Thursday, September 28, 2006

Coffee Soaked Awards - Week of 25 September 2006

It's a short week for us here at our caffeinated headquarters, so we're launching into our weekly awards a day early. Without further ado...

The Impossible Dream Award
NASA scientists are all atwitter over some of the first high quality shots ever of the Victoria Crater on Mars. A few even go so far as to call it a "dream come true." Other dreams that have yet to come true for these scientists are the first ever leak-proof pocket protector, and actually getting a girl's phone number in a bar.

Insider Intelligence Award
Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio admitted to having only recently read the intelligence reports on Iraq, after the thought that the US-led war may actually be fueling more terrorism. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. However, DeWine is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and was briefed on the reports back in April. DeWine's excuse? "I got really wrapped up in one of those Sudoku puzzles."

Thanks for Playing Award
We pass this along to Tony Snow, who seems to finally be starting to catch up with the rest of the world. In a recent press conference, the Snowjob made it clear that he understands that "there are a number of jihadists, united by an ideology that they do want to kill us." He also claimed a lack of surprise over this. To be fair, Snow just recently discovered that the sun is hot, and that Gigli was an awful movie.

I Can't Believe it's Not Goat Award
We give this to our friends from Kazakhstan, who have decided to continue their proactive assault against Borat by taking out a four-page advertisement to defend themselves against the film. The Kazakhs have been on a special vendetta to prove that they aren't as backwards as the film will portray them to be. We're still waiting on the full ad from the socially inept in defense of their lifestyles after the release of Napolean Dynamite.

Thumb In Your Eye Award
We pass this out to Uwe Boll, for boxing the living daylights out of overweight and out-of-shape internet critics. We're just going to go on record here and say that we loved Bloodrayne. In related news, Eli Roth has challenged his critics to a sand castle building competition, which is all a thinly veiled ploy to kick sand in their eyes.

Was That a Hic or a Hick Award
We give this award to Paris Hilton, who has been officially charged with a DUI. Ms. Hilton could face prison time, although she is almost undoubtedly slated to get the obligatory celebrity slap-on-the-wrist. When this story broke, the rest of Hollywood thought about how their own abuses could reflect on the community. This was followed immediately by a party with sculptures carved out of cocaine, complete with a Cristal fountain.

I'm Getting Better Award
This award goes out to Paul Vance, the co-author of "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," who had to announce to the world at large that he was, in fact, not dead yet. Apparently an imposter had been claiming the authorship on the song since shortly after it was recorded, fooling even his own wife. Vance is planning on writing "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Black Pinstripe Suit" for his imposter's funeral.

We Could Be Heroes Award
This goes out to a number of recipients. First, to President Clinton for defending himself in what turned out to be a horribly cut-up interview. Secondly, to Keith Olbermann for once again having the gumption to lead a verbal assault on those spreading misinformation. And finally, to NBC and their new show Heroes, not only for having a good premiere and a strong tie-in blog (as we bid a fond farewell to Defaker and its comments), but for using more Indians and Japanese in their premiere than most networks will use all season.

And with that, we wrap up another awards week. We'll be back on Tuesday, so, until then, stay safe out there.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Saved by the what now?

Less than a day after we receive the glorious word that Paris Hilton has been officially charged for her DUI (no worries, she'll get the obligatory celebrity slap on the wrist), we are met with a much more distressing story. It appears that Dustin Diamond, best (perhaps only?) known for his years on Saved by the Bell as Screech Powers, allegedly has a sex tape.

Seriously? Screech is getting it on with anyone? That's almost as frightening of a concept as the thought that a government might take out ads to protect themselves from a film they don't find funny.

What? That happened too?

Ok... let's look at this a little more closely. Sure, DD has some clout. After all, he is slightly more famous than the majority of people to come out of Saturday morning programming. We'll ignore the fact that most Saturday morning programming, at least traditionally, has been cartoons for years. So DD might actually be able to translate his "fame" into getting some nooky. But really, what women would allow him to tape it? Or engage in the acts that are (supposedly) taking place on the tape?

This could all be an extension of DD's pitiful plea from earlier in the year, where he begged people to buy t-shirts from him in an attempt to save his house from foreclosure. After all, when the biggest thing on your resume is almost ten years of Saved by the Bell, wouldn't you try and publicize a sex tape, to try and do something to shed your geeky image? It's not like he's Dennis Haskins, who has shots on his IMDb page that show him looking a bit like a child pornographer.

