Thursday, December 23, 2004

Two More Signs of the Apocalypse.

1) As if the low-carb dieting craze hasn't gotten you worried enough about counting carbohydrates, Halls is now introducing a carb free version of their cough drops. 'Cuz, you know, you don't want getting well to make you, like, fat and stuff.

2) The Discovery Wings Channel, the arm of the Discovery Channel empire dedicated to aviation-related programming, is set to become the Military Channel. Of course, you could argue that the History Channel is already the Military Channel, what with all its exhaustive WWII documentaries, but still...

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Yankee Imperialist Trash Talk.

If you've been keeping even half an eye on the sports pages lately, you'll know that the three-team mega-blockbuster baseball trade that would've sent Randy Johnson to the Yankees, and has been dragging on for weeks, is finally dead because the Dodgers pulled out. Here's the reaction from Yankee president Randy Levine that's being widely circulated today:

"The Dodgers reneged on the deal that was agreed to last Friday, unequivocally and with no contingencies except for a window for contract extensions and physicals," Levine said. "For some reason, the Dodgers over the weekend started to backpedal. Why they would break their word is only something they can answer. It sure is disappointing, and we'll have to think long and hard before ever doing business with the Dodgers again."

Oh, please.

Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta has been saying ever since the deal was first reported that he was reluctant to pull the trigger unless a contingency plan was in place to replace the players that they'd lose. Add to that the reports that Yankee pitcher Javier Vasquez threw a petulant fit about going to the West Coast and refused to take the required physical, and it's no wonder the deal fell apart. If the Yankees didn't see this coming, then their hard-on to acquire The Big Unit must be blinding them to the reality of doing business in baseball. Because, frankly, the deal was a wash for the Dodgers and they would've lost a lot more than they would have gotten in return. The Dodgers' participation would've just been as a tool to help George Steinbrenner to land his latest big prize. The Dodgers didn't need that.

If there's any "villain" in the whole deal, it would be the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose unreasonably high demands in exchange for Johnson are what have drawn the trade talks out for nearly a year and necessitated the participation of a third team. A basic Yankee package of Vasquez, Dioner Navarro and Eric Duncan (the package that would've gone to the Dodgers), along with possibly the addition of recently-unseated second baseman Miguel Cairo, seems plenty fair in exchange for Johnson. However, the D-Backs seem intent on wanting to use the deal to gain a bunch of frontline starting pitchers and position players to restock their dismal lineup. It's just not going to happen. They need to lower their unrealistic expectations so that they can get the deal done one-on-one with the Yankees and spare the rest of the baseball world from having to hear about this little drama anymore.

And as for the Yankees never wanting to do business with the Dodgers again, so what? It's not like the Dodgers need what the Yankees have to offer anyway. We'll just have to be content with watching the Dodgers beat the Yankees on the field again, like they did in interleague play this past year. (Man, watching Gagne making Jeter and A-Rod flail around like little girls while striking out was classic....)

Lights of Old.

I haven't done any sort of conclusive survey of the rest of the nation, but here in SoCal, Christmas lights sure have changed a lot since I was a kid. Gone are the strands of individual lights -- each tear-shaped bulb a different color -- that were ubiquitous. Fewer people decorate their houses now. And those who still do it, do it with a vengeance -- covering every eave, bush and tree possible, then adding all sorts of animatronic reindeers, inflatable snowmen and the like.

And beyond all those extraneous doohickeys, the lights themselves have changed. They are now small bulbs (similar to the kind made for indoor Christmas trees for years) and all one color -- white. What's more, they are usually of the popular "icicle lights" variety, which feature little strands dangling down, meant to mimic icicles forming on the house's eaves. What a hopeless, pathetic attempt this is to recreate the look of a "traditional" white Christmas here in sunny Southern California. It doesn't snow here, people! Get over it already!

Which leads me down another tangent -- so many folks' slavish devotion to the iconography of what a "traditional" Christmas is supposed to look like, which is basically the imagery associated with Victorian-era holidays in England. You might be able to get away with that stuff in New England or Northern Europe, but everywhere else it just looks forced and unnatural. There are so many ways to celebrate and decorate for Christmas (or the winter holiday of your choice) across this widely diverse planet of ours that it feels wrong to be forced into such geographically and culturally narrow iconography. Mele Kalikimaka, dammit!

