07 September 2009

Casual shoppers beware.

Ok, so I had to do a little shopping today, needing to acquire a birthday gift for the youngest member of the Byron clan. The Byrons live in England, so I opted to purchase my items directly from Amazon.co.uk, which saves me on having to do the international mailing myself. Plus, there's the added bonus of allowing me to do my usual pointless procrastinating while still getting the gift there in time for the actual event.

At any rate, I’m doing my browsing, shopping for a child’s gift, I remind you, looking at various games and toys and such. I click on one item that looks promising, and then down at the bottom in the “customers who bought this item also bought” section, I happen to notice that one of the suggested items is the item featured above. Not only that charmer, but also this. And this. And also this. And if you follow any of those links, needless to say it all only goes downhill from there.

So I ask you, how did I go from cute children’s arts and crafts kits to thongs, ball scratchers, penis jewelry, and masturbation guides in a single click? (Oh and as an aside, did you note the name of the wanking book author? If not, go back and look, I laughed aloud). I don’t recall encountering this issue on the US Amazon (although, it did point me randomly to this, now that I think about it). And who are these people who buy Borat thongs along with their children’s toys? (Also, why does such a thing as a Borat thong exist?) I’m all for multi-tasking, but I think these items might be better suited to separated purchases.

03 September 2009

Excuses for why I suck:

So, I haven’t written anything on this damn blog for a while. Even thought I do have a fairly legitimate excuse – I was out of town for 2 weeks with limited internet access – I will not deny that it is also largely due to the fact that I am feeling lazy and uninspired. But, they say the way to get over that sort of thing is to just write something, so that is what I am attempting to do.

Ok, and here is where I illustrate exactly how unmotivated I am by telling you that the previous paragraph was written on Monday. It is, of course, now Thursday. Yeah…that’s not so good. Alas.

But, I am going to post this when I get done typing it, so at least there will be a bit of blog action. And hopefully that will help to kick start my sorry ass into getting back into the groove.

Of course, now that I think about it, no one reads this thing anyway. So maybe I won't sweat it.

28 July 2009

Word is dumb

So, I’m writing up this letter at work the other day, and it has the word “information” in it a lot. (What can I say? I have a lot of information and I provide it to others. I’m nice like that.) Anyway, since I was using the word over and over, I thought I would try to use a few synonyms to mix it up a bit. I threw in “data”, but then I was stumped due to late-afternoon brain exhaustion. So, I decided to ask MS Word what it might suggest. This is what it gave me:>>>>

It’s “information” you idiot computer program, not “in formation”. Note the space. One word, not two. Plus, it’s like a totally common word, especially in the computer and business worlds. You would think Word would know it…

23 July 2009

If you have to have ads, at least make them entertaining

So, we're visiting both ends of the unsolicited advertising spectrum this week. First, I encountered the scary teeth in the previous post. But that was balanced out by this charming lad who also recently appeared in my yahoo mail.

That is just funny. It almost seems like it could be a fake ad in the Onion. Good for you, unnamed insurance company whose name I cropped out of the image and therefore don't remember now. That's some good comedy you've got there.

17 July 2009

Teeth just look weird out of the context of the whole face...

So this was the ad lurking over on the side of the screen in my yahoo mail this morning.

Don’t all of the teeth in this image seem a little scary, even the ones that are supposed to be the white shiny versions you want? The bottom ones have those super-red lips and menacing smile and look suspiciously like they might belog to
Dr. Frank-n-Furter. You really don’t want them going all Rocky Horror on your ass.

The top pair is a little too “heh, heh, check me out, I'm-a gonna come over there and bite you. That’s right, look out here I come. Chomp, chomp, chomp, bitch.” (Also, in my head I hear the teeth saying that in the voice of
Bruce the Performance Artist from Family Guy (and if you don’t know that voice, here are his greatest hits. He is my favorite character)

An open letter to people who use words

Dear speaker,

Just a few things I would like to call to your attention:
  1. Words that start with “es” should not generally not pronounced as if they start with “ex”, i.e. it’s es-specially, not ex-specially; es-spresso, not expresso. I noted this last week, but it seems to be spreading.

