Monday, November 29, 2004

ON THE FURTHER PAUCITY OF IDEAS OF BUDWEISER CREATIVE: So we've all seen the Miller Light ads with the referees throwing flags at people for drinking crappy beer and other social faux pas. The first ad of this type--I think--is the guy and the girl on the beach. The guy initially gets flagged for drinking sub-par beer. Then the ref has to move in for "further review" because the girl is so much hotter than the guy and the infraction is "disproportionately hot girlfriend" or somesuch. The ending is perfect: the girl is suddenly fascinated by the ref's whistle; she blows it; the girl and the ref start giggling; as the commerical ends the guy chimes in with an incredibly fake laugh. It's a cute idea executed well.

There are more ads of this type but you get the drift. One is at a campfire and the guy gets flagged for guitar-playing hippie lameness--"tent invitation DECLINED." One (possibly the most recent) has a hapless Bud delivery guy screeching petulantly, "You can't flag the King!" Which may have touched off the latest round of retaliatory Bud ads.

You see--the retaliatory Buds ads star the Miller Light refs. Except--and you'll NEVER see this coming--the refs are just out to steal Bud Light! That's so classic. When the Miller Light refs are flagging people and taking away their Bud Light, the refs just want the Bud Light, is what Bud wants you to believe.

The lack of ideas on Bud's part is obvious: beaten to the punch yet again by Miller Creative, they resort to these rebuttal ads, like they did with the President of Beers campaign. Without funny animals to sell beer, Bud Creative is completely lost. What's that Lee Atwater-Karl Rove thing? If you're playing defense, you're losing? Bud is clealy losing.

Now--again--the difference between the Bud and Miller products isn't a substantial difference like that between--say--Coke and Pepsi. It's more like the difference between the urine samples of monozygotic twins: both are awful but not readily distinguishable from each other. You just have these two really old brands with large amounts of advertising dollars behind them.

I still haven't been able to see in their entirety the new Miller ads with the people lined up at Bud headquarters addressing the building with megaphones. But Miller has clearly moved on, at least, and Bud is still playing defense. So Advantage: Miller. Still.
OAKLAND 25, DENVER 24: A completely great snow game on ESPN tonight, by the way. When Elam was lining up I at first thought, "That's it--Denver wins." But when I saw the Raiders line Sapp up there and these other giant guys and the way they were stacked there I thought, "There's an excellent chance the Raiders will block this." And they did. Snow games are so great. A further pox on the BCS for not having any games in snow-possible environments.

Sunday, November 28, 2004


1. Not wearing shoes.

2. Not wearing pants. I haven't actually done this, but it is within the realm of possiblity.

3. Having out the little black and white teevee in the background and not worrying about anybody giving me shit about it.

4. Copying materials not directly related to work. Let me rephrase that: that's something I could do--but it would be wrong.

5. Peeing with the door open. I don't even do that at home.

6. Making a whole pot of coffee and only having a few cups. Plus--free cream and sugar.

7. Not having to sneak the occasional nose pick. I'M OUT THERE, JERRY, AND LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

8. Reading comics on the can. Sure, I can do that at home--but what grown person reads comics on the can at work?

9. Throwing all my trash on the floor. (I pick it up before I leave.)

10. Scaring the crap out of myself at 10:15 at night and half the office is dark and I swear I heard the office door open and there's footsteps down the hall and I ignore it at first but then I have to get up and look and--and there's nobody there. Just the office humming, keeping me at a comfortable room temperature.

There. I apologize that two of the items were bathroom-related.

