November 27, 2008

Macy's 2008

0844 - This site will, of course, provide live coverage of the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as presented on the National Broadcasting Company. Your correspondent is firmly ensconced in a comfy chair staring at David Gregory and a cast of unknowns playing with a kitchen set.

For comparison, the Columbia Broadcasting System has a segment with one of Billy Graham's daughters reading a prayer. Dear NBC: That's more appropriate than a Food Network yokel.

0901 - Well, it's Matt 'n Meredith, just like last year. At least they're on the parade route, not nestled in a set like Jane Pauley used to be.

And here's Roker with Robin Hall in a blue or purple suit; here we go!

0907 - Hooray, Kristin Chenoweth will be on later. Meanwhile, I'm not really impressed by the musical selection of this huge cheerleader group.

0911 - One wonders what "Kings 2009" is. Selma Blair fails to impress---nothing new there.

0913 - Interesting. In the Heights seems like one of those things where a neighborhood is destroyed and we're supposed to Celebrate Diversity, but who knows? Can't really understand this guy between the pseudo-rap delivery and his weird accent, so about the only thing I've gotten out of it is that he's an immigrant from the Dominican Republic.

0920 - Ryan Seacrest fails. Justin Bruening and modern Knight Rider? Bother, Roker complains about environmental correctness in regards to lunchboxes; I would have figured that a long-lived metal or plastic lunchbox would be preferable to a brown bag.

0922 - This looks like an interesting musical---I'll take the blond on the left. There was something about the now-vanquished era of the 1940s and the like that had an undeniable style and glamour, something this rotten century has lost. I watched this segment pretty closely, better than the bodega bit.

0925 - Blah, Harry Connick as the nuisance aloft. It could be worse. Robin Williams for St. Jude's is a good commercial. Meanwhile, Subaru's commercial annoys. Ooh, an Apple commercial that doesn't tell me anything about the operating qualities of the Macbook.

0928 - Michael Flatley, who's probably making more money standing there than I do in a year, is out of his element. Roker annoys and Flatley is wasted here. Meanwhile, South Pacific.

Yet another artifact from the 1940s, something that suggests a world that I'll never know. If we were at war in the South Pacific now, there'd be plenty of dames out there, and I am not reassured by that fact.

0934 - Good God, stores opening at 0400? Why?

0935 - This segment with Harry Connick, Jr., is not intolerable. It's really short and his joke is a bit (just a bit) flat. It's much better than Martin Short. I don't care about The Office. Scranton mattered for the Lackawanna, and that's been over for some time.

0938 - Apparently teen performers are up next. I'll pass. Time for boiled custard.

0943 - I appear to have missed New Jersey's own Ali Larter. Well, I'll manage. Disney's stage renditions of its animated musicals come well recommended, but this leaves me flat; The Little Mermaid isn't something that's ever had traction with me. Maybe I'm not into fish except as a consumable.

0947 - Thank God I don't have to consider purchasing Zwinky Cuties. Best commercial so far? AFLAC and Rankin-Bass. Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise commercial is annoying. Yay, Rockettes next.

0949 - Here's another artifact of a bygone era, one that's more attractive than our modern era. Dear current culture mavens: You fail. Of course, I'd tell Meredith Viera to quit her day job too. Talk about precision; apparently this sort of thing was done on a large scale back in the 1920s and 1930s. Great, the digital signal's gone crumbly again, so a row of sleek and elegant Rockettes isn't reliably visible.

0953 - Why is Ashton Kutcher shilling for Nikon? Meanwhile, the The Christmas Classics set might get bought. The Black & Decker ad is amusing. This State Farm ad is weird and the Amway Global ad bores me; nothing I have involves this. Ooh, more Rockettes. That's always a good thing.

0956 - These Soul Tigers fail to interest me. Hooray, the Pilgrims and the turkey!

0958 - The band from Sioux Falls is rather quiet relative to the Viera audio mix. Papa Smurf, Smurfette and some anonymous Smurf; amusing. Welcome to 1985 or so! This Ocean Spray float is nice; I like it. Here's James Taylor singing an appropriate song for the event.

1005 - Baton twirling is something I can't do; I'd probably hit myself in the head or the face. Meanwhile, The World War I Flying Ace, escorted by Uno, some prize-winning beagle. That's aviator cap, Meredith. Anyways, United Features Syndicate has another good balloon.

Hmm, the Georgia Tech band. Shouldn't that be reserved for high schools?

1009 - I wish nobody listened to you, Miss Cyrus.