And, oh yeah -- power to the old school lightmasters and their multicolored strands!

Monday, November 29, 2004

Announcement Time.

Time to take a break from the politics (and laziness in updating) to bring you the following important announcement:

We're having another baby!

Around about mid-July next year, Sarah will be a big sister. We're excited! More updates to follow, of course...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

New America, Anyone?

Damn, what a disappointing election that was. I can't say I'm surprised by the outcome, but I had certainly hoped we'd finally get that bastard Bush out of office.

Looking at the exit poll data, the biggest difference seems to have been the Republicans' ability to mobilize its evangelical Christian support base. This is the demographic that Bush/Cheney/Rove have catered to the most with their disastrous policy decisions -- and they were rewarded yesterday with a huge show of support. Evangelical Christians accounted for a larger increase in voter turnout than any other demographic group (an increase of approximately 4 million voters, which is significant when you consider that the difference in the popular vote was only about 3.6 million). And in an election year in which terrorism and the war in Iraq were expected to be the biggest issues for voters, it turns out that a majority of voters interviewed said that moral values were the most important issues to them.

What all this seems to indicate is that the extreme right wing coalition that emerged with Reagan's "Morning in America" in 1980 is evolving into a potent political and social force. (Perhaps the fact that they made "The Passion of the Christ" such a huge box office hit earlier this year should have been a warning sign.) And don't forget that these are the same people who think that gays deserve to die of AIDS, school prayer should be compulsory, and that abortion is murder. And they're not going away anytime soon -- you can expect them to turn out in similar numbers to vote for a Cheney presidency in 2008.

This nation is become a theocracy right under our noses. And since we can't just sit around and wait for a massive heart attack to spare us the agony of a President Cheney, we need to do something a little more proactive. Actually, a lot more proactive.

I consider myself lucky to live in California, a state that -- despite its myriad problems -- is still largely insulated from the president's cultural jihad. Like the rest of the West Coast, California went solidly for Kerry yesterday and has consistently voted in favor of progressive social policies (the most recent being the approval of Proposition 71, a massive stem cell research plan that the Right has fought hard against on the national level). In fact, except for our governor's star power, the Bush administration has shown almost no interest in anything coming out of California, or the whole West Coast for that matter.

So that's where this call to action comes in. It's a thought I had after Bush stole the last election, and I'm even more convinced of its necessity now.

California needs to secede from the Union. We can take Washington, Oregon and Hawaii with us, too, since they seem to be good eggs. (Heck, if we could get Las Vegas in the deal, too, that would be even sweeter.) This would create a left-leaning, economically powerful Pacific Rim nation with the potential to be a strong player on the world stage.

It would be a hard sell, even to most of the people living here, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and the marginalization of one of the most populous and economically viable regions of the U.S. must stop. I'm completely serious about this. The time has come to fight for our rights and reclaim our sovereignty, by force if necessary. This is do-able, people. We just have to band together to make it happen.

What would the name of our new nation be? My choice would be New America, with its connotations of progress and rebirth, but I'm also open to suggestions from anyone else.

Fight on!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Rise of Our Robot Overlords.

We got a strange call this morning. After I said "hello," there was a pause -- just like the pause that accompanies one of those telemarketer autodialer machines that then proceeds to play back a pre-recorded sales pitch. Except, instead of a sales pitch, I heard the robotic female voice say, "I'm sorry" and hang up.

Did the machine actually know it had dialed a wrong number, and apologize?

The automatons are taking over the world, my friend!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Requiem For a Season.

After a pretty miraculous run, the 2004 season has finally ended for my beloved Dodgers. It's not too surprising, really, since they had the poor luck to get paired with the St. Louis Cardinals -- easily the best team in baseball this year -- in the first round of the playoffs. But the important thing is that they provided a lot of exciting performances along the way and re-energized their fan base here in L.A. Finally, after years of being laughingstocks among the baseball faithful, Dodger fans are staying to the end of the game, showing up wearing blue and making some serious noise. Heck, even the celebrities have started coming out to games again. Even the wildly unpopular Lo Duca/Mota trade wasn't enough to stop the Dodgers from replacing the Lakers as the No. 1 pro sports team in town.