Friday, November 26, 2004

BY THE WAY: American press coverage of the goings-on in Ukraine--where an actual revolution appears to be breaking out--has been absolutely awful.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

ON BALANCE, AN EXCELLENT THANKSGIVING: This was the first Thanksgiving my mom had to have at her house and it went off really well. 14 guests. Tons of appetizers--my theory was to err on the side of excess, which is appropriate for the holiday. My dad made four kinds of stuffing: the usual kind that stuffs the bird with chicken parts mixed in, one with bits of oyster, one with mushrooms, and one with peppers. There were three kinds of cranberry dishes: the canned kind, the kind of uncle makes with actual cranberries, and a choice bit of Midwestern cuisine my grandma made that was Jello-based. Three kinds of potatoes: mashed, sweet, and these sort of pureed yams, which I think is in the tuber family. Multiple vegetables. I had some of everything, as is the goal I set for myself every year. Other random notes:

--Two awful NFL games, with Indy just hopelessly outclassing Detroit and the Bears and Cowboys playing the football version of a Coleman Francis movie for three quarters before Dallas decided they didn't want to lose.

--The suspension-limited Pacers won again, against the Wolves. And I had no idea this happened:

Michael Olowakandi was suspended for the game by the team after being arrested at an Indianapolis nightclub early Thursday morning.

Police used a stun gun to subdue the 7-0 center after he would not leave the club. He spent the night in jail and was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing, both misdemeanors."We are extremely disappointed in Michael Olowokandi's actions last night," general manager Jim Stack said in a statement.

"Regardless of how the incident escalated, he never should have been in that situation."

And you wonder why I watch the NBA. Plus now my two favorite teams, the Nets and the Clippers, are on my teevee. I can't believe I'm the only one who thinks Marko Jaric looks just like Tintin.

--The Orange Revolution continues. I know it isn't as simple as
Yuschenko good, Yanukovych bad, but it possibly is simply the Ukrainian citizenry just refusing to accept business as usual anymore.

--Your random thought of the day: Justice League International and Star Trek: The Next Generation are two of the prime cultural documents of the late 80s and early 90s--the hazy end of Reagan/Bush I/beginning of Clinton period, which I swear is a discrete time period. More if I care to elaborate; whatever I'm thinking involves the JLI's status as a UN-sanctioned body and the Enterprise's commitment to diplomacy and a sort of multiculturalism under Captain Picard, neither of which would happen in DC comics or Trek shows today.

Thus concludes one South Jersey Thanksgiving.
THE "ORANGE REVOLUTION": Good times in the Ukraine, it seems like, with the people en masse deciding they were sick of the way the country was being run (as is explained here) and descending upon Kiev in a completely peaceful way. Fistful of Euros (which has been my main Ukraine blog) is somewhat pessimistic this morning, though, noting that there are many Ukrainians who would like to be more tied with Russia, though not enough to have won the election for Yanukovych. In other words, the election was fraudulent, but it's not like the whole entire nation wants Yushchenko. You should read that whole Fistful post; the situation is more complex, it seems, than just corrupt authoritarian government, oppressed people, etc., even if they are sticking flowers in the shields of riot cops. But whoever they had on All Things Considered today was saying this was a genuine Revolution, so we shall see.

Read The Periscope and Foreign Notes too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

IDENTITY CRISIS: I'M STILL NOT SOLD: I picked up 3 through 6 today because everybody's talking about it and nobody can figure out who Sue Dibny's murderer is. Your suspects are thought to be:

Ray Palmer
Dr. Light
Ray Palmer's ex-wife

And right now Ray Palmer's ex-wife is looking the most likely in my book, even though she, like Ray, has zero motivation to kill Sue. Hopefully the final twist will at least solve the murder mystery angle of ID; it seems DC is going to answer the other dangling parts (the Luthor suit, Firestorm exploding, Captain Boomerang's mother--and more) in a bewildering array of crossovers. But with the speculation amped up like it is, I don't know what Meltzer can do to satisfy everybody.

Anyway. Is this thing good aside from the hype? Does it hang together well? I can't judge it yet, but with six issues in the bank and one to go I should be able to--that's how much hinges on whether this thing is wrapped up convincingly or is the second coming of Zero Hour. Green Arrow's been done well. He's probably the "star" of IC, if you had to pick one person. Ralph....has been a blubbering mess and so has not been making with the detective work, yet I've read Meltzer quotes hyping Ralph's investigative skills so--again--one more issue.

And for some reason, everyone's drawn like they have glass eyes. It's weird.

