Sunday, February 26, 2006

Held Over ... by Popular Demand?

I blame myself.

I don't post that often (there's just no time!), and when I do, it's about some baseball announcer that the overwhelming majority of you have never heard of and don't care to know. Back when I was posting entries about German cannibals eating their own penises (complete with lots of sausage photos), this place was a-buzzin'.

Nowadays, I can't seem to bring enough interested traffic to my li'l corner of the Web to fulfill my promises to my BlogExplosion "Rent My Blog" tenant. If you were here last week, you'll notice that DebbieCakes and her "Smile If You're Lying" blog is back for a second run. That's because I was not happy with the number of people who visited her site LAST week.

The BlogExplosion blog-rental system asks bloggers to offer some of their traffic "credits" to have their thumbnail placed on another blog for a week. In selecting blogs for me to submit rental offers to, I don't care about the number of visitors that that blog had during the week. I always look at the number of unique clicks they provided to their renters. It's quite amazing, really, that someone who only sends one new visitor to a "renter" blog can demand - and GET - 100 credits or more.

My personal benchmark has been: I'll pay you three credits for every unique click (meaning, every new visitor) you send me. Not one credit more. And, fair is fair: When I rent out my blog, I insist that for every three credits the renter pays me, they get at least one unique click in return. Well, for the first time since I've been renting out that space ... it didn't happen. Debbie didn't get her FDA recommended weekly allowance of clicks.

So, I have given Debbie another week of renter-ship, essentially "on the house". "Smile If You're Lying" is GOING to get the clicks she paid for, dammit. Care to help the cause? Click here, or on her thumbnail link over there on the sidebar, and take a look at Debbie's quite entertaining blog. (PLEASE!)

Maybe you don't care about any of this (in fact, it's probably better that you don't), but you have to admit, I take my duties as a landlord seriously. (Too seriously. WAY too seriously ...)

posted by Gary @ 3:12 PM 3 comments links to this post

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

There IS Joy In Mudville

Here's a blog entry that is guaranteed to interest absolutely, positively no one outside the city of Houston. But it's my blog, and darn it, this story needs to be told.

For the first time in its 45-year history, a Houston major-league baseball team finally has a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to call its very own. That's right, folks: of all the Hall of Famers who have worn the uniform of the Colt .45s or the Astros, none of them ever went into the Hall wearing the Houston cap. They all went in as honored members of other teams.

The Astros finally have their first home-grown Hall of Famer, and he doesn't even get to wear a cap.

Gene Elston was the first voice of the Houston Colts back in 1962. His last season with the Astros, 1986, drew to a close with his call of Mike Scott's division-clinching no-hitter. In between, Elston called a lot of history.

Elston probably never screamed into a microphone in his life. He was one of those from the era of Jack Brickhouse and Ernie Harwell and, yes, even Harry Caray (back when Caray was really good, before he started getting sloshed on ballpark beer behind the mike). Elston's job was to paint verbal pictures and report the game, and he did it as well as anyone in baseball history.

Good thing, too, because for most of Elston's tenure as the team's lead broadcaster, the Astros were known by other names. "Lastros" was one. "Disastros" was another. And, when the team moved its spring training home to Kissimmee, Florida, you can understand why the local farm team quickly changed its name to the "Osceola County Astros".

Anyone who listens to a lot of baseball on the radio knows who the Astros' current lead announcer is: Hall of Famer Milo Hamilton. But even with his legendary career in Chicago, St. Louis and Atlanta, Milo came to Houston as the number-two guy, backing up Gene Elston. Other Hall of Famers who were second-in-command to Elston include (legendary Pirates voice) Bob Prince and (legendary Phillies and NFL voice) Harry Kalas. They got into the Hall, while Elston quietly kept to himself.

Elston saw his job to be that of reporter, not cheerleader. That sense of integrity to the listener ultimately got him fired by moronic then-owner John McMullen. Finally, 20 years after he was forced out of the Astros' booth, Elston has been elected to receive the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

And who were two of the committee members who voted him in? Why, Milo Hamilton and Harry Kalas, of course. It's about damn time.

Way to go, Gene.

(Note: Bob Prince did not vote for Gene Elston. Of course, he's dead, so his excuse is somewhat valid ...)

posted by Gary @ 9:31 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Special Guest Villain: "Smile If You're Lying"

I'm afraid of "mommy blogs". Wouldn't you be?

I have no children, and I'd say it's extremely unlikely that I will ever have any. In fact, in my advancing age, I have come to view children as ugly but quiet for the first month of their lives, smelly for the next couple of years, hyperactive for two years after that, and then the inquisitiveness kicks in:

"Why is the sky blue?"

