I'm sure most - if not all - have heard about Brittany Murphy's untimely passing over the weekend. I'm also sure you've heard many people talk about how tired they are of hearing about her death.
What I am tired of is hearing about how other people are tired of hearing about Murphy's death.
The fact is she had many fans. People are interested in hearing news about her. She died. Many want to know all of the details surrounding her death. If you don't like it, change the friggin' channel.
I literally have only heard about it from Facebook - nothing else. Nothing on the channels I watch on TV, nothing from the radio stations I listen to and nothing from the Web sites I frequent (except for Facebook). If you don't want to hear about it, don't.
People also said they were tired of hearing about Brett Favre, but ESPN and ESPNRadio's ratings were noticeably higher during their in-depth coverage of all his retirements/comebacks.
And every time a celebrity dies a young death, I always hear people complain about the news coverage, saying things like, "Young people die every day. How come they don't devote this much coverage to them?"
The answer to that question is those young people weren't in Clueless OR 8 Mile.
Sure, it's sad when people die, but in reality, you don't care all that much if a kid dies from malaria, AIDS or whatever. If someone tells you Tom Hanks was dead, you'd race to the remote control to find out more. If a kid in Nicaragua passes, you say "Oh. That's sad," and then you go back to what you were doing.
I know Brittany Murphy was no Tom Hanks, but the comparison is still valid. You don't know anything about those other kids dying, but you do know quite a bit about Brittany Murphy. It's the news' job to bring noteworthy information to the masses. And a celebrity's death is noteworthy.
The fact is celebrities are a figurative part of our families. We pay to see them in theaters, we pay to watch them at home. They might be in our homes more often than some literal members of the family.
When a family member dies, nobody expects the family Christmas card to give equal coverage to deaths across the country. Why do you then expect CNN to give a 20-something from Mobile, Alabama, the same play as somebody you've actually heard of?
It doesn't make sense, and neither does the "what about all the others?" argument.
In conclusion, the news can only repeatedly give you the information you let it. Change the channel or go to a different Web site. If you don't, then you're to blame for the constant coverage.
This last weekend my wife and I attended a couple of work-related Christmas parties. We enjoy going to these kind of parties: music, great food, great conversation and an open bar (not for everyone, but my wife and I had all the Sprite we wanted).
These Christmas parties also revealed something to me about my wife that I wish I'd known before.
She loves to dance.
This creates a problem, because I like dancing about as much as Bush likes Bin Laden, Obama likes Hannity or anyone likes attending Florida Marlin games.
However, I've also discovered I'm not alone in this. I've found most guys at these events share my opinion of dancing being the lowest form of communication. But the only problem is women have NO idea why guys feel this way.
Let me give you some insight:
1. Why dance? We are so much more comfortable sitting and talking about sports and the like.
2. Dancing puts ourselves out there while everyone is watching what we do.
3. In regards to #2, please don't tell us nobody is watching us or nobody cares. We know both of those are not true, because we also talk about how stupid the one or two guys on the dance floor look dancing to "Billie Jean." If we're doing it, other people will are doing it, too.
But the title of this entry is Dancing: The Double Standard, so why is it a double standard?
Getting away with dancing is not about talent.It's about gender.
If a girl wants to dance, it's fine. Even if shelooks bad dancing--as long as she doesn't look like Elaine Benes--she's just one of the gals havin' fun!
If it's a guy, even he's good (unless he "Michael Jackson" good), other guys still think he's a dork.
This is a pretty big weekend for college football.
After this weekend's games, we'll have the match-up for our national championship game. It could be Florida-Texas, Alabama-Texas or one of many other options. Nothing has been decided yet, which is one of the reasons college football is awesome, but I digress...
The only game that matters to this little piggy is the one taking place at 8 p.m. EST: Texas-Nebraska.
While it's not completely out of the question (Texas beat a 6-5 Texas A&M team by the skin of its teeth), chances are still slim, as Texas is heavily favored in this one. If you have read this blog before you are probably quite aware of my fanship of the Mountain West Conference. And any MWC fan should be pulling with all of his/her might for Nebraska to make an upset.
But can you imagine the ramifications of a Texas loss in this game?
TCU - a Mountain West Conference team - would have a very good chance of playing in the championship game. Remember when no team from the MWC or WAC even had the chance of playing in a BCS game? That seems so long ago now, as some talking heads on ESPN are comparing TCU and Texas, saying TCU is more deserving.
TCU beat Utah at home and went out and beat Clemson and BYU on the road, while Texas has only a win at Oklahoma State to its credit. Sure, it's not Texas' fault it has been a down year for the Big 12. But it's also not TCU's fault it's not Texas' fault.
Obviously, I feel TCU is more deserving of shot at the title than Texas, but it doesn't matter. Without a loss against Nebraska, TCU has absolutely no chance at getting that shot. It's a shame TCU had this amazing season the same year five other teams did the same.
The only drawback to a Nebraska win is the effect it would have on another non-automatic-qualifying team: Boise State.
Nebraska winning would almost surely eliminate Boise State's chance at a BCS bowl. There are only 10 slots for BCS bowls, and seven teams automatically qualify this year, leaving only three spots open for at-large teams.
Certainly, the loser of the 'Bama-Florida game will be one of those. If Nebraska wins, Texas will be one of them, too. With only one slot remaining, you are asking organizations run near-exclusively by money to go with Boise State over the likes of Penn State, Iowa, Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech or Cincinnati (if they lose their title games).
Unfortunately, the BCS isn't about putting the best teams together. It's about ensuring sellouts, both tickets and merchandise, so Boise State might be on the outside looking in for the second straight season.
Florida 28, Alabama 24 Alabama is considerably improved this year, but Florida's defense and Tim Tebow will make the necessary plays to get to another championship game.
Nebraska 20, Texas 17 I'll be honest. This one is obviously more about wishful thinking, but with the Cornhuskers' defense allowing only 11.1 points/game, it's not impossible.
Cincinnati 41, Pittsburgh 30 How a team like the Bearcats ended up with two quarterbacks like Tony Pike and Zach Collaros is beyond me, but unless the Panthers can force Cincinnati to go to its third-string QB, this one goes to the Bearcats.
