Tuesday, November 30, 2004

When Instant Gratification Goes Too Far

Tyrone Willingham has been fired. Notre Dame will now be looking for it's third new head coach in as many years. I'm no fan of Notre Dame, but you have to give people a chance to succeed. The amount of money that is pouring into college athletics these days is just not allowing any time for a program to develop. You basically have one season to "right the ship" and not much of a chance to have a bad season after that. Willingham actually had it pretty lucky his first year by inheriting a team determined to erase the memories of a very bad season with former head coach Bob Davie. That coupled with the embarrassment of hiring George O'Leary who resigned five days later over a forged resume, fired the team up and got them to a BCS game in 2002. Now, two years later, Willingham hasn't even seen his recruits get into the starting lineup and he is being kicked out the door.

Of course now the rumors of who will replace him are flying. It was only a matter of time before the name Urban Meyer came up but the man of the hour had little to say:

Meyer wouldn't say Tuesday whether he'd be interested if Notre Dame called, but he did acknowledge the clause in his Utah contract that allows him to leave Utah without penalty if he is named head coach at Michigan, Ohio State or Notre Dame. The clause was included in the contract extension he signed last summer.

A similar clause was cited when Texas A&M hired Dennis Franchione away from Alabama, but I always assumed it was just an Urban legend (pun fully intended!). In any event, when the Aggies played the Utah Utes for the first time last year, I knew that Urban Meyer would be coaching at one of the big programs in a matter of time. He had already turned around Bowling Green in two short years and at the time coached a hell of a game at Kyle Field in College Station. This year has only reinforced that he is "ready for primetime" as some would say. I'm just glad there are no coaching openings in the Big XII (yet!). We already have it too hard as it is.

Only time will tell how this story will shake out, but it has become evident that if you take the head coaching job at a "prestige program," there is a target on your back from day one. You better win and win big right away. Otherwise, it won't be long until you are back waiting for another coach to learn what you already know.

Back to Work

Tonight I rejoined the world of the gainfully employed. I am working as a contract tutor for a company called A to Z Tutoring. It's taken me a while to get matched up with a client who I can work with around my school schedule, but that's why I decided to try this job out; flexibility. So far so good after day one. Plus I feel like I am using my engineering degrees for something even if it is only for tutoring high school freshmen in Algebra. I also feel like I am doing a community service in addition to my monetary compensation. I am proof that George W. Bush created at least one job because my compensation comes in part from No Child Left Behind.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Office

This is what network TV is missing...in America at least. I just finished watching "The Office Special" DVD that ties up most of the loose ends left at the end of the second season. Although I think I enjoyed the actual seasons of the show better than these two special holiday episodes, it is definitely a satisfying conclusion to one of the most subtly funny shows I have ever seen.

As I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and that style of comedy. Although "Curb" has strayed from it's documentary style, "The Office" remained true to the concept to the end. It is literally like watching "Office Space: The Television Series" if such a thing existed.

When I first heard about "The Office" I thought it was just a lot of hype for another "quirky" British comedy but the show really transcends borders. Sure there are some Brit-com style jokes here and there as well as some references that went over my head, but the heart of the show is truly brilliant comedy. There is no laugh track and there is no need for one. There is more comedy in the frequent awkward silences than there are in an entire season of shows like "According to Jim."

Furthermore, including the two special episodes, there are only fourteen episodes spread across two seasons. When the creators of the show ran out of ideas, they stopped making the show. They didn't try to squeeze more out of the show like some of their American counterparts have been known to do. It is commendable that they would finish the show on their terms and not let a network decide when the show should end.

I highly recommend renting the entire series and watching it before the American version begins at mid-season. I'm not to optimistic about the American adaptation (see "Coupling") but it will feature Steve Carell, a guy I knew would be funny when I saw him on his pre-Daily Show gig on the short lived Dana Carvey Show.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Great Weekend with the Family

Well, I am back in Nashville after a great weekend of family fun. It's good to be back in Nashville but I had a hell of a fun time with my family. As me and my brothers get older, I find that we have such a fun time together now that we have outgrown most of our childhood squabbles. We still have them on occasion, but I really do look forward to the time that I get to spend with them, their significant others and my parents. Sometimes I think that Thanksgiving is too close to Christmas, but right now I feel like it is a nice preview of how much fun the Christmas holiday will be.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Everything is bigger in Texas!

We just returned from a very large dinner at the Country Inn in Somerville, TX. The Country Inn is famous in the area for the pounds of steak that you can get on one plate. You can get a small sirloin (2.25 - 2.5 lbs) up to an extra large sirloin (5 lbs!!!!) of steak and that doesn't even include the side items. I ordered the small and barely finished half of it. We are all now back in College Station in a steak coma. I can only think of going to sleep and letting this meal slowly digest.

