Monday, December 22, 2003

See You Next Year: Barring some extraordinarily compelling occurrence, this will probably be my last post of this year. The remainder of '03 will be devoted to chillin' and writin' and a little horsin' 'round. (One of the cool things about being a writer without an editor is you can do really fun stuff like put five apostrophes in a sentence.) Hope you all get lots of cool toys and have a righteous hoot time for New Year's Eve and I will catch you on the flip-flop good buddy. (Another cool thing: using godawful '70s CB-radio slang. I do make my own fun.) Zach Everson, master of the curiously named, dropped a line the other day. Unlike someone who shall remain nameless but whose initials are d.a.m., Zach seems to update fairly frequently including a couple of gems from his fearless interactions with the carnival sideshow we call Yahoo -- resulting from a poorly thought through profile update and a fellow who liked his site so much he "bookmarked the bitch". Stop by and have a look, but go easy on the propositions.
Dumb and Dumber: Read this. It is an attempt by someone to get a measure of revenge on an ex-friend for basically scamming him out of 30 large after pretending to be his friend. This fellow so trusted his friend that he made him an authorized signer on two of his credit cards. So his friend promptly maxed them out, promising to repay them from a big trust fund. Turns out the guy was a diagnosed pathological liar and had no trust fund and basically his entire persona was false. He goes on to list all of the lies he was told by his friend. Here are a choice few.
  • Was in a Levi's jeans commercial

  • Had Saddam Hussein in his sights during the gulf war as a Navy SEAL but didn't get the order to shoot.

  • Told his Ex-Girlfriend that he had cancer and needed chemotherapy

  • Dated Heather Kosar (before she posed in playboy magazine)

  • Went on two dates with Alyssa Millano (told ex-girlfriend that he met Alyssa during a Baywatch tryout. He was selected but his C/O in the Navy wouldn't let him participate. Oh also stated that David Hasselhoff was a jerk)

  • Played in the March Madness Final Four -- Cincinnati

  • Been to Area 51 -- saw some incredible stuff. Told me about a plane / whatever that could hover and then shoot to another point miles away almost instantly.

  • Had a story published in Readers Digest

  • Won the local tough man competition in Pittsburg

  • Fought in the Gulf War, came back and his wife was pregnant with someone else's kid.

This guy Todd is a crook, plain and simple, and should probably do time for this (if it's not a hoax). But after hearing that litany of obvious nonsense, to authorize this loser on your credit cards almost certainly makes you the most profound cement-head ever to punch a keyboard. The fact of the matter is you may not have a legal leg to stand on since it is patently obvious that if this asshat didn't steal your money, someone else would have -- maybe Miss Cleo, or some desperate Nigerian diplomat.

The only thing stupider would be me buying into this if it's a hoax. But I have been so desensitized to stupidity from years of dealing with idiots at large that it sounds completely plausible. What's your excuse?
Looking Bad: Al Gore's legacy. Can't you just picture him at Harvard, doing beer bongs and throwing up chili cheese fries all over the carpet? The only thing better would have been if he was wearing this shirt.
Go Joe Willy: Much has been made of the Joe Namath debacle. For those of you who don't know, Joe was being interviewed by sideline reporter Suzy Kolber during the Jets-Patriots game. He was completely hammered -- practically drooling. Calling his enunciation haphazard would be like calling Saddam Hussein slightly unkempt. Then he proceeds to put the moves on her and tell her how he wants to kiss her. On the air. It is a riot. If you haven't heard it here is the audio (about 900k).

Let me just say that when I am like 150 years old, half crippled from having my knees ripped to shreds, and completely butt-faced from pounding hard liquor, I can only hope I will still have the stones to make complete idiot of myself in front of millions of people in the pursuit of the nearest convenient chick. I hereby vow to buy a Namath throwback jersey.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

More, More, More: Not a lot to post, but a couple of new things over at blogcritics.

First, a review of the over-hyped HBO special event Angels in America. I panned it and I may get a strong reaction since most everyone else has adopted it as a sacred cow. Just for the record, I didn't particularly enjoy writing this review. Contrary to what most of you think, I don't get a big kick out of slamming movies, especially if they have produced in a good faith effort to tell a story and not just to generate money-making trash. Also, I am loath to sully myself with politics in any way and Angels is primarily about political ideology (even though many don't see it) so I had to slog through it. Oh well, all done in the interest of trying to generate timely reviews when most of the stuff I read or watch is years old.

Second, I did a quick recap of the books I've read this year in my Book of the Year Award, this one was fun to write.

Now back to promotion of Business As Usual for a while. Joy.
Hang Up and Play: This has to have been one of the most dreary football seasons in history. The games have been fairly dull, by which I mean no team I am interested in has a shot at anything. And I'm beginning to get jaded about the whole notion of parity.

Aside: A magnificently dry analysis of the Lions last game from TMQ: "Detroit held Kansas City to 521 yards of offense."

