Friday, December 4, 2009

Reckless Driving

Yes, I'm expanding on a blog post she made. No, I'm not copying it.

I nearly got killed today. Seriously.

This isn't like Jane's post where a "techie", or a "Gen-Y", or a "Millennial" was texting her BFF Jill. No, there's a term for this person. This person is a wanker. Full stop.

I don't care what's on television, I don't care who's at the club, I don't care who you have a date with or if you have reservations at the best place in all of Charlotte. I don't care. I stopped at a stop sign, like I'm supposed to do, you don't honk your horn at me when I let a truck that was 10 yards from the stop sign go passed. I'm not holding you up or cramping your style. Those skanks that nobody else wants will still be in that third rate club that no one with class goes to, it's fine. Now, I can forgive honking, that's the natural road behavior of the wanker, everyone comes into contact with these people, possibly multiple times on a single trip. What I can't forgive is you blowing by me at 40-miles-per-hour in a 20-miles-per-hour zone and not only nearly taking the front-end off of my car, and possibly injuring me and my passeneger, but nearly taking the rear-end off the car in-front of us and nearly injuring a woman and her passenger. Her passenger being a child that wasn't possibly any greater than five-years-of-age.

I have anger issues, I really do. People occasionally get a laugh out of them, I even have a cute nickname, "Princess Bobby". But kidding aside they're very serious, and they take a negative toll on my already fragile health. I was able to collect myself and avoid road rage. But this person wasn't done, he didn't beat the next stop-light (Karma's a bitch) and I ended-up behind him, he had another go with his finger. I got a bit pissed, admittedly, but I was able to snuff my fuse one again, but I did get the license tag of the wanker-in-question and you can rest assured it will be in CMPD's databases tomorrow. Will they do anything? Probably not. And knowing that nearly inspired me to take justice into my own hands, but again I was able to hold my rage. I can't have a murder charge on me, my skinny ass is not cut out for the penitentiary. No way.

My personal issues aside, this is a problem. It's happened to Jane before, numerous times. It's happened to others I know, numerous times. If there was a medicial emergency, I could understand, really. There are emergency services that will help you get to the proper facilities safely, use them, your tax dollars pay for them. Mr Wanker didn't have an emergency, he's just full-of-himself.

If you happen to be full-of-yourself, a wanker, or just a douchebag-in-general and are reading this, think about something. I make a genuine effort to be a peaceful person. Yea, I'm a hippie. I don't care what people think about that. But what if I wasn't? Many people in my current position, an emotional wreck on the very end of their last and final tether, could've lost the plot right there. Could've pulled the car up next to him and emptied a clip. Could've shot that wanker dead. It's happened before, and it'll happen again. Just consider that next time you think the world is indeed yours.

Nothing is worth a losing a life. Nothing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Plush Hobbes Doll

So, I've never sewn anything before. In fact, October 31st was the first time I've ever threaded a needle so I went into this project without a clue as to what I was doing. After watching a few tutorials on how to prepare my sewing area, which is basically my computer desk, I set to work on sewing a plush Hobbes doll.

Jane is a big fan of Calvin & Hobbes, and she's been quiet good to me through some difficult times this year, so I wanted to make her something unique for Christmas. Of course, I'm not the first person to make a plush Hobbes doll, other people have done it with greater success than me (see here, and here). You can't buy them because Bill Watterson -- the creator of Calvin & Hobbes -- doesn't licence his products for retail, it's fine to make them for personal amusement, but you can't sell them. And I actually agree with that, it does somewhat cheapen the image when it's plastered all over everything. I'm not really good at buying gifts for people anyway -- some people are, Jane for instance is great at it -- so I tend to favor making things.

So, here it is. Apologies that I forgot to take photos in steps, I worked on it whenever I got time and it slipped my mind to take photos of the parts.

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The materials before I cut them apart.

I had to make the pattern myself, and obviously if I've never sewn before, I've never made a sewing pattern before. Honestly I was completely lost at this point, so much so that I was using a plush Easter Bunny as my pin cushion. I later found out that paper scissors and fabric scissors are not the same thing!

So, after about 20 total hours of work, and some very sore finger-tips later, I finished the doll. It's 10 inches (a 0.25 meters) tall. In total it's sixty-one pieces. I didn't quite get all the stripes the perfect distance so I had to do some additions to some, the striping was mind-numbingly boring.

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The finished doll on my bed.

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He's not that tiny, I have gigantic hands. And yes, skinny arms.

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I wanted to make his head fatter, but the thread didn't want me to.

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View of the face and front torso.

The tail is a bit loose, and that's really my only worry with it's stability.

I bought the thread and stuffing locally, but the fleece came from a website called Fleece Queen. The price was pretty low, and I'm not exactly made of money, and they got it to me quickly and with no hassle so if you ever find yourself buying fleece online, I recommend them. And no, they didn't pay me to say that, if only they did!

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how he turned out. Jane seems very happy with him, and that's really all that matters. He did survive being shipped 1,100 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina to North Texas on Thanksgiving week, so I'm thankful for that. My friends say it came out well, but then again, they're my friends and they might just be being nice to me.

Though if you want something much cooler, you can buy one of Jane's duct tape wallets, she works hard on them and they've all come out really well. This is mine. You can see the rest of them at her Flickr page. Go to her site: www.janeds.tv to find out how to order one. I guess that's sort of a plug, even though I don't work for her at the moment. (I used to be her PA, for those unaware). They are nice though, Jane's a creative girl.

Okay. That's that. Maybe I'll make more crafty stuff in the future, people are always harping me to do artistic things (and try to qualify for Jeopardy!, but that's a different story), so maybe I will.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

100 Miles an Hour on a Dead End Road...

...I need a little Detroit in my soul.

You know what? I love Detroit. Detroit is one of my favorite cities, I love several things about it. I love it's backbone, I love it's faded excellence, and I love the role it played in building this country. Detroit is a real city, a city with a soul and although all the naked eye can see of Detroit is the torn, battered skin of a wounded city, there's much more to it than that. It's easy to take a dig at the Motor City, and many people do, but it's not really fair.

Over the last two weeks all you've had to do is pick up a sport page or view a sports blog from any nouveau riche city in America and see various writers having a laugh at Detroit's expense due to the sale of the one-time home of the city's hapless NFL team, the Pontiac Silverdome. It's true, houses in many cities sell for much more than that, but does it really matter? The stadium was costing a financially pummeled city -- and many cities are in that position -- over $1m per year in up-keep, without any use the city had no choice but to get shot of the place, and they did. Now, if the new owner's plans come to fruition, the stadium will be a benefit to the city's tax coffers. Though they should've gotten much, much more for the land alone, the mere existence of the stadium as a property of Pontiac was going to break the city.

The owner, Greek-Canadian real estate magnate Andreas Apostolopoulos, wants to bring a soccer team to the Silverdome, possibly an MLS team, possibly not, but I think putting a team in Detroit, or even Pontiac, is a good idea. A lot of people will scoff at that, and say Detroit is dead and putting a team there would do damage to any league that dared try it, but they'd be wrong. Detroit has a great history of supporting sports teams, even in hard times. I mean, the Lions still draw fans. Yes, they get blacked out occasionally, but the fact that the fans still show up for what is at most, an impotent team, is a testament to their dedication. Would that translate over to soccer? Maybe, maybe not. But you're more likely to find concrete support in a city like Detroit than you are in a city with a transient population that could well up-sticks in two years and be on the road to the next hot spot.

I hope a team in the new NASL ends up in Detroit, possibly even a revival of the Express. It doesn't look like Detroit is even on the radar for MLS, and the professional structure of the USL appears to be falling apart at the seems, so NASL is a good option for what is becoming a mid-sized city. The Silverdome needs some work before a professional team can move in, let's face it, the stadium has been around the block and it looks like the best days of the Silverdome are in the past, but it still has potential following a touch-up.

I realize that people will disagree, and some will inevitably bash Detroit. That's a given, and is somewhat understandable, it's bleak up in Detroit and with the noteworthy exception of Ford -- who, to their credit, seem to be putting their ship right -- the future of Detroit's motor industry looks bad, but Detroit is always going to be there, and it will always have a place in American culture. It didn't just spring up over night, and it won't go away in a day. There's a chance Detroit could turn it around, and if it does, Detroit is a city any American sports league should be in.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mecklenburg County is a Massive Second Grade Class

Hough High School isn't going to work because someone is going to pronouce it "Ho High", and even then "Huff High" has drug connotations so it simply shouldn't be the name of the new High School in Northern Mecklenburg County, according to folks from Northern Mecklenburg County who just so happen to have the mental capacity of the average seven-year-old.