Georgia Tech 24, Clemson 21 Clemson's defense is very good, but any pressure thought to be on Georgia Tech is removed when it remembers most people will be watching the Texas-Nebraska game instead.
Things have been pretty busy lately, so I haven't posted in awhile. However, my sister shared this video clip from "The Onion," and I thought it would make for a good belated "Weekend Video." Hilarious.
People who know me know how much distaste I have for Fox News. I find it reprehensible some believe it to be "fair and balanced." They talk of the liberal bias in the news media - which I think is a bit overblown - and say "the reason Fox News looks so conservatively biased is because everything else is so far to the liberal side, it makes Fox News look biased. In reality, Fox News is just the middle of the road."
You can say all you want that outlets like MSNBC and CNN are liberally biased, but please, oh please, don't say it to try and make Fox News look like it is "fair and balanced." If you are going to say it, just say they are all biased. (However, in my opinion, a rational human being couldn't actually believe MSNBC or CNN is more biased than Fox News. But that's my opinion.)
Congratulations to the New Yankees on winning their 27th World Series.
Never mind it took $1.4 billion to get from 26 to 27. It was a proud accomplishment and should be regarded as such.
Two Yankees stuck out to me amidst all of the celebration: third-baseman Alex Rodriguez and pitcher Andy Pettite.
Within the last couple of years, links to steroids and/or other performance-enhancing drugs marred both of these players' careers. Nicknames like "A-Roid" started popping up, and you wondered if we would ever remember them for anything else.
Both players have gone on to make wonderful contributions to this championship team, and we have more-or-less forgotten about their infamous past.
My is question is "Why?"
Why have we forgotten about the disgrace these players brought to themselves, their team and Major League Baseball?
We certainly have not forgotten about Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire. Roger Clemens hasn't slipped our minds. As much as we try, we can't get Jose Canseco out of our minds.
Why A-Rod? Why Pettite?
I always hear people say things like "winning solves everything" or "by nature, people are very forgiving."
While I do actually believe both of those statements, I think there is a missing ingredient to both.
Like them or not, both players did eventually come clean and admit their mistakes. That's not something you can say for Bonds, Sosa or McGwire.
Whether it's sports or politics or TV, the truth still goes a long way.
I'm glad we have put it all behind us, because this can be a lesson to those who get exposed in the future.
Just admit it. Don't insult our intelligence. Come clean with your wrongdoing, and be done with it. Don't tell us "it must have been something in these supplements I'm taking" or "I just take whatever my trainer gives me. I don't ask him what's in it."
Even during the whole Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, I remember people saying if he'd have just told the truth, they'd have forgiven him. Whether that's actually true or not, I don't know, but it shows how high honesty is still valued by society. We don't like being lied to. Sure, we'll be completely dishonest when it comes to selling things, making business deals, filling our tax forms and the like, but we just don't want anyone to lie to us.
It may not make much logical sense (few things people do/say do), but I think it gives us a lot more insight to society's moral thermometer.
When people stop caring if others are lying to them, then we're really in trouble.
Every year, Halloween comes and goes, and within a week, I am left with the same feeling.
I keep thinking I will be moderate in eating my candy. ("Maybe I'll have three or four pieces of candy.") Then I come home from work and head to the bucket of candy, and when I come to, I see a copious amount of Milky Way, Crunch and Snickers wrappers lying beside me.
I wish I had the willpower to stop after a couple of pieces.
I also wish I had $1 million.
Between you, me and the computer screen, I'd say the latter is more likely.
Many of you may or may not know how big of fan of America's Funniest Videos my wife is. Basically, it comes down to this in our house: If my wife is home and wants to watch TV and AFV is on - no matter what I am watching - we watch AFV.
While I used to think the show was just "crotch shot" after "crotch shot" (maybe it used to be), I have really come around on it. Though I like to pretend like I don't like watching it, many times I find myself laughing out loud at some of the videos.
Of course, that's still nothing close to the paralyzing laughter my wife endures.
Enjoy this special Halloween edition of Weekend Video:
As a BYU fan, it would be very easy to let the recent results of the BYU-TCU rivalry get the best of me and rationalize and make excuses for the outcome of the Saturday's game (trust me, I did last year). It would be very easy to both figuratively and literally hate you and all associated with the TCU football program. It would be very easy to be blinded by that hatred, causing me to try to come up with reason why TCU is overrated.
What you have done at TCU is outstandingly impressive. Last year I sat in my living room - nearly 4,000 miles away from Forth Worth, TX - and was semi-literally scared for my own safety as I watched your players dismantle my BYU Cougars. This year, the outcome was even worse. I won't minimize your team's accomplishment. I still think my team is very good - and the Horned Frogs trashed us. You guys could play with any team in the country, and I look forward to the opportunity you'll have in to do so in a BCS Bowl. Anger and pure dislike consume me with any other rivalry (ex. BYU-Utah), but respect is all that comes to mind with BYU-TCU. You beat us ... and badly. As a Mountain West Conference fan, I am proud at the prospect of TCU carrying the non-BCS torch into a BCS game, but I would like to issue some warnings:
Please do not take any of the games remaining on your schedule lightly. Don't look past any team.
Keep your team humble and hungry.
Don't let your players read/believe the press clippings.
I don't want anything to happen that would derail your team's chances. The team representing the non-BCS schools should be tested beforehand. Your team has earned the right to be there over other non-BCS schools by beating more than one ranked team and going on the road out of conference, proving yourselves to NOT be 2007 Hawaii.
A few years ago I started watching the sitcom Arrested Development when a neighbor at college had the first season on DVD. I had flipped past it on TV before, stopping only to notice it starred Jason Bateman, of Teen Wolf Too and The Hogan Family fame. It seemed somewhat confusing until I started watching it from the beginning.
I don't know if I have ever seen a TV show funnier than Arrested Development. The writing and dialogue is so clever, the filming style so unique. It's a shame it only lasted for about 2 1/2 years, but a movie is supposedly in the works.
