Sunday, October 31, 2004

Here are some pictures from our recent Halloween "Beggars Night." Ariel is, as you might not be surprised to learn, Ariel the Little Mermaid, complete with crazy red wig. Ruth is some sort of flamenco dancer or something. She looked extremely cute.
Here are the three of us, but preparing to head out into the neighborhood. Ariel decided to forget the wig for the swing around for candy, so I decided to put it on. Call it my tribute to those crazy long-haired, World Champion Red Sox.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

How can we make this stop?

Well, Tegan, the girls and I went to the grocery store this afternoon and there I was confronted with this awful image:

As you might guess, I am terribly upset about the thought of this actually coming true. While we waited to pay for our groceries, I thumbed to the correct page and tried to scan the pertinent information.

Apparently, Ben is ready to have kids and Jennifer (according to sources) will say yes as soon as he chooses to propose. She has even gone to visit Mama Affleck.


Anyway, US Weekly, paragon of journalism, displayed three photos for proof of the love between Ben and JG . . . . The first was a photo of him and JLo at a Sox game last year. The two of them weren't looking at each other or anything. Very distant. The second was Ben and someone else at a Sox game, also distant. The third was Ben and JG (also at a Sox game) and they were googly-eyeing each other and everything.

Sigh again.

I know, I can't do anything about it and it doesn't affect me at all, but him and her? I just can't be happy about it.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The REM trip

Tegan and I left around 4:30.

It is impossible to get out of town when you want, especially if you are trying to get everything set for the babysitter, coordinating this and that, changing out of your work clothes into your rockin' clothes.

But we managed.

The trip down to Cincy was fine and there were no real traffic issues. We listened to REM along the way to get in the mood. Little did we know . . .

We found the Taft Theatre without incident and successfully located a parking garage close by. The doors opened at 6:30 and we got there about 6:40. I thought we were going to miss the opening act, but we didn't. We got there in plenty of time to wander a bit, check out the t-shirt stands, notice that the political activists were relegated to the basement level where the bathrooms were (come on REM, where's the swing state love?), and decide not to spend money on beer.

Our seats were five rows back on the first balcony, stage right. Absolutely the best view I have ever had for any concert, much less REM. The crowd was a healthy mixture of college kids, grad student types, early middle-agers like us and people that simply seemed TOO OLD to be rockin'. I swear there was a 60-year-old dad with his college-aged daughter. They were punished by having to sit at the top of the theater.

Speaking of dads, there was a young couple with (I kid you not) a 5 month old baby!! Tegan, I and everyone around us were flabbergasted by this. The kid had to have either been drugged or deaf and mute, because it made no sound everything we noticed it. Dudes! Spring for a baby-sitter . . . we did!

The opening act was Now It's Overhead. A very nice, young group from Athens, GA. They have recently been in Budapest, according to Stipe's intro of the band and were driving to San Diego right after the show. Man they looked young but there were good. This was their fifth and final opening for REM and I think they learned a lot. There were definite REM vibes from this quartet, along with occasional elements of Joshua Tree U2, a bit of Oasis, and something else that I couldn't place. I will buy their album, cause they were good. It put me in mind of the last time I saw REM and the young, up-and-coming Indigo Girls opened for them. I wish these dudes well. They played a tight, quick set of about 45 minutes and then there was a 30 minute pause to reconfigure the stage.

REM kicked off around 9ish. To see the full review, see WWYG?! Omnimedia. The link should be available on my list of good sites, to the right.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

A partial explanation

Well, I don't want to continue the suspense much longer, and judging by the enormous outpouring of interest in my teasers, I start explaining what's up.

Last week I got a fortune cookie with a message inside (as is true of all such cookies). It said: "When you gather your resources together, Goals are accomplished."

Yes, I know the punctuation and capitalization are not correct, but bear with the mystical cookie that is struggling to impact psychic truth via a second language.

Anyway, at the time, I figured it could only refer to the temporary reorganization and reassignment of personnel around the office. I and many others are being shifted to get higher priority projects done in a timely (read "panicked") fashion.

But, then Jack Thunder, who often serves as my muse and my goad, prodded me to embellish the blogging experience around here at WWYG?! Since Jack often has some good ideas, I decided to implement his plan.

Soon some of you (my regular, dedicated readers) will be receiving an invitation to register on Blogger and become part of a new, spinoff website entitled WWYG?! Omnimedia. This site's sole purpose it to allow us all to collaborate and create a website together that does what we do best--criticize and discuss the media in all of its forms: print, visual, musical, cinema, Internet.

I want to give this a try because I am intrigued by the collaborative nature of the venture. It might undercut some of what I do on Why Won't You Grow?! but let's see what happens, hmmm?

So, keep a lookout for your invitation. Don't throw it away.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Spinoffs . . . are they a good thing?

