Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: February 2005

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Live-Blogging: 77th Academy Awards (Oscar Blog)

8:20 - The show hasn't started yet, obviously, but I'm already in front of the television with my ballot sheet in hand. We'll see how far I go in the family pool this year. I feel quite confident a lot of the pics, generally.

I wonder if Chris Rock can handle the pressure of hosting tonight. It can ruin people. Look at Letterman. He never recovered after his mediocre job hosting, and he's one of my favorite show-biz personalities. I'm convinced that's why Leno and other high-profile host-type people have stayed at arms length from the Oscars. We'll see what Chris Rock can do...

8:30 - I can't believe they make all those people clap while the ads are going on the screen. It must be dubbed in.

8:35 - I'm not a huge fan of this montage. And I LOVE montages. That's weird. Maybe because they're playing it on 49 small screens and showing people watching it. Dustin Hoffman, end it. Shrek and Chaplin, not hot.

8:36 - Cue P-Diddy looking uncomfortable.

8:38 - All the actors are laughing uncomfortably because they're worried they're going to get made fun of next. Classic Chris Rock standup: repeat one line OVER and OVER.

8:43 - That's right, everyone, clap politely for the troops in your $2,000 gowns.

8:44 - So in this new "speedy" Oscar plan, nominees in "uninteresting categories" stand on stage and the winner steps forward to accept.

8:45 - Art Direction. I picked Aviator. Winner - Aviator. My roommate just remarked, "Oh, right, I forgot the Oscars are boring..." 1/1

8:50 - Supporting Actor. A weak category this year. I picked Morgan Freeman. If he doesn't win I'll punch something. This man is one of the best supporting actors in this decade, and he hasn't won yet. Also, Lloyd from Wings will never win an Oscar. Winner - Morgan Freeman. Damn straight. 2/2

A well-deserved standing o for Morgan. And a short and sweet speech to boot.

8:51 - Great Pepsi parody of Sparticus.

8:57 - Animated Feature. Obviously picked The Incredibles. Only Shrek 2 came close, and it was not close. Winner - The Incredibles. 3/3

Cue first "forgetting to mention people" joke in speech. Although, I NEED that Incredibles Pin this guy has on his lapel. That is hot shit.

9:00 - If Chris Rock keeps making "the black version of _____" jokes, this audience is going to be more uncomfortable than whatever bombshell they hired to give out the nerd awards that they show on tape later.

9:02 - Makeup. I picked The Passion of The Christ. Oops. Lemony Snicket won. I haven't seen the film, but I was pretty sure that no makeup could be more important than that in Passion. Oh well. 3/4

9:05 - Choirboys don't sit and sing. What the hell do these people know? Whoever blocked this song is an idiot. Choirboys stand straight. Trust me, I know. Good God, Beyonce is attractive.

9:08 - I wonder what happens at the Oscars during commercial? Is it like a Pro or Division IA sport during a TV timeout, where you just sit in palpable silence because the stadium doesn't feel the need to entertain you even though it's the 12th timeout in the last 10 minutes? I am fairly confident, however, that the Kodak theater doesn't sell the stadium nachos with the plastic cheese. Too bad, that stuff is good.

9:12 - This "real people" Oscar segment at a theater somewhere else was pretty good. You always have to thank Harvey Weinstein.

9:14 - The NERD AWARDS! Scarlet Johansen was who they had host it. And...yes, yes she looked uncomfortable there! God, this is too easy. I love the acceptance speeches. "I make crane. I'm happy crane work well."

9:17 - Costume Design. I picked Aviator. Hollywood loves its own Golden Age. Edna Mode. Love her. Then again, period English costumes are always a good pick for the Oscar. This might be tougher than I thought. Winner - Aviator. That's right, bitches. I'm on. 4/5

9:19 - Great jab at Tim Robbins: "When he's not impressing us with his acting, he's boring us with his politics."

9:21- Supporting Actress. I picked Virginia Madsen. Blanchett would have been the obvious choice, and even though I thought she did a great job, it was still an imitation. For some reason I can't dig imitations. Madson is one of my upset picks tonight. Could be a tough choice. Winner - Blanchett. This is definitely one of those "oops, of course I should have picked her" categories. 4/6

9:25 - Jim Gaffigan! Yes! He'd kick Michael Ian Black's ass any day.

