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:


Balloons and Assault Rifles

This has shocked me the past several years. At the annual holiday parade in Beverly there are dozens of vendors pushing carts filled with balloons and stuffed animals. You got everything from Dora the Explorer to Lightning McQueen to Santa Claus. But between the giant inflatable candy canes, and the stuffed Dumbos, are a display of toy assault rifles. Seriously. I'm not talking about little squirt guns or even cap guns. I'm talking three-foot long plastic rifles with scopes, clearly labeled "assault rifles". Unfortunately the photo I snapped doesn't show the wording but trust me, it was there.

What the hell is up with that. What could possibly be the justification for selling toy assault rifles to kids at a holiday parade? They have them every year, so somebody must be buying them. But before I ask "what parent would buy their kid a toy assault rifle at the local Santa Claus parade," I do have to hesitate & picture at least a couple of the parents I have seen picking up their kids at my sons kindergarten class and think. "Oh, yeah, I guess that kind of parent just might." Here you go junior. Go stand behind the mailbox & pretend you are picking off Santa.

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Colors Named After Vegetables

Sometimes when I'm doing home improvement projects myself, I don't know my ass from my elbow. In this case, I don't know a friggin avocado from an artichoke.

Was going to take advantage of the relatively warm weather today and start to paint my shutters. After going through our usual obsessive-compulsive color speccing (I tend to be a little gay when it comes to picking colors for the house. Am worse than the wife, actually), and testing on the back side of the garage last spring we settled on Benjamin Moore color # 2141-10. Or since everybody has to be fucking Martha Stewart these days, Artichoke. But sometime between last spring, when we picked the color, and last weekend when I went to buy the paint, I transposed vegetables in my mind & went to the paint store and plunked down $75 for two gallons of Avocado paint.

So I just got things all set up today, pulled out the primer & started painting. Color looked a little bright, but since it was just the primer, and was still wet, I didn't worry that much about it. Got through the first shutter & it still looked wrong. It looked more like something I'd dip my nacho chips in, or worse yet, something I'd see after having many too many margaritas with my nachos, than something I'd want to hang on my house. So I check the top coat can & it looked pretty much the same. Then I dug out the test can from last Spring & sure enough, it was supposed to be Artichoke, not Avocado. God damn $75 down the drain because I remembered the the wrong fucking vegetable.

Now the paint store says to bring in the cans & they'll see if they can turn Avocado into Artichoke, but I figure I'll just end up with pukey looking Asparagus or something.

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7-day Weather Forecasts

Weather forecasts are a pretty dubious enterprise as it is. Seems that two days ago, Thanksgiving was going to be a warm sunny day, and now it's going to be a washout. But many of the stations now seem to be doing 7-day forecasts. 7 days out there is a snowball's chance in hell of them getting it right, but that's besides the point. Like all else in local news, this started with a marketing consultant. At Channel 7, the marketing tie-in is obvious. Who cares if there is a 1% chance of them getting it right? Why pass up the chance to be able to reinforce the brand by saying Seven on 7 every time you give the weather. Now by this logic, Channel 4 would be doing only 4-day forecasts, but there must also be a page in the consultant's handbook that says you can't forecast any fewer number days than your competition, even at the expense on not being able to reinforce your brand.

I'm sure somewhere, there is a Channel 10 attempting to do 10-day forecasts. And I wouldn't be too surprised if somewhere down the road, Fox 25 jumps on the bandwagon & attempts to do 25-day forecasts. Hmm, you don't think that with Channel 7 taking over the news operation at Channel 56, they would have the balls to go for a 56-day forecast do you?

