February 2006 Archives

There's Nothing Funny About Undergarments

You can't say anything about underwear these days without offending someone, somewhere.

A Boston-area discount retailer recently distributed a flier advertising packages of sleeveless T-shirts (A-shirts, I guess) described as "wife-beaters." Funny and accurate as that may sound, they should have known that using that redneck colloquialism was going to cause a stir (which may have been their intention--good advertising through controversy).building 19

A spokeswoman for a group that gets offended on women's behalf, Mary Lauby, was so upset about this she gave the following statement:

"That does, you know, go to numbing and dumbing down and normalizing and suggesting that battering is a normal behavior," Lauby said.

I would just like Ms. Lauby to know that I am equally offended by the use of the term wife-beater to describe underwear. The correct term is "female-spouse-or-domestic-partner assault garments." You have to be PC these days.

It's a good thing they didn't have an ad for boxer shorts too, or she would be picketing outside the store right now.

The time had come--the execution of Michael Morales, who has been on death row since 1983 for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, was scheduled for 12:01am today. But then, at the last minute, two court-appointed doctors refused to help administer the lethal injection, and the killing justice didn't take place. It has now been postponed indefinitely.

The doctors--anesthesiologists, to be exact--objected on the grounds that if they didn't do their jobs properly, the convict might feel some pain. Oh, Heaven forbid...

Am I the only one that doesn't really see this as a bad thing ? I know the law prohibits executions from being cruel and unusual, but now we're getting way too soft. It's not like we're talking about whacking him in the head with a claw hammer 21 times until he dies in a terrified struggle. We're certainly not talking about then dragging his lifeless body through the dirt, raping the bloodied corpse, and stabbing him a few more times, just for good measure. No, doing something like that would make you a horrible monster unfit for this Earth, not a respected Justice of the Peace.

A lethal injection is a walk in the park compared to what this guy really deserves.

So I think these doctors were totally overreacting with their concerns. If we have to perform an execution in accordance with the law, it should be perfectly acceptable to do it by means of lethal injection, electric chair, or 20 continuous minutes of viewing whatever is on the Lifetime Television Network. No, strike the last one, that actually is unreasonably cruel.

Not that it's actually going to solve anything. Maybe it will relieve some burden on the overcrowded prisons, but I can't see it setting an example or anything. At first I thought that the punishment of death wasn't an adequate deterrent to crime--that something more should somehow be done. But then I realized that nothing actually will ever be adequate. The mental state of a person enraged or sick enough to take someone else's life isn't one that takes the criminal justice system into consideration. Even in countries where gruesome death sentences are carried out in the middle of town, the citizens gather and cheer the event like ruthless savages. Yet people there still commit the crimes, too.

The selection of who is eligible for the death penalty should be weighed on the nature of the crime and the person's potential value to society. Every living thing has a worth associated with it, and if your value is below a certain threshold you're a candidate for execution. Here's an example of how life could be valued, starting with most important:

  • Humans that do great things for the world (The Pope, Ghandi)
  • People with great achievements (Nobel Prize winners)
  • Women with large breasts
  • Ordinary people
  • Primitive animals
  • Bugs
  • Bacteria
  • Paris Hilton

Even after all of this, I'm not entirely convinced I support capital punishment. Not really because of the moral implications of taking someone's life in retribution, but because death is a gift these people don't deserve. Death gives escape from a lifetime of remorse and consideration. How can you make someone suffer through a meaningless, worthless life of regret if he's dead ?

That's entirely assuming these convicts are capable of such emotion. The jury is still out on that one.

Happy Valentine's Day

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If you're looking for a way to express your feelings for that special someone, but can't think of anything, why not try a nice card ?

Falling For You

/ one ticket to hell, aisle seat please

Ten Ways Dick Cheney Can Kill You

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And you thought you were safe if you just didn't go hunting with Dick Cheney. No, he's far more dangerous than you thought.

cheney_ten_ways.jpg

Courtesy of Boing Boing

Blockbuster Wants To Be Netflix

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I recently decided to ditch my Betamax video collection and join the ranks of the six billion other people who rent DVD movies online. It used to be there was only one player in town, and that was Netflix. Now Blockbuster has decided to compete in this market by offering the exact same service as Netflix, except they slapped their own name on it and offer free in-store rentals as a bonus.

Seriously, Blockbuster put no creative thought into their online service whatsoever. The promotions, service levels, prices, queueing system, and everything else is exactly like Netflix. I bet the Terms Of Service are worded identically between the two as well, but I wouldn't know because I never read the darn things. Blockbuster just did a "Find & Replace" in Word for the company names and called it good.

Even though they're an evil company, Blockbuster won my patronage because of the in-store advantage. I can always switch to Netflix later if they try to kick my dog or drink my beer.

Now since the incremental cost of renting movies has been reduced to zero, I've been queueing all kinds of old movies I thought about watching previously but wasn't ever willing to fork over $19.95 plus late fees to the video store. Besides the time sink it has become, this has been a worthwhile investment because I'm building a library of crappy DVD movies I'll never watch more than once.

The latest of these movies was one called Last Days, which was supposed to be a story of the demise of Kurt Cobain, but not really. I say "not really" because the director doesn't own the biographical rights to the late Nirvana singer/songwriter, and because I think he took the liberty of making up nearly 99% of the content to avoid having to do any actual research.

Now I have to come right out and say I believe this was probably the worst movie ever made. Gigli would win Oscars if put next to this pile of random crap. The director of "Plan 9 from Outer Space," who proudly prints on the DVD cover that his movie is widely regarded as the worst ever made, would gladly hand over the title to Last Days.

Last Days features our protagonist stumbling around, mumbling incoherently, and napping for nearly an hour and a half. This plotless movie is a collection of meaningless scenes that leave you wondering, "What was the point of all that," and "Why did the camera just focus in on the television and make us watch nearly an entire Boyz 2 Men music video." I'm not joking, that really was several minutes of movie footage.

The director was so lazy, he actually repeated a couple minutes of a scene, exactly. I thought the DVD skipped or something, but no, we're forced to see a scene twice, and there wasn't even any nudity involved.

By the time I was about 30 minutes into Last Days, I was practically begging the protagonist to shoot himself with that shotgun, to end his misery and my own.

I would give Last Days negative five stars, but the stars don't want to be associated with this garbage. I'm fairly certain if Kurt Cobain were still alive today and he saw this movie, he would shoot himself before he finished watching it.

I urge you not to waste precious moments of your life on this movie. Just don't. Since I didn't directly pay any money for this rental, I can't actually ask for a refund. But part of me wants Blockbuster to somehow refund the two hours of my life I wasted on this. I could have spent that time staring at the wall or watching the grass grow, either of which would have been a far more productive and rewarding use of my time.

Bedsheet Folding Mystery Solved

Finally, someone addresses the fitted-sheet folding problem. Despite my best efforts, whenever I try to fold the stretchy sheet, it looks like all I did was roll it up in a little Katamari ball.

Target Australia now shows me the way. I'm going to try this next time I do bedding laundry, decide that it's more trouble than it's worth, and go back to the half-fold, half-ball method.

But I'll know how to do it, and knowing is half the battle.

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