More importantly, the season has been dominated by idiots, beginning with the Neanderthal Romanowski in pre-season and the latest being the clown who hid a cell phone under the goal post and called his Mom when he scored a touchdown. To the league's credit, they fined this dimwit 30 large. They fined his accomplice 5 large. And they fined a guy who held up a sign asking them not to fine him anymore 10 large.

If this player behavior keeps up, football is in for a serious falling out with its fan base, meaning me.

Another aside: It's interesting to contrast the culture of football, which requires constant misbehavior, trash talk, and fines, but rarely do things come to fisticuffs, to the culture of hockey you are supposed to be polite, modest, and reticent -- except when you're throwing punches, which is fairly common. An odd dichotomy.

The bottom line on this football season has been the fact that nothing in the entire season is anywhere near as compelling as all the off-season moves the Red Sox and Yankees have made. Boston and New York are lining up for a titanic battle next season and, for the most part, baseball has supplanted football as the top dog sport again.
Good Night Nurse: This is not the kind of thing I usually follow but that nasty business of the nurse who murdered dozens of patients is really perverse. It turns out this guy was under deep suspicion before at his previous jobs but everyone's hands were tied by policy designed to protect the killers rights.
Mr. Cullen, who prosecutors now say has admitted killing 30 to 40 patients during a 14-year career, walked away from his job at St. Luke's rather than answer questions, officials said, and investigators, despite dozens of deaths worthy of investigation and few concrete answers, could not prove he had done anything wrong. Word of their suspicions went no further than the State Nursing Board, which said that under the circumstances, it could not tell anyone that questions had ever been raised about him.

Mr. Cullen went to work at two other hospitals in the next few months without word of his past accompanying him.

The most sustained look at Mr. Cullen, when his suspected murder spree might have been stopped, was in the middle of last year. Yet the hospitals and public agencies that looked into him then, like those that encountered him throughout his career, say they were defeated by a system that lacks a way to spread the word about medical professionals suspected of misdeeds, and by hospitals and government agencies that are unwilling to do so.

If you're looking a concrete example of how lawsuit abuse has caused real damage and actually killed people look no further. I have experienced this first hand in a minor way; the company I work for strictly forbids me to make any sort of recommendation for my employees should they leave -- positive or negative. Call for a background check on someone who claims to have worked for us and you will get dates of employment, that's it. If someone left under certain investigation of say, embezzlement for example, I couldn't tell anybody. In my case, that hurts you if you call me because I can't tell you if the guy you are about to hire is a crook or not. I also can't tell you about the wonderful qualities of an employee who, say, had to relocate for family reasons. The only benefit from this nonsense is that my company is insulated from insane lawsuits. Well, now the insane lawsuits have blatantly come home to roost. It would be perfect irony if one of his victims was an ambulance chasing lawyer. I think the families of the victims should initiate a class action lawsuit against the American Bar Association.

But wait there's this:
A nurse who claims he killed up to 40 of his patients and was charged with administering a fatal dose of a drug to a Roman Catholic priest has voluntarily surrendered his New Jersey nurse's license, authorities said Wednesday.


"If Mr. Cullen had not agreed to surrender his license, the Board of Nursing was prepared to act on its own," said Reni Erdos, director of the Division of Community Affairs, which oversees the licensing of nurses.

Bet he was just quaking with fear about that.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Coming Up For Air: I have not forsaken thee. I spent nearly a full week in Columbia, SC; captial of SC and home of the Univeristy of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks. Their cheer is a short, simple, "Go Cocks!" (The Chippendales always enjoy performing here.) A decent city, although a little heavy on the pawn shops and wig stores. I'm sure if it was sunny and warm it would've been lots of fun, but it was cold and rainy -- uncharacteristically so, according to locals.

Had a weird cab ride from the airport, the guy didn't drive below 70mph the whole way (on side streets), and he drops me off at what must have been the service entrance to the hotel, after he drove off I discovered it was locked and I had to walk around the other side of the building carrying my bags.

Better yet, the charge was $12.50 so I offer him a twenty and I tell him to just give me five back. He says, "I don't have any change." Oh, then exactly what the hell are you doing driving a cab? No idea if he thought I was going to let him just keep the twenty if he said that, but if he did he was hosed. I gave him a ten, three ones, and all the change in my pocket. Loser.

I spent another week catching up, Christmas shopping (just kill me now), and actually writing actual fiction. Not enough fiction, but it never is. And I managed to get a brief article up over at blogcritics entitled Dark Carnivale, my review of the HBO series Carnivale that finished it's season recently. I have violated my habit of waiting to do HBO reviews until immedaitely after the Sopranos season, but Eric Olsen, who runs blogcritics, made an impassioned plea for more timely material so it was my duty.

More soon.

By the way, I can't decide who looks worse, Saddam or Glen Campbell.