Friday, November 26, 2004

But next year...

I hate to have to say it again, but next year I think Texas A&M will finally be ready to beat the University of Texas. Today didn't really turn out the way I had hoped but I really feel like this team has made some amazing progress this season and could be a Big XII contender as early as next season. Now we just have to concentrate on winning our bowl game and build on this talent pool with some great recruits.

I can say that after losing so many times to Texas, I pretty much entered today thinking we might be able to win, but if we didn't, it wouldn't be that upsetting. That made it possible for me, my family and our family friends to really enjoy being at the Wings 'N More in north Austin with all the other Aggies. We've had a great time so far this holiday weekend and look to have even more now that we are back in College Station.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Travel Blogging

Well, don’t buy the hype...at least in Nashville. I arrived at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter at 6:40 pm and was checked in, through security and at my gate by 6:55 pm. And that’s after a stop at the restroom and me wandering around the gate area looking for an electircal outlet so that I wouldn’t use all of my laptop battery before my flight. So much for needing to arrive 2 hours early. My check-in/security time was exactly the same as the past two trips through this airport. I’m sure other major cities are feeling a bit more of the hurt but it definitely doesn’t seem any crazier here than usual.

The first thing I did when I fired up my iBook was to check for an internet connection. Although there was a connection called “concourse,” as I imagined, it was not a free service. There was limited access to free services such as flight schedules, weather info and MSNBC news. Other than that, you either needed a subscription on a partner ISP or you could link in for a mere $6.95. A little blogging wasn’t really worth that for me. But the fact that the airport is wireless is still a pretty good development. One day, perhaps all places will offer Wi-Fi for those of us who would appreciate it.

One thing I noticed about this busy travel day is that everyone seems to be in a very big hurry right up until they arrive at their destination airport. Then they turn into slugs. I mean, you're so close to your final destination and then you slowly creep to baggage claim?!? Oh well, I'm in Houston now and at my parents' apartment.

Tomorrow we are off to College Station to eat at what has become our traditional Thanksgiving restaurant, Christopher's. We'll be meeting my brother and his girlfriend there for lunch before heading off to Austin to prepare for the annual Lonestar Showdown between Texas A&M and the University of Texas on Friday. It's funny how vacations can be so much busier than your normal day to day life.

Braving the Travel...

In five hours, I'll be arriving at the Nashville airport for what is being hyped as the busiest travel day since before Sept. 11. If I can get a Wi-Fi connection, and time through security check permits, I'll write about what is going on during my experience of pre-Thanksgiving airline travel. Otherwise, I might not be able to post until I arrive in Houston. Good luck to all who are also flying today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Apparently the NBA player's union thinks that the suspensions of Ron Artest, et al. are too harsh and Artest's in particular should be reduced to 35 days.

Union director Billy Hunter has called the penalties excessive, saying a suspension of about 35 games would have been more appropriate for Artest.

What I think is excessive is for grown men to act like children. Bottom line: it is not acceptable behavior to fight with other players or fans during a basketball game. If the union president doesn't like the suspensions, tell the members not to fight! Simple as that!

Unions are such a waste of time and money at this point. Especially a union for multi-millionaires! God forbid they get exploited and only get $6 million instead of $7 million to play basketball for a year!! Not to mention the money players get for making laughable rap albums.

It's obvious that unions have pretty much run their course. They are a lot like Ralph Nader: they served a noble purpose a long time ago but now they are irrelevant yet cease to admit it.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The New BCS

Starting in 2007, FOX will begin broadcasting the BCS games (excluding the Rose Bowl). They have exclusive rights over the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange Bowls through 2009 while ABC retains the rights over the Rose Bowl through 2014. FOX will also carry the yet to be named fifth BCS game. The fifth game will simply add two more at-large BCS bids making it more likely that non-power conference teams have a shot at the BCS games. The Big XII, SEC, ACC, Pac-10, and Big East will still have automatic bids for conference champions.

Although I am excited about the prospects of moving in a positive direction with the BCS, this still puts off the implementation of some kind of playoff until after 2010. The BCS system is not perfect but it's what we are stuck with right now. I feel that this new experiment won't be any more successful than what we have seen since the BCS's inception in 1998. Perhaps more failure of the system would nudge the powers that be into finally admitting that some kind of playoff is inevitable to crown a true and undisputed national champion.