  2. The abbreviation “vs.” does not stand for “verse”. It’s versus, people. Two syllables. Please use them both. "FSU versus Miami", not "FSU 'verse' Miami". That’s just lazy.

  3. Please stop saying “chillaxe”. Just…stop.
Thanks ever so, Zil

10 July 2009

7 unrelated things

  1. OK, so you know that new-ish Dell commercial, where the workers are in the factory making the laptops in the pretty colors and singing “Lollipop”? For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why they changed the lyrics to “her kiss is sweeter than a cherry pie” instead of an apple pie. I was like, "that’s weird. Is it because the computer is red? No…apples and cherries are both red." Then it finally dawned on me…Dell doesn’t really want the word “apple” anywhere near their commercial for their PCs. Duh. Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake.

  2. While I’m not generally in favor of political unrest and the overthrowing of governments and such, at least the recent events in Honduras have caused newscasters to have to say Tegucigalpa a lot, which is always entertaining. Definitely one of the most fun Central/South American capitals to say (along with Montevideo and Paramaribo. Actually, there are a lot of fun names down there like Tierra del Fuego. And Lake Titicaca. Hee...Titicaca.)

  3. Have you ever noticed how many people pronounce “especially” like “ex-specially”? What’s that about?

  4. I’m planning a conference at work, and I’ve been using this web service that lets you make and keep up with on-line registration forms and such. It’s called Wufoo. You know why? Because one of the guys who created it “really likes the Wu-Tang Clan and Foo Fighters.” That is awesome.

  5. Why is it that everyone at work feels the need to constantly comment on what day of the week it is? I got several “Happy Friday’s” on my way in. (Along with a number of “I can’t believe it’s Monday already's” back at the start of the week.) Further evidence of my theory that work sucks and everyone hates it.

  6. Just finished the Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin. That is some good stuff! And just offers more evidence that that woman ain’t right. I would love to hear what the author thinks of her recent abrupt resignation.

  7. I also just got finished watching the first season of True Blood on DVD. My problem now is that I know that season 2 has started over on HBO, but I’m not a subscriber. I really want to know what happens next, and I really don’t want to have it spoiled for me during the 9 or 10 months I have to wait for season 2 to come out on DVD. (I also just finished season 4 of Weeds, so ditto this problem with Showtime) I guess I will just have to occupy myself with Dexter (season 2), In Treatment (season 1), Rome (season 1), The Tudors (seasons 1), Californication (season 1), and of course there is always all those seasons of The Wire (which I have never watched, despite being told by critics and friends that is the best show that ever was on television ever). I guess all of that should take my mind off the vampires…

06 July 2009

As we stand here on the eve of the funeral of Michael Jackson, I’m remembering the last celebrity death that reached these epic proportions of media coverage, madness, and pubic outpouring of emotion…Princess Diana. Only that death seemed to be even more… well, even more everything. She was more beloved, her death was more shocking, her children more sadly orphaned. While both Di and MJ had endured public scandals, she had emerged victorious from hers. During the royal divorce she was perceived as the victim, people were already skeptical of the monarchy and were quick to believe that the end of the marriage was the fault of cruel, cheating Charles and his evil family. Their hatred of Di stemmed from her refusal to bow to their demands, to behave as they dictated, to “stay in her place.” People were happy to believe that she was simply too independent and fabulous to stay under the thumb of the outdated monarchy, and they embraced her as a single mother and woman of the people.

Measure that relatively mild disgrace against MJ’s various pedophilia charges, disturbing body modification, and increasingly erratic behavior. While MJ was going broke due to his excessive Neverland lifestyle, Di was doing charity work, crusading against landmines, and raising the future King of England. It’s generally agreed that Di put her children first, while MJ is best known for parading them around wearing veils and surgical masks and dangling them off balconies.

Add to all that the circumstances of their respective deaths. Di was a victim of the actions of others and circumstance – a passenger in a speeding car driven by a possibly drunk driver being chased by the hated paparazzi (the opportunity for lots of “they hounded her in life, and have caused her death” stories was just too good to pass up). MJ, on the other hand, was probably a victim of drug abuse and a lifetime of the indulgence that is granted to the rich and the talented.

