5 posts from March 2003

Oldies: Sunday, March 23 - Saturday, March 29, 2003...

Friday, 28 March 2003: Apparently, some greater power out there did not want Katie and I to sleep well last night.

At about 1:30 in the morning, we heard some bottles crash in the kitchen. I made my way out there slowly because the bottles we heard crash are kept right beside one of the doors to our back deck so I was wary that someone may have been trying to break in. When I got there, I discovered a bunch of bananas had fallen off this cart that we have and toppled over two bottles of Warsteiner. We keep them out there because we don't want to store all our beer in the fridge as it would take up too much room. No, it's not that we have a lot of beer, we just keep as little as possible in the fridge at any one time to keep from taking up too much space. Do you like how I scrambled to cover up that one? Keep you all from thinking that Katie and I are raging alcoholics.

It took me a while to fall back asleep because when you are already sleeping and something like this wakes you up, your heart tends to be kicking it in doubletime. So, I finally fell asleep and, around 2:45, Katie's car alarm goes off. This is the second time her alarm has been tripped in the last week. No damage done, but you can tell the weather is getting better. Our theory is that her alarm gets tripped by cats that we've found wandering around the parking lots. Some people just don't give a damn about keeping their pets indoors and these cats manage to find shelter somewhere during the winter months. For some weird reason, cats seem to love hopping up on the hoods of parked cars. I remember that Meatball always left a couple hundred pawprints all over the windshields of my parents' cars when he would escape into the garage. Must be hardcoded. And, yes, it took me even longer to fall asleep after that one just waiting for the next cat-astrophe to happen.

Wednesday, 26 March 2003: You know, I've sat here adding stuff to this website for five years now. And there have been times when I wonder why I even bother. According to my webstats, my page views are relatively minimal (except when I write about something that everyone wants to know about and they happen to find my site via search engines - i.e. Apolo Ohno last year and Joe Millionaire this year). So, yes, I truly wonder why.

Then, occasionally I get an e-mail like I did yesterday. Or two e-mails, as the case may be. I don't often read mail that winds up in my junk mail folder, but once in a while, I will relent. Especially if it has a subject line related to my site or to something I am interested in. These two e-mails had the subjects "kapgar awards" and "Hirsh v Hirsch" and were from the same person. So, I didn't delete them.

A little background in case you need it... last April, I started giving out the Kapgar.com Primetime Awards, my own answer to the Emmys which I feel to be a joke. Yes, I am in the process of putting together the second annual Kapgar.com Awards now. One of the awards I gave was to what I called the "Best Rookie Kiddie" whom I described as a young actor who is new to a series. I gave this particular award to Hallee Hirsh who played Rachel Greene, the daughter of Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) onER. Just a note, I originally spelled her lastname "Hirsch" with a "c" because that was how I found it onIMDb. They don't spell it that way anymore so I'm wondering if they've updated since last year. Or maybe I just misread it. Ah, water under the bridge.

So, almost a year passes and the only thought I've given to any of these awards is whether or not anyone will repeat this year. I open up those two e-mails yesterday just before leaving work and the first one reads...

Thanks for voting Hallee "Best Rookie Kiddie"...

Deborah Hirsh

Hmmm... I start to wonder. So I read the second one with the subject "Hirsh v Hirsch"...

It's Hirsh - I am her mom.

Deborah Hirsh

Now, not all of you may think this is all that cool. But, for me, this was a complete ego stroke. I thought it was one of the coolest things that's happened to me in terms of my website. Kinda makes it all at least a little worthwhile.

And, to Hallee and her mom, sorry I misspelled the name. It has been changed.

Monday, 24 March 2003: It was recently announced that Sears Roebuck and Company was going to perform a very patriotic act. As you know, it's law for companies to rehire employees that are in the military and are sent away to take part in some military action. However, it is not required for the company to continue paying them or maintaining their benefits. Well, Sears announced that they are going to continue benefits for their employees who are taking part in the war against Iraq as well as pay them the difference between what their salaries were at Sears and what they are now being paid by the military. Pretty noble, eh? I thought so.