Kudos to the ADs of Clemson and South Carolina

I must say that I greatly respect the decisions of the athletic directors of both Clemson and South Carolina to not accept bowl bids as punishment to their football teams for fighting during Saturday's game. Both teams are bowl eligible but will not be participating in post season play in order to send an important message that such anti-social behavior cannot be tolerated. I am glad to see that the schools have decided to step up because I had and still have little faith in the NCAA delivering a similar punishment.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

NBA Suspensions and the NCAA's Chance at Credibility

After Friday night's on- and off-court melee between players for the Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, and fans from both sides, the NBA has announced numerous suspensions. The penalties are severe in some cases but they are necessary in order to make a point. However, I feel that something must also be done about the fans that were throwing things at players. There is no excuse for a player to react and go into the stands and punch a fan, but there is equally no excuse for anyone to throw anything, no matter how innocuous, at a player.

Basketball is a game! There is no excuse for this kind of violent behavior. Now let's just wait and see if the NCAA has the guts to take similar action after Saturday's game stopping fight between players from the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers. Both teams should be barred from post season bowl games but I don't see it happening because of the money involved in college football. It's a shame too because these players already think it's okay.

Clemson running back Yusef Kelly said the brawl doesn't compare with Friday night's melee at the Pistons-Pacers game. "It's no worse than the Pacers and Pistons last night. They actually got the fans involved. At least we kept it to the football teams," he said.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Congratulations Utah Utes!

There has been one college football team that I have been rooting for to go all the way all season long. Okay, two teams actually. I always root for the Texas A&M Aggies to go all the way, and hopefully that will one day come to fruition. But this year, I have been rooting for the Utah Utes as well. The Aggies faced the Utes this year in our first game and were soundly defeated. I wasn't really very surprised because they gave us quite a game last year at home on Kyle Field. Seeing that performance, I was expecting a loss this year on their turf because they are definitely an up and coming program under Urban Meyer.

I've been trying to tell people all season long that Utah is for real and that they deserve a BCS game. Well tonight, they all but locked up the first BCS bid for a non-power conference. Technically, it is still up to two more weekends of college football, convoluted computer algorithms and some biased human voters. But to be honest, if Utah doesn't get a bid for a BCS game, the college football world might just revolt.

The good thing at this point in the Aggies' season is that of the three losses thus far, two have been to presumptive BCS teams, Utah and Oklahoma. We won't discuss the third loss, the anomaly at Baylor. In any event, although I am sad to see the college football season winding down, I am glad to see the BCS once again have problems as long as those problems are caused by a deserving team who normally wouldn't get it's due respect. Congrats again Utah Utes!

Friday, November 19, 2004


I just finished doing the final mix of my Mackie Analog 8 Bus recording project for school. It came out fantastic if I do say so. Me, my project partner, Quinn, and Graham, another classmate of ours, recorded the instruments over the past couple of weeks and then we spent the past two days doing the mixing. We recorded a song that I wrote a couple of years ago called "So..." It is a song that I had recorded at home on my own and put online at music.download.com. This new version is slightly different but it is very cool because of all the gear that we had access to and all the production time we put into it. Hopefully, I'll have a way to post it here or somewhere else very soon.

Wi-Fi is Great!

Right now I am sitting in the Mellow Mushroom, a pizza restaurant here in Nashville, with some classmates. We just finished school for the day and decided to get some dinner before I have to head back to the studio to mix a recording project. Just had to post something about how cool it is to be blogging from a pizza restaurant! My wireless G4 rocks! The world should be wireless!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Texas Aggie Bonfire '99

It is hard to believe that it has been five years since the Bonfire '99 tragedy occurred. I clearly remember the day as if it just happened. But I suppose one can never forget such an event.

I was planning to wake up very early on the morning of Nov. 18, 1999. The plan was for my good friend Tim Smith and I to relieve our friend Mike Sconzo who had been waiting in line all night to get us good seats for the annual Texas A&M vs. University of Texas football game. My phone awoke me and when I looked at the clock, it was only 4:30 AM or so and I had planned on meeting Tim at around 5:30. Tim was on the phone and I told him not to worry, I wasn't going to oversleep. He replied that Bonfire had fallen and at least three people had been killed.

I was stunned.

I got to campus as quickly as possible to meet Mike and Tim and on the way could only think of what might be happening at the Polo Fields, the site of Bonfire. It was very quiet as I walked to the ticket windows at the coliseum. The only thing I could hear were the news helicopters that were hovering over the Polo Fields. For such a small town, it was very surreal to hear and see news helicopters anywhere near our campus.

As I write this, I find it hard to even put into words all that I felt in those next hours and days. There was sadness and an unbelievable sense of loss, but also a sense of community like I've never felt before. The Aggie Family came together so that we could cope with the tragedy. The memorial service on the night of Nov. 18 saw a packed Reed Arena spontaneously begin singing 'Amazing Grace.' Similarly, the candlelight vigil on Thanksgiving night was as bright as the Bonfire would have been.

