Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Message from Bank of America

Happy Birthday

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sad But All too True

Or Just Pee Out a Window

Is this what the world is coming to?

Ryanair, a European carrier, is considering charging passengers who want to take a leak or dump on its planes.

Fine. But in exchange, it would be only fair that airlines begin refunding ticket prices anytime an airplane fails to reach an actual runway while landing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here We Go Again

Two weeks ago I called for Obama's impeachment because his press conference was preempting several of my favorite TV shows. In what is shaping up to be a disturbing pattern, he's doing it again tonight when he delivers a nationally televised speech to Congress.

So much for this week's installments of The Mentalist and Fringe.

It almost makes me sick to say this, but I miss George W. Bush. At least when he was in office, he never gave a crap about the wishes of the American people. He never felt the urge to explain himself. I guess that's why he called himself The Decider. It just goes to show that sometimes there are advantages to living under a dictatorship.

Obama's speech tonight will focus on the economy and the recently passed stimulus package. The rescue plan has come under serious fire from Republicans. Among other things, they're critical of the massive deficits it's going to cause.

WOW!!!! Talk about your deathbed conversions! When Bill Clinton left office, the Federal budget was showing a surplus of $230 billion. Bush wasted no time getting rid of that, and the last several years of his presidency ended up showing record deficits. Where were the Republicans in Congress when Bush was practically pissing red ink over everything he touched!?!? For Republicans to suddenly find religion on this issue is like a serial killer finding Jesus just as he's being strapped into the electric chair.

I don't know if Obama's plan will get us out of this financial mess or not. But it's clear as day that the GOP has no right to sit there and snipe. It was their own inept leadership that led us down this path to economic ruin. Let big business be big business was the Republican mantra for years. Free them from the constraints of overly zealous government controls and big business will lead us into a time of eternal prosperity. Even that financial guru Alan Greenspan once said that business leaders will act in their own best interest.

Right. Now look where the philosophy of deregulation has gotten us. You would think the accounting shenanigans of Enron and Worldcom earlier this decade would have served as a wake-up call, but no. Of course not. And certainly not with the Republican politicians who were the primary recipients of political donations from big business.

And now these very same Republicans want to offer their own solutions? Give me a frakking break. That's like Captain Joseph Hazelwood of the Exxon Valdez offering to teach a course in navigation.

And yes, I do love my metaphors.

Monday, February 23, 2009

So Many Questions, So Few Answers

Is it just me, or has "Battlestar Galactica" become even more confusing than "Lost?"

Everyone Wants In

Another Reason Space Exploration Can Be Dangerous

Sunday, February 22, 2009

If God Were a Super Hero

After USAir flight 1549 ended up in the Hudson River last month with no loss of life, there were those elements of society that immediately seized on it as "proof" of God's existence. In the minds of these folks, the fact that there was a veteran pilot with 30 years of experience at the controls had absolutely nothing to do with it. And that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion--which is why I now point to the more recent crash in Buffalo as proof that God does NOT exist.

But getting back to the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson:" If it was truly God who saved those people, then why did He allow the bird strike to happen in the first place? Why didn't He just make the geese disappear BEFORE the plane even hit them? Or does He get some sort of sick pleasure out of scaring the shit out of innocent airline travelers?

So when a reader provided a link to the below comic, I thought it summed up my argument perfectly.

(Thanks be to the almighty MK for the link)

Friday, February 20, 2009

That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles

My God, is nothing safe in this frakked up economy?

The Girl Scouts are reporting that preorders for their annual cookie sales are down by 19%. Preorders account for the majority of cookie sales, and take place mostly in offices and workplaces. Of course, this drop-off probably isn't all that surprising since pretty much everyone and their uncle has been laid off from work.

They are hoping to make up for the shortfall later in the spring when they begin setting up their stands at shopping centers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

So Much for "Less Government Is Better"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Analog Fugitive in a Digital World

Lousy Targeting

Pope Benedict recently promoted an Austrian pastor who had called Hurricane Katrina God's punishment on New Orleans for the city's tolerance of homosexuality. Apparently those earlier theories suggesting that Katrina was a tropical weather system fueled by warm ocean waters were a bunch of hogwash.