And although it's disappointing to see them get eliminated so early from the postseason (and in such commanding fashion) there are still reasons to be proud of what they accomplished this season. They made the playoffs for the first time in eight years, won their division for the first time in nine years and won their first postseason game in 16 years -- all of which provide a solid foundation for an even more successful 2005.

First, here are my personal favorite moments from the season:

• Steve Finley's magnificent -- even historic -- walk-off grand slam to clinch the division championship. It was a blast for the ages, to be remembered alongside Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit homer in the 1988 World Series, and the fact that it came at the expense of the Giants made all the sweeter.

• Jose Lima's inspired pitching performance against the Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLDS. After getting blown out in both of the first two games, it was just the kind of pick-me-up both the team and the fans needed to redeem the season before their inevitable elimination. It also was enough to cement Lima as the fans' new working-class star (replacing the sadly departed Paul Lo Duca). The man's comeback has been unbelievable.

• Jayson Werth's bone-rattling catch against the left field wall in Colorado. His emergence as an everyday player has been a wonderful surprise and the fact that he was able to stay in the lineup and continue to produce while nursing two broken ribs from that catch just confirms his drive and work ethic.

• The ascendancy of Adrian Beltre. After such a banner year, it's hard to single out any one performance of his. But after six years of unfulfilled potential and promises that his piss-poor hitting was merely a prelude to greatness, it was something of a shock to finally see him deliver -- and while playing the whole year with bone spurs in his ankle, no less! He definitely deserves the MVP.

• The thunderous ovation the fans gave Eric Gagne after his consecutive-saves streak came to an end against the Diamondbacks. Never was a blown save so warmly -- and deservingly -- recognized.

• Robin Ventura's scoreless inning of relief pitching against the Angels (which provided welcome fun in a blowout loss) and his grand slams against the Mets and Diamondbacks (which moved him into a tie with Willie McCovey for third on the all-time list). Just today he announced his retirement after 16 solid years in the majors. Goodbye, Robin -- you're one of the classiest guys around and we'll miss you.

• Alex Cora's colossal 18-pitch at-bat against Matt Clement of the Cubs. After working the count to 1-2, the light-hitting Cora fouled off 14 straight pitches before sending the last one into the right field bullpen for a home run.

• Speaking of Cora, his spectacular defensive play along with Cesar Izturis has been a joy to watch all year. They both deserve Gold Gloves, and I'm looking forward to more acrobatics next year.

• And, lastly, the team's reaction after being eliminated by Cardinals last night. Not only did they come out as shake hands with and congratulate the entire St. Louis team (something that unheard-of outside of Little League), but they also gave the fans a group ovation from the dugout steps and then lobbed hats, gloves, sweatbands and whatever else was handy into the crowd for souvenirs. Gagne even tossed his signature goggles. It was the classiest possible way to say goodbye for the winter.

But even with all those great memories, it is now time to look ahead. If I was running the Dodgers, here's what I'd do over the winter to prepare them for an even bigger 2005:

• Open the wallet wide to re-sign Beltre (who will be a free agent) and offer Gagne a juicy multiyear deal (to avoid repeating this spring's nasty arbitration experience). Also re-sign two other valuable free agents, Finley and Lima.

• Rebuild the starting rotation. It was a little shaky, at best, to begin the year and downright pathetic by the end, ultimately handing the NLDS to the Cards. GM Paul DePosdesta tried to revamp midseason by trading for Brad Penny, but Penny's injury derailed that plan. (In fact, after seeing the starters' performance in the NLDS, it's obvious that Penny's second start, when he ran off the mound in pain, was the real turning point of the season for the team.) The new rotation should consist of Penny, Lima, Jeff Weaver and two newly acquired arms. Edwin Jackson should return to Las Vegas so he can get some regular work without pressure (unless, of course, a fifth starter can't be found, in which case the job should be his -- just so long as he can get regular work). The costly deadweight -- Odalis Perez, Hideo Nomo, Kazuhisa Ishii, Darren Dreifort, and Paul Shuey -- should be jettisoned immediately. Provided, of course, anyone can be found to take them off the Dodgers' hands.