1011 - The NYPD's Mounted Unit and marching band, hooray. I suppose that's an ancient tradition, again something that wouldn't come up today.

1016 - Oops, I missed the Hawaiian dancers. Life continues. The signal keeps freezing, so all I know is that a rhinoceros has people on it with some R&B singer. Not impressed by "Shontelle".

1018 - The Nogales Noble Regiment does Bernstein, yawn. West Side Story should have ended with a police crackdown on the gangs, not some schmaltzy death sequence for young lovers separated by gang loyalties.

Can we deport Dora the Explorer? She's probably exploring the Rio Grande for better places to bring across more illegals.

1020 - Harajuku girls? No thanks; Japanese youth culture fails. Gwen Stefani can stay over there, so far as I'm concerned.

Hooray, the Energizer bunny. I think the drums are mixed in for NBC's tranmission. I think I'd threaten that annoying "He's gonna leave" kid with shooting Santa's sled down.

American Express ads fail---Gwyneth Paltrow in particular. She's in her element as Pepper Potts, and that's about it. I still want to see Sylvia, though.

1024 - The Heartbeats Jump Rope Team from Ohio looked like Southern Railway locomotives in black and (what appeared to be) gold trim. They're skilled and all, but really, a jump rope team? Now, it's Sesame Street and I've never heard of this "popular piano virtuoso". The white guy---Bob?---is starting to show age. I vaguely remember him.

1035 - Bother, service interruption. The Clique girls fail. I wish the producers of the parade would have focused on that street parade wagon. Hair should have stayed off Broadway and in the history books; so far as I'm concerned, it is irrelevant to our cultural pantheon except as an example of how far we've fallen.

1038 - Ronald McDonald has a shoe car; that's something new if I remember. I supose you can put a fiberglass body on anything.

1042 - The Ailey Academy piece doesn't impress me much, but then black spirituals have usually not resonated with me. I've never heard of Keith Haring; it appears that he died in 1990. Well.

The Hess float explanation is interrupted when the Haring float apparently nails the NBC booth; we have no video but Viera was startled. This bunch, PushPlay, fails. Meanwhile, Copiague High School seems to be Immigrant High; therefore it is uninteresting to this publication.

1048 - Idina Menzel sings; yay?. I wasn't aware that Wicked is the longest running Brodway show; I presumed that Cats, Les Miserables or something like that would have worn that honor. I might have missed something in the regular signal snags.

1050 - Who's David Archuleta?

1056 - Macy's gets rickrolled. At least the guy's having something of a career resurgence, but being stationed on a cartoon float is probably not what he had in mind. Rick Astley, I remember your career when it was new---at least he's got the professionalism to smile and laugh when that thing mentions rickrolling. Oh, and when the puppet talks about it as well.

more...

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January 09, 2008

Good Riddance

Per the AP, ex-CIA officer Philip Agee has died in Havana, Cuba, after a failed ulcer operation. For further details, do see Wikipedia.

As Unicron said a couple of years back: Proceed on your way to oblivion.

Tip of the ol' Wisconsin hat to Mark Krikorian.

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January 07, 2008

Jack Kemp, Snicker Snicker

Lawrence Kudlow gushes with regards to the endorsement of Senator J.S. McCain, III, by former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp. Sayeth Mr. Kudlow:

Jack Kemp’s endorsement of Sen. John McCain for president is both interesting and significant. Kemp was one of the founders of the Reagan supply-side tax-cutting movement. And of course, he’s been a prominent free-market advocate for economic-growth policies for several decades.

Mr. Kudlow takes six paragraphs, more or less, to talk about how great this is. Mark Levin, on the other hand, takes a pair of sentences to shoot it down.

Ha ha. Either of Secretary Kemp's Levin-specified positions are sufficient to turn my opinion against him, but oh well.

The one thing I've never really sat down and analyzed about the former Secretary is his apparently legendarily bad performance against Vice President Gore in 1996. I remember watching it, but I can't concur off-hand in the judgment of, well, everyone else. It has been twelve years, after all.

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January 04, 2008

Streamlines Shifts Its Stance

As far as repaints for Train Simulator go, Stream Lines has been one of the most restrictive payware companies out there. For whatever reason, they chose to ban the distribution of repaints on their models.

This is in stark contrast to Maple Leaf Tracks, which eagerly approved the distribution of repaints of its models, with an eye towards driving up sales of the base product. I have a friend who, while not really caring for modern Canadian National/Canadian Pacific routes, purchased MLT products to get access to the base models which wound up being repainted in NSR, CSXT, or other liveries. He is particularly fond of the SP/NS SD70M model as repainted for the Susquehanna, and regularly complains that a good F45 is not available.

