Monthly Archives: March 2008

Reality bites.

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Television generally bores me. I usually flicker through the channels for 20 non-stop minutes before declaring, “Damn it! TV sucks!” and grudgingly settle upon a re-run of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” My boyfriend has it even worse; he ends up watching “Bibleman” or some such insanity because he can’t stand re-runs. Poor guy.

All I can say is, “Thank you, VH1, for saving my otherwise wasted tv viewing hours!” Here are my mini-analyses for some of my faves this week:

  • Despite my earlier predictions that it was going to suck ass without Angelique, “Rock of Love” has really cranked into overdrive. This week, Brett took the remaining four girls to Las Vegas and high-jinx ensued. I don’t think I’ve thrown a drink at anyone in my entire life, but somehow that managed to happen 2 or 3 times in that one episode. Megan and Jessica, who I couldn’t tell apart because they had the same boring face and hair, are now gone and it’s down to the middle-aged lady who tries too hard, the pan-faced girl who overflattens her hair, and Oscar de la Hoya’s wacky over-processed inked-up stripper niece, Daisy, who lives with her ex and “hung out” with CC DeVille. Team Daisy all the way!
  • I do not know who Tocarra is, but I so want to hang out with her because she brings the crazy to “Celebrity Fit Club.” She went full-5150 mental all over the cute doctor and the lame shrink lady on the judges’ panel. Harvey, bless him, stayed cool as a cucumber. I love him. If he told me to climb up a 20 foot wooden trestle, I would happily scramble to the top. Maybe it’s some hidden s+m thing inside of me. Anyway, Screech continues to try to out-crazy Tocarra, but homie is played out. His antics are simply annoying now. Oh, and please give Erin Moran more alcohol. It’s just plain funny to see Joanie Cunningham drunk.
  • Poor hygiene is becoming an emerging theme on “Flavor of Love”. Previously, Bunns had to be tested for a herpes sore on her mouth (it turned out to be a pimple). This week, Shy got called out in front of everyone for her bad breath. Oh lawd! The upcoming week* looks even more exciting as Shy visits a dentist. From the looks of it, the poor girl hasn’t seen one in years. See? Reality tv changes people’s lives!
  • The second installment of “I Know My Kid’s A Star” was even better than the first. This show has nothing to do with the children whatsoever; it’s all about the insane showbiz parents. The breakout “star”, of course, is Rocky, an overdecked peacock of a woman who dresses like Strip Club Barbie. Her own run at stardom hasn’t exactly yielded marquee results, so she’s getting her kid started early to be the real breadwinner. She is f-ing awe-inspiring to watch. The annoying Betty White-looking lady with the yellow-white hair is also a hot mess who keeps threatening to take Rocky down a peg, but I’m putting it all on Gigi to tear Rocky’s ass up. Gigi looks like a normal suburban mom type, but I think she shows signs of true crazy bitch genius.

That pretty much sums up this week in programming excellence. I’m hoping MTV will get its act together and come up with something fresh. “Real World” died a long time ago, “True Life” has gotten stale, and “Made” has turned into a snoozefest. Don’t even get me started on “Pimp My Ride” (how many times can Mad Mike say “yo! I’m gonna hook him up with chrome wheels!” ??). 

Update

* I apparently missed a week, since Shy was already gone in the March 31 episode during which we said goodbye to Prancer for having a big mouth about, uh, what it is she does with her big mouth.

Oh, Shy Shy. I miss you, girl. You so craaazy.

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Movie quote of the day

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Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were goin’ all the way. Kurtz got off the boat. He split from the whole f—ing program.

— Captain Williard, after Chef encounters a tiger in the jungle and screams that one should never get out of the boat (Apocalypse Now)

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Hey, Berkeley! You Suck!

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Protests Cost Berkeley $200K in Police Overtime Pay 

BERKELEY, Calif. — The city of Berkeley has spent nearly $211,000 on police overtime to try to keep the peace during protests at the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center and Old City Hall, police spokesman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said Friday.

The overtime was racked up over 16 days so far this year in which officers have had to work overtime to deal with protests, Kusmiss said.She said the total of $210,814.13 so far this year includes about $93,000 during an all-day protest at Old City Hall on Feb. 12 that drew about 2,000 people…[click headline for full article]

If USA Today ran a poll to determine the most annoying cities in the United States, Berkeley would definitely top the list. For anyone who is unfamiliar with it, Berkeley is a college town filled with snooty Prius-driving, composting, organic-eating, Birkenstock-wearing, I’m-Better-Than-You types. They actually have signs around town that read “nuclear free zone” which always cracked me up because one of my friends is a graduate of Berkeley’s nuclear engineering program. The only good thing in the area, in my opinion, are Top Dog hotdogs. Given the long line out of the shop, my feeling is that most of the town’s undergraduate populace would rather eat saurkraut-slathered meat than stomp around protesting it. So I don’t blame the students (mostly). I blame a sub-group of residents, university faculty, and weekend warriors from other surrounding areas who make their way into Berkeley specifically to make fools of themselves. 

