Monday, July 31, 2006

Read Ben Stein's Article

Here's a great article by celebrity/jack-of-all-trades-smart-guy Ben Stein on the current Israel/Lebanon and U.S./Iraq situations. (Hat tip RealClearPolitics for the link.)

Stein's a smart guy, and pretty much sums up anything I could say about the situation far more eloquently. It would be nice if the U.S. and Israel could avoid stooping to the tactics of our enemies, but the alternative to risking some collateral damage seems to be to sit back and do nothing--in essence, to give in to the demands of terrorist hostage-takers, the direct opposite of generally accepted policies of military and law enforcement agencies around the world. Nations must have the right to defend their citizens against threats; otherwise, government has failed in its most basic purpose.

Kiss vs. Kong

I put a great movie over in the Recent Updates section of my sidebar yesterday. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a great spoof of the film noir genre that is highly recommended viewing for fans of mysteries and comedies.

On the other hand, I also finally got around to sitting through Peter Jackson's version of King Kong--color me unimpressed. The effects were terrific, of course, but there's no way that the film should have come anywhere near three hours long. Many of the characters and the subplots in which they involved themselves were completely unnecessary, serving only to drag out what could have been a decent sub-two-hour escapist fantasy into a drawn-out Lord of the Rings-esque epic. (For the record, I love the LotR series--the end of Return of the King is a bit drawn out, but I understand the need to be faithful to the novels in that case.) If you're into the CGI-animated action "thing", you'll probably find it worth a viewing, but I can't imagine too many people wanting to own Kong to watch over and over again.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cooking Article

It's a little old, but I came across a great read over at Cooking for Engineers. One of my absolute favorite things to grill is chicken with a beer can up its butt--just slather on some spices (my favorite is Emeril's Essence, which I always mix myself rather than use the storebought variety), stick the can up there, and grill away. The main benefit of the method is that as the chicken cooks, the beer evaporates, keeping the bird nice and perfectly juicy every time. But now, according to CfE, water would work just as well.

I'm not sad, though--I enjoy cooking with beer, and I think it adds a certain flavor to the food. What I really want, though, is one of those Poultry Pal gizmos so I can graduate from Coors Light cans to real beers. A Cajun-seasoned chicken cooked over an Abita Turbodog....I can taste it already....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Milhouse 'N' Me

No, not this Milhouse...this one--former U.S. Republican president Richard Milhouse Nixon. Unfortunately for my readers, the similarity between your humble blogger and Nixon is not that I'm having a stroke and dying, but rather that I've set up my very own "Enemies List".

And the first inductee is a group I've had a problem with from the first time I heard about them and what they do--the Parents' Televison Council. These opponents of free creative expression have led crusades against just about every TV show I've ever watched, including the cable-only Rescue Me. These people wouldn't bother me if their only goal was to provide advice on show content so that responsible parents can monitor and control what their children watch--that's a useful service; after all, part of being responsible is being informed.

But they can't just leave it at that--they have to make it their personal crusade to see anything that they don't like pulled off the air, through any means necessary, especially via government interference. They just love to get their army of Midwest housewives (by which I mean wives the size of houses) to send in complaints about stuff that they themselves haven't even seen personally, hiding behind the guise of "protecting the children". We all know whose job it is to protect children from so-called "harmful" media content--the parents. They have plenty of resources available to them--all modern TVs and receivers are equipped with the V-chip or something equivalent. And any child with neglectful or irresponsible parents is almost sure to have bigger problems than what they're watching on TV. Stop trying to ruin content suitable for adults just because you're offended by its themes. If you don't like it, change the channel. Or better yet, drop your TV into a full bathtub. Then climb in with it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Virtual Tourism

My friend Pat sent me a cool link yesterday: a site that lets you tour various landmarks around the world through the magic of Google Maps. I just don't understand how Alabama got up to 100 attractions--my adopted home state of Delaware is 4th from last out of the 50 states.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This One Counts...But It Shouldn't

It's MLB all-star night, and I'm not as excited as might otherwise be expected. I've gotten into baseball much more this year than I have in a long time, thanks to the affordable package available from MLB.TV and joining my friend's fantasy baseball league, but there's something about this all-star game that just doesn't sit right with me. Specifically, that's the fact that for the last few years, the all-star game has decided home field advantage for the World Series. That's just a problem for me, for a couple of reasons. Out of the 32 teams that will be represented tonight, only two will make it to the World Series, meaning that home field, which is arguably more crucial in baseball than in any other championship, will very likely be decided through the actions of players with absolutely no stake in the series whatsoever, and what's more, a good number of them (like Pittsburgh's Jason Bay and Kansas City's Mark Redman) know it. And with the fans choosing the majority of the players, we're not necessarily seeing the best players at their positions--do you think A-Rod is starting at third base because he's having such a great season, or because he's got great national name recognition and a horde of fans from the largest baseball market in the country?

It's not that I don't understand why MLB tried this. The fans were all over the league after commissioner Bud Selig declared a tie in 2002 after the game appeared hopelessly deadlocked. I think the problem wasn't so much with the tie outcome as with the fact that the tie seemingly came out of nowhere. If there had been a rule previously established that a tie game would be declared a draw after, say, 11 or 12 innings for the protection of all the players' health, I don't think there would have been the outcry. No baseball fan wants to see one of their all-star caliber players get hurt in a meaningless exhibition game. I don't think any baseball fan wants to see one of their all-star caliber players get hurt trying to win World Series home field advantage for someone else, either.

My pick: AL wins big, as evidenced by their dominance in interleague play this year.


Just as I welcomed a new site into my blogroll list yesterday, I have to bid fare-thee-well to one today. Semi-regular XM radio personality the Brooklyn Blowhard has brought his excellent blog up and down a couple of times lately, but this time it appears his site has decamped for good. I don't mind leaving a dead link up if the site will be returning soon, but now a scumbag insurance spammer has leeched onto his blog's address, forcing me to de-link him for the time being. Hopefully, I'll be able to have him back up there very soon. Good luck, budday!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Ever-Expanding Inner Circle

I've got a new link in my blogroll good buddy Mike has started up his own blog, The Outhouse Times Picayune. He's got a great first post about Wilmington Blue Rocks mascot Mr. Celery, and...well, I won't give it away. Give him a read, and for photos of Mr. Celery in action, check out my Flickr site. (Yes, I worked a plug for myself into the post plugging a friend...I'm that damn good.)