More "random" thoughts:

Friends begat Joey.
Cheers begat Frasier.
Barney Miller begat Fish.
Law and Order, CSI

Everybody's doing it these days . . . spinoffs, repurposings, building the synergy. Its a good thing, right?

But did these secondary items enrich and deepen the original or simply suck away the vitality that made its progenitor worthwhile?

Think about it.

Are you intrigued yet?

Things that are on my mind . . .

The Apple "Newton"
Lisa, the "talking" computer
the Corvair
amphibious cars

What do they all have in common? Great ideas that were ahead of their time or failed ventures that were doomed from the start?

What could it all mean?

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Rollout begins

Keep watching this spot in the next few days.

Some fresh ideas are afoot and YOU can be involved!

Get ready to help create something brand new, something unique, and something that is totally you, and me, and that other guy, and some other people that we all know.

Intrigued? No? Well . . . maybe you should be!

More info TK!!

Family Values and Politics

Ann Hulbert at provides some interesting thoughts on the parenting styles of Democrats and Republicans, Reds and Blues. You can read the article by clicking on my post's title.

(Waiting for you to come back after you finish reading . . .)


So, monitoring your kids is now viewed, according to Hulbert, as snobby and elitist? I am sure that the success and general ethos of ABC's Wife Swap also points to this theory somehow. I'll think about it more later.

Friday, October 22, 2004

More Jon Stewart/Crossfire thoughts, via

Another internet luminary with connections to TWoP (Wing Chun) has weighed in on the "Crossfire" thing.

Click on the linked post title above.

WARNING: saucy language lies within . . .

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Return of the King--vindication

Remember a while back when I spoke about the freaky Burger King ad, with strange homoerotic overtones?

No . . . well, you can read my initial take on it here. It's about halfway through the random bits.

I found the article by sometimes advertising critic Seth Stevenson, who wrote about the same ad. Click on this post's title for his article.

The best thing about Stevensen's article is that he noticed the creepy homoerotic vibe as well! I love it when I notice something and then some high-falutin' TV critic notices it too. It means I'm just as smart as they are!!

Somebody GAAAAAAYYY me!

I ABSOLUTELY never thought I would see the day that members of the Lunch Bunch were actually interested in what Shirtless and I had to say today about Smallville, but it's true! There we were and everyone was glued to our every word about The Gayest Episode of Smallville EVER. It almost brought a tear to my eye, except we were all laughing so hard, it couldn't happen.

In case you don't know, Smallville is truly the gayest show on TV not named "Queer as Folk." Don't believe me? Well, start watching it. Here in my area, its on UPN (cable channel 13) on Wednesday nights @ 10 pm. If you don't see all the (not so) subtle gay, then please read the excellent Television Without Pity recaps of Omar G. He has his finger on the pulse of the Gay.

Television Without Pity (an excellent site for almost all of your snarky, biting TV criticism) has all of the recaps from all of the Smallville episodes, seasons 1 through now. If you didn't watch the show in the beginning, you can read the recaps to catch up, and you can even watch the ABC Family channel for reruns. Keep in mind, however, that Omar employs some frank language at times, so be warned if you choose to venture into the world of internet recapping.

To have all of your Smallville questions answered, Omar provides them here. To get the lowdown on all of the Clark and Lex gaiety, he's got you covered there as well.

So there you go. Please watch. The show has suffered in quality at times, but it still provides fun entertainment. And while your deciding to watch TV and read about it on the web, then you might as well read up on LOST as well.

Thanks for reading guys and keep your eyes open for more of the HoYay!

What else could I be? All apologies

Sorry to all of my fans out there who have been waiting on pins and needles for the next post. I know its been drought of several days, and for that pain and worry that I put you through . . . well, all I can say is: "I'm sorry."

Anyway . . .

So, what's been going on, huh?

I've been sucked into the playoff baseball the last few nights. Boston vs. New York. The rich team that always chokes versus the rich team that always wins and so everyone (including me) hates them. I, myself, am a Braves fan--growing up in Georgia I came by it honestly.

Everyone calls the Red Sox cursed, and sure, the team has had some bad luck. But they have had some success. Again, sure, the last time they won the World Series was in 1918, but they have visited the World Series since then (the Sox aren't the Cubs after all). But, people say the Red Sox are cursed. But they say it with affection.