• Find a real catcher. The platoon of David Ross and Brent Mayne haven't added up to half the player Lo Duca was. Ross' subpar offensive season was especially disappointing, but he has enough potential that the Dodgers should hang on to him in a back up role until he matures. For the starting role, there are some solid catchers on the free agent market this winter, most notably Jason Varitek. (Or, dare we hope, even Lo Duca himself?)

• Get a more reliable situational left-handed reliever. Tom Martin was shaky in that role before he was traded, and Mike Venafro and Scott Stewart didn't do much to improve the situation later on.

Sorry to ramble on so long, but it's going to be a long, hard winter for me with no baseball. But at least there's a bright spring waiting ahead in Vero Beach...

Friday, September 24, 2004

Happy Birthday, Sarah Bear!

I can't believe our little Sarah in one year old today. It's been a whirlwind year that's gone by so fast. But she's grown so quickly and it's a joy to see her everyday.

We love you, Sarah!

Still More Signs of the Apocalypse.

After you're done vegging out in front of the fridge (see previous post), you can burn it off the Elite Forces way!

Sheesh. This country won't stop until it militarizes every last part of the culture, will it?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

More Signs of the Apocalypse.

LG has introduced a new refrigerator that includes a television in the door.

Consume mass quantities!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Health Update.

Yeah, I know -- long time, no post.

Well, after nearly three weeks with a cold that became bronchitis, I'm finally starting to feel better. My voice is still shot, but at least some energy is coming back. Sarah's had a little cough for a few days, so we're hoping it doesn't get any worse than that.

School is back in session here at ULV, so I've been busier than ever. To make this start of the school year a little more hectic, though, is the fact that one of our regular faculty members is on sabbatical now and his replacement is a bit of a hard-nose. We'll see how long that lasts.

Other than that, not much to report, other than that I'm really, really tired right now. Nap time can't come soon enough.

So, anyway, while I'm pulling myself together, enjoy this link to baseball geek paradise.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Expatriate Games.

With the nation deteriorating daily under the leadership of George W. Bush and his neocon henchmen, the future is indeed looking bleak. And should they bully their way into another election "victory" in November, we can look forward another four years of them ruining America. In such desperate times, the best course of action for our little family's personal survival would seem to be to follow the example of so many of our forefathers and foremothers and go the expatriate route. The only question is, where to go? There are so many possibilities in this wide world of ours that it's hard to sort out exactly what benefits other countries might offer us. Let's brainstorm...

Pros: An old stand-by since colonial days (and especially during the Vietnam War), Canada offers a very comfortable "home-away-from-home" feel. Not only are the language and culture virtually the same (if you don't count Quebec, that is), it's already full of plenty of expatriate Americans. Plus, the streets are clean and the people are friendly.
Cons: The biggest drawback is also the flipside of one of it's strengths -- such overwhelming assimilation of American culture (and many of its attendant problems) that we might as well not even leave home at all. At least the winters are warmer here. Besides, a city the size of Montreal can't even support a Major League baseball team anymore. That's hardly a good sign.

Great Britain
Pros: No language barrier, easy access to European culture, and pubs on every corner. And let's not forget those sexy accents. Besides, I've always wanted to spend time in my anscetral home of Scotland.
Cons: Well, the biggest drawback would have to be the British government's complete toadying to the Bush party line. Living there would be a step up from living here, but not by much.

Pros: Another local favorite for expats, it's only a few hours' drive from where we live now, making it convenient to return home to visit family and friends. And although there's a language barrier involved with living there, it can be easily overcome by a combination of a lot of the locals speaking English mixed with all the Spanish we've picked up living in Southern California.
Cons: The shaky economy is a little worrisome, as are the overzealous border guards we'd have to face to visit the U.S. Plus, we probably wouldn't be able to drink the water.

Pros: Home to a rich culture (both ancient and modern) that we absolutely love. Friendly people, great food, awesome entertainment, a love of pro baseball... There are just so many upsides to living in Japan.
Cons: The language barrier here is probably the worst on this list (as it would be with any other Asian nation) because Japanese is just so far removed from English. Plus, there's also the whole issue with their traditionally closed society that's distrustful of foreigners, although that's changing with the younger generations.