Candlelight Vigil

The community lost 12 Aggies on Nov. 18, 1999, but in the days, weeks and months that followed, it grew stronger and reaffirmed the Spirit that is all around the campus.

As the Bonfire Memorial is dedicated later today I will be thinking of the 12 Aggies who died doing something they loved so much.

Miranda Denise Adams
Christopher D. Breen
Michael Stephen Ebanks
Jeremy Richard Frampton
Jamie Lynn Hand
Christopher Lee Heard
Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr
Lucas John Kimmel
Bryan A. McClain
Chad A. Powell
Jerry Don Self
Nathan Scott West

Texas Aggie Bonfire '99 Memorial Posted by Hello

"The Spirit of Aggieland" Posted by Hello

"The Last Corps Trip" Posted by Hello

"The Last Corps Trip" (Sections 1 and 2) Posted by Hello

"The Last Corps Trip" (Sections 3 and 4) Posted by Hello

"The Last Corps Trip" (Section 5) Posted by Hello

Texas Aggie Bonfire '99 Memorial Posted by Hello

Texas Aggie Bonfire '99 Memorial Posted by Hello

Jeremy Richard Frampton '99 Posted by Hello

"The Purpose of Life" by Jeremy Frampton Posted by Hello

Texas Aggie Bonfire '99 Memorial Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The "Mashup"

A couple of years ago I was first introduced to the concept of the "mashup" when I heard a song by a DJ named Freelance Hellraiser. He had concocted a remix of Christina Aguilera's 'Genie in a Bottle' that even I enjoyed. It used the musical tracks from the Strokes' 'Hard to Explain' and the vocal track from Aguilera's song. It is entitled 'A Stroke of Genius' and it is indeed!

Since then I have heard several other Freelance Hellraiser tracks that are good but didn't quite recapture 'A Stroke of Genius.' Late last year however, the mashup took on a whole new dimension when DJ Danger Mouse created the Grey Album. He took the vocal tracks of Jay-Z's Black Album and mixed them with samples from The Beatles' White Album. I am a Beatles purist but I have to say that there was something about the way that looped Beatles guitar licks fit with Jay-Z's rapping vocals. It is really something to behold.

On that note, today I found a post on BoingBoing.net that takes the mashup concept into the video world. It is a video made for the Grey Album version of 'Encore' and it is truly something original. It takes footage of The Beatles from the Ed Sullivan Show or something like it and mixes in live hip-hop imagery. My favorite aspect has got to be Ringo as the DJ on the turntables. It is something to see.

Since the mashups are not sanctioned by the publishers or songwriters, they never stay on the web that long, so I suggest watching this clip while you still can. If it moves, I'll try to keep up with it but unfortunately, there is no guarantee, but when is there in life?

For another great concept mashup, check out Jay-Zeezer.com. Like the Grey Album, the Black and Blue Album is a mashup of Jay-Z and Weezer's classic Blue Album. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Da Vinci Code

Comingsoon.net is reporting that Tom Hanks has been cast as Robert Langdon in the film version of 'The Da Vinci Code.' I think Hanks will be excellent as Langdon.

I received the book as a gift last Christmas and read it in two days. I am a normally fast reader but I read this even more quickly because it's short chapters read almost like scenes in a screenplay. I vividly imagined every chapter taking place on a movie screen as I read. So transferring it to film should be very easy.

At times The Da Vinci Code felt like a low-rent version of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, but I still enjoyed it very much and it should make for a very exciting film. Hopefully, Dan Brown's story will be the one that makes it to the screen.

Welcome to Another New Blogger

My good friend Tim Smith has decided to begin blogging about a very interesting subject: professional students. He has an interesting perspective as he has been a student at Texas A&M since 1995. Of course he has been earning degrees and is currently persuing a Ph.D. Anyway, I think it will make for an interesting read. Enjoy!

Thoughts of the Eternal Student

Monday, November 15, 2004

The New Scourge of the Internet

I am finally back online after several hours out of commission. And what caused this interruption in service you ask? Spyware, the new Spam. Just when one problem seems to be nipped in the bud, another one comes roaring out of cyberspace to waste more of your time. First it was viruses but those are less of a problem now that there are teams of people constantly working to stop them. Next there was Spam. That seems to have gotten better now that most email providers have better built in Spam filters. I guess they finally realized that people don't want to be bombarded with emails about penis enlargement and cheap prescription drugs from Mexico or Canada. But the newest and most malicious threat comes from Spyware.

Spyware is bundled into harmless programs and cookies that are downloaded from the Internet. Unsuspecting to you and I, the Spyware is installed and then proceeds to track your progress, pop up ads, or worst of all hijack your browser or even your computer. My computer was hijacked this morning and until just over an hour ago, I thought that the only solution would be to completely reformat my computer.