Monday, November 22, 2004

A TOUCH OF THE ALL-NIGHTER: Which is what happens when you wait until 8 o'clock PM the night before the biochem quiz to get your studying mojo on. Or--alternatively--what happens when your mojo takes its sweet time to materialize out of the scholastic ether. Either way, the structure of ATP is not entering my brain in a timely fashion.


Simmons had his take on the Pacers-Pistons fans brawl and he pointed out that maybe if Ron Ron had actually gone after the right fan, it would have mitigated his sentence slightly. And he's right; the fact that he charged in there and knocked somebody down without seeing who did it means he's nutty. We always knew he was nutty, but not in a blindly charging in there kind of way. We didn't know he was Stephen Jackson nuts, in other words.

ESPN went all Zapruder film on the brawl and pretty much consclusively proved that white hat-Wallace jersey guy--the guy who grabbed Artest from behind while Ron was inquiring if the first man he attacked did it, and then got in some punches on Ron from that position--was the beer-tosser. (Interestingly, another piece of debris looked like it was being launched at the same time from another part of the court. It didn't hit anybody, I guess.) He has a name: John Green.

A questionable election in the Ukraine goes for the Kremlin's boy. NO!

I stopped reading Identity Crisis due to not liking the whole death-and-rape of Sue Dibny thing (and in hindsight, if you're going to slag Meltzer for that you have to slag Alan Moore for that too--Watchmen also had a prominent rape) but people are still talking about it incessantly so apparently it is following through on its promise and its hype. I personally smell a big Matrix: Revolutions-esque letdown. In that spirit, here's a well-thought-out conspiracy theory saying it's Jason Todd back from the grave who is the killer. And from the same poster at Newsarama, a more likely post saying the Calculator is the killer. I think the evidence suggesting Ray Palmer did it is a feint by Meltzer.

I'm sorry if somebody got "spoiled" by reading this. But if you don't want to get spoiled, stay off the friggin' Internet.

Back to how phosphoenolpyruvate really really wants to donate its phosphate to ADP.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

JUST MINDNUMBING: How is Artest gone for the season but Stephen Jackson coming back in 30? And Ron Ron's been on his best behavior for the last season or so.

Look--I'm an Artest fan. He's a character. I think he deserves punishment for what he did. Just not significantly more than Stephen Jackson, who really turned this thing into a full-fledged brawl. He's getting punished based on his past history, a history he has largely overcome. And neither Jackson nor Artest deserve jack shit if the Detroit organization is not getting punished because of the actions of their fans. How is Stern's judgement not saying. "You know what, fans? If there's a guy on the other team you think you can provoke into doing something stupid, by all means, throw a beer at him"? I hope another shoe is dropping here, but I doubt it. Stern would never do anything as actually innovative as punishing a fan base by making their team play a game in an empty arena.

What makes all this doubly shameful is the fact that the Pacers had smoked the Pistons, and that Artest had successfully needled Ben Wallace into flipping out. All that effort squandered on one thrown beer.

I don't think the thought crossed Ron Ron's mind that "Hey--if I retaliate, I can promote my crappy album!" but if it did, I would not be surprised.

And this is neither here nor there, but why, with 45 seconds and the game won, were Artest and Wallace still in the game?

Anyway, ridiculous stuff. Jermaine O'Neal should not be getting 25 games for hitting a guy who attacked his teammate on the friggin' court. And if you're throwing out Ron for the whole season, at least give Ben Wallace a few more games than 5 for starting the whole thing.

Utah won, by the way. They end up playing Boston College and smoking them in a bowl and then splitting the title with some BCS lackey squad, is my prediction. And so the BCS dies a little more.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

THE PISTONS-PACERS BRAWL: Holy crud. My two clever comments, way after the fact:

It's too bad Jack Nicholson wasn't involved.

With Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson playing on the same team, something like this was bound to happen.

People are going to point to Artest with this one and they're going to be mostly wrong. I didn't see the game up to that point, so I don't know if he was being any more of his usual annoying self on the court--but there was seemingly no reason for Wallace to clobber him the way he did after a pretty standard foul. Maybe Ben was upset because the Pistons had gotten thoroughly smoked that night, or just frustrated by the Pistons' overall mediocre start, or maybe Ron Ron had been needling him all night. The point is, what Ben went right for Ron Ron's head and he's going to be suspended for a long time.