Pros: A thriving, vibrant country with good weather, an active youth culture and the Olympic champion basketball team. It's also not that far from Antarctica, which could be pretty awesome (you never know). And as if all that weren't enough, it seems that everyone who comes from there is certifiably HOT.
Cons: Well, there is that history of political instability, but they seem to have cleared that up.

Pros: Um.... well.... It's in Europe, which is always a favorable destination. Also, my high school French might be able to get me through. Oh, and they make good cheese.
Cons: They're rude, hated Americans even before Dubya came along, they eat snails, and they have a history of not handling invasion particularly well.

South Pacific
Pros: Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tonga.... There are a lot of little island nations out there where it's easy to escape from the troubles of the world on sun-kissed beaches.
Cons: Not only are they a long way from anywhere else, I also understand that most of these little islands are slowly sinking in to the Pacific Ocean. Damn you global warming!

Pros: They're friendly, speak English and know how to party. And, once again, there are those sexy accents. Like Japan, this is a country full of upsides.
Cons: While they may toady to the Americans, it's not nearly as bad as with Great Britain. Plus, you have those whole Christmas-in-summer thing to deal with.

New Zealand
Pros: Take all the good things about Australia, then add gorgeous scenery and a lack of overpopulation and you've got New Zealand. Plus, the country exists just far enough below the radar to stay out of trouble.
Cons: I'm hard pressed to come up with one, but there has to be something. Well, okay, it is awfully far away from our family and friends here in the States.

So, there are some good options out there. Of course, with the emergence of the world's globalized economy and culture -- not to mention America's 800-pound-gorilla position in it -- it makes it awfully hard to get very far away from the cancer eating the heart of our country. And that's enough to make you wonder whether the best option is to get out, or to stay here and fight the uphill battle against it.


Monday, August 30, 2004


I'm back from vacation, but still fighting a nasty cold. While I'm plowing through the piles of crap waiting for me on my desk, enjoy this...

I'm not really one for memes, but I got this one from Mary Ann's LiveJournal that I couldn't resist. Play along, it's fun!

VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders
Bold songs you liked/loved
Strike the songs you don't like/hated
Italicize the songs you've heard of but neither liked or disliked
Leave the ones you haven't heard of alone

100. Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
99. No Rain - Blind Melon
98. Two Of Hearts - Stacey Q
97. Whoomp! (There It Is) - Tag Team

96. I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow
95. Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C. Riley
94. What's Up - 4 Non Blondes
93. Don't Give Up On Us - David Soul
92. Heart and Soul - T'Pau
91. Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant
90. Don't Wanna Fall In Love - Jane Child
89. Achy Breaky Heart - Billy Ray Cyrus
88. Barbie Girl - Aqua
87. Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
86. Bust a Move - Young M.C.
85. Spirit In the Sky - Norman Greenbaum
84. You Gotta Be - Des'ree
83. The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
82. I Know What Boys Like - The Waitresses
81. Just a Friend - Biz Markie
80. Cum On Feel the Noize - Quiet Riot
79. Puttin' On the Ritz - Taco
78. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm - Crash Test Dummies
77. What I Am - Edie Brickell

76. We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off - Jermaine Stewart
75. I've Never Been To Me - Charlene
74. Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat) - Digable Planets
73. Convoy - C.W. McCall
72. Maniac - Michael Sembello

71. How Bizarre - OMC
70. The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia - Vicki Lawrence
69. Funkytown - Lipps Inc.
68. A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
67. Epic - Faith No More

66. Mambo #5 - Lou Bega
65. In My House - The Mary Jane Girls
64. You Get What You Give - New Radicals
63. Jump Around - House Of Pain
62. The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades - Timbuk 3

61. Round and Round - Ratt
60. More, More, More - Andrea True Connection
59. 867-5309 (Jenny) - Tommy Tutone
58. What Is Love - Haddaway
57. Smokin' In the Boy's Room - Brownsville Station
56. Lovin' You - Minnie Riperton
55. It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls
54. Makin' It - David Naughton
53. Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell
52. Genius Of Love - Tom Tom Club
51. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
50. I Touch Myself - The Divinyls
49. Turn the Beat Around - Vicki Sue Robinson
48. True - Spandau Ballet
47. Rock and Roll (Part 2) - Gary Glitter

46. Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
45. Lovefool - The Cardigans
44. Rock Me Amadeus - Falco

