A running rant about bad television, crappy products, horrible service, mindless politics, corporate and government ineptitude, moronic media, marketing overload, public idiocy, stupid entertainment, etc. Here's what's annoying me today:


Will you both please shut up

I think I'm going to have to find some room on the top 10 suck list for one or both of these guys. Our distinguished and embarrassing senators from Massachusetts. George Bush will always be number one until the day he is impeached, resigns, or we somehow survive another three years of his presidency & get the clown out of there. But if the Democrats are ever again to win a national election, they must pledge to never again let either of these guys come within 100 yards of a camera or microphone. And remember, this is coming from a "Massachusetts Liberal" who voted for Kerry (before I voted against him).

Since this blog is supposed to be light, and not too political, lets focus on the comedy of it. Kerry calling a press conference and calling for a filibuster of Alito's nomination, long after it's clear that the fight is over (you lost the election, moron) from Switzerland. Only thing that could have made him look like more of an idiot, would be if he were in France.

And Kennedy's trying to be taken seriously blabbing unintelligibly about Alito for two weeks, while comedians are having a field day with his new children's book about his dog Splash. This guy will never be able to be taken seriously.

I swear, these two must have moles inside their offices working for David Letterman or John Stewart. You couldn't make this stuff up.

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One bad Apple

I've been a Mac guy for 20 years. I love Apple. I love Steve Jobs. But I'm really pissed at them right now. I just finally broke down and had to spend $82 on a friggin power cord for my Powerbook. The old one has been held together with electrical tape for the past year, and it finally will hold no longer. It's the most horribly designed thing I've ever seen from them. A cord about 1/32" in diameter that obviously will get pulled on and rip apart. And the fact that it costs $82 is just unbelievable. It's not just me. There are 443 reviews on the Apple Store page that nearly unanimously call it a piece of shit. 443 people took the time to rate a power cord. And the thing is, the new one will be just as bad, and in another year, I'll have to buy another. Here is just a sampling of the reviews on the Apple Store page of this expensive piece of junk:

  • This adapter is terrible. It will fray, come loose, spark, and eventually fail to charge your laptop. However, it's the only one made for the powerbooks, so you're screwed. Laptops are meant to be portable, and this cable just can't keep up. I'm disappointed that a company such as apple would make such garbage. AND that they continue to do NOTHING for powerbook owners to resolve this issue. IF I COULD GIVE IT NO STARS I WOULD.

  • We are on the third power adapter for my wife's iBook. It's painful having to fork over this much money yet again. If the failure rate for these things is so high, why would they charge so much money? What a disappointment! This weakens my trust in Apple.

  • Durability is non-existent. Fire hazard is extreme. After receiving electrical shocks from frayed wires and an obvious defect in design, is it time to hold Apple liable?

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Blogger can't spell blog

Judging from what I read around the blogosphere, there isn't a lot of spell checking going on. But has anybody who ever used Blogger's spell check, realized how crappy it is? It's really rather comical. Among the words that it doesn't know are Blog, - duh!, and Google (or google), which I believe is now a recognized verb. Even more ironic, Blogger is owned by Google.

Even when it does pick up a word that really is wrong, it almost never has any idea what to suggest. Check out the example below. It's smart enough to know that anydody is wrong, but the best it can come up with for a suggestion is anted. What the fuck is anted?

While on the subject of what sucks about Blogger. Why not the ability to do categories? As you can see, my posts are all over the place subject-wise. Really would like to be able to sort them by category, like all the good blogs do. Doesn't seem like rocket science. I know there are supposed to be workarounds, but none seen too easy to figure out unless you are a programmer.

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Cookie cutter neighborhoods

This is a neighborhood that was built in my city a couple years ago. Before it was here, this was a forest. They came in and clear cut the whole thing. It was cheaper and easier to just mow down everything, than to leave some trees and create a nice wooded neighborhood. It's called Hawk Hill. There are no hawks, because they left when the trees were cut down. By the way, I'm not a tree-hugger, I just hate stuff that is cheap and lazy.

