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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Johnny Depp murdered The Lone Ranger

As I as looking through various headlines on the MSNBC web one in the Entertainment section caught my eye.  Evidently Johnny Depp is considering giving up acting.  I was truly surprised, you see I thought he'd given it up years ago.  Not that he wasn't appearing in movies, it just seemed as though each character he supposedly was playing need to be more outlandish then the last; the make-up needed to be odder.  In fact, movies in which he wasn't over the top did very poorly at the box office, even one in which he was paired with Angelina Jolie missed the mark.  He became very good at creating caricatures rather then characters. This is not a good thing to build a career on.  People do get tired of seeing weird.  I'm sure Michael Bay thought old Johnny had the Midas touch - boy was Michael Bay wrong.  The instant Dark Shadows started dying at the box office they should have put a halt to the production of The Lone Ranger, of course they didn't. 

No matter how pretty the hero, the guy with the bird on his head is always going to steal the scene.

When they decided to cover his face with make-up to hide the fact that he was not Native American, someone should have told them they had a problem.  When they decided to turn The Lone Ranger into a buddy movie, someone should have tapped them on the shoulder and reminded them just what the movie was titled.  I have some friends who see just about everything which gets released and they chose not to go because "it's more about Tonto."  In the original TV series Clayton Moore was the lead and Jay Silverheels was relegated to sidekick status.  Of course, that wouldn't work for either Johnny Depp or Michael Bay.  Tonto needed to have star status.  I think it's funny that somebody actually thought that make-up was a good idea.  I think it's sad that's how they wanted to Tonto to be played.  I think they're probably reeling at Disney how their concept of Tonto killed the movie.  I'm sure Johnny Depp stepped into this role believing he was going to be the greatest Tonto of all time.  Truthfully?  It was Johnny Depp who murdered The Lone Ranger

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Republicans - Proof of Evolution

There are a lot of people out there who believe Darwin hit the nail right on the head with his bit about evolution, but not every body is on board.  In this country (USA), there are a number who think he got it all wrong, mostly because of their religious beliefs.  Here, in this country, we call them Republicans.  They want to believe in Creationism, which is fine since we have freedom of religion.  I would also be willing to bet most of them know the difference between evolution and revolution, in the first change takes place over a period of time and in the second takes place practically overnight.  They are a rather amusing bunch since their own party is, in a painfully obvious way, is change.  That's right, Republicans are evolving.
There was evidently a Washington Post / ABC Poll released on Tuesday and the numbers must be frightening for a political group who want to call themselves the Grand Old Party... well, maybe Grand Old is right on the button.  It's a shame they can't go through a revolution and have the whole thing done with, but no, they are going to evolve in a very public manner.  There is the growing chasm between Chris Christie and Paul Rand, neither of whom seems aware of their loyal voters slipping off the edge and falling into the abyss below.  There are the pundits pulling at it this way and that, feeding ego and bank accounts rather then party politics.  They are the proverbial three legged stool and we can only sit back and watch as each leg tries to chop up the other two.  As my Grandma used to say, they got too many cooks in the kitchen.  Still, whether they want to admit it or not, the Republicans are evolving.  Now, all we have to do is wait and see if they turn into a Ferdinand or a Caliban.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

GOP - Lost in the forest of no return

After the 2012 National election there was all this inference from the Republican Part that, after losing badly to Obama, they were going to have to change. Studies were published saying young people were not attracted to the party.  The party platform was out of touch with the rest of the country.  They needed to become more inclusive in regards to Blacks, Latinos, Gays, Lesbians, women's reproductive rights; the list just goes on and on.  For a few months after the election they did make a few furtive steps in those directions, but now, eight months after their defeat, those steps have all but stopped.  This was to be expected.  To continue would have meant to voluntarily choose to change, and for that to happen the GOP would need to admit that they were wrong... on a lot of things.  They have spent too many years pointing their fingers at everybody else any and every time something has gone wrong while they held the presidency.  They are lost in the forest of no return.

