Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gravity and the News

Four people died in Phoenix when two news helicopters collided with one another while filming a fleeing suspect. I have no idea why the news helicopters were filming it at all. Do people really need to see the live action thrill of a car chase so much that it needs to be covered by five news helicopters? Five? You know who needed a helicopter there? The cops. That's it. If a news station has a helicopter, then it also has a station owner who has severe issues with his penis. Or her penis, as the case may be. There was another big ol' car chase in Texas yesterday. We were watching the news while eating lunch, and the reporter said: "We don't know exactly where this is, or whether it's a man or woman driving, or why they're being chased, but here's the chase." It's like a nation of magpies attracted by shiny objects. Ooooh, a speeding car! Let's watch! Um... why? Maybe it's the NASCAR gene, which I thankfully lack. People like to watch speeding cars for whatever reason. Or speeding anything. Chariot races, cars, whatever. I guess watching things move around in a circle is hypnotic. Toddlers get the same effect watching water (and such) get flushed down the toilet.

You see the metaphor here, right?

Anyway, regarding the Phoenix crash... the driver who was being chased (not chaste) may be charged with the deaths of the four people who crashed in the helicopters. Yes, the person on the ground may be charged with the deaths of the helicopter pilots and passengers who were in the air and crashed into each other. I think that's ludicrous. If anyone should be charged with their deaths, it should be the station owners who sent them out after a friggin' car chase in the first place. (Somebody grew up watching too much CHiPs.) There was another incident a week or so ago where a robbery or some such was committed, and the officer responding to the call died en route. The robber was charged with the death of the officer. If you're going to use that logic, don't just stop with the robber. I mean, come on! This is America! There are many more people to sue, and many more people to blame for your own actions! We can blame the robber's parents for screwing up at their parenting job. We can blame the car manufacturer for not including enough safety measures in the cop car. We can blame the cop's supervisor for not ensuring that the cop take his requisite defensive driving classes. We can blame the cop's parents for not providing good enough genetic material to give the cop superhuman cop reflexes. Of course, if the cop collided with another driver, there's a whole tree of blame to follow. If the cop collided with a stationary object, there's yet another avenue of litigation and finger-pointing to traverse.

Personally, I'm going to blame the city of Phoenix for the helicopter crash. I mean, really... why isn't the entire city covered in soft, spongy foam?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Want To Buy A Ghost Town

Really. How cool would that be? Nice and isolated. Quiet. Scenic. Sure, I'd have to farm. Or have supplies air-dropped in. Satellite internet, of course. Solar and windmill for electricity. Oh, did I mention the land mines? And the giant moat filled with electric crocodiles? See, I want to keep the stupid out. I'm not sure how else to do that. What the hell am I talking about? Deb was taking a break from our marathon shop-maintenance stuff, and she was flipping through channels of suck. I went in to see what she was up to, because my wife can find her way to mischief quickly. (Oh wait. That's me.) She had stopped on the new Candid Camera show. I have no idea what it's called, but it's a hidden camera show, where they set up people with all manner of wacky shenanigans which results in a family-friendly laugh riot for young and old. Feh. I shouldn't call it Candid Camera, because Candid Camera had personality. This one was made by mimes, because nobody talks. Only goofy music that Benny Hill rejected. Anyway, the bit was that an old woman needed help carrying a box of groceries to her door. The unsuspecting victim was carrying the box. The wacky bit came into play when a skunk was released into the old woman's front yard. (See! Comedy gold right there! How could you not love the show?) The part that made me sit up and curse was that they had digitally blurred out something on a woman. Not on her clothing, and not to mask an expletive.

They blurred out the cigarette in her hand.

I'll say it again: They blurred out the cigarette in her hand. I do not smoke, yet somehow I doubt that the wee children watching the funny camera clip show are going to run out and grab a pack of Lucky Strikes because they saw the skunk lady hold one in her friggin' hand! Now there's a push to make movies that depict smoking have an automatic R rating.

Maybe it's because I listen to old radio shows so much. Everyone smoked, everyone drank, and everyone was quick to commit murder. I honestly don't think that everyone who listened to these old shows went out on a killing spree, nor do I think they plotted and schemed in order to get their rich uncle's fortune by pushing him down a flight of stairs/giving him 18 doses of sleeping powder/playing a recording of ghost sounds in order to give his weak heart that final push over the edge in his haunted mansion. In fact, I think a very small percentage of radio listeners ever killed anyone. Fewer still inherited anything. People smoked. People drank. People died. You know what? If you don't smoke and you don't drink, you're still going to die. You might live longer, but you're going to be boring as hell and won't have any good stories to tell. So you'll be boring, dead, and people will smoke and drink over your corpse. That's a life well lived, right there.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Why do we care about this?"

I realize I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but it's been jangling about in my head. Time to set it free...

Our television consumption consists primarily of watching the news. CNN Headline News to be specific. Why? Well, it's one of the channels we get that's in English, and does not have Judge Smurfy or whatever the hell their names are on 24/7. It's good for about ten minutes, which is pretty much all of the entertainment news I can stomach. Oh, they'll occasionally hit on a story and not tell you the whole thing, but then they're off on three or four stories in succession about what some Hollywood person is having for breakfast.

