Thursday, April 29, 2010

High Society

High Society is on TV in glorious High Definition as I mill about on my day off at home. Grace Kelly.

Immigration, Summed Up

"We have to get real about the 12 million undocumented here," the mayor said. "We're not going to deport them. Give them permanent status. Don't make them citizens unless they can qualify, but give them permanent status and let's get on with this."

- Mayor Bloomberg

1. 12 Million: This is the commonly held number, at least it was in 2005.
2. Undocumented: Never understood that word. It is another word for estimate to me.
3. Deport: We've done it a few times in our history (on a large scale). Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s and Operation Wetback in 1954. Both were done at a very high cost but both were weighed by a cost v benefit structure to help the US economy. Should we do it again or not isn't even in the conversation. We can't do it. Too expensive now and it is an unachievable goal were it to happen.
4. Permanent Status: A tricky thing. The US has pretty friendly laws (globally speaking) on this topic. As well we should. This is America. The issue isn't with those who seek Permanent Status. It's there for those that want it. It's with those who do not that seem to be seeking it... that is what is hanging us up.

I guess the question to the Mayor would be "what if folks do not qualify?" He is sort of talking out of both sides of his mouth. It's a challenging topic. I understand our leaders not talking about or tackling the real problem, but for that sentiment to trickle down to law makes things very confusing. Not only confusing just to make comment on the topic but for those looking to become Americans and for those enforcing the law. The way it is now is almost akin to someone coming into the country and having diplomatic immunity.

I have two examples here: first: in NC a (Mexican) co-worker getting in a car accident with an "undocumented". In this case the officers on the scene didn't charge anyone in the wreck and sent both parties on there way. The "undocumented" had no insurance and my co-worker was left with the repairs, higher rate, and a nasty back ache. second: a co-worker was burglarized by an undocumented persons. The burglar was held for a night but then sent back to their last residence (which was in Texas) the next day. I'm not a lawyer, but both cases where handled the same as if the undocumented were a kind of diplomat. Right or wrong, no parties involved really knew what to do. The co-workers didn't know how to go about things, the police didn't know either.

No one, from our leaders to our law enforcement to a farmer hiring extra hands, is really sure what is actually legal and we are hurting from any formalized process.

I see that Arizona is trying to remedy the situation by creating law that is simpler to understand in regards to how to handle illegal aliens. It is a bold move. But again! Right or wrong, at least it is clearer then mud.

It's not enough to be reactionary and say "THAT'S JUST WRONG MAN!" It provides no more clarity on the situation to be reactionary and feelings don't remedy a problem.

Say, for example: if the company you work for were to not have a scheduled lunch time. You, being the busy body, can't seem to get lunch at the same time every day. Now one day your boss get mad at you for taking a lunch at 2pm. You get pissed. Nobody said lunch was at a specific time (you think to yourself). The next day you take it at 11am. You get reprimanded again. You wonder what for, no rule was in place. You're frustrated and the boss is frustrated. Now... the very next day there is a posted rule: LUNCH IS AT 12PM TO 1230PM. What happens? A reaction of "THAT'S JUST WRONG MAN!"

I don't know... really simplistic bad example but our immigration challenges seem to be sort of like that.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Milwaukee

Bango strikes! Now, I've been to more then a few professional sporting events, but never have I seen a mascot get the crowd going like this.
I like how he just throws a ball up into the stands at the end. Dated: Sometime during a dark and chilly Milwaukee night. Only in America. I love America.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Game Rankings

Take a look see at what I've been putting together. It started about three years ago and I've been working on it off and on since then. It's still in the beginning stages as I intend to turn it into a catalog of all my games (reviewed or not).

I haven't gotten to my Genesis, Saturn, Dreamcast or NES collections yet, although I have a few of those games reviewed. I've updated the list on the right with scores on games. Again, I've said this before and I'll say it again, a score is just a number. Most reviews or game editorials I like best don't even use a score or a letter or grade or fancy "4 hatchet kills out of 5!" jokes. It is a way of managing my collection. I am a closet collector so I gots to have something. Besides, it's fun for me.