And Artest basically stayed out of it. He knows he has a bad rep that he's been slowly working himself out of. He's also completely nuts. He's not fake nuts like Rodman with the tatoos and the pink hair and the "look at me!" Ron is legit crazy--this is my understanding--and so when he's lying on the scorer's table he's cooling down in his own singular fashion. He is not attempting to show up the Pistons fans. So when he gets hit by a beer or a beer-like object--well, it still doesn't excuse charging the stands in my opinion. And from what I've heard the numbnuts went after the wrong guy when he did charge the stands.

But--but--this was not all him. And Stephen Jackson did not need to go running into the stands after him and whacking somebody else who had nothing to do with it. The two guys with the Pistons jerseys who came on the court after Artest--the heavier one, you will recall, took the punch in the face from Jermaine O'Neal--deserved what they got. So there you are.

The ESPN talking heads, by the way, were blaming the fans and thus defending the NBA product a bit too much for my tastes.

In other NBA news: the Suns beat the Lakers in what looked like a great game; Dwayne Wade put the Heat into OT after a cheap foul by Kirilenko and then won it for them; the Sonics are--inexplicably--9 and 1. That can't last.

In other basketball news: Santa Clara beat North Carolina. AWESOME.

In other college sports news: Utah plays BYU tomorrow in an attempt to go undefeated and truly mess with the BCS. Let's all hope they succeed. But if anybody can beat them in some fluky way it's BYU in the last game of the season. I had no idea they actually call this game the "Holy War."

That's sports. I also applaud Josh Marshall's attempt to find out how every Republican congressperson voted on the Delay rule.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

SECOND GROUP OF TESTS: And the great full time student/full time office drone experiment continues.

Biochemistry: My percentile grade was atrocious, but so was everyone else's, so it worked out okay. Our professor can't decide if he's evil or not, so he gives weird tests and then inexplicably adds on extra points afterwards. I have a high B+ right now and that's the bottom line.

Histology: ANOTHER class with the bad percentile/good in reference to everyone else dynamic. I felt our professor's disappointment was directed more at me as I shed 25 points from the first test to this one. I could not bring myself to mention that I was just coming back from my grandfather's funeral that day so I had an excuse for being out of it and not studying as much as I would have liked. But it was a crappy excuse since I was coasting from my fabulous grade in the first test anyway, even before my grandfather's death.

Did I mention that? No, I didn't. The funeral was last Tuesday. A few of my Michigan cousins came in and there was this clash of cultures thing at the service as we would alternate between solemn bible readings and my dad's eulogy and my Michigan cousin belting out karaoke hymns. It was hard to sustain the proper emotion during Amazing Grace played in this sort of 70s-motion-picture-soundtrack way.

So I did not bring this up. What would the point be? You can't make up a histology test--you can't ask your professor to set up 25 microscopes again. And I was slacking anyhow. Let's move on, as Bill Simmons would say.

Microbiology: Eh. No idea what I got. Our professor's been away with undisclosed "family issues" and hasn't posted any grades yet. I only needed a 42 on this to maintain an A average.

Genetics: I had an awful feeling after this one, but everybody else did too which made me feel better the next day. The class average was 50 percent, so you knew we were getting a helpful curve on this thing. Mine worked out to a B+ which doesn't tell me anything since our final grade is based on our final point total in reference to the rest of the class. But there you go.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

A CUP OF COFFEE, A SANDWICH, AND YOU: Except replace "you" with "a genetics textbook." And add a highlighter. Welcome to my weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I'LL TELL YOU ONE THING: Watching 'ER' does not make me overjoyed at the prospect of practicing medicine. Maybe I should watch 'Scrubs' more.

Monday, November 08, 2004

ANOTHER THREE TEST WEEK: So don't expect a lot from me. But if you're still not over the election, I invite you to shake that ass, bitch. Via the DVDVR.

