Saturday, February 7, 2009

What the hell is going on here?

Lately, I've been getting a lot of emails at work featuring pictures of animals who are, allegedly, saying cutesy things in some strange, baby talk language.

The photo I've posted here is fairly typical of the kinds of things I've been receiving.

Whenever I've gotten one of these things, I've thought, "Well, there's a person who doesn't know a thing about The Hawg. Those who know me well understand that few things annoy me more than proof that the English language is being dragged through the dirt."

Yesterday, however, my own wife sent me one of these photos. There's someone who understands me very well (the poor woman!), so what gives? I can only conclude that these photos were born of some kind of strange obsession with both animals and schmaltzy cuteness.

So I've joined the craze. I've created some of my own cute animal photos. I hope you all enjoy them.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Truth in advertising?

Someone sent this to me at work today and I just had to share it.

Yes, this little photo might make one laugh so hard he'll break all his furniture. It'll make you LOL, ROFL, ROFLYAO and all those other irritating abbreviations for which the Internet can be blamed.

Frankly, I wish I had some more information about this photo. Why? Assuming someone put a home on the market and actually used such a sign to attract attention to it, there's no way in hell anyone would buy it.

Furthermore, it's safe to assume the individual who would put up such a sign knows damn well that the home will never sell.

That being the case, what would motivate one to put up such a sign? Let's say that Bob is the one who made the sign and put it up in his yard while Joe is the asshole neighbor.

Bob wakes up one morning, looks over at his neighbors house in disgust and notices that Joe has listed his home with a Realtor. If Bob wants to spite the hell out of Joe, can you think of a better way to steer potential buyers away from the property than to put up such a sign?

After all, who wants to buy a house from an asshole? Who wants to buy a home next to a guy crazy enough to stick such a tacky sign in his yard? Bob can have hours of fun ruining Joe's chances of selling his home and -- get this -- all it costs is the price of having a sign made.

Hey, anyone can stick a "for sale" sign in front of his house, right? And here's the best part -- what if Bob gets a great offer on his home, sells it for a profit and moves away from the hated neighbor? Hell, that would just be a bonus.

I do hope that spite was the motivation behind that sign. If so, that just makes it that much funnier.

Again, I do wish I had more information. Oh, well. Musing is fun, too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spiffing up that cubicle

At the first of January, my organization moved into a new office.

In some quarters, of course, "progress" is synonymous with replacing large, private offices with cubicles. My cubicle is all drab and corporate, of course, so the time came to spiff it up a bit.

Now, what says "I'm stylin' like Stalin and on the go, go, go!" more than a dandy Iron Maiden poster? So I got the one pictured here and stuck it up in my formerly dull area today.

Now, you'll notice this isn't just any old Iron Maiden poster. No, it's the illustration Maiden used for "The Trooper" single, featuring the iconic Eddie kicking serious ass.

Ah, but this particular poster does more than just drip with awesomeness. No, this poster is a tribute to great literature, folks.

Why? "The Trooper" is based, in part, on Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade." That poem, of course, dramatically recounts the exploits of a brigade of British light dragoons who boldly charged a Russian position during the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War.

Ah, the symbolism of it all is just fantastic! Besides, one of the hands reaching up for mercy (and receiving absolutely none from the heroic, doomed Eddie) just puts that icing on the cake, doesn't it?

Now, I could have chosen the "safe" route and put up one of those posters that reads "Hang in there, baby. Friday's coming!" and has a kitten dangling from a limb. I could have also put up one of those things with a snappy slogan like "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps!"

Those, however, just wouldn't be as outright cool as the Iron Maiden poster I chose. Besides, I do believe I've scored a few points for thriftiness and efficiency with my beautiful poster. The aforementioned organization I work for is fixing to spend thousands of dollars decorating its new building, whereas I picked up my poster for $10 on eBay and improved the entire environment of my little slice of heaven. How's that for leading by example?

For those unfamiliar with the majesty that is "The Trooper," I've included a YouTube video here. That is followed by a fellow who put together an arrangement of the song on a harp. How's that for culture?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The next fashion craze?

Back around 1994, I had to get a pair of glasses.

Yes, it seems that reading all of those books in law school had caused some problems. For some reason, a lot of legal texts are printed in the smallest font available. Those books will cause eyestrain when they're new and get worse with age.

The law library at the University of Arkansas is filled with old books printed in small type that will just ruin the eyes. So I wound up with some trouble in my right eye before I graduated from law school and wore glasses for a couple of years after that.

For some reason, my stellar vision returned a few years later and I got rid of the glasses. But I've always been curious about something -- why did I have eyeglasses when I only had trouble with one eye? Why did I have one lens that corrected my vision and one that did almost nothing? Wouldn't it have made more sense to just give me a monocle?

If I every have the "one bad eye" problem again, I'm going to insist on a monocle and I'm not sure why more people don't wear them. My only guess is that monocles are associated with Nazis, cartoon owls and Mr. Peanut.