Lost without no path out

Denial has led them down the path to their autumn years and it is far too late for them to turn over a new leaf.  As a result, the only thing they can do is attack.  While I've never read it there, I'm sure one of the unspoken planks in their platform is "if you can't offer an alternative solution, burn down the other guy's house and then blame him for it."  What a sad place to be in if the only way to get votes is by constantly deriding and disseminating falsehood and allegation.  This doesn't say much for their ethics, but I'm fairly sure they shit those away a long time ago.  They are the party of aging white men.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fox News and Gerontology

This morning, while I was looking over my news feeds I saw a headline in the NYT which caused me to take a step back and reflect.  I didn't read the article, but evidently advertisers have a need to be concerned about buying time on Fox News because the median (average) age of viewers is 65.  To give you an idea of what that 65 actually means, for every 24 year old viewer, you would need to have 2 viewers who were 85.  This is not good, since the advertising on Fox is geared for the 24 - 29 year age group.  What should be even more troubling for the news network is that the message they are sending out over the airwaves is not attracting younger viewers.

Fox News, past it's prime?
Being the news network watching by aging Americans does not put you in a 'win-win' situation.  In fact, it's quite the opposite since your audience is slowly dying off.  Part of the problem is the notion that 'if it's not broke, don't fix it' seems to have fixated itself in the executive pudding heads.  People aren't going to turn on a network simply to watch some porcelain doll reading a news prompter... well, maybe the old farts will.  What they need to do is turn their message into something which is more progressive and less regressive, a challenge they may find too difficult to achieve.  I mean, there's nothing wrong with being a geriatric news network, you just need to realize your audience is going to continue shrinking, year after year.  This means Fox News is in for a slow and lingering death.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Froome vs Wiggins, a tale of character

Later this afternoon Chris Froome is going to win the 100th Tour de France.  As he rides down the Champs Elysees, I'm wondering if he's going to be anticipating the win or reflecting back on last year's Tour.  Why would he reflect?  Because this year he is winning by such a substantial margin, over 5 minutes.  And I also remember how Paul and Phil practically swooned over his cycling  during the 99th Tour.  Sure, they bragged about Wiggins, which was normal since they're all Brits, but Froome seemed to get special attention from them.  What I'm saying is he could have won last year's Tour but gave it to Wiggins.  I think from this year that's pretty apparent.

So, wouldn't you be reflective if you could have had two Tour wins under you belt rather then just one.    And think about next year.  What if he wins that Tour.  In fact, what if he could end up being the greatest Tour de France of all time... if last year had counted.  Imagine possibly sacrificing a record of achievement so Wiggins could win one Tour de France.  In my book, that takes a lot of character.  I also think it says quite a lot about the character of the cyclist who wins basically by default.  In that person's case it's all about the winning and not about the cycling.  I suspect that in Chris Froome we see someone who is all about they cycling.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sirius XM - dollars down the drain?

I recently purchased a new car and like many new cars these days it came with a free three month subscription to Sirius XM.  Of course, the first thing I did was to go online and check up just how much this sucker would cost.  If I were to go with the Premier package it would set me back about $200 per year.  I think that's kind of high since the only time I listen to radio is while I'm in the car which in total is about 20 to 30 minutes per day.  You also have to remember I have an Ipod full of music which I have already purchased.  So do I really want to fork over $200 to Sirius?  Since I am not a Rah! Rah! sports fan, those stations would never get played.  I don't like Howard Stern, never have, probably never will.  I never listen to oldies, I've already lived through that shit, I don't need to live through it again. 

There is a slightly less expensive package, but again I have to remind myself just what it is I am paying - commercial free music.  The truth is I have not listen to radio since I purchased my first Ipod, and that was years ago.  I don't listen to Pop Music because it is here today and gone tomorrow.  For those who don't understand, it is the most ephemeral of the arts, being so short lived I'm wondering why we don't just classify it as mindless filler.
Anyway, I have another 2 months and 28 days to make up my mind about Sirius XM.  I will try to remember to listen to it on my 12 minute ride to work and my 12 minute ride home from work.  I will try not to change the source to my Ipod.  At some point I will reach a decision as to whether I consider it worthwhile, or just dollars down the drain.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Traditonal Marriage - nothing more then Hallmark Hell