But thanks to a combination of patience and the benevolent work of the people at Symantec, Lavasoft, and Spybot, my computer is once again functional....for now. I believe that I am still overdue for reformatting as well as installing some kind of firewall, but at least it will be on my terms!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Watching a Classic

My day was rather uneventful, but it gave me the opportunity to catch up on a couple of my Netflix selections.

I watched "Citizen Kane" for the first time today and was very impressed. If you were to watch it without thinking of it in it's historical perspective, you might just miss the technical significance of the film. The story is interesting and engaging, but the storytelling is probably what puts this film on the top of critics "greatest film of all time" lists.

Watching this film, you might think, "How is this really that different from anything else that I have already seen?" But you have to remember that this film was made in 1941. Not unlike George Lucas with "Star Wars" more than thirty years later, Orson Welles and his crew had to create new techniques of filming and special effects in order to achieve the vision in Welles' head. Some of the shots were so masterfully choreographed, it often made me wonder how long production of this film took.

On top of that, the out-of-sequence story is something that we are all very familiar with today, but it was fairly uncharted territory in the early days of film. Many of the same devices used in movies today can be seen in this classic work. It is no wonder that many people regard Orson Welles as a genius with "Citizen Kane" as his crowning achievement.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

We Do Have Freedom in the USA

I came across this blog that has posted a short film of collected quotes and images from the days following the 2004 election. WARNING: The protesters don't always use the most socially acceptable language.

It really does beg the question: "How much do these people really want to be living in America?" Last time I checked, this country still protected these forms of speech. You can't say that for many other nations on Earth. There are a whole lot of places where this kind of protest would be quashed by the military. Although I don't agree with them, I can accept these types of statements as long as the people who make don't take their freedom to make such statements for granted. But I suppose that we should expect people who live in denial to have trouble understanding the sacrifices that have given them their freedoms. Shame on them.

How much irrational protest is too much?

What if George W. Bush had not won re-election? What would you have done? I for one would have done nothing different than I have done up to this point. Sure I would would have been disappointed but I would have gone on living. I don't let who holds the office of president control my life.

This is an example of an irrational human being. I'm all for meaningful protest and voicing your opinion, but is this really necessary because George W. Bush was re-elected? If the tables were turned, would the Bush voters organize a work stoppage to protest John Kerry's election? Perhaps there would have been prayer vigils (because we're all fundamentalist Christians, right?) but no Bush voter would bother with this kind of inane idea.

Get over it! Nov. 2, 2004 is behind us. If you don't get on with your life, you'll make yourself sick! Moveon.org was so named in order to urge Congress to cease impeachment hearings, censure President Clinton and "move on" with the business of the country. But now it's time for the liberal "blue staters" to move on with their lives and admit they were beaten fair and square by someone that is a lot smarter than they'll ever give him credit for.

I didn't know Neal Pollack lived in Austin

As a former resident of Austin, TX, I was surprised to find out that Neal Pollack calls it home. In any event, he had some interesting things to say on his website to those who would say that all the "red states" are a bunch of ignorant homophobes, etc, etc.

Be warned! He uses a little bad language but his point is still valid considering he is responding to a website whose URL is perhaps inappropriate itself. Either way, the message is worth the read.

Fall Weddings

I just got home from the wedding of a very good friend of mine here in Nashville and I feel that it is important to make this statement while it is still fresh in my mind.

When scheduling a wedding, always opt for sometime other than the fall. There are no good weekends for fall weddings. Saturday is College Football day and Sunday is NFL day. You run the risk of either not having a good turnout or having a very surly turnout of people trying to get score updates during the reception.

My friend that was getting married was a fellow graduate of Texas A&M and has been very intent on watching football games this fall but when it came time to schedule his wedding, he and his fiance (now wife) chose this day. They had their reasons and they were fairly sound, but it could have been a catastrophe.

As it turned out, the Texas A&M vs. Texas Tech game was played between 2:30 and 6:30 pm and the wedding didn't start until 7:30 pm. I was able to watch the game at a local sports bar, briefly bask in victory, run home, put on my suit, and book it to the wedding. Had any of the circumstances been different, I would have missed out on a huge emotional victory for the Aggies or a very beautiful wedding ceremony and reception.

This time everything worked but what about next time? It is for this reason that I vow here and now not to plan my wedding for the fall.

Friday, November 12, 2004

We need more columnists like Charles Krauthammer

I wait with baited breath each week for Friday to roll around just so that I can bask in the glow of the latest column by Mr. Krauthammer. I have become a devotee of his since the beginning of this year when I got a subscription to Time magazine and found his occasional columns to be the most enlightening of the entire magazine.