Yes, this is actually being debated at school board meetings, and it's become somewhat of a hot button issue. In fact, people are pretty much bitching non-stop about the school board. Now, don't get me wrong, there are reasons to bitch about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, it's a shoddy, inept organization that went from being a school system to a workforce development assembly line. But that's important. Screaming out that a new High School is going to have a silly name and then picking your nose and eating the booger isn't important, it's a waste of everyone's time.

W.A. Hough, Jr., for whom the school is set to be named, wasn't a whiner, he was an educator in the truest sense of the word, and much more than simply a Principal. Mr. Hough was instrumental in the integration of North Mecklenburg High School. To attempt to change a school named in his honor because of what amounts to nothing more than an immature bunch of self-important horse shit is both disrespectful to the man and what he accomplished, and disturbingly childish.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stadium for a Fiver - The Pontiac Silverdome

Wow. $538,000 for the Pontiac Silverdome, that's daylight robbery. Surely the very land it sits on -- about 130 acres -- is worth more than $538,000. But that's what it sold for, less than 1% of what it was constructed for between 1973 and 1975.

Most Americans know the Silverdome as the former home of the NFL's hapless Detroit Lions, nearly everyone turned on their television every Thanksgiving and saw the stadium in all it's, err, glory? It isn't really much, just a basic dome in line with so many others scattered about North America: Indianapolis' Hoosier Dome, BC Place in Vancouver, and Minneapolis' Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. All have been routinely criticized for lacking character, like so much architecture from the 70's and 80's, it was build for function and not always for form. With that said, the Silverdome has done it's job and has hosted some great events: A Super Bowl in 1982, World Cup matches in 1994 with the aid of a raised field and transplanted grass pitch, and of course WrestleMania III, which the WWE claims had an attendance of 93,173, although some dispute that number and say the actually attendance was closer to 73,000.

But getting back to my point, there are houses three streets away from me sitting on less than half-an-acre of land that sell for more than the Siverdome did, I know the City of Pontiac is severely despressed financially -- to the point where Michigan's Governor basically stripped civic officials of all power -- but to sell so much land for so little money is insane.

The Silverdome seats 80,300 people, which I believe is good for 22nd largest in the United States. It's a massive stadium, but it also carries a massive bill, upkeep of the aging behemoth is reported to be around $1.5 million per annum, which goes a good way as to explaining why Pontiac was so eager to get shot of it, but still, wow.

If possible, and recalling a piece I did for Pitch Invasion, run by the brilliant Tom Dunmore, I would look into making the Silverdome a "green" venue, along the lines of the World Games Stadium in Taiwan, or St-Jakob Park in Basel, Switzerland. The roof of the cavernous venue is vast and several solar panels could be installed on it, possibly saving a bundle in electricity, and if the upkeep for the stadium is as high as it's said to be, you need to be saving every penny possible.

The owners, who have yet to be revealed, have expressed a desire to have the stadium play host to a soccer team, possibly a new Major League Soccer franchise. I wrote about that here. If this is true, I certainly expect a reduction in capacity, because there isn't an ice cube's chance in Hell that they'll sell out the Silverdome for Major League Soccer, not right now.

Hopefully the new owner can find some use for the stadium, it's a shame to see it -- and more importantly the land it occupies -- go to waste. Seeing it sit idle like it has makes me think of Dixie Square Mall, in Harvey, Illinois...and that's not a good thing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Did Google just powerbomb AT&T?

Today Google announced that it has purchased VOIP provider Gizmo5, which is similar to Skype except it's open-source. This could potentially position Google to offer phone service for next-to-nothing, and this should probably scare the likes of AT&T.

As everyone knows, as the internet goes, Google is a juggernaut and it can pretty much take whatever it wants. This is worrying to some people, but for the most part Google has been a good giant. AT&T on the other hand is one of the most arrogant corporations in the history of mankind, in the phone world AT&T could pretty much take whatever it wanted -- until the Droid, anyway -- and did, pretty much every chance it got. It's the only option for land-based phone service in some areas, and is very protective of it's territory.

Recently AT&T and Google have been in a pretty bitter war-of-words as to whether or not Google -- through Google Voice -- should be considered a "common carrier" of phone service, and thus subject to regulations. Google says it isn't, but that might change with the acquisition of Gizmo5. The two are also locking horns over the hot-button issue of Net Neutrality -- Google is possibly the issue's greatest champion. Needless to say, they don't care for each other, and it appears that AT&T's baboon-esque approach to the battle -- you know when baboons throw their own feces in a fit of rage, that's what AT&T was like recently -- may have seen the telecom giant poke the wrong bear, and it may well be about to get bit.

As longtime VOIP consultant Andy Abramson puts it, "If AT&T is Coca-Cola, Google is now 7-Up."

Meanwhile, AT&T is fighting another battle against one of it's own kind. Ma Bell 2.0 is furious at Verizon over their "there's a map for that" ad. AT&T says they have Edge (2.5g) coverage for places on the map that Verizon leaves blank. Of course, that's because it's a map of 3.0 coverage and it's kind of like saying you have an ATV for places your rival has a Jeep Wrangler. Yea, it works, but really?

But what's next for Google? I don't think they'll be slowing down soon. Maybe a partnership with Nintendo since Microsoft is keen to go head-to-head with Google? That'd be way too good.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When a giant falls - Curtains for FC Nippon?

Chances are, you don't know much about Tokyo Verdy FC, if you know anything about them.

Verdy was once Japan's foremost soccer club, a giant in a sea of minnows. Originally known as Yomiuri FC -- owned by the same company that owns baseball's wildly successful Yomiuri Giants, thirty-times Champions of the Central League -- Verdy was founded in 1969 -- thus it's old name: Tokyo Verdy 1969 -- and eventually ascending to the top of Japanese soccer, the Japan Soccer League First Division, in 1977 before winning their first trophy, the JSL Cup, in 1979. This success was the first of many for Yomiuri FC and inevitably spurred comparison's to the Giants causing Yomuiri to envision a soccer version of their famed baseball team, complete with top stars and massive crowds. Yomuiri took to boastfully calling the club "FC Nippon", Japan's team, in an effort to attract fans from every corner of the Land of the Rising Sun.

To a degree, it worked, eventually Yomuiri would claim continental glory in the form of the Asian Club Championship in 1987/88. Yomuiri's success would continue on into the '90's when the JFA decided to move away from corporate club and onto clubs with a more civic or provincial styling with the foundation of the J. League in 1992. Yomuiri became founder members of the new league under the name Verdy Kawasaki, a homage to their green uniforms and Kanagawa hometown. The first three editions of the J. League were extremely successful for Verdy as they claimed two championships and played before crowds of well over 20,000 each season. But that success would come to an abrupt end in 1996 as Verdy finished 7th of 16. The 1996 Emperor's Cup would prove to be Verdy's final triumph of the decade, and final trophy in Kawasaki.

In 2001, following a succession of poor seasons both on and off the pitch Verdy decided to decamp for Tokyo in an effort to tap into what they saw as an under-served market and to get farther away from the cluster of successful clubs, such as Yokohama Marinos and upstarts Kawasaki Frontale, which called Kanagawa home. The move backfired, spectacularly. By the time Verdy moved in Tokyo was already home to a J. League club, the beloved FC Tokyo, and FCT's fans wanted no part of Verdy and began to taunt the former giants with banners proclaiming their club as the "Real Tokyo FC". Verdy's crowds did improve from Kawasaki, but were still short of FC Tokyo's numbers. A continued lack of success on the field eventually drove fans away from Verdy, and to the Gas Men, who despite not being terribly successful had always been Tokyo's club.


FC Tokyo supporters before the Tokyo Derby. From: yken0109

In 2005, despite the best efforts of their lionhearted Brazilian Washington, Verdy were relegated. FC Nippon was facing away trips to the likes of Mito Hollyhock and Avispa Fukuoka. It was embarrassing for what was once considered footballing royalty in Japan, and even more embarrassing were the crowds that turned up at the Ajinomoto Stadium: 5,700. Following a mid-table finish, Verdy were able to claw their way back into the top flight as runners-up, back where they belonged, or so they hoped. 2008 saw an impotent Verdy relegated once again, and could have proved the final blow to an aging giant.

It has been reported that Verdy must come up with $6,000,000 by November 16th or the club will hit the wall as Nippon TV, who purchased the club from Yomiuri in the late 90's have attempted to rid themselves of the club.

It's not right to gloat at other's misery, but it's difficult to feel bad for Verdy as a club, though it's easy to feel sympathy for it's supporters. They didn't move the club, after all. With that said, there would be some poetic justice if Frontale, the pride and joy of Kawasaki, were to win their first title in Verdy's final season.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dear Lou Pritchett,

Shush.

Lou Pritchett was at Procter and Gamble (good folks) for awhile, he recently wrote a letter about how scary and mysterious Barack Obama is. It's a pretty crappy letter, about the same quality as those chain e-mails that people send saying we have to press 1 to hear the phone message in English. Anyway, here it is in all it's "glory":

(Link to Snopes)

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Dear President Obama:
You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

- Well, there is something a little different about him. I just can't put my finger on what it is though!