And to think, Elizabeth Berkley already jumped this shark with Showgirls.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Harsh criticism

Uwe Boll, that misunderstood cinematic genius, recently followed through on his threats. Back in June, Boll challenged critics who had spoken badly about his films to step into a boxing ring with him. Four critics responded, and boxed Boll in what they believed to be a publicity stunt.

A short time later, after the dust had cleared, Boll had knocked out all four, and the "publicity stunt" was unveiled as an obviously deranged individual attacking his harshest critics in the only way he knew how.

Who knew that German directors had that much in common with American Presidents?

But I digress. Boll, like a good percentage of filmmakers, has been panned by the critics. His films tend to be sloppy and faithless translations of video games; games that, while popular, don't truly carry enough of a plot within themselves to deserve a full feature film. This is part of the nature of games. Yes, there are those rare few that are rich with story and characterization, and can be translated, at least partially, onto the big screen. However, most should be avoided, as surely as one would avoid that last piece of bread that somehow got wedged into the back of the fridge weeks ago. They were fresh at the time of their initial release, but trying to put them into a new package only showcases the mold that has grown on the story.

That being said, in the hands of a skilled director, even the oldest story can be made new and receive that vital influx of life it needs to appeal to any audience, let alone a new one. As we've recently learned, the only thing that Boll is truly skilled at is boxing against people that have no actual training in the sport (he does). He also decided to take out his anger over the bad reviews against a bunch of internet critics, including one 17 year-old kid. Somehow, this doesn't fill me with confidence that he'll be able to film something better than House of the Dead ever in his lifetime.

The most telling piece of the entire story would have to be the quote issued by an overly smug Boll after everything was said and done. "Now they are brain dead and they will like my movies," the director stated. That pretty much admits the extent of Boll's talents. He creates movies that only the brain dead can truly enjoy, because anyone with higher level thinking will realize schlock when they see it, and will avoid such films like a special brand of plague.

The problem is that Boll even overestimates himself here. The brain dead will watch movies directed by the Wayans brothers, but even they'll pass on Uwe Boll. There are levels to what even zombies can put up with.

Boll has been mentioned in the same breath as Ed Wood in times past. The problem with that comparison is that Ed Wood, while a horrible director, had a vision that was all his own, and had a certain level of genius about him. Ed Wood's films can even be watchable, in the right mood. The right mood for watching a Uwe Boll film is catatonic... and even that isn't quite bad enough.

So cheers, "Raging" Boll. Maybe you've found a new career people won't immediately scoff at.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fair and aiming

Bill O'Reilly, the favorite talking bobblehead of FOXNews, has a new book out, titled Culture Warrior. O'Reilly claims that the book will, of course, serve to deflate the attacks levied against him and his comrades by utilizing "facts and superior analysis" to prove just how right he is.

Unfortunately, the actual practice used by Mr. O'Reilly seems to be to slanderize and demonize those that he doesn't personally agree with. His attacks are mostly levied at liberals, with only a couple of the most extreme conservatives drawing his ire. And those facts that he talks about? Well, as Stephen Colbert pointed out, "reality has a well-known liberal bias." Bill O'Reilly is not one to let that liberal bias stand in the way of the facts, as he percieves and alters them.

I suppose we should actually be somewhat thankful to Bill O'Reilly for his current book, and not simply because it showcases what kind of person he is, or how abhorrent his beliefs truly are. In light of so many recent authors drawing media attention, we should be thankful that Mr. O'Reilly isn't engaging in that all-too common practice (used at Harvard, by Ann Coulter, and now, possibly, by Nancy Grace) of plagiarizing the works of others.

After all, it's practically impossible to plagiarize someone when you spend the entirety of the book crafting facts out of thin air, and then hanging them on an already weak branch.

At this rate, O'Reilly's next book may very well be titled Catastrophe, and it could detail how the American people's stubborn insistence on not prolonging either the Bush Administration or their "policies" led to future soldiers dying in the Middle East. Unfortunately, as we've already seen a few too many times, the more anger you spew, the more people want to read what you wrote.

Hey, if it works for Michael Moore, why not let it work for Bill O'Reilly?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of September 18, 2006

Welcome back to another installment in our Coffee-Soaked Awards. Let's just get the ball rolling, shall we?

Devil in a Blue Suit Award
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez this week called GDub "the devil". This was in reference to The Decider's appearance before the UN. A disgruntled VP Cheney was quoted as saying, "But what about all the work I've done?"

Well, Duh Award
Paris Hilton, in a discussion with the police regarding Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis, admitted her lack of supreme intelligence. She apparently, "like, forgets stuff all the time". Like where she left her panties. Future news reports will reveal Nicole Richie claiming that she's a little thin, and Christopher Walken saying that he doesn't understand his choices in films either.