The problem with the SLI policy was twofold: One, in that some people chose to ignore it and distribute repaints on the sly to their friends and two, some folks chose to continually show off their repaints of SLI models as if to say, "Look here what I have, and what you won't". One chap in particular took great pleasure in posting his SD70ACe repaints---such that I often wanted to tell him to knock it off, since he could only be in it for the self-aggrandizing adulation of the MSTS user base.

This all changed with the new year: SLI announced a change effective 01 JAN 2008, specifically allowing the creation and dissemination of repaints. This is a very good move in my opinion; not only does it restore them in my opinion, but it also makes me have a reason to look at their product catalog with renewed interest. (Set aside for the moment that I have no particular use for BN/ATSF/BNSF/UP merchandise.)

For an Eastern railroading fan, the SLI policy shift means that I can have

from this

If you're wondering, NS 2702 and CR 4106 are both EMD SD80MAC locomotives. The NSR currently has 17 of the 30 SD80MACs built on the roster, hauling coal and local traffic in Pennsylvania. CSX Transportation has the other 13 units doing various work on the Eastern end of the system.

I eagerly await the release of additional repaints to the model, and hopefully we'll wind up with all of the CR, NSR, and CSXT fleet in the near future. Want your own SLI SD80MAC? Get it here. If you're looking for the NSR repaints, NS 7202 and 7211 are available from Train-Sim.com as ns807202.zip and ns807211.zip respectively.

I'm told that the best sound configuration to use is the SD90MAC/43 provided with the MLT Rogers Pass route, with a Conrail-specific RS3L. Likewise, the SD90MAC/43 cab is reportedly the preferable arrangement.

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January 02, 2008

Dear Cadillac

I personally applaud the signing of Kate Walsh as your current pitchwoman for the Cadillac CTS sedan. It's certainly a better move than the "The Caddy that Zigs" line for the unlamented Catera.

That being said, your design studio failed. Like the proverbial poor marksman, you keep missing the target. If I had the income to consider a Cadillac sedan, I wouldn't. They're ugly, just like the entire Cadillac line has been for some time, and your continuing production of the Escalade is an affront to aesthetic design. If it can't go off-road, it's not a sport utility vehicle.

Anyways, the two ads in question:

To be totally honest, I'd listen to Kate Walsh read the phone book. I've never seen either of her ABC medical programs---and never will---but she's easily the best from either in terms of purely audio-visual appeal. Well, once you get past the fact that she is/was a smoker---either the lungs will go or the looks will, on an accelerated basis.

Kate asks, "[T]he real question is, when you turn your car on, does it return the favor?"

Even you and your voice couldn't get me to say 'yes' if the vehicle in question was a Cadillac of the current century. Bring me a vintage Allanté in mint condition and overhauled to acceptable performance standards, a finalized divorce, yourself, and we'll talk of favorite things and starting cars.

---

Addendum: I didn't know that the Catera line managed to snare Cindy Crawford to pitch for it. All that, and it still was an eyesore. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

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More Kudlow versus Huckabee

I hold no particular regard for either John Edwards or Mike Huckabee. The former is a slimeball and the latter is a former Governor of Arkansas----the last one who was promoted to Pennsylvania Avenue was a disaster; thank you but no, Mr. Huckabee. That being said, Lawrence Kudlow writes at The Corner that,

Both are anti-business, anti-Wall Street, and anti-CEO. They would employ government regulation, and perhaps taxes, to work against free-market forces.

Both are anti-trade. Both are tax-and-spend. (Governor Huckabee has tried to inoculate himself against the tax charge with his Fair Tax national sales tax idea that would go nowhere in Washington.)

Oh darn. I am instantly reminded of what Ross Douthat said earlier in the week:

...many social conservatives don't give a tinker's dam what the Club for Growth thinks about Mike Huckabee's record.

Indeed. Why the animosity, you ask? Ross Douthat said it earlier in the piece:

[T]hat many tax-cutters and foreign-policy hawks, for instance, would happily screw over their Christian-Right allies to nominate Rudy Giuliani

I can't remember the last time I considered a CFG and/or Kudlow endorsement as a positive factor where any policy or candidate was concerned. They could largely care less about my particular issues, and the favor is returned.

---

N.B. I may yet be proven wrong about Huckabee. I am not, however, particularly expecting it.