9:30 - Documentary Feature. I picked Born Into Brothels The only one I saw was Super Size me, which was good, but I figured the "pop documentary" phase was over now and it was time to get back to serious documentaries. Winner - Born Into Brothels. My roommate thinks this chick looks like a female Adrian Brody. 5/7

9:32 - "Please welcome Kirsten Dundst and Orlando Bloom." Worst sentence ever.

9:33 - Editing. I picked Million Dollar Baby. The academy likes editing in boxing movies. Winner - Aviator. Why does The Academy always think that "most editing" means "best editing"? Oh, right, because The Academy is made up of actors who are stupid. 5/8

9:35 - Counting Crows. I can honestly say I didn't think I'd ever see them playing on TV again after 1996. Apparently I was wrong. Come on, boys, just slip into a little "Mr. Jones" while you're up there. For the kids...

9:42 - Hahaha, get it? Chris Rock is a man, but he's reading Catherine Zeta Jones' words. She's really sexy and hot. He's a man. Hahaha. Wow. Not funny.

9:45 - Adapted Screenplay. I chose Sideways. A very smart script, a great film, and it should get SOMETHING tonight even after being overshadowed by the big-money movies. Million Dollar Baby could get this one, however. Winner - Sideways. Back on track. 6/9

9:47 - Visual Effects. Nerd award! I picked Spiderman 2. I think it's a lot harder to make visual effects that look real and are based in this world, rather than fantasy creatures and futuristic robots. Also: Spidey flying around the city is pretty cool. Winner - Spiderman 2. Woah, he's one of those weird, awkward, joking nerds. 7/10

9:49 - Mickey Rooney's skin is slowly collapsing into his seat. They won't be able to get him out.

9:50 - Honorary Oscar. Sidney Lumet. 12 Angry Men and Network are quite enough on their own to win him this award. Not to mention Dog Day Afternoon. This montage should be great. Roomie: "Maybe they shouldn't have ended the montage on Vin Diesel." Lumet: "I'd like to thank the movies." I like that. Not as much as I like Lumet's daughters and their shamelessly fake breasts, though.

10:04 - Why do I want a Dyson vacuum cleaner so badly? I vacuum like five times a year.

10:05 - Emmy Rossum, don't fall! I would make a comment about her looks, but I just made one about Lumet's daughters, and one more would put me at my quota for the past 20 minutes.

10:06 - Beyonce sings her second song of the night. She probably should have sung Accidentally In Love instead of Counting Crows, too. Roomie: "All the phantoms who are independent, throw your masks up at me..." I can't believe Beyonce is younger than me. I'm old.

10:10 - Live Action Short. I haven't seen any of these films. I picked Everything In This Country Must. I liked the title because it didn't finish its sentence. Winner - Wasp. Oh well. Should have aimed for brevity. It was a live action short, after all. 7/11

10:12 - Animated Short. I haven't seen these either. No one does. It's not my fault. I picked Birthday Boy because the stills I saw online looked cool, and because my birthday is coming up soon. Winner - Ryan. Crap. I'm falling apart here. 7/12

10:15 - Cinematography. I actually thought Passion of the Christ has the best cinematography, but I picked Aviator because I'm a pussy. Winner - Aviator. Being a pussy isn't so bad, I guess. This guy is weird and creepy. 8/13

10:16 - I can't tell you how much I am LOVING the soft orchestral version of the Terminator 2 theme right now as we go to commercial.

10:20 - Thankfully by the time Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayak got up here my 20 minute window had shifted and I was under quota. I can't believe I'm watching them right now, together. I love them.

10:22 - Sound Mixing. Picked The Aviator. It was loud and there was lots of crashing and planes. Winner - Ray. I suppose they had a lot of music in that movie, and that music had to be mixed. Tough loss. My ratio is getting harsh. 8/14

10:24 - What, they're still on!? I can't handle this! I'm looking away because I'm so amazingly smitten.

10:25 - Sound Editing. I picked Spiderman 2. I don't know why. I liked Incredibles more, even though Spiderman 2 was leagues better than its predecessor. Winner - Incredibles. Damn, I suck. I am quickly plummeting to 50% accuracy. 8/15

10:26 - Salma, just get off stage. Get off. Stop sticking your breasts in my face and shoving your wonderful accent in my ears. No, don't translate! Just get off stage!

