Sunday, February 19, 2006

Stupid Press

It's been well documented that there was no (none, nada, zilch) evidence of terrorist support by Saddam since the very early 1990's (see the 9/11 commission report or Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies, or the very detailed Wikipedia article debunking the "connection".

Yet, you still see stories, such as this one from Reuters continuing to allow the reader to think there is some truth to the lie.

No wonder our country is so screwed up, the press just doesn't respect the American public and leads us wherever they want to go.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Thoughts on Valentine's day

First off, I got Mary some organic cotton flannel sheets for V-day. I rock. They're super soft, really comfortable, and just what the doctor would have ordered had she a choice in the matter.

Second, what's the big deal with Cheney shooting his lawyer friend? Not that it's a good thing it happened, but why's the media all up in arms about the delay in releasing the information? The media seems happy to sit on the sidelines and not pester the White House about the important things like: growing deficit, lack of funding for poor people in all capacities, cuts to social programs, tax breaks for the rich, science in our schools, education in general, the Plame leak case, corruption in the White House, no changes before or since Katrina, croneyism, growing terrorism, global warming, electronic voting, armor for troops, where'd the money go in Iraq, etc. etc. etc. Not that I've had much respect for the U.S. media in general, but to get their panties in a bunch over the shooting accident? Now that's reporting.

The company got a lot of flack about their Superbowl commercial last year (didn't see it), and had trouble getting their commercial approved this year (check out the link). I took a look at some of the commercials. Sure, they're very suggestive. But if you're talking about standards, two other commercials come to mind to be more risque - but were aired on TV. The first is Paris Hilton's Jack in the Box commercial where she washes a Bentley in a thong bikini. It ran a long time before the SuperBowl, but it was aired. And Jessica Simpson's "these bots were made for popping" Pizza Hut commercial had her pretty much seducing a 15-year-old boy. That seems way more inappropriate than a busty woman standing in front of an old-man judge. Whether or not you like the commercials or think they're appropriate, it appears as though the bar is set at different heights for different companies.

Vacuous coverage of the Olympics. I've been happier with the coverage than I expected. But more often than not, you get stupid comments. The announcers often just repeat the same information over and over. For instance, in the downhill, they talked a lot about the choice of skis by the U.S. downhillers - and how they were making last second decisions about switching skis. Good - but then they got into a loop, "i can't believe they're switching. they're switching skis. this is unprecendented. they're switching skis. i'd never do that. they're switching skis." How useless is that info? Try telling us what would be different about the skis, why would one be better than the other? What's the normal process these guys use? etc.

Another example was Apolo's fall in the short-track skating. It was plainly obvious on replay that Apolo's hand hit the skate of the guy in front of him. Yet, the day after, I heard an announcer say that Apolo was bumped. Huh? They showed the replay a dozen times from 3 different angles, he was not bumped.

And just for a Corvallis weather update. It was snowing two hours ago, and now we have sunny blue skies. Very odd.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Winter Olympics (day 2)

So we're watching the Olympics tonight - it's a stellar night: men's downhill, short-track skating, ski jump, luge, half-pipe, and no figure skating (well, other than Michelle Kwan's decision to not continue).

I'm pretty excited about the coverage now. There haven't been that many commercials, and they've kept from running too many "human interest" stories - it's been pretty much nothing but non-stop action.

I really like the short-track skating. The news of the evening (for the U.S.) was that Apolo Ohno didn't make it to the finals for the 1500m. The racers are traveling so fast, and lead changes happen so quickly, it is very exciting. Plus, they're just leaning over so far in the corners, and skating so close to each other. It's just mind-boggling what they're doing.

The downhill was awesome. The course's first two turns were on such steep terrain - one of them was perpendicular to the fall line. Then they're launched over a jump with a super-steep landing - just incredible. Three of the guys who came over that jump looked completely out of control - I imagine what I look like when I go over the little 2 foot jumps (completely out of control). Luckily, all the guys made it - no wrecks (which was amazing). The guy who won finished over .7 seconds ahead of the next guy, and over a second ahead of everyone else. Just phenomenal skiing.

The half-pipe is fun. The flying tomato is just kicking butt - and it's amazing that he's a two-sport athlete (skate board too). The couple of crashes were pretty impressive - one guy pretty much landed a 20 foot jump by landing on his hip on the top of the pipe - ouch. Oh, and some of the guys are sagging while they are competing.

Ski jump is ok - what I don't understand is why they have a style portion to the score. I figure you should be judged soley on distance, with a disqualification when you don't land it and come to a stop under control. Next to the downhill, I figure standing at the top of a ski jump has to take the biggest cojones.

And who wouldn't want to do the luge. It's just like the sledding you always pretended you were doing as you slid down a hill when you were 8 years old.

