Friday, December 29, 2006

15 Coffees and Newspapers

One of the trends of recent Christmases I've enjoyed is receiving gift cards. One reason is if you are stuck for Christmas gifts and it's Christmas eve and you haven't given anyone a gift yet. What to do? Shopping is a chore! Thank God for 24/7 places like 7-Eleven. You can get gift cards there! The variety of merchants available to buy gift cards of ranges from Home Depot, Bed, Bath and Beyond, I-Tunes and 7-Eleven itself. The people receiving the gifts don't know you didn't put much thought into the gifts unless they are utterly clueless on where you shop.

I got two gift cards from 7-Eleven as gifts because my daily routine starts with a large cup of coffee and a newspaper. Scangirl makes me out to be a simpleton when it comes to my interests. "He likes coffee and newspapers" Well, I have taken advantage of the card but I found out one thing you can't buy with a 7-Eleven gift card, another gift card. I sought out an I-Tunes card that I could easily afford with my 7-Eleven card only to find out it doesn't allow for that to happen I was bummed by this because I was in a music buying frenzy. I was also bummed out because I wanted to do a cartoon gag about that scenario.

Oh well, coffee and newspapers for the next two weeks I don't have to pay for!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerald Ford? I Never Voted For Him

We will see flags at half staff for the next month in honor of former president Gerald Ford who died at the age of 93. Every president gets this honor even an accidental one like Gerald Ford. He of course is best known for pardoning Richard Nixon and for being president without one person in America exercising their right to vote him there. I remember when Nixon resigned in 1974. Of course I didn't understand why at the time. He lived to be the oldest president to ever live, taking that crown away from Ronald Reagan. He seemed like a decent guy, but in 1976, when I was 9, I did not vote for him.

Wait! 9? You can't vote at 9!

Well, back when I was in 4th grade the 1976 election was in full swing. So, our class decide to have a mock secret election on the presidential race between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. I had no grasp on politics at the time, I just wanted to vote who I thought was nicer and more charismatic and believe it or not, that man was Jimmy Carter.

I was a bit odd, and I did not want to be at the time. I wanted to conform but I thought I did not have to change much to do so. So, I thought when I dropped my paper ballot in the box I would have been in the majority voting for Jimmy Carter. Well the count came in and in a classroom of 24, Jimmy Carter got two votes.

Two Votes! I was devastated! This was like voting against Castro in Cuba. Only two people in the classroom felt the way I did? Who else was that weird? Well, it turned out no one. Class clown Gary thought it was a hoot to waste his vote on Jimmy Carter.
He got laughs from every one in the classroom for it. If anyone had noticed me in the back, they would see that I was not laughing. I really thought Jimmy Carter was the better man. Thank god for closed ballots!

A few weeks later Jimmy Carter won for real and I wish I can tell you I felt vindicated, but alas, I felt peer pressured into keeping it to myself.

I felt a similar loneliness in the coming years when as a Mets fan I had to endure taunts by my classmates when the Yankees were winning World Series in the late 70's. By the time the Mets won in 1986, I was in college and had to defend myself to charges I was a fly by night Mets fans to new friends, a few who actually thought Jimmy Carter was an all right guy.

So was Gerald Ford, certainly better than what we have now in the White House.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post Christmas Bliss

It is the day after Christmas and I went out to check out the scene, man. The recent trends of giving away gift cards allows for the opportunity of getting Christmas gifts to continue for weeks on end. The double whammy is that with the post holiday sales it makes your money go further.

This reminds me of the best Christmas I had when I was a kid. After getting a cool Star Trek Enterprise toy with various action figures I was able to complete my collection of dolls the next day with my aunt. Not only was I ecstatic, but I would play with that set constantly for years to come....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Enjoy The Holidays, whatever one you celebrate unless it's St. Patrick's Day, I'll get back to you in March.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Right Wing Duck Can Only Fly In Circles

I was watching one of my favorite shows The Colbert Report the other day when it was brought to my attention that Indiana native Bruce Tinsley was arrested for DWI. It was the second drunk related arrest in recent months for Mr. Tinsley. Who is Bruce Tinsley? Why, the creator of one of the lamest comic strips to ever come down the pike, Mallard Fillmore.

How lame is Mallard Fillmore? Let me count the ways...

1. He's a typical conservative who always uses strawmen to prove the evils of liberals

2. He's a physical rip off of Howard The Duck without being funny

3. The art is borderline awful especially when it comes to caricatures, witness Jon Stewart in the following strip.

4. He's incoherent at times in expressing his right wing views to the point where you wonder how did he get from point A to point B in this arguement.

