4 posts from October 2003

Oldies: Sunday, October 19 - Saturday, October 25, 2003...

Thursday, 23 October 2003: In the "you had to see this one coming" newsclip of the day, 300 workers from 60 Wal-Mart stores nationwide were taken into federal custody on immigration charges. Turns out that Wal-Mart's been using a contract cleaning company that hires illegal immigrants. And, Feds believe that some Wal-Mart execs knew this was happening.

But, the best part of this story is the name that the Feds gave to this investigation... "Operation Rollback". That kills me. I love it.

So, of course, I called Katie as soon as I read it and told her. She being a former Wal-Mart employee would definitely appreciate it. And she did. She was cracking up on the phone.

Wednesday, 22 October 2003: I'm getting a bit of a weird feeling here. I was just updating the FWDT pages with a review of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones when I realized that all four of the books I've most recently reviewed on this site are clustered right in order when arranged alphabetically by author. Louis Sachar's Holes, David Saliba's Wounded, R.A. Salvatore's Vector Prime, and now Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. If I only had a few reviews on my site, this may not be a big deal. But when you've got a total of 103 reviews, it starts to seem like one heckuvan eerie coincidence. I swear I didn't plan it this way. Well, my next book is going to be Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the basis for the movie Blade Runner), so at least that streak will be broken. But it weirded me out nonetheless.

Oh, and if you are interested, The Lovely Bones is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Do check it out.

Oldies: Sunday, October 12 - Saturday, October 18, 2003...

Friday, 17 October 2003: Well, I'm just batting 1.000, aren't I? Initially I wanted it to be the Cubs vs. Twins in the World Series. Twins got bumped off in the first round of the playoffs. So I started pulling for a Curse Series between the Cubs and the Red Sox (they who suffer from the Goat Curse and the Bambino Curse, respectively). The Cubs lose two nights ago and the Sox lose last night. So, now it's Yanks against the Marlins. Boring series. I'm not tuning in. At least if the Sox made it instead of the Yanks, I would've watched it. But it's just no fun to watch the Yanks constantly winning anymore. I preferred when they were underdogs. I really think the World Series is going to be highly anticlimactic since the Championship Series were both so exciting. Should've just ended it there. Ratings are sure to go down on TV now.

Oh, and for the record, I don't believe in curses. It was just some bad playing and bad managing at critical moments.

Thursday, 16 October 2003: I'm sure I don't really need to go into detail about the disappointment I'm feeling over the Cubs pitiful loss to the Marlins last night in the NLCS. Just suffice it to say that I'm upset and I don't really want to talk about it and I'm pulling for the Red Sox tonight in their game seven match up against the Yankees.

Wednesay, 15 October 2003: A note to Chicago Cubs fans... breathe. Or, in the words of Mr. Miyagi, "breathe in through nose, out through mouth."

Yes, you have every right to be upset about what happened in game six last night against the Marlins. Yes, it was incredibly unfortunate that that guy knocked away Moises Alou's chances of catching that foul ball and making the second out of the eighth inning which eventually led to an eight-run spree by the Marlins to win the game. It sucks. But don't go blaming the fan.

Who's to say what would've happened if he hadn't touched it? I admit that I truly believe that Alou would have had the ball which would have resulted in the second out keeping the baserunner from advancing to third and, potentially, keeping the Cubs in better spirits and may likely have resulted in a win. But, we don't know that for sure.

The guy was in his right to grab at the ball. The ball had flown foul and there is no rule saying he can't nab it. And who are any of you to say that you wouldn't have done the same thing if you were sitting in his seat? I know we all like to think that we would've done the "right" thing by backing up and holding back everyone else to allow Alou to catch the ball uninterfered. But do you really know that for sure? If you say "yes", you're likely a liar. Everyone wants to walk away from the ballpark with a free souvenir. Especially in the playoffs.

Leave the guy alone. Stop harrassing him. Stop cursing and swearing his existence. Stop wishing he would die or threatening to do so yourselves. He's got a huge wieght to live with on his back now... isn't that enough?

I don't know who you are man, but I forgive you. Took me a little while to realize it, but I do.

And, no, I'm not forgiving him because I'm that guy. I could only wish to afford playoff tickets. Especially in those dream seats.

Tuesday, 14 October 2003: I picked up the latest issue of Vanity Fair yesterday because it was the special 410-page (can you imagine having to do the layout work on that mother?) American Music issue. Several things I noted right away about it.

First, it has a really cool mix of musicians on the front cover which is a three-panel fold out. This includes Queen Latifah, Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Dr. Dre, James Taylor, Mary J. Blige, Lucinda Williams, Liz Phair, Anthony Kiedis, Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, and "Andre 3000" Benjamin. I would just like to say that seeing Willie Nelson sitting right behind Dr. Dre is an interesting sight indeed. Also, is it me or is Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers) looking more and more like Iggy Pop every day? Scary.

