LAH-OOZER!

As you probably know by now, I drove to Connecticut last Tuesday for Thanksgiving. I left early Friday morning. What this means is that for three nights, I was forced – forced, I say – to watch Jeopardy with my grandmother, who is addicted to that show. She’d walk into the living room, turn on the tv, bitch about how my aunt & uncle need to get a remote for it, and then start talking about Ken Jennings in the tone of voice she usually reserves for the Pope.

“I heard he loses,” Aunt Anne said on one of those nights as we all sat around the tv. I’d heard the same thing, over at Ain’t-it-cool-news, but just because I heard it didn’t make it true. And watching Jeopardy Tuesday night, Wednesday night, and Thursday night … well, he didn’t lose.

But he did lose tonight, apparently.

Ahead by $4,400 going into “Final Jeopardy,” Final Jeopardy!, Jennings stumbled on this Business and Industry clue: Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.* Jennings wrongly answered, “What is FedEx?” Real estate agent Nancy Zerg of Ventura, Calif., responded, “What is H&R Block?” making her the new champ — and a likely future Jeopardy! answer. (She finished with $14,401; Jennings fell to $8,799.)

Anyway, good to see Jeopardy got a much needed boost off Kenny. Hope Gramma is okay, but I’m sure Devil Cat is keeping her company.

*I mean, from my own experiences with FedEx, I don’t think their employees work at all, and I’ve since made a vow that if an item I’m bidding on over eBay has “FedEx” listing as how that item will be shipped, I won’t bid on it. Lost lots of stuff that way.

The Tag

See that tag above? The one that says, “A Snay’s Gotta Say What a Snay’s Gotta Say”?

Well, I’m thinking of changing it. I want something, I don’t know, funny. Something like, “From Snay With Love.” Or, “Malnurtured Snay and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

Vamps and Demons and Cheerleaders, OH MY!

With the ABOUT GODDAMN TIME arrival of my Amazon order (see here and here and here), I am now completely engrossed in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Seven.” I got into Buffy (not literally, oh, but how did I hope …) my last year at Towson University. As an English major, I learned one thing quickly: most of the girls in my classes were, surprise, surprise, Buffy fans. As sort of a “this makes sense” bit, most of the guys were open to the show, too. There was this one girl I had several classes with, Jennifer Schweers — and she was always in the computer lab, too — (and I forget her name**!!!!!) but she would always come into class the day after Buffy aired, talking about the show — ranting, might be a better word — and … oh, memories.

(Y’know, sometimes I miss college, not so much for the educational aspect of it, but just for the people you meet, and especially for the creative, whacky, nutso English majors. The creative arts always get the coolest people.)

And it isn’t hard to see why. Joss Whedon is a good story-teller – he’s sarcastic, bright, and usually able to create characters who are not only interesting, but also familiar to the audience. Sure, we may not all go out and slay vampires, but most people can identify with Willow, the outcast nerd; Xander, the ‘trying to be macho’ dude with lady problems; even Buffy struggling to make ends meet, and forced to grow up and assume responsibilities above her “vampire slayer” super-hero job. I mean, could you imagine Superman working in a fast food restaraunt to pay his rent? Well, neither can I — but I can picture myself working a variety of low-paying demeaning jobs to pay my bills while I went to school.*

Yeah, the concept of the show is a bit nutty — girl gets super strength and must save the world from the evils of the “hellmouth” located beneath a high school — and if you don’t have an open mind regarding sci-fi themed shows, it probably would skip under your radar. But there’s more to Buffy than killing vampires and slaying demons, like most great dramatic television series, it’s also a soap opera. I don’t say this to demean the show, any hour long dramatic show with character arcs is certainly going to have its “soap opera” characteristics – heck, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was supremely opera-ish, especially compared to its predecessor, The Next Generation (with its infamous “reset button”).

What makes the show so attractive, beyond the usual high excellence of writing and humor (although, admittedly, sometimes it is so “tongue in cheek” its like clubbing yourself over a head with a hammer), are the themes of friendship, devotion, sacrifice. Interestingly enough, these are the same qualities that made Whedon’s short lived Firefly great.

If you’ve never watched Buffy, do yourself a favor, turn on F/X channel (#32 here in Baltimore County) in the afternoon and find out what all the fuss is about.

* Interesting side note – one semester, I worked two part time jobs and a full time job while taking 15 credits. I was very happy — and not a bit broke! — when that semester ended.

** I do remember that she wrote a 10-page for Dr. Dugas discussing the roles vampire hunters have played in entertainment, ranging from Van Helsing (not the Jackman version) through Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. I have a copy of this paper – somewhere, and if I found it, I’d probably find her name, but oh well) – and I remember she handed me a copy while I was working in Linthicum Hall’s computer lab, and a quick check through the reference sites produced NUMEROUS scholarly papers referring to Buffy as a cultural icon. And, rightly so.

PS – if you’re wondering why I wrote her name, and then said “I don’t remember her name”, it’s because I dug through a stack of notebooks and found the paper. So, Jen, if you ever google yourself and find this page, drop me a note and say hi!

