same as when I'm back home in Chicago. There's just something about our news that I love.

Couldn't possibly be the fact that only in Chicago will you find the NBC 5 news featuring newscasters with such family friendly names as Dick Johnson (a bit repetitive, don't you think?) and Pete Sack (need I say anything at all?).

God I love this town.


I'd like to buy the world a Coke...

How many years has the iTunes Music Store been in existence now? Four or more? Yeah, that sounds about right.

And as cool a concept as I always thought it was, I never got into buying things from the store until the right price was thrust in my face (no sex-related puns, please; that means you, Chase). And that price was "free."

Yep, not until that first promotion with Pepsi -- in which "1 in 3 people will win a free song from the iTunes Music Store" -- started did I start picking out songs. I'm a cheap bastard, what can I say? I also participated in the promotion the year after that, as well.

The only thing that ever bugged me about it was that I was always a Coke fan. Yet, here I was whoring myself to the Pepsi machine in order to get free music.

Well, not anymore!

Ipodlime It looks as though a "substantial" iTunes/Coke cross promotion is in the works. Considering the previous allegiance with Pepsi, this potential deal may seem a bit odd.

Apple, apparently, does not play favorites.

So I guess there was a little more to Coke's announcement that they were shutting down their online music store than initially reported.

This is a very good thing for many of us in my little nook of the Blogosphere.

Elaine, I'm sure, will be all over it.

Dave's gonna drink himself into lime-laced oblivion.

Perhaps, even Eve will ditch her Dr. Pepper'd ways in favor of free music. (Come to the dark side, Eve!)

Me? Well, I've become addicted to Diet Coke with Lime as of late. To quote the great Depeche Mode, "I just can't get enough." Actually, this applies to Katie as well. That stuff's just damn good.

And, now, my problem will be exponentially worsened as I try to find that special golden wrapper... er... cap with the free song code.

I guess that would depend on what the actual promotion winds up being, of course.

One can hope, though, can't he?

(iPod image stolen from Amazon.com and they probably stole it from someone else; "Everything's Better With LIME" used with permission from Blogography as it's much cooler than the Coca-Cola logo screen that TUAW used.)


Shoot to thrill, play to kill...

[Note: today's post is being dictated to one of Kevin's many editorial assistants as he felt the need to gouge out his own eyeballs after watching half of the new Paris Hilton music video. We got so sick of hearing him wail "Oh, the humanity!" that we made it a point to shut off the video and force the pencils from his hands just as he was about to shove them in his ear canals.]

Yeah, thanks a pantload for that link, RW. You'll get yours. You may not know when, you may not know where; but it will happen. Mark my words.

Hot damn there's been a lot of crap in the news lately. I've covered a bunch of it already this week and It's been a long time since I've been this charged up about current events, let alone dedicate almost an entire week's worth of posts covering them. I'm scaring myself.

Jason Grimsley
You know who this guy is? He's now a former Major League Baseball journeyman whose house was raided by the IRS recently looking for evidence of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Grimsley was brought in to the fold a while back when the steroid investigations were in full swing and he was let off the hook despite failing a drug test.

However, now that HGH is being tested for in the MLB, he's come into the limelight again as agents discovered back in April that he was receiving a shipment with a season's worth of HGH and served up an anticipatory warrant to investigate. He agreed to cooperate and spoke extensively with agents. However, he rescinded that cooperation when, allegedly, they wanted him to wear a wire in hopes of implicating Barry Bonds.

However, he supposedly has already named some names to the tune of 30 or more professional athletes Grimsley alleges are users and abusers. We don't know who they are just yet and it seems like many may be sweating out the wait.

But if this is as inflammatory as it could be, it could shake baseball to its core. I think even moreso than what happened in the last couple years with the steroid probes.

Can the game ever be clean again?

Read the full 20+ pages of affidavit on The Smoking Gun.

Zarqawi
I know I should be happy that a strafing by U.S. jets wound up killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of Osama bin Laden's grand poobahs. Don't get me wrong, I am glad he's dead.

But it just doesn't seem like a step in the right direction toward solving the problem at hand. I'm not really sure that anything we are doing will ever make the world as "safe" as President Bush seems to think it will.

With each Al Qaeda chief that gets killed, another one just moves into his place. And the line is never ending. We will never be at a loss for people who consider us the enemy and will sacrifice their lives for what they think is right. It just won't happen. This is a losing battle. But it's one that I don't know if we can ever back down from now that we are so embroiled in it.

Or perhaps I'm just melancholy because I was on Google Maps yesterday and, for some reason, found myself scanning over New York City and I saw this...

