Friday, January 15, 2010
My Sarcastic Letter to the Government
I’d like to thank you for the credit card legislation that you enacted last year that takes effect last month. We all know that credit card companies prey on customers providing them with more credit than they can handle and allowing them to dig themselves into credit holes which they cannot get out. And it was sure nice of you to give the credit card companies so many months before they needed to comply. Without that lead time they would not have been able to make sweeping changes that they couldn’t make after the legislation takes place. I’m really glad that you gave them the opportunity to terminate my 7% fixed rate credit card and replace it with a variable rate card. And it is so much better paying prime + 10% even though my company agrees I have an excellent credit rating and payment history. Good thing that you allow them to charge us citizens 11% interest when they can only have to pay 0.25% on the money they borrow. Thanks for stepping in and fixing things.
While we are talking about banks, you should continue to keep portraying banks as evil corporations who stole tax money to give to their executives. Never mind the fact that they are paying interest on that money or that the interest rate is 5% higher than it would cost them to get it from the reserve bank. Keep on ignoring the fact that you forced many banks to take the money on the basis that it is their “patriotic duty”. Your undermining of the financial institutions will undoubtedly boost confidence in our economy and lead us out of this recession.
Speaking of bailouts, good job helping out the automotive industry. Way to think through your stipulations about giving them money and not give them any direction. Forcing them to cut costs immediately, I think you gave them 30 days, was an excellent way to drive them to cut 30,000 employees. It’s not like unemployment is an issue in this country. We sure are glad you didn’t get involved and help them fight the unions. Instead, employees and retirees get to keep their “gold plated” health plans and furloughed employees still get paid 80% of their salaries for not working. Nice job.
I can’t wait to see the impact on your health care reform. Who cares that by not allowing insurance companies to charge more for higher risk people and forcing them to cover everyone they’ll have to increase the cost for everybody. And I am glad you didn’t bother attempting to decrease the cost of healthcare by limiting the amount of profits of pharmaceutical companies and hospital corporations. Don’t bother worrying about their CEO bonuses like you do the evil bankers. And don’t worry about increasing competition by allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines. I am sure that we’ll all be much better off with this plan.
Thanks for helping out.
The View from the Middle
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
For years I have been listening to WIND 560 AM in Chicago. In the mornings it is Cisco Cotto and John Howell and I can tell you that a conservative Puerto Rican paired up with the old white guy makes for interesting radio. In the afternoons I am entertained by Michael Savage who, while being conservative, is angry at just about everybody.
If you haven't noticed, I refer to WIND as conservative and not right wing. It may be because their comments are similar to my own but I find these two programs close to center. Cotto and Howell will often examine both sides of the argument. Even though Savage believes that he is always correct on an issue his core beliefs are difficult to argue (Culture, Borders, and Language). I do not listen to "right-wing" radio mainly because I can't find it on the dial. Thus, I do not spew the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. It also means that I cannot defend or deny their positions.
This morning as John and Cisco were focusing on entertainment I jumped over to the Stephanie Miller Show for my first heavy dose of "progressive" radio. In the half hour that I listened I found that the left is just as angry and illogical as the right. Obviously, today's show focused on Rep. Joe Wilson's blurt during President Obama's speech the other night. While I agree that his comments were inappropriate and disrespectful in that setting I found the venom which he was attacked by Ms. Miller surprising.
The position started off with her calling him a liar. While technically correct, I think most people would have pointed out that Wilson was incorrect and not lying. She took a couple of callers who attempted to defend Wilson's statement with different versions of the bills that have been floated around and using her pulpit shot them down with the line in HR3200 that says no illegal immigrants will participate in the government option. When faced with the two amendments requiring proof of citizenship that were shot down she stood on her previous comment and bullied the callers off of the air. Nothing new for a talk show host but then the attacks grew.
The next caller was a doctor from the east coast who defended Wilson with a previous speech by President Obama. In the speech the President was pointing out that primary care physicians can help reduce medical expenses by getting in front of medical problems and gave the example of a diabetic who with regular visits to a doctor can save money and avoid say a foot amputation at the cost of $30,000, $40,000, even $50,000. The doctor went on to say that as a surgeon an amputation is only in the neighborhood of $1,500 and that the exaggeration was misleading. I personally support the doctor and believe that if officials are presenting information to the public that it should be factual. Ms. Miller and her cohorts mocked the doctor saying he missed the point President Obama was making. Rather that taking the opinion of a medial professional in a medical debate they scoffed him and dismissed his comments all together.