These are not inexpensive houses. They sold for $600,000-$700,000. Aren't they just the blandest things you've ever seen? If you had $600,000 to spend on a house, is this what you'd want? People snapped them up pretty quickly, though. I guess there is an allure to some people for a big, new, and open house, no how bland and sterile they look. First off there must have been a sale on beige, soft yellow and white paint, because that's all they used. 32 houses that just alternate beige, soft yellow, white, beige, soft yellow, white, beige, soft yellow, white. A few gray ones thrown in. Clapboard covered chimneys... big flat sides with no windows... a big rock ledge for a backyard, with another big bland ugly house behind it. Yuk, they are just awful. And starting at $600,000! Nuts.

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This phone sucks

Quick post here. This phone is complete a piece of shit. Don't buy it. VTech model 2656 in case anybody is searching the web for a review. Review is: It sucks.



Home with the kids today. I have a 3 and 4 year old. They love Hi-5. It's 5 kids doing songs and skits about stuff. So I'm blogging while they watch it. It's a harmless, but lightweight show. Not as annoying as Barney, which thankfully they never got into, but I have just started to realize that every song they sing is the same song. Today they were singing about Ti Kwon Do. Then they sang about soccer. Same friggin tune. And every episode is the same thing. And its a pretty lame tune too. And then the lyrics are about as lame as the tune. It's like "Tae Kwon Do, we're doing Tae Kwon Do. We love to do Tae Kwon Do." And then the soccer song. "We're playing soc-cer, we're playing soc-cer, we love to play soc-cer." Just a tad annoying.

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There are no original ideas left

I've been somewhat obsessively blogging since I started this last week. A couple nights ago, as I was blogging on my laptop, while my wife watched TV, I said something about her being a Blog Widow. Was just something that popped into my head. I thought I was pretty clever. I said, "that's pretty funny, huh. I wonder if anybody has ever used that term". So I do a Google search on Blog Widow. 13,000 fucking hits! So much for being clever.

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Am I being spied on, already?

I've been bloggin' for a week. A week! Just supposed to be stupid stuff about crappy toys and annoying stuff on TV. Posted a couple Bush paradies and they are after me already. Already! Government addresses in Arlington Virginia are popping up in my site stats. Really. You'd think they could block that out. Oh well, time to go back to non-political stuff anyways. It's more fun. Parady probably isn't protected speech any more since September 11.

Come to think of it, I did send a link to my buddy in Ireland. International Communications. Uh-Oh.

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Someone give this man a blowjob

Read a great line on the web last night. It's very funny, and a pretty sad commentary on Washington politics at the same time. I just made a little web poster of it. Guess it's been going around in various forms, but I first read it on this blog. Bush's little hand suggestion adds a whole other level to contemplate, and explain his actions as president.

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Honey I squished the picture

No this post isn't about Howard Dean, although there will be plenty of time to comment on that latest attempt at self-destruction by the Democrats. This gripe is about wide-screen TVs, and how people watch regular formatted TV stretched-to-fit a wide screen. It doesn't seem to bother anyone but me.

You go into a bar, and unless it's a sporting event, the TV is always stretch-to-fit. They'll have the news, or an old movie on, and everyone looks like Oomp-Loompas. And nobody is bothered by it. It's the main reason I haven't bought a widescreen TV yet.

Hey, I'm a little anal, but I refuse to even watch the news on certain channels in the winter, because they squish the picture to put the no school announcements at the bottom of the screen. Would much rather they chop off Ed Harding's neck, than to make his head any fatter.

Isn't there anyone else bothered by watching TV like this?

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This blog isn't meant to be overtly political, but when you are talking about things that suck, how can you resist posting this. Just came at me today by email. Not sure of the source, but it's brilliant.