It's Floor Wax, It's Desert Topping, It's Both Award
This award goes out to the people at Defaker, the spoof blog purporting to follow the "real-life" of NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Some people are complaining that the blog is simply a poor excuse for viral marketing, and that it's even more transparent about it's corporate ties than other Hollywood blogs. Of course, this is different from the average Hollywood blog exactly how?

Wouldn't You in His Shoes Award
This goes out to former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, for getting arrested for public intoxication a few scant months after being indicted for fraud, conspiracy, and other crimes associated with the fall of Enron. Given the penalties Mr. Skilling is facing, it's not surprising that he was out drinking. Slightly more surprising was when Mr. Skilling blamed Enron's collapse on those "damned Jews", and then called his arresting officer "sugartits".

Take Your Pick Award
This award goes to the couples who aren't simply trying to learn whether their babies are boys or girls, but are actively trying to play God and get their desired result. While most babies are being screened to check for genetic diseases, some parents are getting the "designer baby" they always hoped for. Joe Simpson has taken this an extra step, and got his designer daughters after they had both turned 20.

The Rich Get It Award
We pass this award out to Forbes Magazine, and their annual listing of the 400 richest Americans. Apparently, for the first time in history, the list is comprised of nothing but billionaires. Of course, all of those poor people who are merely making $900M have been left shivering in the dust on the outside of the Forbes 400. Martha Stewart, who fell off the list completely after losing $395M in the past year, was recently spotted under a freeway overpass, eating baked beans straight from the can.

Throwing Up a Little Award
We, grudgingly, give this award to Rosie O'Donnell, who apparently felt the need to retaliate against some horrible crime committed by Nip/Tuck star Julian McMahon by going topless for a scene with him. Letters and cards to the star Mr. McMahon are of course appreciated, as are pictures of attractive naked people.

Prince of Peace Award
We give this out to the little church that could. The All Saints Church of California is currently having their tax-exempt status threatened for having an anti-war sermon delivered to the congregation shortly before the 2004 election. The church is vowing to go to court to protect their status. When reached for comment, Jesus Christ was quoted as saying, "Well, I'm not the Prince of War, you asshats." He then tranformed some water into a kicking wop for the All Saints picnic.

Good Night and Good Luck Award
We almost feel bad giving this to Keith Olbermann, but he's earned it yet again. In his "Special Message" from September 18, he took umbrage at specific words uttered by GDub. Those words, "It is unacceptable to think." Mr. Olbermann receives this award for once again trying to prove that, even in the realm of cable news, the opportunity to think can still flourish.

Thanks for tuning in. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Safer for who?

A recent poll conducted in Great Britain showcases part of the reason why the British people are clamoring for Tony Blair to step down before his term of office would officially expire. According to the poll, 55 percent of those responding feel that the UK is in more danger now than it was prior to the "War on Terror." In fact, almost 75% believe that the world in general is more violent than it was in 1956. The majority also believe that religion is at the root of most of the conflict.

In a way, the British people are correct, and it doesn't extend simply to the United Kingdom. The War on Terror has led to those nations in charge of it being put into a crosshairs of sorts, especially when the goals that were originally outlined have been pushed aside by results that don't carry as much impact globally. When you look at the results of removing Saddam Hussein from power, and you realize that the Iraqi insurgency is still going strong, along with the influx of new threats from official terrorist organizations, you can see how being placed into those crosshairs is not a good thing.

While the war in Iraq has dragged on for years, and has no apparent end in sight, we've also had to deal with the rise of North Korea and Iran, both potential nuclear powers in the coming years. The Taliban is still active, and bin Laden has issued new threats. The recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah underscores the danger that resides currently in the Middle East, and the potential for it to leak out to the rest of the world in uncontrolled waves.

Has the War on Terror helped to make the world a more dangerous place? Possibly. It has certainly failed to stop the rise in extremism amongst religions, and has proven to be remarkably ineffective at curtailing further violence in regions even after the removal of known antagonists. Will a full-scale change in the leaders of the "free world" lead to improvement in the way that the global community treats each other? There are no guarantees, but one can assume that it would be difficult for things to get too much worse.

Ultimately, we need to sit by and wait. Yes, the British have used their voice to speak out against the War on Terror. So have the American people. All that remains is to use the voice that truly matters, and use that power to vote those who we feel can govern the best, hoping our choices are right.