I finally reached my fill as they continued their attack on Rep. Wilson first by inferring that he was a racist because he blurt was against the first African-American President and then building to straight up calling him a racist from a racist state. That had put me over the edge. The focus had completely changed from a discussion about the inappropriateness of his comments to a personal attack on the man. The motivation of the slander was then revealed when they gave out the campaign fund of his opponent in next year's election.
Recently there was a letter to the editor in my local paper that drew a lengthy discussion from a reader who was compelled to say that all listeners to conservative radio were pinheads. As constructive as that was the ensuing discussion was quite vehement. My foray into progressive talk radio has built upon some of the conclusions that I drew from that argument. I found that the progressive hosts direct most of their anger towards the right winged media. They will often attack Limbaugh and Hannity and denounce the people that listen to them. The conservative hosts that I am familiar with focus on the politicians who are making the laws. The actions of Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, and President Obama are discussed. Logically, I like that I am getting news of laws and politics that despite being the interpretation of the host I can analyze and develop my own opinion. I find that attempting to knock down the credibility of other media members and their listeners is a disservice to the listener and comes across as somewhat condescending.
Please let me know your thoughts on any of my rambling here. Also, please let me know of any radio show on the air in Chicago between 7:30-9:00 am and 4:30-6:30 pm that you suggest. I'm just trying to get good information these days and that is not as easy as it seems.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Why I Hate the Media #7 - Katie Holmes Movie Bombs
Today's headline that raised my ire was "Katie Holmes Movie Bombs". No shit Sherlock. Which Katie Holmes movie hasn't bombed?
Just because the media feels compelled to cover Katie, Tommy, and their rug rat doesn't mean any facet of their lives is newsworthy. But come on people, did you really think that Katie Holmes, Queen Latifa, and Diane Keaton in a burglary movie was theater worthy. Sounds like straight to DVD to me and the discouragement of seeing Queen Lafatty and Diane Keaton far outweighs any desire to see Miss Holmes dancing around the screen (I saw the trailer for the movie).
But if your thinking this just one bad decision for Katie Holmes here is a list of the feature films she has been a part of:
- The Ice Storm - never heard of it
- Disturbing Behavior (1998) - really bad sci-fi flick
- Go (1999) - really bad teen movie
- Muppets from Space (1999) - a muppet movie, enough said
- Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999) - another bad teen movie
- Wonder Boys (2000) - a good movie but Katie only has a bit part
- The Gift (2000) - she plays the woman who goes missing
- Phone Booth (2002) - decent movie, she has about 4 lines
- Abandon (2002) - caught this on on Lifetime on a sick day, that about sums up the movie as well.
- The Singing Detective (2003) - Robert Downey Jr., Robin Wright Penn, Mel Gibson, and Adrian Brody and I still never heard of it. (editors note: Robert Downey Jr. won best actor for this film at the Catalonian International Film Festival)
- Pieces of April (2003) - more like pieces of crap-ril.
- First Daughter (2004) - Bad
- Batman Begins (2005) - nice job jumping on the bandwagon
- Thank You for Not Smoking (2005) - Not even listed on the first page of the cast
I think it is fair to say that with this repertoire another box office bomb is no headline.
Friday, December 28, 2007
In 2004, the movie Kill Bill Vol. 2 was released on 3,073 screens and was available in theaters for over 4 months. That same year, the movie White Chicks was released on 2800 screens and was in theaters for 2 1/2 months. I am embarrassed to inform you that White Chicks outgrossed Kill Bill $70.8M to $66.2M. Over a half million people saw that piece of crap in the theaters in less time than a Quentin Tarintino flick.
Internationally, movie goers must have a better pallatte seeing that Kill Bill Vol. 2 outgrossed White Chicks $85M to $42M.
