Monday, September 25, 2006

A legend passes

I found out today that Jeff Cooper, the Gunner's Guru, passed away. He was a man who lived a very full life. He served with distinction in the military, literally wrote the book on riot control with the Royal Hong Kong Police, and revolutionized modern combat techniques.

In addition to being a writer, Colonel Cooper was a teacher. He codified what became known as the Modern Technique of gun fighting, and has been influential in all areas of firearms and shooting. He was even an authority on African big game hunting. We may never see as well-rounded a shooter again in my lifetime.

The Colonel also had another quality: he made people think. He was a man who had his ducks in a row; if you were going to tell him he was wrong, you'd better have a good arguement to support that position. If you didn't, he'd chew you up...politely, but completely.

That's one thing I really appreciate about the man: he made me examine my positions and why I held the beliefs I do. I knew 1911's are cool. He helped me realize the reasons why its cool, from the perspective of a man who went to war with it.

He had his detractors, too. Pundits said that the Weaver technique that he espoused was inferior to other stances. However, you can't get from point A to point B in technique without going through Cooper Country. They said he was abrasive and dogmatic. That may be true, but he was honest. That's probably the thing I'll take away from all the words I've read that he's put to paper: be honest. Know your stuff, be able to articulate it, be honest. "To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Tell the Truth". Even the title of his book is great advice.

I grew up reading Cooper's thoughts. I found a treasure trove of them here. Do yourself a favor and read what the man had to say. He'll make you think.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Big Saturday Pet Peeves

As I compose this furious screed (for some reason, I really love that phrase), my beloved Michigan Wolverines are battling a tough, undefeated Wisconsin Badger team that is doing everything they can to avoid getting steamrolled the way Notre Dame did last week. So far, they're doing well. But some shots of some of the crowd brought to mind a couple of pet peeves that have come to the fore because of other events this week.

A comment from a fellow forum staff member pointed out that I'm not the only one who feels this way: being a fan (sometimes called a FANatic) does not give you the right to use the nominative singular pronoun "we". "We" didn't score the game winning touchdown. "We" didn't work hard in the preseason and in practices all season long. "We" didn't come back from a devestating injury. As a matter of fact, to quote Morty from Layer Cake , "we" had "absolutely sweet ****-all to do with" with how the team does. Nothing. Zip, zero, nada, and perhaps even less than that. You do what all fans do: buy gear with logos on it, download fight song ring tones, watch a game with friends. If you're really lucky, you get to go to Ann Arbor and tailgate before (and after, to do it proper) going in to watch the game wearing maize and blue. I have a couple Wolverine hats, and I think I've got a shirt or two, as well. If they made foam Wolverine hats, I'd wear 'em on game day. I even dig the foam claw, which is a variation of the giant foam "#1" finger. If I had epic amounts of money to spend on clothes, I'd even have an authentic jersey. And guess what: none of that makes me any more than a fan. Get it through your head, FANatics: you're not on the team. You're not a coach of the team. You're not even a ball-or-towel boy. You're nothing but a fan. You're probably the same jackass that plays in the Division DD municipal softball league and wears your team's gear to play, while getting bent out of shape at a missed call and acting the fool because you think you're still an athlete. Guess what, bro: I played at the same level as you, and batted in the neighborhood of .900, and I suck. Get over yourself.

The first pet peeve took quite a long time to get all out, didn't it? That doesn't mean I'm going to leave out Pet Peeve #2, becuase its what ruins going to see college sports lives. These people fall into a sub-catagory of the FANatic, because they're also guilty of the "we"-ism: the college band.

Bandies get to thinkin' that because they make a lot of noise during the game, playing goofy selections that nobody asked for and making it so people can't hear the coversation with the people they want to be there with, and because they do the "lets go get a some food and drink" show (halftime), they get to use the "we". I was in band in High School. Sadly, I didn't make it to the big leagues of college pep-bands. I know how some of them think. They wear a uniform with team colors on it, and they play the fight song. Sorry, geeks, it does not mean you get to use the "we".

