Saturday, August 20, 2005

I Support the Left, Though I’m Leaning to the Right

Bob TaftMore proof that my home state of Ohio is quickly becoming the new Florida, my governor, Bob Taft, has recently been charged with ethic violations for not reporting golf outings that were paid for by other people. Oh and the number of golf outings is 30 since he took office in 1999. Now that may seem like a lot of time spent playing gold on other people’s dime, but it’s not like he took a five week vacation to do so. But anyways. In all, Taft accepted 52 gifts totaling $6000. I’m sure Tom DeLay is laughing somewhere and thinking to himself, “If you’re going to accept gifts, go big. And once you accept them, you need to somehow make them seem like campaign contributions.” Taft ended up being charged with four misdemeanors.

These charges have brought out the attack dogs like Columbus mayor, Michael Colman said, “At this critical time for Ohio, we cannot afford one more day in which the governor is preoccupied with these scandals at the expense of a focus on creating jobs, reforming education, and moving Ohio forward," Coleman said. "For this reason, I join the bipartisan chorus that concludes it is in the best interest of the citizens of Ohio that Gov. Taft resign and allow us to begin to move forward from this sad time.”

But Taft is not without his supporters Brian Hicks Taft’s former chief of staff said, “I think he's doing a good job taking responsibility, saying it was his mistake. He publicly apologized in court and afterward, and I think people are going to accept that.” Did I forget to mention that Hicks himself was found guilty of ethics violations about a month ago and was fined $1000. And Hicks isn’t the only employee under Taft who has suffered the same fate (from the Akron Beakon Journal):

- February 2004: Luther Heckman, chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission, resigns following a report that accused commission members of accepting food, drinks, travel and other improper gifts from racetracks they are charged with overseeing. The report found that more than $8,000 in meals and gifts were given by racetracks to the commission's former executive director, staff members and four of five commissioners.

- September 2003: Richard Frenette, director of the Ohio State Fair, resigns over allegations that he inappropriately accepted gifts from vendors doing business with the fair. In one example, Frenette made $6,020 by selling sports tickets he'd acquired personally - such as Ohio State season tickets - to a Columbus company that buys and resells tickets to sporting and entertainment events.

- August 2002: Taft fires Gino Zomparelli, the three-year executive director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, after an investigation that concluded he and his staff accepted gifts from contractors so often it became part of the agency's culture.

- July 2002: Randy Fischer, director of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, resigns after questions arose about the way the commission awarded contracts. A judge ruled that Fischer had no authority to approve contracts and that state law required the three-person school facilities commission vote on each contract. Fischer also had acknowledged he accepted free rounds of golf from construction company executives in 1999 and 2001.

Great company you keep Bob.

But alas, this story has a boring outcome. Unlike the strung out cases against Bill Clinton, Bob Kerrey, or the one currently going on against Tom DeLay, the case ended quite quickly. Taft pleaded no contest and was promptly found guilty on all four misdemeanors was ordered to pay $4,000 in fines and $76 in court costs and to apologize to Ohio citizens and of course he avoided any jail time even though he was facing two year (six months for each count). Taft’s mandated apology goes as followed:
“As Governor, I expect all state employees to adhere to the letter and spirit of Ohio's ethics laws. I sincerely regret and apologize for my mistakes. I have learned valuable lessons over the past three months during my cooperation with the Ohio Ethics Commission, and it is my hope and expectation that others in public service will benefit from my experience.”

Can Apollo Creed be the next governor of Ohio?For a man who pleaded no contest, he sure sounded guilty in his apology e-mail. That's right, he apology was sent electronically to various news outlets across Ohio, not given in person. What a stand up guy. I’m actually glad that I never voted for Taft (whom I lovingly refer to as Bush Light). In fact he was the very first Republican I ever voted against. Taft’s policies, along with Bush’s, have completely ruined this state’s schools. I would gladly join any movement to get Taft impeached, or pull a California, and have a recall election. Hey, maybe we can get a movie star governor too. I wonder what Arnold & Jesse’s co-star, Carl Weathers, or as I like to call him, Apollo Creed, is doing?

