Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
"It is critical to get every detail right," Axelrod continued. "If he looks up an inch too high, he appears aloof or confused. If he looks down too low, it appears that he is distracted by something in the back of the auditorium. If the curvature of his upper lip is not at the exact 0.87-centimeter radius, it reads that he does not care about preserving the environment for future generations."
The pose also requires Obama to arch his eyebrows at 32-degree angles, open his mouth to prevent the misconception that he is frowning about the future, and briefly flare his nostrils to convey faith in the nation's children.
He must then clench his jaw with sufficient force to express strength and decisiveness—if he uses too much force, Axelrod said, his supraorbital forehead vein becomes visible and makes it appear as though he is in physical pain.
"Every millimeter of that head vein costs him 150,000 votes," Axelrod said.
To complete the pose, Obama must then open his eyes at an aperture of 1.43 centimeters, tilt his chin slightly upward, and rotate his head 37 degrees to the left. His advisers stressed that he must always look to the left.
The biggest obstacle Obama has had to overcome in recent weeks is his proclivity to squint while looking toward the future, which aides say alienates voters.
"We've worked on the squinting," said Obama adviser Sam Hosking, who claimed it was a "death knell" for a candidate to appear to be struggling to see the nation's future. "It took a lot of work, but we were able to turn the squint into a solemn blink."
"The blink humanizes him," Hosking added. "But you have to be careful. Two blinks and people will start to question if he's a man of his word."
Obama has also worked on increasing the speed with which he can strike the pose. Advisers say that it is critical for him to be able to quickly and seamlessly transition into the looking-off-into-the-future pose at any moment, especially during applause breaks in his speeches, while being photographed from low angles, and whenever there is a large American flag waving gently behind him.
Obama's advisers have recently given him clearance to nod resolutely upon completing the looking-off-into-the-future pose.
"A nod is acceptable," Hosking said. "The American people respond well to nods."
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I ate there 2 days ago with my life partner and a friend of mine. I ate there 4 days ago by myself (reading USA today helped pass the time). Upon arriving, I always ask to be seated in a booth. You see, booths are a bit more comfortable than tables plus I can stretch my legs out to the side if I wish. Once seated, I take the drink menu that is always placed on the table and put it on the floor (one afternoon, I observed a 10-year old browsing through it before saying in disgust to his parents, "All that's in here is drinks!").
Here's an amusing prank that someone did to Friday's menu a few years ago.
Next a waitress who's most likely seen me before (and knows exactly what I order) takes my drink order, Mello Yello. The only time I drink pop is when going out to eat. One of my favorite waiters is a bloke named Bob who has sideburns that haven't been seen since Ike was President. I like to refer to him as "Sideburns" or "Elvis".
Over the past few years, the only thing I would eat at Friday's for an entree' was their regular hamburger with fries. A few months ago, however, I was turned on the their chicken fingers and now order them about 33% of the time. On most days, I will order a Caesar side salad (sans cheese to avoid unneeded saturated fat) as a light appetizer.
There's usually a couple hostesses camped out by the entrance door ready to open it for people coming and going. I sometimes act like I'm gonna go outside and they open the door for me, but at the last second, say that I'm just playin'.
I'm happier than Cheney at an oil "meeting" as I eagerly wait for my food to arrive.
About 10 days ago, I went to Friday's with my youngest brother and his family. His kids were quite pleased when a balloon artist came out to make some animal balloons for them. 5 of the 6 of us ordered chicken fingers.
On the days I order a hamburger (I've never liked cheeseburgers), the first thing I do is cut it in half. Why? So that I don't overdo it with saturated fat or gain too much weight for that matter. I always take the other half home to my beautiful Pomeranian, Zoe. I don't give it to her all at once, though. I spread it out over several days. You see, Zoe barks her head off when I leave in the morning and she is quite loud. I've found that if I give her some pieces of hamburger and/or cheese before leaving and then hurry out the door, she can't bark since she is too busy enjoying the feast.