Di even wins in the conspiracy theories surrounding their deaths. MJ’s doctors may have overprescribed him drugs and he may have been taking anesthesia-level sedatives. That’s nothing compared to all the pot-stirring that came from Mohammed Fayed – that Di was pregnant with his son’s child, and that the racist Royal Family arranged to have her murdered rather that see her with an Egyptian Muslim.

Anyway, I really had no strong feelings about Diana when she was alive (I was in elementary school when she married Charles, so I vaguely remember the wedding hoopla, but I really wasn’t that interested. I mean, I get the whole “fairy tale wedding/wanting to marry a prince” thing, but really, even to a ten-year-old, Charles didn’t seem like much of a catch.) Actually, her popularity is in my mind very similar to that of MJ. Whenever they would show a MJ related event where his fans were around (especially those super-crazy ones overseas) I could never understand what all the fuss was about. I mean, those people were fanatical…screaming and crying and waiting outside his hotel in the cold to catch a glimpse of him. What was all that about? I just never really got it. Same with Di. I admire anyone who uses their fame and resources to aid charitable causes, but otherwise, I never really gave her much thought. And while that may have been the case when she was alive, that certainly changed when she died. And that’s because I was living in London when it happened.

I was working for FSU’s London Study Centre. I had just arrived a few days before, and I was busy getting over jet-lag, settling in, meeting my new flat mates and coworkers, and getting things organized for the arrival of the next batch of students. I remember being asleep and hearing church bells ringing early in the morning. When I got out of bed a couple of hours later my flat mate told me that Princess Diana had died.

I’m sorry, MJ fans, but your outpouring of grief is nothing compared to what I witnessed in the UK. Maybe it’s because I’m not in Los Angeles or Gary, Indiana or Neverland or some other more MJ intensive locale. Maybe it’s because the UK is so very small compared to the vast United States, so the mourning was concentrated into a much smaller area. Whatever the case, the entire city (and country) was just at a complete loss. Just like in the last few days, I witnessed the same wall-to-wall, interruption-of-all-regularly-scheduled-programs news coverage. But, I also saw the madness in person out on the streets. I went out and walked around the city, and there were just so many places that people were mourning publicly. Over by Di’s residence, Kensington Palace, there were police officers everywhere, directing people out of the tube and into blocks-long lines to stream past the gates and leave their flowers and tokens. The piles of flowers, teddy bears, notes, and other items were huge (it is estimated that over a million bouquets were left there). Ditto at Buckingham Palace. At both Kensington and St. James Palaces, hundreds of thousands people waited in line to sign various condolence books.

Then there was the funeral itself (which I stayed inside for and watched on TV, like 2 1/2 billion other people) with the celebrities and the Elton John and the eulogies (including her brother striking out at her treatment over the years by both the press and the Royal Family) and the estimated 1 million people standing outside Westminster Abbey and along the route of the funeral procession. The entire country was at a standstill for that service. I’m interested how Michael’s final farewell is going to stack up.

26 June 2009

Also, I hate songs with parenthesis in the title

So here is a weird thing that happened yesterday. I had to stop by my dentist’s office to pick up a copy of an old bill (blah blah blah, medical reimbursement, whatever). Anyway, the business next door to the dentist is an establishment that seems to offer car window tinting and stereo installation. There were a bunch of dudes standing around a car out back. I guess they had just put a new system in it, and they were trying to test it out. And, the method they chose to employ to do said test was to blast “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson at maximum volume. Now, this seemed odd at the time – that’s really not one of your better MJ tracks (in my opinion), and it’s also one you don’t generally happen across that often (couldn’t tell you the last time I heard it) – but it seems even weirder in retrospect. This was around lunchtime yesterday, which is when the paramedics were just showing up to MJ’s house, so it’s not like the car dudes knew he had kicked and were offering up some sort of parking lot tribute. Although, I do like the concept of that. “Man, did you hear? Michael Jackson is dead!” “No way dude, let’s go blast P.Y.T in the parking lot!”