Friday, August 19, 2005

I Got Soul, But I'm Not a Soldier

Hot Fuss (Special Edition) - The Killers

I have to admit I didn’t really give The Killers a chance when they first came out. Went I originally heard Somebody Told Me, I just clumped the band with the other pretentious bands that emanated from New York whom all seem to start the band with “The.” Then when Mr. Brightside came out, again, I really wasn’t feeling it, although I did give the song a chance due to the video featuring Eric Roberts and a Kate Bosworth look-a-like. Eventually the song grew on me, and so did the absurdity of the chorus of Somebody Told Me. And I absolutely love All These Things I’ve Done when I first heard it. Eventually I had the urge to buy their album Hot Fuss. But hear in lies the problem, after dropping $2.97 for those songs on iTunes, I didn’t want to spend another $15 to get the whole album. But this week, the band re-released the album with three additional tracks. Normally I would ream the record companies for such practices like I have in the past (Record People Are Shady I, II, III, IV), but once this worked in my favor. As I strolled to my local Best Buy to pick up the album for $9.99, I noticed you could actually pick up the original release for $13.99. For those keeping track at home, that’s four more dollars for three less song. Thus again proving my assumption the music industry is the worst run business ever.

Hot Fuss, if you haven’t been able to tell by the singles already, is an 80’s synth-pop influenced album, accompanied by mostly absurd lyrics and catchy wordplay like my personal favorite, “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier.” The album starts off with the seriously Jenny Was a Friend of Mine, a song about a lost love, “We had a fight on the promenade out in the rain. She said she loved me, but she had somewhere to go.” This then transitions into the big hit, the upbeat sounding Mr. Brightside. Smile Like You Mean It sounds like something that should be in a Cure tribute album. But the lyrics are more clever than Robert Smith could devise such as, “Save some face, you know you've only got one.”

The wordplay don’t get more absurd than the chorus to the Somebody Told Me, “Well somebody told me you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.” It fun to sing along to, but once to realize what you saying it seems creepy. Who want a girlfriend that looked like some chick’s boyfriend? But anyways. For how weird the chorus to All These Things I’ve Done is, the song of itself is a poignant song about redemption, “Over and in, last call for sin. While everyone's lost, the battle is won with all these things that I've done.”

The band goes for over the top bombast with Andy You’re a Star which deals with the popularity of high school as, “Andy, you're a star in nobody's eyes but mine.” The also slow things down for the original album closer Everything Will Be All Right. There was sort of a feud the band had with The Bravery that I never got until I heard Change Your Mind. Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, has a point for calling the other band copy cats because The Bravery totally ripped off their sound from this song.

As for the new songs the best is Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll which sounds nothing like anything else on the album. The band borrow the crunching guitars from a Coldplay song, but Flowers approaches the singing like that of a British punk band from the late 80’s. The Ballad of Michael Valentine follows the life of a professional gambler around the country but the name has been changed to protect the innocent. Under the Gun goes faster than most of their songs and sort of features the bands mantra in the chorus “Kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, again and again.” This song makes a better finish than the original one and is probably a killer when performed live. (Yes the bad pun was intended)

Song to Download – All These Things I’ve Done

Hot Fuss: Limited Edition gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

The Killers

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Reality Bites

Charla from the Amazing Race almost goes for a swimI was really excited when I heard Bravo was bringing back The Battle of Network Stars with the small adjustment of . I vaguely remember as a child the original serious that pitted such luminaries as Scott Baio, Mr. T, and Kojak against one another in cheesy challenges and the games were inexpiably hosted by the king of sport commentary, Howard Cosell. Unfortunately network executive’s egos got in the way and didn’t want their stars on other networks and the stars themselves started getting paid so much, they couldn’t be bothered to run a simple obstacle course. But in the new century, there are plenty of people who are not beneath possibly embarrassing themselves, reality stars. So when the premier of the new version premiered last night, I was there with bells on.