In the meantime, we can wait until the White House throws up anti-terrorism videos on YouTube, with images of a coked out Keith Richards trying to dismantle a suicide bomb while his mom walks in. Hijinks will, of course, ensue.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Just say... um... uh....

Looks like Keith Richards may be off the drugs, finally. According to an interview he recently gave, the Rolling Stone is going to roll less frequently than in the past. The reason behind his sudden change?

The drugs nowadays are too weak for his system.

That's right. Richards feels that dealers and chemists have weakened drugs to the point where there's almost no point in taking them. While there are some drugs that may be strong enough for a man now made up of mostly some sort of illegal narcotic, he avoids those because they "mess with the brain."

Of course, after his recent concussion, Mr. Richards had no qualms against using morphine, and made attempts to get more from the night nurse. Being that he is still a celebrity, and given that he probably died at least ten years ago, but hasn't noticed due to the drugs in his system, I'm sure the nurse gave him the satisfaction he was looking for.

In a lot of ways, however, Keith Richards claiming that drugs are too weak would be kind of like Steve Forbes claiming that the dollar isn't worth as much. They may actually have a point, but there perspective is going to be drastically different from the average person who's never had as much of the substance that they're talking about.

What's next? Is Steven Tyler going to complain about collagen? Or Gene Simmons bemoan the lack of good tongues in the industry?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

If you can't beat 'em

The government is trying a new tactic in the decades old war on drugs. Taking a page from pot-smokers across the nation, the White House is starting to place their anti-drug public service announcements on YouTube. In doing so, they're putting themselves directly into the viewing cycle of people who watch self-made videos featuring horrible karaoke, live-action translations of video games, and mash-ups of songs with Japanese animation.

The thing is, this type of campaign may work, because it's finally taking a medium that is one of the main focal points for the people directly affected, and addressing the issues. Of course, the PSA's still are a bit hokey for their intended purpose in many ways, but the simple fact that the government is trying a new avenue and approach shows that, in spite of everything else they've done under the current administration, they can learn from what worked and what didn't.

Of course, we also have to keep in mind that one of YouTube's favorite celebrities, and I use the term loosely, is someone who may have had a few run-ins with drug use herself. It almost makes you wonder if the White House is considering trying to put together a few new PSA's featuring Paris Hilton, in an attempt to bring around a wider audience.

Naturally, if this campaign works, we may see even more PSAs showing up on YouTube. Imagine NBC's "The More You Know" campaign playing on your computer while you're trying to find the funny video of the guy lighting his own face on fire with a flaming shot. Picture United Way commercials in place of watching Joe Thiesmann break his leg over and over again.

And just wait until the video mash-up of GDub with Paris. That'll be a real meeting of the minds, one for the record books.

It's a shame neither of them can read.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A step towards reality

Madrid Fashion Week has just taken a much needed step towards rejoining the world of sanity after a recent ban. No, they didn't outlaw garish fashions that will only ever be seen on a runway. No, they didn't keep cocaine away from Kate Moss.

They did, however, ban models who are too thin.

The Fashion Week now will not allow designers to use models that have a BMI of under 18. While this will still lead to freakishly tall women with almost non-existent waistlines, at least they should still be visible when they turn sideways. The ban in Madrid has already caused quite a bit of a buzz, where other large fashion shows are considering following suit.

Here's hoping that this ban will actually start impacting Hollywood, or at least some of the starlets walking around out there. Just think, if Hollywood picked up on it, we'd have fewer films from skeletons like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Keira Knightly, and Kate Bosworth. And honestly, folks, how many times do you need to see someone who looks like they crawled out of their crypt before a day of shooting before you start reaching for the cricket bat?

The only downside to Hollywood instituting that rule would be that Scarlett Johansson would be cast in even more movies than she already is. Given that this is a practical impossibility, there would have to be some sort of damage done to the space/time continuum before we can truly see the results.

Or, shock of shocks, we might get blessed with more actresses that actually look like they eat every once in a while.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of September 11, 2006

Welcome back to another weekly round-up of some of the stories that have touched our hearts.

Stupid is as Stupid Does Award
Handed out to a number of recipients this week, all with varying levels of power within their respective nations. The first two winners are GDub and Nursultan Nazarbayev, for the upcoming summit to discuss Borat. GDub is going to work to help smooth over the impact of Borat with the Kazakh president, because, if anyone knows global relations, it's The Decider. The other winner is Jim Watson of Canada, for proving that Sean Penn is just like everyone else, by announcing publicly the need to treat him just like everyone else. The three politicians are tentatively scheduling a conference call, wherein Nazarbayev and Watson try to convince GDub that Paris Hilton is more (albeit not much more) than a simple hotel.