So enjoy these clips of this messed-up family's imitation of a chicken:
I'm a BYU fan, but more importantly for this entry, I'm a Mountain West Conference fan. If you're an MWC fan - even if you are a Utah fan - I know we can agree on at least one thing: We don't care much for Boise State.
This is an important season for the non-BCS teams. As fans, we don't want just any team representing us in a BCS bowl. We want a proven team like Utah was last year. The Utes beat Oregon State, TCU and BYU on their way to an impressive Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
We don't want a team that got fat off a debilitated schedule.
Is Boise State's record impressive? Absolutely. The Broncos very rarely lose games. The only problem is they rarely schedule actual games.
BSU's only legitimate competition came from a home game against the Oregon Ducks in the first game of the season. Both teams played like garbage (which is one of the reasons week one is typically an upset-fertile day on the schedule), and a lot has changed since then. Simply put, Oregon would crush BSU if the teams played again.
Obviously, that's speculation, but I feel as Boise State is simply the beneficiary of the top teams losing. Has there really been a game that's warranted its position in the polls?
Score - Team - Current Record 48-0 Miami (OH) 0-7 51-34 @ Fresno St. 3-3 49-14 @ Bowling Green 3-4 34-16 UC Davis FCS team 28-21 Tulsa 4-3
None of those games really "wow" anyone, yet BSU has continuously been voted up to the #4 spot, causing some Bronco fans to clamor for a shot at the national championship game. But with BSU's schedule bereft of even semi-difficult games, any team in the top 10 that wins the rest of its game would deserve that spot over Boise State. The schedules simply do not compare.
Some might suggest MWC fans are simply jealous of Boise State.
That's true. We are jealous. Jealous of BSU's cakewalk schedule. Jealous that BSU doesn't have to play against legitimate competition to gain national acclaim. Jealous that the toughest game the Broncos have on their way to a BCS game is Tulsa, a team Oklahoma beat 45-0.
If Boise State does win out (and since the WAC has no other decent teams, it's a very good possibility), The MWC has one hope remaining: TCU.
As a BYU fan, it's impossible for me to cheer against the Cougars. However, if TCU does beat BYU, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I would much rather have TCU in a BCS game than Boise St., and with wins over BYU, Utah and some out of conference road games against BCS-conference schools, TCU would likely leapfrog the Broncos.
Good question: Does President Barack Obama deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?
I don't know. I wasn't the person who nominated him, and, more importantly, I wasn't part of the committee spending several months evaluating the nominees.
When I first heard the news, I'll admit I was a bit surprised. But then again, so was Obama. He didn't campaign for this. He even said he "[does] not feel that [he] deserve[s] to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize."
Some people feel if he doesn't think he deserves it, then he could always decline it. I feel that's a ridiculous idea. It's one of the most prestigious awards in the world! If a group spent months and months deciding to give the award to him, it would be offensive to NOT accept it. The funny thing about Obama is that he CARES whether or not he offends international figures. I know in the previous eight years that might not have been the case, and maybe we've grown accustomed to that mentality.
Let me use an analogy to better illustrate why declining the award would have greater repercussions than we think:
Imagine being in high school again, and Sadie Hawkin's Dance has girls starting to ask boys out. Now, imagine the girl every guy wants to ask him out. She gets on the intercom for the morning announcements and asks out a guy. She could have had any guy, and she picked him. And he's says no - on the morning announcements, as well.
Is she offended or at least embarrassed? Of course. Does life go on? Of course. She goes ahead and asks someone else out. However, how excited is the next guy? He's very publicly the second choice. Sure, he goes, but he knows darn well she didn't want to come with him.It's the same thing with the award. If we feel he hasn't done enough to deserve the award, how is the second-choice recipient going to feel about the committee thinking his accomplishments weren't as impressive as Obama's?
"I nursed 3,000 soldiers back to health, and Obama was picked over me?!?!" I mean, maybe it was because of Obama's diplomacy efforts and attempts to open talks to leaders with whom we don't have a good relationship.
Maybe it was because he has shown no signs of starting another war as president (that bar is pretty low) .
Maybe it was a weak year for peace.
I don't know. There are a lot of people who spend a lot more time considering it than I do, which brings me to my main point:
Better question: Who cares? Is it October already? I can't believe it has already been a year since the last Nobel Prizes were awarded.
Remember all of the articles we read leading up to the decisions?
Remember turning on the TV and all of the talk show hosts were listing their predictions for the Nobel Prizes?
Remember how the whole world was abuzz about who was going to win?
Remember talking about whether or not the winners deserved it or who really deserved it for hours and hours after the decisions were made?
My point is we almost NEVER care about the Nobel Prize winners. Why do so many people spend so much time whining about Obama winning it? I don't remember Martti Ahtisaari or Shirin Ebadi going through this same skepticism.
The reason is hatred. Many people hate Obama for his politics, and they feel everyone else should hate him (see Opinionators).
Well, guess what? The Norwegian Nobel Committee doesn't hate him. Get over it.
Here's what they said:
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
Is that impossible to believe? It shouldn't be. Maybe you don't agree with his policies on the economy or health care, but can you say he doesn't make more peaceful efforts to resolve conflicts?
Maybe he's not the most deserving of the award, but you didn't care when Wangari Maathai or Mohamed El Baradei won it, why do you care so much now?
Levi Johnston has kept himself busy (he doesn't even have time to put a shirt on). Levi (Johnston, that is. In case you forget, he's tattooed it on his arm. Or maybe that's in case HE forgets.), most known for getting Sarah Palin's daughter pregnant before the 2008 presidential campaign, has managed to stay in the limelight an entire year later. Most recently, he appeared taking his new-found fatherhood lightly in this commercial:
He's definitely been a spectacle. Early on, after he and Bristol Palin broke up, the Johnston family appeared on a variety of talk shows, embarrassing themselves somewhat: On Larry King...
However, after a while, Levi seemed to be more comfortable doing these interviews. In this one, Levi also shares his thoughts on why Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska:
Now, Levi has agreed to pose nude in Playgirl, an online magazine read by women and gay men. This comes after he posed shirtless with his infant son in GQ, as pictured above.