Now when people talk about the Braves, they call the team "underachievers." Yes, Atlanta won the World Series in 1995, but they have missed several opportunities before and since in the 90s decade. But when people call a team "underachievers" that is really just a polite way of saying "choke-filled losers." Oh well, the Sox beat the Yankees tonight and hopefully the entire nation can put this "Curse of the Bambino" crap behind it forever.
In other news, I FINALLY have some (potentially) good news to report about my digital camera saga. When Ruth was born in the summer of '03, Tegan and I bought a digital camera from Canon. It was the PowerShot A70 (which I have just discovered they don't make anymore, based on its conspicuous absence on the website--hmmm) a pretty decent model and it worked fine for us for months. But then, in the fall it started having display problems. We sent the camera to the factory service center and had it repaired. It then operated fine for a few weeks and then the exact same problem cropped up again. So, we sent it back to the factory service center again.
This time the camera only worked for about a week before screwing up, with the SAME problem as each of the previous two times. We were very angry and tried to get a new camera this time (the camera was just then finishing out its initial year warranty), since the factory service center clearly couldn't figure out what to do to fix this problem.
After several days of trying to explain and many, MANY times on hold and waiting, I got the company to send a rush label and some other documentation to me and I shipped it again--with warning labels and new addresses to send the camera to and everything.
A week later, the camera is returned, just as I sent it, but NOTHING was done to it. The note the company mailed back said they didn't do anything because I had provided no information about what needed to be done. Now . . . keep in mind that I had spoken to customer service reps several times and explained in as much detail as I could what the problem was. Also remember that I had sent back previous documentation (with work order numbers) from previous mailings, And finally, you should know that the last customer service rep that I spoke to said to me and also wrote in his letter than went in the last mailing that he had made the service center fully aware of the situation--so, I didn't provide any further information.
Well, needless to say Tegan and I went nuts over this latest foul up. She called them back and read them the riot act. We didn't hear anything for about a week and then I find out that the service rep that I had been dealing with was going to be gone for a while and I was going to deal with someone new. So I explained it all to him and he said he was trying to get something worked out. Both Tegan and I thought that if they are planning to ship our camera off to get repaired again, we would just as soon film it being dropped off a building.
But, we got word that a NEW plan is in the works. We have been told to mail our old camera out and they are going to REPLACE it with the next model up--the PowerShot A75!
Here's hoping that THIS one works.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Is That a Real Poncho?

The hideous new trend afflicting America. By Amanda Fortini

This is unsettling.
I was all in favor of the resurgence of the poncho, especially for my four-year-old daughter Ariel. I have seen several young girls at church wearing ponchos that are very cute.

Plus, Tegan is knitting a lot lately and this would (seem to) be something she could create easily and cheaply and it would be fashionable and our kids could be hip and not get picked on and ridiculed and stuff.

But now, Slate (in article linked above) says "Hey loser! Stop wearing those clothing monstrosities!"

What to do?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Presidential Debate #3

Click on the post title for a highly-paid professional's view of the third debate. This review certainly seems to focus on style more than substance--which angers me cause that's what I am here to do.

For my "special" views, then read on.

Can I say that I am weary of the debates now? Can I say that I grow tired of these two men throwing around phrases that we have heard twice before? Can I say that I only remember one instance where something that was called out as factually incorrect during the second debate was therefore adjusted correctly in this debate? Can I say that these debates change NO ONE's mind? Can I apologize for not having this post up on the day after the debate?

Sorry about that, but sometimes other things push blogging out of the way.

DISCLAIMER: While taking notes for this and other debates, I didn't always stare at the TV noting facial expressions, body language, mysterious bulges, smirks, head shakes, or whatever. Unfortunately, that is the substance that typically determines who the "winner" is. I was usually trying to write down the first thing that entered my head after hearing a comment or statement. I didn't usually try to write down what the candidate said, but what I am thinking about what he said. So--as usual--this is more about ME than it is about who will be president. (This may have been self-evident all along, but I am trying to fill space here.)

The Setup: format same as first debate. Yuck. Domestic issues. Our moderator is Bob Shieffer of CBS News. Presumably Rather is undergoing shock therapy right now, so he is unavailable. The place? Arizona State University--home of scramblin Jake Plummer, the Sun Devils, and John McCain. Here we go . . .

9:03 Candidates enter. Kerry doesn't frisk W searching for wires. There is a shot from behind the men looking out at the audience? A visual shout-out to the conspiracy theorists?

9:04 First question to Kerry: "Will our children live in a world as safe as the one [they] grew up in?" Is this a domestic question or a back-door Iraq question? Hmm. Kerry is again taking the opportunity to discuss the mess in Iraq while again referencing the 95% of cargo containers that are uninspected (which NPR statistically explained and basically debunked Thursday morning). How do the candidates continue to say the same thing over and over and over again without going insane? Of course, if no one listens . . .

9:06 Bush says that three-fourths of al-Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice. Good job W! ABC pointed out that last week he mistakenly said that three-fourths of al-Qaeda had been caught--which was incorrect. The statistics properly referenced leadership members only, which he corrected tonight. He CAN learn. Of course, he didn't say that new leaders are constantly being recruited, but that is something else.
What's up with Bush's exaggerated pronunciation of EXAGGERATION?
Tegan is officially ready to kill someone for the continual repetition of phrases, day after day.