Well, if true, it's another example of God's lousy aim. New Orleans was actually spared the worst of Katrina's fury. Southern Mississippi was much harder hit, with entire communities literally wiped from the face of the Earth. And Mississippi is one of the most conservative states in the U.S. It's downright frightening how religious that state is.

Also, most the homosexuals in New Orleans are concentrated in the French Quarter. Oddly, that section of the city was spared the flooding because it sits on high ground. The people that died were largely the black heterosexuals who lived in the poor neighborhoods outside of the downtown area. Other groups hit hard were the elderly, such as the occupants of that nursing that failed to evacuate its patients. Again, I'm guessing most of them were heterosexuals. And if any of them were gay, well, they were too damn old to do anything about it. So if Katrina was some sort of divine punishment, it apparently targeted the wrong people.

Perhaps this pastor should be glad God doesn't punish child molesters. Otherwise the Vatican would be hit by a hurricane every damn week.

"The Worst Is Yet to Come"

Here's a somewhat less than completely optimistic take on the future of the economy. Word of warning: You may want to jump out a window after watching this.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

A New Look for Some Old Friends

I just finished watching last night's Simpsons episode, and I thought something looked different: Turns out they finally went to a widescreen format in anticipation of tomorrow's big switchover to digital TV.... Well, at least what was SUPPOSED to be tomorrow's big switchover (let's pray the government does a better job dispersing the stimulus package than it did handling the DTV transition). The show also did an extended opening credits sequence by adding a few scenes. Oh, and the couch they always plop down into? Well, it finally decides to make a run for it. Even ends up in outer space.

You can watch the opening sequence below. Or, if you prefer, the complete episode is available for free on either Hulu or Fox (hopefully the Fox link will work for those of you overseas).

Incidentally, the below video also offers a plausible explanation for that mysterious fireball over Texas the other day (it will be at 1:40 mark or so).

Home Cheap Home

Even I Have My Standards

People sometimes say to me, "Hey, Lugosi, or whatever the hell your real name is, have you ever even read the Bible?"

The answer to that is no. While I enjoy pornography as much as any degenerate pervert, I nonetheless have some standards that I must live up to.

Specifically, I'm referring to the story of Noah. According the good book, the only human survivors of the Great Flood were Noah and his family. That would mean that once the waters receded, they had to resort to incest in order to rebuild the human race. And given the high infant mortality rates of those pre-vaccine days, that means they had to reproduce as often as possible.

I, for one, am too moral to follow the teachings of a book that advocates rampant sexual promiscuity with your immediate relatives.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sad But Probably True

Friday, February 13, 2009


The date February 17, 2009, has been repeatedly hammered into our minds as the day that old style analog TV signals would cease to be broadcast. Anyone still relying on a TV antenna on that date, and without the appropriate equipment to receive the new digital signals, would be sh*t out of luck when The Price Is Right next came on.

Then last week Congress voted to extend the deadline until June 12. The reason was that the coupon program--intended to help people offset the cost of a new set top converter box--was in disarray. For one thing, the program had run out of money for new coupons. A further complication was that the supply of converter boxes had been erratic, and people who had gotten their coupons early on now had expired coupons.

If that wasn't bad enough, many people who had already received their converter boxes found that they didn't work because they also needed to upgrade their antennas. Apparently no one in the government had thought of that little detail.

But then the TV stations said not to worry, that once they shut off their analog signals on February 17 they'll be able to boost the power devoted to their digital signals. That would presumably take care many of the problems people were having.

So rather than fixing the coupon book problem last fall, Congress waited until two weeks before the final deadline to act. But rather than simply extend the deadline and leave it at that, they voted to give TV stations the option of still doing a complete switchover on February 17, or broadcasting both types of signals until June 12. That only seemed fair, since many stations had already committed crews and personnel for the transition this month.

