Saturday, February 21, 2009

Good luck, Conan!

On Friday night, I watched the last episode of Late Night with Conan O' Brien.

Yes, O'Brien took over the Late Night show from David Letterman in 1993 and is scheduled to take over The Tonight Show on May 1 after Jay Leno retires. O'Brien's successor will be Jimmy "About as Funny as Cancer" Fallon.

Now, the 11:30 p.m. time slot on NBC used to be a great thing. Letterman made it a winner and O'Brien continued its success. And, yes, I said 11:30 p.m. because I'm using central time.

With O'Brien heading to the 10:30 p.m. time slot, I can't help but think three things.

1. There isn't a thing worth watching on network television at 11:30 p.m. at night.

2. That's a shame because it will be tough to choose between Letterman and O'Brien at 10:30 p.m.

3. Will Conan get tamed when he takes over The Tonight Show?

Hey, since 1993, fans have delighted as Conan has run around irritating people and making fun of them. He's brought us such fantastic off-color characters as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and the Masterbating Bear. He spent the last week of his show, in fact, tearing up pieces of his set with a sledgehammer and and axe and handing the rubble out to audience members as souvenirs.

Will he be able to get away with those kind of antics in front of an audience that used to the tame and predictable Jay Leno? That's a real concern, folks, because I remember when Leno was an edgy young comedian who used to show up and raise hell on the Letterman show. That rebellious streak vanished about the time he took over for Johnny Carson.

So I do hope O'Brien doesn't change that much. Now, here's one of his best bits:
Baseball Sketch

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Telephones are evil

There are times when I miss the 1970s and 1980s.

Back then, see, we had but one telephone in my parent's house -- it was an ugly yellow thing with a rotary dial. Typically it only rang when someone wanted to get in touch for reasons that wouldn't annoy me.

That's all changed, however, and I've learned that people call me for all kinds of obnoxious reasons. While getting some rest to recover from the flu, I've been annoyed from time to time by telemarketers convinced they had some miracle junk I just had to buy.

Now, understand I don't mind people waking me up so much when I'm home sick. I had a television station call me a couple of times on my cell and that's fine. I'm a public relations guy and that's part of the job.

However, I got a couple of calls that annoyed me to no end. The worst one was from a local publication to which my wife and I used to subscribe. We let our subscription run out a couple of months ago and we've gotten calls a few times a week from the company -- it seems they want us to subscribe again. We tell them "no" and they call back in a day or two and we go through the same nonsense again.

I tried a different approach this time around. A representative of that publication called me again and I, in my best "flu voice," said, "No, we don't want to subscribe. We've told y'all that. Please, I'm sick and I think I might have that nasty bird flu or something. I need my rest."

I got a couple of apologies, but I'm sure I'll hear from them again.

As much as those random telemarketer calls bug me on my home phone, I absolutely hate the ones I get on my cell. I hate cell phones anyway because they simply mean people can reach out and annoy me whenever they get the urge.

I've always hated cell phones, but I really hate the one I have now because of the number that came with it. This phone was provided to me by my office and I got my current number in July 2005. I learned in a hurry that the number was owned by someone who owed a lot of people a lot of money, so I've gotten a bunch of irate calls from bill collectors over the years.

Just last week, someone from XM radio started calling. Now, the XM folks are using a truly obnoxious tactic -- the phone rings and a recording says I need to call XM immediately about my account. I ignored about five of those, but finally returned the call last night. I got stuck on hold for about five minutes and my call got dropped when a human finally got on the line.

I really wonder how many customers XM loses over stuff like that. Satellite radio isn't doing terribly well and tactics like the one XM is using to collect bills probably doesn't help. I'm certain I'll never subscribe to that service, at least.

How on earth did we go from a society that used the telephone for strictly social or important reasons to one where it's common for unsolicited callers to annoy us at will?

Walker is a Jedi!

As I mentioned the other night, I've got a nasty case of the flu.

So I'm staying home for a work for a couple of days and that's a bad thing. Why? Giving me time to think can only result in something obnoxious.

Yes, I've wondered if I got that nasty bird flu, whether anyone but me thinks it's brutal when they clear the homeless out of downtown Little Rock when Bill Clinton comes to town, why I bothered with signing up for the "do not call" list when people delight in calling and waking me up anyway, etc.

I also watch a lot of television. I always have watched a lot of television, but I overdose on the stuff when I'm home sick. So I started thinking about the shows I'm watching in addition to my other bits of musing.

Here's what I've come up with -- Walker is a Jedi with a cowboy hat. Yeah, that's right.

