Saturday, August 30, 2008

Help! The Hawg needs an illustrator!

The Hawg has many talents.

Drawing isn't one of them.

Just take a look at the little scribble I posted here. That's about the best I can do. Yes, when it comes to penning images, I suck.

I was thinking about that a couple of weeks ago when I thought of the ultimate, zip-bang, boffo web comic. Yes, the concept is spectacular and great and I have no doubt that tens of people would just go wild for it.

Ah, but that just gets back to a major flaw in my plan to dominate the Internet (pronounced Internets if you're an idiot like Houston Nutt) with a boffo web comic -- I can't draw.

So I need to find someone who can draw. You know -- a drawer, an illustrator an artist. Someone who is willing to take on a fun project that may or may not be well received. It wouldn't take that much time for someone who knew what they were doing -- just bang out a few frames based on some notes from me and that would be it. Real cartoonish, see?

Therefore, I'm appealing to anyone out there who has some artistic talent, a little time and a willingness to work on something that could be a lot of fun. I'll reveal my concept to all seriously interested parties as I've still got to develop it a bit and, of course, there could be spies out there wanting to swipe my boffo idea.

Naturally, all money from ad revenue, t-shirt sales, Saturday morning cartoons series and etc. would be split evenly. Credit and fan mail would be split evenly, too.

Interested? Send an e-mail by clicking on the handy icon for it on this blog or leave a comment here and I'll get in touch.

Close that blasted lid!

One thing has been bugging the hell out of me lately -- why on earth do we have open casket funerals?

From what I can tell, there's an interest in having open casket funerals to provide a sense of closure to the family. Perhaps, too, some people just need proof that the deceased is actually dead.

Regardless, I hate those things. Let me explain.

I've had an aunt and uncle die of cancer this year. That's too many funerals in one year as far as I'm concerned, and having to go peer in an open casket didn't help things either. I'd rather not think about how my aunt and uncle looked after fighting off cancer for about a year. Now I don't have much choice.

Yes, they should have kept that lid closed. I'd rather remember my aunt and uncle as the vibrant, enjoyable people they were. Oh well.

By the way, the coffin I've used to illustrate this article is the very classy KISS Koffin (Gene Simmons just won't turn down the chance to make a buck, will he?) I won't be buried in one of those as I plan to get cremated.

If my wife wants to hold an "open lid" ceremony so everyone can gaze at my ashes, that's fine. Just so long as no one puts cigarettes out on me (a real danger here in Arkansas).

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's official -- McCain chooses Palin as running mate

So, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be John McCain's running mate in the 2008 election.

Folks, things just got a lot more interesting. One can't help but think that Palin is McCain's answer to everyone who's criticized his age and status as a Washington insider.

Palin, at 44-years-old is younger than Obama. She's been the governor of Alaska for two years and, during that time, has fought corruption, battled with members of her own party, fought the Democrats, fought bureaucrats and reportedly threw a water balloon at a disgruntled independent who was walking too close to her office.

Well, I'm kidding about the water balloon.

The point is, this woman is, reportedly, a maverick, scrapper and reformer who is even more of a Washington outsider than Obama (he hasn't been in the Senate for long, of course, but he's still been there). McCain's decision to choose Palin may seem odd, but I love the hell out of it. Why? McCain has taken one issue completely away from Obama.

Yes, it seems like The One has talked a lot about Washington insiders making a mess of things while blasting McCain. Meanwhile, he's picked one of the biggest insiders around in Joe Biden for a running mate, whereas McCain has chosen a vice president that is so far out of the D.C. loop that she might as well live in Alaska.

Actually, she does live in Alaska. So, like, never mind.

Think Obama is an outsider? He's a blasted Kennedy compared to Palin. Heh, heh!

I'll let other folks discuss the fact that Palin is a woman and what that means. I really don't care. A person has the potential to be a good public servant or they don't and that doesn't have a thing to do with race or gender. The question, then, is what kind of public servant has Palin been and what could she bring to the table as a vice president?

She's relatively unknown, so we'll all have to do our homework. Here's a good place to start.

Good choice? I'm inclined to say so and she gets a bonus points for not being a damned lawyer, actually holding down a real job before jumping into politics (she's a former sports reporter for an Anchorage television station and a commercial fisherman) and for having just gobs of populist appeal. She's a runner-up in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant and that doesn't hurt a thing, either, particularly since she used that contest as an opportunity to get a scholarship and earn her degree in journalism.