I've developed a Monty Python type of system the keeps me in check. The reason for this has to do with having to deal with enough Six Sigma/Kaisen/SIPOC/Lean at work to drive a man mad. I am straying from my traditional 5 point system a bit too. Handing out up to 10 pts for Historical Significance and xFactor. Both of those, it should be noted, are just for me to separate some of my favorite games from the rest of the pack. I do keep a technical type score that eliminates Package Design, Package Art, and the two things I just mentioned. That is still on a 5 pt scale.

A couple more notes on my list. I have to own the game to review it with the only exception being games I played in an arcade in the past. Those get a well deserved pass.

Here are the categories I use. This is Core Gameplay. 5 pt scale (5 is best):

In Game Design
In Game Artwork
Emotional Impact

After that I've added (5 pt scale):

Package Design
Package Art

Finally, my 10 pt scale items are:

Historical Significance

Those two are very abstract. Significance is it's place in the overall realm of Video games and what it means to me. xFactor is just, well, is it fun. A good example here may be Tomb Raider Legend. It means pretty much nothing in the cannon of video games or to me, but it was pretty fun.

This gives a game the opportunity to score a maximum of 75 pts. or an average of 5.77 on all cats. For my list on the right it is simply the games point total / 75. I also keep track of a Core Gameplay average which is just the game itself. That eliminates the advantages of some special packaging. In the future I guess core gameplay will be the only score, maybe it is now. But to a collector trying to think about anything but work the packaging is a big part of the experience. Just like a vinyl record compared to a downloaded iTunes song.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I feel compelled to say the Tim Tebow will go to the San Fransisco 49ers. Either at 13 or 17. Just saying.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh Boy, GM

Paying back their loans from the Federal Government. I like it. But, really, doesn't the Fed own a chunk of GM? It's sort of like paying themselves in a way. But! I'm pulling for them. Last night, and get ready for pathetic-ness. I pulled GM's revenue vs profit from 1955 through 2010. Man... It was like clockwork. GM is truly the best run company of the 20th century. Maybe I'll post my simpleton findings here soon, but till then, take my word for it. The gravity of GM falling out of the top 10 Fortune 500 really hits you when you spent the better part of an evening running through adjusted revenues and profits. The people affected, our history, the power, the responsibility... Robert Smith.

Build her back up GM.

Ebert going after video games again

This time longer winded and responding to one person. HERE.

I agree and disagree. I won't get into it again. I've posted my thoughts before. I went back and re-read what I had written and I still feel the same way. To me video games are as much art, as a whole, as movies. I will never compare games to paintings, or even sculpture. But I will defend them against any movie. Movies are further along. But after thinking about art as a lasting window into our human soul I cannot defend or explain where video games fall into that. Nor movies. Most of these two mediums are there but for mostly the now. Both, unfortunately, are in a degradable medium. Both advance humanity, good or bad. But the lasting effects of culture are not found in such things. They are found, at least over hundreds or thousands of years, in a lasting medium.

If games and movies are found to stand the test of a thousand years, then, yes my friends, both can be considered art.

Ugh, only time will tell. Will we hold up film or electronic media in the same way we would a Caravaggio? Is art in a genius of one, not many? I guess if I were to answer that then I could have a doctorate.

But perhaps one could look past that. One could look to what one concerns themselves with. The finality of death. The everlasting life of Christ and his resurrection. No, not an alter call here. No music is softly playing in the background. Just a question of what matters betwixt. What gets us there, what we ponder, where we wind up. If all is consumed and shat out, what remains? What will others find to be the cornerstones or our existence, of our time.

Is life just a continuation. A continuation of time through what is now and what will be. Maybe through ultimate creation we have the answer, or at least in part. Creation through life. Through children. Maybe it is somewhere in there. Just maybe. I wish I could answer that, but I cannot.

Ask a father. I think they know the answer to that. I'll reiterate what I said in my other post; Art is creation. No need to look deeper into it then that.

