I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blogging, no big bucks there

For some unknown reason there are a number of people out there who believe there is quite a bit of money to be earned blogging.  Surprise, this is, for the most part, horse shit.  Now I'm not saying people aren't making money off of their blogs, but they are few and far between.  How do I know?  Well, I belong to a community of bloggers on Linkedin and the question was put out to the group.  Out of all the responses, only 5 claimed to be putting good money in their pockets.  The vast majority said they did it either for fun or had yet to receive any revenue.  Most of the comments were on the amusing side.  Evidently you need to average at least 25,000 hits per day to even scratch the income surface and a lot of those hits need to be clicking on your ads.  In some cases the ads, themselves, are not free. Nobody wants to pay for an ad no one else has any interest in viewing.  I've seen bloggers plead for people to click on the ads.  When that begins to happen you are in a very bad place.
For me, the joy of blogging is in being able to say what I want.  I get to tell people about things I find interesting.  I get to point out what I believe to be stupidities to people.  Now and then I publicly question why something is happening, or why certain people do things.  If people read what I write, that's fine, it's just as fine with me if they don't.  Any one who starts blogging because they believe they're going to make their fortune at it has their head up their ass.  It's like wanting to be a major league baseball player, or be in the NFL or AFL, or any other sport.  Millions of people dream, but those who actually make big bucks are almost as rare as hen's teeth.

Friday, March 22, 2013

If Halle Berry calls, don't answer

A friend of mine wanted to go see The Call, with Halle Berry and pestered me in a kind way to go along with her.  After much trepidation, I agreed; you see I'm not a big fan.  While I'm not going to say the movie was a complete disappointment, it did suffer terribly from stupidity.  First of all, it's a chick-flick thriller.  Definition:  the only male character with any real screen time is the serial killer.  Secondly, there is so much dumb stuff happening on the screen I was more dumbfounded then entertained.  During a training session a stupid, male trainee asks stupid male questions which seemed to have been written in order for Ms Berry to show she has spunk when it comes to dealing with stupid males.  Let me tell you, I've worked in HR and any trainee who asks the questions he asked would not have a job very long.  There was a scene where where a screw driver is used to open paint cans in the closed trunk of a Toyota Camry, not always an easy task but even more difficult when done in the dark.  Let's see, someone drops a cell phone in a hole in the ground and then climbs down a ladder to get.  Even my friend admitted that was really, really stupid.  Even though the film was evidently meant to showcase Ms Berry's acting abilities, the one character who actually came across as 3 dimensional was... the serial  killer.

At first they don't show you his face, but when they do the first thought to go through your head is "holy shit, this guy looks normal."  Played by Michael Eklund, the serial killer looks like you next door neighbor.  Not only does he look like him, he lives in an upper middle class neighborhood.  You learn he's a Med Tech working at a hospital.  You get to meet his wife and two sons.  He had a beautiful sister whose death from cancer is the root of his psychological problems.  With all of the depth to his character, you can only wonder why the writers didn't do the same with Ms Berry.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Little Debbies, the horrors of nutritional hell

Every week, usually on Saturdays, I spend an afternoon with my Mom.  Mostly we sit and talk about trivial things since both our politics and religious beliefs are at odds.  There is always freshly brewed coffee and a snack, which on some occasions she will have baked.  Mostly, however, she brings out the Little Debbies.  You know what I'm talking about, those snack cakes and cookies from hell.  To be honest, the word cake should not be used because the spongy substance Little Debbie calls cake is anything but cake.  She usually provides a choice, either Nutty Bars or Swiss Rolls.  Out of politeness I always eat one, two serving pack.  If I didn't she would ask "is there something wrong?" in the tone of voice she uses on those rare moments when politics or religion make it briefly into our conversation.

If I were to point out the Nutty Bars she was offering contained absolutely no nutritional value she would counter with "they're not supposed to be nutritional, they're supposed to taste good."  This means I mute my opinion.  If you were to check out their nutritional value on line, as I did, you would discover they contain a lot of sugars and fats and that's about it, no minerals (except for salt) and no vitamins.  As for their tasting good, I can't agree with that either.  When you make about 2 million a day you can't be bothered by a little thing called flavor.  Personally, I don't think there are very many people  out there who savor their Little Debbies.  No, I suspect it's more of a conditioned response: see it, unwrap it, and wolf the damn thing down.  When my Mom serves Swiss Rolls each one gets two bites.   The faint hint of chocolate left in my mouth must be artificial.  I don't really worry that much since one Little Debbie every weeks is not going to send me spiraling down into nutritional hell.

