Okay, I’ve archived the old

Okay, I’ve archived the old comments and switched the comment system to SquawkBox. It works the same as the old system except it will run top (oldest comments) to bottom (newest comments). That’s more logical for most of us anyway. It doesn’t have the text formatting buttons, so those of you who like to play like that will have to insert your own html. If you don’t know html, just type. One advantage to this new system is I can manage the comments, which means I can silence the critics and idiots.

…one step closer to totally ruling.

Okay, so here’s the deal.

Okay, so here’s the deal. Blogger (the platform for this site) doesn’t currently offer its own comments feature. The service I’ve been using is an independent platform run by some guy somewhere. Unfortunately, it has begun to prove itself unreliable. That’s what “Closed for Maintenance” means, for those of you who have asked. I’d complain a little more, but it’s free. There are other services out there, and I’ll probably switch over to another one soon. I don’t want to do that until the current service is revived, primarily because I want to recover some of the old comment conversations and save them for posterity (I’m a verbal packrat that way).

I’m also holding off on a pending real post until the comment situation is resolved. As much as I enjoy having this format to spout off, I value the response and interaction just as much. If I post now, my readers (all three of them) will find themselves bewildered and utterly lost without a venue for feedback. I’ve already cooked up some good stuff, and I’ll get it up as soon as it’s prudent. The “some guy somewhere” comment dude indicated he’d fix things last night. He didn’t, but I’m hoping that it will be resolved soon. Keep your eyes peeled and your browsers refreshed.

While you wait, say howdy to my favorite t-sip…

(Maybe this is the “some guy somewhere.”)

You’re probably familiar with Michael

You’re probably familiar with Michael Moore whether you realize it or not. He’s the guy who put on his own little sideshow when he won the Best Documentary Oscar for his latest film, Bowling for Columbine. He also wrote a book called Stupid White Men and is an exceptional attention grabber for his various agendas. I think he’s capable of being pretty funny and pretty smart, even though I tend to disagree with him philosophically a lot of the time. I’ve also smelled “poser” a little more every time I’ve seen him talk. He’s addicted to playing the underdog hero role, and he casts himself as a middle class Joe Everyman laying himself on the line for his fellow hard working, oppressed brethren in mainland America (oh, and for all the beaten down, oppressed people everywhere else). The primary problem with that is that he’s a spoiled millionaire who lives on NYC’s Upper West Side.

Anyway, he’s become sort of an unlikely hero for a lot of left-leaning Americans. Not surprisingly, his bit has played to even more receptive ears in Europe. Most who read here know I’m not as conservative as I used to think I was, and I’m not categorically opposed to Moore because he’s a liberal. His act is growing more and more tired, though, because he’s a liar and a publicity fiend. It seems his personal circus is finally being seen for what it is in many places, including Europe. This article in The Times (London) is a fascinating read on how that’s happening. [Note: Sometimes this link tells you that you need a subscription; sometimes it takes you to the article. If you fail at first, try again later. It’s a good read.]

Before the article went AWOL, I copied the following quote:

Richard Schickel, arguably America’s most distinguished observer of the cinema, was rather more forthcoming about Moore’s general approach: “I despise our gun laws in the States, too. But Moore’s tactics, I think, give aid and comfort to the enemy. In short, he’s careless with his facts, hysterical in debate and, most basically, a guy trying to make a star out of himself. He’s a self-aggrandiser and, perhaps, the very definition of the current literary term, ‘the unreliable narrator’. This guy either can’t or won’t stick to the point, build a logical case for his arguments. It’s all hysteria — but, I think, calculated hysteria.”

Most of you probably received

Most of you probably received my email sales pitch, but I’m going to pimp little brother’s cd here too. Will and Beth, my middle-little-but-not-really-littler-than-me brother and his lovely bride, just finished their first smash record: what else could i praise? It will be available for sale online shortly, but you can get a copy now (and probably save a couple of bucks) by emailing me here. Buy a lot. They’re good.

Wal-Mart Chronicles, Vol. 2 (if

Wal-Mart Chronicles, Vol. 2 (if you missed Vol. 1, click here)

So I made my standard late night Wal-Mart run tonight. I arrived at about 10:45 with a goal to be in the checkout line by 11:05. I only had a handful of items to grab — a ten minute trip in most stores, but twice that in our local “please excuse our mess while we improve your shopping experience” Supercenter. I grabbed a few groceries, some allergy remedies to combat our late arriving spring, and a couple of computer-related items we need as we continue to optimize our use of the new Mac. I head to the checkout on schedule and find the mess you might expect. It went something like this…

There was one 20-item or less express lane open, and it was backed up about fifteen people deep, well beyond the checkout area and into the store aisles. There were three regular lines open, each at least six or seven people deep. Since the regular lanes were full of people with overflowing carts, I opted for the express line even though it was much longer. After five minutes of the line not moving, my fellow shoppers and I were growing restless.