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December 30, 2007

Speaking of the Pats

Someone at the Wikipedia is a sore loser:

Ha ha ha. It's been reverted, and I'd name the individual responsible for the vandalism if I was more certain of how to manipulate the revision history tool. In the meantime, woo hoo.

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December 29, 2007

Yee Haw

Congratulations to Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the rest of the New England Patriots organization.

Thanks for playing, Eli.

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December 03, 2007

OTB's 2008 Season Wishlist Response

(Note the lazy minimalist title of this post. We at TCP are very avant garde.)

So, Aaress over at On the Baseline has assembled a wish list for the coming WTA campaign. I'm nowhere near as well informed on the subject of tennis and will probably look amateurish, but I figured I'd compile something anyways:

1. A muzzle or something for Maria Sharapova. Seriously. I hold out faint hope that someone, somewhere, will lose it and scream something on the order of, "SHUT UP", with a few choice expletives thrown in for regional flavor.

One is sorely tempted to take that annoying dog/feather duster/whatever from the Canon PowerShot commercials and stuff it in her mouth. When one actively thinks about playing Virtua Tennis 3 on mute due to facing Sharapova in an upcoming match, well, there's a problem. And it's not me.

Bud Collins, not surprisingly, says it better.

2. The Third Coming of Martina Hingis. I can't say that I've ever sincerely cheered for the Swiss Miss on her own merit, but if memory serves, she was an original thorn-in-the-side of the Williams sisters. That's got to be worth something, and she's not a bipedal artillery piece. Besides, she makes me laugh. Perhaps some sort of exhibition schedule, assuming anyone would play with her.

3. Best wishes for Lindsay Davenport. I don't know if that's going to work out, and I'm not betting the farm, or any other property, real or personal, on the subject.

4. A return to form for Mary Pierce. This is an even longer shot than Lindsay Davenport, but hey, it's a wish list for a reason.

The last two don't relate exactly to the WTA tour, but are relevant nonetheless:

5. Top Spin 3. With a mode for rank amateurs, like me. I need the AI to have a setting equivalent to "Slack-Jawed Moron", and then perhaps I will enjoy the game. That, and have a chance to last beyond a first-round appearance in any tournament. (Yes, I'm awful at that game.)

EDIT: And by the way, how about on-the-fly character editing? EA figured it out for Tiger Woods '07, so you can too. Neither of the current generation games seem to allow for this, and it's annoying.

6. The Clean Air Fairy to visit Beijing and clean that stinking hole up so that a certain Belgian (assuming she's not a Wallonian or a Frenchwoman by that point; see Brussels Journal for more details) can defend her Olympic title.

---

So yeah, as you can see, I got nothing.

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November 26, 2007

Yeah, So Brain Age

I managed to borrow a friend's Nintendo DS Lite and played a bit of Brain Age 2. Inspired by the example of Nicole Kidman playing BA2---commented upon here---I figured I could give it a shot. Given my highly trained legal background, I expected to combine age and guile with youth and agility.

Mrs. Urban got 52 as her brain age.

Your correspondent, doing terrible at rock, paper, scissors, got 54. An outrage. I'm going to crawl away and hide or something. Nearly 2.75 times worse than the predicted peak, and it confirms deeply held suspicions that my intellectual capabilities have been declining since some time in undergraduate. Fantastic.

This depressing news was offset by an ad for The Golden Compass in which Kidman featured reasonably promptly.

EDIT: Great. I can't even type on the computer this evening. The closing sentence should read "...in which Kidman featured reasonably prominently." Hi, my name's Charlie Gordon. This is my pet mouse, Algernon.

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November 22, 2007

Macy's 2007

And here we are again with live coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, presented by the National Broadcasting Company.

Again, we're glad to be rid of Katie Couric. She really added nothing to the broadcast. I seem to vaguely remember Jane Pauley running the show down there, and she was always superior to Couric, who was too busy being Perky. I can't remember the Deborah Norville era, but then again, that was two years nearly twenty years ago.

Menudo? You have got to be kidding me!.

Faith Hill? You fail. Meanwhile, we're very glad that the Patriots are doing well. The Roker interview with Jane Krakowski falls flat, because I've never seen 30 Rock. Meanwhile, Legally Blonde is another thing that I've passed by. When it made the splash into theaters, I was in the middle of Stalingrad law school myself, so I wasn't interested in the adventures of some foolish girl who glides through law school because she's blond. Had enough of that in the real world.

Whoever's playing Miss Woods ain't quite the looker, and this is with a 46" screen. Pity. This guy in the bowtie is great so far---her great argument for her admission is love? Rubbish.