Frankly, one of the things I dislike about society is that a guy like this can "sleep" his way into thousands upon thousands of dollars and NOT be called a prostitute. Now, I know it's not the same thing, but thousands - even millions - of people bust their butts to make ends meet and, even then, some can't even put food on their table. Meanwhile, this guy knocks up someone semi-famous, and now he's even more famous than her. I don't blame the magazines. I blame people all over the world that eat this brand of garbage up. Shame on them for giving this guy a medium.
I hope he's saving his money. That's the other thing about people: they forget about you.
This Weekend Video is a clip from the stand-up comedy of Jim Gaffigan from his TV special King Baby. A few years back somebody recommended his other special Beyond the Pale, and I had never laughed so hard. He is actually from NW Indiana, which is an obvious plus. He does bits on a bunch of different random subjects like Hot Pockets, laziness, bacon, and other things. Here is a bit he did on Waffle House:
...and on bacon:
...and here's a conversation he had with then-Senator Barack Obama:
Admittedly, last Saturday was a very disappointing day in Cougar Nation. I, like any other fan of a non-automatic-qualifying team, loved having my team be the center of attention, even if it was only for a couple of weeks.
With the image of a game-winning touchdown catch by McKay Jacobson still only two weeks old, BYU got outplayed by Florida State at home, the first home loss since 2005. And that's the nicest way to describe a 54-28 drubbing.
Frankly, the Cougars were the ones who looked like they hadn't played at that altitude before. The defense that had all the ESPN talking heads paying so much attention to Provo couldn't stop a team Jacksonville State nearly beat.
That said, can BYU salvage the season? While I don't want to underestimate the rest of BYU's schedule, I don't believe a BCS Bowl is completely out of the question for these three reasons:
1. Florida State is not a bad team.Has anybody been following the team Florida State barely lost to? Miami has proven to not be a bad team. In fact, they are now in the top 10 after beating FSU and Georgia Tech, both of which were ranked. And after the way the Seminoles played against the Cougars, I think Miami's ranking, along with continued success from FSU, can only help BYU chances.
2. The Oklahoma game still happened. Yes, BYU has lost a game, and no non-BCS team has ever gone to a BCS Bowl with a loss on its record. But if someone was going to do it, don't you think a team with a win over Oklahoma (who is not playing poorly, by the way), as well as possible wins against TCU and Utah (who could both be ranked at that point), is in the best position to do it? Frankly, even with one loss, BYU's resume would still be a lot more impressive than an undefeated Boise State (one win at home against Oregon).
3. The polls were actually pretty kind to us. OK, a 12-spot drop is never good news. However, nine games are still left on the schedule. Don't think it's impossible to slowly climb the rankings, especially with the TCU and Utah games still left. Especially, since the four or five undefeated SEC teams ahead of BYU have been feasting on a schedule Boise State would call weak. I would expect most of those teams to lose two games. BYU could very easily find itself in the top 10 once again.
Obviously, there are a lot of assumptions:
This is assuming Max Hall and the Cougars can shake off the loss and win the rest of their games.
This is assuming Boise State loses a game - even though the Cougars would be far more deserving than the Broncos.
This is assuming Florida State really is a good team.
This is assuming TCU and Utah will win every other game possible.
A lot of assumptions? Yes. But I am not - and no BYU fan should be - ready to give up on the 2009 Cougars.
As far as habitats go, renting is not a terrible way to go. There's a lower commitment level. You have a lower monthly cost for housing. If something breaks (accidentally), you don't have to fix it (if your landlord is adequately competent). And considering the things that have taken place over the last year or so, it's a relief to not have to worry about resale value. If you are not looking to stay in place for more than three or four years, renting an apartment is a very convenient thing to do.
Unless, of course, you have to deal with bad neighbors.
I should probably explain my definition of what a bad neighbor is or isn't.
A bad neighbor IS one who is up outside your window late night yelling, hooting, hollering, fighting, emitting all sorts of profanities, etc. It is amazing to me people can be so socially retarded that they would be standing outside your apartment past midnight swearing up a hurricane. We even had our landlord and his girlfriend arguing at 1 a.m., literally outside our bedroom window. If you own an apartment complex, that is a business. Why would take your relationship problem outside your tenants' window? That would be like the manager at Wendys' taking a employee out to the dining area and firing them during the lunch rush. Under no circumstances are your tenants better off hearing your vulgarity-laced anger than your own walls.
A bad neighbor ISN'T one who makes a batch of brownies now and then. We've had some really good neighbors.
A bad neighbor IS one who makes a batch of SPECIAL brownies now then. We've had some really bad neighbors.
A bad neighbor ISN'T one who doesn't look after you at all. Not trying to encourage stalking, so I'll explain what I mean. While we were living in the aforementioned apartment, we had a neighbor tell us he heard some people try to break into our car one night, so he let his dog out, and it scared the feces out of them. I don't want a neighbor who is in my business all of the time, but if one wants to be a night watchman, I just allow it.
A bad neighbor IS one who brings with him or her frequent police visits. One of our family's first apartments, we lived in a four-plex, and we loved it. We knew everyone in the complex, and better, we trusted everyone in the complex. Then, our landlords sold. We got a landlord who filled empty apartments with his brother's friends, and ABRACADABRA!!! Before you didn't see policemen, now you do! Four visits in four months.
It's a little nerve-racking to see a dozen police officers surrounding your home with their guns drawn and several police dogs by their side. It's also a little nerve-racking to see it twice. And it's also a little nerve-racking to find out your neighbors had been harboring a fugitive of sorts. I've gone my entire life without being responsible for a handful of police cars in my driveway. Why is it so hard for other people?
So little is really being asked by me. Luckily, I am currently blessed with adequate neighbors. We don't bother them, they don't bother us.
It's not the perfect living situation, but things could be a lot worse:
Things in Hell posts are periodic observations of what Hell might have. I am not saying this person/persons is/are actually going to spend eternity there. When I think of the what the worst possible place would have, these kind of people come to mind.
