Saturday, July 19, 2008

Free beer with every kitten!

Just a few short months ago, my wife and our seven-year-old daughter were out shopping.

I got a call from my daughter (my wife put her up to it because she's sneaky) asking if she could have a kitten. I'm very bad about telling my wife and daughter "no," so I agreed. Provided, of course, I got to name the kitten anything I wanted.

So, The Cheat (named for the character on the Homestar Runner site) came to live with us. Now, The Cheat is a girl cat (I know the real The Cheat is male -- don't hassle me), so I told my wife to go get the thing spade. I told her that at least once a week until it was obvious the cat was knocked up, in fact.

The Cheat had kittens the other day. The problem with kittens, of course, involves getting rid of them. That usually requires standing in the parking lot of the local Wal-Mart or Kroger for a day and trying to con people into taking one (we wound up with The Cheat as the result of one of those conning sessions, by the way).

I'm not wasting a Saturday standing in a parking lot with a bunch of kittens. A friend of mine had a brilliant idea -- give away a case of beer with every free kitten.

Ah, that would work perfectly. Since there are obvious problems that come with giving beer away in public (particularly since I live in a dry county), an ad could be run in the classifieds and the offers would roll in. This is Arkansas, after all, and who around here doesn't love free beer?

It would be a cheap way to get rid of the kittens, too. The classified ad would be free. I wouldn't give away premium beer for free, so four cases of Milwaukee's Best Light would only cost about $48. By the way, everyone with any sense of national pride should join me in refusing to buy anything made by those rascals at Anheuser-Busch. Selling out to the Belgians. Good grief. So, my kitten beer would be cheap, indeed, but at least Anheuser-Busch wouldn't be the ones making it.

We'd have to take some precautions, however, as there's always the chance that the kind of person who would take a kitten in hopes of getting some free beer might be a no-goodnik. Prefacing the classified ad with "free to good home," then, would at least show that we tried to find a suitable owner. Good enough.

My wife has objected to the brilliant marketing plan. Typical.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight -- bashing in the name of the Bat?

Hunting for reviews of The Dark Knight tonight reminded me that the anonymity that comes with the Internet can be a downright obnoxious thing, indeed.

One of the better sites out there to get a pretty good reviews of movies is, of course, Rotten Tomatoes. However, the reviews of The Dark Knight over there are more than a bit disturbing. Well, the puerile (and completely anonymous) comments to the reviews over there are disturbing, at least.

Like everyone else who's upright and breathing, I've heard a lot of hype surrounding The Dark Knight, the latest in a long line of Batman films. That's a line, by the way, that goes all the way back to the campy Batman that was released in 1966 in an attempt to cash in on the success of the television series.

The franchise laid dormant as far as the big screen was concerned until Warner Brothers released the revamped Batman in 1989. One thing in common throughout all of the Warner Batman films is that they've been hyped to the gills. I've been burned on earlier installments in the franchise as they've been woefully inconsistent.

When it comes to anything released in the Warner franchise, then, it's a good idea to check out the reviews before shelling out the cash to go see one. Yes, they've all been hyped and there has been a lot of talk about each one being the best of the lot -- pretty much what we've been seeing with the current release, in fact.

The majority of The Dark Knight (or "TDK" as all the too-hip-for-thou types call it) reviews were positive, causing me to think this particular movie might just be "the best thing, like, ever" type of film that Warner has been blabbing about for 20 years. Sure, the press surrounding all of the Warner Batman films claims the installment of the moment is the best in the franchise, but the critics (and not just the ones who are probably getting paid under the table) seem to back up that notion.

The disturbing thing is that the reviews that generate the most buzz are the negative ones. In fact, the hysteria generated by those negative reviews has caused me to think this movie might be one to see after it's been out for awhile and the particularly obnoxious fans have already watched it and are at home. It's likely those folks won't be quite so annoying when they're away from their computers and out in public with honest-to-goodness people, but one never knows.

You've got folks threatening to beat up critics for "bashing" the movie, rants about how the reviewers in question are just trying to get attention and all sorts of general nastiness. All of that hostility kind of makes you wonder -- if critics are getting hammered for picking on even minor details of the film, could it be that some reviewers are raving about it just to avoid trouble? How trustworthy, then, are the reviews over there when it comes to a movie that seems to be bordering on "sacred" staus? I could well see a critic handling this film with kid gloves so as to avoid having everything from his lineage to his sexuality questioned.

So, if you've seen this movie, leave a comment here about what you thought about it and I'm mighty interested in hearing from some people who don't have an axe to grind.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Arkansas makes the top 10 in a good way for a change

We've gotten used to sucking hind teat here in good old Arkansas, but our beloved state has made the top 10 list in a category that's actually worth mentioning.

While Arkansas has long been a leader in lousy categories -- teen pregnancies, methamphetamine production and other things in which we're none to proud -- we rarely place well in something that's brag-worthy. You know, the kind of thing that'll make a Razorback jump up, thump his chest and yell, "Hell, yeah!"

Ah, but we've got something now. Yes -- cheap gas.

According to Mike Right of the AAA, however, Arkansas is one of only 10 states in the country where a gallon of regular unleaded costs less than $4 a gallon. So, ha! Take that, Rest of the Nation!

Yes, the average price of a gallon of gas across the country was $4.114 per gallon as of July 17, and an informal poll of gas stations in Benton, Ark. (i.e., me paying attention to things on my way home for work) put the average in my neck of the woods at about $3.90. While that's not much to brag about, it is something and we'll take what we can get here in the Natural State.

Meanwhile, a member of the Arkansas congressional delegation is doing us proud. Senator Blanche Lincoln (one of the more level headed Democrats in Congress) came out in favor off offshore drilling today on Little Rock's KARN AM 920, FM 102.9. She mentioned that offshore drilling may well be feasible due to new technologies that will lesson the impact on the environment.

That's significant because Lincoln is part of a bipartisan group of 10 senators that is studying ways to lower fuel prices. Another Arkansas senator, Mark Pryor, is part of that group and he's been dropping hints that offshore drilling might be one of the issues under discussion.

Pryor has always been one of those senators to watch because he's very much a party boy who goes along with Democrats on the more controversial issues every single time. The fact that he's even willing to discuss an issue that has belonged to the Republicans as of late without bashing the idea completely could well mean that we're getting close to the point where we'll start tapping into our own resources.

Yes, that could mean both lower gas prices for everyone as well as something even more valuable -- less dependence of foreign oil until we can wean ourselves completely from the stuff.

Maybe we can all gloat about low gas prices one day.