The tests:

Histology: Always the wildcard in this curve-based class: will I do well enough in reference to my classmates to get the A? It's a bit harder this time, now that we have to identify different parts of the small intestine based on how they look microscopically.

Biochemistry: Our first-time-teaching-this-class professor has been erring on the side of kindness lately, which I hope continues this week.

Microbiology: I have 21 extra points to play with heading into this exam with three hundred eight points out of a possible three hundred points to my credit overall. My wily strategem may be to study harder for biochem, given my excellent situation here.

There you go.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

MY FAVORITE ELECTORAL MAP: I'm sure you've seen the United States of Canada/Jesusland one that gave us Kerry voters much-needed yucks. And the USA Today red-and-blue county map. And the one comparing the current election to the one in 1896. This one, though, is my favorite thus far; it's certainly the most-eye-catching:

Via Crooked Timber. Who got it from here. It's three guys from the University of Michigan and once they plot out their data and everything they reach this conclusion:

It appears that there are, as the pundits have been telling us, "two Americas," but they are not the ones people usually talk about. They are "divided America," where people split roughly evenly between Republican and Democrat, and "decided America," where everyone is a Democrat. The Democrats of "decided America" number about 5.9 million, or 11% of all Democratic voters. These people are unlikely ever even to encounter a Republican voter in their home town.

If one were to summarize simply, it appears that the election's winner won by a slim majority of people in counties that -- as counties -- were rather ambivalent about their decision. He was opposed by a nearly (but not quite) equal number of people a considerable fraction of whom live in counties that were very certain of their support for his opponent.

So there you have it: statistical evidence of the liberal coccoon. Six million people who've never even seen a Republican. If I was a conservablogger I'd be all over this. But I'm not--so down to sleep I go.

By the way--Blogger stinks with fonts. And USC lost and Utah won. The BCS dies this year, I swear it.

UPDATE: USC didn't actually lose--the hey? I swear ESPN said that. The BCS dies anyway.

Friday, November 05, 2004

MY FINAL ANALYSIS: They should've gone with Dean. At least it would've been interesting. Kerry was a flawed candidate compared to Bush because he couldn't keep his story straight. The combination of gay marriage and the general association of Republicans with defense put Bush over the top. The gayest, most terrorized city in America went overwhelmingly for Kerry. There you are.

Let.....the healing.....begin.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

WELL. AT LEAST THE NBA IS BACK: And what was Stern thinking anyway starting the season yesterday? Did he think the non-voters needed alternative programming? How completely goofy.

Anyway--so I've read and heard a bunch of post-mortems, about the Democrats being so out of touch and the rightward turn and divided America and Kerry couldn't differentiate himself enough and Bush's simplicity and how the Republicans represent average America (which seems to mean non-Northeastern, non-West Coastal, non-Great Lakes America--all of natural body of water-free America, actually, is "average" America) and the Democrats do not. But I think the simple Steve Sailer explanation is the best: "It was a repeat of 2000, except that the country shifted about three points to the right, most likely due to 9/11." There you go.

This--from Yglesias--is funny.

I mean--I kind of wish they had nominated Dean and lost big, rather than go with a guy who was "electable" but didn't really change the dynamics of the race at all. But whatever. I'm resigned. America has rewarded a completely fucked-up war in Iraq and I don't understand it all but--whatever. Maybe we won't really invade Iran.
AS OF 1:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY MORNING: Deep, deep depression.

Monday, November 01, 2004

CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC: Maybe because the Bush blogs seems a little more nervous than the Kerry blogs. Steyn threatened to stop writing if Kerry wins, so that's something.

Slate has them tied which is a Bush win but 1. it's close and 2. it certainly would be something to see. I mean, I don't think it would tear apart the republic or anything. Plus if the Senate amazingly goes Dem we'd have a Bush-Edwards administration. This guy at Princeton has some kind of tricked-out analysis that's given Kerry a pretty sizable lead. Good ol' electoral-vote dot com has Kerry up by quite a few as well.

Plus the time for argument is past. Ain't nothing to it but to do it.