Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Greatest Suck on Earth!

I know that the circus is a pretty cheesy/sad thing once you're an adult and outgrow whatever cool it had when you were a kid, but since I'm a father we've made it a tradition to go every year. And it's the big one, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Not some cheapo fly-by-night operation. Well, we went tonight and it was the lamest thing I have ever seen. Something seriously bad has happened to RBB&B. Whether it's cashflow problems or liability issues, I'm not sure; but let's compare this year's experience with the last three years:

Three rings
Cool Black Ringmaster
Bello, the awesome clown
Tiger show
Good, entertaining high wire act
High-flying trapeze artists

No rings, in fact a much smaller performance area
Fake "dad from the audience" living his circus dream
No Bello, just lame, unfunny clowns
No tigers. Just cats, doves, and dogs
No high wire act, unless you count the dove and cat on a 5-foot-high rope
No trapeze show, just fake "mom" swinging (and not in the good way)

About the fake mom and dad: The theme of the circus (since when do they have themes?) was Circus of Dreams. They brought one "lucky family" onto the floor to live their circus dream. Dad wanted to be Ringmaster, Mom wanted to be an aerial acrobat, sister wanted to be a "famous circus dancer" (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one), and the boy couldn't decide. So the whole night was about showing him things so he could decide what he wanted to do. In true suckjob fashion, the show ended with the boy finding his place in the circus by winning a video game and becoming King of the Circus. Way to carry through on that message of "use your imagination". Don't worry about actually imagining anything or choosing what your true heart's desire is. Just excel at video games and be important for that. Hella weak. And there was also the privilege of paying twelve fucking dollars for a snowcone in a collectible elephant cup. Utterly disgraceful!

The best things about the show were the Chinese acrobats (who performed the "video game")and the dirt bikes in the Globe of Death. The last time they did that globe was two years ago, and they crashed! Everything worked out well this time, though. They tempered that coolness, however, with a ridiculous strongman named Herkules who had less muscle definition than Liza Minelli. His big finale was catching a cannonball fired out of a "real cannon". You can't imagine how anticlimactic it was. The cannon lobbed the ball, slowly, about 15 feet, where he caught it more easily than when his "lifting partner" Sven tosses him the medicine ball.

You can tell how bitter I am, which is why I'm writing this tonight. I don't want the outrage to pass while I sleep. Heed my warning, all, and steer clear of the "Blue Tour" of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. It's not even worth it for the kids.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ok, I'm probably cured

Of my TV malaise, that is. I sat down to watch this week's recorded "Prison Break" last night, and totally forgot that "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" were being recorded. I dove back into those and am very glad to have done so. Earl was very good, and The Office was awesome! I was anxious to see what they were going to do with the whole Jim and Pam thing, and so far I'm very pleased with the direction they've gone:

  • Two offices!
  • Pam not married!
  • Roy now a sympathetic character trying to win Pam back!

I've been so hooked on dramas for the last few years, maybe I should go back to comedies. It's too bad, though, that "How I Met Your Mother" conflicts with "Prison Break", my wife's (and mine to an extent) Monday addiction. I'll try to keep the new shows to a minimum, probably just "Studio 60" (if I like it) and NBC's other SNL-like show "30 Rock". Hopefully that will be funny, because Alec Baldwin is always money on Saturday Night Live, and Tina Fey is just hawt (in a smart and funny, yet also hawt, way). Tracy Morgan could ruin it, though. They should have used Tim Meadows. Oh yeah, "Heroes" looks interesting, too. Dammit! And when did NBC cancel "Medium"? That blows!

Ok, enough TV talk. Anyone live in a state that's having a heated Senate or House race this fall? My state's pretty boring for that kind of stuff, but at least we don't get the ridiculous attack ads here. There's just no point when you know how the state's going to go.

Have a good weekend everybody. Don't forget to root for the good guys this weekend (the ones from Columbus and Foxborough, in case you didn't know.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Back in the saddle, so to speak

But my horse couldn't be more lethargic. I don't know if it's the adjustment to the time zone, or recovering from the endless walking, but I'm not very enthusiastic about rejoining my regular life after our European trip. The weather that's welcomed us doesn't help, either. It's chilly and overcast. Neither of us is sleeping solidly through the night (the wife worse than me). And I just don't have much excitement for things. Not even the new TV season. There are some shows I'd like to watch, but the urgency I had last year is gone. The prospect of missing an episode, even the return of Lost, doesn't upset me much. I may even forsake most TV and actually read. Who knows. I'll probably get into the swing of things eventually, and get as addicted as usual. Let's see if you can help me get hooked:

1. If anyone saw the premieres of "Jericho", "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", or "Men in Trees", let me know what you thought.

2. If there are any Gilmore Girls and/or Veronica Mars fans out there, is it worth it to start watching those shows at this point, seeing as they've already been on for several seasons?

