Archive for August, 2004


Aug 31, 2004 in Current Events

Anyone who’s seen the clips of John McCain’s convention speech is aware that Michael Moore is present at this week’s Republican National Convention, as a op-ed columnist for USA Today. In his first column, Moore talks with Republican non-delegates about their stance on certain issues. In his words:

“I’ve often found that if I go down the list of “liberal” issues with people who say they’re Republican, they are quite liberal and not in sync with the Republicans who run the country. Most don’t want America to be the world’s police officer and prefer peace to war. They applaud civil rights, believe all Americans should have health insurance and think assault weapons should be banned. Though they may personally oppose abortion, they usually don’t think the government has the right to tell a women what to do with her body.

“There’s a name for these Republicans: RINOs or Republican In Name Only. They possess a liberal, open mind and don’t believe in creating a worse life for anyone else.”

So what makes these “liberal,” everyman Republicans tick?

“I don’t want the government taking my hard-earned money and taxing me to death. That’s what the Democrats do.”

Yep. That old high tax bogeyman will do it everytime. The spectre of high taxes and the disdain for big government has long been a hallmark of conservativism. It’s too bad that real conservativism has been hijacked by right-wing idealogues who are intent to foist their conservative social values, belligerent foreign policy and laissez-faire economics upon our country.

As much as I dislike right-wingers nowadays, I have no problem with intelligent conservatives. There are many conservatives in the media who argue their points intelligently and rationally, even though I may not agree with them. I believe that a healthy political system needs both liberal and conservative voices. But it seems that both ends of our political system is defined by extremists and zealots who speak louder than the great mass of people in the middle.

But I digress. The Republicans were obviously trying to appeal to those people in the middle by presenting their most popular and moderate politicians. But they’re all parroting the same party line; even Senator McCain, who has gained a reputation as an outspoken maverick who dares to criticise the president.

What was it that Washington said about “the baneful effects of the spirit of party?”

Has anyone bothered to tell this guy that pro wrestling is FAKE?

Aug 28, 2004 in Pop Culture

Hulk Hogan’s Heroes - Why pro wrestlers should be in the Olympics. By Dave McKenna

McKenna, a sports columnist writing for Slate argues that professional wrestlers should be allowed to compete in the Olympics, much like pro basketball players.

Now, I don’t know much about Greco-Roman-style wrestling (the sort that’s practiced at the Olympics), but I’m sure it has little in common with the acrobatic testosterone soap opera that is the WWE.

If you’ve watched the weightlifting competitions at the Olympics, it should be apparent that pro lifters do not at all resemble the buff, ripped, and supplement-enhanced bodybuilders. In fact, the pro lifters often have noticeable pot bellies and considerable girth, but they can lift 500 lbs. without breaking a sweat. It’s unlikely you’d see a bodybuilder compete at that level.

Neither do Olympic wrestlers resemble the cartoonishly-ripped pro wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan. In fact, I bet that those entertainers would have a hard time holding their own against an experienced Olympic grappler.

Tennesee really does make the best whisk(e)y…

Aug 25, 2004 in Pop Culture

…and I’m not talking about that Jack Daniels stuff (although their tour is very interesting and educational, and I would recommend it to any tourist who makes it down Tennessee way). I’m talking about George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky (spelled without the ‘e’, because Mr. Dickel believed that his whisky was as good as the Scotch whiskys that share the same spelling.)

Dickel and Daniels manufacture the only whisk(e)ys in the world that bear the designation of “Tennesee whiskey.” This is because of the extra step of mellowing the whiskey through at least ten feet of sugar maple charcoal. Bear in mind too that Tennessee whiskey is different that bourbon whiskey, which is usually manufacured in Kentucky and lacks the mellowing process.

If this sounds like a ringing endorsement, it is. I’m far from a wine and spirits connoisseur, although I do have an appreciation for fine ales. (Even Guinness tastes like milk to me.) But this is by far the best whiskey I’ve ever drank. And the best part is that, at least in Tennessee, George Dickel No. 12 is around $5 cheaper than Jack Daniels black label. (I paid $15 for this bottle.)

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Merle Haggard, speaking here to the Onion’s AV Club:

“I think George Dickel is absolutely the best Tennessee mash whiskey. It’s my understanding that Jack Daniel’s was an attempt to try to take the recipe of George Dickel to a commercial state of reproducing it. Whereas they couldn’t do that with George Dickel, because in order to make it the way they make it, they would have had to repeat too many different formulas. It would have been impossible. They did certain things at certain temperatures in a certain kind of water. So I went down there and looked at their distilleries and saw what they were doing, saw the difference between that and Jack Daniel’s, and I couldn’t believe it. You take George Dickel and you pour it over ice and hold it up to the light, and it won’t separate. But if you take Jack Daniel’s and do that, hold it up to the light, you’ll notice that the corn oil starts separating from the whiskey, because it hasn’t been married at the correct temperature. When you go down and have this education thrown upon you, and then you drink it?everybody got drunk when we was taking pictures. It was about 20 girls and about 20 guys, and we’re all down in this creek drunk with two fists of George Dickel apiece, and we all stayed over and had breakfast together, and not a one of us had a hangover.”

Unlike Jack Daniels, which has existed pretty much continuously since 1866, George Dickel’s distillery has made more comebacks than Elvis. The distillery closed down during Prohibition, and remained closed for almost forty years. A man named Ralph Dupps rebuilt the distillery in 1958, which was later acquired by multinational conglomerates such as United Distilleries, who closed the distillery in 1999 due to business problems. Current owner Diageo reopened the distillery last year, and as a result, much of the No. 12 whisky sold since then has been sitting in barrels for as much as 12 years, nearly twice as long as normal.