About this time, a guy I’d run into in electronics staggered up looking like he’d wandered into the Twilight Zone. You have to love these people who act like they don’t know what a line is, wandering up to look at the front of the line as though the customers are going to part like the Red Sea and tell him they’re just hanging out to talk; that they’re not in line for the one open register. This particular cat was wearing sneakers, socks half-way to his knees, shorts that were clearly intended to be a bathing suit, and an old wife beater. He had a lot more hair in places other than his head than he did above the neck.

As weird swimsuit guy is standing next to the line looking like the doofus he is, another Wal-Mart employee walks up to open the “20 items or less” express lane next to us. Doofus swimsuit guy, either oblivious to those of us who have been waiting in line for a while or totally indifferent to our suffering and the ethics of shopping-checkout-lane-traffic, jumps to the front of the newly opened lane to check out first. He then proceeds to have to make three separate purchases, consuming at least five minutes while those of us who have shifted to the new lane plot ways to make him bleed.

After several more minutes of waiting, I finally reach the checkout counter. When I do, the lady behind the register (whose name badge reads “Customer Service Manager…Welcome to Wal-Mart, I’m Sue”) looks at my cart and the following exchange immediately ensues:

CSM Sue (condescendingly): OK, you’re supposed to be in the long line.

[Now let me interrupt the dialogue here to explain that, even with the suffering I’d endured to this point, I know nobody likes the guy who tries to fudge his way through the express lane. I try to show my fellow captives respect in these matters. I was confident in my innocence. Upon hearing Sue’s instant assessment of my haul, I took about 1.3 seconds to adjust to my high performance blood, which can go from 98.6° to 212° in 1.5 seconds. Just short of boiling, I summon a certain amount of calmness.]

Me (making sure the shoppers behind me who are now contemplating jumping me instead of doofus swimsuit guy can also hear me): There are less than twenty items in this cart.
CSM Sue : (Mutters indiscernible stuff under her breath.) I’m assuming it wasn’t a bevy of complimentary thoughts on my math skills.

I then watch her mentally count my items as she begrudgingly runs them across the scanner and tosses them into bags. I run my debit card, she punches her buttons, I take my receipt. Here’s the score:

Thanks for shopping at Wal-Mart. It’s our pleasure to serve you.

…or something like that.

I’m away for a month

I’m away for a month and I get all sorts of grief. I show up and mention my birthday, and the crowd vanishes faster than Richard Simmons at a Sadie Hawkins dance.

A few random observations and suggestions today:

We watched About Schmidt this weekend, and it’s remarkable. It’s pretty dark, but there’s this glint of hope and redemption if you’re willing to fight for it. Jack is, as usual, great. You have to briefly see Kathy Bates naked (yeah, that Kathy Bates…it’s pretty shocking), but if you survive that and her occasional salty language, it’s a very nice script, beautifully acted.

If you can’t sing, don’t volunteer to sing solos in church. If you get to make decisions about who sings solos in church, don’t shove people up there who can’t sing (unless there’s a really spiritual reason for it). Thanks. Those of us with sensitive ears appreciate your thoughtfulness in that regard. We could all debate the merits of performance/entertaiment-driven worship in the church, but until we make more progress in that area, let’s at least be reasonable about stuff like this. K?

If you don’t own it already, you should buy the Willie Nelson album, The Great Divide. I’ve had it for a long time now, and it’s still oh so nice. Friends like Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Rob Thomas, Leann Womack, and Brian McKnight drop in for memorable duets. The Kid Rock number – Last Stand in Open Country – could hardly be any better.

The dinner table scene in Meet the Parents has to be one of the funniest scenes in cinematic history. De Niro: I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?

Too bad the ad robot is gone. Between that last post and discussion of Kathy Bates naked, who knows what we could have stirred up. [Note to those who were fans of the ad robot: When I anted up the cash to be able to post photos, the nice folks at blogger took your friend away. Sorry. I’d say there’s a decent chance you can find one or two other ad-driven websites floating around the web. Just try a big church site.]

I’m now closer to 40 than 16. That’s only slightly bothersome. I like my life a lot, so why should I complain about my age? I’m reasonably confident of the end game in all of this, I don’t have a time traveling Delorean, and we’re not promised tomorrow anyway. Today is what we got, and that’s enough for me.

Friday the 13th. Don’t believe

Friday the 13th. Don’t believe the hype. It’s luckier than you think. I was born on Friday the 13th. It happened in June, too.

(Shameless, I know. You wouldn’t think so little of me if you knew how big of a deal my birthday isn’t to me).