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

-Because it's not like Barack Obama has been in the public eye for almost thirteen years or anything.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

-Student loans are an urban legend and all lawyers are dirt poor.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

-Someone should probably tell Hawai'i it isn't part of America.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

-Forget everything you learned in Civics, only CEOs can be President.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

-And Army officers.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

-Because Bush never blamed Clinton and Reagan never blamed Carter.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

-"Even though no one has any proof you're an extremist, I'm going to call you one anyway. BRB, polluting America's natural resources with dioxin."

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America' crowd and deliver this message abroad.

-Dang, I must've missed that Obama flag-burning rally.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

-Because in Europe you aren't allowed to have a business.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

-"Obama you asshole, I've got stock in Aetna."

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

-Yea, like that guy Boone Pickens. Pickens knows nothing about the energy industry, NOTHING! Oh, wait.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

-We're actually 15th in that, Lou. 12 of the 14 countries ahead of us are in that Europe place you're so down on.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

-"You're allowed to give them money, but not allowed to ask for stuff in return."

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

-Yea, Obama, what were you thinking starting two wars we had no ability to pay for ? Oh, wait, that wasn't you? Nevermind.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

-Like you?

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

-Gangsta.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

-I'll get to this in a second.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Relllys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

-These people aren't the media? I didn't see anywhere where he said they couldn't talk.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

-BRB, Obama is making me pour him a drink. *rolls eyes*

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

-2009+8=2017. Obama's would be term limited in 2016. I'm not sure Lou understands math.

*facepalm*

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meghan McCain isn't a slut

I should be in bed, I want to be in bed, but I'm too bitchy at the moment.

Meghan McCain isn't a slut, she just isn't. Do I know the girl personally? No. I'd certainly like to, but I don't. The American -- and it usually is only our media for this type of thing, we have the sensitivity of Puritans with the attention-span of mall-rats -- media had a hissy-fit over a picture Meghan posted on her twitter account, she had on a tank-top and because of that she was branded a whore. I don't want to sound like a perv, but she'd have to wear a full-body suit to hide those things. She wasn't intentionally showing her tits, and she isn't a whore. It's a non-story. There are much, much more important things for the media to report on, but most of them don't sell ads for Viagra so we never, ever hear about them. Instead we get crap like this which more-or-less made the girl cry. Good job, media, good job.

Did you know a tropical storm formed in the gulf today? Well, one did. But tropical storms aren't salacious until they hit a city are they?

Meghan is not fat either. Good lord, I'd like to see the people saying she is.

I know, Green, bleeding-heart liberal Bobby defending Meghan McCain?! For some reason, conservative girls are my weakness. *facepalm*

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The USL, Charlotte's World Cup Bid, and a Fun-Sized Green Diva

No, this isn't "Which one of these things doesn't belong", and I'm not Grover. Though we have the same wrist circumference.

We aren't posting USL stuff on majorleaguesoccertalk.com much anymore because some people get pissy when we do. I don't know why, they just do. The very mention of the USL is more controversial to some MLS fans than the bank bailout and the abortion issue combined, and almost as polarizing as Billy-fucking-Mitchell. Damn. But, Kartik Krishnaiyer has posted a write-up about how the USL-related shit has totally hit the fan since August, read it: here.

I think the USL and the TOA need to get there crap together and look at how the J. League works. It's a successful summer-based league in a capitalist country with competing sports that manages to take time off for FIFA days. Can you imagine? Looking at something that actually works. I mean, it's crazy. But that won't happen since the situation has devolved to the point where the two-parties may well start flinging their own feces at one another. You know, like the Democrats and Republicans. Feces-flinging, welcome to the new America.

On a brighter soccer-related note, Charlotte is still in the running to host World Cup matches should the US win the right to do so in either 2018 or 2022. Charlotte is far from the most famous city on the list, and far from the most prosperous, but it should host matches anyway. Why? Because it can. Charlotte has a successful history of hosting big events, it does so every year when it plays host to the NASCAR All-Star race and Coca-Cola 600, two of the biggest events in motorsports. The CIAA has seemingly fallen madly in love with Charlotte as a host for it's showpiece event, it's basketball tournament and the ACC has decided to put it's football championship in the same stadium that would host World Cup matches. Charlotte's track record is nothing short of wonderful. Furthermore, Charlotte isn't playing the "we simply deserve it" card, it actually wants to host. You can support Charlotte's World Cup dream here.

Oh, and Jane. Who isn't small, she's fun-sized, hosted a conference today about the Ford Fiesta at her school. She's a Fiesta Agent and as such, she's driving the Fiesta for six-months. If you want a new car, and happen to want an economical American car, you should watch her Fiesta Movement videos. It looks like a fun little car, and no FTC, I'm not on Ford's payroll, and as of March 2009, not on Jane's either. So you'll have to find some other way to make money.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

"I have here seen the power and glory of a Supreme being: the majesty of His handy-work is in that 'Testimony of the Rocks.' That mute appeal-pointing to El Capitan-illustrates it, with more convincing eloquence than can the most powerful arguments of surpliced priests." - Lafayette Bunnell
I'm not sure if it's more indicative of the quality of programming the PBS is able to produce, or the lack of quality shown by the other offerings, but PBS has been -- by far -- the best channel on American television for sometime now, and yes, I have cable.

PBS has again defended it's place at the top of the pile with it's decision to broadcast the latest documentary from the esteemed film maker and historian Ken Burns called "The National Parks: America's Best Idea".

The six-part mini-series is a home-run, an amazingly in-depth look at America's greatest, most sacred, and probably most under-appreciated treasures. The awe-inspiring cinematography is surpassed only by the grippingly interesting stories about larger-than-life historical figures such as the great and eloquent naturalist John Muir - an East Lothian-born man and son of a Presbyterian minister who found new life amidst the soaring Secoyas of California and went on to play an instrumental role in the foundation of the National Parks idea - and Stephen Mather - a wildly successful businessman who would spend large sums of his own fortune supporting the parks he would eventually go on to run, and who often succumbed to deep spells of depression but found himself miraculously cured by trips into the wilderness.

This seems to be Burns' magnum opus, and that is high praise considering the quality of his work, and is a must watch for anyone interested in history or the natural world. For those who haven't seen it, and wish to, the episodes are online until October third at: www.PBS.org/nationalparks

Friday, September 4, 2009

Charlotte's World Cup bid? Yea, forget it.

It's not because Charlotte is too small, it's big enough. It's also has the transport links and a plethora of quality training venues. The stadium itself fits all the standards required. It's the culture of the stadium.

It's stuff like this.

We must have the only stadium in the world where a fan can get kicked out for cheering, amazing. As if it's not bad enough that you have to sell the soul of your first born to get into an NFL game, then $7 for a beer or $5 for a soda, now you aren't allowed to cheer? Why even go?

I guess the Panthers staffers are afraid that someone from Charlotte-beyond-the-walls (read: the non-gated communities) may offend someone from within the walled utopias. Heaven forfend with all it's glorious and powerful might.

Yea, it's understandable to remove someone who's obviously drunk and belligerent from the stands -- if it's even possible to get drunk without taking out a loan which Bank of America would probably deny -- but this guy wasn't drunk at all, he was just a guy at a football game, cheering for his team. But I guess Tyler and Muffy were put off by it? I guess personalities aren't the fashion in Charlotte-within-the-walls, creative architecture certainly isn't.

Charlotte has a problem. Lots of people have moved to Charlotte in the last few years and tried to change it into a boring, soulless hell drained of all it's Southern, yes, Southern, charms. These people need to understand that Charlotte is still a little Southern city, this isn't Binghampton, this isn't Chester, this isn't Trenton, this is Charlotte. It's halfway between Concord (that's con-CORD) and Gastonia, and the sooner you realize that, the happier you'll be.

If not, there's a door.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What does Samus Aran have to do with Chris Brown?

A lot, apparently.

For some reason Chris Brown's worthless ass has been in the news again today, so much so that you would indeed believe that the last metroid is in captivity, and yes, the galaxy is very much at peace.

But it isn't.

Chris Brown's apology, like Michael Vick's before it, is just words. Until I see Chris Brown helping out battered women of his own volition and on his own dime, I won't believe he's truly sorry for beating Rihanna. It's a bit like when George Bush came on television and said he was sorry for the Iraq war, how many of the current Chris Brown apologists told everyone to back-off of George Bush? The answer is not many.

Now where does Samus Aran, the chief protagonist of Nintendo's "Metroid" series, fit into this discussion? Well, Samus is a female. To some, Samus is a proper -- don't get me started on the Supergirl crap -- female version of Superman. Samus doesn't conform to anything, she does everything. She's hyper-capable and self-respecting. The polar opposite of female Chris Brown apologists.

