Friday, February 27, 2009

Don't go, Gentle, into that good night! AI eliminations

“What have we done,” Ryan asks while looking over poor Nick Mitchell. Uhm… you tell me. It wasn’t any voting of ours that put him on that stage. (Timely clip of Randy at Nick’s audition: “OK, yes, whatever!”) This is American Idol!

The judges are appropriately all in black tonight. Ryan tries some bantering about Simon’s tan and he comes back with “Can this be less about me and more about the show?” I feel the bromance, friends.

The group sing is “I Just Can’t Stop,” guys first, girls joining in. I like the arrangement. I have a soft spot for these group gigs. Heh, Nick looks so annoyed at being buttoned down Mr. Normal. He busts out four seconds of Norman Gentle right at the end. Ryan then keeps me through the adverts with the promise of a “hidden audition clip.” It’s someone I don’t recognize belting out “It’s in His Kiss.” Kara does a touch of the backup vocals right at the end, it almost looks unwilling… Bleh. That was an anti-climax.

Then it’s on to the highlights, which would be maybe four or five people. Unfortunately they show all twelve. The first four were a wasteland last night. Misery.

Ryan asks Nick, “If you don’t make it then what can we expect from you?” Nick: “I’m always looking for work.” Heheheh. Nick’s a much more pleasant and likeable guy than Norman, and of course a better singer. Why does he need to put on the act? I don’t get it. Matt Beitzke, our soulful welder, has good answers too. Simon snarks him.

Yeah, so that breaks up the happy portion of our evening. It’s time to see who gets packed off and who gets to sit in one of the Eggcups of Joy. Allison is called up first. Ohhhhh no. Too early. Please cross me up here. Ryan calls Jessie and Matt B up alongside, and this is more promising, since Allison was clearly the best of these three. Yes! She’s in! Big sigh of relief here in Chez Nightfly. Allison’s so flustered she forgets that she should sing and has to be called back. Then after the break she allows that she’s “so friggin’ happy right now!” America’s win streak is up to four.

Kris and Megan next. LB and I agree that this looks like a pair of nos. BUT! Matt the Lesser and Jeanine are also up. This couldn’t be a rare quad Fail, could it? No – Ryan says one is certainly through. Paula says there’s no way to predict the result, so Ryan cuts Jeanine and Matt to help.

Heh, Kara starts rambling and Simon calls her on it.
K – “I’m trying to give some advice; it’s part of what I’m here to do! … I really like you, I think you’re talented.” [Which is praise, not advice – I guess that’s the other part of her job.] “Megan, you could be a big recording artist, blah blah blah, I like kitties, long walks at sunset, and singing backup during the auditions…”
S – “Kara, take your time.”
[much laughter at Chez Nightfly. We really should have invited him to our wedding. “OK, so listen, the first dance was brilliant, but the cake cutting was a boring, derivative mess. Uhtuhly forgettable. It was like some ghastly Elks Lodge initiation. Sowry!”]
K – “Do you ever shut up?”
NF – “Hey, you’re the one running longer than War and Peace, chickie.” Sowry!
K – “Well, I WILL take my time!”
Ryan – “No, I’ll take it from here.” HA! Ten points.

Annnnd – it’s Kris Allen! We’re five for five! Booya! My jinxin’ days may be over at last. Kris is properly humbled and agog. He also rocks the re-sing.

Fast-forward commercials, including the one with Carlton’s dad from Fresh Prince failing all the little children of the world by not letting them be the teachers and leaders when they don’t know anything yet. Then Jack comes on to cleanse the brain.

Sappy recap time – set to “What a Wonderful World.” I am such a pushover for these. We get the three singing cowboys, the Asian Liberace (We’re brothers! Forever!), Clay and Ruben and Daughtry and the Pickle… also the water tosser and a guy dressed as the Statue of Liberty. Ah, our Philly friend who’s going for actressing, dropping slo-mo F-bombs all over during the exit interview. I’m surprised they didn’t also show her reprise from this season, when her kinder, gentler side blistered Simon after another strikeout. They also show the huge geeky Clay fan who completely freak-spazzed when the actual Clay came onstage with him.

EEEEEEEK it’s the Hoff! And Sanjaya’s OMAC hairdo. (Evacuate the theater! Sanjaya is going to destroy it!) William Hung. They close with a lot of crying winners and big group hugs. (Funny, Taylor’s the only guy who didn’t seem to have any emotion about winning, just that cornpone grin of his.) All together now…. Awwwwww. And in keeping with that general feeling here’s Brooke White to sing her first single (she co-wrote), “Hold Up My Heart.” See that girl, bare-footin’ along. The song’s decent, a fluffy lite-country number. Very Brooke.

The last five of this year’s contestants are up en masse. Ryan intros my my my Mishavonna, Kai, and Jasmine – skipping over Nick and Adam. (Foreshadowing!) Yeah, my win-streak looks over. The three are excused and Nick’s left with Lord Emo, who shall surely triumph. Ryan stretches it out by asking Simon if he did, indeed, pray that Nick wouldn’t advance. Simon – “For about five or six hours, actually. I hope that God and I have a good relationship right now.” He’s brilliant. Don’t be envious, Kara.

Enough suspense. Lord Emo vanquishes the Jester. “That’s… too bad.” [/walkenvoice] The re-sing is somewhat less annoying but he still mugs for the camera. Maybe Mishovanna can grab a wildcard. (Lisa, you're our winner for this week! Congrats.)