As I was walking the dog this morning I thought about marriage since there is a big 'to do' going on about it.  There's traditional marriage and now there's nontraditional marriage, both are supposed to be based upon the love of two people.  However, too many are oblivious to the fact that right from the beginning marriage was about ownership and that ownership needed to be legitimized by some deity, or religious philosophy.  I get a little fed up with this crap about the love between a man and a women because in all of the shrieks and rants no one mentions bankable.  Dowries were important.  A young woman who had a dowry worth 2 pigs, 4 goats, and 10 chickens was worth a hell of a lot more then a young woman who could only bring 3 goats and 6 chickens to a marriage.  Where's the love in that?  Some cultures relied heavily on matchmakers, people hired to broker marriages, and the first thing they looked was ownership.  What were the potential bride and groom going to be bringing to the table?

The age of the bride was important as well.  For centuries the younger she was the better, not because so many of the men were pedophiles, but because so many women died in childbirth.  The younger the bride, the more likely she would have several children who survived.  Babies were very important, after all, who was going to take care of you when you hit the ripe old age of 36.

We would like marriage to be this romantic, Hallmark moment that lasts forever.  It doesn't.  In some states the divorce rate is almost 60% and that's bad.  That's another problem with the traditionalists, they want to talk about the marriage aspect but not the divorce end, or infidelity (both men and women seem equally guilty in that arena), nor terrible custody battles. The terrible truth is that there are people who are locked in this Hallmark hell, their minds shut off to any reality other then the  blanket of disillusionment that makes them happy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Garmin's Crash Vande Velde

Every year I look forward to seeing Garmin's roster for the Tour de France; there are certain cyclists on the team that I like and would like to see there, other cyclists who don't impress me much and I wonder why in the hell is he riding.  I was surprised when two of the cyclists I like, Zabriskie and Farrar, were benched this year.  I was even more surprised to see they were sending Crash Vande Velde.  Most of the world knows him as Christian, me, I like to think of him as Crash.  He crashes a lot.  If you check him out in Wikipedia you'll see that in the past three years he's had to withdraw from the three major races because he'd injured himself in a crash.  He started the tour this year but... had to withdraw because he crashed... twice I believe.  One can only wonder why Garmin didn't have a statistician in the room when they were deciding on this year's roster.  The question should not have been "is he going to crash," but "when is he going to crash."

Vande Velde - just looking for a place to crash

One of the redemptive bright spots of this year's roster has been Andrew Talansky.  For a first timer on the tour he's doing really well.  Someone made a smart decision.  In fact, if you look at the overall General Classification, Garmin's top three riders are all in the mid-twenties.  Their older riders just aren't doing to well, and Crash Vande Velde?  He's out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Honda - only losers turn off the safety features

I'm getting a new car, a Honda CR-V.  This is something I've been planning on doing for the past several months.  Currently I'm driving a Honda Insight, and while the gas mileage is really good, the car itself just does not overwhelm me the way I thought it would.  Not that it's a bad car, I just need something... bigger, it's a guy thing.  Anyway, this afternoon while I was sitting in the Honda Dealership waiting for my sales consultant to locate a Kona Coffee Metallic EX-L, the consultant to my left was going over the Owner's manual with a gentleman who had just purchased a new Honda.  With all of the electronics in today's cars this is rarely a timely process.  I was more focused on the CR-V then their conversation until I heard the customer say "oh" in a very dismayed tone of voice.  What didn't he like?  The doors automatically lock when you hit about 8 or 9 miles an hour.  "I don't think I like that," he said, and his consultant said "well, if you don't like it, we can always turn that feature off."  And I'm sitting there wondering if this customer has pudding for brains.  Holy Crap!  The locks on you vehicle's doors are not only security features, they're safety features as well.  "Yes" the customer said, "I'd like that feature turned off.  At that moment I knew this guy was a dumb as a brick.
The dot is meant to let you know the door is safely locked.