25 June 2009


So, I finally got around to watching the US v. Spain game from yesterday’s Confederations Cup (I already knew the outcome, so I wasn’t in that much of a rush) Good game, even though now we have to play Brazil. Some thoughts:

1. How did Spain not score? They spent practically the whole game in the US’s penalty box.

2. That red card was nonsense. Bradley was totally going for the ball.

3. Landon Donovan performed one of the worst dives I have ever seen in my life. He brushed lightly past a Spain player with his shoulder, then randomly fell to the turf writhing like he had been kicked in the face or something. You are a bad actor, dude.

4. I used to totally hate Alexi Lalas, but I like him so much better since he shaved that thing off his face.

5. David-Villa was by far the prettiest thing on that field.

And, when I turned the DVR off, my TV was still on ESPN2 from the night before. They were showing something called Major League Lacrosse. Boston was playing Toronto. Since when do we have a professional lacrosse league?

12 June 2009


You know, I was thinking that I hadn’t posted anything on the blog in a while and I should probably come up with something to say, when this happened:

So I stop off to get a bagel on the way to work this morning (a little Friday treat after going to the gym @ 6am). And now I notice that my previous entry also took place at a bagel place. Odd. Anway, I’m standing in line minding my own business when a guy comes in and gets in line behind me. I turn around and am confronted by this:

Now, I apologize for the complete crappiness of the photo but I while I was trying to take the picture I was having a bit of a struggle for the following reasons:
  1. I didn’t want the dude to see that I was taking a picture because, well…awkward.
  2. I was walking past him on my way out and couldn’t really stop, you know, for reason #1 (and which is the cause of the extreme blurriness. The subject was still, but I was in motion)
  3. I didn’t bring my bag with me when I ran into the bagel place, so I was trying to snap a photo with my iphone (which is often tricky under ideal conditions) while also trying to hold onto my wallet, my bagel, a side of cream cheese, a cup of diet coke, and my keys
So really, you’re lucky to have any photographic evidence at all.

Now, since you can’t see his head in the photo, I will say for visualization purposes that he looked quite a bit like Tim Conway in the “Mrs. Wiggens” sketches on the Carol Burnett Show (and while that is a truly weird point of comparison, it is totally the first image that came into my mind when I saw him. That must have been lurking somewhere in the back of my head for quite some time. I haven’t seen or thought about the Carol Burnett Show in years – although I used to watch the reruns all the time as a kid. But, I certainly don’t know how that particular sketch remained in my brain. Oh another digression: as soon as the sketch popped into my mind, I could totally hear Tim Conway saying “Mrs. Wiggins” with that weird pronunciation, which is much the same way Stewie says “cool hwhip” in that episode of Family Guy. )

Anyway, back to the bagel shop. So the notable thing about this dude was not his similarity in appearance to a 70’s-era variety show sketch character, but rather the t-shirt he was wearing. And while you can’t make out what it says in the photo, you may be able to tell that it is airbrushed which I think just adds and extra layer of weirdness on top of the already weird layer that is the shirt’s message, which was: Lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

Yeah...that's just odd. On top of the whole cognitive dissonance (i.e. the shirt might make more sense on a frat boy than a guy who looks like a middle-aged accountant) what is he even trying to say with that? Is he trying to pick-up lesbians? Is he expressing solidarity with the sisters? Is he pointing out that he, like lesbians, enjoys sex with women? Really, it was just too much for me to parse at 7:30 on a Friday morning.

05 June 2009

An open thank you note to the new bagel guy at Bruggers this morning

Dear New Bagel guy, 

Words cannot express my joy at arriving at work this morning to discover that the bagel you presented me with had actually been cut into 2 pieces of equal thickness.  It was a true pleasure to be able to place my bagel in the office toaster confident in the fact that I would not end up, as I have so many mornings,  with one thick, chewy, practically untoasted half and one thin, toasted hard-as-a-hockey-puck half.  Thank you so much for you diligence in performing correctly what is essentially the only task required of you.  I only wish your crooked-bagel-cutting colleagues would follow your shining example.  Keep up the good work.  Love, Zil

03 June 2009

An open letter to the Denver Nuggets

Dear Nuggets,

Thanks for forcing me to have to root for the Magic.   Because while I don’t really like them at all, the Lakers truly bug me.  I’m tired of Phil Jackson and all his Zen master hoopla.  And also, shut up, Kobe.