9:08 Flu shortage question. Watch it W! Don't blame British vaccine manufacturers or they will pull out of the Iraq coalition. Kerry should jump all over that and say the W doesn't honor the efforts of British scientists, etc. And isn't it funny that Bush wants to work with Canada to get flu vaccines, but he won't allow Canadian Prozac? Kerry should have hit on that as well. But he didn't.

[Here I had to step aside and get Ariel to quiet down and go to sleep. Tegan pinch-hit in my absence.]

9:10 Kerry says that health care is getting worse under President Bush. He is using the same phrases and arguments as the last time. He mentions a bunch of states and many statistics.

9:13 The "no new taxes" pledge that Kerry made during the second debate is brought up. How can a president keep that promise and get rid of a huge deficit? Kerry blitzes along in a very detailed, statistical answer and I give up trying to write it down and watch W stand there blinking, trying to absorb all the accusations and statistics. How to keep up, verify, etc?

9:16 W's answers usually follow this pattern: 1) a sound byte belittlement of Kerry's statement, 2) several short, declarative sentences, and 3) reminding America that John Kerry and Ted Kennedy live in Taxachusetts, I mean Massachusetts . . . and they are liberals!!
Another funny throw away line from Bush here is his reference to "his Budget Man" that he sends to Congress. Is he kept in a small box and released to trudge up to Capitol Hill every fiscal year. Does this "Budget Man" (whomever he may be) feel very belittled right now?

9:19 Does W think that the phrase "trade adjustment assistance money" is going to make an unemployed Ohio voter push his lever in three weeks? How does this phrase, the substance of Bush's answer to how we should fix the deportation of jobs overseas, do anything to swing an angry, unemployed voter to his side?

9: 21 Bob Shieffer's first (and sadly only) time when he ignored the president's attempt to retort.

9:23 Kerry seems strong on attacking the loss jobs to overseas workers. Is he telling the truth? I don't know for sure, but it sounds direct and clear. Right now Bush seems to be reacting to Kerry more. To use a sports analogy, Kerry is making Bush play his game right now. But W comes back strong to Kerry's' "tax cuts for the rich" jab by trying to remind the soccer moms about that smallish check that you got for having kids.

9:25 Ted Kennedy is the devil!! John Kerry has a 20-year Senate record of worshiping Satan!
The question is now on gay marriage and whether homosexuality is a choice. Bush tries to talk about tolerance, but his political goals here don't seem tolerant at all. Kerry says that "We're all God's children" And then he ham-handedly bring up Cheney's daughter again. I didn't hear Edwards handle this during the Veep debate, but Kerry's maneuver here seems exactly like that --a maneuver--and it goes over (to me) like a lead balloon. Badly done.

9:40 Kerry says that W is mislead on his characterization of the health care plan. "I'm not forcing you to do anything," he says. "If you want to die, go ahead! Who's stopping you?"
Whoa! Watch it George! Don't piss off the networks by belittling them. Bush then calls Kerry's plan a "government health" program while Kerry secretly scratches his nose/gives W the "bird." Smoooooth!

9:44 Kerry hits W hard on the private saving plan to fix Social Security. Where will the $2 trillion dollars come from when all the young-Starbucks-drinkers pull their money out. Won't someone think of the grandfathers?! Kerry looks directly at the camera, "I will!"

9:48 Shieffer asks, if we don't adjust benefits (downward) or raise the retirement age (upward) then how can Social Security survive? Kerry accused the Bush tax cut of destroying the 1997 fix that Congress made that would have preserved the system until 2075 . . . and by then we'll either be living on the moon or eating the elderly, so no worries. (I might have made that last bit of Kerry's response up.)

9:57 Shieffer ask, does the minimum wage need to be increase? Kerry says "I'm glad you asked that Bob--you're payoff check is in the mail."
Bush sidesteps and instead talks about No Child Left Behind. Whaaaa? He says that the NCLB is really a job's program, when you think about it? Say what now? Maybe THAT's why it can't fix education.

10:00 The Supreme Court litmus question. Bush does not make a mysterious reference to Dred Scott. Another conspiracy theory blown? (see post on 2nd debate) However, are there more shots of the candidate's backs this time? AND another reference to Kerry as "a liberal senator from Massachusetts"--which is this week's "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time."

10:07 Bush says that "the people I talk to [as they are being deployed] don't see [reliance on national guard troops] as a back door draft." Do ya think they are gonna bitch to the president right in front of his face? Then Bush brings up the Global Test and says that Kerry will hand over decision making to fureigners."
Why doesn't Kerry hit back with "There you go again . . ." Gipper style? That would be THE MOMENT of the entire three weeks!