Some people (typically the ones who don’t work two jobs to keep food on the table) will get angry and protest anything in Berkeley, from the war in Iraq to gasoline-powered SUVs. While I think there are some very good causes to stand up for, these boneheads never seem to go any deeper than a few soundbytes they hear in the media. The deeper connections just never seem all that interesting to them. Instead, they just trounce around holding signs with tired slogans, running up county taxes for police protection, and yelling stuff nobody even hears them saying. It’s annoying, it’s costly, and it is sucking up badly needed resources that could be used elsewhere.

You see, right next to phony-ass Berkeley is the real deal — Oakland. Consistently rated within the top ten of violent cities in the United States, Oakland is a troubled city of some 400,000 mostly struggling (by N. CA standards) residents. Median income is around $40k. To put that in perspective: the Toyota Prius is the most popular car sold in the Silicon Valley. MSRP for the basic model is $21k — more than half the median income in Oakland. Hybrid cars and overpriced organic foods? These folks are just plain trying to keep the lights on and the cops on the streets.

What’s more, Alameda County also includes other cities with their own challenges and needs; Hayward, Union City, Emeryville,… the people in these towns deal with encroaching crime and decreased availability of cash for social programs. And yet Berkeley thinks it’s just fine and dandy to dance around with their signs, wasting $200k+ in the first quarter of 2008 for their own indulgent little protests and holier-than-thou bullcrap.

I think I want to protest Berkeley.

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I blame this on the hippies

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Dear Miss Manners,
I am a 50 year old Catholic priest who appreciates your contribution to a more civilized world. As a priest, people are usually polite and well-mannered in my presence, with one glaring exception. 

I confess that I am a bit irked by the growing popularity of addressing total strangers by their first names in the banking industry. The tellers at my bank always address me by my first name, even when I am attired in full priestly garb. I have tried responding, “Oh, do I know you? Since you used my first name, I feel sure I should remember yours. I am so sorry.”  

Am I being too persnickety in thinking that one should use a title (Fr., Mr., etc.) when addressing an older, business client? I spoke once to a branch manager who informed me it was the “company policy.” Am I wrong for preferring a little more decorum in these situations?

 

Gentle Reader,
You are neither wrong nor persnickety, but you are not achieving your very legitimate desire to be addressed respectfully. Your being a stranger to the speaker is sufficient reason alone, as is your being an adult, and a priest.

Unfortunate as it is that the teller has been instructed to use your first name, Miss Manners is guessing that he probably doesn’t even know how else to address you. It would therefore be a kindness to say gently, “Please call me Father Gardner.”

While I’m eating lunch during the workday, I occasionally take a mental vacation and surf the news. Typically, it’s trashy celebrity gossip and other such important information. Today, however, I ran out of gossip — mostly due to Britney Spears being straightjacketed into a semi-normal life again by her father — and glanced through what I like to call the “Mentally Defective” section: horoscopes and advice columns. The above letter from Father Persnickety got me thinking about a pet peeve of mine. In fact, this peeve is so much of a pet that I’d let it sit on the sofa, eat treats, and beg for scraps at the table if it wanted to.

Here it is: I hate when kids call adults by their first names.

Maybe this makes me sound like Sister Persnickety of Our Lady of Perpetual PMS, but I honestly just think it’s rude for a six-year-old kid to walk up to a middle-aged friend of the family and say, “Hi, Sue” instead of “Hi, Mrs. Jones”, “Hi, Jane’s mom”, or even “Hi, Auntie Sue”. By not using a title, that child is not demonstrating respect for that adult. And the fact that little Johnny is not using respectful terms leads me to implicate his parents as the culprits in not teaching this brat sweet child some decent manners.

Use of the first name as a form of address is no longer the exception these days. Indeed, it seems to be the rule. I can’t recall the last time I heard a kid refer to someone as “Mr.” or “Mrs.”, aside from school teachers (and even there, the growing trend seems to be to call them by their first names).

Ok. Ready for the rant that goes along with this?

By burying old social traditions, such as titles of respect, our societal fabric will continue to fray. It sounds minor, but it’s actually quite defining. “Damn the past”, we’re saying, “kids are equals with their elders.” By putting them on the same level, we’re essentially telling children to ignore us, to blow off the lessons shared by the past in favor of doing whatever feels good. Premarital sex, drugs, eating at Popeye’s Chicken (beware of that one in Barstow. My intenstinal tract hasn’t been the same since going there) — all ok by us. Have a ball. But by signing over that respect, by relinquishing the responsibility of the elders to teach, we’re sowing the seeds for a generation of very confused, very messed up kids. Watch “Intervention” or “True Life” some time: 19-year-olds heroin addicts from supposedly good families.