It’s not the Lakers’ fault, really.  It’s the whole L.A. vibe that gripes me.  All those celebrities in the stands…so annoying.  Led by Jack Nicholson.  Oh Jack Nicholson, how did I manage to leave you off my irrational hatred list. You are definitely a member.  The way you wear sunglasses all the time.  You are inside, Jack.  I do not believe you have an eye condition that requires those. And the way you have become a parody of yourself.   You no longer have to act in films, you just have to act like Jack Nicholson.  (And that is a shame, because you are a fine actor and I do enjoy a number of your performances.  In fact, it is not your film performances that bother me. I’m just sick of seeing your mug in the audience at awards shows, where the host then has to call attention to how cool you are.)  Oh, and if you could date a woman near-ish to your own age for a change, that would be refreshing.

Oh, and back to you, Nuggets.  Thanks also for causing me to have to think more about Jack Nicholson than I would normally like to in a day.  Fortunately, I’m not planning on watching the games, so I won’t have to endure all the cuts to Jack sitting in the stands.  In his damn sunglasses.

26 May 2009

I tried to think of a clever acronym for this post, but it was too much work

So I wandered off on a bit of a tangent at work today (just for a couple of minutes, I wasn’t squandering your tax dollars or anything). It started when I was trying to find some information about a bill someone mentioned in an email. The legislation was supposed to be about open textbooks and educational resources, which is related to a project I am working on. I found the bill (H.R. 1464, if you are interested). I also discovered that its official title is Learning Opportunities With Creation of Open Source Textbooks which acronym-philes will note spells out LOW COST. Clever.

This took me back to the day a while back when I stumbled across the fact that the
Patriot Act is also an acronym (did you know that? I was shocked.) It's actually the USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) So, in additional to any other problems I have with the Patriot Act (and there are many), I am now also really annoyed that they bent over backwards to make the title spell out something cute.

So I then poked around a little more and discovered that
this is a thing. Apparently, your bill sucks unless the title spells out a cute acronym related to the content. (Talk about squandering your tax dollars. Someone has to think these things up, people. Isn't this what supervillians do in comic books and spy novels? Come up with catchy acronyms for their organizations of evil? SPECTRE, anyone?) For example: Electricity Needs Rules and Oversight Now Act (ENRON Act), Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM Act), Prevent Unfair Manipulation of Prices (PUMP Act), Curtailing Lobbyist Effectiveness through Advance Notification, Updates and Posting Act (CLEAN UP Act).

That last one is apparently from Sen. Barack Obama. Say it isn't so. No one is immune.

22 May 2009

Hooray for proper grammar!

Kudos to Publix for their grammatically correct express lane. "10 items or less" is just wrong.  This is one of my biggest grammar pet peeves because it is one of the easiest to figure out.  To wit: use fewer when it is a measureable (i.e. countable) amout. Think "less money, fewer dollars." 

(Or if you prefer more detail, see what Grammar Girl has to say.)  

20 May 2009

Leonard Bernstein

No point, other than to say, "how hot is Leonard Bernstein in these pics?"

Found this in the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress American Memory, which is awesome. There's some cool stuff up in there.  

Actually, all the American Memory Collections are worth a look.  Old baseball cards, Lincolniana, the Florida Folklife Collection from the WPA, and this cool Aero-view of Tallahassee  in 1926, among much, much more.  Libraries are cool, kids!

13 May 2009

word verification

I seem to have gotten a lot of interesting verification words lately when I posted comments on blogs or ordered stuff online. I decided that they needed definitions:

  • The person who is the second runner-up in a game of eeny, meny, miny, moe. (variant spelling: meeineman)

    "I wanted to be "it" in our game of hide-and-seek, so I was hoping to be moe. Unfortunately, I was just the menyman. We should have done one potato, two potato."