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Breaking News

Remember when Breaking News meant that something truly important had happened. The President had been shot or the Space Shuttle had exploded. Today, Breaking News is nothing more that a consultant-driven marketing ploy. It's a constant. Used almost nightly, sometimes multiple times, on every channel to bring a false sense of urgency to every newscast. Breaking News can be anything: a run-or-the-mill car crash, a snow storm, Jen and Brad breaking up. I'm gonna do an experiment for the next couple days. Let's see exactly what qualifies as Breaking News in Boston, and on cable.

1.23.06 Report
No Breaking News tonight, but there was one Developing Story which is the same thing isn't it? Bunch of people evacuated from an apartment building in Brookline because of a carbon monoxide leak.

1.24.06 Report
BIG Breaking News tonight on Headline News. Drama music in the background and everything. The same kind of music they played in the background the night of Reagan's funeral, or during other times of national mourning. Stunning new developments (Nancy Grace said stunning 5 times in a minute) in the Natalee Holloway case. Police from Aruba are traveling to her hometown to re-interview her friends that were with her in Aruba. I listened for a while, and can't get too much more than that. Lots of speculation from NG. "What does this mean..." "They must be close to solving the case..." Doesn't seem to be much new here, but it says Breaking News so this must be important. Lots more sensationalism, and manipulation of the poor girl's mother.

More late Breaking News locally on Channel 56. The bus carrying the BC basketball team hit and killed a bike rider in North Carolina. No more details at this time or anything, but why wait for details, when you can say Breaking News. This is big Breaking News at 11 too on Channel 5 too. Big red full screen banner. Smaller banner Breaking News on Channel 7. Channel 4 decided that the murder of a mother and her baby in Hopkington was more important. Gee, someone with news judgment? Amazing. Bus story isn't even in the top 5 on Channel 4.

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Bush conjures up Beavis

Yesterday, a reporter asked Bush whether he has seen Brokeback Mountain. The response was classic Bush. In the middle of it, I swear, he laughted just like Beavis. Wish I knew how to actually modify the video to insert Beavis's laugh.

Check out the video at I-Film.

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Tom Ellis

What's up with Tom Ellis on NECN. The guy is terrible. It's just uncomfortable to watch him. And NECN is really a pretty good station. Much more professional than any of the over-air local stations. For the most part, all of their anchors are good. They've developed some good young talent too, some who have even gone on to the networks. But for at least ten years, they have had this fossil on every weekend. Shouldn't say fossil, because it's really not about age. Jack Williams actually looks good back at 4, in comparison to Ellis, and Chet Curtis, who's also been retired to NECN.

Tom can barely get through a story without messing it up, he smiles at bizzarre times, he's just terrible. I'd love to know what Chris Collins and Matt Noyce are thinking when they are doing the handoff to Tom. Must be like talking to your weird uncle. They always have this sarcastic look in their eye like they can't believe they have to make small talk with this guy.

And he was actually the number one anchor in Boston, like, 20 years ago? Amazing. He must be signed to a 20 year contract or own part of the company or something. Why else would they have kept him there this long. Certainly they could find someone right of school who would be a lot cheaper than Ellis, and certainly better. What gives?

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Too Many Remotes

Is it ever really possible to get one remote to control all the features of your TV, DVD & Cable Box? I've never found a way. I've come close, but there is always something you need to do, that can only be done with the one remote that is lost. And why can't I ever learn to put all the remotes back in a place where I can find them?

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Terrible Boston Globe Magazine Headline

How did the Globe come up with the headline Is the Commuter Rail Worth Reviving? for today's magazine cover story about the state of the commuter rail system? First off, doesn't something have to dead or near dead to be revived? The juxt of the story is that after ridership increases for seven years, there was a six percent drop this year. OK fine, maybe that's something to look into and base a story on, but that hardly means that the system is near dead. Then further to ask if it is even "worth reviving?" Is that honestly in debate? Sure there is a debate on how and where and even if to invest further in the system, but I don't think there is anyone that would suggest that the system, one of the best in the country, be shut down. Essentially, that is what that headline suggests.

