Saturday, October 22, 2005

Tom Delay: Bestest Mug Shot Ever

Ya gotta love this guy... if the money laundering and slave labor and forced abortions don't get in the way. Anyway, thanks as always to The Smoking Gun for another great mug shot.

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Favorite Site of the Day:

From Mussel Juice comes this amazingly useless-but-hilarious guilty pleasure:

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Regarding Rove...

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, there is one undeniable truth. One thing about which we can all be sure when it comes to Rove and Libby and the whole sordid mess:

If you or I revealed the secret identity of a CIA agent, you or I would spend the rest of our life making big rocks into little rocks. At best. At worst we would be shot. And no one would even think of making excuses for us.

The Soft Voice, the Cloth Bag and the Empty Cup

There are plenty of sites devoted to movie mistakes -- those unaccountable continuity errors and anachronisms and so forth -- but there are certain mistakes that are unique to TV. They're not very big, but they sure take me out of the scene when I'm watching. I'm sure you have more, but here are just three off the top of my head:

Most recently seen in the premiere of Commander in Chief. President Geena Davis speaks to a joint session of Congress, the cabinet, the joint chiefs, the Supreme Court and a packed gallery. We've all seen that room and how many hundreds of people it takes to fill it. Yet Geena delivers her speech with the whispery tones of wind rustling through tall grass. Why? Because when she shot it, there weren't a thousand people there. There was just her and a camera a few feet from her face. (It's a mistake they never make on The West Wing.)

When people on TV come home from the grocery store, they not only come home with the obligatory 2-foot loaf of French bread, they also come home with brown paper bags made of cloth. Why? Because the crinkling of real paper bags would be very distracting on film or tape. Still, nothing looks phonier than those brown cloth bags.

My personal favorite, because it's so dumb and so easy to avoid... yet you see it all the time. I saw it most recently on the second episode of Boston Legal, a show I was otherwise enjoying very much. But there was Julie Bowen, waving her take-out coffee cup around for emphasis. You know, the Starbucks kind of cup? With the snap-on lid? The kind that hot coffee comes sloshing out of if you so much as quiver while you're holding it? Yet there was Julie, waving an obviously empty, completely weightless cup. Perhaps she, like so many other TV characters, simply orders an empty cup in an attempt to cut down. Like smoking an unlit cigarette.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Halo Kabuki

Does anyone else think they kinda ruined the Xbox Live version of Halo 2 a little back in April when they updated it?

I mean, yeah, it's old news, but it still irks me that you can spray someone in the chest and face with guns and grenades, and it has no effect... while they walk up to you, slap you once, and kill you instantly. I got to learn me one of them death-slaps...

Halo 2 is still awesome and addictive, of course. Especially since it has its own ritual, as stylized and formal as kabuki:

Each and every game begins with the sound of one of the players yelling, "Arrghh, I hate this fucking level!" No matter what level, someone hates it, and goddammit, they're gonna tell you.

And then someone else makes a looooong, breathy scream into their mike, and keeps repeating it, long after a third voice tells him to "shut the fuck up." And then someone else, usually a twelve-year-old boy, starts chanting a single word over and over again, really singsongy.

By then, I've been killed by an eight-year-old boy, who is calling me a "pussy." Someone who's never seen a pussy, and he's never seen me, but he's fairly sure if he ever saw us together we'd be identical.

Then, because I have the worst luck ever, I materialize directly in front of someone who takes this opportunity to slap me with that death-slap. I die. He -- usually a thirty-year-old who should know better -- yells something like, "Aw yeah, beeyotch! Fuckin' right THERE muthafucka, booyah!" Because he's cool. Because I materialized right in front of him.

Then somebody kills him right in the middle of his end zone dance and he yells, "What the fuck...???!" Because he got screwed. Because someone materialized right behind him.

Then comes my favorite part: One of the players begins carrying on a completely non-game-related conversation, but with his/her mike still on. Usually it's someone apparently screaming upstairs from the basement, something from the "Hey, Ma! The meat loaf!" family.

But every now and then it's one side of a phone conversation, and then it gets pretty freaky. Half of an electronic conversation, broadcast electronically to strangers/beeyotches all around the world. Even after someone yells, "Shut the fuck up."

Of course, now I mostly play with the voices muted. Unfortunately, that means I'm sure they're talking about me.

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A Postoid

From CNN's Money website, earlier today:

"Warren Buffett is the one who clued me into this in his 2003 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. He had this little factoid: In 1952, corporations accounted for 32 percent of federal tax receipts (the post-war peak). In 2003, corporations accounted for 7.4 percent of federal tax receipts."

Clearly this is an alarming statistic. But not if it's a "factoid." See, a "factoid" is something that looks true, but really isn't. Just as a "humanoid" is something that looks human, but isn't... or a "spheroid" is something that looks spherical, but isn't.

"Factoid" began to lose its meaning around the early '80's, if I remember correctly. When USA Today premiered, and the press needed to find something catchy to call those pie charts and little tidbits of information in the corners of the pages. Of course, they could have used "trivia" -- a perfectly good word -- but it probably seemed too retro. Smelled of buggy whips and mustache wax.

Besides, no one was really using the word "factoid" anyway. Americans hate the idea that they might read or hear something that looks true, but isn't. But something that IS true, but unimportant? THAT's a uniquely American concept, just begging for a word to hang it on. Enter "factoid."

Is it important? Probably not very, but for just a few minutes, while you were reading this, you forgot that corporations are paying far less in taxes than they used to. See how I diverted you from the big story? Just like the media! Try it yourself... it's fun!

Here goes nothing...

Hello, welcome, and thank you for stopping by. I have no idea what wayward series of mouse clicks or touchpad-taps led you here, but I hope you won't be too terribly disappointed by what you find.

I mean, what the hell do I know about blogging? Isn't this something people do when they have a lot to say, a lot of free time, and a lot of technical expertise? Well, I have a lot to say, I suppose... though exactly how much we'll soon find out.

I apologize in advance if this blog is a little light on the one thing you've come to expect from really good blogs: links to other blogs. The truth is I'm only just beginning to discover blogs now. As I find some I like, I'll link to them. Starting with my friend, Lisa, whose blog inspired me to start my own.

Anyway, the "Should've Asked Me" thing is meant to be ironic... This is just a forum for one guy's random opinions, thoughts, and occasional rants. I'll post a snippet or a paragraph whenever they come to me, see if they spark anything with you.

The good news is: it's free. Enjoy...