Think about it. A Jedi or two is a force to be reckoned with and the same is true of Walker. I've watched Walker, Texas Ranger for years and I've seen Chuck Norris do some incredible things in that time. For example, he filled in during a NASCAR race and won, can fly an airplane or helicopter with no trouble, he's dispersed an angry, torch-wielding mob and routinely fights his way through gangs.

Also, let's not forget the Jedi preferred to fight with something other than blasters. Walker had rather beat someone senseless than shoot at them. Yeah, there's some similarity there, right?

Let's not forget that the Jedi draw their powers from the mystical Force. He might not have the Force, but Walker is in touch with Native American mysticism and, through it, has managed to travel back in time, locate missing people, find the truth of a case, etc.

And remember how people who get too close to Jedi get in trouble? Luke Skywalker's friends were led into traps at least a couple of times so that Luke might show up and save them. We know how that goes -- Darth Vader would step out, try to convert Luke and then we were off to light saber-battle city. You'll find plenty of bad guys out there trying to use Walker's friends against him, too.

Of course, there are a couple of differences. For one thing, Walker subscribes to the notion of moral absolutism and has no trouble dealing harshly with people who are clearly evil. Things weren't so black and white in Star Wars, were they?

Additionally, that Luke feller sure spent a lot of time whining. Walker wouldn't have put up with that kind of nonsense for a minute. He'd beat Luke like a redheaded stepchild, in fact.

There you go. I'm sure I'll come up with some more useless nonsense before my flu runs its course. I apologize in advance for that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Flu shots are worthless

I go through the same thing every year.

People get flu shots in the fall and advise me to do the same thing so as to avoid getting sick. I avoid flu shots like the plague because I've gotten two of them over the years and have wound up with a case of the flu every single time.

See, I'd rather roll the dice and not risk getting the flu rather than take a shot and guarantee I'll come down with some strain of the illness.

I now have proof flu shots are garbage -- my 12-year-old son has the flu. Yes, my wife took him to get a flu shot and they poor kid is sick as a dog. His doctor said he has a particularly nasty strain of flu that laughs at those piddling flu shots.

To make matters worse, he went and give his blasted flu to me. Yes, I'm now sick as a dog, too. I certainly appreciate that.

I've got two kids and getting them to share is almost impossible. However, when one of them gets sick that child will share an illness with everyone in the house. Typical.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Musical Monday -- the Darling Buds!

Yes, here's a band that should have been a lot bigger than it was. Enjoy this clip of the Darling Buds with their great song, "Please Yourself."

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

The high cost of a minivan

As I've mentioned right here, we went out and got my wife, Marci, a Toyota Sienna minivan last week.

She was worried about the car payment on the thing, largely because of the fun we had early in our marriage. Just a few years ago, we were so poor we couldn't pay attention. We were so poor, in fact, that we were were technically "po'," see.

We can swing the monthly payment for my wife's Sienna well enough, but we still remember what it was like to be broke and had rather not return to it. So we decided to cut out a few things, including the cleaning service we hired.

Now, I loved the cleaning service. My life has been one incident of trying to get out of housework after another and that cleaning service helped me realize my lifelong dream of making a mess and getting someone else to take care of it.

Back during the first year of my marriage, see, I was a jerk who refused to do any housework as such tedium interfered with napping and watching football. My wife worked on me and, over time, I took on more and more cleaning chores as we went.

So, a couple of years ago, I was standing in my living room with a mop thinking, "This sucks. I do this every week. I don't want to do this at all. I wonder how much it would cost to have someone else do this stuff?"

I talked to my wife and we wound up hiring a cleaning service. Yes, life was good. The service would appear every other Friday while we were away and I could come home to a clean house after work. It was like magical elves showed up, put my house in order and then retreated. It was a great feeling, indeed.

This weekend, however, I was back where I was two years ago -- I had a mop in my hands and I was dwelling on how much I hate it.

The whole thing started off badly because we haven't seen our mop in some time, so we had to dig the crud-covered thing out of the garage. I figured I had an out because the mop head was absolutely filthy. My wife found a new mop head, however. There was no out for poor ol' The Hawg.

So I wound up mopping the floor and a thought occurred to me -- mopping was invented by the devil. Yes, ol' Scratch himself came up with mopping as a way to get people to sell their souls. I'm almost certain that a few people have sold their souls to get out of mopping. That tricky Satan, however, is a sneaky one and he probably makes them mop in hell for all eternity.

Fortunately, I won't be stuck doing all the mopping this time around. Marci and I have agreed to alternate weekends. The devil and his sneaky, mop-wielding ways haven't gotten me yet and, God willing, they won't get her, either. Still, I can't help but think we're playing with fire as the temptation to get out of mopping is great, indeed.