The story itself seems balanced enough, and the inside headline Commuter Rail at a Crossroads is much more accurate. I just can't believe that the main headline for the story, which was also used on the front page of the paper was so misleading. Being involved in publishing, (I'm a magazine designer and art director) I know how these things happen. The headline no doubt came from someone not even involved with the story. Either some editor who just gave a cursory read to the story, or worse yet, someone in marketing or circulation whose motives were much more about how to "sell" the story than to accurately tell what the story is about. I just did a cover for a local college magazine where the cover headline was suggested by the college's marketing director. Being a very editorial-focused designer, and not understanding what the headline meant, I asked the editor I worked with to explain it, so I could do justice to the design of it. She had no idea what it meant, nor did her boss, the editor in chief. It was written by their boss, the Director of Marketing, or Director of Giving, or something who had the final say, even though he knew nothing about editorial.

As for my view on the merits of the story itself: I'm a big supporter of commuter rail. I have a train station pretty much in my back yard. I commuted by train for years when I worked in Boston, and generally loved it. Sure there are many things about it that sucked. Trains don't run late enough. The conductors are usually jerks: I, and a group of other riders once got pushed off a train at North Station by a conductor, because the train was running late, and had to leave. Any time my wife and I have tried to take the train on a weekend with our kids in their carriage we pretty much know we are going to get yelled at for something. Either because we stood on the handicapped platform, and the train didn't stop there, or because we DIDN'T stand on the handicapped platform, and that's where we need to get on with a carriage. It's a given, that you'll get discourteous service. But this is Boston afterall. What do you expect?

Oh, and while we are on the subject, one thing that does TOTALLY SUCK is North Station. It's a joke, especially bad because it's relatively new and was built like this. It's so small and cramped, that whenever there is any kind of a delay, it's like a mosh pit in there to get to your train. They add to the confusion, by refusing to let people out onto the platform early, and calling the trains as late as they can, so everybody has to run at once to get there. And who decided to put one tiny bathroom with two stalls in the ENTIRE station, as far away from the train platforms as possible. It's just unbelievable how that place was built, especially when you look at how beautiful and functional South Station is.

OK, so I guess there are plenty of reasons why Commuter rail sucks, but that hardy justifies the Globes completely wrong headline.

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No Thank You, my Penis is Fine

What's up with all the penis spam. Every day, I get dozens of spam emails to enlarge my penis, buy cheap Viagra, "improve my results in bed" , buy a vibrator. You name it. If I wanted any of this, I certainly wouldn't buy it from an email. Do people really respond to this stuff. It's just nuts. Biggest annoyance is the legitimate emails that get sucked out by my spam filter, while all this stuff still gets by.

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The 3 Most Awful People on Cable TV

Just look at those faces! And just to be "Fair and Balanced" we have one horrible example from each cable network.

A couple months ago, I didn't think television could ever go any lower than Nancy Grace. Everything about her was offensive. But, somehow, like looking at a car crash, I just had to watch. Those arched eyebrows, those huffs, those sighs of disgust. Surely she has to be a network creation. A joke. Like Jiminy Glick or something.

But then a few weeks ago, I became aware of Rita Cosby. I guess I had always been aware of her, but never really bothered to notice before. But after she moved to MSNBC... (I may do a whole listing someday on MSNBC-many times the suckiest of the 3 news channels (Rita, Tucker Carlson, Dennis Miller), but at other times, clearly the best (Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and its general political reporting). ...after moving to MSNBC, immediately after the best of the cable news shows, Keith Olbermann's Countdown, I can't get to the remote fast enough to shut her off. If I can't find the remote or something, I go into a panic that I'm going to hear that voice before I get it shut off. Unlike Nancy Grace, I've never gotten more than 30 seconds into the show. That's all that is needed. Number one with a bullet on the suckiest TV personality list.