Now along comes the Federal Communications Commission, which says not so fast. Their concern is that not everyone has their converter boxes yet, and those people would be left without their precious Judge Judy and Oprah if ALL the stations in any given market make the switch on the 17th. So now they want to set up the transition in such a way that at least one station keeps broadcasting analog signals in every city. Problem is, that's not Congress wrote the new law, and its unclear whether the FCC can do this. Also, who's going to pick up the tab if some broadcasters are forced to incur extra costs because of the delay?

The end result is that no one seems to know for sure what's going to happen this coming Tuesday. That February 17 deadline, which we had repeatedly been told was set in stone, now seems etched in jello. Consumers are confused, TV stations are confused, and the government is confused.

Boy, I can hardly wait until Obama takes office and fixes this latest fiasco by the Bush administration.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mr. Darwin

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. To mark the occasion, the Washington Post has a great article that focuses on the secrets being unlocked in the human genome--secrets that further support evolution over time.

There are those, of course, who claim there is some sort of scientific debate about evolution. Well, there isn't. Within the scientific community, the issue is settled. One only needs to look at the alarming rise of drug resistant germs for proof that evolution occurs.

The people that argue against evolution are the product of the same mentality that led to the persecution of early astronomers who dared suggest that it was the Earth that revolved around the sun. Five hundred years ago that was an outrageous notion that the church called sacrilegious and contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Believing in such nonsensical teachings could get you excommunicated and tortured.

Does anyone still seriously believe that the Earth is the center of the universe? We now know that the supposedly infallible church was wrong about that. Just as early religious leaders chose to discount the mounting evidence about Earth's place in the solar system, supporters of intelligent design refuse to accept the evidence against their own ignorance.

All this is not to diminish the wonder that is modern man. We are a product of millions of generations evolutionary progress. Modern humans have gotten here through a series of cosmic accidents and coincidences. For example, would we still be here if an asteroid had not wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago? Would a 40 foot tall reptilian Britney Spears still be hot?

So what if man wasn't created on a whim by some omnipotent being for His or Her own amusement? Humans are still special. We are unique among animals in that we can explore the origins of our very existence and ponder our utterly insignificant place in the universe.

Even if it's only by chance, we should still consider our being here a gift to be savored.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just Charge It

And the Bad News Just Keeps Getting Worse

One of the bright spots in today's economy had been Wal-Mart. With more people looking for bargains, the chain had been expected to weather the current economic storm. But now comes word that the company will be laying off 700-800 people at its Arkansas headquarters.

Also, Sirius XM--formed when the two rival satellite companies merged late last year--is rumored to be on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. Since most of their new customers come from new car sales, the company has taken a big hit.

And if you're not already depressed enough, Us News & World Report has come out with a list of 15 companies that may not survive the year. What's most disturbing about the list is that there are some very familiar names on it, including Rite Aid, Chrysler, Blockbuster, and Six Flags. But the most disturbing company name on the list is one that embodies all that is good and wonderful about America, and the loss of which would carry disturbing implications for our nation's law enforcement community: Krispy Kreme donuts.

My God, is nothing safe?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Whatever You Do, Don't Play This at Work....

....Or with young kids in the room.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Time to Impeach President Obama?

The President will be holding his first televised news conference tonight at 8 PM. And yes, I'm completely infuriated by this profound act of arrogance..

Monday nights is a major TV night. I record Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, Chuck, Heroes, 24, and House. The President's arrogance in disrupting my TV habits is inexcusable. Who voted for this guy, anyway? If this were an isolated incident, I might be inclined to let it slide. But it comes on the heels of another outrage perpetrated by Obama just two weeks ago.

Back on January 27 the Washington area received several inches of snow during the course of the day. Then that night the snow changed to sleet and freezing rain, adding several inches of solidly packed ice to the layer of snow. Needless to say, the next morning was a traffic disaster. Rather that put their students at risk, schools wisely closed for the day.