10:16-end of debate I quit listening and curse Bob Shieffer's name as he tosses out three absolutely useless softball questions to both men that mean absolutely nothing to anyone. Role of religion in political decisions/how to heal a partisan country/the glory of wives--not particularly relevant. The episode of Smallville I'm recording has more substance than this stuff and it is about cheerleaders spiking the football team's water with a love potion! Take THAT America.

Bush's close: Is the reference to the W. Texas sunrise painting an attempt to make people think of Reagan's "morning in America?" Hmmm.

Who won?
Who cares!?
Let's just vote and get it over with.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Tuesday naval gazing**

**This post was edited (and enhanced with a new link) on Wednesday morning.

I don't have anything earth-shattering to report on this evening, I'm afraid.

I had lots of good ideas a few days ago, but if you don't move on them right away, your self-censoring kicks in and you realize that it isn't as cool as you thought it would be. And, as all dedicated readers of WWYG know . . . if it ain't cool, I ain't interested in writin' about it.

I did try Lulu's googlewhack suggestion. I was not successful. Insouciant pineapple (153), insouciant snark (58), and insouciant backbone (326) all failed. Insouciant whangdoodle brought back absolutely no hits at all! Isn't that amazing? Naive whangdoodle brought back 20 hits. Snarky shenanigan and smarmy googlewhack both resulted in 20 hits and egregious pineapple brought back an astounding (egregious even?) number of 698 hits. Oh well.

The other idea that I had was to provide some statistics on how many hits my site has been getting (via Sitemeter). I envisioned some weird Charlie Kaufmannesque thing where you are reading about yourself reading about my site. Get it? Well, I probably couldn't have pulled it off successfully anyway. I mean, if I could have, I wouldn't be writing this stuff to a grand total of 10 people and would instead be writing very derivative stuff for some soon-to-fail sitcom.

Whoa . . . that sure sounds bitter. And I'm not really in a bad mood or anything.

I'm just not motivated by anything in particular. The final presidential debate is tomorrow night and while I plan to post another post-debate breakdown, my heart is less and less into it. I cringe with the thought that I will have to listen to those two throw the same phrases and accusations back and forth for another hour and a half. I have little confidence that something new will occur . . . maybe I'm angry that completely missed the "W bulge" that is all the talk lately. Won't we all feel bad if it turns out that the bulge in his back is really a cancerous tumor or something terrible like that? I am confident that "The Daily Show" will eventually have something to say on this rumor.

Hmmm. Anything else? I am trying to decide if I want to add a trackback feature to the blog, but right now I think I'll let it go. I doubt anyone who habitually reads WWYG would know what it does--and I'm not entirely clear on it myself right now. So, that will have to wait for another day when my weekly statistics reports tell me that I am receiving several hundred hits a day.

Oh, don't worry . . . it'll happen someday.

An Addendum to last week's debate-blog

This explanation comes via I haven't verified its veracity.

Remember when I was confused during the 2nd presidential debate while the Prez seemingly rambled on about Dred Scott?

Well, according to the web article embedded inside this post's title, he wasn't rambling at all, but was sending a secret signal to other conservatives with decoder rings!!

Wow! Politics is fun and sinister and totally relevant and junk!

What cereal do you have to eat to receive the secret Conservative decoder ring? Is it boring, bland, but good for you "Cheerios?" Is certainly can't be "Lucky Charms" can it? That leprechaun is a little swishy and the presence of the "rainbow" is another code that only liberals can decipher.

So, eat a balanced breakfast, pay attention, and always ask: "What's the frequency, Georgie?"

Monday, October 11, 2004

Superman, R.I.P.

See the title above, for clickable link.

Goodbye Christopher Reeve.

A few thoughts, some serious, others not.

You may be surprised to hear that I don't blame Tom Cruise for this one. The unfortunate accident that paralyzed Reeve happened long before Tom went off the deep end. This, as many know, is simply another manifestation of the "Superman Curse." Reeve used his time after the accident to promote the problems of the paralyzed and to advocate for increased research and therapy to repair damaged spinal cord patients. He even reprised his role (somewhat) by appearing in a few episodes of TV's "Smallville."

So now, Reeve has died and the last time I heard his name was as an aside during Kerry's attempt to answer questions on stem cell research. He almost wasn't mentioned at all, only coming after Kerry name-dropped Nancy Reagan and Michael J. Fox (in that order). I guess the stars of the '80s have to stick together.

Tom didn't perpetrate this crime, cause he knows that "you don't tug on Superman's cape; you don't spit into the wind."

So is it clear now why Margot Kidder ('80s Lois) has appeared on "Smallville" as Dr. Swann's assistant? Was he too ill to do any filming this season?

As to the Curse--well, it has now claimed Reeve. Dean Cain has never done quite well since "Lois and Clark" ("Ripley's," portraying Scott Petersen (!), and now a crappy CBS dram-com? Yikes.) Does Tom Welling wake up worried some nights? Probably not, since that would require more brain power and forward thinking than is evidenced in that pretty, pretty head of his.

