Friday, May 26, 2006



Well there are always lots of fun things to do on the internet. One popular activity is the caption contest. Someone puts up a pic, and you make a caption in the comments. From my experience, the granddaddy of caption contests, the cream of the crop, the one with the best captions from the best commenters, is the Weekend Caption Contest, posted every Friday at Wizbang! The captions there are usually so good that I don't even bother trying. Once in a while, I might get a hit of inspiration and enter one, and there was even once when I was disappointed that I hadn't even made the honorable mentions.

Finally, my day has come. Only third place, but against these commenters, what can I say? I guess now I can understand what they mean when they say it's an honor to be nominated. The photo and winning entries are here. Thanks Kevin!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Prison Break. And Other TV Shows?

I am a terrible slacker. Things have really fallen off around here. I've always been lazy, but lately I've been busy, too. For reals. But I'll tell you about that later. I felt guilty about being away so long, and decided to talk about some recent TV. I'm not going to rehash all the details, but if you follow any of these shows, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Prison Break: My biggest problem with mythology shows is that it can be too difficult to pick up in the middle of a season. Gilligan's Island? You could watch any given episode and know it was unrelated to any other episode. Try watching Lost with episode 9 of season two. Not quite as easy to get into the story. Fortunately, I was with Prison Break from the beginning of the season. With a mythology show, it's a little more painful when it's cancelled because there are loose threads that never get resolved. In this case, the show became a hit and will definitely be back. The goal of the series is to break out of prison (couldja guess?), and the season ended with a successful prison break.

Successful in the sense that they actually got over the wall. Too bad for them that the private plane they were going to get away on had to take off just as they got on the runway. So much for their ride. The show ends with the escapees running across a field, with assorted cops and guards not too far behind. With the show coming back, it's a good ending for me. In so many "desperate to catch the plane (car, motorcycle, space pod, etc) to escape from some danger" situations, the guy with the vehicle risks his own neck to stay and wait for the hero. You'll recall Ashe coming back for Ripley and the kid as an example. I really expected the plane to stop and pick those guys up, even if it was taxiing for takeoff. They had to see the guys there on the runway, but no dice. When the guy waiting for you is a criminal who'd rather not be arrested, well, let's just say there really is no honor among thieves.

I could imagine if the show had been cancelled, they would have made it on the plane and off into the sunset, as it were. Of course this would leave the question of Linc's innocence unresolved. Rather, I should say his innocence is not proven to the world of the show. As viewers, we know he's been framed, and we know a lot about who the conspirators are and what they're doing.

We're left with even the immediate success of their escape in doubt. It may be the case that they'll be arrested again within the first five minutes of season two. The problem here is that the show has two major threads: proving Linc's innocence, and breaking out of jail. If they're captured and not held practically forever (at least in terms of the show) in solitary confinement, it will be a major breakdown in the suspension of disbelief. For that reason, I believe next year the escape plotline will become the fugitive plotline, as the men try to get away, and keep away, from the cops. You can't stay five minutes ahead of them for weeks or months. If they're that close, the cops will get you. They're going to have to break away for weeks at a time, maybe clearing out from a fortunate tip whenever a raid is about to happen.

Sidelines of this plot will be pressure from Abruzzi on Michael to give up Fibonacci, and possibly efforts by Michael and Linc to get the other escapees (we can only really consider Michael and Linc as true innocents) caught or otherwise left behind. If they do get some breathing room ahead of the pursuit, there isn't much reason for any of them to stay together. The alliances inside the prison were all directed at getting over the wall, except for Abruzzi's plane. With no plane ride, Michael has no honorable obligation to reveal Fibonacci's location. Naturally, Abruzzi may see things differently.

The second major plot thread, proving Linc's innocence, has a bit more freedom. Veronica the crusading lawyer can keep on searching for the truth, or at least enough evidence to prove Linc is innocent. If she is successful, it's probably a good bet that Linc would be set free. Michael's case is rather more in doubt. While most people would be sympathetic, he did commit a crime to get to prison, he masterminded the breakout, and at the very least, he was an accomplice in the kidnapping of a guard. His best bet would be some sort of pardon from the governor. It helps that the guard in question is corrupt.

Thing is, Veronica can look for the truth for years; that story can be strung out forever. The guys on the run? I don't know. I'm not sure I can buy a whole season of them escaping cops. Seems like at some point they're going to have to settle into a somewhat normal life under assumed names. I'm talking about Linc and Michael here. The rest of them should melt away, every-man-for-himself style. Then again, the A-Team and Dr. Banner moved around all the time on their shows, which goes to show that I'm not a TV writer, just a crappy blogger. But you knew that. What I do know is that I will be tuning in next season.

