Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cable Bundles A Thing of the Past?

For those of you who watch a lot of cable television, this news should be of interest to you. Somebody in congress has come up with a bill that would prevent cable companies from making it mandatory for customers to buy cable channels in bundles. In other words, the idea of the bill is to allow customers to buy only the channels they want.

At first glance, this seems like a great idea, doesn’t it? I mean, how cool would it be to buy only the channels you really use, so you can get rid of festering crap like MTV, BET, Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, CSPAN, PAX, Lifetime, Oxygen, and other channels like this, and only pay for the good ones.

Who wouldn’t like to see less Disney and Nickelodeon channels? Wouldn’t it be great to see smaller numbers of political news channels? Or not so many “golden oldies” TV channels – I’m really getting sick of channels calling the Cosby Show, Golden Girls, and the Jeffersons as classics.

However, I smell a rat. When bundled, each channel probably costs an average of 50 cents (or something like that). However, unbundled, some stations may jack up their costs – like ESPN and the Comedy Channel (two channels I love). I can see this ending up in us having to pay more for the TV we want to see. The cable companies probably secretly love this.

Additionally, channels that still provide us with creative and thought-provoking television may be left for dead, and will simply go away. Channels like the History Channel, Bravo, A&E, Discovery Channel (and channels of this ilk) will probably become a thing of the past. The few channels that are left over will probably be bought out by super-corporations, who will market to the lowest common denominators – ensuring that we HAVE to watch thought-siphoning programming like Fear Factor, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Yes Dear forever.

Monday, November 28, 2005

I Can See Why They Call it Black Friday

I’ve never been one to attempt the perilous act of journeying to the local malls and department stores on Black Friday – mainly because of our annual day-after-Thanksgiving football game (by the way, we finally smartened up this year – we played touch football instead of tackle … and I’m still really f-in sore).

But after seeing the footage of some local discount stores, and the absolute lack of civility at said locations, I don’t think you could pay me to go out and do my shopping on Black Friday. I understand there were some really great deals – Best Buy had laptops for $200, and I think that Target was selling 20-inch flat screen tvs with dvd players for $80 – but I probably would be thrown in jail after my complete breakdown at one of these stores.

Thank goodness I got most of my shopping done early. Don’t get me wrong – I still have stuff to buy, but I’ve learned to be smart and buy a little early.

I think some of these lunatics who go out at 4:30 in the morning, and fight tooth-and-nail for some of these items should really take a look in the mirror and have a heart-to-heart with the idiot that is looking back to see if this is truly what the Christmas season is all about.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Are ya Ready for Some Turkey!!!!

Thanksgiving is once again upon us. There is nothing like a nice turkey dinner with family, watching the stinkin’ Cowboys get their butts handed to them. It can only be sweeter in Delco if the Interboro Bucs can knock off the Ridley Green Raiders.

In addition to the main things I’m thankful for (family, friends, health), I wanted to share some “odd” things I’m thankful for:

1. I am very thankful for the fact that turkey is traditionally served for Thanksgiving, and not ham. I can’t stand ham. The mere thought of it makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

2. Plumbing, and especially flushable toilets, are very important to me. I have family (on my mom’s side) that live in the mountains of Bavaria, and up until recently (maybe 15 years ago), they had no plumbing in their house. This meant using an outhouse. Let me tell you, this was won of the absolute most-sobering experiences (related to going to the bathroom) that I’ve had to go through. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a faster growler in my life.

3. Internet Radio. You’ve seen some of my rants with regards to terrestrial radio (by the way, couldn’t they come up with a better word to describe normal radio than “terrestrial?” They may as well call it “steaming pile of” radio.)

4. Heaters and air conditioners are a godsend. It was colder than the relationship between democrats and republicans this morning. The heater in my car made me quickly forget that feeling.

5. A bar right up the street from my house is a nice “luxury” as I won’t have to drive anywhere tonight for a Thanksgiving toast.

6. Certainly a 4-day weekend is a wonderful thing. This is the time of year we get to act like the French (sub-30-hour work week).