43. How Do You Talk To an Angel - The Heights
42. Hot Child In the City - Nick Gilder
41. Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
40. In a Big Country - Big Country
39. Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
38. Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul
37. I Melt With You - Modern English
36. Turning Japanese - The Vapors

35. Bitch - Meredith Brooks
34. Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band
33. Got To Be Real - Cheryl Lynn
32. Hot Hot Hot - Buster Poindexter
31. Unbelieveable - EMF
30. Seasons In the Sun - Terry Jacks
29. Pass the Dutchie - Musical Youth
28. It Takes Two - Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
27. Pop Musik - M

26. Stumblin' In - Suzi Quatro
25. Too Shy - Kajagoogoo
24. Whip It - Devo

23. All My Life (K-Ci & Jojo) - Sybersound
22. Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
21. Cars - Gary Numan
20. She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby
19. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
18. Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
17. We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister
16. Rapper's Delight - The Sugarhill Gang
15. 96 Tears - ? & the Mysterians
14. Groove Is In the Heart - Deee-Lite
13. The Hustle - Van McCoy
12. Baby Got Back - Sir Mix-a-Lot
11. You Light Up My Life - Debby Boone
10. 99 Luftballons - Nena

9. Rico Suave - Gerardo
8. Take On Me - a-ha
7. Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice
6. Who Let The Dogs Out - Baha Men

5. Mickey - Toni Basil
4. I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred
3. Come On Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners
2. Tainted Love - Soft Cell
1. Macarena - Los Del Rio

Now, that's all well and good, but the true test of your musical tastes is how you weigh in on their list of the 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever. So, here it is, with slightly modified instructions...

VH1 & Blender Magazine's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever
Bold songs you liked/loved because they're legitimately good songs that don't belong on a list like this
Bold and italicize songs you liked/loved because they're just so damn cheesy and cheesy is good
Strike the songs you don't like/hated
Italicize the songs you've heard of but neither liked or disliked
Leave the ones you haven't heard of alone

50. Corey Hart - 'I Wear My Sunglasses at Night'
49. Puff Daddy f/ Faith Evans & 112 - 'I'll Be Missing You'
48. Michael Bolton - 'Can I Touch You There'

47. Bobby Brown w/Whitney Houston - 'Something in Common'
46. Spin Doctors - 'Two Princes'
45. Ruben Studdard - 'I'm Sorry'
44. Billy Joel - 'We Didn't Start The Fire'
43. Master P feat. Silkk, Fiend, Mia-x & Mystikal - 'Make Em Say Uhh'
42. Rednex - 'Cotton Eye Joe'
41. JC Chasez - 'Some Girls (Dance with Women)'
40. 4 Non Blondes - 'What's Up'
39. Snow - 'Informer'
38. Ja Rule - 'Mesmerize'
37. Bette Midler - 'From a Distance'
36. Color Me Badd - 'I Wanna Sex You Up'
35. Don Johnson - 'Heartbeat'

34. Crazytown - 'Butterfly'
33. Jennifer Lopez - 'Jenny from the Block'
32. Mr. Mister - 'Broken Wings'

31. R. Kelly - 'You Remind Me of Something'
30. Nelly - 'Pimp Juice'
29. Meatloaf - 'I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)'

28. Rick Astley - 'Never Gonna Give You Up'
27. Wreckx-N-Effect - 'Rump Shaker'
26. Bryan Adams - 'The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me is You'
25. Michael Jackson - 'You Rock My World'
24. Phil Collins - 'Sussudio'

23. Sisqo - 'The Thong Song'
22. Lionel Richie - 'Dancing on the Ceiling'
21. Rembrandts - 'I'll Be There For You'
20. Toby Keith - 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue'

19. Chicago - 'You're the Inspiration'
18. Hammer - 'Pumps and a Bump'
17. Right Said Fred - 'I'm Too Sexy'
16. Europe - 'The Final Countdown'

15. Crash Test Dummies - 'Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm'
14. Will Smith - 'Will2K'
13. Aqua - 'Barbie Girl'
12. New Kids on the Block - 'Hangin' Tough'
11. Gerardo - 'Rico Suave'

10. Huey Lewis & the News - 'Heart of Rock-n-Roll'
9. Bobby McFerrin - 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'
8. Ricky Martin - 'She Bangs'

7. Eddie Murphy - 'Party All the Time'
6. Deep Blue Something - 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'
5. Vanilla Ice - 'Ice Ice Baby'
4. Limp Bizkit - 'Rollin''

3. Wang Chung - 'Everybody Have Fun Tonight'
2. Billy Ray Cyrus - 'Achy Breaky Heart'
1. Starship - 'We Built This City'

There ya go. Feel free to debate, or even copy this for your own blog....