There are, unfortunately, people out there who eat them all the time.  Take a look at some of the supermarket carts you pass when you do you next grocery shopping.  There are carts with two, and three, and four boxes of Little Debbies.  People pack them in their lunches, and eat them for snacks when they get home from school, and they do this every day.  My Mom has a snack drawer filled with Little Debbies, and she replenishes it regularly.  Me, I try to avoid putting garbage in my mouth.  But then I think about my diet.  There's a lot of truth in that saying you are what you eat.  The real question is:  are you a Swiss Roll or a Nutty Bar?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oz should scare the crap out of your kids

Well, I went to see "Oz, the Great and Powerful," and... I liked it.  My friend Betsy, however, was not so keen.  With all the press swirling around about it's inappropriateness for younger children, she expected something more akin to the original. Walking out of the theater she actually said, "I should have realized it was going to be a prequel."  And, true to form, there were dumb shit parents who chose to ignore all of the press and take little kids.  They sat several rows behind us and I can tell you, the children were not at all happy.  Don't people pay attention to news, or are they just plain stupid?  Wait, why am I even asking the question when the answer is so obvious?  Could the answer be yes to both queries?  That don't pay attention and they are stupid? I think yes.  Still, one has to ponder if this is the true intention of the film's director:  make a film which stupid, inattentive adults will take their children to see so the children will be traumatized for life.  Or maybe the thought was something might be learned.  While that may have been true of the original, I don't know if that's true here.  Dorothy learned through her trials and tribulations and scares that "there's no place like home."  I mean, what do we learn from the new Oz film?

Take the kiddies, the scares are worth it
Let's see... Well, siblings can't be trusted, (there's nothing new there).    In times of need different people work together for a single purpose, (we've all seen this before).  You can overcome your adversaries without resorting to violence (remember 'make love not war?).  Life is scary sometimes, so just deal with it.  Wait a minute, what was that last one? The idea that life is scary?  Is this something we've actually been teaching our children?  How many times have you heard a parent say, "let them enjoy their childhood, they'll be adults soon enough?"  I think this is a big problem in today's United States.  We want our children sensitized.  Define this as our not training our children to deal with heartache and hardship. You should prepare you children for everything.  Disney knew this.  He made kids cry on purpose.  He taught us lessons our parents didn't want us to learn.  Maybe the parents I wrote about earlier weren't such dumb shits after all... Nah, they were, but by being so maybe the scares of "Oz, the Great and Powerful" taught their frightened kids a lesson or two. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why CPAC fails

CPAC ends today.  Who cares.  Except for a disillusioned minority, I don't think too many people even consider the event important.  There may be money sitting in that audience but this last election proved dollars can't buy the White House, believe me, they tried.  I believe Mitt Romney gets to speak today.   Woah, what's up with that?  Don't they realize if he hadn't gotten the racist vote from the south Obama would have crushed him like a bug?  Hell no.  The key to solving a problem is understanding it, however there seems to be a large disconnect there.  Like chain smokers who know they need to stop smoking, they keep lighting up.  I don't think their addiction is so much for party ideals as it is their hatred for the Democrats.  No matter how expensive those cigarettes cost, they're going to keep on buying them.  In 2012 that cost was in votes.  Because of this, candidates who are somewhat centrist need to chew up and spit out right wing red meat just to keep the crowd happy.  Rand Paul talked about a 'new Republican Party,' of course he's talking about converting them all to Libertarians.  Who invited him? They don't seem to understand the voting public is not going to suddenly flock to their closed minded approach.  So they sit in their chairs, like smokers, an ashtray filled with dead butts by their side, and they light up another. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The adult truth about the Wizard of Oz

"Oz, the Great and Powerful" opened in theaters last weekend and, to be perfectly honest, I had to laugh at all of the hub-bub about whether it was to frightening for children.  Why was I laughing?  Because so many reviewers and critics were looking at the original film with 21st century eyes.  Today we have film ratings, back in 1939 we didn't.  That was in the heart of the depression and going to movies was a great escape from reality, more so with adults then children.  In other words, the original film was geared for a wide audience of both adults and children.  Margaret Hamilton's wicked witch of the west scare them all.  The special effects are easily equivalent to the CGI of today; too many people forget that.  It was one of two films released in color, the other being Gone With The Wind, which guaranteed it would bring in everybody.  And, amazingly, it was one of two films to use a curse word.  Again, the other was Gone With The Wind, with Rhett Butler's famous "I don't give a damn" line.  So, where was this same word used in The Wizard of Oz?  When the infamous Almra Gulch tells the Gale family "I will bring a damn lawsuit that will take your farm."  Now tell me, in 1939, was that the kind of language geared for the kiddies?