Next up – the cussinest show on television, Hell’s Kitchen! Everyone knows Chef Ramsey’s well-practiced vocabulary, but this year’s contestants take it to a completely different plane of ghetto. They’e a shocking pack of vulgarians. It makes the Sopranos sound like Davey and Goliath.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Homegrown success story

When I was taking journo classes back at ol' RU I had a classmate, a big kid named Tim, was a backup tight end on the football team - smart guy, good egg.

Tim is about to be named the Athletic Director at Rutgers University. I, on the other hand, get to be named things I can't repeat on a family blog every time I ref a game. Life's funny that way.

Still, I like my life and I'm grateful for how things are going thus far. Congrats to Tim Pernetti, and good luck.

It takes a village to hold a singing competition – AI eliminations week two

Where else can you find a welder, bartender, font designer, comedian, and emo prince? Only here, says Ryan. Thissssss… IS aMERican Idol!

I have lesser hopes this time, since America got last week mostly (perhaps entirely) correct with Alexis, Michael and Super Saiyen Gokay moving into the Top Twelve. There are some potential disasters lurking tonight. In honor of our font designer I shall assign fonts to each contestant.

Ryan asks the judges if they have any advice. Simon: “It’s too late for advice now.” HAHAHA! “Really – they’re seconds away from singing.”

1. Jasmine leads off with “Love Song.” Her low register is iffy. She’s flatting some notes. At least she’s not the goofy marionette Jackie Tohn was. This would be slightly better without a barking dog in between me and the television. The judges are fairly unanimous – pitchy, bad song choice. Simon gets booed and comes back with “Wait, I just said the SAME THING they did.” True. He adds that she’s two years away (only 17 now), has good confidence, but it wasn’t the best performance or song choice. FONT – Goudy Old Style, a decent serif font you wouldn’t use on a resume.

2. Matt – the Georgia on My Mind guy. Singing Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” which I love dearly, so I’m worried. OK… so this is completely bad. He’s too high for the song, too high for his own voice, off-key everywhere, and like so many before him, he’s happying up a song meant to be lower-key and reflective. Way too showy. Fail.
Kara - not your type of song, you’re bluesy. This is the wrong song.
Paula - you’ve fallen very far from Hollywood. You look much more comfortable with the piano.
Simon - verging on horrible, too faux-pop star.
Randy - not your style, dawg…
AND YET they all hope he’ll be back. Not I. That was a waste of time and energy. Begone. FONT – Ravie.

3. Jeanine, who hopes they won’t show the clip of her tripping over the table at the end of Hollywood Week…. Annnnnd roll film! Inauspicious. She may as well say “I hope I don’t pick a lousy song, completely screw up the performance, and get yelled at!” Singing “This Love” by Maroon 5. Train wreck – off-pitch, pointless runs, and she can’t settle on singing the harmony or the melody, so she switches from one to the other.
K – uh… great legs!
S – “That’s how you leave it?” [NF – what else is there to say?] “It was terrible. Wrong song. But great legs.”
R – yeah, the legs are hot, best part of the song was when it ended. [OUCH.] Jasmine says she was trying to get out from under the radar.
K – Overcompensating.
P – it would have been better in tune. [DOUBLE OUCH.]
Ryan – so, based on the comments… how did you prepare your legs for tonight?
Man, when EVERYONE is killing you, it’s best just to stay dead. FONT – Rage Italic, 6 pt.

4. Nick. Sigh. Here we go. Nick, who is 27, wines that Simon acts like a middle-schooler, and that he had to be true to himself by creating a character to be. The Court Jester of Irony, right here. He breaks out Norman Gentle to crush our senses with “I’m Not Going” by Jennifer Hudson. Let’s hope he’s wrong about that, because this is outrageously bad. Terrible outfit, intentionally bad stage gyrations – the voice is nasal and off-kilter. This is ticking me off. He can sing – he’s sucking on purpose and it’s an insult to everyone who gets kicked off while trying their best.
OH. NO. He is MAKING OUT with the American Idol sign. I really wish I were lying. He’s also changing all the lyrics to be about AI. We do NOT have to love him, do we? We can disobey the song? Please say yes, so I can punch him with hammers.
S – “I hope I speak for all America when I say I hope you don’t go through.” BOOOING? What tone-deaf crack heads did they drag into the theater? “Why are your parents looking at me like that?” (Dad is incredulous. He must have been listening to David Cook on his iPod while Norman was performing.) Norman tosses a sassy diss and a karate kick in Simon’s direction. I’m completely annoyed by this whole shtick and have been pretty much since auditions. They should have bum rushed him like they did Ian Bernardo a couple years back. This is the same wretched act. Instead we’ll have VFTW all over him like stink on a skunk.
R – it was entertaining. [Have they all gotten into Paula’s glass?]
K - You wear the same shirt every week just like Simon. We will remember you. [We remember the Hindenburg too. Oh the humanity.]
P – You don’t have a bad voice.
So why did he sing so badly? Isn’t anyone going to call Bravo Sierra on this hack? You know the devil of it is, this is going to work from his point of view, and somebody is going to give him a job entertaining folks for pay. It may be on a camp level, or on a VH-5 “I Am Mildly Interested in the Eighties” special, but somehow someway this jackanapes is will be rewarded for his dis-services. I need to start Lent over. FONT – Wingdings, in flashing neon orange.

5. Allison – only 16 years old, which means she was NINE for Season One. Officially young enough to be my daughter. I will now jump into a nest of hornets. She’ll sing “Alone” by Heart, and uh-oh, this is a tough song choice. Carly rocked it last season. Is anyone going to be even remotely adequate tonight? Off she goes. She’s on-key. Hey, good punch when the song picks up, a tad screechy but this is far and away best of the night so far. First thing I don’t regret hearing. Thank you for getting me off the ledge, Allison.
R – It’s a funny night tonight. [Funny? Funny like a clown? Does this show amuse you?] Finally someone blew it out the box!
K – You’re great, serious chops.
P – You could sing a cliché about singing well, by far the best we’ve heard.
S – Best by a clear mile, it’s like the competition just started. Simon also notes that she had zero personality during the interview segment and then suddenly came alive on stage.
NF – agreed on all counts, and I’ll vote for her. And next time, just have a 24 instead of a 36, okay guys? FONT – Forte: hip, bold, rocking.