Several times back in the day, I was able to go to SDSU games with my friends and their family. My friend's mom worked in the athletic department at State, so they got really good seats to games. Unfortunately, those seats were next to the band during basketball season. It wasn't long before John and I were bringing kazoos to play along with the band. I've never seen such an offended tuba player. You'd have thought we were Skinhead O'Connor ripping up a picture of the band dressed as the Pope on Saturday Night Live.

C'mon, bandies. Lets get a grip here. you're playing at what will probably be the pinnacle of your musical career. You're not going to join a band that sells millions of records after college. You're also not going to get into a symphony and get paid big bucks...or even medium bucks. Probably not even small bucks, because you're the equivalent of the D league softball player in comparison to minor league baseball (never mind the big leagues). Its not like you're pullin' chicks being in band, either. I know; I was there. Get the head screwed on, straight and tight, and realize that even with all that practice and effort, you don't get to use the "we" in terms of the team, either. You do get to use the "we" in terms of all the glory that comes with being in the band, though.

Friday, September 22, 2006


What a hassle. I downloaded what I thought was a codec for Windows Media Player, and it turned out to be chock full of spyware. I had a moment of weakness, didn't look deeply enough at what I was doing, and have spent a few days without my 'puter to sort it out. I suspect that I'm not done yet, either.

Makes me wonder, though: who's responsible for all this spyware, malware, jackassware, jerkware, etc. etc. Is it the companies that make spyware detection programs? In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter, because Webroot got $20 from me for SpySweeper anyway. This program comes recommended. Of course, you need to run right out, so to speak (its not easy to run right out online), and buy this program because some guy said he bought it on his blog.

Aha! Perhaps therein lies the difference: my blog is a self depracating blog. Look at the title. How could you not trust such a blog antiestablishmentarian? How could you not believe in a guy that can spell antiestablishmentarianism, and even know what it means and how to conjugate it? See that? That's called credibility!

If you're gonna take something useful away from my blog, it should likely be this: the online world has become a rotten place. Sure, its a great tool and a fantastic communication aid. But its also become the place where there are probably a million people out there writing malicious junk to get in your computer and make your life difficult. Use the 'net as a tool and have fun, but keep your guard up. People that wouldn't step to you in "real life" are out to wreck your stuff and cost you money, and perhaps attempt to ruin your life, when you're in front of your computer. Don't ever forget to push the chair back, stand up, and go outside.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Karma strikes again! The hits just keep on comin'!

Oh, man, I'm gettin' a good chuckle out of this. First, Supernova picks the wrong guy, then we find out they picked the wrong name! Somehow, a band that's been around for about a decade claims to have copyrighted the name, and managed to get an injunction against the New 'Nova. I don't really know how they managed to pull that off, since this is hardly the first time more than one band has had a name. I guess Jill Gioia was right: everything in rock has already been done. Including picking the wrong singer! LOL!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Supernova just picked the wrong guy. Congrats on picking the worst possible option, fellas. Almost a shame that a band with such potential will only record one record, have it sell...not platinum...certainly not gold,'ll sell wood. Balsa wood. 300,000 copies, max. I hope its utter failure of picking a front man. Remember, the public also picked Jesse Camp as a VJ...for a season. Good thing you guys have made money in the past, cuz this one ain't gonna make ya diddly squat.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Cultural Phenomenon

I have a confession to make. I've been watching Rockstar:Supernova all season long. Its intriguing for some reason. Its not like I love the music. They covered plenty of songs that I hated. I can't help it; I'm really picky about what music I like. Ask my friends how long the list of "that song sucks ass" tunes is. The more I think about it, the more I think its about competition.

I've been to traffic court a few times in my life. After the first one, which I lost in a close decision (perhaps I'll tell that story another time. It may be useful for the edification of the driving body politik) I came to be able to tell within the first minute or two if the person before the judge had any chance of winning their case. Most don't, but that's beside the point. Its a form of competition. Just like I called last year's winner with INXS (a band I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of) in the first couple weeks, I tried to do the same thing this year.