I thought I'd start a recurring blog entry called Weekend Video. This Weekend Video features stand-up comedian Louis CK's visit to the then-Late Night with Conan O'Brien. I don't know too much about him, but this video is hilarious, and he is in a movie coming out soon called The Invention of Lying with Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Ricky Gervais (The Office, BBC), Rob Lowe, and many others. Enjoy this Weekend Video:
I was never a fan of the drink itself, but I remember when Mountain Dew ruled the '90s with commercials like this:
Now you don't really hear much from "The Dew." (Maybe that's also because people started called Donald Trump "The Donald")
What I think has happened is - through no fault of M.D. itself - the demographic for the soda vanished.
Think about it.
Mountain Dew was the X-treme soda of the 1990s. Commercials featuring skydivers and BASE jumpers told consumers that Dew was it for energy-boosting beverages, and consumers listened intently and acted on it. Anytime a group of kids were staying up late playing video games or whatever, you could be sure a pack of Mountain Dew would accompany them. Nobody could deny the impact Mountain Dew's high-sugar/caffeine content had on people, and nobody could compete with it either.
Then came along drinks like Rockstar, Monster, and Red Bull, with enough caffeine to make a Starbuck's patron puke.
According to energyfiend.com, the Mountain Dew with highest caffeine to product ratio (mg/oz) is Mountain Dew Game Fuel with 6 mg/oz. Most of the other Mountain Dew products are around 4.5 mg/oz.
Rockstar has a variety of products, with the highest being 80 mg/oz (Rockstar Energy Shot) and the lowest listed being about 10 mg/oz (Rockstar Juiced). Most of Rockstar's drinks are listed at about 15 mg/oz.
Monster also has a drink with 80 mg/oz (Monster Hitman Sniper), but most of its other products are at about 10 mg/oz. Red Bull is listed at 9.64, but its "energy shot" product has 40 mg/oz. So Red Bull and these other drinks may give you wings, but it also has a chance of giving you nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, insomnia, and heart palpitations if you drink it, or any of these other drinks, too much.
Outside of incredibly ironic names, these drinks carry with them another kind of danger. I am in high schools all the time, and I see way more kids with these kinds of "energy drinks" in their hands than how many used to carry Mountain Dew when I was their age. So my fear is that, outside of the aforementioned side effects (which should instill enough fear by themselves), this kind of erratic behavior will increase among the youth as well as adults:
Long story short, many kids all across America are drinking these kinds of sodas at an alarming rate, and when you consider a can of it carries more than twice the levels of caffeine than a regular cup of coffee, the health consequences could be horrifying.
These drinks put the kibosh on Mountain Dew's clever marketing campaign, imagine what they could do to you and your family.
How many times have you watched somebody do a job and think to yourself, "I could that"?
Add sports adviser to that list.
Former Texas Tech standout, Michael Crabtree, has been the only remaining unsigned rookie for a while now, and it looks like that isn't changing anytime soon. According to ESPN.com, Crabtree, the 10th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, has said he is prepared to sit out this season and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
Because a five-year, $20-million contract ($16 million guaranteed) is not enough - and that's just the base number. With incentives, the 49ers are reportedly willing to go up to a dollar less than what the ninth pick (B.J. Raji) got, which is about $28 million.
Not bad, right?
Not good enough, however, because Crabtree feels he should have gone higher than #10 in the draft. Thus, he wants to be paid accordingly.
Numbers are just that, and I could on and on about how selfish this makes him look, but I want to focus on how dumb it makes him look. (Plus, who enjoys reading about normal folk complaining about how much athletes make. That subject is played.)
My problem is with his "adviser" advising him to sit out the 2009 season and re-enter the draft next year. Worst idea ever.
It should be mentioned his "adviser" is his cousin, David Wells, who was banned for life from USA Boxing because of allegations of misuse of funds.
It should also be known that Wells, who once started a security company with a court bailiff (illegal: conflict-of-interest), is not Crabtree's agent, so why does he have any say as to what kind of contract Crabtree signs?
Wells, who was once arrested for stealing boxing gloves from the Dallas Police Athletic League, is really just another piece of evidence as to how athletes can go broke after making tens of millions of dollars. Paying out money to cousins and their hair-brained schemes has got to take a toll on a bank account.
Getting back to why sitting out a year is such a bad idea, Crabtree was picked 10th in the 2009 draft. With what precedent is he expecting to move up in the draft by getting one year older, not playing organized football for a year, coming off an ankle injury, and being known around the league as a holdout?
Anyone with brains about the draft should know this is the more likely scenario: Crabtree sits out an entire season, re-enters the draft, and, with all of the aforementioned baggage, is drafted late in the first round.
His "adviser" should look at this little nugget of info before giving anymore advice: None of the the last 15 players drafted in the first round signed contracts worth as much as Crabtree was guaranteed with his.
It doesn't matter if he thinks 49ers are low-balling him. Nothing positive will come from sitting out a year.
It is amazing something like this can get on the air on Fox News Channel without someone in his production staff meetings saying, "Gee, Glenn. For some reason it just doesn't look right. Are we sure we spelled it right?" Beck looked right the word several times. He spelled it out. The way he spelled it wouldn't have even made the right sound. Leave the "H" out instead, and you would have been much better off!
In my very first journalism class, we were warned "in the real world" we could be fired for misspelling a name. What about a common and easily spelled word? I'm not suggesting Beck be fired for this (frankly, the sheer embarrassment of the gaffe is probably enough), but it just amazes me a guy (along with the handful of people working on his show) who sure seems to think he's very smart could make that kind of an error.
When did the President of the United States become an enemy?
Barack Obama's speech to the youth of America on Tuesday, Sept. 8, has been met with a cornucopia of complaints from parents planning on keeping their kids home if their schools plan to show the president's talk. According to White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, Obama's speech will be about challenging students "to work hard, stay in school and dramatically reduce the dropout rate."
That no good S.O.G!
How dare he challenge our children to do something with their lives?! If they want to live in our basements playing video games and eating Little Debbies until they're 37, that's their business. We don't need the government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong!!!
Give me a friggin' break!