That Doesn't Mean Us Award
To everyone's favorite talking head, Tony Snowjob. In a recent press conference, Snow decided to announce that the reason why the US isn't following Geneva Convention laws is because they're "vague". He went on to say that the Conventions have never been applied to United States activities in previous conflicts. Snow's next job is to redefine the Ten Commandments, and defend the Pharaoh by saying that the Commandments had never applied to Egypt.

Caste Away Award
The Indian government, in an attempt to finally rid themselves of the caste system, is offering money to the marriage-minded, should they offer themselves in matrimony to someone of a lower caste than themselves. This could theoretically abolish the hereditary hierarchy, as the mingling of different castes cause confusion as to which grouping the children would belong to. This tactic is already being used, albeit without the financial incentive, in America, as proven by the marriage between Britney Spears and Kevin Federline.

A New Crusade Award
Pope Benedict receives this award, for his speech tying Islam to violence, all while painting Christianity as an ultimately peaceful religion. While a spokesman for the Vatican has stated that the Pope's words were not meant to be harmful, there has been no official apology from the head of the church himself. Of course, Pope Benedict is also currently busy with trying to determine how to secure the holy land for his religion, and whether or not he can make the breakfast dish that is his namesake.

It Is to Laugh Award
We're handing this one out to the White House press corps, which has apparently found the laughter that they had sorely missed while Scott McLellan was WH spokesman. Sources tell us that part of the laughter is brought on by Snowjob's use of hand puppets and cartoonish voices, while berating Helen Thomas for once again asking a question about factual evidence.

Colbert, Stewart, and Satan Award
This award is handed out to Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, for calling out Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central as "Godless Sodomites." Phelps then began attacking Kathy Griffin, before someone pointed out that Kathy Griffin is, by all accounts, a woman. Phelps ended the diatribe with milk and warm cookies, all while petting a kitten. A gay kitten.

Excellence in Perkiness Award
We've got to hand this one out Katie Couric, who continues to try vainly to keep the CBS evening news afloat, despite having quickly lost the shiny appeal and fresh audience. Unfortunately for Ms. Couric, people are more interested in watching syndicated episodes of Small Wonder than watching her newscast. It's possible that the robot seems slightly more real.

Excellence While Not Relenting Award
Keith Olbermann, who has made it clear in the past his overall dislike for GDub and the way the war on terror is being handled, once again opened up a can of verbal whoop-ass during his 9/11 program. Agree or not, you can't deny that his words have an impact, and it might behoove some of the other pundits out on the networks to pay attention.

That ends our awards for this week. Thanks for tuning in. Stay safe out there.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Butt Out

After yesterday's revelation that GDub will be hosting meetings between himself and the president of Kazakhstan over the character Borat, we receive news from the neighbor to the north about another politician a little overly concerned with the actions of a celebrity. For those of you that have missed it, Sean Penn caused a bit of a ruckus when he lit up a cigarette during a press conference for his new film.

The problem? Penn was in Ontario, and Ontario just celebrated the completion of its first 100 days as a Smoke-Free Province, banning all smoking indoors. This has led to Health Promotion Minister Jim Watson to practically demand that Penn be ticketed for his offense.

Watson, of course, feels that Penn hasn't even been given a warning on this due to his nature as a celebrity, even if, for years, his biggest claim to fame was having married Madonna. Watson doesn't feel that celebrities should be treated differently from average people, and this banner is being carried further by Dr. Sheela Basrur, who is asking for an investigation into whether or not Penn was made aware of the law, and, if so, why the law wasn't enforced in his case. Basrur also points out that the average fine is slightly over $100.

Here's the catch, though. By raising a big stink over this whole mess, the people in question who simply want Sean Penn to be treated as a normal person are elevating his level of celebrity more than he could do by reshooting I Am Sam. The authorities in question, if they really want to keep him from getting special treatment, should mail a bill to his place of residence (or his agent), and do so in that typically Canadian non-threatening manner. Then, when Penn sees the fine, laughs about it, and uses it as a match to light his next cigarette, they can pretend to get very up in arms before sending him another ticket. This process should repeat endlessly until either a) the politicians get bored, or b) the ticket gets paid.

Wait a minute. How did Sean Penn get big enough on the radar for people to even notice he was inside, let alone smoking?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I can't believe it's not Kazahkstan

More evidence that the irony has died, satire is hooked up to a morphine drip, and comedy itself is closing in on its final laugh is the report that GDub will be hosting talks at the White House with Nursultan Nazarbayev, president of Kazakhstan. The topic of this discussion? British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen, creator of Ali G and Kazakh tv presenter Borat, due to Cohen's portrayal of Kazakhstan in his newest film.