I usually have a little room left over after ingesting my (1/2) burger and fries, so on most cases, I'll order (or share) a dessert. My favorite dessert was the Oreo cake, but Friday's got rid of it a few months ago. This made me so disillusioned that I sent the following email to the chain's main website:
"I was disturbed to find out that the Oreo Cake dessert will no longer be served at the Rochester location. It's actually my favorite part of the meal and my wife and I go to Friday's at least once a week. We heard that the change is being made because Friday's no longer wants to serve any desserts that have transfat in them. This move strikes me as short sighted. Having the Oreo treat once in a while isn't causing everyone's health to go to shit.
We were similarly disheartened when Friday's stopped selling baked potatoes as well as the French Dip. I love going to Friday's, but will most likely go there less often now that this change is being instituted.
Thanks for the good times.
I received a reply a few days later that they hoped I would continue to frequent their restaurant. They needn't have worried. I eventually grew to love their Brownie Obsession (though it's only about 71% as good as the Oreo was). I'm actually going there more now than I ever did when they had the Oreo!
About a month and a half ago, I signed up for Friday's "Give Me More Stripes" card. For every $100 I spend, an email is sent good for $8 off. I've already used about 4 of the coupons and after today, will be getting another.
You may be thinking, why are you so obsessed with this restaurant?
Because in there, it's always Friday.
Monday, August 25, 2008
(which was basically a precursor to "The Amazing Race" :P)
Next it was "The Snorks", and then before you knew it, it was time to "Smurf". One of my favorites was "Pac-Man".
"Saturday Supercade" was also based on a videogame (several actually), but I didn't like it as much. I did get a kick out of "Rubik, the Amazing Cube", however. And one of my brothers sure liked "Mr. T". In the toon, Mr. T was a coach for the U.S. gymnastics team (I'm not kidding). And who can forget "The Littles"? One of the last shows on in the morning was "The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour".
By this time, I was ready to go outside. You can't spend your whole life in front of the TV.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Here's an excerpt:
"I've been working on a new scoring system to improve the Games. The first step is to eliminate all but one medal event per sport. You know why Michael Phelps won eight golds?
Because they were all for the same thing. Turns out, he can swim fast when he does two laps and four laps — and when he's alone and when three other Americans go right after him! You want multiple medals? Do multiple sports. Phelps gets two medals only if he's the best swimmer in the world and the best Taekwondoist. To be fair, under the current system, the basketball team should be having competitions in three-point shooting, dunking, rebounding, passing, that halftime trampoline thing, T-shirt cannon-blasting, and restraining Ron Artest."
Friday, August 22, 2008
Some of the funniest responses:
"Can we pick entire genres? Cause I'd LOVE to get rid of "gangsta rap"
"Anything after 2003"
"I'm surprised nobody said Billy Ray Cyrus. That's a twofer right there."
"Loverboy has always sucked."
"Any 90's shitty "alt rock for pussies" band (Semisonic, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Dishwalla, etc)"
"I'm shocked no one said Oasis..."
"I wish I could erase the Hair Bands from History. My goodness, what were the young adults in the 80s thinking, listening to that kind of music?"
"Coldplay, I mean, come on, play more than the same 4 farking notes over and over and over."
"Josh Groban. I'd like to not only erase him, but the 4 previous generations of his family (I can't take a chance with the gene pool reforming him)."
"Think how many fewer children would have been molested if the Who didn't exist."
"I went regular bowling for the first time in years last week. They played a song called Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk there. I vote whoever wrote that to this list."
Here are my picks (I'm aware they're not all bands):
1. Vanilla Ice
2. Michael Bolton
3. Lee Greenwood
4. Helen Reddy
5. Color Me Badd
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
At the age of 14, I bought a $5 basketball from Kmart. I lived just a few blocks from an elementary school, so in the summer of '85, paid many visits to their playground and shot hoops. I usually played on my own. I loved taking long shots, you know, the ones where you have to throw the ball one handed. A year or two later, being busy with high school, I stopped playing.
In the early 90's, my brothers and I spent many a night at Winona's rec center. I played quite a bit there, especially in the wintertime. My brothers were quite good. It was during this time that I started to shoot hoops in a new way. In the past, I would use both hands when taking shots. At the rec center, I began shooting with just my right hand and found that I made quite a few shots that way. So I continued to play as such, even when playing competitively.