I do hope the Republicans avoid stealing a nasty little tactic from Obama's sycophants by claiming that anyone who refuses to vote for McCain is doing so because they hate women and have a problem with Palin.

The comment section, as always, is open so feel free to jump right in and discuss McCain's choice for a running mate.


Keeping an eye on the Wikipedia entry for Palin has been fun today. The hard left is already gearing up and has posted some garbage and half-truths about her. A couple of entries have appeared and then have vanished as the Wiki folks have purged them (I saw a rant about the fact Palin likes hunting, is a member of the National Rifle Association and supports the (gasp!) Iditarod).

The more I learn about Palin and the more the leftie fringe howls about her, the more I like her. I can't stand Obama or Biden and I'm not that wild about McCain, either. Palin, however, is very appealing and I could well her seeing making a successful run for the presidency in 2012 should an aging McCain prevail this November. Finally, there's a candidate in this election that I like.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Politics just got more depressing

See that Barrack Obama speech in Denver tonight?

This whole thing is starting to sound a hell of a lot like the 1992 election in which a reeling Republican administration had to deal with that change-loving Bill Clinton.

Here's but one parallel that ought to bother folks. Obama has been harping about a middle class tax cut and he did so again tonight. Yes, it's time to bring some relief to the working folks of this country that are struggling through a slumping economy and are having trouble making ends meet.

Clinton promised one of those, too. America just loved to hear ol' Billy wax poetic about his middle class tax cut. That, indeed, was one of those promises that played well with the voters -- the very idea that the middle class was going to get some relief while those rich folks were going to take it on the chin netted Bill a vote or two.

Here's the thing, though. After the election, George Stephanopoulos was on one of those political shows that dotted network television on Sunday mornings. The host asked him, directly, about that tax cut and Stephanopoulos declared up and down that Clinton never promised such a thing.

So the tax cut was off the table.

Here's the problem with Obama's promise. Politicians are expected to lie through their teeth to us -- to say anything it takes to get elected. So, how serious is Obama about cutting my taxes? Does anyone really believe that Obama will make good on that promise and have we gotten so cynical that there will be no ramifications if he fails to do so?

The concern here is that Obama has also promised a lot of things that involve swelling the already oppressive size of the federal government. Given his adoration of throwing cash at problems, he may well follow through on those.

We've heard Obama give some vaguely-defined promises of expanding health care and investing heavily in alternative energy. Hell, Barak is Jesus, Santa Claus and the Great Pumpikin all rolled into one and he's going to give us all a bunch of cool, free stuff. Well, it's not exactly free. You need cash to have our buddy, the federal government, step in take care of problems. Where's that money going to come from, huh? Why, from the folks who wind up taking an absolute beating every time the role of government expands -- the middle class.

This all sounds a bit too familiar to the junk that Clinton pulled 16 years ago -- promise that tax cut to get the masses in line, then stick it to them once in office. Things may actually get worse under Obama as he's a man who loved to toss out socialist rhetoric before he secured the nomination and found it necessary to sound like a moderate.

Socialism is expensive and the folks who go out and work for a living simply get hosed every time a well-meaning Democrat rolls out a Great Society, a New Deal and other programs designed to put the government in the position of wealth redistribution.

The alternative to Obama's potential cash-grab isn't a whole lot better. John McCain sounds a heck of a lot like George Bush these days, and you'd be hard pressed to even find a Republican who will admit he wants four more years of that.

In short, Obama has been vague so far and sounds very much like a man making promises he doesn't intend to keep. McCain, meanwhile, has been running around sounding like a president who has, arguably, done an even worse job than Jimmy Carter or Lyndon Johnson.

One thing is certain. Both Obama and McCain are very much products of their respective political parties. The Democrats and Republicans can share a lot of the blame for the mess we're in now, so who in their right mind thinks that either party will actually bring anything in the way of new solutions to the table? Obama might like to harp on the theme of "change" quite a bit, but the irony there is that he's really spouting the same old junk we've heard from the Democrats for years. That will probably strike some civics students as funny as hell one of these days, but it's nothing to laugh about right now.

So we get two candidates who will likely stay committed to the same old crap that's failed the nation completely. Some choice, huh? I'm starting to understand why some people just don't bother to go out and vote.