While the Kazakh government is, supposedly, at least partially aware that Borat is a satirical creation, and that the character and the film are really more about exposing problems within the US and the UK, they dislike the film enough to want to meet with the Decider and attempt to get the message out about the real Kazakhstan. A spokesman for Kazakh has said that he doesn't believe that GDub and Nazarbayev will find the film funny. One can't help but agree, because Nazarbayev will not find the humor in a caricature of the Kazakhstani people, and GDub simply won't understand anything that's a couple of steps over a fart joke.

With the war in Iraq still facing severe criticism, the GOP in danger of losing the power they hold in the branches of government, and GDub showing lower approval than just about everyone whose last name isn't Couric or Federline, one has to wonder if it's really wise for the President to step into a controversy over a character and a nation that character supposedly hails from. And the Kazakh government could definitely choose a better candidate to help put a new glossy sheen on their image.

Either way, this is definitely a case of blowing things way out of proportion. After all, Cohen is simply making this character live so that he can joke about events he sees in the world. In a lot of ways, this makes Cohen no different than Larry the Cable Guy (although, in Cohen's defense, he's actually funny). And yes, "Borat" has been guilty of anti-Semitic statements. Generally while staying firmly in character, and generally those statements are directed at Cohen himself. It reminds me of a couple of things said by George Carlin. First, when talking about language, Carlin pointed out that there are no such thing as bad words, but that it's merely the context of the words and the intentions behind the person speaking them that provides their potentially offensive content. Secondly, Carlin pointed out that you can joke about anything, so long as the exaggeration is big enough.

Unfortunately, this particular event is going to be so ridiculous that it's going to be hard to make a joke that's funnier than the reality of the situation. All we can hope now is that GDub doesn't ask Nazarbayev where his horse-drawn car is.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Crocodile Hunter II: The Revenge

Conservationists around Australia are worried that the recent death of Steve Irwin, best known as the Crocodile Hunter, has provoked what is quickly being termed "stingray rage". At least ten of the animals have been found killed, and a couple had their tails removed, around Queensland, where Irwin had his zoo.

This flies in the face of everything that any self-professed conservationist, which Irwin was, stands for. After all, even though the man tended to make a career out of provoking normally docile creatures into states of agitation for television, he still actually did a lot to help bring awareness and respect to these creatures globally. The mere notion that people are retaliating against stingrays for what was, in all honesty, a complete fluke is sickening.

Of course, there is also a game being published on a website, intended to be seen as a memorial to the Crocodile Hunter, called Terri Irwin's Revenge. Within the game, players are challenged to attack and kill as many stingrays as possible before getting killed themselves to achieve a high score. This is akin to the notion of creating a game where Muslims are slaughtered wholesale in attempts to stave off further death and destruction. Sadly, that second game is already known as the Left Behind game.

Honestly, the fact that normally rational people, even descendants from prisoners, could possibly believe that retaliating against stingrays for the death of Steve Irwin is disturbing, to say the least. It's not like the stingray was swimming around, sharing some freaky mindspeak with its brethren before deciding to jab a barb into Irwin's heart. It was a fluke accident, and should be treated that way. Destroying large numbers of these creatures out of a misguided sense of vengeance is much like running out into a field and chopping down stalks of corn because a relative had an allergic reaction to maize.

The only comfort behind this is that it's nice to know that Americans aren't alone in perpetrating misguided revenge schemes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

You're covered

How many times has this happened to you?

You're off on vacation, and you return to your home only to find out that your computer and your iPod have been stolen while you were away. When you call your insurance company, they tell you that the hardware was covered, but that you're SOL when it comes to receiving any reimbursement for anything that had been downloaded to the hardware, regardless of the cost. Sound familiar?

Okay, so maybe it isn't happening all that often as of yet, but with the prevalance of mp3 players and programs such as Apple's iTunes, insurance companies are starting to jump on the bandwagon and are offering to cover downloads.

Of course, it should be noted that this coverage is for accidents such as fire, flood and the like, and not for anyone who happens to think that their computer's case is a good place to put refrigerator magnets. But with the recent coverage, so long as you can prove that there was a purchase price affixed to the material downloaded, you can claim it on your insurance if you happen to lose it. This thinking has also already caused at least one insurance provider to offer their insurance policies in a podcast format, for easy dissemination.