7. I’m thankful for the few remaining creative people in movies and TV who have given us such wonderful shows as: My Name is Earl; The Office; Arrested Development; Family Guy … as well as movies like: Anchorman; Napoleon Dynamite; and Old School.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Monday, November 21, 2005

An Empty Roll ... NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I discovered yet another one of those overlooked great feelings this weekend … I ran out of toilet paper when I was taking a growler, and to my surprise (and good fortune), I had remembered to bring a spare roll up previously. Isn’t that a great feeling when you realize that there is another roll? It’s almost like finding a $10 bill in your jacket or pants pocket … almost.

Of course, running out of toilet paper and not having any backup toilet paper is one of the worst feelings. Sometimes you could get by with tissues, but the paper is so thin, and sometimes your finger goes right through and you get that disgusting moist feeling on your fingertips, and you know that you are going to have to overload on soap and a scrubber.

But, if there is no more toilet paper AND no tissue paper, then what? You could pull up your pants and go to the closet to get another roll, having to do that Fred Sanford walk to make sure that your underwear does not get anywhere near the mud. Or, you could use a towel in the bathroom and immediately throw it in the hamper. Or, you can just use your underwear and throw that in the hamper (or in the trash, I guess). This could be one of those “NFL – You Make the Call” commercials.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Turn Signals Are There For A Reason, Dammit!

I’ve ranted about this before, but I swear that less and less people are using their turn-signals. Apparently, these misguided people think that most of the population have some form of ESP that enables them to come to some sort of divine understanding that the person not using the turn signal is indeed going to turn. Unfortunately, we don’t have this at our disposal, but we do have the turn signal, so use it, dammit!

Look, if you are in the turning lane, I’m not as upset with you, because I know that you are going to turn. BUT, if you are in a lane next to me and all of the sudden start veering into my lane without using your turn signal, it bothers me … for a number of reasons. First, it is extremely dangerous. If, for some reason, I am not paying attention to the road that very minute, I could be ramming my car up your ass. That is not cool, and potentially costly. Second, I feel that you don’t have enough respect for me to even offer me a turn signal before entering my lane. Thirdly, you basically piss me off, which makes me more aggressive and potentially dangerous. Do us all a favor and use the signal, OK?

Another driving issue I have is with passive and slow drivers who, for some reason or another, decide that they MUST be in the left lane of a highway. Most people of average intelligence or above know that the left lane is usually designated as the passing lane … or the lane for people with lead feet. But some mongoloids who found a loophole in the system to be able to secure a drivers license, still continue to clog up the left lane, which, in times of rush hour, causes massive delays AND potential for accidents. Stay in the right lane, douchebags.

Finally, I believe we should have separate roads for old people. They are a danger on the road (not all, but quite a few). Oh, how I love to be behind a car where I see only blue, frail knuckles on the steering wheel. These people basically don’t even give a crap anymore. If they get into a car accident, oh well – it gives them something to talk about when they are playing Earl in chess at the local park. “Guess what happened to me today Earl? I caused a 10-car pile up, killing 12 people, and worst of all, I crapped my new shiny pants that I bought from K-Mart.”

Yes – thank goodness its Friday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Christmas Shopping Blues

It’s creeping up on us. That time of year. You know, that time where you spend frivolously on gifts and presents, and try to reach expert-status with regards to your gift-wrapping skills

** On a side note, I suck at wrapping gifts … or at the very least, I’m inconsistent at it. My mom once made me rewrap my presents after she glimpsed the wrapping train wreck that I had produced.**

I normally love buying gifts for family and close friends. Unlike most others, I actually enjoy the whole Christmas shopping experience – even shopping at crowded stores with precious few parking spots.

However, I do not enjoy shopping for my parents. They are practically impossible to shop for. I once bought a wok for my mom when I was 13. I thought it was the coolest gift in the world. Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account that my mom was German, and would never have any use for a wok. Fortunately, she took me aside after she opened the present and informed me that my purchase was indeed stupid. I took the wok to college unopened.