Other quality movies decimated by White Chicks' gross earnings:
The Manchurian Candidate $65.9M
Friday Night Lights $61.2M
Hotel Rwanda $23.5M
Other tripe that people flocked to like lemmings:
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement $95.1M
Mean Girls $86.0M
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie $85.4
Scooby Doo 2 $84.2M
Garfield: The Movie $75.3M
For the love of god, please stop going to the theaters to see this crap. Don't let your kids see this crap. Don't let your friends see this crap. If no one goes to see this crap then they will stop making this crap.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Poor Bathroom Etiquette
The restroom closest to my office has 4 urinals and 6 toilets. Each urinal has a divider between them which I assume is there to prevent peeking. So I am standing at urinal #1 against the wall as you approach the four horsemen. Immediately after me enters another person who proceeds to #4. Proper etiquette dictates that if there is a man at #1 then the proper selection is either #3 or #4. In this case #4 is a child’s height urinal so the usual selection is #3.
So there I am doing my business, actually I am playing piss volleyball with a soda bottle ring I dropped in there last Thursday, when two additional guys walk in having a conversation. This is where things get weird. The first man in walks up to urinal #3, leaving #2 wide open. His partner in the conversation positions himself at #2 but not to do his business. He not only continues talking, a major restroom violation, but he does a quarter turn and is looking right into the side of the first man in.
My general rule is no talking while at the urinal. If someone asks a question that you feel compelled to answer it must be done so with eyes forward and preferably looking up. Answers may not be more that four word sentences and whether you are finished or not you must immediately leave the urinal to prevent the questioner from delving deeper into a conversation.
As if leading by example I follow that rule even though I am not part of this conversation. I shut down, zipped up, quickly washed my hands, and bolted from the area. I don’t know what the conversation was about, nor do I care. It was my responsibility not to condone this type of behavior and removing myself from its presence seemed like the appropriate course of action.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I came to this realization listening to a highlight of the radio call for the Bears-Raiders game. The play occurred late in the fourth quarter as Oakland took possession after the Bears first touchdown. On the play, Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye comes off of the corner and punches the ball out of the quarterbacks hand and Isreal Idonije recovers the ball at the three yard line.
The Bears play by play announcer Jeff Joniak does a fine job calling the play. He gets exited but continues to describe the fumble on the play. Hearing the call brings back one of the few good memories of the game.
But it's Joniak's partner in the booth that makes me come to the realization that all football players are conditioned for the same response. As soon as the ball is knocked out of the quarterback's hands Tom Thayer, a former NFL lineman, shouts "Ball" at the top of his lungs. It is the same response that I had when I saw the play live.
No matter how long ago you played organized football, as long as you played at the high school level or above you will inevitably have the same response on this type of play. If you watch closely, an ex-football player will always yell "ball". It's instinctive.
Others will usually say nothing or announce that there was a fumble on the play. Although that is likely the proper word to describe the play football coaches nationwide preach to their players to yell "Ball". Somehow, this reaction stays with you forever.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Unknowingly I performed a social experiment on my friends. It wasn’t until after the fact that I had realized what had occurred and the conclusions that had been drawn.
On Sunday we held a birthday party for my 5 year old daughter Poochie. Originally the party had been scheduled to begin at noon to accommodate the start of the Bears game. Fortunately, we discovered early enough that the game had a 3:15 start time and the party was rescheduled for 1:30. The thought process was that we could get through all of the arrivals and kids games by 3:00 at which time we could serve food. Cake and presents would be had around half time leaving the guests to enjoy the rest of the game.
Shortly after the invitations went out I was notified by Fig (star of the Ask Fig show, www.askfig.com) and the Kogut family (aka #1 fan of the Ask Fig show, www.askfig.com) that they would be arriving in time to watch the noon games as well. With this knowledge in hand I made sure that the party preparations accommodated the extension. Extra snacks were purchased, appetizers were planned accordingly, and most importantly extra beer was purchased.
In my initial preparation for the party I had purchased what I considered a fair amount of beer for a 5 yr olds birthday party on a Sunday afternoon with about 25 adults in attendance.
- 24 bottles of Miller Lite
- 18 bottles of Molson Canadian
- 12 cans of Tecate
- 6 bottles of Bud Light
- 6 bottles of St. Paulie Girl
- 6 bottles of Bergoff lager
- 6 bottles of Spaten Oktoberfest
With the new start time I ran out for some back-up brew just to make sure that we didn’t run out. The beer of choice was a 30 pack of Miller High Life in the “After the Hunt” packaging. Intended for back-up purposes only, the choice was made on appearance more than on taste. Instead of the standard gold can with red writing, these gems came in an orange can with black writing. Orange beer cans, Bears game, perfect.