Like George Bush's war, what Chris Brown did is not okay. You only hate George Bush because you think you're supposed to, in fact, war aside, I bet most Chris Brownistas can't name one Bush policy, and I'm the most anti-Bush person you'll find (see my political compass). We will not stop talking about what he did, domestic violence is a serious issue that needs to be openly discussed at every opportunity, too many men get away with it because they use fear to keep women from speaking out about it -- a tactic attempted by Chris Brown himself.

So no, we won't "drop it".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moving a mess isn't cleaning the house

So, Amity Gardens is getting a Wal-Mart supercenter. Good for Amity Gardens, but it's not exactly "breathing new life" into East Charlotte, is it?

There's already a Wal-Mart less than two miles northeast of Amity Gardens at Eastway Crossing, an equally - if not more - economically depressed area of East Charlotte. That Wal-Mart is likely to become another empty big box, something which has become a symbol of inner Charlotte outwith uptown. That Wal-Mart serves as the primary anchor to a shopping center which has already lost two of it's four anchor tenants (a Winn-Dixie and a Phar-Mor which later became a Goody's and closed again) leaving Food Lion as it's main anchor. Food Lion will obviously have to compete with the new Super Wal-Mart as it has food in addition to the other crap it sells. Yep, Eastway Crossing is pretty well screwed.

Lets look at the real reason for this: marketing Charlotte to "newcomers". Independence Blvd., on which Amity Gardens is located, is Charlotte's main thoroughfare, you basically have to drive on it entering Charlotte from the east. Eastway Drive and Central Avenue are secondary thoroughfares which have seen their importance diminish with the population shift away from inner Charlotte to areas like Matthews, and Mint Hill -- both of which sit, you guessed it, southeast of Charlotte. So now when they come to uptown for an NFL or NBA game, they won't have to look at the urban decay that is Amity Gardens and Coliseum Center, they'll see a big, shiny Super Wal-Mart instead.

But, if you want to look at it as a coup, an amazing catch for the struggling eastside, go right ahead.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bolt

The greatest athlete of this generation, in any sport, by far. He's unlikely anything I've ever seen.

I know people will throw out Tiger Woods and all of his major titles, and there is no doubting that Tiger is out of this world and by far the best in this country, but Bolt simply isn't human. He's the best this world has to offer, maybe ever. I know it's impossible to compare him to athletes from different ages, the likes of Jesse Owens, ect. but I think he has a great argument when it comes down to it, the man has set five world records in under 365 days, that is simply phenomenal.

I'd love to see him go and try to set the record in the 400m, I think he could do it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm a forgiving person.

Just because I don't like Michael Vick doesn't make me a cold hearted, unforgiving racist. It doesn't mean I value the life of an animal above that of a human being (I have no idea where this peach of an argument came from). It means I don't like Michael Vick because he is a Class-A wanker.

Yeah, yeah. "He's done his time and he deserves a second chance", he already had a second chance, and a third chance, what makes you think he's going to do any better with his fourth chance? I'm sorry, but I don't believe he will. He was supposed to change after the Ron Mexico incident, but then he just decided he'd flip off the fans who paid that multi-million dollar contract he blew so he could maim and murder animals for his pleasure. Yes, his pleasure. What he did is akin to masturbating to bestiality, and don't say it isn't. It is at best extremely perverse and horrifyingly demonic. And no, I don't buy the "he grew up in a rough area" line of BS, because I grew up in a rough area and I'm not one who derives pleasure from the suffering of the weak, which is what Michael Vick did. Domestic dogs aren't majestic, powerful creatures. They're fully dependent upon humans for survival. These aren't lions, these aren't bears, these aren't even moose. These are animals we have bred specifically to serve us, and as such we bare a certain burden of responsibility to them, because without them there is no us. Dogs were essential to human evolution and prosperity.

Do you believe in Hell? Because I do, and trust me, there is a special place in Hell for people who mistreat the weak, be they humans or animals.

This is the part where someone will bring up the fact that Leonard Little is still playing. The Little card is one that Vickistas love to hold in their deck, and I'll answer that by saying this: Fuck Leonard Little. He shouldn't be playing either. Little should be serving a long stint in jail, full stop. So should Lee Hughes. Anyone who gets behind a wheel drunk and takes a life deserves to be in prison. Everyone has a sober friend, and if you don't, the city provides you with an option. It's called a damn bus, the tax on those drinks you had helps pay for it.

It's also been stated that the Eagles signed Vick "sight unseen", and that Roger Goodell made a case for him to be signed. Yea, the case that he sells jerseys. What if a punter got caught doing this stuff? Yea.

If you believe he'll change this time, well, I guess you have a warmer heart than I do. I do believe in second chances, I do believe in third chances, but you have to earn your fourth chance. Spending time in prison isn't something Vick wanted to do, it's something he had to do. It doesn't count as earning anything in my eyes. If Michael gets out and preaches, genuinely and from his heart against these sort of actions, that will go a long way toward earning people's forgiveness.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How come the city can waste water?

Recently the drought that affected Charlotte, North Carolina and much of the Southeast has gotten a lot less severe than it was in 2006 and 2007 when Mecklenburg County (and counties surrounding it) enacted mandatory water restrictions on all it's residents that use the city-county water supply.

We were told by Mayor Pat McCrory that "brown yards are beautiful too" and many did their civic duty and cut back on water usage, in fact Charlotteans did such a good job that the city had to raise prices because people weren't buying enough water. People stopped washing cars, some even chose to wash their hair only three times a week, take a shower every other day, wash clothes less often, ect. For his part, the Mayor saved water at home, too.

But CMUD (Said "See-mud"), the public, tax funded utility that controls the Charlotte-Mecklenburg water supply doesn't always practice what it preaches:



That's been going on for over a week, gallons and gallons of water.

At the moment they finally appear to be fixing it, but it took them long enough.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What about cars regular people can buy?

NASCAR used to, and still does to a small degree, have a mantra that went "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday". They said this because the cars they raced on the NASCAR circuit were actually cars that you common people could afford to buy at the car dealership on Monday. But that all changed when NASCAR race cars became a thin sheet of metal on a roll cage, it looked like the car you could buy, but it wasn't, and that got worse thwne they introduced the "car of tomorrow" which makes every car, regardless of make, basically the same.

Recently NASCAR announced that the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger would compete in the Nationwide Series as that series' car of tomorrow models. The problem is that common people can't afford those now even if they looked like the real one you could buy.

Today on the X-Games Ford used the rally event to introduce the American public to the newest car in it's American stable, the Fiesta. The Fiesta is an affordable, gas-saving subcompact that has proven itself wildly popular in Europe. There was once a school of thought, which is lessening, that Americans don't like things Europeans like...tell that to Jane. Jane is a friend of mine. She's from Texas and she's very, very Texan. If you think of the "All-American girl" the image you think of probably resembles Jane in some way. Earlier this year Jane was picked by Ford to become a "Fiesta Agent", a group of internet-savvy people chosen to honestly review the Fiesta for six months, and perform strange tasks while doing so. Jane adores her Fiesta, and it gets positive reviews wherever she goes. Yes, these cars do work in America.

With this in mind, I asked myself, why doesn't NASCAR -- which is suffering from falling popularity -- catch wind of this? People like the Fiesta, and people can afford the Fiesta. In 2010 Ford will enter three different vehicles in NASCAR's three national divisions: The Fusion, the Mustang, and the F-150. I understand the appeal of all three, but why isn't there a division for smaller cars? I know people will say "Because they're small", but the Fiesta was very entertaining to watch as a rally car and would be entertaining on courses like Charlotte and Bristol if it was kept as is. It could race along side the 500 if Fiat brings it over as a Chrysler, the Yaris, and Chevy's neglected Aveo. People would watch, and people would buy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How a Green would fix your mess

Yes, your mess. We didn't make it, you never elect us, you never even pay attention to us. You crapped on the floor, and now you're bickering about the best way to fix it. Not only are you fighting each other, you're fighting yourselves! Normal Democrats are mad at "Blue Dog" Democrats, Ohio Republicans are mad at Southern Republicans. You aren't getting anything done, the crap is still on the rug and if you don't clean it up soon you're going to need a Rug Doctor, and we're fresh out of cash to afford one because they're really expensive.

But, listen, I can fix it! I have ideas, big ones!

First thing I'd do is the most obvious one of all, legalize marijuana. It's shocking that it's illegal in the first place, let alone in 2009. The legalization and subsequent taxation of marijuana would be a cash cow for the cash strapped government. I could go into the medical benefits that marijuana has, but I've already done that. They're well stated, regardless of what the drug czar says, I have it on good authority that he's an idiot. The legalization of marijuana would also mean that restrictions on it's sister plant, hemp, would be lifted. Hemp can make all sorts of cool things, you can even eat hemp seeds and they're really good for you. Hemp can also be converted to ethanol which serves two goods: first is that it frees up corn to become exclusively a food source once again, and second is that it's rapid growth rate would help loosen imported oil's death grip on our economy. Of course, the oil and pharmaceutical industries would be none-too-pleased with this which is why we would have to outlaw corporate lobbying.