I would bet my left nut that when Louis B. Mayer green lighted the original he did not do so because he wanted to make a children's movie.  No, he wanted to make a movie that would satisfy all audiences, both young and old, because that's where the money was.  Remember, Hollywood has always been about money, and making entertainment pay.  In the 21st century movies for children have become big business, 75 years ago that would have been a losing proposition.  Financially, the studios needed to bring as big an audience into the theater as possible, which is why the scares in the most important of Oz films had scares to make everybody cringe, not just the little ones.

I suspect that Oz, the Great and Powerful, like the classic film, was designed to please everybody.  That's what makes a film last forever.  The more people it satisfies, the longer it will hang around, which is what so many people want: film immortality .

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dick's fails and Underarmour loses

In a follow up to the previous post regarding Dick's and their lack of wider width running shoes, I did receive the following email response:

Thank you for your product inquiry. We are always happy to help you find
the right merchandise. The Running Shoes for Wider Width are available
and can be found in our Internet store catalog. Please copy and paste
the link below in to the URL field of your Internet browser:

I was just told that because my feet are slightly wider then average I will have to buy my running shoes on line.  Holy Shit!  I replied, of course, noting that I if I had to buy my running shoes online it would most likely be from Amazon since they have the same brands at better prices.  Some executive moron at Dick's made the decision to only carry D width shoes in their stores, at least the closest store to me, in Mechancisburg, PA.  No doubt, for them this is cost effective thinking.

This store's bigger then the one I shop in, maybe they have E width shoes!

To my surprise, when I went to the Underarmour website to check out their running shoes, I discovered they don't sell them.  How do I know?  Shoe description in comments.  Every one of their shoes was made for average width only.  There were questions from potential customers regarding shoe width, if shoes were available in wider sizes.  The response was always the same:  not at this time.  Tell me that doesn't suck.
One size does not fit all!
Don't these people understand it's all about finding a shoe that fits comfortably.  If you need to purchase a shoe that is 2 sizes larger in order to get the proper width, it's a big fail.  If the only shoes available don't fit and you end up with blisters, it's a fail.  At a time when companies are trying to increase their market share, ignoring one potential source of revenue is a fail.  For those interested, ASICS, New Balance, and Munzio sell shoes for those who need wider width shoes. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Running shoes, the losing side of Dick's

A long time ago, when I went into the US Navy, I was surprised that at 8.5 D my shoe size was rather small for a 5'11" man, in fact, I think I had the smallest feet in my division.  This was no big deal, I mean, feet are feet, the vast majority of us have at least 2.  However, over time, as I matured into middle age, my feet changed.  I now wear a size 9 E.  The new shoe size shouldn't be a problem, should it?  Well, it is.  Evidently we people with wider then average feet are a minority in the world, and as such, retailers tend give us short shrift.  Let me give you an example.  Two days ago I went to Dick's Sporting Goods planning to purchase a new pair of running shoes.  Guess what?  I spent fifteen minutes crawling around on the floor, pulling out shoe box after shoe box, looking for a pair that was not sized a D.  No luck.  So I went on line and looked.  They don't give customers an option.  They list one standard size.  Now I could order a pair of those running shoes if I wanted to, but I can tell you they wouldn't even come close to fitting my feet.

Only average sized shoes here

A rule of thumb when ordering running shoes, or training shoes, or any kind of shoes on line is to add to your shoe size, so if you wear a 9 you should order a 10.  Excuse me, but am I not the only one who thinks this is a bit crazy?  I checked out Zappo's, which offers wide shoes,  and then looked at the same sized, wide shoe at Amazon and most of the comments were "not big enough, order a size larger."  True, there were a few comments praising the shoe, but there were not that many.  Feet are like people, they are not all the same.  Unfortunately, I suspect most manufacturers and retailers prefer to focus on the average because it's more cost effective, thus leaving us wide footers out in the cold.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Stupid NBC Sports craps on both the Tour de France and Amgen

When NBC Sports decides to drop a turd on the American cyclists, they drop a big one.  I checked out their sports network to see if they were broadcasting at least a highlight show of the Paris-Nice race and saw they weren't.  Their coverage of the race begins at midnight, Eastern Standard time.  Hey, dumb shits at NBC Sports, I don't own a DVR.  Back when the network used to be Versus they broadcast a lot of cycling, but since it became NBC Sports those moments are becoming few far between.  Maybe some moron executive believes cycling to be slightly un-American.  Most likely, however, it's simply a ratings issue.  I suspect that of all the sports networks, non of which are ratings giants, NBC Sports pulls in an average amount of viewers, and they do have to pay Dan Patrick; that guy seems to be all over the place.  This means there might be a few thousand more people watching college basketball then there would be watching Paris-Nice.