6. Kris – the guy with the girl’s name spelling. He looks and sounds like an older Archuleta, right down to the message song, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Better showmanship. He isn’t offering me any gum. He’s picking up as he goes, pretty good. Best guy so far.
K – back half was much better, but still worse than Hollywood, wrong song. [Booing, both from me and the audience.]
P disagrees and name checks the songwriters, says they’d be proud.
Simon agrees…. With Paula. [Please leave the long pauses to Ryan, I’d have to start hating everyone and remember, it’s Lent – I’m supposed to be improving.] Showed energy, confidence, “the girls will love you.”
R – you did it without the guitar, good job.
NF - Which reminds me – everyone who CAN play and DID during Hollywood are NOT doing so now. Has AI banned instruments for this round or is it just individual decisions? FONT –Eras Demi ITC.

7. Megan – misses her son, sings “Put Your Records On” by hmnnwhoever. Heh, I typed the title wrong at first ‘cause I had my fingers on the wrong keys – it came out “{it Upir Recprds Pm.” That’s as good a description as any other for the performance. She’s over-pronouncing the words. She reminds me of that Four Non Blondes chickie, which is bad news for Megan.
P – right song, camera loves you, relevant, you did everything right. [Except, you know, the actual singing.]
S – started really well, oversang the second half.
Megan – I thought I rocked it.
Megan is mistaken, but Simon has a mental hiccup and says he hopes America votes for her, “but the vocals could have been better.” Aren’t vocals the point of a singing competition? It usually is when the judges want to rip someone.
R – love the smoky jazz vocals. [That was so smoky they should have evacuated the theater.]
K – you’re a packaged artist, with the right song and video you could be very viable. [As long as someone else does the singing.] FONT – Curlz MT.

8. Matt the Welder – “If You Could Only See” by Tonic.” This is a Ladybug fave. You know, it’s hard to listen and take notes when the Official Puppy is jumping, yipping, and trying to eat the corner of the coffee table. BRB. OK…. “You know, true love,” Matt says. “I like that.” Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the woild. It’s a low-key performance, but first-rate vocals. Spot on. I’m really liking this. Kris was the better showman, Matt the better singer.
S – I really like you, absolutely hate the song. [huh?] I’m frustrated, it looked boring. [What happened to the vocals?]
R – you needed a better performance.
K – we all like you, didn’t show us any side of you… and you can really sing! [Gee, thanks for noticing the singing in a singing competition! Glad we added your services, Kara.]
P – not a note out of place. BUT… and so on. They are killing this guy right in front of his wife and kid, to whom he was singing. Look, I get that this was a dull stage performance but it was an excellent vocal on a night where such things have been sorely missed. FONT – good old reliable Lucida Sans.

9. Jessie – the second chance girl, brought back in when a successful contestant’s prior record deal got her DQ’d. Singing “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. (Written by Jackie DeShannon – see, I can name check too!) Interesting song choice, since Carnes has a ragged voice. She won’t have to knock out the vocals to sound good. She does, however, have to NOT mumble. Oh well. Just not good enough. How can you mess this up? She’s not even using the full range of the song, just dropping it all to one octave.
R – OK, cool song, but just another performance. Like a five-note range.
K – this is your best look, interesting to watch.
P – identifiable sound, unique phrasing. [In other word, she mumbles. Even Joe Cocker doesn’t mumble this much.]
S – forgettable. “Too cool for school; people aren’t going to jump up and vote for you.” Simon’s back on my Christmas card list.
R – Simon actually agreed with me, though he didn’t say it. [Funny how they all boo and mock, and then brag when Simon agrees with them. He’s the dope, kiddies, don’t doubt it!] FONT – the illegible, boring Gill Sans MT Extra-Condensed Bold.

10. Kai – “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted?” They get voted off the show. He held the final note wonderfully. Probably outdid Matt the Welder, though it was a straight and very old-fashioned performance. Judges agree. Simon – “You’ll make an excellent backup singer.” FONT – Courier.

11. My my my Mishavonna. She was cut from Hollywood last year. Leads off her second go with “Drops of Jupiter” by Train. Oh, it’s that “eh-hey-ee-yay-ay” song. She is unfortunately over-emphasizing the ay-ee-yays. But the rest is pretty good. She’s sneaking into my top three. Funny, this was like the reverse Allison - very winning in the interview, and then very staid on stage, but the vocals are just about there. If she can connect those vocals to her personality while singing she will blow away most of the people here.
P – sang well, you can SING, but you’re not exciting me.
S – agreed, but why so serious? “Something about it left me cold. You act like a fifty-year-old.”
R – song is cool but you feel so much older than 18.
K – you’re very put together… loosen up. You’re a really good singer so shake it out.
Ryan goes over and gosh, but she’s tall… or Ryan isn’t, perhaps. Her personality is back, though, during the chat. I hope she gets through so she can show us what she can really do. FONT – Trebuchet, but with a possible upgrade to Rockwell Bold.