Groundzero

Yep, that's Ground Zero as viewed from satellite. I've never actually seen this view before and I'm kinda shocked I never bothered looking at it via Google Maps before. Now that I think about it, I have looked at NYC via Google Maps before, but never on the "hybrid" setting. It was always just set on "map" view so I could see the streets.

Not that images of Ground Zero haven't been all over the news, Web, and print publications for years; but, today, for whatever reason, it just really hit me hard.

The last time I was in NYC was, I believe, sometime in late August 2000 and I saw the Towers. I never went up in them, but I saw them while I was staying down in Times Square and when I flew into and out of LaGuardia Airport.

And I'll never be able to see them again. And Katie will never be able to see them for a first time.

So I apologize for my somber demeanor right now.

Weird how indiscriminately memories and emotions strike you, isn't it?


Every single one of us, the devil inside...

I told myself I wasn't going to post anything about 6/6/06 on the day it actually happened. While you would think this is the sort of day I would really get into, I was truly getting sick of seeing all the build up to it. It was everywhere. The Naperville (IL) Sun community newspaper even gave it a full front-page spread. Apparently it was a slow news day in the western suburbs. People were making such a big to-do about it that I just couldn't stand it anymore.

So I'm posting about 6/6/6 on 6/7/6, or, if you prefer international dating methods as I do, 6/6/7 or 7/6/6... your choice.

However, there were a few things I just had to mention.

The iPod Chronicles
Many of you have read about how I believe iPods and their users develop a bit of symbiotic relationship, right? Well, it's happening with Black iP as well. Last night, as I got in my truck to come home from work, I put BiP on my dock and pressed play. Since it's on random, I never know which of the more than 5,000 songs will play first.

This time? INXS' "The Devil Inside." No joke. I swear to God. Appropriate, eh?

I was half expecting Beck's "Devil's Haircut" next. However, the Devil's Day theme ended with our fave Aussies.

International ____ Day
I'm a bit behind on listing the coming week's holidays. Sorry about that. It just didn't seem to fit in to my posts on either Monday or Tuesday. So here it is a day late; hopefully not a dollar short.

Satan Incarnate
Okay, that's a bit strong to describe this person. How about "dumb as a nail, self-involved bitch"?

Did anyone watch the Today show yesterday morning? I don't watch it all that much since the announcement that Meredith Vieira would take over co-hosting duties with Matt Lauer. However, this week has been heaven. Katie Couric is gone and Vieira's not quite there yet. So Ann Curry, who should be the co-anchor, is sitting in with Matt.

Anncoulter_1 Anyway, yesterday, Matt was interviewing Ann Coulter. She's a political analyst and writer whom I've heard of but had never really seen, listened to, or read before. She was booked to help promote her new book Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

Well, as you would expect if you've ever watched any interview show, it wasn't just about the book. Lauer started grilling her on her opinion regarding the war in Iraq, immigration reform, and Bush's attempts to push through a gay marriage ban (you all already know my opinion on that one). He was giving her some good, but fair questions. Nothing too tough. They were questions that anybody with a passing knowledge of current events should be able to answer, and they should have been easy for an analyst such as Coulter.

She was fumbling through them worse than a teenager about to lose their virginity. She was an awkward, mumbling deer in headlights. She was pulling every no-no that you ever learn in speech and broadcast journalism courses in school. And there wasn't a single question that she answered to the satisfaction of either the viewing audience (I'm assuming based on my own reaction) or Matt Lauer. You could tell he was getting frustrated.

However, when he said, "let's discuss a quote from your new book," she said, "Great! Finally what I came here to talk about!" (I paraphrase, for the record).

As soon as she said that, I turned it off. At first, I was fascinated by how bad she was. Clearly she is the sort of political analyst that can work only in a situation in which she either has a substantial amount of time to think things through adequately or an editor to catch her guffaws. If televised, I think she must require a script and teleprompter. She obviously cannot think under pressure.

And her enthusiasm for talking about her book and nothing else just disgusted me. I couldn't watch any more.

They say that first impressions last the longest; or, is it, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Well, either way, the first impression she left on me was far from a positive one. She's a moron.

The Omen
So how am I celebrating the day after Devil's Day? I'm going to see The Omen tonight with my brother and his fiancee. Katie has no desire to see it, and just doesn't do horror movies in general. She was more than happy to be working tonight and sending us off to see this. I've heard good things about it and I dig Julia Stiles. I'll let you know.

UPDATE
I found a video of Coulter's appearance on the Today show on YouTube. The video is not the best quality, but the audio speaks volumes. Check it out...