Oh, a quick cut of Joe Torre? Haha.

A whiny kid like that ought to be dragged out and beat. "He's gonna leave, he's gonna leave!" "Yes, and I guarantee you that it won't matter as to the presence of cookies."

Izod kayaking? I could go for that.

Young Frankenstein seems at least interesting. If I was in the foul city of New York and had some spare scratch, I'd give it a look. Too bad my surround speakers are overpowered the primary audio channel, so there's always the default TV speakers. Blah.

Meh, Meredith Viera. I could really care less about the writers' strike. I've got ye olde intarwebs and more than a hundred movies & television series on DVD, so stay on strike as far as I'm concerned. I have nothing to lose!

The new National Treasure sounds potentially interesting. You've got to admit that Diane Kruger looks great in high definition, so I'll probably hit the theaters for that.

Someone please shoot Bob Saget's helicopter down. The hugs on the bench bit wasn't funny, and neither was a reference to The Golden Girls, because nobody remembers that show. It seems that an annoying comedian is brought up each year---Martin Short in years past---to fly over the route and make annoying jokes. Get him out of there!

Hmm, it appears that we can't create anything new in this country. Seriously, Xanadu? Sure the song from twenty-odd years ago is not puncture-your-eardrums bad, but a musical on the general premise of the movie? Whatever. The singer does do a passable of aping Olivia Newton-John, which is, I suppose, a considerable attribute. However, men in tight leggings, jeans, whatever, and wearing roller skates offends the moral and aesthetic conscience. She's not that good-looking, either.

Moving right along.

I've never seen an episode of Heroes, but Ali Larter is still rather decent-looking. The cheerleader, Pan-whatever, is annoying. Oh, yay, there she is.

Hmm, The Golden Compass. Starring Nicole Kidman. Hooray, even if just as a visual treat. Too bad the author of the series is a whiny, miserable wretch who's jealous of C.S. Lewis.

Can't hear Al Roker. This is getting to be a habit. Someone from the SVU branch of the Law & Order franchise with his dog and a porkpie hat. Meanwhile, Mary Poppins. You've got to cheer for Julie Andrews, even if this isn't her. I liked this movie as a child---not really sure why---and then I realized that Miss Andrews was a looker. I don't remember the original having lyrics about the collapse of the Roman Empire, but whatever.

I utterly hate these Canon commercials, but at least they've put Maria Sharapova in them. She's pleasant to look at, and she's not bad at tennis, either. Of course, none of this gets her in good with the Russian tennis authorities. I'd still like to punt that annoying dog into the next county, though.

For Chrissakes, appropriating 1984 to sell a music-playing toothbrush? Yawn. Once again, we seem to be reliving the 1980s, with Menudo, Xanadu, and ripoffs of old Apple Computer ads. Oh, I'm missing the Rockettes.

I can't say that I care for those weird outfits. Y'know, the Rockettes are supposed to be in top hats and modified tuxedos, kinda like that DC character Zatanna. Christmas in New York is probably just like any other time in New York, a filthy and miserable mess that I don't like. There seems to be a distinct lack of balloons and/or floats this year, and I wonder why.

Oh, hmm. Maybe I've just forgotten the sequence of the thing. Robin Hall of Macy's marching in. Well, at least he didn't embarrass himself this year.

0958 Oops, I forgot to timestamp the entries. Well, we'll do that now.

0959 Please go away, Dolly Parton. Retreat to Dollywood---a nice park---and don't bother me. Please.

1001 Viera, we give thanks for the Divine Providence that delivered our ancestors from death and famine. (Admittedly so that we could deliver said things unto the Indians, but that's not important.)

Tom Turkey is always appreciated. Traditions are, of course, important. Hope the marriage between those two pilgrims on the float works. Bonne chance, as it were.

The new float, Abby Cadabby (sp), annoys. The CTW ought to be focusing on its proven money-makers.

Ooh, Tea Leoni. If she wasn't Mrs. David Duchovny---hiya, collapsed career!---then perhaps I'd be more inclined to watch. Nicholas Cage is still a reasonably worthy-to-watch actor.

1006 - I never watched Sesame Street---our PBS reception was always lousy---and so this one's lost on me. Here we go with Stephenson High School from Stone Mountain, Georgia. Wabash blue, it appears. Nothing particularly memorable about the music, but it appears to be well-done.

1009 - Meh, Scooby Doo. It appears that he has a leak. Build-a-Bear Workshop, yay. I've never heard of the Jonas Brothers, and it appears that I haven't missed anything.