Which brings me to this: Last week, the story they were incessantly looping was the one about David Beckham joining a professional soccer team in California. I think. I'm not about to look it up, and I don't care. See, it's soccer. Not "football". We're in America, and it's called soccer. By the same token... we're in America and it's soccer! Why is this on the news? I don't mean the sports segment, I mean the news segment! Building burned down, war going on, school bus full of nuns and blind orphans crashed, and soccer?!? Yeah yeah yeah... most popular sport in the rest of the world... blah blah blah. It's a bunch of guys in shorts and knee high socks who run back and forth. It's great for little kids, as they need to run around and get tired and sleep and shut the hell up. But I mean... really... professional soccer in America? The most interesting thing I've ever seen in a soccer match is when that Zidane guy rammed his forehead into that other guy. (Again, don't care who. Don't care where. Remember: Soccer = more boring than baseball.) Apparently, he wasn't supposed to do that. But I'll tell you, if they made that a play, and had a point system surrounding the move, we'd watch it.

For some reason, the media wants us to care. My better half saw something that sums it up nicely. She was watching newscasters discuss this Brit soccer whosis, and the newscasters started laughing and saying words to the effect of "Why do we care about this?" Exactly. I miss the days when I could get news by watching the news. Now it's just entertainment interspersed with the occasional shooting. I don't think I'm going to watch the news anymore. I'll just read the good stuff online.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Books, Flowers, and Fruit

It was our anniversary today, so we decided to break with tradition and go out to eat. We put on our Hawaiian shirts, and headed off to the local Tony Roma's. We had been there twice previously, and heartily enjoyed our meals. We even had a coupon! We were set for some fine dining. When we pulled in to the parking lot, I remarked: "Gee, there aren't any cars here." Sure, it's a weekday, but it was only a few minutes before noon. There should have been some sort of lunch crowd. The lights were off, and there was a single piece of paper taped to the main entrance. I got out and read it, and came back to the car laughing. The paper did not just inform the reader that the establishment was closed, but rather that the building and all of its contents had been seized. I guess business wasn't booming for them. It wasn't even mildly fizzing.

Luckily, Tucson has more restaurants than cacti, so we trundled off in search of an anniversary meal. We traveled roughly 200 feet and went to another restaurant, had a lovely meal wherein I stunned yet another server with my ability to drink my weight in soda, and left. In another break with tradition, we paid the bill before we left the restaurant. Not as exciting, sure, but there's less running involved. I don't like to run when I'm full. Or empty, for that matter. (It's friggin' Arizona! I won't run unless guns are involved.) (Even then...)

Oh, as for the "Books, flowers, and fruit"... those are the traditional gifts for a fourth wedding anniversary. The modern equivalent is electronic appliances. So, if you're shopping for a guilt gift, get us an electric tomato-flavored page turner that smells of chrysanthemums. Covers all bases.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Eight Random Things

OK, Sam, you asked for it...

1 - I started reading at age two. I haven't stopped yet, and it's probably the main reason why typos leap off the page and stab me in the head. Relentless practice.

2 - My hands occasionally shake uncontrollably. Calm or relaxed, without warning. They've been doing so for years. I have no idea why, and I don't want to know. Call it fear, call it stubbornness, call it both. Whatever.

3 - The second thing on this list makes me amazingly angry, because I feel that, if nothing else, I should be able to have at least some control over my own damn hands.

4 - I am starting year three in Arizona, and I still have not made any friends of any natives. I have not made the attempt. I have no desire to. After years of being the guy who heard "Thank god you're here!" from people he never met before, in different friggin' states, I'm enjoying the anonymity.

5 - I don't miss my hair. Really. Though I am a bit annoyed that grey hairs have started to sprout in my goatee.

6 - I saw a UFO when I was about 13. As far as I know, I have no implants. Again, I don't want to know.

7 - I am not religious by any means, but there was a time in my life when I went to church every day. (Only one person who reads this blog knows what the hell that means. Who's ready?)

8 - There was a time that I wanted to draw comic books. Mainly because it's as close as I'd ever get to having actual super powers. (Heroes is a good show. I was pleasantly surprised.) (Hiro.)

There you go, Sam. I'm not tagging anyone else, though. So there.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What Do Vegetarian Zombies Eat?

Graaaaaainnnns... Graaaaaiiinnnssss...

I know, I know. I didn't write it, I just laughed at it.

The above picture is my submission to a contest at J!NX, of which Sam informed me.

In less surprising news, I received two more hits from the IRS this week. Someone looking at the archives. I'm tired of being angry about it, so instead I'll just start posting IRS secrets. Hey, I'm beyond my two year "vow of silence" they make you take. Most people who take it probably don't even remember doing so. I do, because that's the way my brain works. I remember all sorts of crap I don't need, and forget where I left my pants. (Yes, again.) I won't post anything too drastic. Just little things. Like tolerance amounts. Hey... maybe I can post it in code! That'll drive them wild trying to find it, and subsequently decode it! Cool! Better drink your Ovaltine, kids. Gotta get that decoder ring. Not that it'll help, ya bastards, but who can resist rich chocolatey Ovaltine?