10:27 - Wait, so Beyonce isn't going to perform the spanish song as well? What the hell? Antonio can't sing. And he's not as good looking as Beyonce. (I am about 8 references to attractive women over my quota now. Damnit.)

10:35 - Documentary Short. Natalie Portman: "I applaud them" except she didn't applaud. I picked Autism Is a World in a category that can pretty much be summed up as "what is the most heartbreaking true story we can tell". Winner - Mighty Times. I am down to fifty percent. I am worthless. 8/16

10:30 - Roomie: "John Travolta, how can one botch a third comeback?"

10:40 - Original Score. I didn't really like any of the scores I heard this year, so I picked one that I didn't. Finding Neverland. Winner - Finding Neverland. Back over 50%, baby. 9/17

10:45 - Humanitarian Award. What? This exists? Ok.

10:48 - Film Eulogy. Yo Yo Ma. There is no sarcastic quip to make now. He's too good.

10:51 - Somehow I got through that entire segment without a surprise "Wait, he/she died!? No way!"

10:56 - Yes! Beyonce should win an award for most Oscar songs sung. Josh Groban should win an award for worst person ever.

11:01 - Best Song. I honestly loved Learn To Be Lonely the most, just as a song. I don't know what else could win. Counting Crows should not win an Oscar. The spanish song sucked. Choirboys don't sit down, damnit. Winner - Al Otro Lado Del Rio. Please, that song blew. His acceptance song was better than the one he won for. 9/18

11:04 - Best Actress. If Hilary Swank doesn't win, I'll be furious. Granted, I haven't seen some of the other films, and I'm sure they're great, but come on. Perhaps the crazy PR campaigns for her and Bening will screw both of them. Winner - Hilary Swank. Absolutely well-deserved. I mean, she made me cry. Annette Bening is pissed. Crappy speech, but what are you going to do? 10/19

11:12 - Blind Justice looks like the stupidest premise for a tv show in the last...month.

11:14 - Foreign Language Film. I didn't see these. I picked The Sea Inside. I don't know why. Winner - The Sea Inside. A little luck never hurt anyone. 11/20

11:17 - Original Screenplay. I picked Eternal Sunshine because honestly, it was one of the most innovative scripts I've seen on screen in a long time and Charley Kaufman is long overdue for this. Winner - Eternal Sunshine. "I don't want to take my time, I want to get off the stage." Classic. 12/21

11:20 - Ah, it was about time for a McDonald's commercial about the hilarity of teenage motherhood. I am now waiting for the Coors Light commercial that shows how funny it is to drop out of high school.

11:23 - Best Actor. Smart money is on Jamie Foxx for Ray. It was pretty much an imitation, and parts of the performance was pretty good. Clint was, as usual, unbelievable. DiCaprio was fine, he serviced the movie, but he didn't make the movie. I picked the smart money because I'm a loser. Winner - Jamie Foxx. Not a surprise. Foxx: "Thank you Ray Charles, for living." Can't go wrong with that, I suppose. Oprah just gave a "power to the people" fist to someone off camera. 13/22

11:34 - Best Director. I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Clint Eastwood deserves this because he did the best job. Scorsese could win it because he is Scorsese. I picked Clint. Winner - Clint Eastwood. I can't believe Clint Eastwood's mom is still alive and is there. He really has the best movie in the field, and if Scorsese wants to win this he needs to start directing movies like he used to. 14/23

11:38 - Best Picture. It would be a shock if The Aviator won this one now. With all the big awards going to Million Dollar Baby, it seems like it's in the cards. I picked Baby because I loved it. Winner - Million Dollar Baby. This is the right choice, but I have to admit that now I'm kind of pissed off because it means that the film will be in theaters longer, which then means I'll have to wait longer to buy it on DVD. I'll have to go see it a second time in theaters. 13/24

Last Words - It was a good, speedy show. Chris Rock did a fine job, but didn't really blow my socks off. I'm coming out of this show feeling exactly the opposite of what I did last year when I smoldered each time Lord of the Rings won another award. The Academy actually recognized the best film, not the most glitzy film.

Final tally: 13/24. Not great. Not enough for me to win, unless everyone else picked while drunk.