12. Adam, Lord Emo, is closing the show. He’s been doing musical theater since he was ten [SHOCKA!]. I don’t think he should have beaten out the guy he sang off with, so I’m already biased, y’all. He’s singing “Satisfaction” by the Stones, and let me show you that I’m willing to change – I think this is a great choice, he’s quite Jaggeresque. I like the arrangement. Good start with the slow burn and the big kick-off. (Ladybug – he’d make a great Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”) Alas, his performance is degrading. It’s like he knows he started well and is getting self-conscious and showy. Way overdoing it. Since he’s last, however, he may well overshadow the other guys who were better overall but not as stage-practiced.
P – I’m watching the Adam Lambert concert, you’re in a league of your own.
S – I’m finding it difficult. Some parts were excruciating, but some parts were brilliant. [Ah, sanity. Thank you, Simon Cowell, for making us laugh about bad singing. Again.]
R – loved it, you’re very current – he name-drops Robert Pattinson.
LB – see? He looks like he could be an extra on Twilight.
NF – don’t some extras get killed in the opening act? [I’ll be in trouble for that one, home and in blogworld.]
K – outrageous vocal technique. Who has a range like that?
NF - Range? He screeched the high notes. Lord Emo plays it very cleverly and builds off the Pattinson comment, says he loves the Twilight books. Panderer. FONT – Matura MT Script Capitals: it looks good but it’s hard to find a really good use for it. Or maybe one of those old-timey Ren Faire standbys.

Quick recap runs… stop the pain… HA! It cut off before Lord Emo. LB – oh yeah? I’m downloading his song with the gift card YOU bought me. (Touché. As always, I’m not going to win on this.) We agree on Allison and Mishavonna, but of course sharply split on the guy. She’s all about Emo the Pander Bear, I’m waffling between Kris Allen and Matt Beitzke. The thing is, I’m not nearly as big on Twilight, so why am I the one annoyed that he’s exploiting Ed and Bella’s rabid fan base for personal gain? I’m not falling for this swinging baloney.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A continuing story - resting up

Like many houses in sunny southern Florida, Mom has no basement, and a surprising amount of room packed into one floor: ample living room, three bedrooms, garage, dining area, and a kitchen with a pass-through window to the family room. The family room used to be outside, actually, a fully-screened porch. This leads to a few oddities at Mom's house -

1. the wall between the family room and the rest of the house is of course a thick outside wall, meant to endure heavy weather;
2. kitchen, living room, AND master bedroom have lockable sliding-glass doors to the family room (this place must have been hell to insure against theft before it was remodeled);
3. there is an honest-to-goodness wall-unit air conditioner hiding in the corner of the family room, just next to the kitchen doors.

Nearly everything in southern Florida has central air, but this room had to be vented in later; the previous solution had been to stuff a small AC in the wall as a stopgap. Mom never uses it now, but it's too much trouble to have it removed and the wall repaired. She does, however, have the near-mandatory inground pool in the backyard.

(It always seemed strange to me when I was little that in Florida, where everything is one-third canals, everyone had a pool anyway, a complete luxury in our northern climes. It wasn't until later that I learned that the canals were prone to giant reptiles that could eat a swimmer.)

Mom told us to prepare ourselves when we got in, because there was now a third dog in the house: a female pit bull terrier had joined the male pit and the older papillon-mix. "Wait a minute," I said, "I thought Brother's dog wasn't fixed..."

He wasn't. Neither was the lady dog. As a result she is now quite full of puppies. (After we got back Mom told us the vet had estimated 7-9 wee ones, due sometime around the time you read this.) She accepted some scratching behind the ears and then shuffled back to lie down on the doggie bed in the corner. We went to the restaurant where my sister works to have an actual dinner, since the Five Grams of Turkey were strangely unsatisfying.

I'm pleased to note that Sister has the respect of her coworkers and the romantic attention of a decent kid who treats her with respect and kindness. Also, they serve a tasty burger there. Her shift ended, we argued a little about who would tip her, and then everyone went home. We got to meet Brother's best girl when we arrived, and were pleased to note that she was an actual sane person, and that Brother treated her much the way Sister's beau treats her.

Then it was time for everyone to get some rest for tomorrow.


Should this concern me?

A few times a year, I will go into a public restroom and the only other person in there will be a kid, around 8-11 years old.

I’m always a little concerned in these situations. Face it, as a 50-year-old single white guy I already have too much in common with Michael Jackson. And one lie in can ruin my life.

As a church-going religious guy the media would be quick to slap the Catholic priest/Ted Haggard label on me.

I shouldn’t let it worry me.

And my lust issues have more to do with
governors in flight suits.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tony Dungy

Let me make my biases and prejudices clear. If this were written by some politician or activist I wouldn't give it the time of day. But if Coach Dungy is saying it, then I am paying attention.
With the progress that has been made in terms of diversity in politics, in other collegiate sports and in professional football - Edwards, Smith and Tomlin all got top jobs in the NFL ( and so did you, Coach Dungy -Spider) - why is college football hiring so far behind? At a seminar last spring in Indianapolis with other NFL and college head coaches and university athletic directors, I asked that very question, and was enlightened by the responses of those directors. The biggest factor, they said, was the involvement of other people associated with the universities. It was not just the president and the athletic director who made the hiring decisions - alumni and boosters were involved, and the presidents often felt pressure to hire coaches the boosters would support.

That appears to be the biggest difference between the NFL and the NCAA in hiring practices. While a university president may have to appease alumni, Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, can hire someone like Tomlin without having to consult anyone else.
Coach Dungy is being too kind. Boosters and alumni help pay the salary of the head coach, so they have a great influence. What I appreciate about the coach is that he isn't advocating gummint intervention or regulation, but the same kind of approach he uses with the All Pro Dads program. Guys know what's right, he encourages and maybe shames them a little into doing it.