I'm talking to you - Mr. Ebert.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 14, 1906

Market Street in San Francisco.

A pulled comment on the video:
"What's really great about a piece of analog film like this is that after all this time we can still pull an image from it. The story is told of a fellow going into a farmer's greenhouse and noticing the glass panes were actually 8x10 civil war negatives shot in 1865 by Matthew Brady. Prints could still be made from them.

Not so with our newfangled video and digital formats.

Ever heard of the Panasonic M 1/2" professional video format? No? The entire early history of the B-2 bomber was shot on that format. Hundreds of hours of development, manufacturing and flight test. Good luck finding a player that will allow you to see what's on that tape even today, just 25 years later, much less a hundred years hence. It is lost, even though the tapes are safely stored for the time being until someone says, "We need the space. Throw it out."

And if you say, "Well, just transfer it to a newer format..." think again. There is no one willing to pay for it.

Then there's 3/4" video format; other formats like 1/2" Betacam; 1" and 2" video. And the tape itself is falling apart because the emulsion binder is failing. Unless it's digitized, and even at that stored on a playable format, it's all lost.

I thought I had captured my resume forever when, in 1983, I typed it into an Apple II word processor and saved it onto a 5-1/4" floppy. By the time I wanted to update it, both the computer and the program I wrote it in were gone. Some precious stuff is on the hard drive of my Mac Plus in the garage...if it can even boot. Some digital "history."

They say the web is forever, but servers crash, hard drives fail. YouTube is cool for the moment and seems like it's forever, but will everything we see on it today be there even next year, much less in 104 years? Hardly.

Meanwhile, last week I was asked to pull 13,000 feet of original 16mm film that had sat untouched in our vaults since 1965 and estimate what it would take to transfer it to video so the government could study it.

It's 45 years old and still viable...and viewable. I doubt 104 years from now much of anything we see today will be around.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Let us get Sam Fisher Straight

Now, I'm a video game player. I don't consider myself a hardcore gamer that plays Warcraft for endless hours. In fact, I don't consider that type of player a game player. It's more like a social networking thing. Similar to Facebook or even Second Life. The Sims may fall in there, but I consider that a game. Like some folks out there I like to buy into some hype. I have favorite games and even series of games. One of those may be Tom Clancy branded games.

I've played many a Ghost Recon (all of them I think), plenty of Rainbow Six (Rouge Spear, Vegas 1 and 2) and a bunch of Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory. I'd challenge most anyone to say they have actually played that many. Sure they have heard of them... but I mean PLAYED them.

I'm somewhere near the tail end of Splinter Cell Conviction. At least I think it must be. From what I have read the game only takes 7 hours to complete... or is it 6, or even 5. There seems to be some confusion on that in the shaky Video Game Media. I say that because I'm not sure the game has actually been played by many of the reviewers of the game.

I try to refrain from reading much about the game before it comes out. After I get it though, I enjoy reading a few review on it. I like to find out if I'm having the same experience as others. Having said that, I'm kinda frustrated. There are not many reviews out there where I feel like the reviewer has played the game. They touch on the main points like; "It's a different game, Fisher is out of Third Echelon". Yes, he is, but for goodness sake, to harp on how this game ventures off the tried and true Splinter Cell formula is completely false. It seems like every review starts there and ends there with lots of fluff (from a couple hours of gameplay) in between. Sometimes it seems the reviewer may even be only playing the demo.

I'm here to say this, make no mistake, this is a Splinter Cell game. It even expands upon the trade mark goggles.

All that said, let me talk about the game for a second. The look and feel of the game is very Chaos Theory. Albeit, maybe not as well done in set pieces. Chaos was cutting edge on the Xbox in terms of graphics and stealth gameplay. Conviction is not cutting edge on the 360. They remove a lot of the gadgets at the start and the graphics are run of the mill Rainbow Six Vegas stuff. But it is fun. It looks like a SC game, it feels like one, it plays like one. Even one, dare I say it, of OLD. Trip a camera... game over. If that isn't old school SC gaming I don't know what is.