In the early 00's (aughts), we bought a basketball hoop which we placed next to the driveway. One afternoon in the summer of '04, I was mowing the front lawn and wanted to get under the basketball hoop. I took two of the four sandbags off the top of the hoop's base and continued mowing. My car was parked in the driveway. I took another bag off not thinking much of it. I had ear plugs on (I always do while mowing). As I mowed, I suddenly heard a loud crash. I had no clue what it could have been. I turned around and saw that the hoop had fell to the ground, landing on our driveway, but not before shattering my front windshield in the process. Oops, my bad. I didn't have too strong a reaction to it. After all, these things happen, no? It cost a few hundred dollars to replace the shield, but, thankfully there was no damage to the car itself. It was funny explaining how it happened to the guy at Abra. Too bad no one was videotaping it. I coulda been on "America's Stupidest Home Videos".
Our little Pomeranian, Zoe, also likes to play b-ball.
In the backyard, we roll a full-size basketball her way and she chases it across the yard. Not only that, but she is sometimes able to push it up onto her nose, if only for a second or two. She's only 10 pounds, but, I tell ya, that girl's got game!
On John Edwards' affair:
"When somebody is caught cheating, of course it's never an admirable thing to do, but I still think there's a giant lack of national perspective on this crime. A man is married 31 years, you know, people, not just men, women. You're married a long time, you're desperate for something new. I mean, men like new sex. Women like new shoes. People like new. You can't stop human nature. The noble thing to do when you're married is to suck it up and suffer. We all get that. Fine. But it's a shame that we have to lose a good message from an otherwise good man. He was the guy who had the health care plan that they both copied. His idea that we have two Americas...and in one of them, he's single. That's an important message."
On organized religion:
"It just ticks me off. It's the ultimate hustle. Why can't they, I always ask -- I asked Jesus at Holy Land, "Why can't God just defeat the devil and get rid of evil?" And it's the same reason the comic-book character can't get rid of his nemesis. Then there's no story. If God gets rid of the devil -- and he could, he's all powerful -- well, then there's no fear. There's no reason to come to church. There's no reason to pass the plate. We're all out of a job. You know, it's got to go on."
"One reason I have always been anti-Evangelical and people who take the Bible literally is because it allows you to be horrible to animals, people, too. Slavery is OK with the Bible, keeping women down, and honor killings and let's not even go into how bad they are to people. But animals, you know, the Bible says man can have dominion over animals. And also they believe people have a soul, whatever that is, but animals don't. So do whatever you want with them."
"CALLER: I have a question. Do you think McCain will be just as bad or worse than Bush? I'm a first-time voter, and I'm Barack all the way, man.
MAHER: OK, dude. It's hard to say. It's hard to imagine a president being worse than Bush. But I could see McCain pulling it off. I don't know. McCain is a real hard one to figure, because he could get into office and revert to the maverick McCain that we used to like. He could say, you know what? I had to do a lot of stuff I didn't like to get to this spot, which every politician has to do. But now I'm here. You can't touch me.
He can be better on a lot of issues than Bush. But on issues like Iraq, he's not. He doesn't get the most fundamental thing about this war, that it is our presence in that country that is the problem. He's OK with leaving troops in Iraq for a hundred years. He said this. He said, look, we have troops in Germany and Japan and South Korea. Yes, but they're not Muslim countries. What irks them is just our presence there. As long as we have troops in the heart of the Middle East, there will always be terrorist planners trying to kill us, young, Muslim men who want to kill us for doing that. So on that level, alone, I can't say he's better than Bush."
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Once inside, I was rarin' to go. I have an interesting strategy when it comes to going on amusement park rides. I like to focus on the coasters, but don't go on whatever's closest or the scariest one first. I go on the least imposing ones first and gradually work my way up to the Big Kahunas. So, as usual, the first one to ride was gonna be the Corkscrew. Though it goes upside down, it's only for a few seconds (the entire ride is about 30 seconds). Since I hadn't been on a ride in 3 years, even the Corkscrew seemed intense. Oh shit. Would I still be able to handle the big rides?