Today's edition is no different. He easily debunks the myth that moral values were the deciding factor in the 2004 election. It is, as usual, worth the read.

Scott Peterson GUILTY

Well, it's official. Scott Peterson has been convicted of first-degree murder of Laci Peterson and second-degree murder of Connor Peterson.

For many this has been a foregone conclusion, but I still feel that you are innocent until proven guilty...or until you dye your hair blond and try to flee to Mexico.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

At least Dan Rather says funny things on election night!

Dan Rather can say the darndest things on election night.

Some examples from Nov. 2:

"Do you hear that knocking...President Bush's re-election is at the door."

"This race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex."

"The presidential race is swinging like Count Basie."

(To Joe Lockhart) "I know that you'd rather walk through a furnace in a gasoline suit than consider the possibility that John Kerry would lose Ohio."

"In southern states they beat him like a rented mule."

"We need Billy Crystal to Analyze This"

Wow! I only wish I had tuned in to more CBS between the hours of 10:00 pm and 3 am. I'm sure most of these gems came up around that time since CBS surely wasn't going to call Ohio for Bush until everybody else did. Click here for more Dan Ratherisms including some from 2002 and 2000.

Fellow New Bloggers

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to spend the first 27 years of your life in Texas and then make a major life changing move to New York City?

Well that's what my friends Joel and Katie did almost a year ago. They have recently started blogging about their lives in the Big Apple. Definitely worth the read!

Joel's Bubba Blog and Katie's Korner are here!

Arafat the Monster

From an Op-Ed piece by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:

YASSER ARAFAT died at age 75, lying in bed surrounded by familiar faces. He left this world peacefully, unlike the thousands of victims he sent to early graves.

In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

And that's just the opening! It goes on to mention the absurd eulogies of The Guardian and the BBC praising Arafat's life and his "undisputed courage as a guerrilla leader." Pretty sickening when you think of all the Israelis that have been killed in the name of Islam and Yasser Arafat.

Michael Moore: Documentarian For Truth or Political Liability?

After a somber handful of postings on his website since the election, Michael Moore claims that "the official mourning period is over." He is announcing that planning has begun on "Fahrenheit 9/11½."

"We want to document and commercialize it. Fifty-one percent of the American people lacked information (in this election) and we want to educate and enlighten them. They weren't told the truth. We're communicators and it's up to us to start doing it now."

I actually saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" as well as most of Michael Moore's other documentaries although I use the word loosely. What he calls a documentary, I call an extremely cynical and ironic attempt at manipulating people's emotions with very suspect editing.

Don't believe me? Read the following very lengthy article written by Dave Kopel entitled "Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11". It is a point-by-point chronicle of the deceits that Moore perpetrates in order to make the case against George W. Bush. Incidentally, Kopel wrote a similar piece for the National Review Online about "Bowling for Columbine." It is entitled "Bowling Truths." I would also recommend reading Chrirstopher Hitchens Slate.com piece, "Unfairenheit 9/11."

The real problem with Moore is that he is becoming what he continues to rail against. He claims to be a humble man from Flint, MI but that was over once he made his ridiculous "Best Documentary" acceptance speech at the Academy Awards in 2003. At that moment he became one of the Hollywood elite that always seems to know what's best for the rest of us. He also continuously castigates the rich for not sharing their hard earned wealth. Moore has become very rich himself as a result of his films, so why is okay for him to be successful and wealthy while it is unacceptable for corporate CEOs? These are just some of the contradictions addressed on mooreexposed.com.

The bottom line is that as an American he has the right to speak his views but he is doing so at the expense of his credibility and the causes that he claims to support. I don't really think that anyone decided not to vote for Bush because of "Fahrenheit 9/11." People who agree with Moore saw it and loved it. People who disagree saw it, hated it and then went to see the "Passion of the Christ." I think that his outspoken anti-Bush rhetoric coupled with others from the Hollywood elite actually mobilized a contingent of Bush voters who otherwise would have stayed home on Nov. 2. For that, I can only believe that in 2006 and 2008, any association with Michael Moore will be a costly liability for the Democratic Party.

Veterans Day 2004

Lest we forget the reasons for our freedoms... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Yasser Arafat Dead at 75

All the network websites are reporting as of tonight that Yasser Arafat died in a Paris hospital at 3:30 am (9:30 pm Eastern). We've been through this before in the past few days but this time it seems pretty legitimate. This time, Saeb Erakat, chief negotiator for Palestine was the one to make the proclamation.

President Bush has made his statement:

"The death of Yasser Arafat is a significant moment in Palestinian history. We express our condolences to the Palestinian people. For the Palestinian people, we hope that the future will bring peace and the fulfillment of their aspirations for an independent, democratic Palestine that is at peace with its neighbors. During the period of transition that is ahead, we urge all in the region and throughout the world to join in helping make progress toward these goals and toward the ultimate goal of peace."