And, as the credits roll, what Oscar telecast would be complete without a THIRD reprise of the Terminator 2 theme, done in a soft orchestral manner.

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Pre-Oscar Blog

I hate the pre-show crap they have on ABC. Everyone is talking but not listening to each other as they fake smile to the camera.

Warren Beatty hasn't seen the spotlight in so long, he was speechless.

Halle Berry is here, straight from last night's Razzies where she actually accepted her "worst actress" award in person.

I don't think Laura Linney even saw her own movie...

This is just crap.

I'll be liveblogging the actual awards show when it starts.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Pope: Gay Marriage is 'Ideology of Evil'

Pope John Paul's newly published book Memory and Identity takes aim at gay marriage, saying:

"It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man."

Evil is becoming the catch-phrase of this decade! "Axis of evil", "evildoers", "fight against evil", and those are just from George W. Bush! Now the Pope wants in on the action.

People are always welcomed to their opinions, and I know the Pope doesn't 'poll' issues with the people like a politician would, but I'll wager that a majority of those asked would consider gay marriage somewhat less evil than, say, secretly raping children.

I think most people would consider same-sex marriage between two consenting, loving adults a lot more palatable than children being molested and psychologically scarred by the very people they are supposed to trust and confide in.

The Pope should really get his house in order before he starts worrying about an issue he's unlikely to understand in the first place.

CNN Article

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Friday, February 18, 2005

Best Director Oscar

I'm having a very tough time finishing my picks for the family's annual Academy Awards 'pick 'em' contest. This is some serious, no joke business here, people.

Aside from the Best Actress category (which I think is basically a three-way crap shoot between Swank, Benning, and to a lesser extent Staunton), the hardest category to pick is Best Director.

If we're discussing this in the real world, the only two choices are Clint Eastwood and Marty Scorsese. Million Dollar Baby is by far the better film as far as I'm concerned, but I think this award -- more than any other this year -- is the most politically charged.

Scorsese is long overdue for his past (and much better) films, but Clint is one of Hollywood's golden boys and is really showing his age now. Clint may not have many films left in him, while Marty must have a few, not to mention a lock on a "lifetime achievement" Oscar.

Clint has already won this award for Unforgiven so that counts against him, but enough so to keep him from winning with the better film this year? Scorsese's The Aviator is a beautifully shot film, but clearly lacks the heart that Baby has in such abundance. You could also make the case that Marty played a larger role in making a mediocre script a pretty good film, while Clint simply stayed out of the way of a gorgeously told story.

I'm really stuck on this one, so I'm turning it over to you. Vote below and please leave some opinions as well so I can head into this final pick feeling strong about my final answers.

Best Director
Who will win the Best Director Oscar?
Eastwood
Scorsese
Hackford
Leigh
Payne

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

America's Robot Soldier Army

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe imaginations of Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, James Cameron, and many other science-fiction visionaries may not have been as wild as they seemed years ago. The concept of an automated robot army fighting on the front lines of battle has been slowly moving from a fantasy to a reality over the last thirty years.

Even now, hundreds of robots are sparing soldiers from potential danger by digging up roadside bombs in Iraq, standing as armed guards at weapons depots, and searching the remote crevices of Afghanistan's caves. A NYT article today, however, shows the Pentagon's overarching goal of building upon these prototypes to create a fully automated fighting force at the Army's disposal.

By April, an armed version of the bomb-disposal robot will be in Baghdad, capable of firing 1,000 rounds a minute. Though controlled by a soldier with a laptop, the robot will be the first thinking machine of its kind to take up a front-line infantry position, ready to kill enemies.
...
Congress ordered in 2000 that a third of the ground vehicles and a third of deep-strike aircraft in the military must become robotic within a decade. If that mandate is to be met, the United States will spend many billions of dollars on military robots by 2010.
...
It's more than just a dream now," [Gordon] Johnson said. "Today we have an infantry soldier" as the prototype of a military robot, he added. "We give him a set of instructions: if you find the enemy, this is what you do. We give the infantry soldier enough information to recognize the enemy when he's fired upon. He is autonomous, but he has to operate under certain controls. It's supervised autonomy. By 2015, we think we can do many infantry missions.

"The American military will have these kinds of robots. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when."