But that's not all! Call now and we'll outfit every municipal, county, state and federal building with green power systems and save tax payers a bundle by dramatically cutting the power bills for those buildings! Yes, that includes the sports venues that billionaires held cities and states over a barrel to build, those would get the same treatment and the associated sports owners wouldn't see a dime of revenue from it. Take this for instance, that's the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, a municipally constructed venue in the heart of Charlotte with a bare concrete roof. Do you not see the potential there? Next to the arena is the CATS bus hub, it would also be outfitted with them.

Recently Peter Gorman, he's the head of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, a failed educational organization in Charlotte, fired a bunch of teachers and announced that he may have to cut middle school sports. If you put self-reliant energy systems in the schools you could save a ton of money.

Of course, making marijuana legal would free up a lot of room in the prison system which would give us the ability to shut some prisons down and save even more money.

What would we do with all this money? Well, we'd have universal healthcare and bridges that don't fall apart.

It'd be nice, but you won't listen to us.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's just like watching Newcastle

Of course, I'm referring to the Republican Party of the United States and it's hilarious infighting. Of course, if they keep it up, they could meet a similar fate to the Toon!

Recently Barack Obama's poll numbers have taken a hit and while some Republicans have been quick to point this out, the party itself has been unable to capitalize on them, at all. In fact, their numbers managed to take a hit as well. The leadership of the party would like for the attention to be on the way the Republicans are handling the President's healthcare bill, but instead the spotlight has been shifted to the (loud) extremist elements of the party who claim that Obama is an illegal immigrant. Most mainstream Republicans reject (all of them voted to support some totally unnecessary resolution in Congress that said Obama was born in Hawaiʻi) this nonsense but that doesn't stop the "birthers" from screaming, literally.



Yes, that really happened. That's a real person going crazy at a town hall meeting held by Congressman Mike Castle (R-De.), a normal human being. Yes, I know that was last week, but it doesn't change anything.

It's not something I really want to go into, I find it that stupid, but I have to say a few things. G. Gordon Liddy, possibly the most famous "birther", likes to say "there's no hospital listed". My birth certificate doesn't list a hospital either. I'm pretty sure I'm American, in fact, I carry Catawba blood in my veins. Nonetheless, maybe I should start carrying my birth certificate (which actually reads "Certificate of Birth", maybe I'm fake too) around in a ziplock bag with a tiny American flag.

Naw.

Now Senator George Voinovich (R-Oh.) says "the Southerners" are ruining the Republican Party by getting on TV and acting like, well, morons. Southern Republicans (like Louisiana's David Vitter, who has ties to the D.C. madam) have lashed out at Voinovich, calling him "wishy-washy". Vitter is up for re-election in 2010, one of his opponents is Stormy Daniels, a pornstar Independent who was just arrested on charges of domestic violence. Seriously. The Democrats could probably run Teddy Ruxpin in a Che shirt and win 65% of the vote in that race.

This is where the Libertarian Party should be paying attention and running homegrown candidates, not defected Republicans and Democrats. They actually have a chance to take a real slice of the conservative base over the next two years if they get on the radio and television making sense instead of making wild accusations about where the President was born. Libertarians can get away with sex scandals too.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a problem

I noticed NASCAR was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week. Between the BS about how prestigious the venue is they mentioned something about how during the 2008 NASCAR race at IMS the tires tore all to hell. Tire problems? At Indy? That sounds familiar.

In 2005 Formula 1 staged their United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it turned into the biggest charade in motorsports history as paying fans witnessed what as essentally a parade as all the cars using Michelin tires pulled out of the race after tire wear issues in earlier sessions.

Both times the blame was deflected. In 2005 Formula 1 and Michelin were blamed for the incident, in fact, it basically destroyed the relationship and left Bridgestone as the sole tire supplier in Formula 1 as Michelin pulled out. In 2008 NASCAR and Goodyear were blamed, Goodyear brought a bad tire and NASCAR let them do it people said. Different tires, different cars. But lets look again, what do these two incidents have in common?

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The track itself is the problem. Not F1, not Bernie's hair, not NASCAR, not Brian France's jaw, but the track. The holy, the infallible, the precious yard of bricks. The track caused both incidents, and if it wasn't Indianapolis Motor Speedway, people would've blamed the track for the incidents just like they blame Talladega when someone flies into the air at Talladega. The difference is that Talladega was built in the late 60's by a guy many people like to think of as a redneck, and the races were attended by people many like to think of as rednecks (and trust me, there are a good few rednecks) so it's impossible to attach "presitigious" to Talladega Superspeedway like you can Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but Talladega Superspeedway has one glaring thing in common with The holy, the infallible, the precious yard of bricks.

Talladega Superspeedway sucks.

It's too big, it's literally the size of an airport because it used to be it's own airport. You can't see all of it from the stands, a trait it shares with Indianapolis. It's gimmicky, just like Indy. No, there's nothing simple and elegant about building a golf course and a freaking castle in the middle of a track, it looks gaudy. You want to see how a simple, elegant, very American race track looks? Look here, where the USGP belongs.

I know, I know: The history! Just because a sports venue has history doesn't make it impervious to criticism. I'll say this right now: Hampden Park is an awful little turd of a stadium. It has a track that isn't big enough for track events, it's dirty, and the fans are a million miles from the field. Hampden has more history in it's sport than Indy does.

I know what you'll say: "Indy is better than Charlotte" and you'd be wrong. Charlotte's track isn't perfect, but it's better than Indy. Yes, Charlotte is gimmicky as hell, but you can see the entire tracks. Yea, tracks, Charlotte has three configurations within it's main oval, and you can see the entirety of all three from the stands.

It's time we admit the truth here, the track is doing more harm than good for motorsports in America.

NASCAR needs to leave it. Move Atlanta's date back to the fall, move California's fall date to Indy's weekend, and bring back Darlington's second date for Labor Day. Darlington is a better track.

F1 needs a USGP, but it doesn't need Indy. It needs to alternate coasts each year: Odd years - Watkins Glen, even years - Laguna Sega.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite, 1916 - 2009

Today we lost the most trusted man in America. A true journalist who wasn't afraid to say what the country needed to hear instead of what it wanted to hear. Mr. Cronkite had spoken openly about his displeasure at the blurring of the line between information and entertainment in media, a topic which concerns many people.

Cronkite felt that American journalism was becoming too soft, and too vulnerable to corporate financial interests. He worried that this could damage our democracy. He was right.

I came a long three years after Cronkite signed off from the CBS anchor's chair for the final time, but if you watch the news in America, you feel his impact.

We lost a legend today, may he rest in peace.

On some of that ol' Jeremy Mayfield sh*t

It won't stop. It just won't.

I'm not a great NASCAR fan, but I do live in Charlotte which would make me an expert in NASCAR by the standards of any other city.

In Charlotte, Jeremy Mayfield's court battle with NASCAR is as big a news item as the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings, and a bigger deal than the Mexico v United States match being on Mun2. That's to be expected though, NASCAR is more or less Charlotte's second biggest industry after incompetent guys in suits screwing up and getting bailed out by the same people they keep trying to screw over, I mean banking.

By now I'm sure everyone knows, it's even mainstream on ESPN. Back in May NASCAR claimed that Jeremy Mayfield failed a drug test and announced he'd be suspended. Mayfield denied any accusations of doing drugs, as you would expect, and demanded that NASCAR lift his ban. NASCAR said "no", they can do that because one family owns NASCAR, it's not like the Premier League, the NFL, or The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques League Cup, well, it's a little like that one. Of course upon hearing that NASCAR denied his request, Mayfield sued them. He went out and got Charlotte's biggest (literally and figuratively) lawyer, Bill Diehl (random fact: Bill Diehl's wife was my third grade teacher, and a good one at that - six degrees of NASCAR, bitches) to represent him in court. NASCAR countersued and everything went crazy. Eventually Diehl found a way to get Jeremy's ban lifted by the courts, NASCAR was pissed. Mayfield was allowed to show up at Daytona, NASCAR even had guys at the gate waiting on him, no word on whether or not they also had a truck load of wild Pit Bulls. Mayfield didn't bring his #41 car to the track.