Second, the cover has the feature headlines scattered all over it. But, if you look at the innermost panel of the cover, it features a great headline... "Bonus: No Britney Spears Interview!" Hallelujah and praise the Lord! It's amazing how many ways that girl has gotten herself in the spotlight. Just when you think she can't do anything that is any more outrageous, she one ups your expectations.

Finally, on page 342, we get a picture of entertainment's latest odd couple du jour... jazz goddess Diana Krall and rock legend Elvis Costello. In a picture entitled "The Funny Valentines", we see the two of them hand in hand by a piano (her standing and him laying across the top). Yes, they are an odd pairing, but they actually look really good together. Interesting.

Monday, 13 October 2003: Happy anniversary, Katie! Yes, to all of you who have not been keeping exact count, Katie and I have now been married two years.

I love you, hon.

Oldies: Sunday, October 5 - Saturday, October 11, 2003...

Thursday, 9 October 2003: I have known for years, as I'm sure many of you have known as well, that the movie The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (yes, the original release of the movie broke the word "chainsaw" into two words) is based loosely on a true story. Well, with a remake of the movie soon to be released and with Halloween also coming up soon, I decided to look into it a bit and see just what is truth and what is not.

So I did a search and came up with a bunch of sites about Ed Gein, a farmer from Wisconsin whose story, it turns out, inspired more than just Saw. Gein was raised by a domineering, Bible thumping mother who taught him that all women are evil. When she died, he left her body in her bedroom and nailed the door shut and he would fawn over her corpse and all kinds of other nasty stuff (a direct tie in to Hitchcock's Psycho). After her death, he started to do a lot of research into anatomy and became completely obsessed by it. He started digging up female corpses and cutting them up so he could view the "processes of life". Eventually, though, dead bodies weren't enough. So a couple of women from local towns soon wound up missing (one in 1954 and the other in 1957). After the second disappearance, police followed a tip that Gein was spotted outside her workplace and went to his house. They found the woman's body hanging upside down in an outdoors shed dressed out the way a hunter does a deer. The other woman was inside decapitated. Her head was in a plastic bag on the kitchen counter. Other things the police found included skulls on each of the four posts of his bed, a suit of female skin (Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs anyone?), a couch covered in skin, a belt made out of female nipples, a human heart in a saucepan on the stove, and the skin from a woman's abdomen rolled up on the floor. Oh yeah, power tools were involved so far as I can tell.

So, in conclusion... no, it was not a family of murderers. No, Leatherface (read: Ed Gein) was not some mentally retarded guy who relied 100% on chainsaws to do his dirty work. No, it did not happen in Texas. No, the "whirling dervish" scene from the movie did not really happen (but it's still pretty cool).

I sincerely hope nobody was just about to eat anything before reading this. If so, I apologize.

Wednesday, 8 October 2003: It feels like it has been too long, but it is time for another Darwinism Missed Me award...

...and there was much rejoicing...

Nina Tichelkamp-Russell of Kansas City, MO, is requesting that she receive compensation from Modine Manufacturing Co. because her 25-year-old son Jonathon Russell died while at the workplace. Normally, that would be pretty damned good reason to receive workman's comp, right?

Well, not so simple in this case.

Russell is the man responsible for the shooting deaths of three of his coworkers at the plant during the nighshift on July 1. He brought a semiautomatic handgun to work, shot three people dead, then killed himself, and now his mom wants workman's comp.

This woman not only deserves a Darwinism Missed Me award but I think I should also create a Brass Cojones award to go along with it because she's got a rock-solid set for making that request.

Tuesday, 7 October 2003: Men's Kindergarten. Yes, that may sound insulting, but get a load of this article I found from Reuters...

Men Get Own Kindergarten While Women Shop

BERLIN (Reuters) - German women fed up with their partners' grumbling on weekend shopping trips can now dump them at a special kindergarten for men offering beer and entertainment.
"The women are issued a receipt for their partners when they hand them in and can pick them up again when they return it to us later," Alexander Stein, manager of the 'Nox Bar' in the northern city of Hamburg told Reuters on Tuesday.

The men are given a name badge on arrival and for 10 euros ($11.80) they get two beers, a hot meal, televised football and games.

Stein said the idea for the Saturday afternoon men's creche, or "Maennergarten," came from a female customer who thought it would be a good way of getting shot of her husband so she could shop in peace.

"She found it all too stressful and thought this might be the solution. Both were very happy with the way it turned out.

"Last week the men had a remote control car to play with. Next week there's going to be a mini racetrack," said Stein.

