just procrastinating

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Jake and Elwood
Interesting article here on the 25th anniversary of the Blues Brothers. When I was home in July, I drove by the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, the mall that the Blues Brothers destroyed in the film. Back then it had just gone out of business and was vacant, and 25 years later, it is still empty. Here is a bit about the mall in Wikipedia.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I kind of like those education-type commercials that I've been seeing all the time, and they seem to come in pairs. One has a woman at the laundry talking about her pants, and she eventually wears them on her head, and then we realize that she is just hamming it up for her daughter. There is also one with a black guy in a knit hat who is walking around reading everthing and acting a little crazy, but it turns out he is pulling his son in a wagon. They are kinda cute.

Anyway, but that one kind of reminds me of Easy Reader. Remember a young Morgan Freeman in the Electric Company? He would kind of jog down the street singing "Easy Reader, that's my name." He would read stuff on signs like that guy in the commercial, as I recall.

Man, this does not sound good:
Estimates predict that 60 percent to 80 percent of the city's houses will be destroyed by wind. With the flood damage, most of the people who live in and around New Orleans could be homeless.

"We're talking about in essence having — in the continental United States — having a refugee camp of a million people," van Heerden said.

Hopefully when it lands it will lose some of it's steam. I've always thought that it would be nice to live in Florida or on the gulf coast, but it sure comes at a price.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I See Old People
Speaking of people born when I finished high school; wasn't it just a few years ago that young Haley Joel Osment saw dead people? He was just a kid then. Well actually, he must have been a young looking 11 then, and now he is a short 17-year-old. Take a look at this picture here (second photo down, short dude on right). At this rate, that kid's gonna look 30 when I'm 49.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The kids are back at U Va which is always a busy time on campus here in Charlottesville. I was just thinking that the Freshman class here, or "first years" as they call 'em were born in 1987, the year I graduated from High School. I'm not sure why that matters, but it's an interesting milestone. That, and when they graduate in 2009, I'll be just about turning 40.

Anyway, I'm getting roped into this Tommy Lee Goes to College thing, which isn't that good, but clearly there must be something appealing about Tommy Lee (besides the obvious) that makes him interesting. He seems like a nice enough guy; oddly good-natured and harmless. I think they could have done something with this series, but instead are just going with the predictable. Turns out he is a 42-year old Spicoli, and he looks it. Big surprise.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Customer Service
I got my Alltel (cellphone) bill last week and was initially shocked at what looked like a $4400 charge.

Fuck, someone must have hacked into our line!

But then on closer inspection it was actually a credit of $4400. Sweet, I thought. Some idiot in accounts receivable must have keyed in the wrong numbers. I sent them a check for $45 and they must have misplaced the decimal. But wait, I didn't actually write out a check, I do that through my online bank, so that must mean....

Yep, sure enough, the idiot is me. I must have deleted the period somehow and sent them $4500. Or maybe it was my bank, but I'm 80% sure it was probably me.

So anyway, since I would like that money back rather than let them keep it and work that balance off over the next 8 years, I spent a good deal of time on the phone will Alltel on Friday. They really didn't sympathize with my predicament. Their attitude was, "it wasn't our mistake" so they are sitting on the cash and will send me a check in 21 days.

Thanks guys. Nice customer service. Fortunately, I can wait, but a couple of years ago that would have meant missing a mortgage payment. I escalated it a couple times with the customer service reps and the supervisors were even less helpful and sympathetic than the front line reps. I tried to explain to the supervisor that they could just wire the money right back to my account, I'll even give you the routing numbers and everything, and he said, "Sure, we can wire the money back to your account, but that's not our policy because of the cost." So they wouldn't. I wonder what they'll miss more, the buck or two that it would cost to do an EFT or the $45 in monthly revenue that they've just lost once I get that check?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

White Sox
Interesting article in Slate about that other major league baseball team in Chicago, the one that maybe could win a world series some day. As a south-sider who lived a mere 50 blocks from the former Comiskey park, all I can say is that our family had north side roots and I was brought up a Cub fan. Also WGN had better reception than WFLD. But the first major league game I saw was a Sox game, and I still remember the feeling I got when I first stepped out into the stands and saw this. An explanation in Slate for the Sox diminished status:
For one, because there is no White Sox Nation. Most ChiSox fans live on the South Side of Chicago, the south suburbs, and northwest Indiana, my childhood home; without a diaspora, it's impossible for the team's woes to spread very far. We're also lacking a raft of celebrity fans who make a public spectacle of their tortured loyalty. (To give you some idea, our Ben Affleck is Styx's Dennis DeYoung.)

There aren't nuggets of sporting romanticism waiting to be harvested, either. It's easy to let your mind wander to yesteryear in Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, with their quirky outfield walls and hand-operated scoreboards. The White Sox blew up their baseball temple and replaced it with a parking lot. "New Comiskey," aka U.S. Cellular Field, is a bland, cavernous stadium that just missed the now-obligatory neo-retro trend. No one who takes a seat in the New Comiskey's upper deck thinks back to the glory days of 1959. You can't really ruminate when it takes so much concentration to figure out which tiny ant is on which team.

Maybe this is their year, but I doubt it. Unlike Cub fans, the Sox and their fans have always had something in common: Losers

Monday, August 15, 2005

The More Things Change
I feel like I read this article a decade or so ago when Gen X was first hitting the work world. Same story with the new kids:
Technology has allowed them to blend their schoolwork into their personal lives seamlessly and wirelessly, so they balk at the image of a rigid 8-to-5 office where everyone's tethered to a desk. Still, they seek a balance between work time and free time, so they inquire about vacation plans and lunch hours.

