September 19, 2007

Avast, me hearties!

Posted in Other Stuff at 4:55 pm by loolar

Tis international talk like a pirate day, ya scallawags!

Shiver me timbers, hoist the main jib, swab the decks, walk the plank, your cliche here, etc.

Boy, pirates sure have good lobbying, to get a whole day devoted to them.  However, the ninja lobby is stronger.  Every other day is talk like a ninja day.


September 18, 2007

Nobody walks in L.A.

Posted in Life in Los Angeles at 8:57 pm by loolar

Warning: the following contains a vitriolic rant, which may have been enhanced by illegal use of HGH.*

Please tell me this annoying crap is isolated to Los Angeles.

No, I’m not talking about the traffic, although apparently, according to CNN, LA is still the worst in the country. ** And no, I’m not even talking about the drivers – after a visit back to Boston last week, it’s clear we’re no better than second place compared to those menaces. We need a new reality show*** called Emergency: Rotary! where drivers experience the centrifuge thrill of the rotary until they’re forced out of the lane into a convenient bog. How can rotaries be a good idea – they’re French. Speaking of French, why didn’t the Bush administration get around to renaming those? Shouldn’t we be calling them Freedom something? I vote for Freedom Rings of Death and Woe.

Anyway, what I’m talking about is that, just when you thought it couldn’t get more obnoxious than a “baby on board” sign, along comes a new fad in window stickers which specifically label the driver as a boob.

First are the stickers with the family drawn like stick figures in a police lineup, including various pets, or even favorite possessions (e.g., “Dad, Mom, Timmy, Fido, iPhone”). I don’t give a crap that you obviously have a religious injunction against birth control, or that you thought it was cute to give your litter names all starting with the letter F, or even what the names of your family are.

Is that sticker there so that when Granny is following your oversized gas-guzzling battleship and gets it confused with the rest of the fleet on the highway, she can check the names to be sure she’s following the correct behemoth? What deluded, egotistical, halfwit would believe anyone cares about the names of their genetic miscreants? You know who cares? The pedophile who’s going to use it to approach your kids and say, “see Timmy, how else would I know your name unless I was friends with your Dad! Now come with me!”

Way to go, dumbass.****

As bad as that is, however, it’s a far second place to this new practice of turning your car into a rolling memorial.

Nothing quite sums up the insignificance of your past existence like having, “In loving memory of Bambam, 1984 to 2006,” plastered on the rear window of a Nissan Sentra. Wow, couldn’t even rate an Altima? Sure makes it easy to “visit” the “grave” though, doesn’t it? Every time you roll over to the late shift at WalMart you can remember your loser boyfriend who dropped out of high school and killed himself trying to learn drifting in your other Sentra. Ah, the memories.

At least with a gravestone, I can decide not to, y’know, actually visit a graveyard to look at the headstones of strangers. Now I get to spend, according to CNN, 72 hours a year stuck in traffic behind your tribute to Bambam, and wondering if he’s haunting you because you used the money for an actual funeral and headstone as a down payment on your Altima.

* is there a legal use?
** it’s important to be the best at something.
*** no we don’t
**** which is the only way to actually make this sticker funny – see below.


September 15, 2007

Penalizing the Patriots

Posted in NFL and other lesser sports at 6:31 pm by loolar

Even if you don’t follow football, it’s been hard not to hear how the New England Patriots were caught for reportedly using a video camera to try to spy out the defensive signals (clearly stated as against the rules, and all teams get a memo “reminder” every year). The league announced that the Pats would be sanctioned with a $250,000 fine and loss of a first round draft pick (or a 2nd and 3rd round pick if they don’t make the playoffs; most concede this is a footnote, since they are nearly a guarantee to make the playoffs compared to the rest of their lackluster division), while coach Bill Belichick will face a fine of $500,000.

A friend asked me why the fine imposed by the NFL against the Pats was so small compared to the fine levied against the McLaren racing team for allegedly stealing technical documents from the Ferrari team with the help of one of their mechanics (who has since been fired). McLaren was fined $1,000,000, and not permitted to accrue any more of a certain type of points as they compete the rest of this season. I’d say more about the points, except I’ve just told you everything I understand about car racing.

At any rate, to address my understanding of the question: they’re different sports, for one thing. Sponsorship awards to McLaren may even make that fine proportionately lower as a percentage; all I know is that the coach’s fine against Belichick is the largest ever given, and that never in NFL history has a draft pick been revoked as a punitive measure. So while dollar signs might be lower, it’s still the stiffest penalty in NFL history.

That said, many argue (and, even as a Pats fan since ’93, I actually tend to agree) that the fine against Belichick should have been lower, and he should have been suspended for 2-4 games. Commissioner Roger Goodell says this would have “hurt” the team less, but I tend to disagree; the Pats already traded for another first round draft pick from the 49ers, so they’ll still have one (and likely earlier in the round, given the hapless 49ers); leaving aside they have been masters of finding talent in later rounds anyway (Quarterback Tom Brady was a sixth round pick). And as for the cash, while it was a heavy penalty, suspending Belichick for games would have also hit him in the pocketbook while likely crippling their chances to ensure a playoff spot, which many agree they’re all but guaranteed at this point.

On a deeper level, this is bothersome because now many seem hasty to apply a Barry Bonds-style “asterisk” to the Patriots accomplishments of the last seven years, diminishing the achievements of not only incredible coaching and players, but also top line player picks by Director of Personnel Scott Pioli. The Pats have been the envy of the league in developing so-called “no name” talent (until this year, of course, when they very uncharacteristically traded for a “marquee” player in Randy Moss), and I don’t think this should detract from that.

But at a time when the NFL seemed immune to the sorts of troubles plaguing other sports (referees in NBA, doping in the Tour de France, Barry Bonds), it seems character is an issue here, too. Another reason why I would have been happy, long term, had Commissioner Goodell come down harder on my favorite team. Preserving the trust of fans has to be the paramount concern.