  • The variety of awe that occurs just below the level of regular awe. (i.e. when something is awesome, but not that awesome)

    "That painting is beautiful. I'm awestruck"
    "Eh, it's ok. It only fills me with subawe"

  • 1. common plumbing problem

    "What's the matter with the sink?"
    "The drain has a clogin"

    2. Type of folk dancing

    "What are those people with the stompy, tappy shoes doing?"
    "Clogin' "

  • Type of person who can convince people to do things. People who posses a wheedling, cajoling personality.

    "Somehow Jake convinced me to drive him to the store today"
    "Yeah, I lent him $20 to spend there. He's quite the slystor"

07 May 2009

An open letter to my cats

Dear Beta, 

I give you plenty of food.  So when Sid throws up, you really don't need to eat it.  Thanks.

29 April 2009

Give a hoot, don't pollute

I went to return my library books the other day, and I spotted this bumper sticker (which I absolutely love) and it was a strange coincidence, because my co-worker and I had just been discussing littering. My office is at Innovation Park, which is basically a big circle. Lots of people, including me, go out and walk around the loop when we need a break from work. And there is always some kind of trash out there along the street. I notice this same phenomenon lots of places; I guess that’s why they have that adopt-a-highway program. And why you always see the prisoners in the stripe-y outfits and juvenile delinquents doing community service with a hefty bag and a trash-picking stick by the side of the road. But I have to wonder, who exactly are these people that just chuck their trash out of the car all willy-nilly?

It would never even occur to me to pitch my trash on the side of the road. I mean, maybe something biodegradable like an apple core or some peanut shells, but actual trash? Who does that? I’ve been known to pour out the dregs of a beverage by the side of the road, but I would never throw out the cup as well. I just don’t get this. Like if you are on a road trip and you have a bag of fast-food wrappers from a stop at the Taco Bell or whatever…can’t you just toss them into the back seat until you stop for gas? Do you really need them out of the car so badly that they have to leave the vehicle right that second? Garbage cans are ubiquitous. You can find tons of them at the gas station, the rest stop, the fast food restaurant, your home, your hotel, the tourist destination of your choice…just hold onto your trash until you get there, people.

And, while we are on the subject, don’t they still teach kids in school not to litter? I remember all kinds of anti-littering lessons delivered by Woodsy Owl. We even had to learn a song about him (which, surprisingly, I can find nowhere on the interwebs [to digress, I had this same problem when I tried to find a recording of the original version of Hey, Hey, Tampa Bay…the “The Bucs know how to shine” one from the ‘70’s, not the new one] sometimes the interwebs let you down. Especially on stuff like this from my childhood, when nobody had video cameras or VCRs.) I do remember that the song had the following lyrics “

"Give a hoot, don’t pollute.
Never be a dirty bird.
In the city or in the wood,
help keep America looking good”
If you ask me, that’s still a good lesson for today.

23 April 2009

What is wrong with me?

So I just got back from a run and the following things happened:
  • I successfully competed one circuit around the trail without incident (i.e.: falling down)
  • I started walking a second lap to cool down
  • While walking, I stumbled over a root. Didn't fall though...
  • Thought "ha ha, I will have to mention that on my blog, that I didn't trip while running, but almost fell while walking."
  • Decided that I should run a little more, since I wasn't completely exhausted and I'm trying to be able to run farther and/or faster.
  • Started running, went a little ways, tripped over a root and wiped out
  • Lay on the ground and laughed at own clumsiness/stupidity
I banged up the same leg as on Tuesday (and Wednesday, for that matter) Fortunately this time I missed the existing knee and ankle injuries and hit the lower part of my leg. Giant scrape along the outside of my shin.

Lest you be concerned that I have developed some horrible inner ear thing or vertigo that has rendered me unable to keep my self upright, I will point out that I actually tripped over stuff, I didn't just keel over. But, I have got to find a less root-y trail. Or pick my feet up more, I suppose...

So in 3 days that's a bruise on my knee, a puncture (from the bike chain thing) and a lump on my ankle, and now a scrape on my lower leg. And all on my left leg, I guess I must favor that side somehow. So bumps and bruises and lacerations and contusions. Man, I'm such a spaz.

