Wednesday, June 30, 2004

SILLY STUPID FUN
Ever wonder what a popular web site would look like with a porn twist? Go to
pornolize.com, enter a url and watch in wonder as Yahoo.com, MSNBC.com and most everyone else turn into smut peddlers.

Thanks to the Blowtorch Monkey Armada for spotting this link
HOT CRUSTY SPAM
I am fascinated by the business of sending spam email. I know the odds are in your favor - send a billion emails and somebody will click the link - but does anyone really apply for a home loan based on an email? Does anyone except the spammer make any money?

I've also been wondering why my email filters haven't blocked the recent cascade of home loan spam emails. I think I figured it out tonight. Check out the email I got:

Sorry for taking so long. I finally found that site you were
asking me about.
Remember, the one that I used to get a great r\ate on my home
l o an? I was just looking around the other day and they offer
r a te s at only 2.5 %. I am sure they can help you out.
this link

Please let me know how it goes.

Talk to you soon,
James


Notice that they don't spell the words rate or loan correctly, thereby defeating filters based on catching those words. Even the 2.5% is typed with an extra space between the 5 and % for the same effect.

You learn something new every day. Even so, I'm not applying for a new home loan.

Monday, June 28, 2004

MOVE OVER BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
I guess making a poorly received speech at the Oscars doesn't spell death at the box office. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 took in a whopping $23,920,637 this past weekend on 868 screens - an average of $27,558 per screen. With just those three days of shows, it becomes the highest grossing documentary film of all time.

To provide some context, last weekend's next highest grossing films were White Chicks and Dodgeball. White Chicks grossed $19,676,748 on 2,726 screens, for an average of $7,218 per screen. Dodgeball (in it's second week), took in $18,787,419 on 3,020 screens for an average of $6,220 per screen. Nothing else in the Top 25 comes close to the per screen average of those films...except of course, Fahrenheit 9/11, which crushed both of them like a grape.

Some more context...I worked at an art house movie theater when the Blair Witch Project hit a few years ago. That 250-seat house used to be thrilled with a weekly gross over $12,000. With the Blair Witch Project, they did around $40k per week. In fact, the Blair Witch Project is the only indie film I can recall that did similar per screen business as Fahrenheit 911. According to Box office Mojo, when Blair Witch went wide to 1,101 theaters, it took in $29,207,381 or an average of $26,528 per screen. In the opening weekend, when it was limited to 29 screens, Blair Witch did $1,512,054 or an amazing average of $56,002 per screen (of course, in those first two weeks of limited release, a lot of people thought it was some kind of doumentary horror mystery).

So what does it all mean? Well...let's start with money talks louder than politics. Like The Passion Of Christ, movie industry folks might get past their initial trepidation about Moore and his strange little movie and ride that documentary horse right to the bank.

Next up, I'd guess Michael Eisner's fate at Disney is deeply related to Bush's outcome this fall. If Bush goes and popular sentiment says Moore was right, those Disney shareholders are going to be mighty pissed that their company handed a multi-million dollar piece of pie to the pudgy but smart Weinstein Brothers at Miramax.

Finally, if you want to look down the road, The Blair Witch Project ended up doing worldwide grosses just shy of $250 million. It remains to be seen if Fahrenheit 9/11 will have legs, but I can only imagine it's going to be huge overseas.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

A NEW LOOK
Finally got through a revised take on the Limbo - a bit cleaner and hopefully, I've got the links to the left under control.

This seems stupid to say buuuuuut...golf is becoming a major passion in my life. Today I played nine holes with Natalie in 98 degree weather. Yesterday I drove 30 minutes to play a top course for $20 by myself. I got through one hole when they sounded the lightening alarm. I spent the next two hours in the bar, drinking a large beer and watching black clouds put on an impressive display. Oh well, next time. I didn't mind too much. I find this game allows me to concentrate for long periods on an focused activity - not unlike a good video game. I'm actually drained mentally (as well as physically) after playing. Another attractive feature - golf is probably the only game in the world where the average person can play on the same field/course as a pro, using virtually the same tools/clubs. I don't think you can say that for any other sport.

Of course, it's also nice to be able to play with the wife and kiddie. And in a few years, the kiddie will be kicking my ass, so I better enjoy my advantage while I have it.

BTW - free of anal fissure pain for three days now!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

A HOLE NEAR MY HOLE
Many fine folks came out of the woodwork to express sympathy for the fissure in my anus. Gosh, it's liberating to final say this - I HAVE A HOLE NEAR MY ASS AND IT HURTS!

Anne L suggests yoga and the exile of wheat from my diet. She says lots of folks have issues with wheat. Who knew? The medically well-versed Natalie discussed the possibility of getting a Sphincterotomy, which involves cutting at the tear, thereby removing scar tissue and relaxing the muscle so the fissure can heal. That future is pictured below:



Ouch! Natalie said our friend's brother is moving into town and he's a good ass doctor. I'm not sure I want my ass cut by anyone I might run into at a party or picnic. Would I eat a burger he cooked? Would I shake his hands? Hmmmmm.

On the good news front, I've been eating a lot of fish oil pills lately to combat cholesterol levels. That's had a stool softening effect, allowing me to enjoy two days of pain-free bowl movements. Yahoo! Between this and drinking a lot more water, I might be able to avoid the knife for a while.