I'm not sure who this is or what show she was on, but thanks for inviting herAfter watching the show, I was thoroughly disappointed with it. I watched expecting to see the old format with network vs. network; instead what we got was a mixed bag of four randomly devised teams with no network affiliation. Yet with the all the randomness, the three teams from The Amazing Race kept their couplings. Also there were some combatants I have never heard of like random chicks from The Swan (I now realized why the show failed because the chick is not at all attractive, I’d hate to see the before picture), The Bachelor, America Next Top Model, Temptation Island, and Bravo tried to sneak two people from their lame reality shows, one from Project Runway and another from Show Biz Moms and Dads. Yet no Gulager, what’s up with that? Then to add a reality twist, the three teams had to vote off at the end of the day. Did they really have to go there? That addition was really unneeded. They also have three sideline reporters, seriously three, Omarosa, Trishelle, and Bachelor Bob. Yet the host of the show is some nobody.

The Miz shows Richard who's the Alpha male on their teamWith all that complaining, I have to admit I will continue to watch every episode they air. The highlight of the first show was the alpha male posturing between The Miz and Richard Hatch as who would be their team captain. For my prediction on who will win, I am putting my money on the green team. They have three winners on their team (Chip and Kim from The Amazing Race and Will from Big Brother), they also have Theo who has won multiple Real World/Road Rules challenges. The green is also the only team with only three girls (all the other have four girls and guys each) one of which is Sue Hawk (can we get her a drug test?) but they do have two girly men, Joe Schmo and one of the Average Joes. The Battle of the Network Reality Stars is on Bravo at 9:00 but is repeated constantly throughout the week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Dannon Cares: Fighting Hunger in America

I received an email today from Dannon (the yogart people) reading: With every click, Dannon will contribute $1 to America’s Second Harvest–the Nation’s Food Bank Network. Every $1 donated helps America’s Second Harvest provide 15 meals* to children in need. I’ve made a big deal lately about the poverty in Africa, but we still have a epidemic here in the United States, not necessarily the extreme poverty that if found in Africa, but no child, wherever they are from should go hungry. If this is something you feel you can get behind, go ahead and follow this link to do your small role - Click Here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Unfortunately Heather Locklear Couldn’t Be Here

Yes those are Pam's nipplesI’m a big fan of roast. Seeing comedians, who spend their careers making fun of everyone, get knock down a peg is thoroughly enjoyable. Unfortunately, there has been a rash of roasts lately featuring non comedians like Hugh Hefner on Comedy Central and MTV doing their own roast of Carson Daly. Luckily MTV learned their lesson and haven’t done once since. Comedy Central wasn’t as wise as they recently did a roast of Pamela Anderson. For those who missed it, Pam is loose, Andy Dick is gay, Courtney Love is one year sober (according to her), Tommy Lee has a humongous, well you know, and apparently so does Bea Arthur. Oh, and yes, that was a see-threw shirt she was wearing.

Ironically, watching the roast was just like watching her sex tape, it’s extremely entertaining while watching it, but once it’s over you feel dirty for doing so. I laughed uncontrollably for most of the show, let I can’t remember anything that was actually funny. A lot of vulgarity peppered the show, not that anyone didn’t know what was getting bleeped out. For those who weren’t sure what was being said, Comedy Central is showing an uncensored version late Saturday. As everyone when for the over the top roast, Bea Arthur actually gave the best roast by going minimalist. All she did was read chapters from one of Pam books, and there is nothing more disturbingly funny than Bea Arthur talking threw the voice of a gay character in Pam’s book explaining the best way to enjoy anal sex. That was the only time in my life where I almost threw up while laughing.