If these two candidates are the best we can do, that Greek temple that served as Obama's backdrop starts to look a lot more Roman in design.

Vanity, thy name is The Hawg

I'm a happy The Hawg tonight.

Why? Maria over at Life's sweets and spices presented me with an award. That's right, Maria "hearts" my blog.

I won, I won, I won! Yay!

I am glad that she hearts my blog enough to honor me with an award. Thank you, Maria -- you made my day. I shall display this award with pride in my sidebar.

Of course, there are rules whenever one receives such an award, so I shall do my best to follow them. Here are the rules connected to the esteemed I Heart Your Blog award:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog;
2. Link the person you received your award from;
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs;
4. Put links of those blogs on yours; and
5. Leave a message on the blogs that you’ve nominated.

So which blogs out there do I truly heart? The last time I got one of these dandy awards, I felt guilty because I wanted to pass the award on to a slew of blogs but I could only choose a few. I'm faced with a similar problem this time around. I'll go ahead and pass this award on to 10 people who are better at blogging it up than I am, but I should mention that there are several folks that I'm overlooking. Yes, the rules say to pass the award on to at least seven people -- I did that, and kept thinking of other deserving folks. So, I'm giving this to 10 blogs that I love and, even at that, I'm leaving some people off the list.

That being the case, here are 10 blogs that I truly heart:

1. The Junk Drawer -- I've learned a number of things from Kathy over there, including the fact that breasts can cause computer malfunctions.

2. Delusions of Grandeur -- great design, quality content. A very good "stop and linger" blog.

3. Margie and Edna's Basement -- if you're not stopping by this one regularly, you really should. Gently amusing content and they always refer to me as "Mr. The Hawg" (that, folks, is a hoot).

4. Coastal Commentaries -- A daily stop and it's run by Lala, one of the nicest people around. She's brilliant, too -- she named me a Kick Ass Blogger a few weeks ago. So, Lala, it's my time to give out an award and I'm glad to do it because she's one of the best bloggers you'll find.

5. -- Don't let the title fool you -- this one is about a heck of a lot more than healthy living. Sure, that's in there, but you've got commentary on all manner of things over there. Visit it that blog and you may heart it, too.

6. Lyndonology -- Yes, I just heart those mixed bag, slice-of-life blogs. This is one of the better ones out there.

7. Freaky Frugalite -- Well written and a great design. What's not to heart?

8. News from NOLA -- Great news from what's happening in New Orleans. Always entertaining and Sara is as friendly as can be.

9. Hillbilly Willy -- This is one, conservative cat. He's funny as hell, too. Willy's blog gives me a chuckle more often that not.

10. Brazoscowgirl -- Here's one that I've hearted for a long time. Great design and some pretty keen political insight, to boot.

That's about it. Again, thank you Maria! I do appreciate it.

The Hawg takes to the airwaves!

Some of you may know that I make my living as the director of media relations for the Arkansas Realtors Association. Yes, I deal with the press, keep up with housing market stats, handle our monthly magazine and all kinds of writery things.

This Saturday, I start a stint as a regular guest on a weekly radio show. I'll appear monthly on the aptly-named The Real Estate Show, which is hosted by Jim Harris every Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m. on 103.7 FM ("The Buzz!") in Little Rock.

Harris mentions my appearance right here if you'd like more details. If you happen to be in central Arkansas and you're up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, why not tune it? At that time of the morning, we're sure to get tens of listeners.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This time around, beating up on a pack of scrubs may actually mean something

At long last, game week is upon us and the mighty, mighty Arkansas Razorbacks take the field against...

Uh, wait a minute. Need to look that up. Hold on.

Oh, yes. Western Illinois. The Razorbacks open the season against Western Illinois in Fayetteville on Saturday.

Any college football fan knows that it's routine for teams from powerful conference to kick a bunch of patsies around the field several times a year. No disrespect to Western Illinois, but the team is simply no match for the Razorbacks. The Hogs compete in the SEC, while Western Illinois dukes it out in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with such premier teams as North Dakota State, South Dakota State and University of Northern Iowa.

Yes, the practice of bringing in a rent-a-win is shameful, but the reasons for it range from "everyone is doing it" to "college football is hard so they need some easy games." The end result is that such mismatches will probably continue for some time and major-conference teams will keep up the questionable practice of spanking minor-conference squads.