Youtube


Love me, love me, say that you love me...

I always thought of myself as rather average. Ordinary. Run of the mill. I don't have any particularly astounding abilities or achievements. I'm not a great man. Just normal. I love. I eat. I sleep. I work. I play. I breathe.

But, when it comes to thought, I'm clearly ahead of the pack. This isn't some conscious choice I made. I didn't wake up one morning and decide, "Kevin, you are now a forward-thinking individual."

And what would be this great thought that I have? This belief I hold that makes me greater than the status quo? I'll tell you...

I think gay people should be allowed to get married.

Yes, folks, you read it here. Kevin believes that the state of matrimonial bliss should be experienced by those who love people of the same gender.

No, this is not a technically groundbreaking belief. I know many people who share in it. Katie is one of them.

Yet, for some strange reason, a large percentage of this country holds an innate phobia of same-sex marriage. They cannot possibly fathom such a thing. In fact, our President is proposing a Constitutional ban on it.

Well, here's a point for you to ponder... it's not something that you need to fathom.

No one is asking you to be a partner in a same-sex union. All you need to do is acknowledge and accept that there are same-sex couples out there that do love each other in the same way that you love your hetero significant other.

Who are we to determine who "should" or "should not" fall in love? Who are we to say that one group of people can be legally recognized as a couple and another cannot?

You can throw all the "legal," "ethical," and "moral" justifications you want at me. You can point out all the Biblical claims that it is wrong.

But I won't buy it.

I know what it's like to doubt the power of love only to discover that it truly can exist, even for a loser like myself. When you find it, you want to grab on to it and never let go. If you have not experienced this yet, I hope you do. But don't deny someone else their right, as a human being, to follow their heart.

To be honest with you, the United States has a much bigger problem to worry about, in my humble opinion. The bigger problem is that we make it far too easy now for heterosexuals to get married and divorced. (Yes, it's an ironic claim considering I'm fighting to make marriage legal and easier for homosexual couples, but, oh well, deal with it.)

Two people who have known each other for mere hours can get married in Las Vegas and a select few other areas with nothing more than a late-night marriage license, a fistful of cash, and drunken lust. On the flip side of the coin, two people who suddenly decide they no longer love each other can end it, no questions asked. And, for the right price, the divorce can be expedited through the legal system, just ask Hollywood. Money clearly does make the world go round. How is that right?

And you're worried about two people who love each other enough that they are willing to fight the legal system and put their love out there on display in front of the ignorant and intolerant masses so they can be together? These are people that clearly are truly, madly, deeply in love with other. Most of us can only dream about something that great and you want to take it away from them.

Now tell me whose priorities are out of whack?


Well there's floodin' down in Texas...

It is my firm belief that Texas must be the fattest state in the entire United States of America. Oh hell, it's probably a safe bet that it's one of the worst areas of the world.

I make this claim having never set foot in the state before in my life. And I'm pretty sure that after making it, I will never be welcome there, ever.

But I also make this claim with the utmost in scientific research by my side. Highly objective... thoroughly scrutinized... scientifically verifiable.

Texasdoublewhopper Yes, my claim is based on the naming system used by Burger King to designate their new two-patty behemoth known as the Texas Double Whopper.

No, it's not the worst burger developed in recent years. There have been far worse, in fact. But that does nothing to take away from the heart-attack-in-disguise status of this mother of an ex-bovine.

And if Texas is responsible for this burger, God only knows what else they have lurking down there in their heavily protected state recipe files. A San Antonio Super Sloppy Slurpy? Prodigious Padre Island Pancake Patty Melt? Corpus Cristi Crunchy Crusty Cristo?

Yeah, enough of that. My stomach's turning just coming up with those names.

Why did BK decide to sully the image of the Lone Star State in such a way? I realize that when the annual Top 25 Fattest Cities report is released, Texas typically has a handful of cities in the top 25 (four in 2005, alone). But do we really need to denegrate them further? Don't you think they're probably full of enough doubt and self loathing as it is?

But what scares me even more is the fact that I am unable to give you the nutritional facts on this beast. This new burger is conspicuously absent from the downloadable Nutritional Information PDF file on the BK Web site. Whether this is because it is so new or they are afraid to share the truth remains to be seen.

Regardless, I'm scared.

You poor, misunderstood Texans.


You are the talk of the town...

I've received some interesting comments regarding a couple of my recent posts about television and the Prez Bush press conference interrupting shows.

It started on Monday a little something like this...