Until this morning, that is, when they announced on the radio that Sears Roebuck is laying off 400 employees. Dunno if it has to do directly with the military compensation bit or not. Obviously, they would never admit it. But you can probably count on the fact that it is at least indirectly related. If you're gonna pay your employees that are no longer there as well as pay their replacements, the money's gotta come from somewhere. And Sears is already a pretty financially strapped corporation as it is.

Ah well, the things that make you go "hmmm"...

Sunday, 23 March 2003: I'm sure you've noticed that I didn't make any predictions regarding the Academy Awards this year. Why you may ask? Because I've seen so few of the nominated films and actors/actresses that I just wasn't interested in the slightest. Yes, I did watch the awards and I do have some commentary on it. But, I'm glad I made no picks because I would have been so far off, it's not even funny.

First, while Chicago came up as the big winner in terms of number of awards, the real winner last night was clearly The Pianist. C'mon, upset winner for best actor, upset winner for director, winner for best adapted screenplay. That's pretty damned good. And Adrien Brody's speech was the best of the evening. I give props to anyone that can make the Academy band stop playing.

Second, I'm sick and tired of Catherine Zeta-Jones. This woman is so in love with herself it hurts. I never want to see her face or hear her voice again. I will admit that I was thoroughly taken with her when The Mask of Zorro came out. But, back then, she was a nobody. She didn't have a chance yet to worm her way into the darkest recesses of our psyche. Now, she's everywhere. And, apparently, the movies are not enough for her. She's in all these damned T-Mobile cellular phone ads on the radio, TV, magazines, and newspapers. She's the reason I won't even talk to a T-Mobile rep. I was reading in Parade magazine (the supplement that comes in some Sunday newspapers) and there was a question about CZJ doing those ads. They asked why she's doing them if she's not washed up or her career is in any sort of trouble (which it obviously is not). The columnist responded by saying that she didn't know the exact reasons, but she speculated that it had something to do with CZJ not being able to get enough of herself and that she wants to be everywhere. In other words, ego boost. I so wanted her to lose the best supporting actress award last night just to see her get knocked back down a couple of pegs.

I would also like to give the Academy credit for not shutting down any of the speakers last night. No, I didn't particularly agree with the way Michael Moore approached his speech and I wonder how many of his fellow nominees in the best documentary category would have gone up there with him if they knew he was going to fly into an anti-Bush tirade. Yes, I'm against military action in the Middle East, but being that volitile is not going to help. You've now lost 65% of the American people's support for your next film, Michael. That's not too good.

Lastly, while I praise the Academy, I've also got to heap some blame on them. Did anyone else notice that during the "In Memoriam" segment (where they remember all those who died) that they misspelled John Frankenheimer? They spelled his name "Frankeheimer" without the second "n". If you taped the telecast, go back and check it out. That's just utterly disgraceful. That's how you want to remember the guy? By misspelling his name? In the somewhat altered words of Michael Moore, "shame on you Academy... shame on you."

Oldies: Sunday, March 16 - Saturday, March 22, 2003...

Thursday, 20 March 2003: Now that we've begun our campaign against Saddam Hussein, I think I should take a moment to clarify something...

To our soldiers overseas... despite what I have said on my website against going to war in Iraq, I do not harbor ill will towards any of you. I fully support you and hope that all of you make it back safely. You will not find me yelling "baby killer" or spitting in your face when you return much like the soldiers from the Vietnam era faced. I simply do not support what our President feels is right. One of my coworkers believes that by not supporting the war, I, by default, do not support the troops. She says you either support both or you support neither. That is simply not the truth.

I know that many of you might feel this way as well... that by not supporting the President, I do not support you, after all, he is your Commander in Chief. However, I still feel that the President has not made an informed decision and weighed the full consequences of going to war. I also believe that he has not exhausted all diplomatic options. I, too, agree that Hussein is one of the world's greatest threats to peace. Is he the worst... no. But will removing him by force eradicate the specter of evil in that region... a big resounding no. Someone else will take over where he left off. Be it his sons or someone we have not yet heard of.