As the low lights, some of the lowest included Jeffery Ross saying, “how is it possible that Courtney Love looks worse Kurt Cobain?” Although I did laugh when he referring to Anna Nicole Smith, “Hey, can someone get her a 90 year old (expletive deleted) to suck?” For those keeping track at home, that was two dead husband jokes by Ross. For Love, she stood up and almost bum rushed Ross, and basically anyone who ripped her. When Love got up for her own roast, Jimmy Kimmel said what everyone was thinking, “If this is sober, there is a real problem.” There also a couple “comedians that I’ve never heard of, and most like will never hear from again. Inexplicably, Eddie Griffin was cut from the show to showcase the other stiffs. I’m not sure if Griffin was any better, but I at least knew who he was. Keep in mind there weren’t any no-names at the roast fore Denis Leary.

We also had a musical performance by Tommy Lee. Seriously, a musical performance at a roast that wasn’t trying to be funny, how lame is that? Now had he performed Tired, which I talked about in his album review (I'd Rather Play You on My TV), that may have been more appropriate for a roast. Then Tommy later tried comedy by roasting Pam. What was really disturbing about this was that Lee even pulled out a joke from I used back in high school. After giving complements to his “Blonde wife”, he ended with “Unfortunately Heather Locklear couldn’t be here.” Let me just say, chicks don’t like this joke at all. I would highly advise never to use this joke with your girlfriend, wife, or and female friend. After dropping that line, the recipient didn’t talk to me for a month.

When it comes down to it, if you watch the roast of Pamela Anderson, you will most likely laugh, just schedule to take a shower afterwards. Hopeful Comedy Central will go back to actual comedians for their next roast. That might bring out actual comedians to roast him or her.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Lryics Quiz - 80's Dance Party

This month’s lyrics quiz is culminated from a set of CD’s I’ve made entitled 80’s Dance Party. So this month’s songs are from vol. 1 and part of vol. 2. I’m currently up to 7 vol. (With many more on the way), so there is a good possibility of more 80’s dance themes in upcoming months. The rules are as followed; in the comments section leave the name and artist with the corresponding number. If you are correct, I will unbold the song and give you credit. The person who guesses the most lyrics will be added to the list of winners on my sidebar. Also, in the case of cover songs or songs that have since been covered, I will only accept the 80’s artist who did it as correct. On to the lyrics.

1. So when U call up that shrink in Beverly Hill, U know one Dr. Everything’s Gonna Be All Right. (Let's Go Crazy - Prince - guessed by Meli)