22 April 2009

Successfully went for a run today without incident. Ordinarily this would not be news except for yesterday, I went for a bike ride and managed to bash my ankle on the spikey things that hold the bike chain (don't ask). And, the day before that, I went for a run and tripped over a root and banged my knee on the ground. Scrapes and bruises all around! Fitness is dangerous, y'all. Also, I am clumsy. Like, seriously.

16 April 2009

An open letter to that dude driving the tricked out Dodge Charger by the stadium yesterday:

Hey Dodge guy,

You are not a stunt driver and this is not a major Hollywood movie.  So, there is really no need to drive like that.  


13 April 2009

Why do people do this?

So you know what I don’t get? People who back into parking spaces. What is that about? Empirically, it is more difficult to drive a car backward than forward. It just is. You have to crane your neck around to look over your shoulder or use the rear view mirror and remember things are backward and you can’t see what’s happening down by your tires...it’s just a pain in the ass. Yet people do it all the time. Witness the photo taken this afternoon in my office parking lot:

At least here there is ample parking so you can back into spaces that don't have other cars right next to them, but people still do it even when all the spaces are occupied. It makes no sense. When you pull into a space, you are moving into a more constricted space surrounded by obstacles (i.e. the other cars) that you have to avoid. Why would you want to do that backwards? And backing into a parking space is different than backing out of one. When you back out, you are moving from the more constricted spot to a more open one…much easier to do backward.

I have less of an objection if the parking situation is like this:

...and you pull through from one side to the other. I do that myself on occasion (but note: only when the parking lot is really empty. There is nothing more annoying that getting ready to pull into a parking place the normal way and getting almost hit head-on by someone pulling through from the other side.)

People make the argument that they park this way because it is easier and quicker to get out of the space when it is time to leave. That is nonsense. The few seconds you save when exiting won't make up for the extra time, bother, and skill required to back in on arrival. And, unless you are robbing the joint, how fast do you really need to make a getaway?

10 April 2009

irrational hatred/inexplicable affinity

So The Masters is underway, and it's got me thinking about irrational hatred. Not of The Masters or of golf (I like both of those things) but of Tiger Woods. Man, I just can’t stand that dude, and I really have no idea why. Actually, I do know why, as I explained here. But really, my dislike of him is rather disproportionate to the actual impact he has on my life.

It goes both ways, not only are there people I dislike for completely random reasons, there's also a group of people that I find myself liking, even though I have no business doing so. I don’t mean like mass murderers or pedophiles or anything. It’s more like marginal actors that appear in questionable movies, or crappy pop singers, or dudes who seem kind of douchy, yet I still have a soft spot for them for some reason. Does anyone else have random celebrities you either like or hate for reasons passing your understanding?

It's also weird who makes it onto the list. I mean, there are plenty of celebrities I either like or dislike. The list is really for when I feel strongly about a person, and I either can't quite put my finger on why I feel that way, or as stated above, the intensity of the feeling is totally odd to be directed at someone I don't actually know, see, interact with, or have actual first-hand knowledge of.

There is no rhyme or reason to these classifications; they are applied in a completely subjective and capricious manner. Two people could do the exactly the same thing and depending on my completely arbitrary feelings about each person, I might see one as an irredeemable asshole while the other is merely a charming rapscallion. (See, for example, the recent behavior of one Christian Bale. He’s still totally my movie boyfriend. If Tom Cruise pulled that shit? Forget about it. And, while we are on the subject, have you seen the previews for Public Enemies? Bale and Johnny Depp all dressed up like 1930’s gangsters? Nothing wrong with that.)

Anyway, to this end I present you with irrational hatred/inexplicable affinity list for your enjoyment. In no particular order:

Irrational Hatred
  • Tiger Woods Again, my argument is here, so I will not elaborate further, except to say I was hoping his comeback from knee surgery would take a bit longer, so the golf world wouldn't be back to all Tiger all the time quite so soon.