Another thing that burns me is the references to the TV show 24 in reviews, yeah, I've seen a few episodes. But for the sake of Pete, Sam Was around before that dumb show. If anything, 24 is like SC. I have yet to find a reviewer that looks at it that way. We'll chalk that up to playing games longer then most.

Okay, I got back on the reviews of games... Back to Conviction. It has a new mark type system that I don't find myself using that much, but like when it is there. Doesn't ruin anything. The screen turns to black and white when in the shadows and places a type of ghost image when you are spotted. Both good improvements. The BW shots are bold and a kind of thing I'm impressed with. It sort of says that it isn't interested in showing off a kind of awesome graphical show that maybe some other games try to hard to do. It's a bold thing to do to turn everyones expensive 50" HD screen to BW. I like it because it is about gameplay. I could have gone for better visuals, but they seemingly went with what was working in other Ubisoft Tom Clancy games. Not spectacular, but still serviceable.

The game has a very non-SC scene early in the game set in Iraq. It is a type of Ghost Recon / Modern Warfare moment that it actually treats very well. I found myself liking the mechanics of it better then MW2. The cover system is solid.

Another thing worth mentioning here is the very long development time with this game. Something like four years. I remember seeing early shots of Sam with shaggy hair and animation demos with him using objects around him as tools. None of that is there. That must be a game that the suits at Ubi killed. A sort of Assassins Creed version that didn't come to fruition. I have not doubt that the power struggle between that game and the one that came out was the reason for the delay. I even have a friend request from a Ubisoft employee on Facebook to prove it. About a year or so back one of the employees read a review I made on this very, non-read, blog. I think she was hopeful that a fan may stick with the franchise. I don't know. Nice lady from England I think. Needless to say, all the shaggy haired Sam pics you see of the game are, well, from a game that wasn't released.

So if there is a story here, it's this. Conviction is a game that was going to be something completely different but turned out to be very much the right kind of Splinter Cell game. Game Over alarm fails, cool new sonar goggles and all.

Only complaint... not enough funny Ironside back and forth quips with his handler. Enjoy this Clancy game for what it is, because maybe the next go round we might just get a reloaded/revamped/prequel/re-imagining of the story.

Curbside Columbus: 1929 Mercedes Gazelle

At least I think it is a 1929 Gazelle. I've discovered getting into pre-war cars is difficult and dicey. I couldn't get in close to this vehicle here in town. There are a few distinguishing features throwing me for a loop.

1. The windshield. It looks to be separated in to two sheets of class. The SSK and Gazelle's from that year I find online don't have that.

2. The rear view mirror. Shape is slightly different then the models I've seen.

3. The strap near the left tail light. Just slightly different.

There isn't much doubt that it is a replica, but even replica's of this model go for over $15k. It's important to note that this was found on the Brewery District side of German Village near downtown Columbus. An area settled by Germans and still largely populated by people's of German descent. I have a feeling that there are more gems like this one tucked away in many garages in the area.

Friday, April 16, 2010

the 48-Hour Game

I'm stealing this from Dubious Quality, who posted it as a link to It is a competition held at the University of Michigan put on my Sid Meier and his son, Ryan. It's calm, peaceful and pretty cool. Sid Meier is the man.

Here is the link.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UM Cops

This video was taken after a University of Maryland victory over Duke last month. The students were celebrating the win. In the video it appears that one student meanders up to a mounted officer and taunts him. Other officers jump in and beat the hell out of him.

Come to find out a few officers are being suspended. I'm not sure how a feel about that. It's excessive force to be sure. Maybe I just don't like horses spooked. Note to self, don't spook a cop on a horse.

It's no secret that a good percentage UM students are, well... jerks. So I'm conflicted on the right and wrong here. I would have been happy if a kid from a technical school or even NOVA beat him when he was acting like that, but it's is pretty scary when a police officer does.