I’m not certain of the availability of George Dickel Whisky outside of the Southeast, but it can always be ordered online (state laws depending). Here are a few other resources about Tennessee whisk(e)y to whet your appetite:

  • A brief comparison between Jack Daniels and George Dickel No. 12
  • Articles from the Louisville Courier-Journal and Cigar Aficionado magazine on Dickel’s history and the recent re-opening.
  • An academic article from 1999 on the history of Tennessee distilleries.
  • Franchise vs. Franchise

    Aug 19, 2004 in Film

    With the spate of vs. movies coming out recently that pit two seperate sci-fi/horror franchises against each other (I’m talking Freddy vs. Jason and Alien vs. Predator here), I was thinking about other versus movies that Hollywood could consider doing. Remember, if you see these movies in the future, I thought of it first!

    Star Wars vs. Star Trek

    One of the voyages of the Enterprise end up in the far-off galaxy of Star Wars, wayyy into the future. Yoda XXIV and Han Solo CXIV team up with the crew of the Enterprise XI to battle the Death Star XXVI.

    Terminator vs. The Matrix

    The intelligent machines from Terminator battle it out with the intelligent machines from the Matrix to determine who will rule the future of Earth. The Terminator T-5000 battles it out with Neo IV, with Arnold reprising his role as the Terminator T-800.

    Leatherface vs. Mike Myers

    The original 1970s inbred slasher icons face off in a gruesome battle with a high collateral body count. Wait, this would actually be kinda pointless and boring…

    Hellraiser vs. Freddy

    You’d pay money to see this, right? I know I would! What could be cooler that Freddy vs. the Cenobites? At least the dialog would rock.

    Skippy bling!

    Aug 17, 2004 in Linkage

    Seth Stephenson of Slate analyzes the new ad for Skippy Snack Bars, featuring dancehall reggae-performing Rastafarian elephants. If you watch Cartoon Network at all, you’ve probably seen this. (Choice quote from the press release: “Skippy bling!”)

    Seth’s analysis? Skippy is targeting stoners for it’s new snack treat.

    pointless haiku

    Aug 16, 2004 in Humor

    poo on a bun is
    not very appetizing
    unless you’re a fly

    Obligatory Olympics post

    Aug 10, 2004 in Current Events

    The 2004 Olympics are set to begin this week, with opening ceremonies on Friday and soccer games starting tomorrow. The big story right now? The ugly Olympic mascots, Phevos and Athena. (pics)

    And, for the first time ever, all 28 Olympic events will be seen on American television, many of them live. NBC is filling seven channels with Olympic coverage, a far cry from the tape-delayed, heavily-edited and scripted 2000 Sydney coverage.

    So how much can you bench?

    Aug 09, 2004 in Linkage

    An oddly fascinating article in Slate today examines the recent string of broken records in the sport of powerlifting. In a sport where it took over 17 years to break the 800 lb. benchpress mark, it’s taken only a year or two to break 900. And two of the sport’s major competitors are close to breaking 1000.

    The secret? Not steroids, but a sturdy garment called a bench shirt. Technological advances in making these high-tech shirts have allowed weightlifters to bench more weight than is humanly possible, or advisable — choice quote from the article:

    “Mendelson says that when he’s pressing 1,000, “I can feel my bones flexing.” The first time Kennelly held a half-ton he heard a humming noise and had blurred vision. “Now my central nervous system has adapted to it. I’m used to it,” he says.”

    The newest Fark cliche, bitch.

    Aug 09, 2004 in Humor

    I’ve noticed that nearly every informal mention of Rick James’ death — at least online, and especially on Fark — has been followed by the word “bitch.” Like, “Rick James died this week, bitch.” Yeah, it’s funny. We all recognize the Chapelle’s Show reference. And it’s already a cliche.

    Let’s flog this dead horse a little bit more, and use it in non-Rick James related items. Like, “U.S. to Consider Sanctions Against Sudan, Bitch.” Or, “Metro Schools Taking Extra Precautions For Bus Safety, Bitch.”

    Some programmer with a lot of free time should write a Rick James Generator, where you input a webpage and the output appends the end of every sentence with “bitch.” Just remember, I thought of it first.

    Unintentional drug references in Rocky and Bullwinkle?

    Aug 07, 2004 in Pop Culture

    Tonight I ordered a pizza from Papa John’s (spinach alfredo, ate three pieces before I became unusually full) and got one of the free DVD’s they’ve been giving out for ordering a large. (Anyone looking to aquire or complete a Weekend at Bernie’s collection? Cuz they’ve got both!)

    So I got the Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle first season DVD sampler. The sampler has three episodes, comprising half of the “counterfeit boxtops” storyline. (One thing that’s really interesting about Rocky and Bullwinkle is the way a storyline would stretch across multiple episodes, sometimes as many as 20 consecutive half-hour shows!)

    Rocky and Bullwinkle has long been lauded as being clever, intelligent and sometimes subversive. During one of the episodes, I caught two unintentional references to drug/intoxicant use that never would have made it on TV today:

  • In the Rocky and Bullwinkle segment, Bullwinkle is hanging precariously on a giant outdoor tower clock. The time on the clock reads 4:20.
  • In the Mr. Peabody segment, a sleepy horse is repeatedly revived by inhaling glue.
  • Now, of course, the 4:20 reference to marijuana usage would not be coined for about ten more years, and I doubt few people at the time considered the possibility of inhaling glue to get high. But still, it’s funny to find modern references to drug use innocently inserted into old cartoons.

    Oddly enough, only a few good pages exist that are dedicated to Rocky and Bullwinkle. Hokey Smoke! is probably the most comprehensive and updated. Also, read about Jay Ward’s attempt to acheive statehood for a small island north of Minnesota he named Moosylvania.