Of course their stupidity goes beyond that, it becomes incredulously dumb.  This is how they note times for the races they will be broadcasting (my highlight).

"This TV schedule is subject to change and all times are considered ET. All events are same day delay or next day delay except for Amgen Tour de France, Tour of California, USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and Paris Roubaix."

Holy Shit!  Amgen is now sponsoring the Tour de France! Someone must have their head up their ass at NBC Sports.  Not only do they insult the Tour de France, they insult Amgen.  Of course, maybe they believe I'm the only one out here who looks at their cycling website, which would be fricking stupid.  Of course, for all I know this copy was written by Dan Patrick.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Is butter the noose around your neck?

Here's a bit of an update on the Med diet I'd talked about earlier.  For some odd reason I'd thought tons of research had been completed on diet and how it effects the heart.  The fact that some bozo somewhere began advocating a low fat diet to promote heart health seems ludicrous to me, yet the article intimates this to be true.  I mean we've been reading about the benefits of Omega 3 for years so some group of pseudo-dieticians must have at least put some thought into fish oil and how it promotes heart health.  The bit about people finding it difficult to stick to a low fat diet was very amusing.  Like, so what else is new?  What they're really saying is it's not 'fat' across the board which is bad, just the animal kind, like butter.  Holy Crap, I've known that for years, which is why I've switched to olive oil a long time ago.

Could this be the fruit of life?
In regards to the diet I was raised on, I am way out side the box.  Before my Mom eats a slice of toast, she slavers it with a thick layer of butter followed by another thick layer of jelly.  Yum.  Well, maybe not quite.  It's rare for me to ever eat toast.  This is, however, how my siblings and I were raised and is also how my mother was raised.  She doesn't like the taste of olive oil and so never uses the stuff.  With the Mediterranean Diet they are advocating at least 3 tablespoons a day.  It will be a cold day in hell before she ever follows this diet.   The only fish we had growing up was breaded fish sticks, sometimes baked, sometimes fried in butter (now how fricking healthy is that?). 

We always ate butter.  My grandmother used to make her own and believe me, it was very tasty.  When she was finished  churning, she would press it into little wooden molds.   It was pretty to look at, of course no one knew how the fat content was slowly beginning to clog arteries.

Pretty but deadly

Anyway, a long time ago I gave up butter.  I don't cook with it, I don't spread it on my bread, in fact, I don't even serve it to my guests when I throw a dinner party.  This is not to say I won't eat a croissant every now and then, but that rarity is normal for me.  Sadly, most people in the United States are not like me, they will stick with the foods they were raised with, even if their diet kills them early.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Bob Woodward's temper tantrum.

There seems to be quite a bit of finger pointing going on right now between Bob Woodward and the White House.  Just what it's about, I don't really know.  Personally, I suspect it's just Woodward throwing a petulant, little fit.  Why do I say this?  The more I read about him the more I understand how there is something in his ego which shrieks "I need to be an icon... no, I need to be something more!"  Just like pop musicians who know the need of having a good hook to sell a song, he knows he needs to have a good line to hook an audience.  Unfortunately for him, however, ever since the Bush administration his writing seems to be more "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."  I became aware of this way back when in one of his books about Bush he quoted the president as saying "I go to my higher father for advice," or something like that.  I remember the first time I read that all I could say was Holy Shit.  I was so surprised Bob Woodward was pandering to the Republican base.  For quite some time after that, it seemed as if you couldn't turn on the television without seeing Woodward's smiling face.  I'm sure he sold quite a few books to social conservatives who, up until that point, never gave him a second thought.  It was at that moment I realized he was less concerned about journalism then he was with ego.

Not really invited to the party

While he has published "Obama's Wars," it wouldn't surprise me if this administration is not as Woodward friendly as he wants it to be.  Of course, Bush was only popular among his base where as Obama has an obvious consensus among a majority of the voters.  Bush needed Woodward, Obama doesn't.  There's a party going on in the White House and Bob wasn't invited as the guest of honor, more like the busboy.  Now there is this little, pissy shit war going on between Woodward and and the White House. Dig deep enough and I suspect you'll find the root cause is the small bones the administration has been throwing to him.  One hundred years from now Bob Woodward does not want to be one more forgotten journalist, just a foot note in time.