What this all means is that, eventually, people will be able to claim that all of the porn that they downloaded at the low cost of $9.95/month should be reimbursed to them when a burglar or a fire catches them with their pants down.

Good luck unthinking that.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of September 4, 2006

Welcome back to another round of awards, as we once again take a quick trip through the past week of news.

Crikey Award
Obviously, this one goes out to the stingray that brought low the Crocodile Hunter. A freak accident has led to Animal Planet being able to finally plan a full week of programming around tributes, as opposed to footage of animals in mating season.

It's About Me Award
Hats off to Katie Couric, who took over the CBS Evening News this week, and managed to make her first broadcast even more of a news event than Rosie O'Donnell's first broadcast as a host for The View. This is doubly impressive for Ms. Couric, as she is at least one-third the size and volume of Ms. O'Donnell.

What Vanity? Award
To Vanity Fair, for finally providing the world with pictures of a child being held in the arms of Cruise/Holmes. Of course, this still doesn't prove that Suri exists, but it does prove that Tom doesn't immediately break out into hives when placed that close to an infant.

I'm Rubber and You're Glue Award
This award can is handed out to Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, who lamented the race turning into a "name-calling contest", but then followed up by referring to his opponent as "fat", amongst other things. His opponent's response was to say, "I know you are, but what am I?" She then laughed and skipped away to play on a different part of the playground.

Well Duh Award
We hand this one out to the Guardian, for their article pointing out that the next British Prime Minister may want to have a looser relationship with GDub than Tony Blair has had. The Guardian also wants us all to know that space is large, and that the Irish are considered to be heavy drinkers.

Not Quite a Seance Award
KRove gets this one, for hiring priests to exorcise the spirit of Hillary Clinton from the White House. Clinton was quoted as saying, "Ooooooooooo" a lot and rattling chains.

Somebody's Watching Me Award
This award is giving to Facebook, the online social club used almost exclusively by college students, for the newest features they've added which give users up-to-the-minute information on other users, ranging from simply logging in to whenever they've entered or ended a relationship. Facebook is boldly marching foward, and is now planning the next stage of the News Feed, by hiring shady characters to hide in bushes and tape FB users with web cameras.

Take Me Drunk I'm Home Award
This goes out to the cops that arrested Paris Hilton for her DUI, refusing to let the wisp of a socialite escape from the law, despite her protestations about having only had one drink. She also complained about how people have blown the arrest out of proportion. Much like the rest of her career.

And that ends out awards for this week. Thanks for tuning in!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

When in Britain...

News today comes to us from across the pond that, due to a lack of public support and outcries from his own party, PM Tony Blair will be resigning with the year. While he won't give a specific date for his resignation, he is apparently already making plans with the man most likely to replace him as Britain's Prime Minister.

Blair has been under intense pressure to step down ever since he strongly supported GDub and his "War on Terror", specifically the war in Iraq. The British people have grown increasingly disgruntled with Blair, and are starting to throw their support strongly to the Conservative Party, causing upheavals within the Labour Party, which has held power for the last decade.

This, of course, comes during the times where Blair is constantly being weakened by accusations that he is Bush's "pet poodle", and shortly after he'd vowed to not attempt a fourth consecutive term as PM. Blair is now attempting to work his exit strategy out in such a way that his already weakened base of support isn't shattered further, and to allow for a smooth transition to his successor. Of course, over on this side of the ocean, the Bush Administration should be worried when their strongest international supporter has been waylaid by his own party.

Ultimately, what is occuring in Britain isn't unfamiliar to Americans. After all, our President sits with some of the lowest approval ratings ever seen, and a number of campaigns across the nation are actively telling Bush and crew to avoid helping them in their bids for election. There has even been a fair amount of talk about the President resigning with the knowledge that the people aren't on his side, and neither are prominent members of his party.

Unfortunately, this is America, and our President is someone who won't admit mistakes that he's personally made. The closest mea culpa we can expect from the Decider is when he says that someone in the administration did wrong, without specifically pointing fingers or shouldering the blame himself. In fact, when called out on his errors, GDub acts the petulant child, throws a fit, and threatens to imprison those that are criticizing him and his policies.

The country with the most investment in America shortly before we declared our independence was Great Britain, and we learned a lot from them over the years. Perhaps it's time that we once again looked across the pond and took another lesson from the British. When someone that once held great levels of popularity and global sway can be toppled by his adamant refusal to budge on an issue that's gone wrong, what could possibly happen to someone that has consistently floundered in a quagmire of negative feelings?