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If it airs, you must despair

He's back! Just when you thought television and publishing standards could get no lower, OJ has been given yet another public forum by his enablers in the media. This one is truly despicable. He has a new book titled, incredibly, If I Did It, Here's How It Happened. The book is being published by the shameless Judith Regan who will also interview the deranged lunatic in a two part special on the equally shameless FOX network. Everyone involved here sucks: OJ, the media, anybody that watches or buys this crap, and certainly any advertisers that support it. I'd guess that they won't find any, but I won't be too surprised (I've overestimated corporate ethics many times before) to hear some corporate lowlife that would support this bile. Say, like News Corp, the parent company of both FOX, and the publisher Harper-Collins? There is just no depth to how low this guy and his enablers will go.

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Icy Martinis and Bad Fish

OK, enough politics for a while. Back to more important things.

Like why can't the new trendy martini restaurant in my town figure out how to make a martini that isn't full of ice chunks? Any why are they only half full?

It's not like we get out to trendy martini bars very often with two little kids. Maybe we aren't up on all the trends. Like we know it's correct to serve red wine in a much oversized glass, so it can breath (or some such nonsense), but when did this become true of martinis? And it's not like this was an oversized glass. It was just a much undersized martini.

And what's with the ice chunks? This restaurant, Mandrake in Beverly, is very cool, great atmosphere, and has been open about a year. We tried it out when it first opened and had the exact same experience with the drinks. Gave them a pass because it had only been open a week. But by now, I'd think they should know how to make a martini correctly. I mean, I wouldn't expect a perfect martini at a beer joint, or at the 99, but when you have a martini menu, you should be able to make a fucking martini without shards of ice in it.

And then there is the tuna problem. I am a bit of a tuna snob. Tuna can only be cooked one way: RARE. The best tuna dishes I've ever had were cooked by a chef named Brian Kilroy who worked at the late, great Love Noodle in Salem, and then hopped around to several other restaurants on the North Shore. It was perfect every time. Seared, sliced, and served over asian noodles and vegetables in a killer soy wasabi sauce. If you ordered it any other way than RARE, he would refuse to make it. He was the Tuna Nazi.

Mandrake's tuna appetizer was cooked correctly, but it seemed like it was prepared between a few hours and a few days before it was served. Yuck.

So while we will probably give Mandrake another chance at some point, it is on a 6-month probation for shitty drinks and stale tuna. One of our other favorite North Shore restaurants, Finz in Salem is also on a 1-year tuna probation for the bland, overthick, seared on only one side slab I got there this summer. Rare tuna is good, but a two inch thick piece of raw fish with no flavor is not.

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Why are all my friends Republican?

Here is just a sampling of comments from my Republican friends after Tuesday's big thumpin'. For some reason I tend to have many more Republican friends than Democrats. They are all terribly misguided, but I can't seem to do anything about it. This doesn't even include the most anti-liberal, FOX News talking-point spewing, illegal alien fearing (although safely ensconced in alien-free Marblehead) Republican nut-job buddy, who I nearly came to blows with in a bar on the eve of the Iraq war when I correctly predicted just about everything that has happened over there. I have yet to hear from him, but have no doubt that there will be no change in his no-holds-barred anti-liberal tirades.

Anyways, here's a sampling of emails from the others.
  • I suggest you start the process of getting your pistol permits to carry concealed weapons now. The Democrats are in power and as bad as Massachusetts is now, it will only get worse. May the dear lord take pity on Massachusetts; I almost puked last night listening to Ted Kennedy introduce the Devil. In fact, I couldn't listen; I turned off the TV, kissed my children and started battening down the hatches. This is Jericho.

  • These guys are in over their head. Just wait a few years after we've paid higher taxes and on the surface a few social/ education programs look a little better (as might the economy) We'll also have a deficit of 4 billion instead of 2. By the time his or Murray's term is over (Patrick is out of here if a Democrat is elected into the Oval Office), it will be 1989 all over again, our economy will be in the tank and more people will be out of work. Not to mention the criminal pardons. Cranky, you will rue the day you decided to go back to the dark side.

At least one is only a wishy-washy Republican.
  • You know I voted for Healey but to be honest, I held my nose while doing it.