Anyway, rest in peace Christopher. You were an icon to some, if only for a short time.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Presidential Debate #2

Tonight!! (Imagine that I am writing this while the debate is going on, okay?) From St. Louis!! Washington University!! The 2nd Presidential Debate. A "town hall format" with 140 undeclared voters (according to the Gallup organization that chose the participants) from the area. They each wrote a question for each candidate and moderator Charlie Gibson has secretly chosen the questions to be asked from that pool of 280 questions. The citizens will deliver their questions to the candidates. Same time limits as in the first debate.

Let's get ready to rumblllllllllleeeeeeee!!

9:03 Candiates enter from either side. No stage music, dry ice, or anything. They shake and chat for a few seconds. What can they possibly say to each other right now? Maybe this:
W: I had a cheeseburger today . . . with Hunt's ketchup! Booyah!
K: Oh yeah? Well I didn't destroy America's credibility today . . . how 'bout you?

(Hey! Just kiddin' out there! I respect each man for something. What that something is will remain my special secret.)

9:04 First question for Kerry. "Why are you so wishy-washy?" His answer. I'm not. I'm consistent. And he proves it by consistently repeating what we all heard him say during last week's debate. Bravo. Plus he let's loose the first zinger, calling W a "weapon of mass deception." Some Kerry staffer wrote that, patted himself on the back, and was pleased for the rest of the day. Meanwhile voters want information and Afghans wonder "THIS is how you conduct an election?"

9:07 W seems a bit choppy here in the early going. Of course, his dad wasn't too great at this style of debate. You do get to hear candidates think on their feet a bit plus you get to see regular voters stumbling around trying to pronounce things on national TV.

9:10 W still has strange pauses before the simplest of words. This will stop later, but right now he doesn't seem comfortable. At this point Kerry is coming off much smoother and is talking to the people very calmly.

9:12 Is Charlie Gibson a moderator or a Bush lackey? Don't give Bush free reign to respond to everything? If responses are allowed the voters might get the hint of in-depth answers. Come on Charlie . . . keep the sound bites flowing? Bush brings up the "global test." Kerry strongly points out that the goal of sanctions was to remove WMDs , but NOT to remove Saddam Hussein. I give Kerry a point for that retort.

9:14 W shown drinking water while listening to Kerry. Wouldn't it be cool if W did a spit-take in response to some accusation made by Kerry? That would be hilarious.

9:16 YES! "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" makes its first appearance of these debates. Followed by Bush reassuring us that "I know how these people [terrorists] think." Bush seems to be yelling his answers out into the audience. Won't that turn people off?

9:19 Bush deflects a question about how Americans are disliked overseas by saying "We have a great country. I love our values." Great, but how does that answer . . ? Oh wait, here it comes: "I'll stand on morals and values and everyone will see that I am right. . . . And we'll continue to reach out."

9:24 What would Kerry do to deal with Iran if its nuclear program continued to grow and UN actions failed to do anything good? Well, apparently he would spend several minutes blaming the Bush administration as he is currently doing. But then later he would get Europe to help . . . would they have to take Kerry's global test? With #2 pencils?
During Bush's rebuttal, he says "Of course I know the threat." Let me talk about NORTH KOREA!!!! (Dude . . . stop yelling at us!)

9:28 The angry yelling continues--"We're not going to have a draft!!"

9:30 Kerry spends about a minute and an half doing more name-dropping. Everyone loves him! (Except for half of the electorate.)

9:31 Come on Charlie! Stand up to Bush! And get him to calm down. But the people will just see him as resolute and firm--determined.

9:36 "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" second time.

9:42 Medicare questions signals a shift into domestic issues now. Will Kerry take advantage at this point?

9:43 To Kerry, "How do you reconcile with the voters the fact that your running mate is a trial lawyer?" I expect Kerry to say: "Well look at him! He's so beautiful!" Kerry goes on to talk about how he has a PLAN for this and a PLAN for that. Would that we had more than 2 minutes and blinking lights to further explore this PLAN.

9:46 Twice tonight, Bush has tried a joke and both times they have fallen flatter than a pancake. Sorry W, but the audience is not "necessarily" filled with friendlies and they are allowed to react anyway. Bush has calmed down a bit also, but he still talks very deliberately, as if he is trying to explain his position to six-year-olds (which I guess you have to do in a minute and a half of time).

9:53 Finally Charlie stands up to these guys!

9:55 Oh my god. Kerry actually stands there, looks at the cameras and (essentially) says "Read my lips . . . no new taxes." Somewhere "41" is either grimacing or smiling.

9:57 Kerry brings up "fuzzy math." (!) Will Bush talk about the secret lockbox that Cheney carries with him?