2. I see you under the midnight, all shackles and bows. (Magic - The Cars - guessed by Guppyman)
3. Buying bread from a man in Brussels. He was six foot four and full of muscles. (Down Under - Men at Work guessed by Luka)
4. Made a meal out of me and came back for more. (You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC - guessed by Cap'n Platy)
5. With you in that dress my thoughts I confess verge on dirty. (Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners - guessed by Mikeness)
6. Go to work in some high rise and vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico. (Pink Houses - John Mellencamp - guessed by Ruby)
7. That’s when she started talking about love, started talking about sin. (Keep Your Hands to Yourself - Georgia Satellites - guessed by Cap'n Platy)
8. The road behind was rocky, now you’re getting cocky. (Brake My Stride - Matthew Wilder - guessed by Melissa's in Progress)
9. Hush my darling, don’t you cry. Quiet, angel, forget their lies. (Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go-Go's - guessed by Pure Mood)
10. Easy operator come a knockin' on my door. (Pour Some Sugar on Me - Def Leppard - guessed by Cap'n Platy)
11. Come on baby won’t you show some class, why you want to move so fast? (We Don't Have to Take Our Cloths Off - Jermaine Stewart - guessed by Guppyman)
12. Take my tears and that’s not nearly all. (Tainted Love - Soft Cell - guessed by Ruby)
13. Your teacher preaches class like you're some kind of jerk. (Fight For Your Right (To Party) - Beastie Boys - guessed by Cap'n Platy)
14. I tried my imagination, but I was disturbed. (867-5309/Jenny - Tommy Tutone - guessed by Pure Mood)
15. Risin' up, straight to the top, had the guts, got the glory. (Eye of the Tiger - Survivor - guessed by Jessica)
16. The night is young and so am I. (Safety Dance - Men Without Hats - guessed by Melissa's in Progress)
17. I'm on the hunt I'm after you. (Hungy Like the Wolf - Duran Duran - guessed by Cap'n Platy)
18. It’s a big enough umbrella but it’s always me that ends up getting wet. (Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - The Police - guessed by Pure Mood)
19. In the wink of a young girl’s eye. (Glory Days - Bruce Springsteen - guessed by Pure Mood)
20. She was pure like snowflakes no one could ever stain. (Centerfold - J. Geils Band - guessed by Guppyman)
21. When she shines she really shows you all she can. (Rio - Duran Duran - guessed by Luka)
22. If you say run, I’ll run with you. (Let's Dance - David Bowie - guessed by Jessica)
23. She had a pocket full of horses, Trojan and some of them used. (Little Red Corvette - Prince - guessed by Meli)
24. The oil down the desert way has been shakin’ to the top. (Rock the Casbah - The Clash - guessed by Guppyman)
25. When you looked at me I should've run, but I thought it was just for fun. (Vacation - The Go-Go's - guessed by Pure Mood)

And with 5 correct answers Cap'n Plety is your winner. Pure Mood, also with five, almost repeated, but Cap'n beats her in the tie-breaker with guessing his first. Make sure you drop by the 15th of September to see if you can win next month lyrics quiz (or just stop by everyday, there should be something for you to enjoy untill the next quiz).

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Being That Sane Can Drive You Nuts


I’m a huge Adam Sandler fan so much I could quote every line from Billy Madison, , and The Waterboy for much of the late 90’s. Going into the new millennium, Sandler seem to not be able to decide whether to stick with his sophomoric shtick as with or move into a more sophisticated style as he did in . And of course there is always romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore. His latest trek into the sophisticated realm was Spanglish.

The backdrop of the film is an essay a student has written for her application to Yale. It explains why her mother is the person she most admires and goes on to explain how her mom took her from Mexico and made her the person she was today. The problem with this is that the movie then doesn’t revolve around the young girl yet focuses on the family he mother began to work for upon arriving in America. In fact the girl gets very little screen time in the movie. The family includes Sandler as the dad with an inferiority complex at being the best chef in the country, his wife, played by Téa Leoni, a victim of downsizing who can quite adapt to being a stay at home mom. They have two children, a son who barely makes blip on screen and an overweight daughter played by an actress who tries to pull off the “wise beyond her age” act but isn’t able to do so. Alcoholic grandma also lives with them played perfectly by Cloris Leachman who delivers the best line in the movie, “Honey, lately, your low self-esteem is just good common sense.” That line has entered into my repertoire of insults and can’t wait until I find the perfect time to unleash it.

The movie finally hit its stride when the family movies to a beach house for the summer when Sandler’s family is introduced to the Mexican girl who is forced to move in with them due to distance reasons. Leoni finds in her the daughter she always wanted which causes problem with basically everyone else in the film.

The film is well written finding a balance in-between drama and comedy and also features what was one of the most disturbing sex scenes I have seen in a while. If that ever happen to me, I may have to give up sex for a while. As for the negatives, the movie seems to forget that is it based on an essay and there are many things that I doubt the girl ever knew yet she is able to write about it. Also all the driving scenes it is very obvious that green screens were used and they looked as bad as a SNL skit. A big budget movie should avoid such pitfalls. On the DVD, don’t forget to check out the deleted scenes to see one of the funniest scenes with Leoni’s character preparing for a party. Although the other scenes make you understand why they left out.

Spanglish gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.