Those familiar with the Indiana studios of the Ask Fig show (www.askfig.com) are aware that the basement level has been finished to accommodate a bar, 50” HD television, and appropriate seating. It was here that I loaded up the refrigerator with the bottled beers and Tecate that I had originally purchased. All bottles were placed caringly into the refrigerator with labels up and caps forward so that my guests could easily see what was available. The Miller High Life was literally dumped into a cooler and was banished to the garage.
As guests arrived for the party they were informed of where the beverages were located. “Pop and juice is in the kitchen. There is an assortment of beers in the bar including Lite, Molson Canadian, Tecate, and more in the bar in the basement. And there is Miller High Life in the garage.”
As the party was flowing I noticed that many of the guests were drinking cans of beer instead of bottles. There were also many jokes and imitations involving being “purveyors of the High Life”. The cooler in the garage remained full but now with bottled water and juice boxes since the other beverage choice was being removed.
After the party I took inventory to see how well I prepared and what leftovers I had remaining. The cooler was void of any signs of orange cans of Miller High Life. The refrigerator was mostly full of bottles of more costly beverages.
Base on the events of this party I have drawn two conclusions about my friends.
- They are not particular about whether they drink from a bottle or a can.
- They so lazy that they would rather drink an average beer from a can instead of going down a flight of stairs for a premium beer.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Come and get 'em
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Things that piss me off - #1 Sports Reporters
Offender #1 is Jay Marrioti. Ozzie Guillen doesn't like you and you don't like Ozzie Guillen. Got it. Now drop it. I'm tired of seeing you publish an article once a week talking about how he needs to be fired. It doesn't matter whether you have a valid point or not. You only come across as a whiny baby.
Offense #2 - Unjust headlines. I draw exception to many of the headlines that are out there just to grab attention. The one that raised my ire recently was that the Sox young pitcher pitcher who blew an early lead in another loss. The kid gave up three runs over 6+ innings. That doesn't qualify for the gigantic demise that the headline incinuates.
Offense #3 - Incorrect Conclusions. On the same day as the above there were four articles praising the Cubs for the failed trade of Jacque Jones as he provided the clutch hit in a Cub victory. They treated it like he turned his season around and won the triple crown. The guy got one hit in a critical situation. This does not deserve the adulations of four articles.
It's not just the papers though. In the Jones situation there were numerous reports on the radio as well. It makes everyone who throws out the accolades sound like idiots. We need to be able to trust our reporters and the "news" they present.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Cliche of the Month
White male in big-ass truck leaving Wal-Mart parking lot in a small Indiana town blasting Bon Jovi's Bad Medicine?
I may be turning Hoosier more and more every day whether I like it or not.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
What I've been up to
In case you were wondering, here is what I've been up to lately.
- The Ask Fig Show - yes we three idiots are still on the air. Seems like we are as strong as ever. I've been attempting to get more "guests" on the air. My latest attempt was for members of the Windy City Rollers, Chicago's femle roller derby team. Be sure to listen on Wednesday nights at 9:00 pm CST. WWW.ASKFIG.COM
- Sparkpeople.com - I've stuck to this program for over two months now. I lost 20 pounds, from 236 to 216. I've really not done much different. I eat 1400-1800 calories a day. Which was easy once I cut out 1 can of coke and stopped eating cookies & milk with the kids before bedtime. And I try to excercise three tim per week. I really suggest anyone looking to eat healthier to sign up. If you do, join the Friends of Boskey Radio West sparkteam.
- Work - The man has been kicking my ass for 5 weeks now. I expect things to calm down in about a week after this quarter end. Only problem is that I will have to keep the feet to the fire in order to not be in the same predicament three months from now.
That's about it. If I can think of anything more universal I'll try to jot it down.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I'm in the teens
Since I was stuck on 220 for about 3 weeks this is a bit of an accomplishment.
If anyone is on Sparkpeople.com, feel free to join the Friends of the Askfig Show sparkteam.