Of course, given that this is America, we'll probably simply wait a couple of years until the next Presidential election, and place whichever new incompetent monkey we feel can screw up the least into the seat of power. God help us if that person somehow ends up being worse than GDub.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


In a world swimming with the overly tedious reporting regarding Rosie O'Donnell returning to television with The View, Katie Couric taking over an evening news cast, and the first images of the borrowed child that Tom Cruis-azy is trying to pass off as Suri, it's nice to know that there's some sanity left.

Who would've expected that the sanity would come from the camp of the Crocodile Hunter. For those that somehow escaped the news, Steve Irwin was killed while filming a segment with some stingrays for a new show. Of course, this means that his death has been captured on video, and people are clamoring for its release.

The big question is, "Why do people want to see this?" Are we that fascinated with the death of celebrities that we want to watch a man in his final moments? Thankfully, Irwin's manager was recently on Larry King and practically begged, once the video was released by the police from their investigation, that it be destroyed, never to see the light of day. Of course, someone somewhere is going to end up getting ahold of a bootleg, and "One Barb in Irwin" will end up outselling "One Night in Paris" handily. After all, if there are "Faces of Death" films (and a full series of them), then of course there's going to be interest in what could quickly amount to being a snuff film.

Ultimately, there are people who also believe that Irwin was completely guilt free in this exchange, when it should be pointed out that he has a history of prodding animals that were otherwise docile into a state of aggression, all for the benefit of the camera. The scariest thing of all is that Irwin was always so willing to pump out the notion about the danger he was in while dealing with these creatures, he would probably be one of the first ones to suggest mass producing the video of his demise.

Crikey indeed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Can Kuwait come out and play?

GDub recently held a press conference talking about energy, and the US reliance on foreign oil. The Decider seems to believe that the biggest problem facing the US economy (which is booming, according to the GOP) is that we're too dependent on satisfying our energy needs with materials from other countries. Of course, he discredits the notion that inflation has outpaced paychecks, and that costs in general such as health care and energy have risen to ridiculous levels when compared to income.

The President is confident that improved technology, ranging from batteries to ethanol, will help minimize the American dependence on places such as the Middle East. Glaringly missing is the notion of enforcing new standards for fuel economy, standards that could reflect the fact that technology has progressed since the last time they were set down in stone. Of course, the most memorable quote from GDub's speech is, "The problem is we get oil from some parts of the world and they simply don't like us."

Hmmm.. is it possible that they don't like us partially because we've got a misguided child in power, who, rather than being willing to sit down and talk things out, would prefer to simply bomb someone he disagrees with? How can they not like us when we're the staunchest supporter of our own personal ideals, and, as soon as someone (except Israel) stops adhering to those ideals, we send in troops to attack them?

It should also be noted that this speech was given shortly before the President stepped into a Coast Guard simulation room, where his concerns for foreign oil dependence were quickly outpaced by his worry that he might smash the (simulated) boat into the (simulated) wall.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of August 28

Welcome to another rousing trip through the news with the Coffee-Soaked Awards!

Thanks for Paying Attention Award
This one goes out to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) for telling the Governor of Montana that he should declare a fire emergency. Just like the one the governor declared over a month ago. We like to call that "being perceptive".

It's a Scream Award
After a couple of years, two famous paintings by Edvard Munch have been found and returned to their proper places in the museum in Oslo, Norway. Congratulations go out to the Norweigian police. In a side note, the little man in the painting was quoted as saying, "Aaaaaaaaaah!"

Did He or Didn't He Award
Handed out to the FBI, for their wanted poster concerning one of the top ten most wanted people in the world, Osama bin Laden. The poster omits all references to the Sept. 11 attacks that bin Laden claimed responsibility for, and there's no specific reason given as to why his reward got bumped up after the attacks. Conspiracy theorists claim it's because bin Laden wasn't actually responsible for the attacks. Bin Laden's mother says it's because her son doesn't shave often enough.

You Can't Do That On Television Award
British broadcaster Channel 4 gets this one, for their plans to air a drama, shot in documentary style, about a fictional assassination of GDub. The creators are not surprised at the uproar they've already received, and are planning on also airing a program about the fictional resignation of Tony Blair. No script has been determined yet for the fictional AA meeting of Boris Yeltsin.

Excellence in Criticism Award
This week, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC delivered a stinging rebuke of "Gin" Rummy's most recent speech, where Rummy pulled out the Nazi card and was a breath away from calling his detractors traitors. Olbermann pointed out that the Bush administration also shares historical ties... to Neville Chamberlain.

Congratulations to our winners, and everyone hug a teamster this weekend.