Monday, February 06, 2006

High Score


We lost the game tonight - by one point. That was pretty frustrating. We just stopped taking care of the ball, making bad passes. We also stopped passing around and only played a perimeter game (which was not our strong suit tonight).

But, the 'woo-hoo' isn't for losing the game, it's for me being the high scorer on our team. I've never been a leading scorer in an organized game. Go me - 7 of 14 for 14 points, and 10 rebounds.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Slap Your Grandma?

I was at the gym today, working out in front of the standard 3 TVs.

Fox News and ESPN were both showing commercials, and the middle TV grabbed my attention. It was CMT (country music television), but the only way I could tell was that a hill-billy looking guy wearing a cowboy hat was on it - everything else was straight out of a rap/hip-hop video. There were all sorts of impossibly shaped women wearing pants/skirts/flaps of cloth shorter than Jessica Simpson's "Daisy Dukes", shaking their rump, dancing around. The cowboy even had some bling-bling, two large "rings" on each hand - one said "Honky" and the other said "Tonk".

It was a "country" music video, for a song named "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" - I kid you not.

Sure, the eye-candy was nice, but the lyrics were absolutely ridiculous. "Got it goin' on like Donkey Kong" and "Shut my mouth, slap your grandma". Slap your grandma?

Is Trace Adkins really that dumb? Or is he pure genius?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cell Phone Shopping

We're changing cellular plans from Verizon to Cingular - mainly because Cingular offers reception inside the buildings at work, whereas Verizon phones get none. One of the bonuses is that we get a nice discount on both the phones and calling plans.

What really annoys me is the lack of good information about the phones. You go to the various web pages for cellphones, and they don't tell you anything useful. There is the standard "talk hours, standby hours, camera or no" and that's about it. Heck, I knew that about my phone when I got the low end phone over two years ago - I'd hoped they'd come up with more info.

For instance, my old phone has a calendar. There's no real way to synchronize it with any other calendar, but I could have hunted and pecked the events in if I'd wanted. Two years pass, and I expect perhaps a little advance in the capability. I know for a fact that a friend of mine at work has a phone that can sync up with Outlook - he has a simple phone that's two years old.

So I look on the web, and it's nearly impossible to find any information about cell phones and calendars. What the heck?

So I go to 2 different Cingular shops and ask. The sales guy at the first shop had one of those blue-tooth dongles in his ear the entire time I was talking to him. I didn't like him much to begin with, but the fact he kept that dongle in his ear the entire time he talked to me came off as very rude. I told him about the 2 year old phone that a friend had, and he just didn't really get the fact that I wanted to have a simple calendar on my phone that actually worked. He showed me all the various phones - but provided no information to distinguish any of them other than bluetooth, whether I could use it all around the world (yeah, that's what I'm needing, being the international traveler), and the different colors of phones.

The next store had a young woman that immediately looked very confused when I asked about a calendar. She pawned me off on the main guy at the store who had very little additional information. He didn't know about the capabilities of any of the basic phones any better than the dork with dongle in his ear. So he showed me the "smart" phones and Treo/Blackberry devices. There were a couple of different smart-like phones (some had MS Windows and some didn't), but, again, he had no information that would help someone choose between the phones.

Nowhere could I find any sources of information about the software that came with various phones, nor any realistic comparisons between them (calendaring or regular use). The couple of reviews I found that had something that seemed like information came from people who seemed to jump between 2 or 3 phones constantly, upgrading to a new set of phones every 4 or 6 months. Do they like throwing away money that much?

In the end, I'm getting a Nokia 6102 because my friend's phone that syncs with Outlook is a Nokia - and the 6102 looks like it might fit the bill. If that doesn't work, I'll be upgrading to the Cingular smart phone because it's pretty and is guaranteed to connect with MS products.

Anyway, it's been very frustrating to work so hard for so little relevant information. Our cell phone numbers will remain the same, but we'll have new phones in less than a week.

The next step is to switch the home phone to Vonage - which should be interesting considering the fact they don't offer phone numbers local to Corvallis (or any location south of Woodburn or west of Bend).

Scooter Libby

So Scooter is under investigation relating to the case where Plame's name was leaked to the press. I've no idea if he actually perjured himself or not (though this administration seems to have a very selective approach to applying morals).

I do, however, find Scooter's legal defense to be very suspicious. They're going to subpoena a bunch of the White House documents to "show" how overworked he was and how the perjury might be attributed Scooter being overloaded with too much stuff (and stuff more important than Valorie Plame). Well, the judge who is overseeing the case threw out another case when the defense wasn't allowed to get access to the documents deemed secret because of national security.

What do you think the odds are that the White House will withhold the documents he requests? The judge will have to throw out the case. Bush won't let his man hang out to dry, not while he was working to further the President's agenda.