Generally, only one good thing comes out of those awful contests against scrubs -- if the home team loses, that's a sure sign that it's time to fire everyone from the coach down to the folks taking tickets at the gate. If your multimillion dollar program has slid so far downhill that a Western Illinois can beat it on it's own field, some major changes are in order.

This year, however, the ugly drubbing that typically serves as Arkansas' season opener could be quite valuable. Why? Because the Hogs have a new coach and everyone's curious to see what changes are in store for the team.

Yes, Bobby Petrino is now the coach and his team takes the field for the first time on Saturday. Will Western Illinois get slaughtered? Of course, but you'd better believe that all 72,000 seats in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium will be filled as eager fans show up to see what the Hogs are capable of with the new coach on board.

For those not familiar with all things Razorback (shame on you!), a good chunk of last season was taken up by Hogs fans calling for the head of Houston "Rotten Bastard" Nutt. Before angry Arkies could get their pitchforks and torches out and take care of the Nutt problem by force, the rotten bastard fled over the river to Ole Miss -- an SEC West rival that must have spent a lot of time reading the nonsense that Nutt's media team was churning out on a full time basis.

So, this is the year when fans would really love Petrino to prove that we're better off without Nutt. That journey starts Saturday and my fellow Arkies are actually excited about a scrub game for a change. Also, we may actually see a coach in action who puts in a few pass plays rather than simply sending his running back up the middle for three downs in a row.

We can go back to ignoring those "gimme wins" after the Hogs whip the socks of an inferior Western Illinois team on Saturday.

Shameless (shameful?) plug

See that Fiesta MMORPG ad in the upper right-hand section of the screen? I usually don't talk much about ads, but that one leads to a game that's actually a heck of a lot of fun. It's free to register and play, so why not give it a shot?

It's only fair to warn you, though, that you're in for a huge download (around 680 megs, to be exact), but that's not too bad on a fast connection. I sat through it and the game was worth it as I tend to like those online, multiplayer things that involve swinging swords and running around looking like a kid who belongs on a Pokemon episode.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton is a filthy, stinking liar

So our girl Hillary went out and passionately threw her support behind Barrack Obama.

Her speech was described by one commentator as a "stemwinder," a term that -- coincidentally -- is the one a college friend's Texarkana father once used to describe porn flicks.


At any rate, it's no wonder Hillary was able to deliver such an effective speech in favor a man she probably hates -- she's a filthy, stinking liar and she's been a convincing one for years. Playing along and simply doing what the party leadership expects is no stretch for that woman.

Even in her "let's love Barrack" speech, she couldn't refrain from lying through her teeth. She declared, for example, that John McCain doesn't believe that 47 million Americans going without health care insurance amounts to a crisis.

That's a bunch of crap and she knows it. Back in 2006, there was a Republican-sponsored bill that would have allowed small businesses and the self-employed to essentially pool together and take advantage of the same group discounts that large corporations enjoy. McCain supported that bill. The Democrats, including dear Hillary, beat the hell out of it in the Senate. Go ahead and look it up.

While you're looking at that story, you might want to take note of the fact that the Democrats also blocked an attempt to cap jury awards in medical malpractice cases. Yes, let's not deprive those poor, mistreated malpractice lawyers like John Edwards of their right to gorge themselves on the medical industry and drive up costs for all of us, huh?

Meanwhile, the Democrats laid back on this "crisis" until this year when both Hillary and Obama made health care reform an issue during an election year.

Some may argue, of course, that the 2006 bill was terribly flawed and that Republicans thwarted the attempts of Democrats to amend the bill and make it better. There may be some truth to that, but it's worth noting that McCain was on board two years ago with a bill based on a similar premise to a Democrat-sponsored one that's floating around Congress right now.

That's right. There's some legislation co-authored by none other than Arkansas' own Democrat Senator Blanche Lincoln that will, if passed, allow small businesses and the self-employed to essentially form pools and take advantage of the same group discounts that large corporations enjoy. This time, fortunately, the new bill has broad support from both parties. Both Republicans and Democrats recognize a problem and are, thankfully, working toward a solution.

So, here's the question. Are the Republicans actually that hostile toward legitimate health care reform or are Democrats like Hillary just playing politics? Was the 2006 bill so flawed that the Democrats just couldn't stand it or did they simply want to reserve that issue for 2008 and declare that "Bush and those mean Republicans don't want you to have health care insurance, but we do!"