The Tuskegee Airmen were a squadron of black fighter pilots back in WW2. Their mission was to escort bombers on sorties over Germany and protect them from Nazi fighter planes. They were the last choice for bomber squadrons because of prejudice. That is until it was noticed that every bomber that went out under their care made it back home. The Germans were a little fraidy-scared of them. They were even given a name by the Deutschers, die Schwartzvogeln (the Blackbirds). The Tuskegee Airman became the unit of choice for bombers, not because of any epiphany of tolerance, but because these guys gave you the best chance of making it back in one piece.

One day boosters and alumni will learn this lesson. I don't know how many 3-8 seasons it will take before they decide to hire someone who can win ballgames, but eventually they will learn this lesson.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Welcome diversion

British Cashier Dude: “Oy, royte, ah diggy hullton shimmy shammy brettfavre jubba meself! Zimmeh fahhah gibbo muffip fob uppim inna choppywebbin! Zjibba, royte?! Ruggles qwerty vussincrispin, so at the end of the day, ya need a drink.”

Did I ever need a laugh! Thanks Rachl Lukis.

A continuing story - Arrival

After a flurry of packing, we bundled off the Official Puppy to a kindly friend and got a ride to the airport. It was a smooth trip, enlivened by the in-flight "snack" (they don't bother to call it a meal) - a dinner roll with a little turkey, a micro-sized chocolate bar, and approximately 6.2 corn chips. It's more worth it to buy the eight-dollar Big Mac while you're waiting to board. We decided against it, however, when we noticed that the Mickey D's had hi-def plasma TVs for menus, showing clever animations of all the products. If they can afford a sports bar that neither shows sports nor serves alcohol, they don't need my eight bucks.

We got in ten minutes early and my mom met us in the waiting room. We had checked baggage. It was unfortunate but we needed the space, and the airline didn't mind the extra fifteen bucks either. (You'd think they could afford a larger roll for the sandwich.) I pointed out the famous palm trees on a pole; Ladybug appreciated my zest but could not share it. After we got our bags she impressed me by asking, "Are you in the Palm Lot or the Hibiscus Lot?" We usually drive down, but she remembered the names of the parking garages after all this time. I can't even remember which one Mom was actually parked in, and I've been back home only a week.

Mom found a ramp that got us down to street level. "I guess I keep following this."
"It goes around and around," I said. "This is just like that movie where that car went around and around."
"Which way is out?" Mom asked. I wasn't sure if she wanted to leave the lot, or leave the car with me in it.
"All the ways, I think," said Ladybug. There were signs pointing all over the place. Apparently once you run out of lot they just let you spill out anywhere you please, as long as you give them your three bucks per hour. Then it was onto the highway, and on towards Mom's house to rest up for the next two days.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Internet is an interesting place

Resource, personal connector, and time-waster par excellence... it is also useful on occasion for actual important work. If one needs to get somewhere else within 24 hours, for example, one can marshal every resource while coordinating on the phone, drinking home-brewed java and wearing sleepy pants.

Then one bundles up one's needfuls and it's off to the airport with one's beloved wife to head out of state.


Saturday, February 14, 2009


…just like it’s namesake.
Jerome Polk was so impressed with the special edition Obama coins he saw television star Montel Williams hawking in an infomercial, he ordered six sets for himself and some of his grandkids.

Instead of coins engraved with Obama's face, as Polk athought he'd orderedt $18 a pop, the Northeast Portland retailer received four actual U.S. coins -- a silver dollar, half dollar and two quarters -- featuring painted-on Obama images.

"This isn't an Obama coin, it's a 50-cent piece with a picture glued on," says Polk, who paid the U.S Coin Network $145.78 for five four-coin and one three-coin sets, including $25.98 in shipping.

The U.S. Mint doesn't mind if companies decorate its coins and sell them -- in this case -- for nine times their worth. However, the federal agency doesn't like it when companies offer authenticity certificates, as the Coin Network did, that may confuse consumers about who issued the coins.
I watch the infomercial in its entirety. Montel Williams was actually getting a little self-conscious of the weight of the Pferdkaese he was trying to peddle. I called the 800 number and asked, “If I got one of these coins would it heal me of my diabetes, or do I need to touch the hem of the Obamessiah’s garment?“

At least the Ron Paul Dollar was an original coin of precious metal.

Baby Got Back

We’ve all heard tales of male athletes (most notably baseball players) injecting themselves with steroids, HGH or whatever in order to improve performance. Well, here in Tampa some ladies are ill from taking injections to improve something else.
The women heard about Sharhonda L. Lindsay by word of mouth.

For $12.50 per injection, Lindsay would give them the buttocks boost they desired.

What they didn't count on: pain and suffering.

The women, Andrea Nicole Lee, 30, and Zakiya Thema Teagle, 33, have been hospitalized since Jan. 29 with internal injuries, Hillsborough sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway said.

Lee, he said, is in serious condition. She paid $500 for 40 injections. Teagle, he said, is stable. She paid $250 for 20.

Now sheriff's deputies are looking for Lindsay, 32, of 9827 Blue Palm Way.
I really need to get out more. It never occurred to me that A) women would want a bigger butt and B) they would let a complete stranger injected them in the rump with God-knows-what in order to get one. And if you wanted a bigger butt, wouldn’t a half gallon of Rocky Road be a cheaper and safer alternative?

At least Mark McGuire knew Jose Canseco when they were injecting roids in each other’s rears.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Again, Filibuster!

Keeping up the Fifth String meme.

Hey Tim, you can find portions of the Porkulus Bill here. It’s only a summary, but the House Dems promise to have it all up online 48 hours before a vote. (They promised! )

UPDATE: I think the whole thing is here.

