Thursday, February 21, 2008

Big Brother Sam Is Watching You

The Patriot Act, FISA courts, EZ Pass, traffic cameras.

Your emails, your phone calls, your bank accounts, your every movement -- are all monitored.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell introduced us to words and concepts such as doublespeak, thoughtcrime, memory hole, Thought Police, and of course, Big Brother. The Big Brother Is Watching You poster is ubiquitous to the novel -- a reminder, and a warning, that you are never alone, and that you should always assume that you are being monitored for unorthodoxy and thoughtcrime, and finally, that you will be sent to Room 101 and tortured.

The book was supposed to serve as a warning. Instead, it has become a manual for 21st century American governance and polity.

In the book, a mustachio'd man with Stalinesque features was Big Brother.

But today, it is none other than Uncle Sam.

So let me ask: what do you get when you combine an old army recruitment poster with the poster from Orwell's dystopic vision?

You get this line of shirts, notecards and stuff that I put together and posted on Cafe Press.

If there isn't an FBI file on me yet, this should do it.

And remember:


Buy my shirts! Wear them anywhere you expect to be photographed, monitored, detained and/or tortured.

And if you've never read the book, please, read it online or buy it!

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Watching the Ground Move Out from Underneath Her

Hillary has been leading in the polls here in Ohio, but the polls show that Obama is gaining ground and the lead has been cut -- one poll said to just 9 points.
Last night the Teamsters Union endorsed Obama.
The Teamsters have 60,000 members here in Ohio, according the James R. Hoffa, president of the Teamsters. 
This should hasten the evavporation of that lead.  Obama wins anywhere there is time for him to campaign and make his case.  He had just under two weeks left, and I think he can do it. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama's Legislative Accomplishments

Despite the buzz that Obama hasn't accomplished anything, here is a whole list of things he's done, especially on non-proliferation and loose nukes, ethics reform, and he cracked down on those awful federal no-bid contracts. 
Also, before he was in Congress, he led and won the fight to videotape all police interrogations in the state of Illinois -- making it the first state to pass such a law.
There is knee jerk reaction -- that because somebody speaks well, that it is nothing more than talk.  And that when someone has ideals, that they are unable to get things done.  It is a crutch, a stereotype, and all anyone had to do was actually look at what he got done -- instead of playing gotcha.
The funny thing is ... McCain's most well known legislative accompishment may be the much despised campaign finance reform.  
And speaking of McCain, who'd've guessed that the first bimbo eruption of the campaign would have occurred anywhere other than in the Clinton camp? 

Game Over

Excellent analysis: here.
Time to be graceful and leave the stage, Hillary. 

Attacks on Obama

First, they tried to say he ia muslim and that he would take the oath of office on the Koran.

That didn't work.

Now they are trying to say his parents were communists?

Wait, you forgot to call him a homo!

Mobile Speed Enforcement in Cleveland

Yes, the City of Cleveland is not satisfied just having mounted cameras at certain intersections with sensors in the pavement.
Yes, the city now has mobile radar units that clock you, photograph your car, and mail you a ticket.
Yes, I got one in the mail yesterday.  It states I was going 39 in a 25 on 1/30/08, Eastbound at 6214 St. Clair Avenue, around 5:30 PM.
That was over two weeks ago -- I have no idea what I was doing.  That isn't even my usual way home.
Big Brother is watching you -- and he's picking your pocket.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Carly Hennessy -- American Idol?

Sometime after Gina and I met, we were going through our music collections when she came across my Carly Hennessey "Ultimate High" CD. I explained that I picked it up after reading a Wall Street Journal article about her, mostly out of morbid curiousity. Her CD bombed, having sold reportedly about 400 copies. The problem was, this young Irish lass with the powerful voice had recorded a set of songs that were too "mature" for her age and intended demographic. She was still a teenager when she recorded the track, released as a single, "I'm Gonna Blow Your Mind," which was a not so thinly-veiled song about giving a blow job -- all while MCA struggled with whether to market her as the next Britney Spears, or what exactly.

Gina gave me that look -- that look that most people would give you when you say you've got a rare CD featuring a song by a teenage girl celebrating her skills at giving oral.

Now -- I don't watch American Idol. But it has come to my attention that former major label washout Carly Hennessy is none other than Idol semi-finalist Carly Smithson (her married name). Some folks are crying foul, that it spoils the amateur spirit of the show.

I am probably only person I know who heard her the first time. If anyone is curious in hearing her 2001 debut CD, let me know. I still have it. For now. I hear ebay calling -- especially if she does well on Idol.

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Tuesday Talkback

Yet again, the PD did not upload Monday Moaning to -- so no talkback.
Maybe someone could phone in a moan about that.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dropping the C-word

Warning: meat curtains ahead.
OK, so Jane Fonda used a certain word that begins with "c" and rhymes with "runt" on the Today show yesterday.  And while there seems to be an uproar about it, if you watch the clip, the context in which she used the C-word seemed as appropriate as you could ever use the C-word when not coming right out and calling someone (awfukit) a cunt.  They were talking about The Vagina Monologues after all.
Oh, but what will I tell my children?  I get so tired of people who get so worked up about having to explain things to their kids.  That's part of being a parent. 
What is way funnier is that someone asked Jane Fonda to do a segment on The Vagina Monologues called "The Cunt."  If I were Jane, I would think someone was trying to tell me something.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Obama Everythingness

Who can resist what Obama is doing for you
(Be sure to refresh it a few times.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday Talkback

