Thursday, October 26, 2006

Attack Ads

I'm not a big fan of campaign commercials. I make my voting decisions through more-or-less independent research, not propaganda spewed out by candidates, parties, and (especially) special interest groups. But I've got to admit, some of the smear campaigns are just so damned entertaining to watch for their hyperbole, if nothing else. Take a look at this one, where Republican candidate Paul R. Nelson goes after incumbent Democrat Ron Kind for voting against funding body and vehicle armor for soldiers in Iraq (which is inexcusable), but for funding all sorts of odd sex studies (which is just friggin' funny).

But they don't get any funnier...or more true...than this ad produced by David Zucker (of Airplane! and The Naked Gun fame) for the Republican party (hosted by YouTube, hat tip to The Outhouse Times-Picayune for the link.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Radio Debut

For all you Beast fans out there...if you've got an XM satellite radio or DirecTV, catch the replay of today's Ron and Fez show on High Voltage. About 45 minutes before the end, I'm on there for a moment discussing Frosted Mini Wheats with everyone's favorite cowbell-slingin' hosts.

Caveat Lector

I'm loving Showtime's new series Dexter, about a CSI tech who happens to be a part-time serial killer, and a sociopath with a conscience, enough so that when I spotted the credit for "Based on the novel....", I had to read it, and then the next one in the series. And suffice to say, I wasn't disappointed...the series thus far has paralleled the novel fairly well, with a few subplots thrown in for television, and the novel is as entertaining and, if anything, even funnier than the show, if dark humor is your thing. The novels are running in my "Recent Experiences" pane this week, with this word of caution: from what I can tell, season 1 of the show is going to parallel the first novel, and I can only assume that if it goes another season, they'll be using plot points from the second novel. Thus the title of the post--translated, "reader beware"--by finishing the novels, I've likely learned most of the series' plot twists for the next couple of years. That's fine with me--I always prefer to read the book before seeing it acted out--but if your tastes run the opposite way, you may want to hold off for a while.

Friday, October 20, 2006

World Series Time

Speaking as a Yankees fan, I can't tell you how happy I was to see the Cardinals finish off the dinged-up Mets last night to advance to the World Series. I'm looking forward to this one--it's not the Mets-Yankees Subway Series many were predicting, but with two Central Division teams squaring off, I think you can safely call this at least an "Amtrak Series".

Now that the season's almost over, it's time to see how I did with my predictions from the start of the season.

AL East: Yankees win, the Red Sox and Blue Jays are out of it by the time August ends. I'm 0 for 1.
AL Central: Some thought the Twins would contend for a wild card; the White Sox were in it till near the end, but I'm still 0 for 2.
AL West: Oakland's moneyball beats out Anaheim and leaves me 0 for 3.
AL Wild Card: No one saw Detroit coming this year...including me. 0 for 4.

NL East: The Mets win easily, the Phils are in it till the end, and the Braves are sub-.500; pretty much the oppositie of my prediction. 0 for 5.
NL Central: The Spirit of St. Louis takes 'em all the way to the Series. 1 for 6.
NL West: The Dodgers edge out the Padres, but Sanny Eggo takes the wild card. This one came down to tiebreakers, so I'm giving myself another hit here to go to 2 for 7.
NL Wild Card: It was the Padres and not the Mets, but I can't really give myself an extra credit for reversing the positions of a division champ and a wild card, leaving me at 2 for 8.

I'm not going to break down the actual playoffs against my predictions since I missed most of the teams that were going to be in, but I'm going to give myself a point for correctly identifying one of the World Series teams, for a final score of 3 for 9, a .333 batting average. If I was playing baseball instead of predicting finishes, I'd be in the running for a batting title, but the only title I can claim this year is that of Nostradumbass.

Go Tigers!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Worst Case Scenarios

The one thing about the extreme right and left is their insistence on attacking anything that comes from someone who doesn't share their world view. Sometimes you need to consider the worst-case scenarios coming from a course of action when the factual truth isn't clear.

Case in point: this article from Newsbusters (a site which I peruse daily, and generally agree with.) They're taking to task the coverage of Richard Branson's $3 billion dollar donation to global warming research, and by extension, the donation itself, citing doubts in the scientific community as the reason for the attack. But what's the harm here? If global warming is real, the worst-case scenario of doing nothing is fairly obvious--eventual human extinction, just like in that great rock-umentary The Day After Tomorrow. But what's the worst case scenario if manmade global warming turns out to be nothing? It's a private donation to a private foundation, so it's not costing a dime to anyone who isn't paying voluntarily. And who knows, maybe it'll help us develop some alternative fuels that can help us stop depending on paranoid dictators who hate us.

This isn't just a far-right tactic, either...check out this article from Newsweek accusing Republicans of overstating the threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons. The worst case scenario of assuming that Iran really is close to developing nuclear weapons? We gain some intelligence on an unfriendly power that's probably harboring, funding, and/or training terrorists, and maybe take some steps to slow them down. The worst case scenario? A hostile power with a nuclear weapon, followed by the end of life as we know it, just like on that reality show Jericho.