I remember the “Santa’s Workshops” our Elementary School used to have around Christmas. This would be like a mini Christmas shopping experience for students. I bought my dad a screwdriver set once from this workshop. The screwdrivers were all the same, but they had multi-colored handles. I thought, at the time, that this might be the greatest gift ever purchased.

Why do I bring this stuff up? Well, I need help. I need some ideas and suggestions on something to get my parents for Christmas. Let me add, that they do not like gift certificates. They think this is a cop-out. Any suggestions (both serious and humorous) are greatly appreciated.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Heart of the Civil War

Have you ever gotten the feeling that (a) somebody is watching you, and (b) that person doesn’t want you around? That’s the feeling I got in Gettysburg this weekend – not the whole time, mind you, but definitely on a few occasions.

My wife and I traveled to Gettysburg to celebrate our two-year wedding anniversary. We did the same last year, and it looks like it will become a tradition for us. My wife fell in love with the place when we drove through it on the way to Mont Alto a few years ago.

Obviously, Gettysburg is bursting at the seams with history. For those of you not familiar (possibly retarded), this was the scene of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Many people lost their lives not only on the battlefield, but also in downtown Gettysburg.

There are so many tours of not only the battlefield, but also of some of the houses, cemeteries, and locations that will forever be “historic” and possibly cursed, thanks to the civil war.

I love history, and I love hearing stories and legends, so Gettysburg is always a welcome destination to me. But, I’ll tell ya, walking through the Schriver house gave me a bad feeling. Thankfully, I walked through it during the day, because had we done this at night, I may have screamed like a little baby.

This probably would’ve been the same result, had my wife and I done the ghost-hunting tour at one of the many cemeteries in Gettsyburg (I vow to do this next year, though!).

Friday, November 11, 2005

Love Those Tidbits!

Thank goodness it is Friday. And because of that, I am too happy to rant on anything, so I’ll share some random thoughts.

1. Hey, finally a reason to visit New Jersey besides Atlantic City and the beaches! Gas prices have fallen to under $2.00, the site of this left me misty-eyed.

2. The SEPTA strike is finally over, and traffic is much more manageable again. I am guessing that there probably is corruption in SEPTA (it seems like corruption runs rampant in businesses and companies that have no direct competition), so I’m wondering what, if anything, can be done to prevent these strikes that seem to loom over our heads every 4 years or so.

3. Ryk and I were talking the other day about a stupid topic – no surprise there. I thought I’d share it with you and see if you can help us answer this vital question – If a pack of clowns fought a pack of mimes, who would win?

4. I’m not sure if any of you heard this, but something monumental is going to happen at the Sixers game tonight. A new form of entertainment will grace the presence everyone in attendance at the Wachovia Center. A group called “The Beefcakes (I think) will perform. The interesting twist is that the Beefcakes are a group of obese men. I hope to see highlights of this.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

An Enlightening Discover

So, I was at work the other day, getting bored with listening to WMMR playing Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne, Nickleback, and Three Doors Down for the third hour in a row, and I decided to look up some modern rock streaming audio on the internet. To my pleasant surprise, I found a station in London that played great-sounding songs that I have never heard before. It was refreshing to not hear the same monotonous crap over and over again.

I’ve openly complained about the lack of creativity that local radio stations in the Philadelphia market have, and I’ve known that a good alternative to this would maybe be internet radio streams (or just internet radio stations), but I’ve never had the time nor the motivation to try to find a good one. Little did I know, it is incredibly easy – just by typing in streaming modern rock (or streaming classic rock, or streaming heavy metal), one can have a seemingly endless selection of music at his/her fingertips.

I know that satellite radio is the big rage, but with increasing hot spots and Wi-Fi availability, I’m guessing that this could be a huge market – especially if an automobile manufacturer would jump on board and put in some sort of internet radio device (I’m sure somebody has thought of this … if not, I just gave up a billion-dollar idea … your welcome).