The press is doing their thing (in this case WTOP) by stating: "Suddenly, three officers in riot gear run toward him, slam him into a wall and beat him with batons. In the video, the beating appears unprovoked."

The Prince George's County police are doing their thing by stating: "Everybody on the scene that night is under review right now."

What I don't particularly like is the writer of the article saying it appears unprovoked. Huh? What?!

Here's what it should say: "Drunk spoiled white kid taunts cops, gets beat."

Here's what the PG police department should say: "Drunk spoiled white kid taunts cops, gets beat. Don't taunt the cops."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cartman Gets Probed

Just a quick note of a memory nearly lost. A South Park episode came on TV tonight from 1997. Thirteen years ago. I remember going over to Chris Saich's double wide trailer in college to watch this new show with a small crowd. Come to find out later that this was a practice followed all across the country in colleges, but in the quasi pre internet age, we didn't know. It was just something different, funny and new. Quasi-Pre-Internet. Can I copyright that? Anyway, a nice treat. I hadn't seen that episode or much of any South Park really since that summer 13 years.

"no kitty, neeeOH!"

It's interesting that now I see an ad for the 200th episode. Wow, Matt and Trey stuck with it. Hats off to them. And hats off to Baseketball.

Did I just say that? Yes I did. South Park was different at the time. Many copycats later, it's still here. I have to say, while I'm sure something else will come along that gets college kids together at 10pm on a Wednesday night, you can't really deny that South Park really did something creatively remarkable.

I have sort of held Matt Stone and Trey Parker up as a very creative team. The play with everything. Vulgar, yes. Smart and thinking? I think so. Parker has one of my favorite quotes I've ever read:

"Basically ... out of all the ridiculous religion stories which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous — the silliest one I've ever heard is, 'Yeah ... there's this big giant universe and it's expanding, it's all gonna collapse on itself and we're all just here just 'cause ... just 'cause'. That, to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever."

It reminds me of a great book I read a few years ago that is worth checking out: What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty

Good stuff. And well done Matt Stone and Trey Parker. 200 episodes of cartoon vulgarity and with that has yet to be matched. An endurance run that I respect.

"I know a certain kitty that's sleeping with mommy tonight."


Monday, April 12, 2010

Pictures that won't get the time, but deserve it

Collection of images that I have found around but won't get to write about. It's Oldsmobiles.
This one reminds me of Jurassic Park. See them while they are still around kinda thing, cause they will not be around for much longer.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Over the Hurdle

I made it over the PC hurdle. That is, I actually brought myself to put something together using, what is it again? Ah, Windows Movie Maker. You know, the one that a little girl uses in a commercial.

After my iMac HD went XXX on me, I got scared. Real scared. But now, it's coming back to me... only on Windows. Yeah, I'll probably go back to an Apple product at some point, but I'm having a just dandy of a time with my PC.

Movie Maker is very similar to iMovie, which makes it familiar. I can say that I don't have any little movies on youtube that were cut on iMovie, but I did use it from time to time. Ideas maybe? Not sure why I never completed anything on it. It was simple though and Movie Maker is the same way. Good enough for me for now.

So what was the hurdle you ask? Music. I was having a hard time with it. iTunes no likey conversions to Movie Maker. Figuring out a way around it was cumbersome (or illegal). However, I have come across something that is easy to use - thanks to a free Saturday. Amen to that. I can now convert just about any video file or audio file anyway I want it. In fact, I may have more freedom now then I did. A dangerous statement.

So where am I at? Muse, muse, muse. I'm finding it around more recently. Sometimes it's a curse. Like way (way) back when I painted. It would just hit me and I would drive it into the ground. When it is hitting me things get strange. Everything I look at turns into an idea for what I want to do with it. A song, a time of day, a line on a body, a shadow, the song Tomorrow by the Whalewatchers.

Sometimes it leads to good... sometimes bad... but always leads to something.

Hello my friend - beautiful, beautiful lines created by light and shadow, where have you been?