Bush seems to be under the impression that wiping out Al Qaeda and bringing the current Iraqi regime to its knees will solve all our problems. I feel that it will just be the start of them. Things will get worse. People will harbor grudges against the U.S. for decades to come and people who were never prone to violence in the past will suddenly be thrust into fits of violent rage as they watch their friends and loved ones slaughtered trying to defend their country. In our blinder-vision, straight-arrow quest to eliminate current terrorists, we fail to acknowledge potential terrorists. They should be our big concern right now. We never know who will become a terrorist down the line. We are digging ourselves in pretty deep here and we better be ready to hunker down when the fit really hits the shan (you figure it out).

That's why Katie and I are scared right now. That's what has us quaking in our boots when we hear low-flying planes overhead or loud booming noises that we can't explain offhand.

Our military is spreading itself thin right now with troops in the far east, the Middle East, Europe, and God-only-knows-where else. What happens when something occurs on American soil? Do we have enough left to defend our home turf? And why aren't we more focused on the immediate threat known as North Korea? Has nobody been paying attention to the fact that Kim Jong Il has flat-out said that he would use his nukes against the U.S.? Am I the only one who read that story? Apparently. C'est la vie, I suppose.

Anyway, to our men and women in uniform... get your job done quick and get back here in one piece.

Soapbox dismounted.

Wednesday, 19 March 2003: I gotta say that even though taking an occasional sick day may seem nice in concept, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Yes, I'm skipping work today because I'm all shades of congested and I haven't been sleeping well lately. I think the thing that I don't like about it is the fact that Katie has such a strong work ethic that she goes to work no matter how crappy she feels. I, on the other hand, will just take the day off if I feel even remotely sick. I guess that has to do with our jobs as well. I'm on salary and get sick days. So I can take the day off without losing pay. Katie feels bad because she loses pay for each shift she loses. Damnable thing, isn't it? I feel bad for her, but I wonder if, considering her work ethic, she would take days off even if she were on salary. Who's to say?

Well, I'm off to enjoy my stuffed-up sinuses. Adios.

Monday, 17 March 2003: Matt Lauer used what I can only refer to as "creative phraseology" this morning on the Today show. When referring to the United States and its very few allies (four total, including us) in the impending war on Iraq, Lauer used the phrase "the Coalition of the Willing." That made me laugh pretty hard. It's sad that this is all the U.S. has to rely on. Even sadder that we're still willing to declare war despite this minimalist backing.

I just hope that Bush has a last-second epiphany in which he realizes that what he is doing is wrong. Not likely, but one can always hope.

A note to all U.S. citizens... I hope to hell you don't have any plans to travel in any other country anytime soon. The likelihood that any U.S. citizens will be welcome anywhere but the U.S. is slim to none. Hell, I'm getting a bit scared to go on our cruise this summer. It's time to start exploring this great nation of ours for vacation.

Sunday, 16 March 2003: Just try and tell me that today wasn't absolutely gorgeous. Well, at least it was in the Chicago suburbs. High 60s to low 70s. Could comfortably wear shorts outside and not freeze your flesh off. Mmmmm.... my kinda day. Me likey. So did Katie, even though she had to work through it all. I had the day off. But, after she was done with work, we went for a four mile walk. I don't want to go back to the cold. It is evil and wrong and must be done away with.

Oh, and for those of you interested in joining the campaign to bring the original cuts of the Star Wars movies out on DVD, the originaltrilogy.com site is now live with an online petition to sign and all that good stuff. You can either click on the link in the line above or you can click on that cool little icon over in the right menu bar. The site itself is very well done and hopefully it will work in convincing George Lucas to not ruin our childhood memories entirely. Here's hoping.

Oldies: Sunday, March 9 - Saturday, March 15, 2003...

Saturday, 15 March 2003: Last night, Katie and I called my grandma and were talking to her for about a half hour. I've just gotta say one thing about our conversation, she never ceases to amaze me.

We started talking about computers and the Internet, something that Nano was introduced to only a few months ago. Well, she enrolled in and finished a computer course at her local community college and she's part of a computer club that is held through the Country Club where she lives. Then, we started talking about computers themselves and she got into how inferior the machines were at her local community college. To hear your Grandma come out and say that her machine is running Windows XP and that she's disappointed the computers there only have Windows 95. Heck, she even said, "they're not even up to Windows 98, that's how behind they are." This from someone who hasn't even used a computer until late last year and she's already that well versed in Windows Operating Systems. My Nano refuses to sign up for her intermediate computer class at the College until they finish the upgrade of their computer labs. Damn, Nano, you're already a techno snob. I'm so proud. So is Katie. I got off that phone with a big old smile on my face.