You can shoot me, if you want …

I heard that Gameboys were addictive

According to a report filed in Wayne County Family Court by Lincoln Park Police Sgt. Charles Kaminski of the youth bureau, the boy was sent to the assistant principal’s office because he refused to stop playing his Game Boy when the teacher told him to stop.

Once in the office, the boy refused to surrender the Game Boy to assistant principal Larry Phillips, who promised to return it to him after school.

When two uniformed officers arrived, the boy was still fighting and one of the officers pulled out a Taser gun and attached the weapon to the boy’s clothing. The gun’s electric current, which officials said is nonlethal, is designed so suspects lose control of their muscles.

Being tased “stopped him for a moment and then he started fighting again,” the police report said.

The officer warned the boy again to stop fighting and to give up the Game Boy. The boy said no, resumed fighting and was stung again by the Taser gun.

… but this is just ridiculous. What happened to the good old days when the police would’ve bludgeoned the kid? These youth need to be taught to respect the authori-tah!

In my day, I had to walk ten miles – uphill! – in the snow to throw a punch

I guess this is what senior citizens mean when they talk about “the good old days”:

A brawl at the salad bar at Spring Haven Retirement Community sent three senior citizens to Winter Haven Hospital Sunday.

“This is the first time in 25 years I’ve ever heard of something like this happening,” said a shaken Jill Andrew, Spring Haven spokeswoman.

According to police, the battle erupted after fellow diners accused the man of foraging among the lettuce leaves on the salad bar. Words were exchanged leading to the ballroom boxing match. Witnesses say the man punched an 86-year-old accuser in the face and bit a 78-year-old resident on the right arm.

The bright side is … if this “rage” ever explodes to these guys while they’re driving, all you have to do is walk away. Because, let’s face it, a turtle walks faster than a senior citizen drives.

Alabama likes Jim Crow

From USA Today comes this not-so-wonderful story about why half of Alabama’s voting population needs to get smacked by the other half of its voting population:

Election officials began a statewide recount Monday after a measure to remove segregation-era language from the Alabama Constitution was apparently rejected narrowly by the voters Nov. 2.

The proposed amendment would delete unenforced sections of the constitution that mandate racially segregated schools and allow poll taxes, once used to discourage blacks from voting.

The amendment failed by 1,850 votes out of 1.38 million cast — a margin of 0.13%. State law calls for a recount when a ballot measure fails by less than one-half of a percentage point.

Charles Steele Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said the recount will only increase damage to a state still struggling with its image as a civil rights battleground.

“The perception that is going out after that vote is setting us back 40 or 50 years,” said Steele, a former state senator from Tuscaloosa.

Yeah, no kidding Charles. And why do you think that is? I tell you what, though, I’m glad I live in Maryland, not a perfect state by any means, but at this point, even I think Mississippi would be a better place to live than “Hi, we’re still in the 1950’s Alabama.”

Siding with the people who voted in favor of Jim Crow was everyone’s favorite nutter Alabama judge, Roy Moore (you know him – he’s the guy that installed a statue of the Ten Commandments in front of his court house) who agreed with those who “feared the possibility of a constitutionally guaranteed public education would prompt judges to mandate increased spending for schools.”

Huh?

I’m getting like an “apples and oranges” vibe here. Or a “three plus seven equals twelve.” If they’re so worried about educationally funding (and playing into a stereotype here of Alabama, but that’s okay, because by failing to eliminate this language, they’re playing into it too), why don’t they just stop funding schools all together? I mean, can anyone tell the difference between an educated Alabamian and a non?

Yes, I’m sorry, this was cruel to the Alabamians who voted against Jim Crow. You guys are okay in our book, even your Republican Governor.

Wrestling Death

Via USA TODAY:

Tate made headlines as a 12-year-old when he was charged with first-degree murder for killing 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick. He was convicted and sent to prison for life without a chance at parole, as required by state law.

But he won a new trial on appeal and went free in January under a deal that placed him under court supervision for 11 years.

For me, it’s rather simple. He was a child, who killed a child. And yet he was treated as an adult. Look, I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve to be punished. But I think locking someone away for their entire life because of a mistake committed while they’re a child is excessively harsh.

Lionel Tate now has an opportunity – an opportunity for a life not spent in a tiny cement room looking out of cast iron bars. It’s an opportunity that his victim will never have, and I suspect that it will weigh heavily on Tate’s heart in his life, and that he will appreciate that life and what he accomplishes with it more than most of us, those who have never had to, as a child, contemplating trading away all of our hopes and passions and dreams.

Take me where I cannot stand

serenity.jpg

There she is – Serenity. Ugly thing, ain’t she? A Firefly-Class transport, and the home of the short lived Joss Whedon television series “Firefly.”

Whedon said that he’d always wanted to do a television show based on the adventures of the Millennium Falcon and her crew from Star Wars. And, roughly, that’s what we have here in Firefly – the crew of a pirate ship as they rough on through the galaxy, trying to make ends meet, and taking what jobs they can to get a little further from the domineering Alliance.