I was going to continue with That 70's Show, 24, and American Idol, but like I said, I'm lazy. And I didn't even get to the busy part, which will have to come in a Miss Tori update.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Roll Up For The Mystery Tour, Part Four

Part one, two, and three.

There’s this book I had as a kid. It was a picture book, but not glossy. It was constructed more like a Dr Seuss book, with the pages that feel like construction paper. You know what I mean? Anyway, this book had drawings of all sorts of weird fish in it. It was like the book of unusual fish. Like the lungfish that buries itself in mud, waits out the dry season in a sort of dirt cocoon, then comes out again when the rains restore the lake where the fish lives. Or the remora, that attaches it’s sucker head to sharks, hitching rides from them and eating the little scraps that the shark leaves behind. Or the angler(?) fish, that has a little glowing tendril that attracts small fish into position so the angler fish can snap them up. Or the archer(?) fish, that spits a stream of water at insects to shoot them out of the air so they can be eaten. Obviously, if it made such an impression that I still remember it some thirty years later, it must have been quite a book.

I bring up the book for two reasons. First, as we toured various exhibits at Sea World, I kept seeing fish that were in that book. The second reason is because Miss Tori and Kid S were noticing the same exact thing, because when they were little, they had the same exact book! I mean, wow man, all the vast universe, and it’s still a small aquarium after all. We moved from one exhibit to the next, until I got distracted. And it wasn’t even some sexy little mermaid this time!

Most parks have a water ride in which the victims sit in a circle of seats that are mounted on this sort of oversized inner tube. They travel through a series of “rapids” and get lightly splashed on the way. Smart parks have overlooks, where people walking by can watch the poor suckers on the ride. Brilliant parks have coin operated batteries of water artillery so you can put in a quarter and blast the helpless schmucks. I tell you, there’s nothing sweeter than hitting the button, launching a shot of water into the air, and having your good timing rewarded as the water drops down on some poor kid’s unsuspecting head. (sort of like what happened to Code Name Eagle on a trip to Great America, maybe 15(!!!) years ago? Holy crap I’m old). I really want to go with four or five friends so we can control an entire bank of water cannons. Full disclosure: I really, really want to stand on the bridge of the Enterprise and say “Mr. Worf, fire at will!” Which, if you watched that episode, maybe you’ll agree with me that firing at will was not that impressive. It seemed that instead of one phaser firing once, they fired it twice and shot off a photon torpedo. All of which is the long way of saying that Miss Tori and Kid S toured one of the other exhibits while I shot at hapless tube riders.

We hooked back up again for the big shows: Shamu to the Infinite Power, and The Not Ready For Prime Time Dolphins. The Shamu show was great. It was very entertaining, and Shamu got all kinds of people wet. It looked like everyone in the designated splash zone (the first fourteen rows, if memory serves) got at least a little bit of splash. The problem was that we had three or four killer whales in the show, and the woman who was narrating the act for us called all of them Shamu. One is Shamu. The others should be called something else. I’ve heard of Shamu in Sea World commercials for a long time. For all I know, none of these were the original Shamu. They may have all been sham Shamus, as it were.

The dolphins missed a few tricks, but the humans made up for it. They call up a nice family to help with the tricks. We had a dad, and a mom, and a little boy old enough to talk, and not much else. The kid may have been a little slow too. At one point, a rope is tied to the far side of the tank, and mom is in the audience pulling the other end up the aisle to make a really high rope hurdle for the dolphin to go over. The trick goes great, but poor Mom took a little tumble back down the last couple of steps and almost ended up going over the side into the tank. The dolphin emcee was right on top of things. Oh, he didn’t ask if she was ok. He didn’t ask if she needed help. He just deadpanned “Don’t worry. Only 3,000 people saw that.”

Dad got to touch a dolphin, and he was asked what it felt like. The emcee agreed when Dad said it felt like rubber. Little junior got to touch the dolphin, and he was asked what it felt like. Our host, who must have heard every answer a million times, got a real laugh out of the boy’s response: “It feels like a hot dog.” He tried to get the boy to run a trick, waving his hand just so, so the dolphin would do something, but the boy didn’t quite catch on. They gave the kid rubber boots (not made from dolphins, I trust, no matter how much dolphins feel like rubber) to walk out in the wading area for all this. The host had some fun with the boy, telling him to sit down at one point, and to jump in the tank at another point, just as jokes. We in the audience knew he didn’t really want the kid to do that. Mom and Dad certainly didn’t want to lug a soaked kid around the park. But the kid didn’t think it was a joke, and the host had to rescue him both times, or the kid would have sat down, and he would have jumped in the tank. Even though the dolphins missed some cues, they did pretty well, and were certainly impressive. However, in the splash zone, I would guess that less than half of the people got wet from the tail slaps.