Friday, 14 March 2003: Some might argue that yesterday was a good day for the Bears, others might argue that it is not so great. I am completely stoked about this. The Chicago Bears have signed former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart to a two-year deal for $5M. Granted Stewart isn't always the most reliable quarterback, but when he's on, he's on. I just hope that when this next season starts, he's on. I like Stewart. He's got a strong arm, he's incredibly intelligent, and he's mobile. That is the key for the Bears... mobility. No matter what, you can't say that Stewart isn't mobile.

Kordell, welcome to Chicago. I, for one, am happy to have you.

I wonder what his uniform number will be. Any guesses?

Thursday, 13 March 2003: File this under "it must be a cold day in Hell." But, it seems that the former President George H.W. Bush is not entirely convinced that war is the proper course of action in Iraq. Well, going to war without a unanimous U.N. resolution, that is.

He says that any hopes for peace in the Middle East would be ruined by a war in Iraq that is not unilaterally supported. He also recommended that the current administration resist his tendency to bear grudges and that his son should work to mend the rifts that have been developing between the U.S. and Germany and France.

According to this article in the London Times Online, the senior Bush believes that the number of weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq "could be debated" and the overall case against Iraq is "less clear" than it was during the first Gulf War. Bush also said, "The Madrid conference would never have happened if the international coalition that fought together in Desert Storm had exceeded the UN mandate and gone on its own into Baghdad after Saddam and his forces."

It would seem that the Bush family, on a whole, has several differing opinions regarding going to war in Iraq. Perhaps Daddy does know best.

This kinda reminds me of a Saturday Night Live sketch from a few years back with George Sr. (Dana Carvey) and George Jr. (I believe Will Farrell) going hunting together just before the election. George Sr. says that he can't possibly let the American public suffer like this, sends his son to go pick up a duck they shot down, and then shoots his son in the back with his shotgun. Made me laugh then, makes me laugh now.

Does this mean we can start calling them "French Fries" and "French Toast" again?

Here's a link to the article.

Wednesday, 12 March 2003: I am in complete and utter shock that Elizabeth Smart was found and, not only that, she's alive. Wow. What else can you really say? The Smart family has got to be thanking their lucky stars right now. That's absolutely incredible.

Welcome home, Elizabeth.

And give your kid sister a big old hug. You owe her your life.

Tuesday, 11 March 2003: Sometimes, our government just makes it way too easy for me. Get a load of this one... cafeterias in all House office buildings in Washington, D.C. have decided to strike a blow against the French by changing their menus. Oh, you're gonna love this one... they will now be serving Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast. What the hell is that about? Is that just the saddest and most unforgiveable thing you've ever heard in your life? Now I am seeing proof that our government is being run by a bunch of grade school kids. Oh, I'm sure this is hurting the French. I'm sure they're sitting at home crying over the renaming of two food items that, if I recall correctly, were American inventions anyway. I'll bet they're more than happy to have their names removed from our fattening foods.

"Come back and I shall taunt you a second time!"

Update: Apparently, French Fries were created in Belgium. As for French Toast, I'm still not quite sure.

Monday, 10 March 2003: Don't ask me where the inspiration for this one came from. But here goes anyway...

I'm sure you've heard people invoke (usually blasphemously) the name "Jesus H. Christ," right? Well, have you ever wondered about its origin? Where exactly did the "H" come from? Or, more importantly, what does it stand for? Somebody here at work told me what it historically refers to and it's just way too academic for it to be any fun ("Holy" in case you're wondering). So, be creative and e-mail me with your suggestions as to what the H in Jesus H . Christ represents. Be funny. Be insightful. Just be original. Let me know.

And, yes, I know I'm probably going to hell for this one.

Oldies: Sunday, March 2 - Saturday, March 8, 2003...

Friday, 7 March 2003: I just received an e-mail from a coworker which inspired me to throw together another installment of "Photoshopolitics." Hold on to your drawers, kiddies.