This year's a bit different, though. They've already cut loose one of my favorites, Storm Large. My opinions haven't changed much so far; I'm down with Magni and Toby to front this band...although they don't rate me linking anything to them the way Storm does. What can I say? She's tall, hot, and talented as all get out. She rocks. When her record comes out, I'm all over it. Storm is DA BOMB DIGGITY!

The bottom line is this, though: if Lukas Rossi wins this thing, I'm not buying the Supernova record. I'm not gonna go see 'em. I'm not gonna watch the videos. I'm not gonna have anything to do with them. The bottom line, I suppose, is that regardless of who wins, I don't care as long as its not Lukas. I hate the sound of his voice. His haircut is irritating. His penchant for making is so damn emo I can't stand it. He not only doesn't fit with this band, he needs to front some band of adolencent cutters with "the world is hard on me and I'm gonna cry" songs. He needs a job working the night shift in a Stop and Rob store, or to be intimately familiar with the words "Would you like an apple pie with that?" Maybe in a Dead or Alive cover band. That might work. If he wins, there's something seriously wrong with people in this world.

I'm hackin' on Lukas because I don't think he fits this band, and life is mostly about competition, which means a good part of it is about rooting, too. I wish the best to all the competitors, but I gotta have things to root for and against, don't I?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

anticipated anticipation

So there I am this past Friday, slaving over a hot lighter, burning off extra threads on some pouches at work. The guy who used to be my boss before I started in the manufacturing division comes over and says "How late do you think you'll be on Tuesday morning?" I thought for a bit, and said "Well, if the game runs long, ya better plan on an extra hour". Our production manager asked why I'd be late, so he said "Chargers/Raiders on Monday Night Football in the late game." That game is scheduled to end at about midnight:30 or so. I'm gonna have to stay up and watch it (unless its a blow out) because 1) Its the Chargers/Raiders, and I have to see it live for the best effect, and B) I don't have TiVo.

I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to this game. There's a couple reasons for it: I'm a San Diego guy at heart, and have been for 25 years or so. I love that city, from the killer Messican food to ultra fresh seafood, to the Mardi Gras Cafe on Midway Dr. In addition, the weather is awesome, the wimminz is beeee-youtiful and the poeple are pretty fantastic, too. Because I have a strong link to San Diego to this day, following the SD sports teams when I can is a way to make me feel just a bit less homesick...or at least, missing carne asada nachos with sour cream and cheese a little less.

But there's more. Being a Charger fan means that I hate the Raiders. I detest Alice Davis and all that he stands for. Except for part of a decade when they employed a guy I knew from my church, Lincoln Kennedy I wanted them to lose every game. The hard part was that I wanted my bro to succeed (he did) and get paid (he did) and stay healthy (thank God, he did) but I still wanted, vehemently and strenuously, to lose every game and lose big. Now that he's retired, I can do that in good concience. I don't care what they do, as long as they lose. Hey, Alice, get down there on the sideline and coach. Get in Art Schell's way and cause more losses. Its the best thing you can do for fans of real sports teams.

The best part is that he's got himself one bad, bad football team. The Raiders, once again, are going nowhere. They're going to be the cellar dwellers, which is great. The Chargers will make the playoffs, barring too many injuries. They should be steadily improving over the next couple years, too. The Raiders, as long as Alice owns them, are going no where and staying there. They'll be the source for the maps to nowhere. They'll be able to act as guides. The Browns will probably be there, too, to spread the work load.

After all this, all I gotta say is, I'm gonna look pretty bad if the Raiders win somehow. They say the sun shines on even a blind dog's butt some days. I'm not sure what that means, other than that its supposed to connotate "luck". At any rate, here's to seeing the first game of a lot of losing by the Raiders for the forseeable future. Its a continuation of the past couple seasons, after all.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

whats wrong with with athletes?