It comes down to this: boundaries, personal responsibility, and respect for those who deserve it. The hardcore liberal whack-jobs of the 60s and 70s have done their best to shatter those important components of our cultural construct with their goofy experimental movements. Thanks a lot for making the United States your sociological petri dish, Abbie Hoffman.

That persnickety priest deserves to be addressed as “Father”. He’s worked for that title. Your family physician is “Doctor”.  He or she also worked for that title. And, guess what? Your neighbors deserve to be called “Mr.”, “Ms.”, and “Mrs.” by your kids because they work for that title, too. They’ve worked on it their whole lives, in fact. And by teaching your kids this one little lesson in politeness, you may very well be teaching them something even more important than you realize.

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Flagrant disregard of the law!

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Shia LaBeouf pleads not guilty

Thu Mar 20, 8:15 AM ET (Associated Press)

Shia LaBeouf has pleaded not guilty to an unlawful smoking charge.

Attorney Michael Norris entered the plea on behalf of the 21-year-old actor Wednesday, a day after a judge issued a $1,000 bench warrant for LaBeouf’s arrest.

The bench warrant, which didn’t contain details on the circumstances or the location of the offense, was dismissed.

LaBeouf, who was cited last month, was scheduled to be arraigned on the misdemeanor charge but he failed to appear at Tuesday’s hearing.

A hearing is set for April 24. If convicted, the “Transformers” star faces a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

LaBeouf was arrested in November for refusing to leave a Chicago drugstore, but prosecutors later dropped charges because Walgreen Co. and a security company indicated they didn’t want to continue the case.

He starred on the Disney Channel show “Even Stevens” and can next be seen on the big screen opposite Harrison Ford in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

The world can rest at ease tonight. Shia LaBeouf has been brought to justice for his potentially murderous deeds. Smoking inside a Walgreen’s – scandalous! String him up, Judge! Tookie Williams got lethal injection and he was just a peaceful writer of children’s books.  Maybe an old-fashioned chopping block would stop that nicotine habit. This kid is a menace 2 society!!

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Movie quote of the day

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“I am all that is man.”

– Officer Arcot ‘Thorny’ Ramathorn , upon winning the maple syrup chugging contest (Super Troopers)

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In Search Of: Punch Buggy

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Leonard Nemoy turned 77 today. I’m glad he’s still alive and kicking because I really need his help investigating an ancient mystery — Punch Buggy.

I got to thinking about the history of Punch Buggy this weekend, while suffering a bruised arm. My 38-going-on-14-year-old boyfriend decided a game of Punch Buggy was in order while driving to a sporting event. He must have called out every Volkswagon Beetle in the San Jose metro area: “Punch Buggy blue!”, “Punch Buggy yellow!”, and the dreaded “No punch backs!” Damn him. By the time we arrived at HP Arena, my arm looked like Farrah Fawcett in “The Burning Bed”.

Rubbing my sore arm, I began researching the violent game. How was it, I wondered, that people who grew up in different cities all know the same game? It’s not like we had the internet at our fingertips as punch-happy kids in the 70s, yet everyone seems to know about it.

The origins of Punch Buggy are shrouded in mystery. The few threads I was able to pick up in my investigation were mostly anecdotal: “It’s based on a game we played in the 50s with Fords”, “It comes from falling asleep during Herbie movies”, “My cousin invented it”. All dubious claims, especially the last one. I once worked with a guy who claimed to have invented everything from In-N-Out Burger Animal Style to the skateboard. I was always waiting for him to claim discovery of Antarctica.

So how the game began is definitely a mystery. How it’s spread from kid to annoying kid is also something of a mystery, though I’m going to throw up a hypothesis that it involves camp, summer trips to visit cousins in other states, and maybe an innate childish need to hit one another for no reason at all (eg. my boyfriend).

Since he’s still a foxy young septugenarian, I’m hoping that Mr. Nimoy will read this posting and launch an “In Search Of…” investigation to clear up all of the mystery. And if he needs a second topic for the series, how about dogs catching air while in the car? They all do it. How do they know about it? Did they tell each other? More mysteriously, what did they do before cars were invented? Did they sit on top of a buckboard wagon next to Half Pint Ingalls and whine for the horses to trot faster? And what about “Big Wheel ice cream”, when a kid turns his Big Wheel upside down, cranks the pedals and yells “ice cream! ice cream!” I’ve heard of this happening in other cities, though I originally thought it was isolated only to the weird Callen kids who lived on our street and rolled in the dirt alot.

…very mysterious, indeed….

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