This is just a beautiful piece of Photoshop magic spoofing the James Bond flick The World is Not Enough. I am in awe of the creator of this poster. I also love how they've photoshopped Condoleeza Rice onto Denise Richards body. That cracks me up.

To keep my storage space optimized and your load time brief, I had to minimize the size of this image. But if you're curious what the text at the bottom reads, fear not, I have duplicated it below. Here ya go...

"The Bush Administration in association with
The Other Bush Administration presents
Gulf Wars Episode II: Clone of the Attack
Starring George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld
Reprising their roles from Episode I
Dick Cheney, Saddam Hussein, Colin Powell
and introducing Osama Bin Laden as the Phantom Menace
Based on an idea by George Bush, Sr.
Production designed to distract you from the failing economy.
Produced by the military industrial complex in association with Exxon, Texaco, Mobil, et al.
Directed by a desire to win the November elections.
The success of this military action has not yet been rated."

Now that's what I call creativity.

Thursday, 6 March 2003: No, I'm not going to write any commentary about Dubya's press conference today. I could honestly care less about it. We're going to war whether we want to or not and whether we need to or not and there's nothing I can say here to stop it. So why is that not stopping me from boarding my soapbox? Dunno. Here goes...

I would just like to say, though, that I am an American and I oppose this war. I know that a lot of citizens of other countries are condemning the U.S. because of our President's overwhelming desire to kill off our military forces in a foreign country. Please, I beg you people, do not be narrow minded enough to believe that the views of our president represent the views of everybody living within his country. They do not. I do not want to go to war. I do not believe it will solve anything. It will just be one long military offensive with many lives lost that will just enrage the citizenry of the country that we are attacking as well their sympathizers in other countries who will just continue to attack us and our supporters once the war is "complete" and "our objectives have been met." We can never wipe out terrorism or the threat of attacks against the U.S. It's just a thorough impossibility.

To that end, I submit to you all a letter written by former Monty Python's Flying Circus troupe member Terry Jones. Much like the letter I linked to last month from author John LeCarre, it condemns Bush for his potential actions. However, this letter employs the dry wit and ironic nature that we have come to expect from Pythoners. Check it out.

Soapbox dismounted.

Wednesday, 5 March 2003: Ah, this little break has been nice. And, judging by the sheer amount of crap I typed last month, well deserved. So, now we're off again...

I'd like to wish a big old Happy Birthday to the potato chip. Yes, the original potato chip was accidentally created 150 years ago this year. Not sure about the exact date, but who really cares? Okay, so this isn't Earth-shattering news, but it's pretty cool all the same. If you'd like to read the history of the potato chip, check out The Christian Science Monitor (why it's there, I have no idea), it's actually quite intriguing.

I'd also like to introduce all of you to a whole new type of hero for this day and age. She's a New Zealand woman named Mary Grierson. This woman has offered herself up to be crucified (yes, on a cross; isn't that what "crucified" implies?) by President Bush if he would agree to not go to war in the Middle East. I really don't know what would have to be going through a person's head to suddenly think, "Hey, I'll offer myself up for crucifixion if that damned blood-hungry fool will agree to not attack Iraq." It really makes you wonder, doesn't it?

So, how's that for two stories that are complete opposites on the world news spectrum?

Oldies: Sunday, February 23 - Saturday, March 1, 2003...

Friday, 28 February 2003: While I had considered not writing a damn thing today and blowing what was otherwise a complete month's worth of updates to this page, I decided to go ahead and write something... anything... and while it's likely to not be anything worth this chunk of cyberspace (or your reading time), here goes...

I'm happy that February will soon be over. Why, you may ask? I finally get a break from TV for the most part. February Sweeps are over, so now we can kick back and revel in what should otherwise be a month's worth of repeats. Yay. I'm looking forward to not having three tapes worth of shows to watch at the end of the week. I can now catch up on some more reading. Thank you TV programming Gods.

Thursday, 27 February 2003: Of course the big news today is that Fred Rogers, known to the world as Mr. Rogers of PBS' long-running Mr. Rogers Neighborhood has died of stomach cancer.