Of course the potential for sparing the lives of young American soldiers is an enticing concept, made even more so by the mounting American casualties in Iraq's post-war occupation. Nearly as appealing to the military is the ability buy robots for a fraction of the cost of training, paying, and feeding live soldiers , let alone funding the benefits for them and their family during and after their term of service.

The concept of unmanned warfare is far from new -- the Pentagon's Predator spy drones fly reconnaissance missions over Iran currently -- but the ability to send in an invading force on the ground with the ability to kill is still years away.

What happens when the American soldier is replaced by a machine, however? What happens when the main cost for armed conflict, lives, becomes significantly less than ever before. Of course those the U.S. is fighting will still face casualties, but if the risk of American lives is drastically decreased, how much will America's aversion to war -- due to its inherent cost in homegrown lives -- be decreased along with it?

Would the willingness to fight increase as the human price of fighting lessens? With the wars in the Middle East the government has asked precious little of American civilians. There is no real call to service or conservation, no increase in taxes to fund the military, no 21st Century equivalent of the victory garden. The only price being paid by this country is in American lives. Once that is gone, what is left?

While these issues are more concrete and pressing, I would be remiss in failing to mention the danger of handing over the matter of killing, the decision of life or death, to a machine. It's easy to belittle the premonitions of science-fiction writers, but when so much of what they have foretold -- submarines, space travel, the electric engine, servant (vacuum) robots, military robots, etc. -- has come true, It's not impossible to imagine the future dangers inherent in this project.

(Thanks to Isaac for the article)
LINK to Article

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Happy February 15th!

Yes, a happy February 15th to all!

That's right, it's one of the most hallowed candy days of the year. The day upon which all stores mark down their Valentines Day candy leftovers at an exponential rate until they're gone from the shelves. I already did a run to CVS and picked up a disgustingly enormous haul of chocolate booty.

Go now, if you like candy! Go! Get yourself some York Peppermint Patties at 70% off while you still can!

In case anyone is wondering, the other important candy day of the year is the Monday after Easter (which is early this year). With only a segment of the population buying Easter candy, there is usually a lot of leftovers the next week.

And no, the day after Halloween does not count because everyone tends to buy out candy on Halloween night and whatever is left the next day is generally worthless.

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I really need to start posting about real stuff, but aside from the Lebanon bombing, there are no real current events I even think about discussing. Drudge thinks Chris Rock shouldn't host the Oscars and conservatives are calling Million Dollar Baby a communist (or fascist, depending on who you listen to) film. Like I said, not much out there recently.

Thus the postings on bathrooms and candy...

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Monday, February 14, 2005

Bad Boy Heavy Muscle Truck

For those drivers who just don't think a Hummer H1 is big enough and uses quite enough fuel:

Get ready for the Bad Boy Heave Muscle Truck!

And yes, the name of the truck is actually Bad Boy Heavy Muscle Truck. For some reason the company that makes these asked 11 year-old boys to create the name for this new vehicle. Seriously, it sounds like the title of a toy truck that sits next to G.I. Joe on toy store shelves.

Sold by Homeland Defense Vehicles LLC, and its division of Bad Boy Trucks, the BBHMT is 10 feet tall and can tow six tons even with a quarter-sized hole in the tire sidewall. Some additional features include infrared cameras, bulletproof cab, a mini-safe housed behind seats, and like 12 LCD screens in the dashboard.

The CEO of Homeland Defense Vehicles says "There's a certain group of people who color outside the box. This it the truck for them."

Well, maybe it's the truck for those who want to color outside the box as well as look like complete jackasses while using 12 gallons of gas to just parallel park this monster.

The Detroit News Autos Insider: Converted Military Truck Billed As Bigger, Badder Than a Hummer

Public Bathroom Handicapped Stalls

Question:

Does anyone else think so highly of the large handicapped stalls in bathrooms, or is it just me?

Seriously, if I have to use a public bathroom for purposes other than those allowed at urinals or sinks (and this is usually rare), I always go for the handicapped stall. It's like having your own little apartment in the bathroom. You can hang your coat up, stretch out your legs, maybe even do a little reading if people have left verbose graffiti.

Compared to the luxury of the handicapped stall, regular stalls seem so cramped and restricted. Sometimes the toilet paper dispenser is too close to my knees or the door is too close to the actual toilet seat. I get claustrophobic in there. And for some reason they always seem dirtier than their handicapped companions.