Now you would think the President of the United States would have other things to worry about than commenting on the winter habits of Washingtonians. After all, there are terrorists to capture and looming economic depression to prevent. But no. Obama has offer his own two cents worth by delivering this little quote to reporters:
"My children's school was canceled today. Because of what? Some ice? . . . We're going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town."
Say what? "Chicago toughness?" WTF is that? First of all, ice is a hell of a lot more dangerous than snow. You can't just plow ice out of the road. You basically have to wait for it to melt.

Secondly, how can you compare Chicago to DC when it comes to snow? Does Chicago even have hills? More importantly, they get an average of 38 inches of snow versus 15 inches for DC. That means that not only do residents there have more experience driving in icy conditions, but Chicago and its suburbs will have much more sophisticated snow removal equipment. And that's just simple economics: Why would the DC area invest as heavily in the number of plows and salt trucks if you're only going to use the stuff a couple of times a year?

Finally, what possible grounds does Obama have to talk about how the rest of us handle snow and ice? I'm willing to bet he wasn't outside that morning chipping ice off the presidential limo. And as to his little girls, they ride to school in a heavily armed motorcade. They're not out there on a street corner waiting for bus, trying not to slide into the path of oncoming traffic.

It's clearly time to give President Joe Biden a chance.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Evil Secret Behind Hulu

Friday, February 06, 2009

Mixed Bag

Unemployment offices throughout the nation are so swamped with new claims that they are experiencing delays getting benefits out.

Well, at least the unemplyment offices are hiring.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Taxing Problems

When Star Trek Fans Go Bad

Police in Colorado Springs are looking for a man who tried to rob a couple of convenience stores the other night. Nothing noteworthy about that, except that the guy was trying to use a "bat'leth."

If you have to ask what that is, you've obviously moved out of your parents' basement. A bat'leth is a Klingon sword. Before you laugh, consider that a full sized one is about three feet long and shaped like a crescent with points on either end. There are two more points along the razor sharp inside edge and a handle on the outside.

And yes, it is rather pathetic that I know exactly what a bat'leth is.

How'd You Like to Find This Sucker in Your Garden?

Researchers in Colombia have discovered the fossilized remains of a giant snake. Estimated to have lived some 60 million years ago, the creature weighed 2,500 pounds and was longer than a city bus.

No word on whether it was also a talking snake with a proclivity for apples.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sign of the Times

Shades of Alfred Hitchcock

A United Airlines plane returned to the airport in Denver after striking a large bird. Only one engine was affected and it continued to operate, although its "pitch changed."

It remains unclear why the pilot elected to land at the airport instead of the Colorado River.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Modern Trendsetters

Remembering 'The Day the Music Died'

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the crash in an Iowa corn field of the small plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Vallens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. Their deaths by aircraft began a tradition among singers that has been proudly carried on by the likes of Jim Croce, Patsy Cline, Ronnie Van Zant, Stevie Gaines, Otis Redding, Rick Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Aaliyah, and John Denver.

To this day, theologians remain baffled as to why God didn't grab the plane just before impact, carry it to New York, and land it in the Hudson where the musicians could have put on a show for rescuers on the Staten Island Ferry.

Monday, February 02, 2009

A Fairy Tale for Today

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Where Was He This Time?

Six people have died in the crash of a small plane in West Virginia. The pilot had radioed that he was low on fuel shortly before hitting power lines during a snowstorm.

This tragic event raises some perplexing theological questions: If God was the one who saved the passengers on that USAirways jet in New York a couple of weeks ago, why didn't he save the people on this plane? Why didn't He put more fuel in the gas tank? Why didn't He lift the plane clear of the power lines? Why did He allow the snowstorm to develop knowing that it would lead to the loss of lives? All excellent questions that deserve a well reasoned answer.

Too bad I'm the one to do it.

Personally I believe that God can't be bothered with a measly six lives. Our lord generally adheres to a 100 soul minimum. Plus, the West Virginia crash happened on a Saturday, which further convinces me that He likes to take weekends off, which is why I don't bother going to church on Sundays. What's the point if no one's listening?

Then again, maybe it was just bad timing on the part of the pilot and his passengers. The Super Bowl is today, and God may have been tied up planning a heavenly Super Bowl party.