Once again, the PD did not upload the Monday Moaning, so no Tuesday Talkback.  I did start to read the moans in yesterday's PD, then got distracted. 
I do remember one moan, one urging owners and managers of businesses to call in to their own businesses and listen to how so many of their receptionists and phone operators sound so unprofessional on the phone, and then do something about it. 
Me, I'm just amazed when a live person answers the phone anymore instead of an automated phone answering system.  And I really hate those automated systems that start all over repeating the menu options when you dial zero, instead of switching you to an operator.
But what really gets me with automated systems is how slow they are.  The cadence of the delivery of the options is so much slower than they way I speak and expect to be spoken to when conducting business. 
And when they ask in the beginning whether you want English or Spanish, I have no beef over a bilingual system.  I just hate the fact that it is one more slowly delivered question slowing me down. 
Conceding the point over having a live operator answering the phone, would it kill them if they picked up the pace a little bit?  Maybe instead of offering just English and Spanish, they could also offer "fast English" and "slow English" -- fast English being standard English that is spoken at a fairly efficient clip, and slow English for those people who have difficulty keeping up with the pace of an episode of Matlock. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Waterway Saga Continues.

The nogasstation site proclaims:
164 valid signatures for the online petition and counting!!! 1578  visitors on the website and counting! This must account for something!
Let us assume that these numbers are valid: 164 signatures versus 1578 visitors to the site.  
What it accounts for is this: almost 90% of the people who visited the site did NOT sign the petition.
Now, I don't know where all those visitors are from.  The authors of the site decline to tell us. If they are Waterway execs, curious onlookers or other non-residents of University Heights, then of course they would not be signing the petition.  But how many of the 1578 visitors would fall into these categories?  Most of the visitors have got to be other University Heights residents who got fliers taped on their doors (like I did), checked out the site (like I did), weighed their arguments (like I did), and weren't persuaded (as I was not).
Nine out of ten people who visited the site did not see fit to sign the petition.  I think this says something, just as the 10% that did sign accounts for something.  What exactly it says is open for interpretation.  Admittedly, not signing a petition is not the equivilent as a positive endorsement of the contrary position.  I will not go so far as to argue that since 90% didn't sign, that 90% must actually be in strong favor of the Waterway proposal.  But I will go this far: 9 out of 10 people that took the time to visit their website, given the opportunity to sign a petition objecting to the proposal, declined to object.  I repeat: almost 90% declined to object. 
City council should take note of that.  The opposition may be loud, but the opinion is far from unanimous.  They are well in the minority, as their own website reveals.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lower, lower...

If you've ever had an itch you couldn't quite scratch, then you might understand The Retarded Policeman.

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Tuesday Talkback


"To the woman talking to the cashier at Dave's on Lakeshore Boulevard on a Sunday morning. I overheard you calling someone a dumb person behind his back. How would you like it if someone called you dumb or something of inferior quality? You or anyone else is no better or perfect. Every person in the world forgets sometimes. As for you, you're a judgmental hypocrite without a care in the world. Furthermore, you had forgotten things in life and you probably still do." - Cleveland

Don't talk about someone behind his back -- instead, confront him anonymously in the newspaper, and call him a "judgmental hypocrite." Much better!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mr. Crusher, Engage.

Wil Wheaton (probably best known as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation) makes a guest appearance on Episode 5 of The Retarded Policeman.

This one may be too self-referential to get all the jokes if you haven't seen the others.

Catch them all on YouTube.

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Most Super Bowl Ever?

Giants defeat the Patriots 17-14. That might have been the finest Super Bowl ever -- or at least in the top two or three. The lead changed three times in the fourth quarter. The Giants were down with about 2:45 on the clock and Eli Manning and the Giants marched down the field and somehow retook the lead with 45 seconds left. But the Pats had three timeouts, and if anyone could lead a comeback, Tom Brady could. But the Giants D came up big, and Brady was stuffed.

The Pats went undefeated till the the one game that mattered the most. 18 wins in one season, no Super Bowl ring. Sorry Pats fans. But the Giants were never so giant as they were last night. And Eli Manning, someone who has been routinely questioned for not being a leader, not having the consistency to win, should get a pass for about a week or so in the New York media.

As for the ads ... I liked the Coke ads with the parade balloons and then with Carville/Frist. And I liked the FedEx carrier pigeon ad. But otherwise, not a remarkable crop.

Waterway Coming to Ohio

One of the things that has been missing from my neighborhood is a conveniently located gas station and convenience store. That may soon change.

Waterway is a chain of stores offering gas and full service car washes. They have stores in St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, and very soon, University Heights. They are looking to build on Warrensville Center between Lansdale and Bushnell -- or in other words -- between Whole Foods and Geraci's. Right now there is a run down old plaza, which is mostly vacant, especially since Hold It moved to Solon after Christmas.

I am excited that University Heights continues to see new development and new investment. I am glad to see that this old plaza may give way to something new. I'm glad that there may soon be a gas station closer than Fairmount Circle, Cedar-Green, or Lee-Silsby.

But apparently some folks who live over on Lansdale don't like it so much. Never mind that they all bought homes right next to the commercial district, they are complaining all the same. I myself looked at a home on Lansdale, but when I saw the backyard overlooked the Cedar Center parking lot, that weighed into the reasons I passed on it. I've looked at their website and their blog. Sorry neighbors, but I am unmoved. You live next to the commerical district, and it has been a commercial district for years. Yet you seem surprised that other city residents are unmoved by your complaints -- complaints over redevelopment and new investment in existing commercially zoned property.

They taped a flier on my door yesterday, trying to round up local residents to go to the city council meeting tonight to complain. If I were to go at all, I'd speak in favor of the project. And while I probably won't go and witness the angst personally, I did email the mayor and city council expressing my general approval of the project.

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