I wish I could be as optimistic as that. Whereas Bush's statement is more directed as the Palestinian people, French President Jacques Chirac made a statement that is more fawning towards the fallen PLO leader:

"It is with emotion that I have just learnt of the death of President Yasser Arafat, the first elected president of the Palestinian Authority. I offer my very sincere condolences to his family and to people close to him."

Reports have said that Arafat's funeral will likely take place in Cairo and the burial will take place in Ramallah. If Palestinian leaders have it their way, the Ramallah tomb will only be temporary. However, Israelis justifiably see it differently.

Arafat's family had wanted him buried in Jerusalem, but the Israeli government forbade that.
"Jerusalem is the city where Jewish kings are buried, and not Arab terrorists," Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid said last week. Erakat vowed that the grave in Ramallah would be temporary.

I am waiting for the rest of the world's (and more importantly, the Middle East's) reaction on Thursday morning. I hope that all will remain relatively peaceful as it did following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

Son of the Mask!?!

Hollywood must think that we are really, really stupid. I find it insulting that someone in that city would finance a live action "Garfield" movie, but this has got to be a new low: "Son of the Mask."

Thinking back to 1994, I remember going to the theater to see "The Mask" and being fairly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it had it's moments, but it just wasn't "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" funny. Without Jim Carrey and his unbelievable physical comedy abilities, "The Mask" would have been a complete and utter failure. The only other thing it had going for it was the film debut of a little known model by the name of Cameron Diaz.

I remember hearing rumors of a sequel, but after several years, I figured that no one had interest in continuing the story. That is until 2004 when some completely out-of-touch studio executives gathered together enough money to resurrect the dead and rotted corpse that was the screenplay for "Son of the Mask."

Think that I might be exaggerating? Watch the trailer and then ask yourself the following question: "Do I know anyone that would want to see this movie?"

Sometimes I wonder how bad movies get made. I feel that often there are too many people with financial interests to allow them to succeed. The have decent scripts, actors and directors, but the producers stifle the creativity to fit the film into some kind of box that it doesn't belong in the hopes of repeating past successes of similar films. This is not one of those films. This movie just looks bad.

The only thing that I dislike more than remakes of decent classic movies is completely unnecessary sequels. Hollywood must really be a crazy place if you can have people wasting so much money and energy on a project that has very little chances of recouping it's cost.

On top of everything else, this movie doesn't even have Jim Carrey or Cameron Diaz in it! I think that Jamie Kennedy can be pretty funny and I absolutely loved the "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment," but I'm not going to see this movie because of that. Alan Cumming is a critically acclaimed Broadway and film actor, so I'm not sure why he's involved. I only hope that whatever favor he owes someone is now paid-in-full.

For yourselves and those you love, please skip seeing this movie. Instead rent one of the seasons of "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment" or one of Alan Cumming's better movies such as "GoldenEye," "The Anniversary Party" or "X2: X-Men United." Don't reward Hollywood for continuing to treat you like you're dumb enough to watch anything they crap out.

Note: If this tirade has not been enough for you, please refer to the talkback section on this movie on Ain't It Cool News. WARNING: The talkbackers do not use the same level of restraint that I do so let this be your warning about inappropriate language.

There's a Spirit that can ne'er be told

I was just reading my "Election Special" edition of Time magazine and came across a great mention of my undergraduate alma mater by former president George H.W. Bush. While I was a student there in 1996, his Presidential Library opened and since that time, he and Barbara make frequent visits to College Station from their home in Houston.

The article is mostly about Bush 41 getting to enjoy his son's re-election and the possibility of future runs for the White House by other members of the Bush family. But he also talks of his travels around the country and how he spends his retirement:

"The older Barbara and I get, the more we value our private time in Maine or Houston, and we love our little apartment at the [Bush] Library in College Station and being around the Texas A&M campus with the kids," he says. "I went up to Yale, and I was walking through the campus, and not once did anyone say, 'How are you?' or 'What can I do for you?' or 'Are you enjoying it?' They all looked the other way. Down at College Station they all say, 'Howdy.' I love going there."

I'd love it if everyone in the world could experience what Aggieland is like, but then the secret might be out to too many people. Trying to get people to understand what we have there is very hard. To quote the old Aggie adage, "From the outside looking in, you can't understand it; from the inside looking out, you can't explain it."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Friendster would be a lot cooler if...

...it didn't keep losing my messages and testimonials somewhere between when I press the "Send" button and when the "Message Successfully Sent" notice pops up.

Don't get me wrong, I like the service and you can't beat the price, but come on! Maybe it's all these new ads they are putting on the site to pay for the thing.