  • Bobby Flay I don’t know what it is about him, but he bugs the crap out of me. While it could have something to do with the the whole “celebrity chef” phenomenon being in itself annoying…I don't think that's it. It’s him. Jamie Oliver is cute as a button. I enjoy Tom Collichio on Top Chef. I bear no similar ill will toward Alton Brown or Paula Deen or even Rachel Ray (who actually might be teetering on the brink, because she is becoming more annoying as her media empire expands. And, not to digress, but I don’t get her thing with saying E.V.O.O. I understand that it is shorter to say than “extra-virgin olive oil”, but if brevity is your goal, why not just say "evo" [like “eve-o”]? It’s 2 syllables shorter and rolls much more easily off the tongue. Yeah, she definitely may be edging into Bobby Flay territory…)

  • Jamie Foxx I think this stems from when the movie Ray came out and I think for a while he started to think that he actually was Ray Charles, which…no. Jaime Foxx is no Ray Charles. (Kanye West didn’t help things by using Foxx on Gold Digger while also sampling Charles' “I Got a Woman”.) I maintain that Ray Charles would never have an eponymous crappy WB sitcom Also, I have issues with actors who also need to have a “music” career (i.e. ScarJo, below) Plus, he's in that Soloist movie that is about to come out, so he's been all over the place lately. Let's hope he doesn't start to think he actually is a homeless schizophrenic street musician.

  • Scarlett Johansson I just don’t get the appeal. She’s like the Hollywood it girl and it just seems like she’s not that hot or that good an actress or even remotely interesting. And releasing an album of Tom Waits covers is just too pretentious for words.

Inexplicable Affinity
  • Ryan Reynolds See, here is a classic example of why the hatred/affinity is irrational/inexplicable. Ryan Reynolds is married to Scarlett Johansson. And before that he was engaged to Alanis Morisette, who I don’t really mind that much nowadays, but who was right up there on the irrational hatred list in her heyday. His movies are generally not good, and he could easily have that Dane Cook sort of aura about him (you know, like slacker hipster asshole). But he is charming and pretty and seems like a nice enough fellow. Horrible taste in women, though.

  • Pete Carroll I kind of hate USC. Again, for no real reason other than I think they are over-hyped and overpraised when they really don’t play very stiff competition out on the west coast. Plus, I hate the whole vibe of L.A. teams with all the celebrity “fans”. That being said, I think Pete Carroll is hot. I just can’t help it. I love a silver fox.

  • Rick Pitino Basketball coaches are creepy. I cite Pat Riley and Billy Donovan as examples of what I mean. Whenever I look at them I get a vibe that is combination of the stereotypes “douchy New York Italian guy” and “used car salesman”. The slicked back hair and the smarmy demeanor…ugh, it drives me crazy. And Rick Pitino should fit solidly in that mold. From New York? Check. Italian-American? Check. He coached and mentored Donovan…practically created him. And, he played ball in Massachusetts and coached the Celtics, which brings in another whole set of Boston based stereotypes (And I’m not saying these stereotypes are fair or true, but they exist. Think the Jimmy Fallon/Rachel Dratch characters on SNL) But, I like Pitino for some reason. Maybe he’s really just a Kentucky boy at heart.

  • Jason Statham He keeps on making those Transporter movies, and seemingly similar fare like Crank and Death Race. Dude likes driving fast (even in The Italian Job, he was mostly the driver). But, he got his start in Guy Ritchie’s movies, and he was really quite good in The Bank Job (a straight-up acting role with no fast driving or kung-fu fighting). And, he seems quite charming, in that London hard man sort of way, which I am a sucker for.

  • Jay Mohr He seems like one of those comedians that’s funny, but might also be kind of a dick. He seems like every frat boy you've ever known (again, I must cite Dane Cook as a model, who surprisingly is not on the list. Bordering on it, but I don’t really have that much occasion to think about him…) And, he is friends with Jim Rome, which does not speak well of Jay (and who is not on the list, because I feel that my hatred of him is totally justified. Also, that's another sports guy, and they are already overrepresented, which makes me seem like some kind of sports nut, which I am totally not) But, he is funny, and his Andrew McCarthy impression is priceless (and surprisingly unavailable on the Internet) as is his Walken.