My one worry, however, is that one day I'll be enjoying the spaciousness of the handicapped stall, just relaxing in the breadth of my little apartment, and suddenly a handicapped person who needs that stall will come into the bathroom and be mad at me for using it. I get nervous about that, and sometimes it makes me cut short an otherwise enjoyable time in my little apartment so as to avoid such a situation.

I mean, you never know. The next person in the door could be in a wheel chair and might have to go really bad.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Teen Lingo Dictionary

I stumbled on this while writing dialogue and I ended up reading the entire dictionary. It's a made-for-parents guide to "today's teen slang", and it's one of the more entertaining things I've seen in a while.

Just read it imagining your old high school principal or grandparent speaking the definitions aloud.

Teen Lingo Dictionary

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

24: Jack Bower Talks Exposition

It used to be that the character of M in Bond films was the most hilariously one-dimensional source of plot exposition in film. What was going on and why? M would tell us.

Last night on 24, Jack Bower thankfully explained to a curious public just how it came to be that Tony was left by Michelle after he got out of prison. And he did it in the most blatant way possible.

Tony is 10 feet away looking for some "software" and then...

AUDREY: Tony went to prison because he saved Michelle's life, and she paid him back by leaving him?

JACK: That's how Tony sees it too. It didn't happen exactly like that. Tony got out of prison and he was angry. He couldn't get a job, and personally I don't think he wanted one. He started drinking. He pushed her away.

And there you have it. Classic 24. They'll spend half of each episode on the regular "personal crisis story" (Kim Bower's kidnapping, Mason's son, Chase and Kim, Driscoll's daughter), but will then condense character information down to the most formulaic and anecdotal way possible.

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Monday, February 07, 2005

4-year-old Drives To Video Store

Possibly inspired by the lack of good television on during the day, a 4-year-old boy drove his mother's car to a video store a 1/4 mile from their apartment in Michigan.

I mean seriously, if you watch TV during the day it's either soaps, 24-hour cable news, or that gay-ass talking homo-sponge. The poor kid probably just wanted to rent Sopranos Season 4 for crying out loud. Maybe now his mom will splurge for HBO.

FOX: Boy, 4, Drives to Video Store

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Superbowl Wrap-up

The first thing I thought after hugging and high fiving all my buddies following the Pats' final interception last night was, "How messed up is it that this could be considered the least exciting of the three Pats Superbowl wins I've watched in the last four years?"

The game was tied through the third quarter, and the Pats (once again) won by a total of three points. I guess if the ball isn't sailing through the uprights as the clock hits zero, a third Superbowl win just doesn't have the same drama.

And then I realized: This is what Yankee fans feel like.

And then I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

But seriously, it was a strange anti-climax to watch my team win again last night. Mainly because we were all expecting it. And granted, we were expecting a win last year too, but the general feeling around the game last year was that the Pats were still the underdog (though how that happened, I have absolutely no idea.) After the interception last night, after the hugs and high fives, after Brady took a knee to end the game, we all just sat there with smiles on our faces.

There was no wild celebration, no accidental destruction of barware or furniture. There wasn't even an adrenaline-filled romp through mobbed downtown streets.

I guess another heart-pounding win and would have been just a little too much for the fans here. I mean, we are ALL still recovering from the Sox victories in a thrilling ALCS and a long awaited World Series. We've run around on the streets of this city in a drunken (but mostly well-behaved) frenzy THREE TIMES in the last four years. It takes a lot out of you. We just didn't have anything left after the game last night to go crazy for a fourth time.

This is the point in the post where all fans still waiting for a championship in baseball of football can say aloud, "fuck you!" And that's fine. But I cringed last night when my buddies and I said aloud that this must be what Yankee fans feel like.

My first instinct is to defend my team -- to say that this team is still a lot like the '96 Yankees (which, it kills me to say, was an admirable group of players), rather than the Yankees of today. There are no true superstars on the team, there are only great players with heart. There are certainly no egos on this Patriots team, and I think most anyone can agree that in this day and age, that is something rare and special.

But I'm not going to pretend that the rest of the football world isn't going to start hating the Pats. That is, if they don't already. They are winners. They are a Dynasty. People hate these kind of teams because they do what others can't. And I guess I just have to accept that.