Mayfield also no-showed the following week (at "Chicago") and rumors began to circle as to why, some accused him of doing meth again. On July 15th NASCAR announced that Mayfield had failed a drug test, again for meth, on July 6th and had a sworn statement from his stepmother saying she'd seen him snort meth at least "thirty times" in a seven-year period. Mayfield blew his top. He said of his stepmother "She's pretty much a whore" and said that she "shot and killed (his) dad". He also said she's always trying to get money out of him, that she's a golddigger, and a trashy bitch, rumor has it he dropped the C-bomb on her too. She sure sounds like a class act. But, if she saw him doing it "at a race shop in Mooresville (Mooresville is a giant race shop, basically)", why didn't anyone else in the race shop see it. Okay, he may have been alone with her at that time, I'll concede that, but why didn't she alert NASCAR to the problem knowing that a tweaked-out driver was putting at least fourty-two other lives at risk every week?

Mayfield also said of Brian France: “Brian France out there talking about effective drug policy, it’s kind of like Al Capone talking about effective law enforcement. And that’s the way I feel about it. The pot shouldn’t be calling the kettle black, you know what I’m saying? And I think the world needs to hear that, too.” Which I thought was hilarious.

That was it, that was Jeremy's story, or at least that was Jeremy's version of the story. A couple of days later I got the truth from Tommy, you always got the truth from Tommy, it was one of his major weaknesses. He never lied, he never took drugs, and he never cheated on anyone...wait, that never happened.

Anyway, back on topic. Mayfield says he's going to fight NASCAR with everything he's got, and he will. One thing that has to be said for Jeremy Mayfield is that he doesn't know when to quit, he doesn't know how to give up. He never has, he never will. If he's lying then he's really playing with fire, but if he's telling the truth NASCAR could end up in a world of hurt. WADA has already said their drug testing policies are garbage and NASCAR still refuses to adhear to WADA guidelines, probably because WADA is European. Because of NASCAR's hardheadedness on this issue there's still a chance that the judge will rule against them, having expressed disfavor with NASCAR's testing methods in the past. Jeremy also says that he has passed several independent lab tests since May, if he's telling the truth, Brian France has some 'splainin' to do. Okay, enough channeling Tom Coburn.

Somewhat on topic, but meth is/was considered a WMD in parts of North Carolina. Really.

But remember, when you say the name of the make that wins the championship in 2011: it's Hyundai (Hun-Day), like "Sunday".

That said, this evil little peace loving librul needs his sleep.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

¡Hola, Mun2!

Since my OleOle blog post isn't showing up....

Well, maybe I should say "Hi there, Mun2!", considering that Mun2 usually broadcasts in English.

(Note to self: Watch the Chicas project)

Why am I writing about Mun2? Well, if you're asking that than you obviously aren't aware of the situation concerning the Mexico v United States World Cup Qualifying match on August 12th.

Usually US National Team matches are broadcast on ESPN2 (or sometimes they feel generous and put them on ESPN), at the very least ESPN Classic. But that isn't the case for this match, and that isn't the fault of ESPN actually. Since Mexico is the home team the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación (or FEMEXFUT, which is equally a mouthful) controls who owns the rights to broadcast the match and they have a deal with NBC Universal through Telemundo for both rights -- Spanish AND English. This is where it get interesting.

Supposedly NBC outbid Disney (ABC & ESPN) for the World Cup but the USSF had a word with FIFA about how ESPN supports MLS and therefore deserves the rights to the World Cup more than NBC. Needless to say, NBC wasn't, and isn't, happy about this. The rumor is that ESPN approached NBC about buying the English rights so they could show the match, which is expected to be in high demand given the ferocity of the rivalry and the Americans recent Confederations Cup success, NBC said "How about naw?", or something like that.

So, instead of the match being broadcast in English on ESPN it will be broadcast in English on Mun2, Telemundo's baby sister, and I do mean "baby" - Mun2 is in 30 million US homes. Telemundo has yet to decide who will call the match for Mun2.

This has caused a fair bit of controversy in American soccer circles, obviously. Hardly anyone gets Mun2 (though many get Telemundo, who will broadcast the Spanish feed). There's even a petition (linked) to get the match moved to one of NBC's seven-gazillion other networks, namely the USA Network.

People have a right to be angry, but you can't exactly fault NBC. If the World Cup rumors are true they really got screwed. Plus they obviously want people to be more aware of Mun2's existence, it doesn't seem like a bad channel to be honest. It's kind of like MTV.

If you've gotten this far, I love you. Mun2 is on Dish Network 838 and DirecTV 410, I believe the latter requires a subscription to a Spanish language package.

In other news, the doctor says I have bronchitis. Ick.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rep. Paul Broun is a horse's ass.

One that's just had a large, grotesque bowel movement at that. A horrible little disgusting excuse for a human being.



On July 10th Rep. Broun (R-Ga. 10) said that Britons and Canadians "obviously don't have the appreciation for life that we (Americans) do", and that public healthcare would "kill people", a lot of people.

Nice.

We're not allowed to say Americans kill themselves at a rate much higher that Britons, because that would make him look stupid. So I won't. Oops.

Suicide is a horrible thing and I feel terrible using it to make a point.

My point is not that Americans commonly off themselves, it's that you should think before you open your mouth. It is amazing to me that some people, people in Congress, can say things that are so outrageous without even thinking about it.

I do believe that we need healthcare reform, badly. I'm uninsurable and lower middle class. In America's unspoken caste system, I'm an untouchable. If I could get insurance, I would have it. I know, I know. "They don't have to take a chance on you", and you're right, they don't. Nevermind that I passed my last physical (and paid in cash for it) and all I want to do is be able to see a GP from time to time. That's okay.

I guess it's also okay that 15.3% of the US GDP is spent on a broken healthcare system while Japan spends 8% of it's GDP on a fabulous one? I mean, you can call Britain, Canada, France, and even Germany (though you can opt out of Germany's system) "Marxist" (Groucho or Karl?) but Japan is more capitalist than we are, much more even. Go ahead, call them Marxist. Or little libertarian Switzerland, say it about them.

You can be against it, that's fine. But you'd better have a good reason, and you'd better not support any wasteful spending. If you really supported a free market, the following things would be private: The Military, tap water, the Police, fire & rescue, parks, and roads.

Couldn't you just see the Marines all decked out in NASCAR-esque suits to cover the bills? Yea, didn't think so.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Did Palin crap the bed too?

If the rumors are to believed, she did, big time. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and say it's a hollow rumor, but if she did...

At this rate the Republican primary in 2012 will consist of Mitt Romney, Ron Paul (if he's around), and hilariously Pat McCrory. I know, I'm stretching it, but at the rate they're dropping due to scandals it might not sound so crazy next year. He actually appeals to both sides and is a Republican who, *gasp*, doesn't drone on about his religion. That's probably because he has an actual platform though. On second thought, don't run him, he may actually make sense as oppose to those train wrecks the Republicans keep trotting out.

Oh well, looks like we won't have Sarah to kick around anymore. But these people probably still out there somewhere.



Would someone please shut that loud one up? Good lord.

But I do have to say, as an architecture snob, the Menard Sports Center is a ghastly little hole of an arena. They went over budget on that? Wow. I guess I can't really talk about projects going over budget, being from Charlotte and all, but at least our over budget stuff is usually neat.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From Africa, To Africa

I bought some coffee from Starbucks today. It's called "From Africa, To Africa" and as the name implies it's an African coffee and revenue from the product goes back to African farmers. That's nice.

Jane told me about it and she was really excited about it - she doesn't tout it much, but she actually really cares about helping people, she's a lovely person - so I bought it. It's actually quite good, though I'm not a huge coffee drinker because I have a delicate stomach.

The whole (red) line finds itself on the end of a lot of criticism, a lot. I'll admit that I seem like I'd be in that camp, but I'm not. We live in a consumer based society and at the moment there isn't much we can do about it on a grand scale. Companies aren't required to give any profits to anyone other than the shareholders of that company, and many of them simply don't. Thanks to NAFTA and it's ilk, companies aren't required to practice fair trade, and many of them simply don't. Thanks to deregulation the food industry isn't required to use products not tainted by growth hormones, and many of them simply don't. Starbucks does. See here: charities (ones they don't tout, they just do), fair trade, unmodified milk. Yeah, they actually do what they claim to do. Do you? Yes, that's a general rule, if you're going to call someone on it, you better damn well do it yourself.

Could Starbucks do better? God yes. Everyone could, and unless you live in a mud brick house, grow your own food, and use the sun as your only source of light, so could you. We could all do better, but most of us don't even try, Starbucks does and they deserve credit for that. Remember, this is a company that isn't exactly doing well either, so it's not like they have money to spend on this type of thing.

I'm not saying don't pressure them, by all means, write them letters and ask them to be more Green. Please do. For instance, they could put solar panels on some of their roofs, that'd be a nice start. I'm not on Starbucks' side, but calling them out for actually doing stuff is a bit crass. Who cares if they market it, they actually did it and that's what matters.