Number 2 on my list was going to the bathroom. No, it was the old-school wooden coaster High Roller.
Built in 1976, it was the first coaster that Valleyfair built. As I queued up, some kids who had just ridden it got back in line to go again. For some reason, they really liked this 30-year old beast. One of them said he wished he could time travel back to '76 when it was brand new and state-of-the-art. I wanted to say, "Kid, the 70's weren't all that, you know. You like rap music? It didn't exist back then. Video games? Same thing". Don't get me wrong, though. It is a groovy ride.
One thing I started to notice is that Valleyfair was playing all 80's music. When we entered the park, it was "Love Shack". As the day progressed, many other relics of those long-ago days were played. It made me feel like I was 13 again (though I was too scared to go on coasters back then).
Next it was on to Valleyfair's newest ride, the Western-themed roller coaster Renegade. Whenever I hear the name of this ride, I think of a Tim McGraw song from the mid-9o's that is also called "Renegade". There was a bit of a line, but I was itchin' to go on something I hadn't been on before. It was a pretty damn fast-moving coaster. For some reason, the Old West theme of the ride wasn't going through my head when I was on it. I guess I was thinking more about surviving. As we exited, a guy behind us was asking his daughter if she liked it. She said "Yes" very excitedly. He then told her that one of the turns had jerked his neck pretty bad. Poor guy. He was probably in pain for the rest of the evening.
It should be noted that I was doing a small-scale experiment that afternoon. I was attempting to go on all the rides in a meditative state of mind. I took deep breaths before the rides started in order to relax myself, to see if I could keep my heart rate from racing while they were in motion. I had the best success when going on Power Tower.
I could either go up fast and descend slowly or go up slow and then be dropped with no warning. I elected for the former. I was buckled in and slowed my breathing as I knew we would be going up mighty fast in the next few seconds. All of a sudden, we rose 25 stories in the air. I watched as the people below got smaller and smaller. I confess to a bit of fear. I guess it's only natural when looking down from high above. A person is meant to be on the ground. That's why God gave us feet.
The last ride we went on before getting a bite to eat was the Wild Thing, a super fast roller coaster that goes just about as high as the Power Tower. I've always said that Valleyfair should build a ride that combined the best elements of the Wild Thing with those of the Corkscrew. It could be called the Wild Screw. :P
While waiting in line, one of the cars had stalled while going up the first giant hill (it froze about a third of the way up). I had to smile a bit as others in the queue looked up and saw what had happened. Nobody left, however. The ride was started again a few minutes later and Prince's masterpiece "Let's Go Crazy" played as go-time approached. An African-American lady in front of me said a prayer to the Lord that the car would work properly. I was like, "If you want to be really safe, don't go on it". Though I'd been on it before, the Wild Thing provoked the strongest reaction in me. The first drop is quite precipitous and as I looked down, I audibly said "Shit". Near the end of the ride, a number of cameras take pictures of all the riders. I knew this was coming, so gave a thumbs-up as my pic was taken.
One thing I haven't mentioned is that I was wearing a Borat T-shirt. It says "High-Five!" on it (I have another one that looks like this:
I sat down and faced the TV while my partner faced the opposite direction. There was no volume, but thankfully, closed captioning was enabled. My girl didn't realize I was watching the closed-captioning, so kept asking me questions which I would answer somewhat half-heartedly since I was so into the discussion on TV. I'm not supposed to eat much saturated fat, but figured having a few pieces of pizza every couple weeks shouldn't kill me. I probably should've prayed before the meal that I would get no ill effects from it, but like before, the better way to proceed woulda been not to eat the stuff at all. McCain came out to speak as we finished our meal. I watched a few minutes, but quickly grew tired of it.
I was thinking about hitting a few more rides, but either the lines were too long or the ride appeared too intense for me (I don't like the ones that flip you over and over and sideways and all that jazz). After browsing the souvenir shops, we headed home. On the ride back, while listening to some Steely Dan, I noticed that my neck was aching a bit. Why would my neck be hurting?