My governor and the president’s new BFF is happy for the Porkulus, but a little bummed that cash for him will be less than he hoped.

Gov. Charlie Crist says he's pleased with a compromise federal stimulus plan although Florida likely will get less money than anticipated.

Crist's office had estimated Florida would get at least $10.4 billion, but that figure probably will be reduced because the $790 billion total in the compromise is lower than initially passed by either the House or Senate.

Crist, who appeared with President Barack Obama in Fort Myers on Tuesday to campaign for the stimulus, said Thursday he's happy because just a few months ago the cash-strapped state was looking at "no stimulus at all."

We know what you are, governor. We are merely discussing price.

Judd Gregg decided he doesn't want to be Commerce Secretary. Do you think it has to do with Obama taking the Census Bureau out of his department and under direct supervision of the White House?

Rahm Emanuel running the 2010 census. Nothing I need to be concerned about, right?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Two Questions... the Obama Presser.
Helen Thomas and her "so-called" terrorists:
QUESTION: Mr. President, do you think that Pakistan and — are maintaining the safe havens in Afghanistan for these so-called terrorists? And also, do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?

And Michael Fletcher of the Washington Post on A-Rod:
QUESTION: Yeah, thank you, sir. What's you're reaction to Alex Rodriguez's admission that he used steroids as a member of the Texas Rangers?
First this Washington Post clown: There are 50 million people watching you. We are in a worldwide war on terrorism with two major fronts in Iraq and Ashcanistan, the economy is tanking and this is as good as you got? Just once I would like to see the president say, "With all the stuff I got going on what makes you think I give a rat's toenail about some roided-up ballplayer?"

And then there's Helen Thomas. Let me put this delicately - Ms. Thomas did not abandon a thriving career as a fashion model to be a White House correspondent. She has been in the White House press corps since January of 1961. In January 1961 I was still trying to figure out how to use the potty. Now I am getting mail from AARP.

Helen "so called terrorists" Thomas was trying to get the president to admit on record what is an open secret, that Israel has nukes. And notice that Obama blew her off when she tried to follow up, which I can guess was something like, "why can't Iran have nukes when those evil Zionists have it?"

H/T to National Review' s The Corner.

Monday, February 09, 2009


A meme courtesy of Fifth String.

I share his frustration. A silver lining is that the Obamessiah will not get his precious bipartisanship. Three RINOs in the Senate (including Arlen Spector the Cowardly Defector - which is a bit of a puzzle. He's re-election next year and usually this is about the time he pretends to be a conservative.) does not bipartisanship make. The GOP can run against this in 2010.

Of course that doesn't help us now. And the Republican caucus isn't that courageous. They are just more afraid of Rush Limbaugh than they are of our Dear Leader.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

No Man is an Island(er)

I am posting this from the Channelside Club in the St Pete Times Forum during the second intermission of the Lightning-Isanders game. My schoolmarm friend was given these tix and I am enjoying free food and beverage as I post this.

We thought we had regular seats, but ushers kept directing us to swankier and swankier areas and we ended up in a nice club. I'll never be able to sit with the great unwashed again.

Third period is starting. I'l finish this up when I get back home.

I'm back home.

The Lightning won 1-0. Tampa's rookie goalie was the first star. the guy was called up last week and this is his first NHL win and shutout. The second star was the NYI goalie who I believe is also a rookie. The goal this kid gave up wasn't his fault. A slap shot tipped by a guy screening him.

My schoolteacher friend was given these tickets because the owners did not want to go downtown the night of Gasparilla, which can be likened to Mardi Gras. But all the serious winoism was over by the time we got there.

The friend who got the tickets gave me a hard time for calling her the schoolmarm. I explained to her that it is a blog custom to use nicknames for privacy's sake.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Another reason not to forward chain e-mails.

Especially if you are a Republican.
Florida Republican chairman Jim Greer said Wednesday that longtime Hillsborough state committeewoman Carol Carter may lose her position because of the racial joke she forwarded in an e-mail.

"Carol Carter has been a hard-working, loyal Republican for many years, but this action I have no tolerance for, regardless of the circumstances or intent," a furious Greer said of Carter's e-mail.

Concerning her future, Greer said, "I am currently considering all options, including my authority to remove her from the office of state committeewoman."
I have posted earlier (I can't find it or I would link) on this blog my aversion toward chain emails. This is one reason. Ms Carter is the third Hillsborough County Republican official in the past year to get in trouble for forwarding Pferdkaese they got in their inbox.

And as Republicans they should know that a media that hates them will look for this kind of stuff. I know it's a double standard, but GOPers must be holy, as your Father in heaven is holy.

BTW, I got the email Carter forwarded (not from her) and you probably did too.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

That's it, exactly

Quoth Sheila -

And believe me, this is the Internet - if you feel shame about something, there will always be some jagoff who feels it his duty to tell you, "Well, you probably SHOULD feel shame about that! The way you live is indicative of everything that is wrong with America" or whatever the problem is with me.
... Her life is her life, and I love to peek in on it, and my life is my life, and she peeks in on mine as well. It's cool, actually. Because not all lives are the same. Not all stages of life are the same. If I constantly compare where I am at with those who are my age or whatever, I might throw up my hands in despair. This must not happen. I cannot afford to let that mindset into my life. At all anymore.

Fantastic and true. Or, as the Anderson Council put it in "Partridge" -

What is the point in worrying
Seems hardly worth my time
Make yourself sick with wondering
If yours is better than mine

Jump and run around the backyard singing
Dig a tunnel leading up
Words are unimportant, bells are ringing
Stop and you can hear them call

Incredible writing as always, and incredible pictures as well. Knowing what I know of her from her blogging, it seems perfectly like her.