In addition to this, my brother-in-law persueded (certainly with some help of the race card) his normally Democratic 85 year-old mother of all the scarry things that could happen if Patrick was elected & drove her to the polls so she could vote against the Dems.

Jeeze, I need to do something about my political circle of friends. I guess this is the perils of living in the suburbs. But if you judged me by my friends and relatives, you might think I lived in Mississippi, not Massachusetts.

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I can't get rid of my Kerry cookie

On a day of almost uniform good news: Democrats taking control of the House, and possibly Senate. Rumsfeld resigning. The end of the Romney error. On a great day for a liberal-leaning news junkie, my web browser, and MSNBC is playing dirty dricks on me. Every time I go there I am greated with the above banner from two weeks ago. The day when our dufus Senator stuck his foot in his mouth and gave rise to the insecurity and fear of every Democrat that, just like the Red Sox, they were going to find a way to blow it in the bottom of the 9th. If I refresh, I get the current good news, but every time I go back to get any updates, I'm greeted by Senetor Dufus again, and for an instant think yesterday was only a dream.

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Election Night Blogging


  • Exit Poll Question:
    Do you think Mitt Romney would make a good President
    No: 70%

    Do you think John Kerry would make a good President
    No: 68%


  • Joe Leiberman is complaining that people are calling to complain that they can't find his name on the ballot. He's listed 5th


  • John Henning looks like a giant standing next to Sarah Underwood on Channel 38. He's certainly a giant intellectually in comparison.


  • I'm really surprised to hear that Deval Patrick is only the second black Governor in the history of the country.


  • This is weird. Joe Scarborough is flipping out at Chris Matthews for agreeing with Howard Dean that he's too partison. He's really pissed.


  • Flipping between MSNBC & CNN (and FOX Occasionally) and there is a definite difference on how they are presenting this. MSNBC is definitely making a better case for how the Democrats are doing than CNN (and of course Fox is)

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    Gee, that's big of you, Quark

    Just got this email from Quark, the page layout program that I ceremoniously dumped about a year ago. I no longer use the program, except for the occasional update to an old job that I haven't felt like converting to InDesign. Quark just came out with a new version that I have no intention of buying, and know next to nothing about. The email stated with great excitement, Important licensing change: Upgrade to QuarkXPress 7 and continue to run QuarkXPress 6. Yes, it’s true. Your license for QuarkXPress 6 remains alive and well when you upgrade to QuarkXPress 7

    Well, what the fuck, Quark. You mean that before this big announcement you were actually forcing people to disable the old version that they had payed $1000 for? When anybody who has ever used Quark knows that any new version will be so full of bugs that they will end up reverting to the old version for the two years it takes Quark to fix all the problems anyways?

    That's the bullshit that has caused everybody to abandon this company in droves. The fact that you set up the new release like that in the first place, and now consider it a big gift to your customers to let them keep using the old version shows that nothing has changed in Quarkland.

    I'm very happy to be through with you.

    [computers] [graphic design] [products] [publishing]

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    The "Things that Suck" Endorsement

    While I often take issue with Democratic leaders' ineptitude, and the party's adherence to political correctness and special interests, I want to make sure that for at least the next week, the picture under the "Things that Suck" banner is of the real menace, George W. Bush. Easily the most delusional, dishonest, and dangerous President in my lifetime, and arguably in our nation's history. The man who took the the unity of the entire country, and the support of the world after September 11th, and turned it into worldwide scorn.

    "Things that Suck" endorses any candidate in any race, in any district, in any state, who can in anyway help to put some kind of check on this evil doer. And if not impeach him (and Cheney), at least control him over the next two years. Unfortunately, in just about every case, this means voting Democratic. I say unfortunately because I see no positive or unified plan for dealing the mess caused by Bush from the Democrats either, and hold them responsible for playing dead for four years and allowing Bush and his cronies free reign. But right now, that's the only hope we have.