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Sports Contrarian

This is me I suppose. The contrarian often does not know that he is one. Perhaps he/she will argue that they are/aren't one. Over the past couple weeks I've been thinking about it when a topic comes up. Do I not agree because someone else does? Am I in a good mood because someone is in a bad one? It doesn't happen often, but with recently, with certain things, I really find myself in the minority. Here are a few (sorry for the sports stuff for non sports fans):

1. Instant replay. I can't stand it in baseball. I don't think it has any business being there. Baseball is the most humanistic of all big sports. Players use to call there own outs for goodness sake. I'd even like to go back to that. "Runner! Are you out!?" Replay is more palatable in tackle football, but I could do without it there too.

1a. Commercials between the top and bottom of an inning. Baseball again. Recently an umpire called out the Yankees and Red Sox for taking too long to finish a game. Everything I read came out condemning the ump. But I applaud him. Shorten the games man!

3. Larger College Basketball tournament field. I'm for this. Open it up, I say. It's only one more game (if a field of 128). It's like folks can't do math. Hey jerk heads, half the teams are eliminated each round. JEEZE. It fires me up. And can't any of them see that 3/4th of the bracket is filled with tournament winners and top 25 teams? Let more get a shot. Why the hell not, there are over 300 division I schools. Makes the regular conference season more important.

2a. Fouls in college basketball. All this ref arguing. I'll make it easy for all you dummies out there in sports broadcasting world (and the Big East Conference); If a player has the ball and there is contact? It's a damn foul. When the ball is not in possession let everyone pound each other. But around a ball in possession? CONTACT = FOUL. (lesson over). Start calling this and you will see more fluid games or more foul outs, which would heal the aliment that is the last 2 minutes of any game (un-watchable).

2b. Bold one here. Move it to NBA line or eliminate it.

2c. Get rid of TV time outs.

4. Casinos in Ohio. It's a kind of sport. I lost on this one. The vote went through even though voters in Columbus shot it down by a wide margin. Didn't matter. A casino is coming to the largest college town in the nation. Send them kids to OSU parents!!!

5. NFL quarterback protection. Let them get hit. Puts more focus on the running game. Do you want Payton Manning throwing all game if it increases the chance of his head getting ripped off? I think not.

Anyway, I have more but I'll stop there because those are the big ones that seem to pop up most often... and I now have a headache.

Car Comment of the Week:

Over at TTAC, FleetofWheel said:

"It’d be great to order a car off the web site straight from the mfg.
Just click through the wizard to pick color, engine, options. Test drives would be done for a small fee from demonstration lots or rental car companies. Say $15 for a 15 minute test drive. That would keep joy riders away. For those who still want hand-holding, they could choose pay a consultation fee or hire an independent buyer’s agent which already exist. Service would be at any of the thousands of auto care shops just like now. Get financing from your own bank, credit union or the car mfg when you are completing the on-line application.

Such a system would allow well informed car people like those here TTAC to not pay for services we don’t need or like."


Part of me hates the idea of buying a new car online. The feeling of pulling off the lot at the time of sale I guess. Never done it, but I'm sure it's grand. But I've mentioned it before (my "I Believe" GM speech); it can be done. More importantly, for most auto manufacturers, it probably MUST be done.

Inventories are bad. New car dealerships are bad. Loosely put together supply chain of manufacturers are bad. They seem to build for inventory and not customers. Having the customer buy directly lines up your manufacturing facilities and processes. It puts down pressure on them which, in turn, forces them to evolve and improve.

So many options here... Have large national facilities put car on frame, doors and maybe shocks, tranny in car. Have regional ones finish it up. Engine, paint color wheels. Deliver to customer or local drop of dealer.

This could all be done to order. Or if a car is selling well, first part of process done and wait for a new customer to choose engine and paint.