When did the president of the United States speaking to the youth of America become such a open-hand slap to the face from Big Brother? I would think Obama's life story could inspire kids to dream big and work for it.
Enter demagogue Glenn Beck:
Fresh off his "Obama is a racist" tirade, Beck pulled his head out of his butt long enough to take a quick breath and say the White House's goal is "indoctrination" of children. He is appalled at handouts sent out to schools that have students list ways they can help the president.
How terrible! If teachers talk about politics in the slightest bit, it should be about how we can kick and drag our feet against the efforts of the president, right?
This whole thing just makes me so disgusted, because this wasn't just one or two parents calling in to voice their displeasure, even though the speech was always said to be a non-policy speech. This is hundreds or even thousands of parents who rely on radio/TV personalities whose income relies on them being pot-stirrers. It's this kind of crap that makes people like Bill Mahr say "America is stupid."
Why shouldn't our kids think of way they can help the president? Didn't JFK say "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"? Doesn't that make sense?
I guess what really bothers me is the hypocrisy of it all. President W. Bush spent eight years putting us in way more debt (i.e. Iraq) than Obama could dream of doing and robbing us blind of our civil liberties (i.e. the Patriot Act), but we were unpatriotic if we didn't support everything he did because he was the president.
Boy, is the shoe on the other foot now.
The difference is even as Bush was enslaving us in a war without a foreseeable conclusion, I would have had no problem with him talking to my children in this sort of format, because he was the president. It's a privilege to have our leaders address the nation. I know he's not going to talk policy. He'd have talked about doing something great with our lives. About working hard. About studying and getting as much education as possible. That is what the country was built on, and Bush AND Obama know that.
This comes on heel of an incident in Utah where an elementary school principal showed an Obama video on service called "I Pledge," which many parents considered "leftist propaganda."
Overall, it was a video intended to encourage people to go to usaservice.org and give a helping hand to issues they're interested in, and while it did contain a few "Obama issues" like stem-cell research and going "green," I think people overreacted to it.
I spend a lot of time with kids of that age, and I'll tell you 99% of them wouldn't have remembered the "leftist" ones five minutes after. They'd be more interested in repeating these ones:
"I pledge allegiance to the funk to the United Funk of Funkadellica," said Anthony Kiedis of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers. He went on to kiss his biceps, while saying, "I pledge to be of service [kiss] to Barack Obama [kiss]."
"[I pledge] to never give anyone the finger when I'm driving...again." (I didn't recognize the celebrity saying it)
Teen Wolf Too star Jason Bateman said, "For the environment, I pledge to flush only after a deuce, never after a single."
Even though it had some political aspects, it wasn't a video made to "indoctrinate" children. Most of the things said in the video were good advice. Obama ran the presidential race on change, and the video encourages citizens of the United States to help be the change they voted for.
I just wish the worst wasn't automatically assumed every time Obama does anything.
If I ever recommended a movie to someone based solely on one character, it would be "Yes Man." This character is hilarious, and, in my opinion, kind of saves an otherwise mediocre movie. And for those of you who have yet to see it, I'm not talking about Jim Carey's character (Carl). I'm talking about "Norman," Carl's fearless leader on the front line of finance.
I think the great thing about Norman is that he embodies characteristics of every poser you've ever known - in addition to other nerdy qualities.
He tries to be his employees' best friend
He throws theme parties
He talks big
And many, many more!
Here's a clip of him answering his door at one of those theme parties:
The clip I wanted to use is, unfortunately, unavailable to embedded, but you can check it out by clicking here. (FYI: There are just a couple swears)
Anyway, he's hilarious, and I recommend the movie on because of his performance.
Am I the only one who is somewhat surprised McDonald's stays at the top of the fast food industry?
I think it has been around 10 years since I have had a somewhat-pleasant experience at a McDonald's. One time, while at the airport in Boise, Idaho, my wife and I stopped there, and as we were eating our "food," we both kind of looked at each other. We both knew exactly what the other was thinking: the fries and the burgers had almost identical flavors to them.
I'm not saying all of McDonald's food tastes alike. That distinction is reserved for Taco Bell, who seems to prefer selling different shapes instead of varying tastes (however, the taste Taco Bell does sell is fantastic!).
All I am saying is on that particular day, at that particular location, all of the food did have the same taste: cruddy.
In college, I remember meeting some girls whose favorite place to eat was McDonald's. I didn't understand then, and I certainly don't now. Why? What is so good at McDonald that can't be found with a better taste at Burger King or Wendy's?
Even the McFlurry, with the easy equation of "ice cream + candy," is done better as a a Blizzard at Dairy Queen.
Who actually has McDonald's cravings? And if you do, why? Why do you prefer inferior food? I mean, I'm not a foodie or some sort of gourmet snob. Burger King and Wendy's aren't exactly purveyors of excellence themselves, but their food is tons better, so why would a normal person prefer McDonald's over the aforementioned chains?
And I don't know if I am crazy, but I seem to recall McDonald's commercial having an element of humor to them. It seems like about eight years ago they traded that in for a bunch of Starbuck's-sipping, three-days-beard-growth-wearing, "Friends"-hair-having yuppies.
Meanwhile, Burger King has passed and then lapped them in commercials. Here is one spot from the time I first though BK's commercials made them cooler:
Then, they introduce "The King," and, while some find him to be a tad on the creepy side, I can't get enough of him:
Then this one where he replaces Steve Young in his most memorable touchdown run:
Now they have these commercials with the "Tiny Hands Guy," and they scratch me right where I itch. The first time I saw these, I almost fell out of my seat.They're just too funny:
So what I am basically saying is there is no reason to go to McDonald's. Their food sucks, their commercials suck, and thus, they suck. Do yourselves a favor and never go their again.
Lately, there have been a lot of NFL players' names and the word "prison" in the news. Donte' Stallworth, Michael Vick, and Plaxico Burress have been the most recent and notable ones with jail sentences.
Vick - interstate dogfighting ring Stallworth - DUI/Manslaughter Burress - unlawful carrying of a handgun
I think if we put the actions in order of least to most offensive, it would go Burress, Vick, and Stallworth, and, frankly, I don't even think it is debatable, but here are the crimes with the penalty the athlete received.