Claire: "Be warned that the President has an address tonight so that may throw off things if you're TiVoing."

Me: "BASTARD! At least I'll be home so I can figure things out for when Katie gets home from work. What time? This is going to piss off the networks and fans immensely."

Claire: "8-8:30 is what the listing I looked at said. They're actually showing last night's GA ep again at 8, but it's getting cut in half by the address. I just don't want it to cut into the finale of HIMYM."

MadIrishMan: "Get ready. Now that a former FOX guy (Tony Snow) is the White House Press Secretary, Bush will be cutting into a lot of programs in the future. If and only if the networks give him the time. Some regular networks might not give him the air time. Most of his speeches will be on cable news."

Me: "Claire and MIM, this is just crap. I don't want it cutting into HIMYM or Grey's Anatomy. And, sadly, I'd rather watch CSI: Miami than our president. If he keeps screwing up networks' schedules like this with his incoherent BS, it's likely they'll give him less and less time. They don't want anything pre-empting their season finales. This is May Sweeps. The ratings here determine their advertising income for the next season. There's no better way to lose viewers than to pre-empt season finales with our dipshit of a president. Why does this reek of bad PR effort to save face? It's just going to backfire."

Claire: "It's supposed to be about immigration legislation which I am interested in, but I'm not sure I can make myself watch him. 'I'd rather watch CSI: Miami than our president.' Miami has been so bad this year, I stopped watching; nonetheless, I think the same is true for me. Guess I'll just look up a transcript later on."

And it continued on Tuesday's post like this:

MadIrishMan: "Maybe that is President Bush's idea. Ratings will be down when he is on and it could hurt the networks. ;) But, to his credit, this is something he should have been doing 4-5 years ago. I cannot remember a President that has spoken on TV driectly to the public less than GW. Just a stat I heard. This was the first time GW has spoken to the country from the Oval Office on a domestic issue. Now how bad is that?"

Tracy Lynn: "That stupid man forced me to miss most of the ball game so that I could watch my shows last night. Bastard. Why can't he prioritize appropriately?! ;-) He did NOT need twenty minutes to say what needed to be said. He could have just dropped it into a commercial space, that would have been way more considerate, and would have allowed me to Tivo AND fast forward through it."

Me: "MIM, I agree he should be doing something far more regularly than just once a year. He's a media troll. Just don't interrupt us and our shows."

But it was Tracy's comment that got me thinking... is there a better way for the President to handle this sort of situation? Is there something he can do to get the information out via the mainstream media and not piss off both the networks and viewers?

And here is the solution that I came up with...

Continue reading "You are the talk of the town..." »


C'mon, let's get it started...

Since I'm not exactly feeling inspired at the moment (ironic considering I just proclaimed how I rarely struggle for a post topic... go fig), here are a few notes.

MisclivingwithwarNew Music
As sad as this sounds, I still have to buy the latest Pearl Jam album from iTunes. I can't believe that I, the Pearl Jam fan I am, have not yet picked it up. Katie's brother may be sending it my way, too. I think that's why I'm holding out, to see where I get it first.

But has anyone listened to the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album Stadium Arcadium yet? Is it worth buying the whole thing or are there only a few tracks that are worth the download? I'm curious.

I think I may have to pick up the new Neil Young album Living With War. What I've heard sounds pretty good. And it's been a while since I bought an album off iTunes.

Any other good stuff I'm missing out on? Let me know.

Summer Reading List
Each year, the library staff where I work puts out a summer reading brochure containing reviews of books from faculty and staff. When they sent out the e-mail requesting reviews from us, I sent them the link to Fun With Dead Trees and told them to use whatever they wanted to fill in the gaps.

They thanked me with candy.

Cool.

President Bush
Oh how I cannot stand this guy! Just when you think he can't find any new ways to piss me off, he decides to pre-empt an evening's worth of season finale programming with a press conference about the immigration issue.

You know what? Just give us the bullet points in an online article, Dubya, okay? I can't stand hearing your incomprehensible voice prattling off information that you barely understand. And to do so on a night when I'm trying to watch the finales of How I Met Your Mother and Grey's Anatomy while depending on my TiVo to record 24, I just cannot forgive you.

As a good American, I know I should care, but I just don't. I want to watch my TV shows and not have to deal with you.

And you have now pissed off the networks as well since you're pre-empting a couple of the biggest shows around with a press conference during May Sweeps. That is the time when ratings determine advertising rates for the coming year. I'm sure these networks are none too happy that you are dragging down the ratings for the night with your nonsensical ramblings.

