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Showing posts from April, 2004

Joan of Arcadia

I am not a religious man. While I do have a faith, it is not through or helped by any of the established religions. That being said, I feel the best new show on TV is Joan of Arcadia. This show mixes decent drama and humor into a world in which God talks to a high school girl.

Joan is not really about faith or religion, though. It is more about listening to that voice inside you, paying attention to those around you, and trying to be a better person. They use God as the means to prod Joan along that path. It is a journey of discovery for her as she started as a girl with no friends, new to the town and school, and has been "forced" to expand her horizons and do new things and meet new people. It's sweet without being forced. And there are reasonable consequences for her actions.

So many shows move toward melodrama; the consequences and devices used to move the plot forward are so unreal it is unbelievable. In this show, the consequences are very real; Joan refuses to r…

Comic Books Today

Comic books are not for children any more.

Actually, they haven't been for kids since 1984, the year that DC Comics published Alan Moore's Watchmen series. Shortly after this seminal work, Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns was released and the down and dirty, gritty, realistic comic book genre came into its own and has persisted since.

Price is another consideration. Most children can't afford to buy comics today, at least not on a regular basis. The average price for a comic book these days is $2.50. Some of the bigger titles (Batman, Superman, X-Men) you can still get for $2.25, but many and a growing number of titles are either $2.95 (DC) or $2.99 (Marvel). And almost all independent titles are in the high range.

Another way in which comic books are no longer for children is the cultural influence they have. Big authors, movie scriptwriters/directors, and other top-named talent either got their start in comics or have written comics. Ray Bradbury, Warren Ellis, Wil…

Initial thoughts on this year's NBA Playoffs

Just a couple of comments:

1. Bill Walton is arguable the worst color commentator ever.
1.A. Bill should not be allowed to comment on a game in which his son is playing. Not only does Bill hate the Lakers, but isn't that conflict of interest to announce the game in which your son is playing (even if he plays for a hated rival)?

2. I saw some of the worst refereeing ever on the opening day of the playoffs this year. It culminated in the last game where there were two obvious goal-tending calls missed, quite a few no-calls called, and a number of exceptionally late calls made where, on replay, you could watch the ref's eyes follow the ball and wait to call the foul until after seeing if the shot was missed. This happened in every game (and I watched all 4 of them).

3. If, as a ref, you don't SEE the foul, don't call the foul. Just because you hear a thwack sound doesn't mean it happened on the play you are cut off from. We've got three refs; if each would just ca…

Elections

In the original framing of our country, our founding fathers were concerned with making sure that all branches of the government had proper checks and balances, and that each branch had a means by which they could check and balance the other branches.

Originally in the Constitution, the person with the highest number of votes won the Presidency and the person with the next highest number of votes became Vice-President (Article 2, Section 1, Clause 3). I believe this was an inherent check and balance as designed by the creators of our country. Typically the two highest vote getters would be from different party affiliations or philosophies and they would have to work together toward common goals. It also ensures that the primary resource for the President was someone with a different understanding than his own, so he would be provided with council that someone who generally agreed with him may not give. This seemed to work well as our country quickly grew to be one of the finest and mo…

Parking Lots

Why is it that people lose all sense of reason and propriety in a parking lot?

First, the designers of parking lots are, to a person, mad. Absolutely bonkers insane. Otherwise, parking lots would be more logically laid out, sized to fit actual vehicles, and the spaces would be designed for use.

Second, people in general seem to forget that all the same rules of the road apply while in a parking lot. Unless a lot indicates othewise, lanes have a right side and a left side, turn signals should be used, and through traffic has the right of way. In California, all pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way.

Thirdly, what the hell are people thinking when it comes to the predatory reaction they have to "hunting" for a spot and "defending" their spot when they find it? Relax, people, it's only a 10 by 15 foot piece of ground. I'm truly surprised there aren't more mall killing sprees where someone just snaps because another driver took "their" parking …

Grocery Store Cards

Albertsons is my current grocery store of choice. There is one within a mile of my apartment and one very close by work, so convenience is certainly a big factor. One of my big reasons outside of convenience has been that they always have had generally low prices with no gimmicks.

However, after coming out of the California workers strike, Albertsons switched to using a Store Card.

The benefit of the grocery store card is that the grocery store in question (and all of its affiliates and third party members) can track where you shop and what you buy. The incentive to you, the shopper, for them having this insight into your life and habits are the sweepstakes, rewards, and "lower" costs on some in-store items when you use the card. In essence, they are paying you to be market research for them.

I went through this with Vons awhile back. I noticed that the prices were generally rising over the course of a month or so, then the cards were introduced. The "savings" you …

April Fools?

Google announced on April 1st a new email system that they plan to introduce in the near future. Many were skeptical of the announcement, as this company has a history of doing April Fools pranks. However, it appears to be legitimate.

This new system promises to allow EACH person's mailbox to be 1 GIG in size, doesn't need you to maintain (by moving or deleting emails) it, and uses Google's patented search features to aid you in finding the right email in your box.

All this for free.

The only thing I didn't see is whether they provide any sort of anti-spam programs with that. If not, I bet the 1 GIG will be reached much sooner than they envision! I currently receive between 200 and 300 spam emails into my Bulk email box a day in my Yahoo! account. Multiply that out, and it adds up quickly.

Hopefully this email system will be safe, secure, and simple. If so, I expect to use it whenever it is launched to the open public (it is currently in beta).