Vick - interstate dogfighting ring - 23 months Stallworth - DUI/Manslaughter - 30 days Burress - unlawful carrying of a handgun - 2 years
In reality, all Burress did was accidentally shoot himself in the leg, and he gets two years on a plea bargin?! His crime is the worst of all of these?
If a judge hears these three crimes - killing a man while driving drunk, bankrolling an interstate dogfighting ring, and unlawful carrying of a handgun - does he really think the last one is the worst? The only reason the cops even knew about it was because they saw it reported on TV.
He shot himself in the leg! Hasn't he suffered enough? I didn't realize the penalty for being stupid was so stiff. If that's the case, I've met a lot of people in my life you could be locked up for life.
It also seems as though many people are the most outraged by Vick's actions, and it makes no sense to me. What Vick did was despicable and disgusting, but when it comes down to it, he did it to animals not humans. Stallworth's blood alcohol content was 0.12, and Florida's legal limit is 0.08. Nevertheless, he got behind the wheel of car and drove, and he ended up killing a person - a human being.
What do these very different sentences say about the crimes? DUI manslaughter isn't all that bad? Stallworth's original action was so much worse than Vick's, and all he got was 30 days in the can? That's outrageous.
What's worse is that this sets a terrible example. Not to other rich people or NFL players or even other athletes, but to regular joes all across the country who are drunk each and every night. What is to stop them from getting in their car and driving home? Not a 30-day prison sentence for the worst possible consequence of drunk driving.
Where are all of the protesters and activists from organizations like M.A.D.D. and S.A.D.D.? Shouldn't they be up in arms about all of this? Shouldn't they be organizing boycotts of NFL sponsors? Shouldn't they have been outside the courthouse yelling and screaming?
I don't know if more people are against what Vick did than what Stallworth did, but I am 100 percent sure the people against Vick are a whole lot louder than the others.
It's high time the judicial system start treating celebrities like everyone else. Vick got an expected sentence, but Stallworth's stature helped him skate and Burress' stardom made an example out of him.
If a drunk kills a member of his family, what kind of a penalty would Stallworth want for that person?
I'm not referring to the one in Pocatello, Idaho, who, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, said the Japanese Mafia had a weather machine and were exacting revenge from WWII. But is there any other career field in which you're allowed to be so wrong so often?
I'm sure the only time I've ever seen "100 percent chance of rain" on weather.com is when it is already raining. A great part of me can't stand that.
And if they're wrong - which frequently happens - they're like, "It's the weather! Who can predict that? Nobody's perfect!" That's a cop out, their way to avoid responsibility.
Can you imagine if other occupations were given this kind of leeway? How many planes would crash if air traffic controllers could fall back on "nobody's perfect"?
What about S.W.A.T. teams? "Gee, we're sorry we crashed through all of your windows and used the battering ram to knock down your door. It turned out it was the house next door with the covered windows and sporadic chemical burns in the front yard."
And hit men? Don't get me started on the amount of needless murders in which that would result.
Some days I look on the aforementioned Web site to find the current day's forecast, and I see the storm clouds icon. In my mind, I immediately change my plans for the day. "I can't go running in the rain" or "I don't want to play soccer in the rain" or "My day is ruined! Who wants to picnic in the rain?"
If I were to further investigate the day by clicking on "more details," I would find there was really only a 30 percent chance of rain. Meaning, there was actually a 70 percent chance we would see NO rain. That's actually more than TWICE as likely we'll get no rain at all. Twice as likely!
Frankly, I feel we've gone far too long with life like this. We need to band together and demand accountability from our meteorologists. Don't you let another picnic get canceled without a fight.
Kudos to the Philadelphia Eagles for signing Michael Vick to a two-year contract. Vick has made a lot of mistakes in the past, and based on the opinion of Tony Dungy - a man who makes A.C. Green look immoral - I believe he deserves a second chance.
Even before the signing, I had Philly pretty high based on the way they finished last year and the drafting of the playmaking Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Donovan McNabb has gone through the majority of his career without a #1 receiver, and if Maclin lives up to the hype - with DeSean Jackson coming off a solid rookie year - Eagles will be the NFC favorites to go to the Super Bowl.
Even Rush Limbaugh would have to like McNabb's chances this year.
Now, with Michael Vick aboard, things haven't been this interesting in the City of Brotherly Love since Wilt Chamberlain was actively "dating."
We have no idea how well Vick will be able to play being away from football for the last two seasons. We do know he was a tremendous athlete - not a tremendous quarterback, but an exciting athlete. He's not being brought in to take over at QB. McNabb has that position locked up, and Kevin Kolb is the future at that slot.
The question is where will coach Andy Reid place Vick? How will Michael Vick contribute on the football field?
Based on the impact of the Miami Dolphins' usage of the Wildcat formation, it would be pretty difficult to look past that option. There's a minute chance he could line up as a receiver, but that system would be perfect for Vick. Not putting him there would be like buying a toothbrush to clean your fingernails. Sure a toothbrush would work, but that's not what it was designed for and other things do it better.
Have you ever had an firmly held opinion? An opinion you were rather passionate about, perhaps dealing with ethical, economical or political topics?
Have you ever had someone disagree with your strong opinion? For reasons known or unknown to you, he or she just could not come to any common ground?
Is it wrong to disagree with someone's opinion? I don't think so. In a country which grants us the freedoms required to express ourselves the way we see fit (with obvious exceptions), we should welcome the arrival of others at the marketplace of ideas. Numerous minds working together is the basis of a country's strength and ability to progress through good times and bad.
Now to get to the point of this entry, have you had someone disagree with your strong opinion, but not just disagree? To them it is not even a matter of opinion as much as it is a fact? Watching these kind of people respond to your opinion is like watching a teacher grade your test?
However, the latter is a lot less acceptable than the former.
There are legal rights, and there are social rights. It is well within the social rights of someone to not have the same opinion as you, but when that person takes the step to the next level - the step towards mockery, verbal humiliation, or even blatant condescension - they become an opinionator.