Saturday (and Sunday, Monday, generally Tuesday, Wednesday during basketball season, and always Thursdays, with a lot of Fridays in there, too, not counting Pay Per Views) are generally pretty darn good sports days. Last I looked, Texas was gettin' pretty much stomped, and Tony Stewart had been cut out of the chase. Michigan won big. The WNBA is finally done so I don't have to worry about seeing that trainwreck any longer. If I wanted to see hoops with 4" vertical leaps I'd go down to the Y and watch the kids run.

But amongst all this great sport action are reports of athletes screwing up. David Boston got cut. No reason given, but I'm sure its the same reason that got him traded from every other team he's been on. T.O. is getting into the same crap he was doing in Philly, which got him sent packin' from there. On The Ultimate Fighter, Jeremy Jackson got himself thrown out of the house-and the whole competition-which ends his shot at getting paid and getting a title shot.

I don't claim to be all that mentally tough, but I have decent amount of it. I'm not an athlete anymore, but there are still things I do well that get me paid. So what I don't understand is how supposed professionals can just throw away the one thing that sets them up for life.

A pro athlete generally has about a ten year career, if things go their way and they don't have career ending injuries. That's a pretty lucky guy that gets to do it for that long, and doing it any longer than that is really, really special. I still don't understand how it is The Rocket is still pitching at the level that he is. He's certainly making the most of his ability. Why is it so dang hard to put the idiocy behind ya to get your job done and make it possible to set yourself up for life?

If you're going to just HAVE to act the fool, why can't you wait until your career is done and the world doesn't care so much if you're an moron anymore? What's so difficult about that? I understand playing hurt and I understand that to do those jobs means that you have a lot of pressure and pain. However, you chose to do it! I really don't get it.

To punctuate the point, let me explain what Jeremy Jackson did to get booted off the show. For a change of pace, the fighters were taken to the local Y to do some swimming, play some basketball...whatever they wanted to do to break up the routine of going to the same gym and doing the same training. Jackson met a lifeguard there, and to make a long-ish story short, he arranged for her to meet him at the house. The rules are: no leaving the house without authorization (which means "go to the gym for training and fights, and go to the hospital if its required") and no guests. What does he do? He jumps over the back fence-seen on camera, of course-to meet up with this girl for one night. This was two weeks into the six week time in the house. He gets booted off the show for it. The kicker here is that for the past several months, he's been living out of his car. His rationalization? "I just wanted to spend some time with someone female. The house is all guys." All he had to do was last four more weeks. Now it'll be one heck of a long time before he gets any shot at the UFC, and he'll probably never be back there again. All because he lacked the fortitude to hold out just six weeks.

Somebody please put the world on a platter for me for a decade. I've been working my butt off since 1986, and the world still isn't mine. If I can put myself into projects that don't pay as much as pro sports do, and still work on 'em for years at a time. I guess I simply don't understand how someone can have a perishable talent, and either lacks the mental toughness or will to take advantage of it. All ya gotta do is show up, put the work in, and get it done. Save being a jerk or whatever else your problem is for later. It just makes the rest of us mad to see you blow it when we know the same chance isn't squandered on everyone else.

what's entertainment coming to?

I've been noticing lately that much of what's out there-and popular-to entertain me is...crap. There's a dearth of originality on all forms of media: film, music, television. How is it we can have 400 channels of cable and nothing worth watching? How can hundreds of millions...nay, billions, of dollars be spent with so little to show for it?

I spend what seems like a lot of time with the TV on. The thing is, most of the time, I'm on my computer with my back to it. I could just as easily have a radio on...except that radio is really bland these days, too. I've heard a couple of songs from the new Dixie Chicklets record. In addition to holding a nice, big fat grudge against them for their anti-American comments, I found it to be the same old tired stuff. Oddly, their record sales are down something like 30% according to some sources, but they still have a top ten disc that's apparently gone platinum.