(PS - gosh I hope I got the lyrics right. That's how I remember hearing it.)

I just signed the papers... become a notary public in the state of Florida.

I took the three-hour online course (no biggy) on Monday and the bond agent came over and gave me the papers.

You are probably wondering why a clerk for an air conditioning contractor needs to be a notary. It is to fulfill a gummint requirement. Not only do you have to pull a permit to replace a central air system, but now the homeowner needs to sign a notarized Notice of Commencement. As a notary, I can take care of this on the job site instead of our customer having to search for a notary to take care of a job that in most cases will only take one day.

One thing I learned. A Florida Notary Public has the authority to marry people. And with Valentine's Day approaching that may come in handy.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I turned 50 two weeks ago

Of course, that is nothing compared to Pansy, a dear little old lady in our church who turned 97 around the same time. She still has all her faculties, she walks without a cane and can carry on a conversation. She lives at home with her son and from what I understand still does housework.

97! I've got aches and pains right now. In perspective, Pansy was a month and a half shy of her 30th birthday when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. If the Lord allows the Nightfly to live to be 97, he would see the warp drive and meet the Vulcans.

I Was Wrong

Kurt Warner Super Bowl XXXIV: “Thank you Jesus!”

Dan Rooney Super Bowl XLIII: "I would just like to thank President Obama and all the Steelers nation for supporting us through the years,"

It was good to know that at least one Messiah was going to be thanked at the end of the game.

I passed near the stadium about three hours before kickoff. I saw Steelers fans with signs begging for tickets. Good luck with that guys. Nearby I saw about twenty Guardian Angels, a first for Tampa.

But let’s get back to where I was wrong. NBC managed to restrain themselves from kickoff to final whistle their love for the Obamessiah. The late promo for Matt Lauer’s presidential interview “The president will have home field advantage” got chuckles from those watching with me, as in, "so that makes Matt Lauer a cheerleader?". NBC had no control over Dan Rooney’s remarks.

Springsteen decided to shut up and sing (with apologies to
Laura Ingraham) rather than preach the evils of the last eight years. I appreciate that.

I also appreciate that fact that the game held my attention for four quarters. I was stationed in Germany during the Super Bowl that the Bears won in the mid 1980’s. When that game got out of hand, so did a barracks full of drunk GIs.

But since we are all sober now, I am interested in this non-drinking drinking game that the Nightfly's gang played.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Your Super Bowl kind-of recap

(Or, you could just view the short and excellent version from Kurt Snibbe...)

The Hive SB Hoedown is always great fun. Friends, endless food products, and the non-drinking Drinking Card Game, handing out points based on the events of the game. (The cards are copyrighted and everything; my Ladybug knows a bunch of very inventive folks.) This year we have some wildcards - new location, the Official Puppy, and the Arizona Cardinals.

Opening question - why coldn't Pittsburgh have worn their black uniforms anyway? The Scarlet and the Black on the same field... it would have been an interesting look. I think more of these games should be color vs. color when possible.

Real pre-game conversation: Bob Costas yields to Mike Holmgren, who yields to Tony Dungy. "Is this the studio crew of people who should be coaching NFL teams?" a buddy asks. Then they cut to Matt Millen. "Never mind."

(edit - forgot Matt Lauer with President Obama. Yeesh. Do you think Lauer's the one who brought those roses on the table? "Signed, a Secret Admirer.")

In whatever uniform, Pttisburgh looks really good to start out. And they should have gone for it on fourth down from the one-foot line. Even if they don't get in, what are the Cards going to do? They're not running against that front seven.

Cards give it back, the Steelers shove their way into the endzone, 10-0. It could get ugly, but the Cards shake off the rust and get within 10-7.

First Steelers punt of the day... and soon, a big turnover. This is ridiculous. The Steelers could be winning this by a LOT more, but they may wind up down at the half. (Incidentally, one of my SB boxes is Steelers 0, Cards 4, so if they do score here, at least I'm winning a little something something.) As a long-term plan, the Cardinals' strategy - play listlessly, dodge bullet after bullet, ignore their best player, win - is kind of terrible.



There isn't a font large enough to describe how loudly everyone is yelling. The Official Puppy, who has handled everything very well so far, is trying to hide under the coffee table. Harrison's INT return may be the greatest Super Bowl play I've ever seen - right up there with last year's Helmet Catch, Don Beebe stripping Leon Lett, and Jeff Hostetler somehow not fumbling when Bruce Smith tackled him by his right wrist in his own end zone. (Huge underrated play, btw - that should have been a fumble and TD, and a 17-3 lead instead of just 12-3.)

Incredible runback, incredible blocking the whole way.

They're reviewing the play. I think it should stand. "After further review, that was completely awesome - touchdown!" Well, he doesn't say it that way, but that should absolutely be in the rule book. The score counts. Twelve people are handing in "defensive TD" and other high-scoring, rare cards for the NDDCG. And amazingly, I also have the Steelers 7 - Cards 7 box, so I win a little something something anyway. So, yeah - best Super Bowl play I've ever seen.

Now it's Broooooce - but first, some weird 3-d promos. None of us have the glasses. I'm grateful that they've improved the process so the picture looks reasonably normal without the glasses, though we can all tell which shots are specifically to make the audience duck when things fly off the screen at them. The Pixar movie "Up" looks like a lot of fun.

OK, now it's Broooooce. Maybe I'm an idiot, but he really doesn't sound all that good. He's stopping to take a breath in the middle of every line he sings. I understand that this song is from the 70's and he's almost old enough to pitch for the Mets, but really.

Yikes. He just slid across the stage and crotch-first into a camera. Thank GOD they're not broadcasting in 3-d right now.