1012 - Wynonna Judd coming up? Eek, I didn't know there was an excess weight float in service. Meanwhile, Jessica Simpson fails in a Macy's ad---would that Martha Stewart might kill that obnoxious buffoon. I hate this Quizno's ad. Quizno's: Too much cost, too little sandwich. I wonder if Elizabeth Mitchell is in that third Santa Clause---she certainly made the first one.

1016 - Yeah, I don't get Barbie. An island princess? The only island worth being princess of would be Great Britain.

1017 - A high school from American Fork, Utah, at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains---perhaps they have seen UPRR Big Boys? Not impressed with their costumes, but then again, I prefer the ones popular in the East. Yawn, Hello Kitty. A brand that's been around for years, even when I was a kid---again, this is the 1980s all over again.

1022 - Up with people, down with this song. Is that one of the Duff sisters or something? Meh, I'm hungry.

1024 - Eek, Steve Irwin's daughter. That float looks like it's going to disintegrate under the pounding. I wonder if that's ever happened.

1025 - This all-hobo clown medley fails. However, I see nothing wrong with never having been to New York City. Why should that be important? I managed to miss Mumbles Viera's note of who they were, though, so they'll be anonymous. Meanwhile, Ronald McDonald.

1028 - This M&Ms float is innovative. Meanwhile, we swap to the Columbia Broadcasting System to see what they're doing. They're actually talking about the floats instead of just yammering, so we'll give them some time. Hmm, amateur hour. Might be more interesting than this insipid NBC telecast.

1033 - Back to the NBC. Just in time for the !@#$% Virginia Tech band. Bring back Washington. Lauer, you idiot. The people are already standing and clapping; there's nothing special about it. Who are Lifehouse? Thumbs up to the giant Federal eagle on the Postal Service float.

P.S. I don't care who Lifehouse are. They're annoying. I wish Don Imus would show up in this parade.

1037 - Hooray, it's the World War I Flying Ace! Too bad Snoopy is famous for root beer mugs or a swagger stick, not binoculars.

1041 - Wow, Marilu Henner is pretty well preserved. Nadia Comaneci is reportedly still good-looking, and well, Carol Alt might have seen better days, but she's a model and can probably get the kind of advice necessary to look like she just stepped off a Raymond Loewy scratch pad. Dear God, whoever Nikki Blonsky is, she's going to crush that float. Message to Al Roker: That looks more like a 1950s malt shop, not something from the 1960s.

1043 - I thought they meant Joanna Levesque instead of some animated clown. Meanwhile, the clock is still running on the former. Clowns annoy me. Universal Cheerleaders & Dance Association annoys already.

1047 - It's probably no coincidence that you can nearly spell 'annoy' from "Ne-Yo". Falsetto vocals and poofter dance moves are not the sort of thing to attract my attention. Sorry, kid.

1051 - The National Dance Institute impresses with a reasonably coherent display of choreography. It's about 50-odd degrees, so it's probably not all that cold in Herald Square. Pulling all those dance moves in sweats must not be easy.

1052 - The Big Apple float is nice but no great thing. This band needs to die. Whoever---Menudo? Pasa the eggplant!

1054 - "Gee, Officer Krupke"? That guy should have called for backup and murdered the Jets for singing that song. Yay, fat firefighter balloon.

1057 - I'd rather have the Hell Gate Bridge, as far as NYC infrastructure goes. The Hess float is always fun to look at, but this wanna-be Blues Brother, i.e. the lead singer of Good Charlotte, should die.

1058 - The only thing that's "never say quit" is Viera's annoying string of adjectives about the Energizer Bunny. I wonder if that thing's on wheels. Up next, Sarah Brightman. Never have bought one of her albums.

1100 - An insurance company about the California fires? Uh huh, I hear "claim denied" ringing. Ooh, Jennifer Aniston. She's still reasonably attractive, and she's got Angelina Jolie beat. Ow, Marlo Thomas makes my eyes hurt. Blah, POTC 3 was a terrible movie.

1102 - Jewels of the Caribbean? Yawn. I could care less about Caribbean-American organizations. If they want to celebrate their identity, they can bloody well stay down there in the islands. Cripes, Euro-pop for Sarah Brightman? Well, at least she's decent looking, far better than on some of her album covers, but once again, Euro-pop fails us. It's almost indistinguishable from something that Kylie Minogue might come up with, and really, is that anything to be proud of?