Oh, these aren’t your pretty intellectual types from Star Trek, no military academies for these pirates, no accepting orders with a smile and a ‘yessir’. These are some down and out, go for broke blue-collar folks trying to make a living; honest or criminal. But that doesn’t matter so much as the relationships this odd band has with each other, a community yes, but one on edge – two of the crew are fugitives from the Alliance, two of the crew fought the Alliance (and lost) in the War for Reunification, while others on the crew supported the Alliance during that same conflict.

SerenityCrew.jpg

It’s damn hard to go into what made “Firefly” great without spoiling too much of the plot of this short lived series. In short, the crew of a transport ship inadvertedly take aboard as passengers two fugitives from the Alliance, and so now all of their hopes and aspirations are tied together, and one miscalculation could ruin all of their lives.

There are no aliens in Firefly – Joss said that he thought humans, isolated on the edges of space for so long, could be more alien in attitude than any amount of latex could accomplish. Characters – even those clearly not educated – can speak Mandarin Chinese quite well, and often curse in it, leading one crew member to say (and I paraphrase), “It’s great because we can say ‘Oh, you turd-licking booger snacking fuck for brain’ in Chinese, and the censors don’t catch it!” The show is a curious cross between sci-fi and westerns – most of the crew carry six-shooters, and in one episode, Serenity is out running cattle from one planet to another.

If you like science-fiction, if you like well written television shows, heck, if you like a little western … watch Firefly.

Firefly was cancelled two years ago, yet another reason to hate FOX. But there is good news – based on the strengths of the DVD sales, Univeral bought the rights to Firefly and a movie, “Serenity”, is currently in post-production, and will be theatrically released in September ’05.

Take my love. Take my land.
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don’t care, I’m still free.
You can’t take the sky from me.

Take me out to the black.
Tell ‘em I ain’t comin’ back.
Burn the land And boil the sea.
You can’t take the sky from me.

Have no place I can be since I found Serenity.
But you can’t take the sky from me.

And that says it all, doesn’t it?

Snay Briefs!

The San Francisco Zoo has sent its lone Asian elephant to a sanctuary for abandoned and abused performing animals, a move that could jeopardize the zoo’s accreditation.

You’ve just really got to ask yourself – what the hell were they doing to this elephant that they had to send it to a place for the “abandoned and abused”? How do you abandon an elephant? And does no one visit the zoo anymore?

Typekey registration

So what we’re doing with the comments is that now you must register through TypeKey to be able to post here. I hate taking this step, like I said before, but hopefully it’ll keep the spammers at bay, and there are advantages to not having to approve comments before they post.

So, for all my regular readers (I love you guys), I hope you take the time to register, and to continue to read and post. Thanks.

No Dance of Joyfulness

With all the spammers out, I’ve asked my web-guru, Tim, to implement a “comments delayed” feature. I’m not entirely sure when that will be brought on-line, but I’m very angered by the way these scum-sucking peddlers, who have consistently attacked our phones and our e-mail, have now spread their filth to the blogosphere. It’s very dissapointing, and one wonders, what do they intend to accomplish? The fucker who has been spamming here keeps doing so in month old posts, and I don’t think I’m interesting enough for anyone to read my archives.

I really love getting comments. If you’re a blogger, I’m sure you can remember to the time when you were first starting out, and someone left you a comment – especially when it was someone you didn’t know, and hadn’t asked to visit. In a way, the first non-solicited comment is someone saying, “Hey, blogger, welcome.” I always get a kick out of new comments because it means people are reading what I’m writing and either enjoying it or hating it, but to a degree that they want to post, and it’s like “YAY! Dance of joy!”

So you can imagine how upset I get when I check the newly posted comments and its from some twerp advocating “Payday Loans.” It’s very frustrating. And it’s also upsetting to know that I know have to take steps as so many other blogs have, to protect this site against those loathsome beasts.

I. Want. To. Chop. Off. Their. Penises. And. Feed. It. To. Them.

I have a lot of built up anger over this.

How is the bullets learning?

Remember when Maryland declared war on New Joisey?

The strafing of a school by a National Guard F-16 fighter jet has divided residents of the fast-growing region around the Warren Grove Gunnery Range. Some fear for their safety, while others consider it profoundly unpatriotic to question the military during a time of war.

Let me just say, that when the military staffs a school in America, gosh, it probably isn’t too unpatriotic to say “HEY! You’re not supposed to shoot the fuckin’ SCHOOL asshole!”

Money Quote: “That guy (the pilot) probably feels so bad about this. He’s probably going to get sent overseas and he might not even come back. As long as no one got hurt, this whole thing should just be forgotten.”

But what if someone HAD gotten hurt, eh, Mr. Ex-Special Forces? Hell, you’d probably say the same thing.

Lisamarie Saccomagno’s daughter attends the school.

“Because we’re at war now, I’m very sensitive to all the military’s burdens,” she said. “We all want to be safe and secure. But we’re also concerned about our children. I’m afraid something’s going to go wrong. We really need to know where those bullets are going.”

Gosh, don’t tell that to Terry Hickman! He’ll tell you, “That guy (the pilot) probably feels so bad about this.” Because, we all know, when bullets wind up in children’s desks, that’s the thing to tell parents to calm them down!