OK, so snippets of 10th Avenue Freeze Out, Born to Run, the new whatever Dream thing, and Glory Days. No surprises at all. He's also sounding a bit better as the show goes on, maybe he's warming up. It must be fun to be able to take a breath by letting your audience sing the choruses for you.

The fake ref thing was incredibly dumb. I'm actually disappointed it isn't really that English guy who streaks at big sporting events. (I suppose he's already used up his ref's disguise from the Oakland/Tampa SB.) But no sliding into the camera, sir, wherever you are. Thank you.

Quick talk with the Spider, who is five miles from the host stadium as we speak. I tell him about the Holmgren/Dungy/Millen thing. Spider's reply - "Well, Matt's probably thinking 'I should have hired Dungy when I had the chance.'" Maybe neither of them would have been sitting there.

Second half, and James Harrison is apparently still tired from his INT/TD return - Arizona starts to run effectively. No points, however, and it's 20-7 into the fourth. That's when the Cardinals finally wake up: and not surprisingly, it coincides with finally working the ball to their absolute best player, Larry Fitzgerald. Touchdown, 20-14. (Gee, those four extra points from the first drive would look good right about now, huh?)

Terrible idea to punt, I think. Even on fourth and twenty - it's the Super Bowl, you're on the 36 yard line! Even a FG try with Rackers is some sort of idea, to cut the lead to three... a punt will probably wind up in the end zone, and if Pittsburgh adds points the Cards are sunk.

Or, you could down the punt at the one, get a call in the end zone when otherwise it would have been a huge first down for Pittsburgh, and get two points and a free kick. 20-16. Just to update, the Cards strategy NOW is:

play listlessly
dodge bullet after bullet
ignore their best player
commit endless penalties
dodge more bullets
win two big replay challenges
finally start playing offense with ten minutes left
make an odd decision that miraculously pays off

And it may work! These guys are really the luckiest team in football right now - a good team, no doubt, and their defense is bringing it after getting smooshed in the first half - but how are they even in position to win this thing? If Pittsburgh gives it up they've got nobody to blame but themselves. Have they even tried to get Parker and the running game going? Or am I just bitter that they didn't hold onto the 0-4 score and I now have no shot at the final, double-sized payoff in the box pool?

Oh, and the Official Puppy just dropped a deuce on the rug in front of a dozen people, so yeah, we're really having a good time. The Steelers are doing the same thing in front of a fully-packed Raymond James Stadium and a billion TV viewers, so it fits.

Fitzgerald takes it to the house... 23-20 Cards. Great play call and great design.

The Steelers have about 2:20 to work with. They start feeding Santonio Holmes, who had come up with the big catch on the safety play. A defender falls down and he takes it to the seven yard line with 50 seconds left. Timeout. They've got the field goal option in their back pocket if they need it... you know, just in case they can't get into the end zone yet again.

Nope. Holmes pulls a toe drag worthy of Najinsky himself, and it's 27-23 Steelers. Incredible catch. In the AFC championship Holmes had a play where the ball popped loose after a long catch, and the Ravens successfully argued that it was an incomplete pass instead of first and goal on the one - this time he snagged the ball and tucked it away as he came down, and held on for dear life. (Although during his celebration he tossed it away - huh??!?!? I would have slept, showered, dressed, and driven my car with that thing tucked under my arm. There's no way I put that football down.)

And yes, they review it. This makes four reviewed calls - three of them on Pittsburgh scores, one on a "fumble" that became an incomplete pass. (It was a good overturned call. Warner hadn't a prayer of completing it but he was clearly tossing it, however feebly.) This comes up when it happens again on the last-gasp power drive, when Warner gets smacked at the very last second and it's called a fumble - and NOT reviewed. Maybe they had to give back the gear after using it so often before? It should have been looked at. It looked like an either/or call to me. The defender hit Warner's hand and the ball, rather than wrapping up his ribs, so his arm wasn't free to move forward in the same fashion. It looked like the ball was on its way out when his arm went forward, so even though the ball popped out in that direction, it could be called a fumble.

I know that Arizonans will be annoyed that it wasn't looked at, and they will feel robbed. Eh.

Verdict - excellent Super Bowl, excellent party. See all y'all next year.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I'm rooting for the Cardinals

This was tough. I have no connection with either team. I was hoping that one of the teams would have a few criminals or wife beaters on it I could root against, but that was lacking.

The fact that I am an angry, right-wing nut factored into my decision of the tiny hook I needed in which to hang my allegiance upon a team.

Here is why I am rooting for the Cardinals. The owner of the Steelers is a "staunch, pro-life Catholic" and lifelong Republican who had never injected himself into politics. That is, until last year's Iowa caucus when he heard the word of the Obamessiah and the scales fell from his eyes:
Yet on January 3, 2008, the night that underdog Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama defeated heavily-favored Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Caucuses, Rooney was watching, and according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, he immediately called his son Jim saying, “This is the greatest speech I’ve seen since John Kennedy.This guy connects with people like no one I’ve seen since John Kennedy. He convinced me that this is more than just a good politician. I want to stand up and say something for this guy. I want to be involved in this.”
It seems that Mr. Rooney drank that special Kmiec Kool-Aid made especially for pro-life people who have lost their minds.

NBC will include a Matt Lauer makeout session with the President in its pregame show. This is a network that flacked global warming propaganda for a full week on it's entertainment programs. Do you think they will resist preach the gospel of their lord before the largest audience they will ever have? I predict that they will mention Obama no less than three times between kickoff and final whistle.

I want to hear Kurt Warner scream, "Thank you, Jesus!" I am rooting for the Cards. My reasons are stupid and childish and irrational. But it is what it is.