Hillary knows damn well that McCain was behind the 2006 bill and the Republicans, as a whole, pushed for capping awards in medical malpractice suits -- two measures that were put together explicitly for the purpose of helping make accessing medical care affordable for Americans. There's a big difference between saying McCain doesn't see 47 million uninsured Americans as a crisis and saying that both parties recognize the problem but may have a difference in opinion on how to solve it.

That's just one example of Hillary playing fast and loose with the truth, but the woman is not to be trusted.

The point? I'm certainly no fan of Obama and dislike McCain only slightly less, but I'd much rather have either one of those two in office than that sleazy Hillary. Thank God the Democrats kicked Hillary to the curb in the primaries.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Jerks causing car wrecks and more Jeff Foxworthy

The other day, I was in a car wreck.

Now, don't get concerned. I'm fine. Don't start crying and offering to send money.

Well, if you want to send money...

Anyway, I was driving home from work on Friday afternoon down Shackleford in Little Rock on my way to Interstate 430 to make my journey to beautiful, beautiful Benton. I didn't even make it a mile from my office when I got hit from behind by a Honda Accord (I refuse to use the term "rear ended" as the phrase has taken on a disturbing connotation over the years).

The Accord was pushed into my by a bastard in a pickup truck. How do I know he was a bastard? He looked like one when I saw him in my rear view mirror, that's how.

Besides, he fled the scene of the accident. Yes he managed to inch away in bumper-to-bumper traffic and make it to Interstate 630 before the cops got there. The nice lady in the Accord and I never got his license plate number because we were busily dodging cars and trying to get off the road so we could call the police.

Fortunately, my car suffered no damage and I wasn't hurt. I feel terrible for the woman who hit me (well, she was shoved into me, actually) because the back end of her Accord was a complete mess.

Now, I used to be a lawyer and I had a golden opportunity because of that accident. When you're in an accident -- even a minor one -- you're supposed to milk it for all its worth and get a nice, fat settlement. That, sadly, has become the American way. Get in an accident that's not your fault? Fake like your hurt, take that ambulance ride to the hospital, run up some chiropractor bills, miss some time at work so you can establish a claim for lost wages and stick it to an insurance company.

But I just couldn't follow my lawyerly instincts on Friday. I noticed I wasn't hurt, my car wasn't even scratched and the jerk who caused everything would probably get away with the mess he'd made. Had I made out like I was hurt, the woman who was shoved into me -- the same one that was on her way to her second job -- would probably have been stuck holding the bag and her insurance rates would have skyrocketed.

So I didn't even bother calling my insurance company and told the police that I was fine and my car was OK. I also told them I hoped they got their mitts on the guy who caused the accident and beat him senseless with a billy club.

Perhaps I got a nice reminder of why I only practiced law for four years. That self-interested bastard who caused an accident and then fled the scene might make a pretty good lawyer, however. He's got the ethics for it.

More Jeff Foxworthy

I know some of you are sick of hearing about Jeff Foxworthy, but I have but one more tale to tell of the great comedian and then I'll shut up about him. Of course, I sent Foxworthy the ultimate redneck joke about a month ago and received a response last week. Rather than go through all of that, it's summed up pretty well right here if you want to plod through the story once again.

Along with a very nice letter, Foxworthy sent along an autographed photo. My wife went out to Wal-Mart, got one of those simulated woodgrain, plastic picture frames and slapped the photo in it. She then came up with her own redneck joke:

"If you have an autographed photo of Jeff Foxworthy hanging in your living room, you might be a redneck"

That's doubly true if you bought the frame from from Wal-Mart.

My wife does have a sense of humor every now and again after all.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Hawg goofs off with Voki!

Yes, I was over at one of my favorite blogs, I Do Things So You Don't Have To, and found this nutty Voki thing.

So I went and made my own. Well, actually, I was inspired to make my own Voki thingie, thanks to a voice from beyond -- that of the great Ronald Reagan with a message for all of you good people! Click the play button on the widget thingie below to hear Reagan's special, hypnotic message to all. Make sure you turn the volume up on your system a bit because the recording is a little quiet. Go ahead. Clicky, clicky, clicky. You know you want to so why not give in to the urge?

After you're done, go ahead and make your own Voki. Leave a link in the comment section to your wonderful creation if you'd like because I think it would be fun to see what you've come up with.

So, without further ado, here's Ronald Reagan:

Get a Voki now!