I'd post a comment on my Friendster message board about it but I fear that it would mysteriously disappear into the Friendster vapors.

The funniest sitcom of all time?

We are only two weeks away from the day that I have waited for for many many years...at least since 1998. Back then, the world barely knew what DVDs were but once the format became popular for releasing seasons of TV series, I knew that the time would one day come for the release of 'Seinfeld.' The first three seasons will be released on November 23 in a couple of different versions, including some kind of crazy collectors edition. Based on a review on FoxNews.com, the DVDs will be packed with extras including commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, bloopers, yada, yada yada.

Thought by many to be the greatest sitcom of all time, it set new rules for TV. Now you're hard pressed to find any sitcom that wasn't in some way influenced by the show.

For years, I thought that Jerry Seinfeld was a comedic genius...that is until I watched my first episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' Although technically not a sitcom, it has proven to me that Larry David is undoubtedly the genius behind the humor of 'Seinfeld.'

So when you go to purchase the first three seasons of 'Seinfeld,' grab the first two seasons of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' as well. You will not be disappointed unless you rely on a laugh track to tell you what's supposed to be funny. But I think you are smarter than that.

Monday, November 08, 2004

And the next DNC Chairman could be....

Howard Dean?!?

Of course this is speculation and hearsay at this point in time

I give Dean credit for a grass roots mobilization like no one has seen in decades of Presidential primary politics. However, this is the same Howard Dean that was summarily defeated for being "unelectable" in primary battle after primary battle with John Kerry.

He would definitely continue to mobilize the staunch liberal Democrat troops but quite possibly at the cost of alienating the more centrist Democrats that could swing an election one way or the other.

Perhaps the Democratic party hasn't learned any lessons from the 2004 Election. Only time will tell really but this would probably not be the best of starts to capturing the overwhelming majority of moderate thinkers in America.

Another Hollywood Redux Goes Down In Flames

Jude Law's remake of the Michael Cain film "Alfie" had little to cheer about today when the box office totals proved to be far less than expected.

The New York Times reports:

Wayne Llewellyn, the president of distribution at Paramount, said that the conservative ethos reflected in last week's election results might have hurt the film.

"It could be the mood of the country right now," he said. "It seems to be the result of the election. Maybe they didn't want to see a guy that slept around."

Or maybe it's that people are tired of seeing pointless remake after remake. Stop trying to blame the "conservative" electorate for your failure to produce a new and original film. Work up a good script and make a new movie. People like Alexander Payne seem to have no problem doing it.

UPDATE: From everything I've been reading and hearing, it appears Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles is another such movie that might just save the day (pun fully intended!). It's gotten some great word of mouth in my circle of friends as well as the rare five finger endorsement of my favorite internet film critic, The Filthy Critic. WARNING: His reviews are riddled with profanity so therefore may not be safe viewing at work!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Thinking of moving to Canada?

On Wednesday morning, I went to work at my internship to hear my coworkers discussing President Bush's re-election and how bad it would be to have him in office for four more years. They were talking about moving out of the country, a typical overreaction to a situation they don't like.

But then I started thinking about it. I remember the same being said after the 2000 election, and at the time I thought, "Fine. You're overreacting, but do what you want."

On Wednesday though, I realized that a mass emigration to Canada or Europe would be a very good thing for the US economy. Think back to one of John Kerry's biggest complaints about the Bush administration: job losses and unemployment. In reality, things are not as bad as Senator Kerry would have you believe, but think about the number of available jobs there would be if 250,000 Americans simply left them on their rush to get out of the country! I don't know if they would be counted as a "job creation" for President Bush, but it would sure get some able bodied people re-employed.

My mind didn't stop there though. My next thought was that in this day of telecommuting, would these people who are so desperate to leave the country expect to maintain their jobs remotely from Canada and/or overseas? If this were the case, wouldn't this be classified as voluntarily outsourcing their own jobs to themselves? I think it would. So if they were to take their jobs and leave the country, I don't want to hear anymore complaints of outsourcing. It's just another issue of convenience for not taking responsibility and dealing with the unpredictable nature of life.

Hello World, Prepare to Hear Me!

After months of reading blogs and being prodded by friends of mine to create my own, I am launching the Voice of the 13th Generation.

What exactly is the 13th Generation you ask? It is what some in the past have called Generation X. According to The Word Spy, the 13th Generation is the generation born between 1961 and 1981, so-called because they are identified as the 13th generation since the founding of the United States. I plan to use this space to write about things that happen in my life and news items that interest me.

I know, it doesn't really sound that different from any of the other blogs out there, but hopefully there will be an audience for my musings. I hope for my posts to be entertaining, informative and thought-provoking at times. So without further ado, let the blogging begin!