"Why does Mommy scream every time she gets on the bathroom scale?"

"What are those magazines Daddy keeps hidden in the tool shed?"

"Why don't I have a trust fund like Billy does?"

Follow that with the onset of puberty and attitude (not necessarily in that order), and THEN, at long last, the children become tolerable to be around. Except that, at age 16, you only have a couple of good years to spend with them, and they have absolutely no interest in spending it with YOU.

And after all this, you get the privilege of sending lots of checks to the College Of Your Choice for four MORE years. And everything I have described is the BEST-case scenario!

So I have a lot of respect for those who choose to become parents (at least initially; if their toddler is running around screaming at my favorite dining establishment while I'm trying to eat, and the parents' method of parenting involves ignoring them completely, my respect fades very quickly).

Nonetheless, most mommy blogs consist of entries like "Two-year-old Junior ate out of the litter box today. Isn't he just the cuuuutest?" Fortunately, there are exceptions, and this week's BlogExplosion renter is one of them. "Smile If You're Lying" is hosted by a young mother in Cleveland who has a thing for Hugh Laurie (post-"Jeeves and Wooster", of course) and Nine Inch Nails. She has a troublemaking child, a troublemaking husband, and a troublemaking blog. All of this adds up to good, troublemaking fun, of course.

Do yourself a favor (and mommy Debbie, too) by clicking here, or on that thumbnail over on the sidebar, to check out "Smile If You're Lying". Come on. You know you want to.

posted by Gary @ 5:16 PM 3 comments links to this post

Monday, February 13, 2006

Special Guest Villain: "The Opiate of the Masses"

Any blogger who calls herself "Poppy Buxom" demands closer scrutiny. When she describes herself as "I'm a bright red flower notorious for producing stuff that is enjoyable, extremely addictive, and ultimately toxic", she can be nothing less than intriguing. And when she writes blog entries that are every bit as warped as those you'll find on this very blog page ... well, this is a woman we've got to get to know better. And so, now is our chance.

My BlogExplosion renter this week is, indeed, Ms. Buxom, and her blog, "The Opiate of the Masses", reveals her to be an anarchist-socialist-democrat-Naderite who's one-quarter Communist and 100 percent Marxist (Groucho Marx, that is). But her political leanings are quite beside the point, because more importantly for our purposes: She's FUNNY. And with so many blogs out there that merely think they're being funny (insert snide comment here) and try so hard to prove it to everyone, it's very refreshing to find a blog that doesn't use whoopee cushions and joy buzzers to make you chuckle.

Get thee over to "The Opiate of the Masses" by clicking on that thumbnail over in the side bar, or for those of you who don't have the patience for that kind of graphic scrutiny, just click here.

posted by Gary @ 9:33 PM 4 comments links to this post

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oh, This Is Just TOO Good ...

You can't make up things like this. Seriously.

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.
The hunting companion, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was in serious but stable condition at a Washington-area hospital, under a 24-hour armed police guard.

Libby was the Vice President's former chief of staff, and faces criminal charges stemming from the leak investigation following the outing of former CIA operative Valerie Plame. Libby's testimony is anticipated by some to implicate Cheney in unethical and criminal activity.

"I don't know what happened," Libby was quoted as telling a doctor. "Dick invited me to help him hunt for snipes in Texas. The next thing I know, I hear a gunshot, and I catch a glimpse of Dick laughing his ass off just before everything went black."

(Okay, so I made up everything having to do with Scooter Libby. The actual "victim" was a millionaire attorney from Austin; Scooter wasn't even there. But wouldn't it have been great if the guy Cheney had shot had been Libby? Oh, the fun we could have had ...)

posted by Gary @ 5:01 PM 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The $2.5 Million Headache

Last Sunday was the Super Bowl. Did anybody with a TiVo really watch the game ... or did they fast-forward through the rather dull first half, and zip straight to the commercials?

This year's "Super Bowel" commercials went for a record $2.5 million for a 30-second spot. Some were heartwarming (I'm still getting over sugar shock from that "Budweiser" spot where the baby Clydesdale tries to pull the beer wagon) and some just made absolutely no sense at all (did anybody like the "GoDaddy" ad they ran this year?)

But one ad annoyed the living crap out of me. (Would you expect anything else from anything starring Kathy Griffin?)

If you don't remember the commercial for "Sierra Mist", you can view it to the right. In a nutshell, Kathy is an annoying (of course) airport screener. She abuses her federal authority by making a beeping noise whenever she waves her screening wand over some poor sap's bottle of Sierra Mist, and informs him that she'll have to confiscate the soda. When he calls her on her rather transparent abuse of power, she threatens him with a body cavity search.