I watch three shows with regularity, not counting sports. I've been watching Rock Star for a couple seasons now, and I'm not exactly sure why it facinates me so much. I guess because its competition, which I like, and because it rocks from time to time. If they pick Lukas, though, I'm not buying that disc. I'm also a regular watcher of The Unit, even though the errors in that show drive me absolutely nuts. The best thing on TV is The Ultimate Fighter, and the other UFC shows like Fight Night and Unleashed. Its pretty real, and its competition. Other than sports that I watch religiously (baseball isn't a sport, and its at least 150 games too long in season), that's what there is on TV.

The Blockbuster movies of the summer are pretty damn tame these days. I've seen two of the three that have been of any interest over the past several months. The Pirates sequel was what the middle film of a trilogy always is: a transition movie that sort of stands on its own, but really only works in terms of the whole story. The other, Miami Vice, was enjoyable, but mostly because I was a huge, huge fan of the TV show. I might have liked it a little better if they'd used Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. The only other flick I'm interested in is a classic B-movie comedy, Beerfest. Being a B-movie, though, means that I gotta see it on a matinee to be worth the price.

Is that the reason? Is that why there's so much of the same out there these days? Is it simply because cost has gotten so high that the companies that find, green light, and sell this stuff are trying to go with the "sure thing"? That would explain the boring sameness that we are forced to endure. There are a few "new" shows out there that are doing new and interesting things, but few of them appeal to me. Its also a shame that so many of them end up listed on Brilliant But Cancelled.

A while back, though, Joss Whedon was allowed to make a movie out of his TV series Firefly. In case you haven't seen it, the movie is called Serenity. That project gave me hope, but its been a while ago that it was made. I think I may be hoping against hope that something will come along that will take up all the time that following the trainwrecks of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears careers. Help....please?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

writer's block

I spend a lot of time on the Intarweb. I'm a moderator on a couple forums, and admin on a few more. I have thousands of posts...come to think of it, closer to ten thousand and very likely far more than that...on various forums on various subjects. I have no problem commenting on stuff other poeple post. F'rinstance, my bro Josh is a bloggin' fool. He's got lots to post about, and half the time I seem to write these long rants in reply to his posts. By the time I'm done, I thinkin' that "I should have posted that here". Yet I am in the throes of writer's block.

The key is, I'm sure, to start writing down some topics. I have them pass through my head from time to time, but they're like Spongebob chasing the jellyfish: I don't keep them very long at all. Sort of like when you see someone you know at a stoplight, but don't remember to honk because you didn't recognize them in time. Even better: being that person who comes up with the perfect come back...the day after they needed it. I don't have that problem, but that's not the same as writer's block.

I think part of this all stems from some pot smokin' idiot posting a big ol' long rambling trainwreck of a rant on the MySpace account of the person I commented on earlier. That person has since made their account "private", which means you have to be let in as a "friend" to view it. Since I'm not that person's friend, half my entertainment for the week has gone out the window.

I'll see what I can do this weekend. I gotta go get some sleep so my next treatise isn't about how I spend my whole weekend with a cold kickin' my butt.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My new guilty pleasure

One of the members on one of the several forums that I moderate on turned me on to my latest guilty pleasure. There's a comic strip called Over The Hedge that is making my grinceps sore these days. Mainly, its these two crazy redneck flamingos that are just killin' me. To whit, one piece of evidence:

Style and panache. One must be awed by their creativity in entertainment. They're...birds after my own heart. Were they human, they'd be renaissance Mens. Renaissance Dudes. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I quit reading the paper quite a while ago. Didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to read the same stuff on paper that I could read on the intarweb without additional monetary investment. What's the point of spending more than a dollar on a Sunday paper when most of it is ads that get thrown away? At least I can close pop-up ads, and I have a couple pop-up stoppers that quash that stuff before it even gets started. Perhaps the newspaper needs to get away from the politicking and get back to the reporting. Like when Fletch was still working for the papers. That was a real reporter.

Check out Over the Hedge here. The cool thing about this site is that you can sign up to have comics delivered to your e-mail, although if you want more than one, it costs ya. I chose OTH, but since I have more than one e-mail address, I may need OPUS, too....