They want instant gratification in their first jobs, with meaningful responsibilities right away. They're passionate about finding jobs that fit their values, but they're clueless about negotiating workplace basics. They wear jeans to the theater and camisoles to church - and if their shoulder tattoo is exposed, so what? They think they dress better than the boss, even as supervisors roll their eyes at the nightclub-friendly attire that constitutes "dressed up." The pumps-and-pinstripes professionalism their parents practice is foreign to them.

Yawn. So Generation Y still hasn't sold out to the man. Let's check back in a dozen years or so and see how well they've done.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A couple of weeks ago the NCAA announced something about not allowing teams with Indian mascots to compete in post-season play. The two biggest schools who this will impact are Florida State and the University of Illinois. That this is completely ridiculous goes without saying. I suppose I could be persuaded that the whole "Redskins" thing could be offensive, but Seminoles and Illini? Silliness.

Last week I was going to post something about how the NCAA ought to just go ahead and ban any team from a school with an Indian sounding name, like Miami, or Indiana, since, well, that must offend someone too. But it didn't go anywhere and drifted into discussion about Indians, and how if we didn't steal their land in the first place, they would have just ended up selling to us for liquor and we'd still be where we are today. But I was just kidding. Anyway, here is something I read today with historical perspective on the Illini:
The first humans arrived in Illinois about 25,000 years ago. The Blue Book refers to them as Paleo-Indians. In the 17th century, a federation of tribes including the Cahokias, Kaskaskias, Mitchagamies, Peorias and Tamaroas met some French explorers. The confederation called itself the Illiniwek, which translates loosely into group of men, and the French referred to the people and the country as Illinois.

And Illinois it has remained.

So that brings up our first question. If it is politically incorrect to name a team after a Native American federation, is it right to name a state after the federation? Especially when the whole thing is a misunderstanding on the part of the French. None of the tribes were the Illini. Illiniwek was the name of the group of tribes.

I'm glad Florida State is taking on the worthless NCAA in this silly endeavor.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Fancy Pants
There is an article in Slate predicting that the high-priced denim market is about to pop. Here is one trend that I haven't fallen for:
The $110 million "premium denim" market is beset by signs of excess. Consider the $128 jeans—for toddlers. Or the 400 percent markup: A pair that costs $60 to make retails for $300. Or the race to rush new brands into the stores: Seven for All Mankind, followed by Citizens of Humanity, followed by Stitch's …

I think part of the problem is the markup. You just can't justify the price differential on quality. Also, the $300 jeans aren't gonna make your ass any better those old Levis. Better to spend the difference on some time at they gym.

There aren't many new Rolling Stones songs since the days of "Tatto You" that I'm interested in hearing when they play down here in October, but here's a new one they might want to leave off the set list:
The track, "Sweet Neo Con," boasts the line, "You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite/You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of s---," according to the weekly newsmagazine.

Unless it rocks, then all is forgiven.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I saw a license plate today on a BMW that said "FOOBAR" and thought, how'd that make it past the top notch folks at the DMV? Obviously that is the phonetic pronunciation of FUBAR, which means "F'd up beyond all recognition", right? Anyway a google here and there and maybe it has something to do with computers, so maybe that guy in the BMW didn't deserve the props I gave him.

This reminded me of a story in the Washington Post ten years ago or so when some ninny wrote in with her knickers in a twist about seeing a fancy car with the vanity plates "ISLECRCK", which to her meant "I sell crack" and wasn't that just awful and all. The Post tracked down the plates and it was some dude who had a house at a place called Isle Creek or something like that and the plates were just a reminder of where his heart was.

Kinda silly, just like the rest of these clever Army acronyms.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bush Vacation
It seems like the job of being President isn't a 9-5 kind of thing, it's more of a 24/7, so this article is pretty unfair:
Vacationing Bush Poised to Set a Record
With Long Sojourn at Ranch, President on His Way to Surpassing Reagan's Total

WACO, Tex., Aug. 2 -- President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of -- nearly five weeks away from the office, loaded with vacation time.

Now a Presidential vacation isn't exactly a leave the laptop and cellphone behind kind of thing, and spend the next week in a haze of booze, sex and sun. The article eventually admits that but it takes awhile to get there. And not only does he work, his relaxation isn't the lazy, lemonade and rocking-chair under a covered porch setting:
His notion of relaxation is chopping cedar on his ranch or mountain biking through rough terrain, all in 100-degree-plus temperatures in dusty Texas where crickets are known to roast on the summer pavement. He seems to relish the idea of exposing aides and reporters to the hothouse environment.

I think whoever wrote this article probably deserves it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dove Ads
Slate has an article here about those ubiquitous Dove ads. Last weekend I noticed a bunch of these in Chicago. I think it's a pretty good campaign; they seem like nice girls, everyone is smiling. There is one ad that shows a girl with a belly button that doesn't do much for me, but I'm certainly open to more realistic looking models. However, here is something that I didn't think of from the Seth Stevenson, which could be true:
Overall Grade: D. Sadly, this is not a winning play for the long haul. If Dove keeps running ads like this, women will get bored with the feel-good, politically correct message. Eventually (though perhaps only subconsciously), they'll come to think of Dove as the brand for fat girls. Talk about "real beauty" all you want—once you're the brand for fat girls, you're toast.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Just seeing Scott's post about Ryne Sandberg's Hall of Fame induction speech, I found this cute story that Ryno gave:
It reminds me of the guy walking down the beach. He finds a bottle, pops the cork and a genie comes out to grant him one wish. The guy says ‘My wish is for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Here’s a map of the Middle East.’ Genie takes the map, studies it for hours and hours. Finally gives it back to the guy and says, ‘Is there anything else you want to wish for? This is impossible.’ The guy says, ‘well, I always wanted to see the Cubs in a World Series.’ The genie looks at him, reaches out and says, ‘Let me have another look at that map.’

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com