I get all excited about this because it can't cost much to stamp metal or fiberglass out. I mean... open up retro models of cars. Can you imagine the catalog the GM could pull from???? They could set up facilities to produce different car lines for each year. For example say, GM could plan to offer- in 2018- the 3rd Generation Camaro body style will be available with SHO EcoBoost Twin Turbo V6 or how about a modern modified LB9 TPI. How amazing would it be to be able to go to the GM website and pick 1953 El Dorado that's being offered in 2014 year.

Of course it wouldn't be the "same" car that it was, it'd have to meet safety regulations, fuel economy... but honestly, the basic principals and parts of the automobile, in the past 100 years has changed very little and sadly, the way they are manufactured and purchased hasn't changed much either... Man... can you imagine...

Americans would truly be choosing their identity. What would our roads look like? Would it still be new shoe boxes or jelly beans? Would it be '50s styling? Would it be land barges from the 70s? Minivans from the early 90s? It raises a lot of questions on what would happen. How to market such a pipe dream. Are people too use to just buying a new design? How many retro models to offer a year?

Wood paneled station wagons?

One thing is for certain; It CAN be done. Why? because it's an idea. And this is America goddammit. You got those two things and anything can be done. Or have we forgotten that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Virginia: Confederate History Month

I guess this is April? The almighty Washington Post informs me that it is so. I have to admit, they really can write a headline. It got me. Anyway, I read the article and the official document that the governors office released. Oh boy, was the article begging for a backlash. Well, they got what they wanted; that is to make sure their readers are in lock step with them.

Damn that paper to hell, and damn it's readers (wait a second... I read it).

I don't know if I can really consider myself a "Virginian". I'd like to, but other Virginians may take offense. I'm proud of the fact I grew up there, but my family has deeper historical ties to other places. I can say that if I did have deep rooted ties there, the comments posted about the article would be a call to arms. It's baiting. It's sick.

As far as calling out "Confederate History Month"? Well, I'm still thinking about that. I mean... Virginia WAS the Confederacy. In a way it is belittling things a bit. "Hey, lets give it a month, think about that!" Or, I guess in this case, bring back the month that was there.

There are many monuments and statues in Virginia celebrating the South now. I'm happy they are there. But, it was what it was. None of us were there and I can safely say that the education I got on the South and the Civil War in school was completely wrong.

The Confederacy does not need to me relegated to a stinking month on the calendar like these other history or awareness months. Instead, her history should be remembered, her traditions continued - and her fallen - we should grieve for.

How about we just keep April as the month that Spring starts back up. I like that idea.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Good Girl

Man, I forgot about this one. I caught it on MGMHD the other night and here I am, just like I was with the Way of the Gun, thinking about it. Again, I remember liking it, but not as much as I do now.

It has a good cast with John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zooey Deschanel, Tim Blake Nelson, and yes Jennifer Aniston. The "and yes" is because I have a sad admission. I like Aniston. In a country where we chew up and spit out our female actors Aniston as had a lengthy career and even after a relationship with a mega male star and that TV show she continues on. I have to admit that I haven't seen (looking at her IMDB here) almost all of her movies. Save for Bruce Almighty and The Good Girl. But you know what? I like those movies. Although, Bruce gets a 'kinda like'.

The good girl is extremely dark. It went out of its way to be dark. It's darker then next Saturday's SYFY B movie premiere. It strives (maybe too hard) to be a real slice of life. Accents are bad, the location is clearly California when it should be Texas, but it works. I love what it is trying to do and Jennifer Aniston holds it together. The movie is a rough ride. Upon seeing it the first time I saw it as a novel way to look at American life. Something that looked at life and took it overboard... But I gotta tell ya, after what I've seen over the past five years... my opinion has changed on what I once though novel and even extreme.

You know, a lot of times you hear about actresses who come from nowhere but it never pans out. They usually DID come from somewhere (famous uncle or something) or they end up have a sex tape, playboy shoot, or the like. Ok, she does have a famous father... ahhh, I see the connection... John Aniston... Air-fing-wolf. It's all coming together for me now. Unfolding for you as I write!! Anyway. She has a quasi famous dad. So I'll move on... If she is guilty of anything, it is hanging around. For a female in the USofA, that is seen just as badly as the other things I've mentioned. Not for me.