I can't think of a single person who wasn't touched in some way, shape, or form by all the effort and love that Fred Rogers put into his show. I know that I watched it pretty regularly even if I can't remember all the characters names on the show (not like my wife, who can just rattle them off).

Despite the fact that he retired from the show about two years ago, he will still be missed.

It is definitely not a beautiful day in the neighborhood today.

Wednesday, 26 February 2003: Upon scanning the sports headlines on my Yahoo homepage, I can honestly say I wasn't surprised to read the headline "Bears Release Quarterback Miller." Anybody who followed the Bears this season just had to know that either Jim Miller or Chris Chandler would be given their walking papers. Some people would prefer both. As I stated a month or so ago, I prefer ditching Chandler and holding on to Miller as a QB coach. Apparently, that ain't gonna happen.

But, then I clicked on the headline to read the whole story and I almost wanted to cry. James "Big Cat" Williams was also released today. For those of you who don't know him, he's the big mother on the right end of the offensive line. He's the one that anchors the line and, if you see him coming, you just move the hell aside, he's that big and menacing. He was also the heart of the team having been with the Bears the longest of any current player at nine seasons. Big Cat has seen more things change around him than most other players and coaches combined. I just never thought that he would be one of those things that was changed. Damn the man, I tell ya.

On another NFL note, Steelers' QB Kordell Stewart was also given the old heave ho in favor of former XFLer Tommy Maddox. That one's gotta hurt.

Tuesday, 25 February 2003: It's amazing how reliant we have become as a society on technology. We can barely live without some electronic device guiding our every action and decision. Just about 15 minutes ago, my office recovered from a power outage that crippled us for nearly an hour. I couldn't do any webwork or design. Our graphic designer was sitting around with absolutely nothing to do. And our staff writer decided to start placing orders for clothing via phone. All I could do was proofread an already-printed brochure since I had the hardcopy in front of me. Weird.

I realize that technology has made life so much easier for us in terms of time and resources spent on projects. But I find it so sad that when a minor catastrophe such as this power outage hits us, we are so completely and utterly helpless. That's truly scary, isn't it?

Monday, 24 February 2003: Katie and I were discussing this last night on the way home from the fitness center... there are very few movies coming out in the next couple of months that either of us want to see. And, while there are plenty of movies we could rent at the local video store, neither of us have the will nor the desire to spend the money on renting them. Looking at my list of "must see" movies for the next two months, there are only two I have any desire to see - The Hunted in March and Phone Booth in April - and even those aren't really necessary viewing. I wouldn't be hurting if I didn't see them. May has about three I want to see in The Matrix: ReloadedBruce Almighty, and X2 (The X-Men sequel). These three are truly must see in my book. C'mon, Jim Carrey as God for a week? That's what I call cool. Then we're back down to just one in June with The Hulk. June is usually the month when all the big summer fare really kicks in and there is really nothing I want to see.

I'd probably attribute this to the new channels we picked up on cable. It would seem that while I was skeptical about adding premium movie networks because of the cost, they seemingly have paid off. We've been watching more of our movies on HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Encore than at theaters. We haven't rented a single flick from a store since sometime back in October or November and that was only one movie. Plus, our DVD purchases are far fewer in the last couple of months than they have been in a while. Guess that's a good thing. Whereas we may be spending about $10 more per month on our cable bill, we've saved money overall. I didn't think this would happen and that's why I was reluctant to spend the cash on the new channels. Apparently I was wrong. I underestimated our ability to take advantage of these new services and cut down our spending. Shame on me.

Sunday, 23 February 2003: I'm kinda looking forward to the next couple of weeks worth of TV. Got some good stuff starting up. Well, of course, there is the TV movie version of James Patterson's First to Dietonight. Dunno how that one will turn out. I was looking forward to the idea of it, but the previews thus far haven't exactly been all that compelling. Tomorrow night is the premiere of My Big Fat Greek Lifewhich may prove to be pretty good. It's got a pair of good bumper programs in Everybody Loves Raymondand CSI: Miami. Combine that with the fact that it's based on one of the biggest movies of last year and you've got the makings of a ratings bonanza. But what I'm really looking forward to is the start of season three of Six Feet Under. I've been looking forward to this for the last four months since we first had HBO added to our cable bill.