One other show we went to was called Pets on Parade, I think. This show has regular household pets, cats and dogs, and even some ducks. They do their little tricks and run around on a stage that is filled with props. The actual tricks are impressive, even if the staging of the show is aimed at kids under six. Maybe the best thing was being able to sit in shade. I take that back. The best thing was that Sea World took all these animals from shelters, saving them from being gassed, at least until they get too old to perform anymore. Dang, where did I get this mean streak? It was cute and fun, and I got the warm fuzzies from the rescued animals. There’s also a very small chance I saw pretty much the same show some years back at Universal Studios, which is another park owned by the Budweiser people.

Speaking of Budweiser, let’s talk about the restrooms (and no, I didn’t get to go to beer school, we were too busy going from one thing to another). My understanding is that women’s restrooms don’t have this, but men’s rooms at many places now have advertisements posted above the urinals. It’s true ladies: men will spare no expense to eliminate even the slightest chance that our eyes will wander and we’ll accidentally see “something” out of the corner of our eyes at the next urinal. Some places put up sports pages from the local paper. Others put up ads. This Busch owned theme park puts up blatant attack ads! Allow me to reconstruct one from memory for you, if I may (I trust you’ll forgive any mistakes, but the intent is faithfully represented):

Everyone likes a good quality beer. Here’s a quiz. Which beer is the best tasting beer?
American made Anheuser-Busch
South African Breweries’ Miller

That’s right, if you want a good tasting beer, nice, fresh, and American, don’t go with some foreign beer, choose Budweiser

I may be a little off on the exact phrasing, but again I assert that this is the intent of the ads. They pretty much say that you’re some sort of America-hating commie if you drink Miller beer, which they strongly imply is made in South Africa and then shipped to America’s freedom loving shores, probably in secret league with the tobacco and oil companies.

We ate dinner in the park as well. All the restaurants look the same in there, so we just picked one. Kid S and I had cheeseburgers, and Miss Tori had some kind of fish. We were assured that it wasn’t from one of the fish that couldn’t learn to do tricks. One thing we kept noticing was kids walking around with a plastic Shamu sort of lunch box looking thing. Kid S did a little exploring and discovered that it’s a container they put the chicken nugget meal in. Now Kid S really wanted one of these things, so even though she had just eaten, she hunted down a chicken nugget meal and bought it, just for the Shamu lunch box. Being a gentleman, I helped her eat the extra food. I think that ideally, she wants to use it as a purse. So if you see someone with a Shamu purse, it’s either Kid S, or someone who ripped off her idea. You heard it here first.

After dinner, we were sort of wandering to the exit when we were distracted by a dance stage. They have a DJ, and a cute young woman who does these simple dance moves that the kids in the audience can sort of follow along with. When I say cute, well, it doesn’t do her justice. There’s just something about her. Even though I have no interest in dancing, Dusty was certainly interesting. You heard me. Her name (or at least, her stage name) is Dusty Skies. To be perfectly honest, with a name like that, I was hoping she would strip. And if you saw her, so would you.

It was definitely a nice end to the Sea World experience. If you’re looking for rides, Sea World isn’t the place for you. It is a nice park where you can learn things and spend a fun time with your family. I’ll give Sea World four out of five Shamus.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Dance, Mailman! What TV Show?

I looked for this to no avail some months ago. Miss Tori and I had seen it on VH! or some similar station doing some sort of retro marathon. I may have even mentioned it in an earlier post, which I could not find with a minumum of searching.

I don't even know where to begin. The clothes? The music? The dancing? Look, if you're in the gayest video ever, do you have to emphasize the point by pretty much demonstrating that you can hump for three minutes, thirty-eight seconds? And when I say gayest video ever, rest assured that that includes any videos by the Village People. At least the music videos. I can't speak for any "personal" films any of the Village People may have made.

If you want to witness the nadir of the 1970's, this is for you.

If you want to see 3-1/2 minutes of thrusting hips, all male, in a music video, this is for you.

I give you the band, Heatwave, and the video Boogie Nights.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Everybody Complains About Illegal Immigration . . .

. . . but nobody does anything about it. Or do they? Found a website today that gives report cards to each member of the House and Senate, grading them on various immigration issues. Some of these you always hear about, and some others hadn't occurred to me.

See how your representative and senators have done on issues such as chain migration, the visa lottery, unnecessary foreign worker visas, refugee and asylum fraud, illegal alien anchor baby citizenship, amnesties for illegal aliens, border controls, interior enforcement and reducing other rewards for illegal immigration.

Click Immigration Report Cards to get the national map, click your state to get a list of senators and representatives, click on a name to get his report card. Grades range from A+ to F-, and a "No Action" (sort of an incomplete) can also be given.

You can find all of this great stuff from Americans for Better Immigration. It's just another way for us to hold our leaders accountable. If illegal immigration concerns you, take some time to check this out.

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