They are also offering a drilling workshop.

"It beats sitting around in shoe shops, that's for sure," one man told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Where do I sign up?

This is just the epitome of cool. Send me to kindergarten, I don't care. Funny thing is, my wife would probably prefer to hang out in there with me.

Monday, 6 October 2003: This photoshopped image was sent to me by a coworker and I loved it so much that I just had to share it with all of you. And with the recall election occurring tomorrow, it is definitely timely.

Sunday, 5 October 2003: Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Ohmigod the Cubs win!

Yes, folks, the Cubs have defied expectations by beating the Atlanta Braves in the fifth game of their NLDS. This rocks. This is just too damned cool for words.

Oh yeah, and the wait is over for Bears fans, too. After what looked to be another embarrassing loss with the Raiders leading 18-3, the Bears came back for their first win of the season 24-21. God it was amazing! I had so much fun watching that game. RDub is the man!

It's such a great day to be a fan of Chicago sports.

Sadly, though, my Minnesota Twins were bumped off by the Yankees. Not so good.

But, on another high note, the Florida Marlins won in dramatic fashion yesterday, bumping off the San Francisco Giants with Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez holding on to the ball for a final tag out of J.T. Snow at home complete with full-body collision. Coolness.

Oldies: Sunday, September 28 - Saturday, October 4, 2003...

Saturday, 4 October 2003: I have updated the Kicker Zero page with Steve's stats from today's game against Adrian College. While I realize that the Wisconsin Lutheran Warriors ain't really doing so well (they are 1-3 overall), it is nice to know that, much like the Chicago Bears, the kicker is the highest scoring player. Steve's got 21 points scored on the season and the second best are two guys tied at 12 points each. That's scary.

Thursday, 2 October 2003: Okay, so far my picks for this year's baseball playoffs that I made back in April are still alive and kickin'. I predicted that the World Series would pit the Cubs against the Twins and both made the playoffs. So far, the Twins have a 1-0 lead on the Yankees in one branch of the ALDS while the Cubs are split with the Braves on the NL side of things. The remainder of the playoff teams are the Giants against the Marlins and the Red Sox against the A's.

Go Cubbies!

Tuesday, 30 September 2003: It's great when you win something. It's even better when you win something that you really want. I've been waiting for months to buy a copy of Scarface. I was going to go online and buy a used copy on DVD because it seemed that all retailers were out of the film. Then, a couple of months ago, it was announced that the reason all these copies were gone was because a Special Edition was going to be released. Well, that release happened today. I was all ready to just run out and buy a copy of it at Circuit City during my lunch or after work. However, I received an e-mail from a list I subscribe to on filmcritic.com about a contest to win a copy of it on DVD. So I entered. Three hours later, I received an e-mail saying that I had won. How's that for turnaround? Saved me $16. Actually it saved me $16 in credit since I was planning to return something to get the money anyway.

Monday, 29 September 2003: Don't you hate when a movie is supposed to come out in theaters and then, for no stated reason whatsoever, it doesn't and you never find out what happened? Well, this happened recently to me. I had been looking forward to the movie Ripley's Game which was to star John Malkovich as Tom Ripley, the older version of the character played by Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley. It sounded like it would be a good movie and, even though it had been pushed back a couple times already, I was under the impression that it would finally be released this coming November. So, last night, I'm flipping through the channel guide and I see that IFC (the Independent Film Channel) is showing Ripley's Game. I couldn't believe that it could possibly be the same one. Yet, when I checked out the program description, it was. So, I taped it because I wasn't planning on staying awake that late. I'll have to watch it and review it here soon. That annoys me, but I guess I get to save the ticket price, eh?

Sunday, 28 September 2003: Yes, I realize that this is now the third season of the show, but tonight, for the first time, I finally tuned in to watch Alias. Now, I know that Jennifer Garner is supposed to kick butt in the show and she really did a good job of said gluteal punishment in the movie Daredevil, but this is the first time I was able to witness some severe butt kicking on this show. She does so very well... and looks good doing it (I'm now ducking awaiting my wife's wrath).

But I do have one thing I want to say about the show. I know that this show was created and written by J.J. Abrams of Felicity fame and he cast Jennifer Garner knowing her from her guest stint in Felicity, but does he really need to make this show a Felicity cast reunion? Alias also stars Greg Grunberg who costarred as Shawn in Felicity and also guest stars Amanda Foreman who was Shawn's wife Megan. How long until we get Kari Russell as a big-haired rogue agent? Ooohhhhh, or better yet, get Garner's ex-husband Foley on and watch them both try to kill each other while Garner's current boyfriend and costar Michael Vartan gets in on the action? Most realistic fight we'll ever see on television, that's for sure.