Another neat product that can make any/all of us our own DJ’s and program directors is a program called “Pirate Radio.” It basically is a program that creates an internet radio station on your computer. The program itself is only $29.99, and can be found at (great Christmas gift, if one does not know what to get for Karl). I’ve listened to a few of the stations here, and although not all of them are good, there are some really creative outlets here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

1. Anyone else think the BCS system in college football is retarded? Seriously. Why no playoff system? Obviously, the short answer is money. They make a ton of money on all of these crazy bowl games (The Weed-Eater Bowl, Blockbuster Bowl, Outback Bowl), and they fear they would lose money if they ‘did the right thing’ by creating some sort of playoff format. Hey, even if the NCAA did a 4-team playoff, it would be better than the muck they have now.

2. I had the pleasure of seeing Brian Regan this weekend. I believe I mentioned that in a previous post. He is one of my top-5 favorite comedians of all-time, so needless to say, I was stoked to see him, and he did not disappoint. In case you are interested, the other 4 on the list (in no particular order) are as follows:
a. Bill Cosby – He was one of the first comedians I remember seeing. His “Himself” show was (and still is) one of the absolute all-time greatest stand-up shows I’ve ever seen. Yes, he sucks now, and his Cosby Show was not so good, but he was awesome once.
b. Eddie Murphy – Speaking of being awesome once, has there ever been a comedian that had 3 huge hit shows in a row (Comedian, Delirious, and RAW)? Yes, he was much different than Cosby, and he cursed a ton. But, man, those shows were gold. Maybe he should put another one of these out, now that his career stinks.
c. Richard Prior – Talkin’ about shaking up the industry. This guy was a pioneer when it came to both sexual and political humor. I remember buying an album of his when I was like 10 years old. I had to put the volume really low, because not a sentence went by that he didn’t curse. Brilliant insight, though.
d. Bill Hicks – It is a shame this guy died so early. He could’ve been the best (in my mind, he was the best). Very political in his viewpoints, but his stories always had a point, and they were always funny (even though sometimes you felt guilty laughing at them).

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sick of Politics

Look, I’m not on the left, and I’m not on the right, and maybe that is why I get so sick of politics so quickly. Obviously, nobody is ever going to agree with everything somebody does in office (unless you are so far to the left or right, that you don’t give a flying f**k what the person does in office, as long as he/she is your man/woman). All I ask for is competence. I know, it seems easy enough, but why can’t we get anyone from any side who is competent enough for office?

Just in case you think I’m picking on one specific person, this goes for every level of the political system, from the grass roots all the way up to the big house. I am so sick and tired of hearing about controversies, scandals, lobbying, and the whole “us against them” mentality that the liberals and conservatives have. Aren’t you supposed to be working for the people you represent, and not your own stupid political parties? Isn’t it easier to work together to get things accomplished, instead of using the party-line as an excuse why you won’t work with others?

Is there anybody in politics who is not corrupt? Why can’t respectable people run for office, and not get thoroughly embarrassed because the political machine was able to dig up something that the person did when he/she was a teenager?

I know this will never work, but I want the 2 or 3 people who read my website to make a conscious effort to only vote for politicians who promise to work together with other people. I don’t care about which side of the fence you are on, as long as you make sure that the person running isn’t a total stubborn jerk who doesn’t care about you, but is only concerned about the company line (also, it would help if the person doesn’t owe any people/companies a lot of favors).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Just a Few Notes...

Got a little busy at work, but I didn't forget about you guys. Here are a few thoughts to keep you amused:

1. My fantasy football team has now lost 3 games in a row by 1 point. Is this a new modern-day fantasy football record for despair? Funny thing is that I was either tied or in the lead going into Monday night, and was winning until the last quarter of the game. Life sucks sometimes, doesn’t it?

2. In my humble opinion, NBC should be moving the shows “My Name is Earl” and “The Office” to Thursday night to bring themselves back to the hey-day of Thursday night comedy on NBC. Those two shows are possibly the best comedy shows on network television right now (along with Arrested Development, the Simpsons, and Family Guy).

3. I’m going to see Brian Regan on Saturday night. If you’ve never heard of this guy, Google his name, and go to his website. Here’s the problem – Penn State plays probably the most important game of their season against Wisconsin at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. I gotta hope the game is in hand by 7:00 p.m. (this is when we have to leave for the Brian Regan show).