1105 - A 1947-style balloon? Oh, nice. I vaguely remember seeing black-and-white footage

The Paul Laurence Dunbar H.S. Band from Lexington, Kentucky plays a selection from the Nutcracker, yay. I don't see how being in a high school band teaches young ladies and gentlemen about life through music, but whatever. It's the standard pablum rolled out by the arts vultures when shilling for funds. You can stop with the lie---music for music's sake and the preservation of high culture is reason enough.

1107 - Shrek balloon, yawn.

1110 - Oh, the imaginary friends home---Mrs. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, perhaps---again. This is creepy.

1112 - A silver rabbit that apes a statue of some kind. Nice. Albertville H.S., from Alabama, is doing OK. Why can't I really hear Al Roker?

1114 - Those climbers look...really bored. Ashley Tisdale fails. I am amused at how she's important now that the other HSM individual has fallen from favor. Too bad Tisdale's a bad singer and really not all that good-looking in any objective sense. I suppose she's going for Gestapo chic.

1115 - Say "Immigrations and Customs Enforcement!" to Dora the Explorer. This "Latina heroine" can go back over the border as far as I'm concerned. Bloody annoying multiculturalists. This Citibank prodigal son commercial is annoying.

1117 - Rachael Ray? Blah. Give me Giada de Laurentiis in high definition, thanks. I think there's something instructive in the fact that we've never managed to surpass the original Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. Decline of the culture? Certainly. Meanwhile, an American Gladiators revival. I think it's utter irony to have these two things together.

1119 - Oh, that's mean. Cherokee Indians on a float in a parade celebrating the successful landings in Plymouth. "We are very glad you nearly wiped us out. We salute our new overlords."

1121 - Hmm, the Al Roker float. Oh, wait, that's Mr. Potato Head. International Year of the Potato? I suppose we're already out of International Geophysical Years. Meh, celebrations of commercialized cowboy culture. I'm afraid to ask what this really is.

1123 - The Oklahoma band? I'd rather have Kristin Chenoweth singing its praises; at least she's good-looking.

1124 - Another American Idol winner? Meh, who cares. Another disposable R&B wanna-be.

1129 - Huesca Brothers acrobatics are impressive. Having said that, the missed one looks painful.

1130 - Pikachu, I choose you. Nearly five hundred Pokemon? Good grief. This balloon has illuminated cheeks, but you can't really see them.

Service terminated.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 09:19 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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October 23, 2007

Covering the Bases - Anniversary Edition

The date on the calendar says one thing, but the date on the posts say another---either or Thursday marks the four year anniversary of this publication. Note it now, celebrate it on Thursday. Hopefully the Sox'll be leading the World Series by that point.

I'm willing to bet that something's gotten fouled up in dates at some point in time; the electronic calendar's highly unlikely to be wrong.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 11:12 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Because Some Bostonians Aren't Happy

This is a treat.

One Susie Davidson of Brookline, Massachusetts, is not happy that Bostonians are celebrating the near-epic comeback by the 2007 Red Sox in the ALCS against the Indians.

In her newly-founded blog, BostoniansNotRedSoxOrBaseballFans, she unloads on pretty much anyone who cheers for the Sox, because they're bad people. As she puts it,

We believe that the environment, health care, education, global genocide and so many other problems could really benefit from the time and energy (and money!) expended by these buffoons who haven't actually played the game themselves in decades, decked out in $900 worth of Red Sox clothing, armed with $700 tickets and $10 junky hot dogs, with their cars parked at $50 lots.

Thank God I didn't shell out $200 for a Jonathan Papelbon jersey, because then I'd be within her sights as one of the Enemies of the Environment/Health Care/Education/Global Genocide (wherever it may be), etc.

Meh, more Northeastern whining. For what it's worth, she's a Yankees fan:

We actually become Yankees fans by default, even though we never pay attention to their own games. We love being in New York and other states where there is not a Red Sox cap to be seen.

Methinks I hear sour grapes coming from the Mystique and Aura section.

EDIT: These guys have approximately the same view of it that I do.

I'm also hard-pressed to figure out how a single man can wear $900 worth of merchandise. Figure one authentic jersey at $200 from the MLB shop, regular pair of khaki pants or blue jeans (approximately $30-$60), a nondescript pair of tennis shoes ($75), a hat ($30 max) and er...yeah, that's not adding up. T-shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch ($60), cologne by Ralph Lauren ($45), uh...socks and underwear ($10), er, foam #1 finger (~$15) and yeah, that's not $900. You'd have to throw in something like a replica of the World Series championship ring and maybe a Franklin Mint commemorative watch or something similar before you can get towards that magic number.