What can I say about Shaun Hannity, except he's just a stooge. Not one ounce of anything going on there except blind Republican propaganda. And, so not to give this blog's political leanings away too quickly, Alan Colmes could easily be number 4 on the list. Could they possible have found any lamer voice for the liberal side than this guy?

And you may wonder why no Bill O'Reilly? Yes, he's pretty horrible too. Most pompous TV personality going without a doubt. But there is almost some comedy there, if you listen enough. That's a great question, Chris. Stay on the line, and we'll get you a free pair of Haeger slacks.

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This Year's Crappiest Toy

Those toys were pretty cheap, but this was the worst toy of the Christmas season in our house. Not faulting the buyer of it-looked like a cool remote control truck for my 4 year old son. Nowhere on the box did it mention that it had a 4-FOOT LEASH. From some company called New Bright Quality Toys. What is it with remote control toys? Last Christmas we took two of them back that absolutely didn't work at all.

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Kids Toys are the Worst

We have two little kids, ages 3 and 4. I cringe at every birthday and holiday to see what new crappy toys, with life expectancies measured in hours or minutes, we'll be saddled with. Here are a couple toys that were classics from the 70s, but the versions made today are just pieces of crap.

First up is Milton Bradley's Don't Break the Ice. We've gone through two of these. First one broke in half when I tripped over it. Key feature of suckiness here are the cheap plastic hammers. They probably cost them about 2 cents each to make. But, even though the game its for 2-4 players, they cheap out and only give you two hammers. Would love to see what the original version of this toy looked like. I think the hammers were wood.

Second is a toy we just got today. Were shopping on a site called Back to Basics Toys. They sell a lot of classic toys from the 70s. Actually seem to have generally good quality stuff. We were looking for a non-plastic version of Lincoln Logs for a Christmas present. Found one here, but with a 3-1/2 month back order. But also there we saw Rock'em Sock'em Robots, and on a whim, bought it. Classic toy from the 70s. Aside from the possible example of questionable parenting, (encouraging a 3 and 4 year old to punch their siblings in the head?) the toy seemed like it would be fun for them, and kitschy for me. My friends and I used to play this for hours at a time, and put the toy through quite a lot of abuse. It lasted for years. No such luck with the 2006 version. Within 10 minutes one of the robots arms was jammed and unusable.

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NFL Referees a Joke

Two calls in this weekends games were totally bogus. The most egregious, and ultimately damaging, was against my team, the New England Patriots. Granted, the Patriots played more than bad enough to lose the game, but the pass interference call against Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel was just inexcusable. Pass interference calls in general can be so damaging to a team, and are so subjective that they need to be reserved for clear violations. This play could have just as easily been called offensive interference, and certainly should not have been called in a game of this magnitude. The fact that it was called on a late flag coming from a back judge (Gregory Steed), and not the side judge nearest the play, really brings into question the motives of this ref. The Broncos got the ball on the one yard line, went on to score, and then caused another fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Primarily because of that bogus play, the Patriots went from a 3-0 lead, to a 10-3 deficit at halftime.

Another non-call came in the second half, when Champ Bailey interception Brady in the endzone, and returned the ball 100 yards, before being knocked out of bounds on the one yard line. Belichick claimed the ball was fumbled, went out of the endzone, and was therefore the Patriots ball on their 20 yard line. What Belichick was claiming was a little hard to understand at the time, but upon reading more about the rule, he was clearly right. There unfortunately was no camera angle that definitively showed where the ball landed.

A call in the Colts-Steelers game was even more appalling because it was called correctly on the field, and then incorrectly reversed. This call even led to an admission by the NFL that the call was bogus. Many other strange occurrences in the final 2 minutes led to a Steelers win, making the bad call moot.

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