I know I shouldn't let a television commercial make me mad ... but this one is so easy to hate. We have here a representative of the federal Gubmint -- remember, all airport screeners work for the TSA now -- who is using her badge to intimidate and harrass innocent airline passengers out of their sodas. You may think I'm overreacting, but I'm not; when I was flying out of Las Vegas one month after the 9/11 attacks, all of the luggage screening was still done by hand.

The screeners went through our bags while we watched. Fortunately for me, they were quite cheerful; when they came across my cigar case, the screener asked me if the cigars were Cuban. I told him no, they weren't, but they were pretty good cigars nonetheless. Somehow during the conversation, the screener revealed that if he so chose, he could take those cigars if he wanted to. No check on his authority, no recourse; he could just take anything he wanted from my luggage, in the name of "airline security".

And that was before airport screeners became agents of the Department of Fatherlan-- er, I mean Homeland Security. Now, of course, all airport screeners work for Dubya. And, so it would seem, would Kathy Griffin.

But let's disregard the overt abuse of federal power here to relieve some poor, dehydrated guy of his soda. Let's look at the bigger picture. Behind the guy being hassled, are dozens of airline passengers who just want to get on their freakin' plane. They have to stand and wait while Ms. Kathy shows everybody just how important she is. What is the message this is sending to the airport screeners of tomorrow? "It doesn't matter if people make it to their planes on time. If you see a passenger has something that you want, just take it, no matter how much it inconveniences its owner or all the people standing in line behind him."

I think it's safe to say, that this commercial and its implications wouldn't have bothered me nearly as much if it had starred Scarlett Johansson instead of the host of "Average Joe" ...

* * * * *

In other Super Bowl commercial news, the Gillette Company spent $2.5 million to inform us that the way people have shaved for years -- whether it was with sharpened whale bones or straight razors or even Gillette's own Blue Blades, twin-bladed Atras or triple-bladed Mach 3s -- has been completely and utterly insufficient to cure the stubbly beard. Gillette announced that it takes no fewer than five blades (plus a "Flexible Comfort Guard" and an "Enhanced Indicator Lubrastrip") to provide a comfortable shave and cure the rug burn that your wife will inevitably get from your pathetic kisses if you don't use the maximum number of blades.

As if this weren't enough (and, by God, don't you think it oughta be), Gillette also announced their battery-operated version of the same five-bladed Fusion razor. Why battery-operated, you may well ask?


Think about that. Sharpened steel blades touching your tender flesh, and vibrating. I just cannot wrap my brain around that concept (although clearly, there are some people who can). And, being the genius marketers that they are, Gillette must soon come out with an erotically-sculpted version for women, commercials for which will air on "The View":

(husky female voice-over) Hey, ladies ... facing another long, lonely night ahead? It's just you and your stubble ... but Gillette has the answer. Find satisfaction while you shave ...

(Clearly, I need to go lie down for a while.)

posted by Gary @ 1:18 PM 13 comments links to this post

Friday, February 03, 2006

Special Guest Villain: "Finding Yourself Despite Yourself"

I am one of those people who think South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is one of the most inspired movies ever made. My sense of humor skews toward the Airplane! and Blazing Saddles variety. I don't like tastelessness for its own sake, but if something is tasteless, tacky and funny ... then heck, I'm all over it.

With that in mind, let me introduce you to Fidget, the renter of this week's real estate over in the sidebar. Fidget is a Florida female who is my kind of sick, demented individual. From a careful perusal of her blog, "Finding Yourself Despite Yourself", I have determined the following:

  • Fidget is not afraid to post photos of soiled toilets, especially her own.
  • Fidget's daughters tend to run around topless. (They're extremely young daughters. You should be ashamed of yourself for letting your brain go there, perv ...)
  • Fidget has enormous hooters. (She, alas, does not run around topless.)
  • Fidget's husband has that perpetual look of "what the hell am I doing here", not unlike the one Bob Saget constantly wore while he was hosting "America's Funniest Home Videos".

If there really IS a "Housewife Mafia", Fidget would be Clemenza, the caporegime: opinionated, knows her business and everyone else's, cooks a mean bolognese sauce, and is not afraid to whack someone when the situation calls for it. In short, she's worthy of respect. She has mine. You might want to pay her a little yourself, by clicking here or on the thumbnail on the sidebar.

posted by Gary @ 6:39 PM 6 comments links to this post

Location: Houston, Texas

Why the heck wouldn't you want to read the toxic byproducts of my mental processes? It's not like you're too busy to waste a minute or two here, you know. You ARE just killing time by mindlessly surfing the web. Pop open a brewski and stay a while.

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