I didn't sprint through the city last night and I didn't have a drink for the entire game. I didn't have a heart attack as it ended, and I didn't lose my mind when it did. But I sure as hell enjoyed it. The day I don't enjoy something like this, there is something terribly wrong.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Banned Bud Light and Puritanical Superbowl XXXIX

Rear Window Ethics

By now you must know about this, but apparently after the uproar from the FCC and the Parents Television Council concerning last year's halftime show as well as this year's pre-game interracial skit starring Terrell Owens, Superbowl XXXIX is gearing up to be blander than a vat of imitation gruel.

In an era when you can't even trust a cartoon sponge to teach our children homophobia, it's good to know that someone is looking out for the well-being of families everywhere. In a game like football, which embodies true family values we cherish like violence, ogling women, gambling and commercialism, we cannot stand for the debauchery that was last year's halftime show.

Wait a minute. Football, violence, ogling women, gambling and commercials. That reads like my Christmas wish list back in December. And they're trying to take it out of my TV! Bastards!

This year several commercials have been banned from the air due to questionable content. One involved Mickey Rooney's naked 84-year-old ass, which I think was actually a good decision given the fact that I'll be eating food while watching the game. Another, however, was banned simply for making fun of last year's halftime show foul-up. That's right. We will NEVER talk of it again! We can never mention it or even joke about it! It was so outrageously indecent that we have some Orwellian thugs deleting its existence from history as you read this.

Try to remember! Try!

It's a very clever ad, very clean, with no nudity, swearing, flatulence or old men trying to get erections. Here it is:

VIDEO

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Virginia 'Traditional Marriage' License Plates

Ah state and local government. A chance for elected officials to make a difference by circumventing the mindless bureaucracy that is Washington D.C. in order to best understand and serve their constituents, as well as to fulfill their specific and pressing needs on a more personal level.

Needs like special license plates.

In the past I've often poked fun at political bumper stickers and magnetic ribbons for their paltry attempts at persuasion, as well as for their innate impermanence. Well it seems someone out there was listening. Finally Americans can start screwing their political beliefs right onto their car.

Over the last few weeks, Virginia's House of Delegates have worked tirelessly to endorse special state license plates that would include the capital-letter words "TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE". as well as a symbol of two interlocked wedding bands over a red heart. They claim the plates will "show children that 'traditional marriage is fundamental.'"

Of course there are some that object to the concept and worry about possible law suits, arguing that the plates express "an unconstitutional support for union in a public forum represented by state-issued plates." Those people are seditious and un-American.

In the spirit of this admirable usage of tax dollars and legislative time commitment, I urge those brave men and women on the floor of the Commonwealth's Capital to think larger and reach higher. Why eat hamburger when you can have steak? Try this example I made on for size:

Rear Window Ethics

Richmond Times-Dispatch: No Harmony On Marriage Plates

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Abstinence Program Has No Effect in Texas Study

Rear Window Ethics
Sure, they look united in their cause, but don't tell me some of them didn't hook up on their little field trip to D.C.

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Abstinence-only sex education programs, a major plank in President Bushs education plan, have had no impact on teenagers' behavior in his home state of Texas, according to a new study.

Despite taking courses emphasizing abstinence-only themes, teenagers in 29 high schools became increasingly sexually active, mirroring the overall state trends, according to the study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University.

"We didn't see any strong indications that these programs were having an impact in the direction desired," said Dr. Buzz Pruitt, who directed the study.

The federal government is expected to spend about $130 million to fund programs advocating abstinence in 2005, despite a lack of evidence that they work, Pruitt said.

I'm not going to go off on a tangent about how it shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that abstinence-only sex education, and more importantly the deliberate omission of possible contraceptive methods in these textbooks and classrooms, only furthers the propagation of teenage pregnancies as well as the spread of HIV and other diseases.

I'm not going to spout out seething words about the inevitability of teenage sexual activity in this day and age, even in the face of many mistruths spread in abstinence-only education.

I'm not going to get frustrated over certain powerful people's direct disregard for proven methods of preventing both teen pregnancy and the spread of lethal disease in the youth of this nation.

I'm not going to do these things because I've pretty much already done them before:

12/2/04 Abstinence! Abstinence! (and misinformation...)
1/23/05 Pope: No Condoms!

Full Reuters Article

(Thanks to Isaac for the article)

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