I will admit that the networks managed to deal with it appropriately. They either aired a filler episode in the remainder of the hour around Bush's press conference or they were able to delay their schedule the necessary 20 minutes and got enough notice out to their netlets and the cable providers so that DVRs could reprogram accordingly.

NBC 2006-2007
It's been quite a while since I've had reason to believe in the theory that NBC can actually put together a solid primetime lineup. And with some of the shows they are throwing around for next season, I'm not exactly thinking that next year will be much better.

Apparently, NBC will debut six new dramas in an effort to boost their lagging ratings.

  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip featuring Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford about the behind-the-scenes happenings at a TV variety show. Sounds like it could be interesting, but NBC is already putting all their eggs in this basket, which frightens me. Coupling and Miss/Match, anyone? I'll still give it a shot, I think. Someone in their post-Friends career has got to finally have some luck (aside from Jennifer Aniston whose luck began before leaving the show).
  • Friday Night Lights about a high school football team. Movies about H.S. football? Sure. A television series? Not sure about that one.
  • Kidnapped about the abduction of a teenage boy. While I can understand, and enjoy, a show about investigating the kidnappings of many, different random people -- Without a Trace -- I don't see how you can build a show for an entire season around a single kidnapping.
  • The Black Donnellys about an Irish family involved in organized crime. This could be interesting. I'm sure MadIrishMan will be all over it. But this isn't expected to premiere until January.
  • Heroes about everyday people who discover they have special powers. Ummm... haven't we had enough of this supernatural predilection lately?
  • ... Wondering what #6 is? So am I. The article mentions six new dramas, but only winds up listing five. Go fig, eh?

NBC also has two new comedies coming out: 20 Good Years with John Lithgow and 30 Rock with Tina Fey. I only know that the latter is about a writer (Fey) on a TV variety show. So what, now everyone's going to program about Saturday Night Live-esque shows? That's two for NBC alone. Aye aye aye.


Latest Fun With Dead Trees review - The Lost Blogs: From Jesus to Jim Morrison -  The Historically Inaccurate and Totally Fictitious Cyber Diaries of Everyone Worth Knowing by Paul Davidson


Too much information...

I've got a ton of randomness for you today. Sorry if these tangents shoot you all over the place. Just sit back, return your seatbacks and traytables to their upright and locked positions, and prepare for a ride...

Network Neutrality
Talk about the topic du jour, I've been seeing this everywhere lately.

For those not in the know, basically, Network Neutrality is a campaign to save the Internet from a proposal in which telecommunications companies that serve as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to "control" Web traffic flow by making some sites load faster or slower than others.

Effectively, this means that ISPs will be showing preference to some sites over others. And what will likely determine who gets this preferential treatment? Money. Yeah, that's right. If a site wants to see their stuff load faster, they may be forced to pay the ISPs so their site will work better.

What a load of crap.

Here are a couple examples from a list I found of how this could affect us as Web users:

Ipod listeners—A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.

Bloggers—Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

Google users—Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.

I don't really know everything about this topic. I don't even really know just how much of a speed difference there might be. It may be negligible, especially in this broadband era that we now live in. I'm reading what I can on the topic and the prospects do scare the bejeebus out of me, should they be valid.

Either way, this is definitely something you should keep your eyes on over the next several months. If you'd like a relatively easy-to-understand overview, check Wil's site.

MySpace
Sorry Neilochka, but I did it. I bit the bullet and signed up for a MySpace account. I really don't know why (well, I've received two invites lately both from my brother and from Johnny C) and I have no idea what benefits it may have, if any. Time will tell.

Miscmyspace_1But, you can check me out on MySpace here or by clicking on "MySpace" in the left menubar under "Kapgarize Me: Personal."

Actually, now that I think about it, should this be listed under "Personal" or "Communities" in the left menubar?

I do have 11 friends already, including Jesus H. Christ himself. So that's pretty cool. But I've also already had friends requests from three complete strangers. All of them are bands. Two from Chicago and one from L.A. Guess some of them have robots that scour the lists of MySpace users for newbies and locals, eh? Does this happen to each of you a lot?

I'm not really sure who out there is on MySpace that I know, but if you are and want to be my friend, contact me via my account.

"Be my friend, Appleby!"

iTunes/iPod
Thankfully, iTunes won the war with the major labels and the 99 cents/song pricing structure will remain intact. The music labels wanted to have a tiered structure so they could force iTunes to sell more popular songs at a higher price. Those greedy prick bastards. But Apple held strong. And they won. Thank you, Steve Jobs!