10:02 Kerry gets onto Bush for using labels and how labels don't mean anything. THEN he calls the Bush administration "one of the worst [presidential administrations] in modern history." Lordy, lordy! Looks who's throwing around labels now? And then Kerry kiss away ANY chance of ever winning the redneck Southern vote by saying that he would be a president that believes in science.
Bush talks about the Kyoto Accords, saying that signing such a flawed document would be done if you "wanted to be popular with the Europeans." Kerry says that the Accords are flawed, but all the Bush administration does is say no and walk away. There is no effort to make it better.

10:07 Bush is handling himself with the domestic questions (supposedly his biggest weakness).

10:13 Stem cell question. Would Kerry use embryonic stem cells over umbilical cells? Kerry answers by referencing Nancy Reagan and Michael J. Fox, then name-drops Christopher Reeve. Great, you're friends with Superman . . . but what would you DO? Finally he says his administration would conduct "ethically-guided stem cell research."

[You know, it is refreshing to hear some discussion on issues other than Iraq for a change.]

10:18 Bush's first joke that works (about Supreme Court justices). Good job, George! Supreme Court jokes ALWAYS kill! But then he totally deflates the room by stumbling along and trying to explain how a perfect justice wouldn't be like someone who wrote the Dred Scott decision? Dred Scott? Is it just because you're in Missouri? That was just weird!

10:23 Regarding abortion, Kerry takes great pains to be respectful, discusses his Catholicism, and then says that "I can't take what is an article of faith for me [anti-abortions?] and legislate it." I find that to be a very truthful answer.

10:25 Bush begins his rebuttal by snorting "I don't know where to begin." Then he really hits home and builds his base by saying "I won't spend taxpayers money on abortions."

10:28 Can Bush identify three mistakes he has made while president? He doesn't really think of anything, refusing to say that he has made a significantly wrong choice. He does say he made some wrong appointments, but won't name names, as that would be embarrassing on national TV. (At first I thought this was a back-handed stab at Powell, but now I think that is probably not who he is talking about. . . . Or is it?)

And that's it!

Who won? Dare I venture an opinion? I would say they both handled themselves well and it was mostly a draw. Again, I doubt anyone is switching sides and those crazy undecideds are probably holding out for a cash bribe. I think Kerry missed his first opportunity to really nail Bush with domestic issues, which haven't been discussed very much at all leading up to this debate. However, the 3rd debate will be all domestic--but I don't really think we will hear anything different than what they said tonight. In fact, I expect more of the same phrases and the same statistical accusations. They simply can't change their story in the course of one week's time and even if they did change, the other side would accuse them of flip-flopping.

The last debate will be next Wednesday, I think. If so it will preempt Lost (boo!) but not Smallville (yea!).

Friday, October 08, 2004

He kinda looks like one of those Fruit of the Loom guys Can You Buy Votes With Underwear? - How about ramen noodles and chicken? By BrendanI.Koerner

Michael Moore--civic minded activist, feloneous criminal, or simply a puritanical wacko that is concerned about the commando-going college student?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Veep debate!!

Well, I didn't watch the whole thing for two reasons:

1) the VP debate doesn't matter. Hell, the men themselves hardly matter on the best days. Its only on the worst days that they even have a reason for existing.

2) Tuesday night is the customary night for my Bible study group to meet. By the time I got home, it was already ten o'clock. I did take some notes starting from that point onward, which I will provide for your edification.

In reality, I was looking forward to this debate (even though it is essentially meaningless). Why? Because these guys are aware of their meaninglessness and can therefore show personality, emotion, and humanity in ways that the front-running robots are never allowed to do. So there.

On to the notes; see the post's title link for another view of the debate's outcome. I find it rather partisan. But then I don't think the veep debate really changes much.

10:00 Turn it on just as Edwards (or as I like to call him, Smilin' John) is finishing up a statement on the amendment to ban gay marriage. Darn! I would have liked to listen to that. Did hear Edwards state that the amendment is meaningless, won't change a single thing about states' recognizing (or not recognizing) marriages in other states, and that the amendment only serves as a political tool to divide the nation. Sounds about right.
Cheney does not comment on the amendment, but only thanks Edwards for his kind words about his (homosexual) daughter. I wonder what Smilin' J. had to say?

10:05 A back and forth between the two men on torte reform. SNORE!! But even I can see in my limited viewing of the debate that Cheney's strategy is to hit on Kerry's Senate record every chance he gets.

10:10 Moderator Gwen brings up AIDS, and specifically AIDS as it relates to domestic problems. Cheney artfully avoids that and deals with the much more horrific (and therefore easier to say that it's too big to solve?) pandemic in the world. Edwards doesn't do much better on AIDS as a domestic issue but does use it to highlight the suffering healthcare coverage under W's reign.