Uh, hello, genius, 3 guesses?
It was the pizza.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Stone's put together quite a cast for this one. Josh Brolin is W, Richard Dreyfuss is Cheney (Darth Vader), James Cromwell is Bush 41, Ellen Burstyn is Bar, and Scott Glenn plays Rummy.
I'm living with my dad and siblings in Winona now. I don't really like it. The kids are so noisy and never shut up. I share a bedroom with two of my brothers, but in a way, I have my own room cuz I actually sleep in a little cubby hole. All my tapes are in there and I have a We Are the World poster on the ceiling that I can look at when I go to bed. Some of my favorite singers are on it. My new favorite is Madonna. In some ways, she's better looking than Olivia.
Since leaving Rollingstone, I don't really have any friends to hang out with. My mom lives by herself in downtown Winona. We visit her every weekend. I miss seeing her every day like it used to be. I wanted to stay living with her, but dad and mom said I needed to live with the rest of the kids. I like the Cosby show, but we usually go to the meeting on Thursday nights so I have to miss it. I still wish that mom and dad could get back together so it could be like it was before. I think I took the divorce the hardest. I can still remember the night when my siblings told me that mom and dad were going to break up (I was watching the Olivia concert on HBO). I couldn't believe it. I think Grandma might be the only one who understands how I feel.
Dad wants me to keep giving talks at the meetings, but I don't really feel like it. He got pissed when I told him I spent $30 on a handheld video game.
I don't collect Star Wars figures anymore. I'm too old for them.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The blue states go to Obama, the red to McCain (the dark blue and dark red states are more likely to go to that candidate than the light colored versions of each). Under this scenario, the electoral totals would end up being Obama: 298.2 and McCain: 239.8 (270 are needed to win).
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Here's the video.
Add this to a major Bigfoot announcement that is going to be made on Friday (a Bigfoot team has allegedly found the body of one) and we could be looking at the end of days, people...
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 34%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 66%
These are the websites that were used to come to that conclusion:
google.com, yahoo.com, msn.com, aol.com, myspace.com, youtube.com, amazon.com, cnn.com, blogger.com, flickr.com, weather.com, webmd.com, foxnews.com (how the hell did that get in there?), huffingtonpost.com (that's more like it), rotten tomatoes.com, fark.com, boxofficemojo.com, wendys.com, marcustheatres.com
Give it a shot and tell me what you come up with...
Friday, August 08, 2008
I told Mom about it when I got home and then went out on the porch to take a look at some of the pictures from the book. I wasn't gonna read any of it. I didn't wanna know what's gonna happen in the movie before I see it. That would spoil it. But after looking at the pictures, I was dying to know if Vader was really Luke's father and who the other was (I already knew that Han was unthawed because I saw pictures of him alive in Starlog a few months ago). I read a few pages of the book and just couldn't stop. I finished it in a little over an hour. Now when I go to the movie, it will be like I've already seen it. I kinda wish I hadn't got it. I ordered it through Scholastic for a few dollars. I didn't think they'd deliver it before May 25th. Anyway, maybe they'll be some things in the movie that weren't in the book. I hope there are. Mom's gonna drive us to LaCrosse to see it since it's not coming to Winona right away.
I've only got a few more days of school left and I'm done with grade school. I'm kinda nervous about junior high. I'm gonna have to take a bus to Winona every morning. I really liked just walking to school, but now things are gonna be different. I hope the summer goes by really slow.
I have some new favorite singers since I wrote last time. I like Huey Lewis and Prince and Culture Club. And I love Michael Jackson's new tape, "Thriller". It's got a lot of really good songs on it. I heard that he's a Jehovah's Witness, too.
My dad is still gone a lot. We might go to Nashville and Graceland this summer in an RV.
I have a new favorite video game. It's called Gyruss. You're in this spaceship and you go round and round shooting other ships. The music is REALLY choice. It's the best videogame I've ever played!