Perhaps it has to do with the lack of movies I've seen her in, or the very little time I've spent watching a hollywood show in the evening or that I only saw a handful of sitcom episodes she was in... I don't know. I'm not being a snob here, trust me. I mean, Big Trouble in Little China is in my top movies list (post for another day). We Americans and especially those of my generation, do not have a Judy Dench or Helen Mirren. May I propose, that, when it is all said and done, that Aniston may be that for us. Time will judge the stupidity or foresight of that statement, I suppose.

Um... That said and credibility shot, The Good Girl is a nice movie. Aniston does an excellent job. I like her. There, I said it.

WAIT! I saw Leprechaun too.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


The opening credits of any 80s T.V. show just got the blood going. How could you not watch the entire show after viewing the first minute? Fast ride? Check. Sweet music? Guns? Beach? Girls? Check, check, check, check. How about pull-ups, a scuba fight, rolling out from beneath a Camaro?

Perhaps it was overload as to why these types openings disappeared. Too much awesomeness? Maybe, we, as a country changed. It's funny in hindsight to remember that the 80s seemed really sissified. Not too much sissy here though. I mean, three of them have dudes lighting up a cigar. Another had a bull for goodness sake.

In honor of the decade of excess I'm going to clog things up here with a bunch of videos. Enjoy!

Finally, the best. It's a slightly edited one, but the video is clear and I like the text being there. Personal note... Our Camaro named "Black Betty" was nearly "Bonnie Barstow". If you know that reference before watching this video, then my hats off to you pal.

Friday, April 2, 2010

More on Friday...

I was happy both my cars were on here (sort of). Jalopnik Topic: If your car was a drink what would it be?

Camaro = Jack and Coke. With more Jack then Coke.

Honda Accord LX (with slushbox & 2.3 litre 4) = Tap Water.

(wait a minute!! oh, whew, mine is a V6. So maybe tap water with ice.)

Friday Afternoon Off

From Jalopnik: "Today, manufacturers think luxury means heated and cooled seats, voice command and one-touch trunk closure. But Nice Price or Crack Pipe knows that true luxury means hidden headlights, landau roofs, and driving dynamics that are like a Nyquil-induced coma."

"My mom had one of these in a soft baby blue with white walls.. it was an epic car to be in, and actually pretty great to drive as well.

By far its best feature was the 7 - 8 inches of completely empty space between the radiator and the grille.. because y'know.. it just had to be bigger. So foolish and yet so awesome. :)"

"The upside to the asthmatic horsepower figure is that this mill makes something like 300lb-ft of torque, and is rated to tow 5000#."

"On the plus side, being Panther-based, it will probably ride forever, like the many Panthers of this vintage I still see rolling even in rust-infested New Jersey.

On the minus side, it will probably ride forever, until all of your driving senses are reduced to faint nerve impulses, like the road surface as communicated through its steering wheel."

"Don't think of it as a car. Think of it as an addition to your home, a plush and snuggly den/guest room. Or as a rare dinosaur that needs a good home."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Memory Remembered

I went to a handful of NC State basketball camps in my youth. A couple of them were when Jim Valvano was still coach there. Every so often I think of those weeks I spent playing hoops all day down there. I try to remember as much as I can about the speeches Valvano gave. I don't remember much. I do remember that he was a sort of rock star. When he made a visit to the gym it was a riot. Absolute riot. Everyone there cheered and cheered. I went to a lot of camps and not one player, coach or celebrity got the same response.

The memory that came back to me today was one of readiness. Valvano said that when you walk on the basketball court you should immediately be in an athletic position, ready to go. Cross that out of bounds line... knees bent, hands out. I was giving a safety talk today in front of my employees and it just came back. Just like that. I used it as an example of what to be like when you get on the production floor. Safety glasses on and ready to go.

Silly, yeah. But I don't want anyone hurt. It's a funny way to remember something nearly lost to time, I'm glad I did.