It isn't enough for an opinionator to simply express their opinion or even express the differences between his/her opinion and yours. They must "teach" you. The curriculum would include phone calls (early morning or late night), text messages, emails, YouTube clips, and articles all with a "See! I told you so!" flavor to them.
Have you expressed a desire to receive this education? Probably not, but an opinionator will only be happy once he has successfully changed your mind. Or will he?
My "informal studies" show his thirst won't be quenched then. At that point, you would simply become one of his cronies. You'll still get the phone calls, text messages, emails, YouTube clips, and articles, only they will now be full of an "I can't believe other people don't think like us" flavor.
I suppose the worst part of an opinionator is that he or she truly believes there is a right and wrong answer. No "that's your opinion" attitude for them. It is fact. And there is no getting around it.
They talk of the economy with certainty of what will happen -- without any formal training as an economist that you know of. They disregard the religious beliefs of any outside their own. They don't tell you what the weather is supposed to be like, but they tell you it will rain. It will be partly cloudy. The wind will blow at 18 miles per hour.
It's frustrating, discouraging, maddening, and almost any other negative adjective all rolled into one. Surely, Hell would have to be like that.
The fact is there really isn't any winning with these people, so stay true to your own self. Have an open mind, but don't let these punks bully you around. In spite of what they might say, you are entitled to your own opinion.
--- Things in Hell posts are periodic observations of what Hell might have. I am not saying this person/persons are actually going to spend eternity there. When I think of the what the worst possible place would have, these kind of people come to mind.
Have you ever been driving and you get stuck behind someone who looks like they are supposed to be turning soon onto another street, but for some reason, they just don't know which one?
That's what it has been like following the 2009 Chicago White Sox.
They have gone through this season in a pretty mediocre way, hovering somewhere around .500. Periodically, they go on a tear and win a few games in a row. Jose Contreras has a dominating outing. Mark Buerhle throws a perfect game. Old timers like Scott Podsednik resurrect their careers. Newcomers like Gordon Beckham string together some breakout games.
All of this happens and you start to think they turning a corner, and then they don't.
They slow down, they put on their blinker, and then they turn it off and keep going straight until the next turn. Then they do it all over and over again.
Now they've made some deals like bringing San Diego ace Jake Peavy and Toronto all-star Alex Rios in to push them over the top.
A lot of people are very optimistic for these moves, and I, too, would love to be the same way about it. But I just can't. Too many question marks surround these recent moves.
There is always a caveat when signing or trading for National League pitchers to an American League team. The NL is not as good as the AL. The quality of players Peavy was pitching to is lower than those he will face. He won't be pitching to pitchers anymore. His stats might be inflated.
A pitcher making that kind of switch will typically increase his ERA a run or so and lose 2-3 strikeouts per game, leaving the Sox with a mediocre to good pitcher. I'm not saying Peavy can't succeed in the AL. I'm just saying NL pitchers rarely do.
And Alex Rios? He's still young and has had a pretty stalwart career. However, ever since he signed the huge $70 million contract, his stats have gone down. If I was a GM, I would be worried about the lack of motivation. Maybe Rios isn't one who plays for the love of the game. Maybe he is someone who played for the big contract. Now that he has it, will he step up? So far, he hasn't.
I have been a White Sox fan for years. I don't wish these things to come true. And even if they do come true, the White Sox are still a better team than before. They'll just have over $20 million a year locked up in manure. Even farmers will tell you that's a lot.
Eli Manning reportedly signed a six-year contract extension worth about $97 million, with $35 million of that to be guaranteed. When I first saw this, I wasn't exactly sure what to think. But the more I think of it, the more I think I would hate to be a NY Giants fan right about now.
"What?" you might say. "Wasn't Eli Manning the 2008 Super Bowl MVP? What could possibly be wrong with the Giants locking up their leader?"
First off, I'm betting NY probably could have had him for a bit less. It almost seems as though the $97 million was the Giants' idea. I have nothing to back that up, but think about it: how could an agent go into the GM's office and - with a straight face and everything - demand the third highest salary in the league.
Don't get me wrong, Eli Manning has made some humongous strides over the course of his five-year career, but not enough to warrant such a price tag. In 2008, he had his best regular season (QB rating-wise) yet, but it still wasn't even good enough to put him in the 60th percentile. That means that in his best season, the 49ers' Shaun Hill and the Seahawks' Seneca Wallace still had better stats.
Imagine if those two guys signed such a lucrative contract. Imagine if they signed a 6-year/$60 million contract. Imagine if they signed 6-year/$40 million contracts. Any of those scenarios would be deemed ridiculous, so why is Eli getting the scratch?
I'm not actually suggesting Wallace and Hill are worth as much as Eli, but I would like to suggest the reason behind his inflated contract can be found in many different places. On his birth certificate, on his driver's license, and even on all of his elementary school assignment. It's the latter half of the words "Eli Manning."
His last name has been helping him since college. He was quickly slated as the number one draft pick, while Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger have statistically had much better careers (Big Ben also trumps him in the Super Bowl category), and they were drafted AFTER him. If his name was Eli Gower, he probably wouldn't have cracked the top five.
Now he's even getting even more money than his brother, who is a far-superior talent. Imagine being Peyton, breaking records and being on pace to break many more, and your little brother, who hasn't come close to your numbers on the field, passes up your bank account - and people already thought your contract was too high!
A Super Bowl win should not mean THAT much, not to mention the fact that the defense really won the game for him.
The biggest reason to hate this move as a Giants fan is because it handcuffs you from going after big names in free agency. I realize a lot of the Giants' recent success came through the draft, but if you put that much into one player, how much will you have left over to re-sign those players?
If you take a look at the list of the highest paid players in the NFL, you'll notice something's (or someone people are) missing: many elite players. Tom Brady, for example, had one of the most prolific seasons in NFL history in 2007. He's nowhere close to the top of the list, but that gives the Pats a lot of flexibility to add or re-sign players to keep New England competitive.
I'm not saying the Giants won't be good down the road, but it will definitely be harder and the margin error will be a whole lot more narrow.
For Eli, this is all fantastic. But for NY and its fans, not so much.