If you're in an accident, a locked door will do quite a lot to keep you from being ejected from the vehicle, especially if you're one of those morons who doesn't like to wear seat belts.  A locked door will also keep you from falling out of the car, and believe me, I know a little bit about that.  When I was 8 years old I was in the back seat with four of my cousins in a car driven my Uncle Floyd.  As he took a turn a little too sharply the back door opened, because it wasn't latched properly, and I went flying.  After bouncing across the gravel shoulder I rolled about four feet down a hill.  While nothing was broken, I was a living, breathing road burn.  I always lock my car door, you know, been there, done that, don't want to do it again.  I like the safety feature.  The asshole beside me this afternoon likes to live dangerously.  One of these days he's going to hit a telephone pole a little too hard and he will be catapulted through the air with the greatest of ease, head first into a concrete pavement.  At that time it's going to be a little late for him to think "hhmmm, maybe I should have locked that door."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Orica-Greenedge - fresh faces for the Tour de France

When the Orica-Greenedge bus snagged the Finish Line on the first day of the 2013 Tour de France I sat watching it in my living room and couldn't help but laugh.  Not just because it was funny, but also because I new then this was going to be a different race.  Now I know there were a lot of people who wanted the grand pomposity of a one hundred year celebration.  Every year it's big, but this year it was going to be bigger, it was going to be the biggest year ever.  Until a green and white tour bus drove into the finish line.  What really happened was the chassis on which the Tour rides was somehow bent and as a result it's not going down the road the same way.  There are still some familiar names, like Chris Froom, near the front of the pack, but he's in danger of being crowded out of the scene by all those new, fresh faces, a number of which ride for Orica-Greenedge.  This doesn't mean he isn't going to win the Tour, as many expect, just that for the first time in quite a long time some unfamiliar names are taking the podiums.

This year's tour is not following the plan that was written.  Who ever thought that in it's 100th year it would decide to reboot itself.  You can hear it in the voices of the announcers because this is not what they were expecting.  You can see it in the faces of the Orica-Greenedge cyclists who seem to feel it more important that as many of their team where the Yellow Jersey as possible.  There isn't any ego when they are on the podium.  What you see more then anything is that "holy crap, I can't believe I'm here," innocence.  I don't know why but I like this year's tour more then many I've watched in the past.  Maybe because it seems that corporate cycling has realized it needs to take a back seat.  Maybe because this year there are so many fresh faces.  Or maybe it's because for the first time in a long time all those young cyclists are just riding to race in the Tour de France.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Ugly Truth about Extended Warranties

I have worked in retail for many years, some as a part-time associate and some as a full time associate, so I am quite familiar with those extended warranties retailers so desperately want you to purchase.  They love that little add on since a vast majority of the time, it's money in their bank.  Let me explain.  If you were an appliance manufacturer, like Whirlpool, would you want to build, say a dishwasher, which breaks down after three years?  The idea is to create a brand saturated with consumer loyalty.  Whirlpool is not going to grow that loyalty if their products are shoddy and need repairs after three or even four years.  This means they are going to build something which is going to survive longer then an extended warranty.  When it does finally break down, they want you to buy another Whirlpool product, not go with Samsung or LG.  Retailers don't give a shit about how long a product lasts, they just want you to buy the extended warranty since they put a lot of money in their bank account.  This is not to say there are not a few consumers out there who have not purchased and used these warranties, but they are a rare breed.

I did some research to find out who exactly buys these extended warranties and was surprised to find out low income people, those that are the least financially fortunate, tend to purchase them.  Of course major retailers don't really care about how much money you make they just want you to buy them: out of poor pockets into theirs.  Doesn't that seem a little unethical?  The largest group, how  ever, are those who don't want to worry about their appliances breaking down.  Now I don't know about you, but I tend to put some time into research before I go out and buy any large ticket item.  I look at online reviews, Consumer Reports, check out how many stars the product gets at Amazon; there are a vast number of resources out there.  When I make a purchase I want to make sure I'm getting the best bang for my buck.  I sleep well at night.  Unfortunately there are a lot of pudding heads out there who do not do that.  No, they will go from appliance showroom to appliance showroom who will always end up extolling the wonders of their own brand of extended warranty.  Holy Shit, when are people going to get smart and do the research, it doesn't really take that much time.  It's also feels great to walk into a showroom and say "I'll take this refrigerator in white," and when they move into extended warranty territory say "actually, this refrigerator has a lifetime expectancy of around thirteen years, so you can take that $400 extended warranty you want me to buy and use it to wipe your butt."