But hey, what do I know? I'm merely a knuckle-dragging Sox fan.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 03:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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October 22, 2007

Very Troubling

"I am terribly vexed", said Commodus, and I echo his sentiment.

I was allocating funds from the recently-acquired paycheck and had finished that for the night---never enough for all line items, but that's why one budgets---and trundled off to bed. I sat down to read this evening's devotional from The Upper Room, as I have for years at this point. Finances were, literally, the last thing I had thought about before climbing the stairs.

And then this evening's reading is Saint Mark, Chapter 12 vv. 41-44. Were this the original Mobile Suit Gundam from the late 1970s, I bet that the Newtype flash would have played in the background.

I have of course included ten percent of net income---see here for an alternative viewpoint---but when one of the major calculations of the evening concerned the percentage, shortly followed by Jesus' harsh analysis, er, one of my particular religious persuasion starts to wonder.

(Mud in your eye, Hitchens, Sam Harris, and the rest of you atheistic lot; give my regards to whatever circle of hell y'all wind up assigned to.)

At least one meaning is implicit---carve your percentage off the gross, not the net. Others may come to me as I think about it. Either way, one gets the sense that the ol' ELF receiver's buzzer may have rung.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 10:52 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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October 21, 2007

Let's Go Red Sox!

Whew, talk about a nailbiter!

Thank God for a Red Sox victory---I predicted as much to a friend that, "Look, the last time they were facing elimination in the ALCS, they won the World Series. I'm not overly concerned. Yet."

I didn't know if I'd eat my words---accurate or not---but I was distinctly concerned with the Red Sox offense and the wisdom of rehashing the Beckett-Sabathia and Shilling-Carmona matchups. Obviously, there's a reason why I'm not in Terry Francona's shoes.

I like these Miller Lite commercials. Certified purveyor of the High Life, indeed.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 11:16 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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October 03, 2007

Wii Would Like to Play with Prince

No, that's not a cheesy double entendre involving the Artist Formerly and Currently Known as, but rather a lame attempt at invoking the subjects of the story.

That is to say that, courtesy of Tennis Served Fresh, Prince is getting into the gaming peripheral business. I don't own a Wii yet---as Sergeant Zim might say, glad you qualified that---but this is an added incentive for me to consider getting one.

It's got a rather nice cost as well, certainly a lot cheaper than Prince's o3. One wonders if there will be a Sharapova edition like I see in the cheap section at Wal-Mart, where my tennis browsing occurs. That is, at least one with her face emblazoned on the packaging. I've never really looked at it that closely.

I would rather that the thing be a Wilson, given the sponsorship package of my favorite player, but that's small beans next to the apparent lack of a real-world Wii tennis game. (I say that as if I was worthy of a real-world game; I can manage at Top Spin on the Xbox only because I play minor tournaments and have never ventured online.)

Yay.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 10:27 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Angels in the Outfield

...and nothing at the plate, as Josh Beckett leads the Red Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

God's in His heaven and all is right with the world, at least as of 2300 hours here in the East.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 10:04 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Silence, Explained

So yeah, my employment pattern has shifted for the better and I've been busy right about the time that I'd be hammering out my poorly-wrought posts, which necessarily cuts down on the blogging time.

I've also been playing Il-2: 1946 online like a fiend, slaughtering Soviet airmen in 1941 or so in a Bf 109F or G. I utterly hate the Pe-2; the bloody thing takes a while to kill with a single 20mm cannon and a pair of 7.92mm machine guns.

I regret to say that Erich Hartmann's record has nothing to fear from me, however.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 10:00 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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September 25, 2007

The Burmese Question

So the World Service and NPR have been abuzz with coverage about the Burmese situation.

I note with amusement that the NPR hosts slavishly refer to the nation as "mee anh maw" or something similar, in an attempt to be native, or something. I suppose they're showing their broad cultural experience and worldly non-judgmentalism. Meanwhile, the BBC defiantly calls it Burma. Ha ha. Your correspondent will continue to refer to the country per the BBC, because I don't think much of a junta and I'm not much for the trend of nativizing good English names for places. (I didn't call Turin 'Torino', either.)

Yeah, about all I really know about Burma is what I learned from Soundwave. There be ruby crystals for energon cubes in them thar hills.

Sound credit from The Soundwave Archive at DRGW.net.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 09:08 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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A Teamster Opposes NSR Camp Cars

Offered without comment:
Abolish Norfolk Southern Camp Cars.

Posted by: Country Pundit at 07:35 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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