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Vacation Update.

I'm still on vacation, which is part of ther reason I haven't been posting here. The other reason is that I've been sick this week (after Mary Ann was sick all last week). Some vacation, eh?

I've got plenty of things to post about, though, so stay tuned....

Friday, August 20, 2004

The Return of the Mack?

Okay, I'm back. The Blogger portal finally decided to give up its battle against me and allow me to log in from home. What's more, I was even able to wrestle with the HTML a bit to keep Blogger's new mandatory navbar from plunking itself down right on top of my page design. As you can probably see, it's not exactly perfect, but that's okay -- my stuff looks fine; it's just their navbar that looks funny now. Oh well, their loss.

So, anyway, I'm back to posting again. Just don't go expecting me to post everyday yet -- I'm still on vacation, after all...

Monday, August 16, 2004

On Hiatus... Maybe?

In less than an hour, I get to leave the office and start a nearly-two week vacation that I am definitely looking forward to.

I intend to keep posting here during the vacation (it's not like we can actually afford to go anywhere, so we'll have plenty of time to hang around the house). The only problem is that right now I can't log into Blogger from home. The site has some sort of auto-login set for Mary Ann's account and can't get it to log out for the life of me. So, unless I can finally figure out what's up, I probably won't be able to post until I get back to my work computer on Aug. 30.

So, keep checking back. But if I don't see y'all until then, have a nice... well, whatever it is you're having!

The Games Begin.

So, we watched the Olympic opening ceremonies over the weekend. The parade of Greek history was pretty well done and fun to watch. The parade of nations was practically endless, as usual, but I always like to see the delegations from the smallest nations. They always seem to be having the most fun and, when you get right down to it, are what the Olympic spirit is all about anyway -- the little guys getting a moment in the sun to compete on an equal basis with the big boys.

But the commentary, on the other hand, was the worst. I generally like Bob Costas, and he wasn't too terribly bad considering the thankless job he was given. Katie Kouric, on the other hand, managed to sound more inane everytime she opened her mouth. It's hard to single out any line of hers as the worst of the night, but I'm partial to "The nights here in Greece are colder than the daytime."

Ya think?

Anyway, there were a couple of heartening things I noticed in the parade of nations. First off, the North Korean and South Korean delegations opted to march into the stadium together. It's great to see a little more detente in this fractured world, especially involving North Korea. There's even talk of them fielding a unified team next time around. (Let's just hope they don't make golf an official sport by then, or Kim Jong Il himself will be forced to compete.)

Secondly, it was also refreshing to see several predominantly Muslim nations, including Egypt, Afghanistan and others, allowing women in their delegations for the first time.

Now, I've just got to find time to watch some more of the Games in the coming weeks. Except for softball, I tend to be interested in the lesser-known sports and the non-American competitors. Good thing NBC is drawing all their cable networks for coverage, because it looks like there's plenty of room for the stuff I like on CNBC, Bravo and MSNBC, since I know the main network won't be featuring any of it...

Friday, August 13, 2004

My iTunes.

For various reasons, I can't have the hottest lifestyle accessory going right now, the iPod. Those of you who know how much I love music will also know how jealous this makes me, but at least I have the next best thing to get me by -- the iTunes on my work computer. (At least when I can listen to it without annoying my officemates or getting called away from my desk constantly.) Here are my current heavy rotation songs...

"Crazy Train," Ozzy Osbourne
For my money, probably the Ozz-man's finest moment. Play it loud, baby. And you know who would do a kick-ass cover of this song? Jack Black. He was born to sing those lyrics.

"Gamen (Vulture)," Garmarna
They may be virtually unknown here in the U.S., but these Norwegians make some pretty rockin' updates of traditional Scandanavian folk tunes (and various other really old songs). This is from their album "Vengeance." Again, play it loud.