3. Any other new shows you checked out that you recommend?

Otherwise, make sure you stop over at the other joint. I've put up some photos and a video of Day 1 of the trip. Check it out.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bonjour Enfants!

Here I am in Paris, with the wife, enjoying our last day. I'm posting from an internet cafe. Today was Monster Museum Day, with the Louvre, Picasso, Carnavalet, and Pompidou museums. Our legs and feet already hate us. (Shhh, don't tell them the walking's going to be even worse in London).

Hope you all are behaving in my absence, and jealously thinking of the adventures we are having.

A bientot, mes amis!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oh yeah, I have a new blog

Sorry for the lack of any writing lately. I've been busy, getting work done before my trip and just getting ready for the trip. I'm off to Europe this weekend, and really looking forward to it. I won't be able to play my quiz while over there (I may try when I get online to check email, but not everyday), so have fun battling it out in my absence.

As for my birthday, it was great! My wife gave me one of the best presents ever: ski jumping. I slid down a small freestyle ramp and jumped into a pool. It was awesomely fun, even though I kind of sucked at it. I've never done much acrobatic stuff, never really used a trampoline, so I didn't try any flips. It was enough just trying to stay upright consistently. I did some splits, and then my time was up. I highly recommend it to anyone, and I hope to go again and jump off a higher ramp.

So one topic I had hoped to write about after starting this blog was the American Conservative. I had the pleasure of hearing Tammy Bruce's radio show one afternoon, and it was interesting to say the least. Click on the link to find out more about this fascinating creature. Basically she's a (self-professed) pro-choice, lesbian Democrat who has become a raging war-monger conservative spewing inflammatory invective against Liberal Evil and critics of the War on Terror. Nothing new to those familiar with ridiculous pundits like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk. But she does distinguish herself in one way: She's openly critical of Bush, his administration, and has called for Condaleeza Rice to resign! She thinks they're actually being too soft on terrorists, evidenced by their Neville Chamberlain-esque appeasement of Hezbollah and Iran with the UN resolution sanctioned cease-fire. (Interestingly, she compared the Bush Admin to Nazi appeasers before Rumsfeld could do it to war critics). If she had her way, Tammy would let Israel bomb all of Lebanon, and probably the Muslim world, out of existence.

I could go on and on about how ridiculous and shrill Tammy sounds making these points, or about how absurd she is to say that Dick Cheney is a more respectable person than John Kerry because John Kerry only went to Vietnam to improve his political image, dishonorably shot a Viet Cong in the back while he was running away (carrying a loaded rocket launcher, in fact), and asked for purple hearts for wounds that merely required a band-aid. See Snopes' treatment of the facts here. (FYI, Cheney received medical deferments from service, and the only person he ever shot was his elderly friend, in the face and neck, on a bird hunting trip.) You can also google what in Ms. Bruce's past makes her whacko and pretty racist. But all of that is beside the point. My concern is: what if these aggressive neo-cons are right?

I suspect that very few reasonable people believe that the Bush Administration invaded Iraq to fight a legitimate terrorist threat or to altruistically depose a ruthless dictator and spread glorious freedom. I'm not talking about Iraq. I'm talking about the problem of Muslim extremists who want to attack the U.S. and other western nations. Is the only way to stop them by eradicating them? Is it too naive to believe it's possible to understand where the anger of extreme Islamists comes from and do something constructive to end that anger? Sure, we can emphasize the complexity of the issues, point to historical events and foreign policies that have created the situation in the Middle East. But is all that just academic? Is it too late to fix the problem by understanding its roots? Is our only option now to keep fighting until they're all dead? Normally I wouldn't entertain such barbaric, simplistic ideas. But what if the anger and hatred that's developed in the Middle East (and it appears from some of the rhetoric used by leaders there to be quite powerful hatred) cannot be assuaged? If that's the truth, then I am very scared and saddened by it.

I've gone on long enough, but thought I'd throw that out there for your consideration. Please leave some comments about what you think on the topic.

I'll try to do a post tomorrow before I leave on the trip, one that's a bit more upbeat.

Friday, September 01, 2006

You should all be very excited!

Why? Because tomorrow, September 2, is a VERY special day! Someone is having a birthday tomorrow! It's someone you love. Someone you respect and admire. Someone you wish you knew better. Someone who has accomplished great things. Someone who is smoking hot! Someone with a great rack!

It's Salma Hayek!!! Who turns a steamy 40 years old tomorrow!
Ay Caramba!!
Muy Caliente!

If she doesn't do it for you, then how about hunky Keanu Reeves, who turns a hot 42 tomorrow!
Owning the rugged look.
Whoa!  He cleans up nicely, too.

(Interesting connection, Salma's father is half Lebanese, and Keanu was born in Beirut, Lebanon!)

And to be topical, Jimmy Connors, the tennis legend and new coach for Andy Roddick, turns a dashing 54 tomorrow!
Always with that sly smile.
Great hair!  Think he uses Pert?

Probably no one you know turns 33 tomorrow, though. Oh well.