Thursday, August 07, 2008
December 11, 1980 (age 9)
School is going good. I like when we get the Scholastic newspaper. It talks about things going on in the world like inflation and Reagan being the new President. I'm working on getting more Star Wars action figures. So far, I have Han Solo, Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker. They have more than 50 total, so it's going to take a long time for me to get them all. I'm getting the main characters first. One of the last I'll probably get is the Death Star Droid. He's only in the movie for a few seconds. I still like Heather Spencer. I don't know if she likes me, but she's really fun to talk to. My favorite TV shows are Diff'rent Strokes and Three's Company. I also get to watch a lot of movies on HBO, even R-rated ones. :) Smokey and the Bandit 2 was really funny. My family is doing good. My dad is gone a lot with his job. My mom's around all the time, though. It's kinda good being the oldest, but kinda scary since I'm the first one that has to do things, like I'll be the first one who goes to junior high in 1983. I can't wait for 1983 since that is the year I'll get to see the new Star Wars movie and will be able to find out if they rescue Han, why Darth Vader said he was Luke's father, and who the other was that Yoda was talking about. I hope to get married and have kids some day, but that won't be for awhile. Some nights I wish we didn't have to go to all of the Jehovah's Witness meetings, but mom and dad said it's good for us. Last summer, I slept a few nights out on the front porch. It's really peaceful at night and I don't hear my brothers wrestling and stuff. Usually the papergirl that drops off our paper wakes me up. Sometimes I wish we lived in a bigger town so we could be close to the movie theatre and McDonalds, but at least Schell's Cafe has candy and you can play video games at the Fireside Inn or the Rollin Inn. I love Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. My favorite singers are Hall & Oates, Michael Jackson, and Olivia. I wouldn't mind marrying a girl that looks like Olivia.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Wall-E, I don't generally go for computer animated "kids" movies, but the reviews on this one were among the best of the year, so I felt I should give it a try and boy, am I glad I did. Click on the link above for a detailed description of the plot, but some of my favorite aspects of it were the first half hour being almost entirely dialogue-free as well as the nods given to consumer wastefulness and the tendency these days to just want to sit and let our bodies atrophy. Fantastic film! (A)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a bit disappointing, but great to see Indy back again (B+)
The Dark Knight, I was a bit let down by the final half-hour, but still good stuff (B+)
The Love Guru, lots of good laughs in this one, but I've always been partial to Mike Myers, others may not dig it (B+)
Hancock, better than I expected with a doozy of a twist (B+)
Step Brothers, the two people I saw this with weren't laughing as hard as I, but such is life (B+)
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, better than the first which I didn't care for (B)
The Incredible Hulk, great buildup, climax was deflating (B)
Journey to the Center of the Earth, if I hadn't seen this in 3-D, my grade would've been much worse (B)
The Happening, interesting ideas, poorly executed (C+)
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
As she walked back to our table, I noticed some particles dropping to the floor. The waitress also noticed this. As she gave the sundae to Shanon, she said, "Your nuts are falling on me". Less than 2 seconds later, I was laughing harder than I had in quite a while. The waitress, though a bit embarassed, also had to smile a bit. I entered the six words she said into my cell phone so that I would always remember the big laugh Shanon and I got that day.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
I first watched the TV show when I was in college in the mid 90's. On Friday evenings, I would hang out with my girlfriend and one of the highlights of the evening was watching the show (at that time in its second season). I didn't watch it much after that as I graduated from college the following year.
In the summer of 1998, the first X-Files movie was released and I checked it out. Though a bit convoluted, I quite enjoyed it. Nonetheless, that didn't translate into me watching the series again. So I've been an on and off fan (mostly off).
Being more than a little nostalgic for the 90's these days, I looked forward to going to the second Files film. It was great to see Mulder and Scully back at it (in more ways than one).
One of my favorite scenes is when they go into an FBI building and as they wait to be admitted to a conference room, they both look at a picture of the sitting President, George W. As the camera showed this, the spooky theme music started to play as if to say "Is this guy an alien?". I wanted to laugh in the worst way, but was attending with a couple of staunch Republicans, so had to hold back.
After all, the truth is out there...