"Sister Christian," Night Ranger
Remember that creepy drug dealer guy at the end of "Boogie Nights"? Well, I feel just like that everytime I hear this song. Call me a fool, because I know Night Ranger sucks, and every thinking person knows that Night Ranger sucks, but I can't help loving this song.

"One More Cup of Coffee," Sertab
I don't really know anything about Sertab other than that she's from Turkey and once won the Eurovision song contest. But her version of the Bob Dylan song, from the soundtrack to "Masked & Anonymous," is wonderfully majestic and cinematic. Perfect background music to the movies of your mind. I must find more stuff by her.

"California Dreamin'," DJ Sammy
Another cover of the ubiquitous (almost over-ubiquitous) classic. But this dance floor track is just so sunny and happy, I can't resist cranking it up. Outside of the dance club, it's also perfect for riding along the coastline with the top down in true California fashion.

There are others, but I'll save those for another time...

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Great Baseball Names.

You can't be a big leaguer without the right name and, unlike the euphonious Willie Mays Hayes, these are all 100% real...

Willy Mo Peña
Oil Can Boyd
Smokey Joe Wood
Rusty Kuntz
Cool Papa Bell
Minnie Minoso
Bobo Newsom
Rube Waddell
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Three-Finger Brown
Mudcat Grant

Come to think of it, those would make pretty good pimp names, too...

Monday, August 09, 2004

Critter Follies.

Remember the Animalympics? Well, they're back!

There's a new special airing on the Discovery Channel called "Animal Games" that gives an "educational" spin on the same concept -- animals coming from around the globe to compete against each other in human Olympic events. However, instead of the mere entertainment of watching anthropomorphized Hanna-Barbera creations competing, we're treated to something much more bizarre, if no less entertaining. Not only are the "Animal Games" competitors faithful CGI versions of the species found in nature, but they've also been scaled to "human size."

A six-foot tall cockroach racing a cheetah? Talk about creepy. And a great white shark doing weightlifting and a mudskipper in the long jump? Talk about surreal. NFL commentators James Brown and Cris Collinsworth doing play-by-play? Talk about pathetic.

So, of course, I love it. Check it out.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Are We Litigious... Or Just Stupid?

The height of absurdity, it seems to me, is seeing all these ridiculous disclaimers on television commercials. It wouldn't be so bad if they were disclaimers that made any sense, or that were actually useful to consumers (like, "WARNING: CIRCUIT CITY OVERPRICES ITS INVENTORY" or, "WARNING: SCOTT TOILET TISSUE FEELS LIKE SANDPAPER.")

No, we have to have our intelligence insulted instead. The latest example is the new Burger King campaign which features the cartoonish "Dr. Angus" and his "Angus Diet." As if it wasn't painfully obvious that this is a parody of stupid diet trends, we have to be treated to the disclaimer, "THE ANGUS DIET IS NOT AN ACTUAL DIET" and "DR. ANGUS IS NOT A REAL DOCTOR." Sheesh. (And, just in case you missed the info from the Bud Light commercials, the Bud Light Institute doesn't really exist, either.)

Of course, some disclaimers could be useful to morons, like the "DO NOT ATTEMPT" warning that accompanies the new Dairy Queen brownie blizzard ad. That's the one that features a guy sticking his tongue into a moving electric beater and screaming in pain for what seems like an eternity, all topped off by a shot of his tongue mangled and wrapped up in the beaters. Has "Jackass" really ruined our culture so much that we now need to be reminded NOT to do this? I guess it has.

The most ubiquitous disclaimers, though, are the "PROFESSIONAL DRIVER ON CLOSED COURSE" warnings in every car commercial. Do we need to be warned about that even while watching someone drive the car at slow speed down an empty street. Apparently so. But it's really overkill to see that warning in that Scion commercial which features the box-on-wheels being driven through a heavily-animated landspace of futuristic skyscrapers, aliens and space ships. I'm glad they told me not to attempt that, or else I'd be out in my junky 1990 Ford Escort right now looking for come CGI to drive through.

Thank you, Scion!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Testing, Testing....

While we're all waiting for me to get this blog up and running -- here, enjoy this picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head...