In other interesting music news, some miners who are trapped in a coal mine in Australia have been receiving survival necessities via a giant PVC pipe that rescuers managed to drop down to them. They have been given such things as food, water, dry clothing, blankets, vitamins, glow sticks, iPods, digital cameras... woah! iPods? Yeah, iPods have been passed down to the two miners loaded with music of their choosing just to make the time more bearable. Why not? If it makes their time trapped a bit more tolerable, it can't be all bad. Just goes to show that iPods really do make the world go round. Heh.

A New Snack
On a lighter note, both literally and figuratively, Katie and I have, just this week, become utterly obsessed with a new snack food. We found it at The Fresh Market and neither of us had ever seen it before, so it may be new... or we may just both be blind as bats.

Miscgoldfish_1Whole Grain Goldfish Crackers (you will have to enable popups for this site, sorry). And they rock! So far as we can tell, they only come in the original cheese flavor.

How do they compare to the original fishies? We both think they are actually not that much different. Maybe a little less cheese flavor, which translates to less powdery mess. But they are also a bit crunchier.

All in all, damn good! We highly recommend them.

If I had a cool "Kapgar Approved" logo like Dave's little seal of approval, that thing would be pasted all over these little babies. Alas, I do not. And Dave would probably sue my ass from here to Timbuktu for taking his idea anyway. So I'm much better off without it.

At least I've got my fishies.

Veronica Mars, season 2
For all you VM fans out there, here's a bit of good news... the season 2 DVD set for Veronica Mars will be coming out on August 15. This should be just in time for the start of season 3.

Yeah, you heard me CW execs, "season 3"! You'd damn well better re-up the show!


Sorry to throw so much at you. But I'm sure if one thing didn't appeal to you, then, hopefully, one of the other snippets will.


Out in the Suri with the fringe on top...

I'm not feeling particularly inspired in terms of writing some kind of cool story or whatnot. So I think today will be a recap of all kinds of different little things.

Fun With Dead Trees
Some... er... issues came up with FWDT. For some reason, a few browsers on various platforms were unable to properly view my new book review blog and, of course, I didn't know them until I started receiving some comments about the problems.

I tested seven browsers on two different platforms and OSs and found that two of them weren't displaying the blog properly. And none of the browsers were allowing comments whatsoever.

The issue was traced back to some illegitimate coding in my dropdown search menus. They weren't closed out properly. There are a few other coding issues that the W3C doesn't seem to like, but those eminate from the auto-coding that TypePad's XML writes up. I have no access to it whatsoever. So, hopefully, they will clean it up.

But, I am pretty sure that commenting is working right now on the browsers that you could previously view the posts with. So please try it on some random reviews. But I still have some other bugs to work out.

Also, if you are still having issues regarding viewing of the site, please comment here or drop me an e-mail and let me know what browser, version, and OS you are using.

I just got word back from TypePad that I can convert this template to something called "Advanced Templates." They say it should give me the level of access I need to make the changes necessary to operate the site properly. But I lose the GUI design aspect of it all. Not sure what to do. The thought freaks me out a bit. Has anybody out there played with TypePad's Advanced Templates feature before?

I knew I probably should have held off on the announcement of the book blog another day or so, but, damn if I wasn't just so excited about it. I had to share it.

Blogography Turns 3!
This week marks the third blogiversary of my buddy, Dave. And he's having a bash to beat all bashes. If you hurry over to his site, you may still be able to take part in some of the giveaways he has going on. Bear in mind, if you've never been much of a commenter on his site, you will have to take part in some quizzes to prove your Dave-legiance.

Happy three years, man. Keep 'em coming!

Suri Cruise
Yep, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes pulled off a silent delivery of their spawn this week and named her Suri. In all, I like the name Suri. It really is a nice name. Just not for their kid.

When I first heard the name, I immediately thought that "Suri" has a strong Indian sound to it and Tom and Katie are decidedly NOT Indian. But this view has changed since I discovered that they chose the name because it is Hebrew for "Princess" or Persian for "Red Rose."

But the funny thing about it all comes from the fact that "Suri" is also Japanese for "pickpocket." If anything, she certainly has her career path chosen for her and it should only take a year or two to be at the proper height for her to practice on her dad.

"Not Ready to Make Nice"
I don't know if any of you out there are fans of The Dixie Chicks. If you are, might I recommend their new single "Not Ready to Make Nice"? It's a great track and it's the Chicks making a political statement as only they can.

C'mon, any song with the lyrics "I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down, I'm still mad as hell and, I don't have time to go round and round and round" can't be all bad, right?

Oh, and it's an iTunes exclusive. Hope you're a user.