Folks, it's time for those vicious stereotypes to fall. I don't give a hoot for them and neither should you. It's time for the monocle to make a resurgence and this is the perfect day and age for that to happen.

Why? Think about it. Everyone is all earth happy these days. "Let's save the earth," they say. "We shouldn't throw junk all over it and pollute it. We need to conserve earth's resources and blah, blah, blah."

For the tree huggers, then, the monocle is the perfect thing to adopt. Why? You use fewer resources that way as you only have one lens instead of two. You've got less metal to worry about, too. That makes, sense, huh?

Besides, monocles are fun. Just imagine this. Let's say I'm wearing a monocle and you come in and tell me something shocking. My eyes go wide in surprise so the monocle pops out and dangles from the little cordy thing that keeps it from hitting the ground. Ah, now that's comedy!

A monocle is the sign of a dapper, well-dressed man, too. Who wouldn't want to be dapper? A monocle is at last as dapper as a pocket watch and even as slick as a pipe.

Hey, here's how I could look extra dapper -- put on a monocle, a tweed jacket and pipe and a vest and pocket watch. Tie all that together with a pair of black and white saddle shoes (red soles, of course) and I'd out dapper everyone in the state. Hell yes!

So, I'll get a monocle if one eye goes bad. Let's say, however, that one eye goes really bad because it gets plucked out by a hawk or something. In that case, I'd get an eye patch and I wouldn't feel bad about it.

There's something to be said for a man who doesn't feel bad about going around looking like a pirate, right? I could refer to everyone as "matey" and listen to sea shanties all day.

So if an eye goes bad or I lose one, I'm covered either way. My brother is an optometrist, so perhaps I'll put him to work on that monocle thing.

The day the music died

Tomorrow, Feb. 3, marks the 50th anniversary of Buddy Holly's death. As everyone ought to know, Holly went down in a small airplane on Feb. 3, 1959 at the young age of 22.

In my opinion, popular music has never recovered from that loss. Holly was one of the rockabilly greats and truly pushed the limits of what could be expressed through rock and roll.

The Beatles worshiped the man, he was part of a generation of entertainers who became popular by writing, playing and singing his own songs and he proved that even someone who was awkward and wore ugly glasses could make the ladies swoon. Hell, one of the reasons the Fender Telecaster is still a popular guitar is that Holly practically made that thing a cultural icon.

How great was Holly? Check out this demo (one of the last things the man recorded) and see for yourself. That's just him sitting in his apartment with a guitar and some recording equipment.

Apparently, I root for the wrong team from Pittsburgh

It's official -- the Pittsburgh Steelers became the first team to win six Super Bowls by beating the Arizona Cardinals in what will go down as one of the great NFL championship games.

I'm a Denver Broncos fan and I was rooting for the Cardinals, but it's really hard to not be happy for the Steelers. That is, without a doubt, one of the finest and hardest-working franchises in the NFL and a team that has earned the respect of football fans everywhere.

Having said all of that, I've come to the conclusion that I root for the wrong team from Pittsburgh. yes, I have the great misfortune of being a Pirates fan and I'm still not sure why I expect the team to do anything but stink and upset me.

It's the same thing every year. I start out following the Pirates closely and then start watching the St. Louis Cardinals in late April or May when the Bucs are mathematically eliminated from the World Series.

How bad are the Pirates? The team hasn't had a winning season since 1992 and hasn't won a World Series since 1979. Rooting for a team like Pittsburgh will cause one to look at fans of the lowly Chicago Cubs and mumble, "Lucky bastards."

Cubs fans, see, have hope and pull for a team that actually manages to post a winning season from time to time. The Pirates, on the other hand, are the Detroit Lions of the MLB.

So, after watching the Steelers tear through the AFC once again, set an NFL record for winning six Super Bowls and generally being the envy of football fans everywhere, I've got to ask one question -- what the hell is going on with the Pirates?

I've heard about enough of that "small market team" nonsense and I'm almost sick of hearing about salary caps. Hey, I'd love to see a salary cap in baseball as I do believe it will lead to more competition -- it's certainly worked out that way in the NFL.

Still, let's take a look at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a scrubby team that can afford to pay their starters a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a 1973 Ford Pinto. That's a team that went to the World Series last year in spite of being underfunded and stuck in a small market.

One can only conclude the Tampa Bay management has at least a casual interest in winning, whereas the same can't be said of Pittsburgh. Here's how things go with the Pirates. Let's say Pittsburgh has a great player. The team will trade said great player for, perhaps, three prospects.

Out of those three prospects, let's say that one turns out to be a great player. That one will be traded for more prospects whereas the other two will become franchise players. The Pirates, see, just seem to slit their own throats every year and it's maddening. It's hard to build a solid franchise when you're constantly dealing your talented players away for prospects that will get dealt if they turn out well. I've been watching that perpetual cycle for the past few years and I'm sick of it.

I hope this is the year that the Pirates will learn a lesson or two from their cousins across town and even the Devil Rays. We Pirates fans are just about out of patience.