Starbucks isn't the enemy. They do some less than desirable things, yes, but they also do a lot more good than many other companies. You want a company that destroys lives, jobs, health, and the environment? Look no further than Monsanto. Want to make a difference? Stop them, not Starbucks. Starbucks doesn't have the blood of an entire town on their hands, Monsanto does: meet Anniston, Alabama. There's also the whole Agent Orange and the blood of an entire nation thing as well.

I also have to say, the (red) campaign is to raise awareness of AIDS in Africa. Believe it or not, many Americans simply aren't aware of the scope of the problem. You can blame this on a number of things, mainly the public schools and their infatuation with test scores while ignoring issues of worldly concern. There's another thing you can rail on. It needs to be advertised, that's how you get people's attention in America. When they went on Oprah and talked about (red), that was a big moment, that got people's attention. The companies involved made that moment happen.

I'm not arguing against traditional charity, that's a wonderful, wonderful thing. If you do it. But if you don't do it, don't you dare mention it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

John Edwards made a sex tape?!

Allegedly. I don't want him suing me. According a former Edwards aide, Edwards made a sex tape with Rielle Hunter. Yes, if that's true, John Edwards made a sex tape.

Why are the people of the Carolinas, who are generally very decent human beings, cursed with this douchebag politicians? The list goes on-and-on (Jesse, Strom...) but recently John Edwards and Mark Sanford have broken off from the rest and formed a sort of Douchebag Premier League (note to self: less soccer analogies). I mean, I'm not the biggest fan of Pat McCrory (though I begrudgingly voted for him, I was really voting against Bev), but compared to these two he's Mandela! This has made me thankful that we have McCrory. I disagree with him a great deal of the time, but he calls it how he sees it. He never broke out the "good Christian man" card like Sanford, and never touted a fake issue like Edwards. That said, North Carolina will regret not picking Munger.

I liked John Edwards, I really did. I thought he was the real deal, I believed in him. I genuinely thought that he was going to make some good changes. He was strong on the issue of poverty and that really resonated with me. I admire Elizabeth greatly, she has faced down unbelievable demons in recent years and handled them brilliantly. Elizabeth deserves respect, John deserves to get slapped in the face and kicked in the balls. He had smart, passionate people behind him and he ruined it. We honestly thought that we had someone very special, and we thought very wrong. I've gone from voting for him to despising him. He is a slimey, untrustworthy snake of a man and a blight on the State of North Carolina's name. I'm glad you lost to Obama, John, I am. Obama is everything you aren't.

Jenny Sanford and Elizabeth Edwards need to have a chat and kick their worthless husbands to the curb.

Most of us bash Bev, she presents an easy target, but let's give the woman a little credit, she's a far cry from the likes of Edwards, Sanford, or Easley. A far cry.

Monday, June 29, 2009

USA v Brazil, the media, and ESPN v Univision

I write about soccer in another blog, but I don't do it much here. You can see my thoughts on the on field happenings of the FIFA Confederations Cup final there. I'm extremely proud of our players, but puzzled by our manager's tactics. It was a heartbreaking loss.

Being in a final, even a Confederations Cup final, is a big deal, and as such it has brought a lot of attention to the national team both positive and negative. International sports outside of the Olympics are often met with derision by the American mainstream media for some reason (though the general American populace seems to enjoy them greatly), I don't know why. One writer once said he thought that the US should pull out of the Olympics and just have an American Olympics (sidenote: We already have something similar, that took 30 seconds of research) because "we always win anyway", apparently China didn't get the memo. That struck me as xenophobic. He's a rather well known writer, he's even featured on television for some reason. I guess because controversy creates cash and if you yell out the most outrageous things someone will argue with you. By now I've learned to ignore the detractors.

There has been positive attention as well, and that's been very nice. If that was your first non-World Cup soccer experience, the national team plays several matches every year, often all through out the country, if you're interested you'd be more than welcome at any of them. The Gold Cup starts on July 3rd, click the link and you can see if any matches are near you. The Gold Cup is our regional championship, think of it as a World Cup with only North American teams (CONCACAF is North America, Central America and the Caribbean including Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana). It's fun and you may meet some good people at the same time.

I have to say though, ESPN has disappointed me again. I speak very little Spanish but I often find myself watching the Univision feed for matches. ESPN's feed often seems to lack the passion associated with the sport and I guess that rubs me the wrong way. Yes, the GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL can be over-the-top at times but if you watch the entire feed you can honestly see how passionate the commentary team on Univision is. I know there's a massive controversy over English and Spanish in the United States but Univision (Miami, FL-based) is as American as ESPN (Bristol, CT-based) and seemed more proud of that fact during the Confederations Cup. I'm thankful ESPN showed the competition (but if they hadn't, FSC would've and Max Bretos is very passionate about the game and the US team) but I wish they'd try a little harder, it'd be nice.

Now my stomach hurts, I shouldn't eat red meat. I must turn in, again.

Friday, June 26, 2009

North and South Carolina should probably look at legalizing marijuana

Another person has been arrested for growing marijuana in the Carolinas. This time it's a dentist, a highly educated doctor who may well see jail time for this. North Carolina's already overstretched prison infrastructure will get yet another inmate who hasn't harmed anyone or anything, and North Carolina's overstretched medical infrastructure will lose yet another professional.

Both Carolinas have always been, and still are, tobacco producing States. Some of us aren't proud of that but we won't bash the farmers for growing it, no one bashes farmers who grow the ingredients for beer and it's harmful, yet it's celebrated as a staple of Americana. With the recent tobacco legislation farmers in the Carolinas are going to take a huge hit, and while ten months ago this may have been a small deal ever since the banking industry (a major Carolina employer) has fallen on it's face our secondary industries are a big deal. North and South Carolina both rank in the top ten of unemployment.

Which brings me back to the issue of marijuana, something which is somewhat of a "hot button" issue due to it's status as a "gateway drug" (don't tell anyone, but so is beer). Many people demonize marijuana as some evil substance sent by the devil or something, despite the fact that it has been shown to be less harmful than alcohol to the human body. In fact, hundreds die from an alcohol overdose ever year, there has never been a recorded marijuana overdose. In fact, alcoholism is the third leading cause of death in America. Marijuana addiction hasn't really caused any. Celebrated. Americana. Among smokers who smoke marijuana exclusively there have been zero (as in, less than one) cases of lung cancer caused by smoking. Alcohol contributes to the destruction of the liver, kidneys, pancreases, and heart. While small amounts of alcohol are touted as being healthy, marijuana's active ingredient actually kills cancer cells. Kills cancer cells.

I don't think alcohol should be illegal, you should have a right to drink if you want to, but for it to be legal and marijuana to be illegal is simply mind-boggling. But how does this effect North and South Carolina you ask? Well, the federal government seems to be asleep at the wheel on this topic. The reason they banned marijuana in the first place was because so many racists were in power at the time and they wanted to arrest Mexicans. Really. North and South Carolina have endless tobacco fields, thus endless space for growing marijuana. Both States, regardless of what Mark Sanford says, need tax revenue badly. Even Bev knows that and she's stupid. Marijuana legalization could provide a lifeline for the farmer who will be hurt by the tobacco legislation and provide the two States with a stream of tax money at the same time it will stop harmless people from clogging up our prison system. This is without mentioning the benefits of legalizing marijuana's sister plant Hemp, which is being studied for many, many uses including ethanol.

Honestly, it's 2009. It's time to move forward.

On the difference between Mark Sanford and Bill Clinton

"Were you calling for Bill Clinton to step down?! Huh?!"

Why yes, yes I was. Bill Clinton lied to the nation about his affair and that was a terrible thing to do, he lied under oath and he should've stepped down. I agree.

John Edwards is even worse, what he did was vile. But John Edwards was a private citizen when he did it, while that doesn't excuse it, it does disqualify him from discussion.

Yes, you lose certain rights when you become the Governor of a State. You don't become a public official to play golf with powerful people, you do it to shape policy, you become a public servant. A CEO isn't paying you, the people are paying you, you work for them and you answer to them whenever they call your name. This is why "liberals" (The Democratic Party is a moderate party, just FYI. Here's a left-wing party.) are harder on Mr. Sanford than they are on Mr. Edwards.

To find out why they're harder on Mr. Sanford than they are on Mr. Clinton you have to look no further than the platforms of the two candidates. Mr. Sanford is a Christian conservative, who ran on a platform of family values, a platform of Christian morals, and more than once defended "the traditional family unit". Mr. Clinton did not. This is why Mr. Sanford is a hypocritical scoundrel while Mr. Clinton is simply a scoundrel. It's not that hard to understand.