5.This link has a list of characters that apparently appear in the strip but if you are reading through the archives you will go through hundreds of strips before you see more than two of the characters featured on the page.

6. The list of characters suggest that it is a narrative strip that has story lines but alas it is usually a picture of the duck looking at us lecturing about the evils of the NEA, Social Security, eggnog and of course Affirmative Action.

7. Speaking of Affirmative Action, the origin of the comic has Mallard Fillmore looking for work, we are to relate to him as a self starter because he just got fired from a newspaper and he will get a new job by persistence, pounding the pavement, he makes a judgement call saying he was lowering his standards by going into television as opposed to print media. So, the guy who would hire him thinks he's not qualified enough for the job but hires him because as a duck he's considered a minority and therefore is hired to fill that quota. Does Mallard refuse the job out of principles for his stance against Affirmative Action? Of course not!

8. He's spends most of his time sitting in front of his television without any pants on. He never seems to be doing his job as a journalist.

I have more reasons why Mallard Fillmore is lame but I'm taking too much time as it is, suffice to say I can't really call Bruce Tinsley a hypocrite for his drunkeness as this strip below shows. I can experience schadenfreude all I want but really I just wish the strip was funny and makes me challenged on my liberal views. hope you get help Bruce.

Dad? What's A CD?

I remember when the compact disk came out in the early 80's. I was fascinated by the fact that you can that you can just flip to the songs you want on an album without waiting and that you can shuffle the songs to get a new perspective on a familiar album. I couldn't imagine any significant advancement at the time that would displace CDs as the dominant form of music purchasing. That was before the advent of the Ipod and other MP3 players.

Ever since I bought my most recent computer, I have barely played my CD player. I am never in the forefront of technology. I believe in waiting out to see if or what will dominate the marketplace before I jump in. In 1984 the marketplace had determined VHS format of videotaping was the way to go in recording television shows and watching movies at home. 1990 was the year I finally got a CD player when prices for them were affordable to a cheap bastard as myself. 1 got my first DVD in 2003 when they got cheap and more so because the VHS format was all but extinct.

So, when I got my Mac I took advantage of the ITunes program and installed music from my favorite Cds. The sound from my computer is quite good so I used it as my primary source of listening. I have bought music from the ITunes web site on occasion and ahem! have gone to the library to "borrow" Cds that had songs I haven't had in my possession since my cassette days. I have taken advantage of other peoples collection of songs and installed it in my computer. Basically this means I have not bought a CD since 2004. Until the other day.

It's Christmas time and that means Scangirl likes to go shopping and I get to tag along. Scangirl has been influential in my going shopping for Christmas presents in her absence. That means going to stores that play Christmas music (Funny how the "War On Christmas" hasn't stopped that practice). My local K-Mart plays the pop standards. One dandy chestnut they play is "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" by Billy Squier. It's a fun mid tempo rocker that features background vocals from the early MTV crew in the video. This reminded me how much I loved Billy Squier in the early 80's. After watching his videos on YouTube I got obsessed with him to the point of adding his music to my collection.

So I went to ITunes to purchase music only to find I needed to install an advanced version of ITunes to go further. I hate having to do that because half the time I install programs from the internet I can't figure out how to make it work on my computer. Well, I tried to do this only to find my computer wasn't advanced enough to install it.

What?!!!!!!? I bought the computer in 2005! It hasn't been 18 months yet! How can my Mac computer not be advanced enough to install songs from Mac's own ITunes yet I could install songs on a PC with Windows 2000! 2000! That's before Bush! How can they be so cruel to Mac users.

But I digress...

So my obsession continues with Billy Squier. I had to get his music. Only one thing to do, buy his CD.

I knew there was a collection out there, heck I've seen it in grocery stores. I finally decided to buy it at fye. I found a collection of ten of his songs in which I liked nine for $6.99. A better price then ITunes. It was weird buying a CD. It seemed so archaic. I looked at it like a person who still buys vinyl records, like I'm looking at an icon of a previous generation.

So, in keeping with my current tradition of listening to songs on my computer, I immediately installed the songs and played my "Party Shuffle" with the "Least Recently Played" as my source category.

To make a long story longer I grooved on Billy Squier classics like "The Stroke" My Kinda Lover" and "Everybody Wants You". Alas no "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" and it just came to my attention as I'm writing this that the so called "Best of Billy Squier" doesn't have "Lonely Is The Night" Yikes! A quick look online at other various compilations over the years doesn't have "Lonely Is The Night" either. How did I miss this?

Sigh! It will be a while before I buy another bargain CD.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006