Evil minds that plot destruction...

I was watching a TiVosode of The Daily Show from Monday night when they asked a commercial-break trivia question that really disturbed me...

The current war in Iraq has been going on since March 19, 2003. That means it clocks in at three years and, at the time the question was asked, one day. Based on this fact, which of the following is the only one to last longer than the Iraq War?

             

Miscwarof1812
The War of 1812

Misc100yrswar
The 100 Years War

Miscwwi
U.S. involvement in World War I

Miscnickjessica
Nick and Jessica

The answer is obvious, of course. But it disturbed me when I realized that the Iraq War has lasted longer than our involvement in WWI. How messed up is that? And it shows no sign of ending any time soon.

Sorry to go all political on your weekend.


So here I am with open arms...

This sickens me.

Miscgaygames Katie and I were watching the news the other night when we heard a story about the Gay Games coming to Chicago July 15-22 this year. I thought, "oh, that's cool."

Unfortunately, that was not the entire news story that was being reported that night.

The rowing event was set to take place in one of the suburbs of Chicago, a small town called Crystal Lake about an hour northwest of the city and immediately adjacent to McHenry, where Katie was born and spent her entire life until she married me.

However, this is no longer the plan. The moral minority in the town put up a stink causing the town board to vote on whether the event really would be held on Crystal Lake or not. The final vote was 2-2 with the fifth voter not present for the vote. Since a majority did not vote in favor, it is not going to happen there.

So now the event is out of Crystal Lake and they need to find a new venue.

It truly still amazes me the level of ignorance and intolerance in the world these days. I never grew up around it to the best of my knowledge. I don't remember experiencing anything like it ever. I've always had a wide range of friends of different ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. It never bothered my parents, so it never bothered me. I never thought twice about the fact that the friends I invited to my birthday parties as a child were white, black, hispanic, asian. My best friend in the world as a kid was a pure-blooded Cherokee indian (well, okay, he'd been adopted by white parents, but that didn't matter) and another was black.

As I grew up, I became aware of "racial divides" from the news and from school. But I'd never experienced anything that I was personally aware of. In college, I met my first gay couple. One of them was one of the nicest guys I'd ever met (the other was an arrogant bastard, but oh well, self righteousness knows no boundaries).

Perhaps it is my own personal ignorance to the situation at hand. When you are not that exposed to it on a regular or even semi-regular basis, it's even more troubling when it does happen. So color me shocked at the depths to which people will sink to preserve "traditional family values" as one interviewee on the news called it.

People! Wake up! It's fine to be traditional. It's nice to hold on to some good old-fashioned values. God knows, in many instances, we need that kind of infusion of values. Perhaps you should start with corporate America, though.

But, when these "values" foster ignorance, they've gotta go.


Sometimes I think I'm blind, or I may be just paralyzed...

I awoke this morning in pain.

Not an extreme or debilitating pain, but a dull, aching, pervasive, full-bodied pain.

It began in my eyelids. As though I were punched in both sockets the night before and now they were swollen shut. It took a Herculean effort to break the nearly hermetic seal that joined them together.

Yet, cracking them open was only the beginning as I now need to open them to see where I was and what I was doing. The clock read 5:55, or so I initially thought. I blinked my world into focus a second time and saw that it was actually 6:15.

I was in bed. I was not drunk. But I could not move and, if I tried, I feared something might drop off my body.

I sat up anyway.

And promptly fell back in bed.

I attempted it again and braced myself up with my arms. Under the weight of my upper body, I grew aware that my arms might crumble like aged and dry-rotted wood columns.

I set my feet on the floor and felt the tickling of blood in my veins as my heart pumped the necessary fluids to ennervate the muscles I would soon need to enable walking.

Painstakingly, I maneuvered to the bathroom and got in the shower. The warm water did nothing to relieve my aching. All I felt were heated needles sticking my body in rapid succession. I got out, dried off, got dressed, and made my way to the stairs.

The staircase was an exercise in agony as, with each step I took, lightning bolts coarsed from my feet up to my hips. Never before had I wanted to live in a ranch house more than at that moment.

That was my morning. And, sadly, none of it is an exaggeration. It is now nearly noon and, while it has dulled somewhat, I'm still feeling much of the pain. My head is throbbing and my eyesight is clouded over. My fingertips feel as though they are shattering with each keystroke I make. I've never felt this kind of aching before in my life.

So constant.

So complete.

And there is absolutely no explanation for it whatsoever.

I just want to make it end. Please, make it end.


Keep my heart somewhere drugs don't go...