10:14 The question is on Edwards' lack of governing experience--the least amount in a very, very long time (since oh maybe Hannibal Hamlin? I'm just guessing here?). Edwards' response? "I'll tell the truth." and that "A long political resume doesn't equal good judgment. Decent answers, especially when he says that "I'm not hiding that I don't have experience when compared to the vice president." (Smilin' and Truthful too? sigh, he IS dreamy!)

10:21 Weird question structure by moderator doesn't allow either man to refer to their running mate. Edwards spectacularly fails to do that about three times. Is this some way of trying to expose that Edwards is halfway priming to run for the nomination in 2008?

10:28 When both men were asked what could be done to lessen the red v. blue problem or the inability of Congressional parties to reach across the aisle, Cheney at one point tried to use ZELL MILLER as an example of the GOP attempting to be bipartisan? Wow, Dick, if they would allow us to duel in today's society . . . come ON! He's your bipartisan example?

10:32 As I said, I missed two-thirds of the debate, but how many times, did Edwards mention Kerry's name tonight seriously? (This would have tragic consequences later, as I will point out.)
And Dick didn't thank Edwards in the start of his closing remarks! He IS a mean guy!

Media evaluation
As is my custom, I watched ABC break it down. Here is where the tragedy occurred. Either Peter Jennings is getting old and washed up or he is going nuts because he consistently called Edwards "Kerry." Will this have screwed-up ballot implications on Election Day?
ABC seemed to call the debate a draw, but took great pains, as I mentioned at the outset, that this debate really means squat anyway.
The other weird thread in the post-debate discussion on ABC was Jennings constantly stating that they don't employ spin in their evaluations. And he also heavily emphasized that the instant poll they took after the debate was scientific. Is all of this a fallout from the CBS national guard fiasco? Or is this a belated attempt to repair image front the 2000 too-close-to-call mess? I don't know, but it was odd.
Anyway, short, sweet. Over the weekend, I'll probably provide impressions on the town hall debate coming up this Friday night.
See ya then, but keep tuning in every day for other non-political stuff.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Now, I become The Man

Sure . . . devoted readers to this blog are now saying, "Huh? He always acted like he was the Man, didn't he?"

You're right. I have always acted that way.

But now its real. Today I was hired into my department as full-time staff. Its a weird feeling. I am glad that it finally happened, but I worry that my other friends, many of whom (like me) were "project workers" have even more reason to be disgruntled.

Yes, I put in my time, waited my turn, etc. But that doesn't make it any easier for the rest, who continue to wait. Believe me, in the past four years, I felt that feeling of happiness mixed with frustration. I just wish it didn't take SO long for everyone to be recognized for all of the hard work that we all do.

So, I am experiencing pleasure, relief, and apprehension all at once.

Another great outcome of all of this is that Perk ALSO got hired today. So, way to go buddy. You deserve it too.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Lives of Quiet (but funny) Desperation

I watched the premier of ABCs new drama, Desperate Housewives, tonight. Click on the title above to link to ABC's home site on the show.

My impressions?

First and foremost, David Lynch is throwing some high-priced wine against a wall right now somewhere in France. (At least he is if he is currently living in France, which it seems like he should be; often drinks high-priced wine--and why not?; and if he watches ABC television, which is actually highly unlikely.)

BUT--he surely pays someone to watch the media and so he will soon get a report about Desperate Housewives which will cause him to choke on his croissant and orange juice.

Why? Because this show rips off two of his most famous products, THAT's why! (And it does a good job too, so I am not blaming ABC for this.)

SPOILER ALERT!! If you plan to watch the rebroadcast of the premiere next Saturday night, then don't read below.

Desperate Housewives is a show about the perfect little neighborhood, filled with perfect suburban families. The show focuses, obviously, on the wives. The premiere episode centers on the suicide of one of a group of five neighborhood lady friends (Big Chill anyone?). The dead woman narrates the episode. No one knows why she died, but we learn throughout the episode that her family had a secret. We further learn that all the ladies have secrets--some hidden, some not so hidden. But suffice it to say that their postcard lives aren't exactly Emily Post in every sense of the word, okay? The show will focus (I assume) on unraveling the central mystery of why the suicide occurred while further exploring the problems of these ladies.

So, Lynch right? Take the death of Laura Palmer which was the engine that drove the first year and a half of Twin Peaks and mix in the fact that perfect old Suburbia has dragons hidden in closets (a la Blue Velvet) and you have this show. Sadly there is no one with the caliber of Dennis Hopper involved (yet . . . if I may plead with Hopper's agent and ABC!!) or the cross-dressing talents of David Duchovny.

So watch our ABC!! You may be getting an irate phone call from overseas soon! And good job on an interesting show. Now, move it from Sunday night at 9 pm!!!! That's where my girl Sydney works--she'll be coming back in January!