Mr. Sanford along with his fellow Republicans Mark Foley, John Ensign, and Larry Craig ran on a platform of bravado. A platform that proclaimed them as men and their male opponents from other parties as, well, not men. They spoke of defending the "family unit", bringing morality back into the Government and what it meant to be of good moral character. But mostly, being a man! They spoke to Preachers and got the Church goers to vote for them, they spun a record that played well in houses of worship every Sunday and they reaped the rewards of doing that, and then they lied to those people. No "liberal" does this. These four men proved to be of disgraceful moral fiber despite spending entire campaigns questioning that of their opponents, often sacrificing time to speak on real issues in the process. For this, they're being put to the sword, and rightly so. They shouldn't be defended, these men aren't martyrs, they're scoundrels.

There is nothing wrong with running on a platform of morality, that's perfectly fine. We have freedom of speech in this country. If you want to tout your dedication to your faith, do it, please. But you'd better live up to it. And when the crap hits the fan, don't look at the people who didn't profess it in the first place.

Until the Republicans can find a candidate that fits these requirements within their own party I've taken the time to find one who fits them in another party. A self-made man, a dedicated husband, a proud father, a man of strong faith and a man of values. Why don't you stop yelling for a second, and give him a look sometime.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The King of Pop, 1958-2009

Michael Jackson died today, it honestly came out of the blue and I was taken by surprise. It happened on the same day we lost Farrah Fawcett, and the same week we lost Ed McMahon. I'm not big on the cult of celebrity, as you can tell from my post on Perez Hilton and Will.I.Am, but all three of the people we lost this week were enormous talents who deserved and earned all of their fame. Jackson through his music, music which defined a generation, Farrah through her screen work, and McMahon thanks to his prolific resume and down to earth character. It is tragic.

Michael Jackson's "Bad" was the first CD I ever owned, and I still own it. It's an excellent album, in fact Michael rarely put out bad music. The man's career became overshadowed by his eccentric behavior in the 90s and allegations that he had taken advantage of children. He was never proven guilty, many claimed that his status as a mega-star helped him get off the hook, I don't know. I don't think Michael had the heart to harm anyone.

He often spoke of how he never really had a childhood and his fascination with Peter Pan, he famously named his ranch "Neverland", a homage to the fictional universe of Peter Pan. Michael suffered the same torments as many child stars, Dana Plato for example, except Michael suffered them in the spotlight. His career never really fizzled out like many other child stars, an testament to his special talent and brilliant songwriting ability. Despite the millions of dollars, and billions (literally, billions) of fans, you could often feel yourself feeling sorry for Michael, and while some may disagree at times he seemed somewhat of an unwilling celebrity. His reclusive nature attracted the cameras, as there was money in capturing Michael's face on film, but he always seemed as if he wanted to escape from adulthood, like Peter Pan.

Despite being reclusive Jackson did love his fans. He loved them in an odd way, but he never forgot that without his fans he was just another person, something many modern celebrities could learn a lot from.

I hope his legacy is that of a brilliant musician and generous philanthropist, and not that of a strange man. Michael had many problems, but he was also an original. Until his last day he remained one-of-a-kind in a Xerox world.

He is a legend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So that's where Mark Sanford was, but why are we surprised?

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford cheated on his wife. Hardcore. He didn't cheat on her in South Carolina, he didn't even pop up to North Carolina for a bit of afternoon delight, no, Mark left the freaking continent.

Sanford, who looks like what would happen if you spliced the DNA of Bert with that of a carrot, went AWOL last week but everyone's suspicions were raised when his wife said she "didn't know where he was" but wasn't the least bit worried. Republicans rushed to defend one of their rising stars - Sanford has been listed as a potential Presidential candidate in 2012 - but even they had to know something was amiss. Some spoke of how Sanford was supposedly out hiking, and "being a man, something lubrals (liberals) wouldn't understand". Well, if being a man means leaving the your wife and four children behind while you desecrate your marriage thousands of miles away, I don't know if that's what I want to be.

Now their defense is that Sanford "made a mistake" and that it's "no worse than what Clinton or Edwards did" (ah, the old Slick Willy chestnut), but they're wrong. They're very wrong. The actions of Bill Clinton and John Edwards were nothing short of despicable, no one is doubting that, but Clinton and Edwards never ran on a platform of family values, Christian morals, and never pushed sexual minorities to the fringes of society with their rhetoric. Sanford has made no secret of his distaste for homosexuals, bisexuals, or even sexually active heterosexuals who may not be married. He is going to get a lot of stick for this incident, and he deserves every bit of it. There is no room to defend this hypocritical lying sack of crap, there isn't.

Soon we will hear them climb atop their towers and cry foul of the "liberal media", the same liberal media that includes The State newspaper, Columbia's daily, which received the erotic emails exchanged between Sanford and his lover as early as last December and elected to withhold them, in essence, protecting a conservative official from public scorn. All the outlets are blocked off, Sanford is impossible to defend. You can't blame this one on Obama, who, I may add, is a dedicated husband and father. He's also a Christian. He is what Sanford claimed to be.

Furthermore Sanford was a harsh critic of Bill Clinton and voted for the President's impeachment following his affair in the 1990s. Sanford actually resorted to name calling, though he was never as bad as Lindsay Graham. Sanford may not have lied under court oath, but he did lie. He lied under religious oath to his wife (you know, something about a Preacher, an alter, a Church, lots of people watching), he lied to his family, he lied to his staff, and he lied to South Carolina. By his own standards, he is unfit for leadership.

No, this isn't a good time to jump on Mark Sanford, that happened a long time ago.

One person in the Observer editorial forum asked if we could send NC Gov. Bev Perdue for a hike and transfer Sanford here, you still want that? Bev might be stupid, but she has nothing on Sanford.

I'm not a Democrat, in fact I'm not very fond of them, but thanks to people like Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Larry Craig, and Mark Foley (all supposedly Christian men who ran on a platform of morals only to prove themselves hypocrites) this country is going to become a one party state with the Democrats in charge.

Well, at least the Democrats try. The SC Libertarian party is probably loving this, and they have every right to be. Every right to be.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Perez Hilton, Will.I.Am, and the Bonobo

As you surely know by now, professional loud mouth Perez Hilton was punched by a member of Will.I.Am's entourage in Toronto after the MuchMusic video awards, or something. Apperently Will.I.Am's manager hit him.



This has, somehow, become major news in the last day, and it's a shame that it has. It's not news, it just isn't. Neither of these people are important, one is famous for running his mouth, and the other is famous for making trendy music that no one will remember in ten years time, maybe not even him. The way people are acting you'd think Bob Dylan laid out Tom Wolfe with a hurricane kick. Honestly.

Perez probably deserved to be hit, I'm not disputing that, but I will openly question the masculinity of those involved. Do you really need multiple people around to beat up an out-of-shape gay man? Really? I mean, listen to the guy, he's about as tough as a goomba, the proper ones. And really, Perez, calling him a "faggot"? Nice one, hypocrite.

The Khalid Sheikh Mohammed joke was brilliant though, shame most ardent fans of either party will have no earthly idea who that is.

The fact that this is major news during a revolution in one of the world's most important nations, during the worst financial crisis in global history, and the day after a deadly commuter rail crash in our nation's capital has me questioning mankind's fitness for it's position atop the animal kingdom.

You may ask, who will take our place then? (or maybe, who will take r place den?) Dolphins? No, they're overrated. But I love them anyway. Baboons? Possibly. Elephants? That's a good shout, but I can't see it. The most likely answer is the Bonobo. Bonobos do have facial expressions and emotional awareness, which puts them ahead of Mike Jefferies. Kanzi, a 26-year-old male from Des Moines, understands some 3,000 spoken English words, which is more than most celebrity worshipers. Underneath the hairstyles and fancy clothes, we're still apes (I know I am), and Perez Hilton and Will.I.Am are the ones throwing their own crap for attention.

It'll take them awhile, no doubt as they're still progressing, but we should be very aware that we have someone gunning for our spot now, and our strength is not in our depth.

Thanks a million, Perez.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Holy waste of newsprint, Batman!

Excuse me for the canned headline, I actually feel dirty for that. I apologize profusely.

On Saturday the Charlotte Observer did it's credibility no favors when it published a story about a Batman comic that made a mother angry. Really, they actually put it in the print edition. Here's the online version.

I don't blame the mother, Yvette Spivock, as much as I blame the Observer. Seriously, has the editorial staff been under a rock? Charlotte has big problems, world changing events are taking place in Iran and I'm sure something must've happened in Gastonia recently. Honestly, don't cover this crap, it isn't news, it isn't even fluff, it's garbage. Are you going to cover it every time an overzealous parent complains about some crappy show giving Paris Hilton television time? It's a slippery slope, and no, it wasn't a "slow news day".

But really, Mrs. Spivock, I'm not mad at you, but if you were "outraged" by a Batman comic it's time to reevaluate your values. Do you really think comic books should be labeled like cigarettes?

South Charlotte *sigh*. It was nicer when it was just farmland.

Every time a convention comes to town people do this stuff, and the paper covers it! Why, paper, why?!