Friday, June 25, 2004

HELL BENT FOR MENOPAUSE

In Mommie Loudest, the Wall Street Journal reports women 40+ are picking up guitars and drums to rock out. It keeps them sane, it earns the respect of their kids and the aerobic benefits are amazing. Even funnier, some of these bands have quickly eclipsed the popularity of their husband's long-time bar band. One guy, noting his wife's airplay, said it helped to have a "gimmick."

Good point. And that's why he should pack it in and carry his wife's amp. Jeeze...how many nights did she smile listen to his crappy band play for 6 people?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

MY BABY CAN KICK YOUR BABY'S ASS


How can you not love it? According to this story,"The boy has muscles twice the size of other children his age and half their body fat. He was born to a muscular mother, a former sprinter. Her brother and three other relatives were also very strong — one a construction worker with a talent for hefting curbstones."

He's German and the cause is some kind of genetic mutation. No explaination was provided for the superb sense of fashion and hair styling.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

PHYSICAL REPORT
It's Father Day's and I'm getting old. In what ways you ask? I have a tear in my sphincter. The thick fingered ex-Navy doc who once looked up my ass called it a Anal Fissure (look there's a whole web page about Anal Fissures!). In short, this can mean a lot of pain when I poop...ass-ripping, eyes tearing kind of pain. But us old guys know how to adapt, huh? When on the pot, I've now figured out how to both bear slightly down for the bowel movement and, at the same time, tighten my sphincter to minimize the pain.

Inexplicably, this ability makes me somewhat proud. Go figure.
SUPERSIZE ME
Supersize Me, the new doc, absolutely rocks. Funny and informative and smart, it also proves a theory I've long held - documentaries should not feature documentarians on camera in the speaking roles unless they are very entertaining. No matter how important the truth being told, if you can't hold the camera's eye, get out of the way. Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker, is a treat to watch.

BTW - the Enzian, our local Art House theater which serves food - is offering a veggie burger and salad on the menu during the run of Supersize Me. They are keeping track how many people order vs the regular burger and fried. So far, regular burger is crushing veggie burger like a grape.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

A LONELY COMPUTER
For the past few months, I've wondered if there was a reason to write this blog. I’d fallen into the trap of repeating and linking to news events as if I had a unique perspective on them. Maybe I do, but do does anyone want to read it? It wasn't interesting to me. Beyond that, I've mostly been starring slack-jawed at the news of recent months, asking one simple question.

Who thought it would ever come to this?

Actually, a lot of people did. Many, many folks were worried about GWB's lack of brainpower, his evil corporate handlers and where they would lead this nation. Now we know... and it ain't a pretty place. The US is hated or dismissed by much of the world, particularly Muslims or those who can generate electricity and clean water without our help. Yes, certain Third World, ex-Iron Curtain countries still back us, but that’s only to insure their names rising to the top of our Foreign Aid list.

Faced with bipartisan panels that dispute administration claims, our government has hit a stage of reality disconnect that reminds one of a child who, when confronted with disagreeable news, covers his ears and shouts incoherently.

Corporations - who've been greedily pillaging countries and cultures across this planet for decades - are shocked...Shocked!...that dark-skinned non-customers want to kill their employees for no more than symbolic reasons.

And internally? Granted, I live in Florida, but... this afternoon, the family hit the driving range for an hour. When leaving, I saw writing on the rear window of a newish SUV. In large, white greasepaint handwriting, it said "Kill 10 al-Qaida for every American murdered." Isn't it interesting to see someone looking to Nazi Germany for advice on how to handle "bad guys" (the 10 for 1 pledge something they tried in France against the Resistance). And how much would such a threat help anyway since we're dealing with a martyr culture that looks forward to death? Perhaps the threat of homosexual man-piling the homophobic al-Qaida would serve as a stronger threat?

Oh wait... we tried that.

I'm no dove in all this. I backed (albeit tepidly), GWB's move into Afghanistan to take out the Taliban (though he should have finished the job). I strongly backed Bush 1's move against Iraq in the first Gulf War (again, he should have finished the job). But every news story and tell-all book from excommunicated GWB staffers seems to confirm that fact that our Iraq adventure was really about kicking some ass, remaking the Middle East to our liking and (perhaps) taking out a future threat.

It might have taken a couple of months or years later, but we could have achieved those same goals with the help of the rest of the world. And had GWB taken such a prudent approach (the approach followed by his Father, BTW) we might not be in the one-friend coalition mess that we're in now which is on the road to nowhere but perpetual war. And what luck! American's don't like to vote out the President during wars, huh?

Ultimately, the overwhelming sense of dread wins out no mater how optimistic you are. I keep asking myself, where does it end? One scenario was discussed in a recent Fresh Air interviewed a NYT Middle East Correspondent. Contrasting the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with the US efforts against terrorism, he compared the Israeli conflict to the Spanish Civil War - a precursor event in where various sides worked out the plans of attack to use in the larger conflict looming. He also pointed to Israel's building of a wall as a possible future for the US and Muslim worlds. He suggested that if the US and the rest of the West couldn't solve this terror problem, they might simply opt to build a wall in many forms to keep Muslims out of the West.

I believe it. And after that, I see the next step as the West evicting Muslims from Western countries. When push comes to shove, I don't think the SUV guy will have much trouble changing al-Qaida to Muslim or Camel Jockey. Is it right or fair? No. But if we reach that point, I don't think right or fair will matter. And if that happens, I don't know if I want to be here.

Well there I go, talking about the news again. Even though it might not make a bit of difference to anyone, I feel better having written it.