Have you ever read a news headline and thought, "Wow! That's going to be a great story!" only to encounter the sad reality that it's just... well... boring.

I realize it's completely intentional as the job of any headline writer is to suck a person into reading it. That's how newspapers get sales and Web-based news sites get hits, right? Sorry, but it just frustrates me to know that the fantasy inherent in reading news headlines is typically so much better than the reality.

Take, for example, the following headline I found just now on my Yahoo homepage...

American wheelchair player banned 3-1/2 months for doping

Wheelchairsyringe How do you interpret this headline? For me, I instantly thought that there was a wheelchair-bound athlete who was shooting up 'roids in order to place better in marathon races or drive harder in basketball games.

I found myself asking, "buddy, was it really worth it?"

I thought, "what a shame that someone that could so easily serve as a role model to physically handicapped of the world is busted for juicing up."

I know the justification that pro athletes use for shooting up steroids... the money. In some sports, the stronger you are, the better you perform. That translates to greater excitement, more butts in the seats, more money in the coffers, and, eventually, higher-paying contracts. Just ask Barry Bonds.

I never saw this being an issue for Special Olympians who, correct me if I'm wrong, do not play for money and have minimal endorsement opportunities, at best. Not saying they don't deserve them. God knows I'd be more inspired if Wheaties featured someone who has overcome that kind of adversity as opposed to a play-it-for-me pro.

Then I read the article. Following is the full text...

LONDON (Reuters) - An American wheelchair player has been banned for 3-1/2 months by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after testing positive for cannabis.

David Buck, 46, from Silverado, California, tested positive with a sample given at the U.S. Open wheelchair championships in San Diego in October, the ITF said in a statement on Tuesday.

That's it.

First, they suck me in with a completely enthralling headline that plays on the whole steroid craze that has been occuring in professional sports over the last decade plus but spun for a sector of athletics you would never think about only to find out that it's merely a marijuana offense. Okay, I should not downplay the illegality of marijuana like that, but I was expecting so much more from the story.

Second, they give you no real details whatsoever. No quotes from sources. No tie ins to other related stories. No nothing.

How boring.

And this was on Yahoo's frontpage. Must be a blah news day.

Not to mention a blah blogging day. I'm suffering such horrible writer's block right now. I hope March blasts in with a wave of creativity for yours truly.


Everybody hurts... sometimes...

People die.

I hate to be so blunt about it, but that's the way it is.

And, since we all became connected on the Web, it seems like we hear about death more often than ever before. Such and such actor or actress died... some politician collapses... a beloved athlete loses his battle with some incurable disease... a musician ends their life... the list goes on and on.

But, because of the Web and the proliferation of this sort of news, I think we are not nearly as affected by it as we might normally be. Reading about death becomes so commonplace that we have become completely, and unfortunately, immune to it. Mortality desensitization of a sort, I suppose.

That's the way it seems for me anyway. I read about all these people that have died and maybe I shrug my shoulders... perhaps I call Katie at work to tell her... sometimes I might read into it a bit more.

But rarely do I blog about it.

Before today, I only blogged about a few "celebrity" deaths. One was John Ritter because I was deeply affected by his death. He was one of my favorite actors growing up. I was a junkie for Three's Company as a kid and I watched a lot of his later stuff, as well, and always seemed to like the guy. His passing was a terrible thing for me. There were also the deaths of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in relatively close succession. I still think they are the greatest on-screen duo of all time. The final, however, was some actor whose name eludes me at the moment. I only blogged about him because he committed suicide and it had been so long since I had heard his name that it caught me offguard. I'll have to scour my archives and see if I can figure out who it was.

Then, this weekend happened.

And two other actors who were part of my childhood passed away as well.

The first was Don Knotts who died Friday. As I said, I was a huge Three's Company fan and he, as Mr. Furley, was just as important to that show as Ritter's Jack Tripper. The interplay between the two of them was enough to keep me amused for hours. As I grew up, I discovered his other great work such as The Andy Griffith Show. But, to me, he will always be Mr. Furley.

The second was Darren McGavin who passed away on Saturday. According to IMDb, the guy amassed an amazing list of acting credits that rivaled just about anybody (well over 150 credits, including starring and guest spots in movies and TV shows). However, I will always remember him as the leg lamp-lusting father in what is singularly the greatest holiday movie of all time, A Christmas Story.

It may not be all that big a deal to many out there. Some may shrug it off as just another Hollywood death much like I have to so many other celebrities in the past.

But, to me, these two are something else altogether. These are two passings that I will remember and personally mourn because they are significant to me.