Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MBTA suddenly figures out how to operate in the black

According to the Boston Globe, MBTA officials said today that they can eliminate a projected deficit of more than $130 million for the coming year. And they say they can do it without raising fares or reducing services.

As described by General Manager Richard A. Davey, the Big Plan includes: leasing the parking garage at North Station, selling long-term parking revenue at other garages to investors, and selling more advertising on T-owned billboards, the T's website, and on those stupid little CharlieCards.

Davey did not offer an explanation of why his organization failed to think of any of these rather simple solutions before the T amassed debt of approximately 9 billion dollars.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Exciting new career path: Bully Deprogrammer

Kids have always been complete little motherfuckers to each other. But now that everybody’s hyperconnected, bullies have new venues of attack, such as their Facey Pages, and IM, and of course they’re all Tweeting up a fuckin’ storm of hate for the kid who’s got a twitch or a skin condition or dated the wrong boy/girl or just exudes the intoxicating scent of weakness.

Child psychologists say that confronting the parents of a bully is rarely constructive because 1) they refuse to believe that their little cherub would ever do such a thing, or 2) the parents themselves are former bullies who believe that kids these days need to "toughen up". It’s hard to expect schools to effectively intervene; it’s a full time endeavor just to screen their students for weapons and drugs.

Good news, though! This societal ill represents a lucrative and fun new career path: Bully Deprogrammer. I'm going to be the first one. Here’s my plan. (Okay. Center my ki. Envision success. Act!) First, I take that online private investigation course from Phoenix University. Maybe a few psychology classes, too. (But I’ll probably just audit those.) Then I put out vaguely worded ads offering to “solve difficult social situations”, you know, like Robert McCall used to do in that 80s show, The Equalizer. (That show rocked.)

Parents, maybe schools, maybe the victims of bullies themselves get in touch with me and give me the name of the bully. I use my private investigation skills to dig up embarrassing info on the bully. Next, I seek out the bully in a place where he/she feels safe: the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, loitering in front of Hot Topic, etc. Then I reverse-bully the bully.

“Hey, I know you. You’re Billy Snodgrass. Yeah! Billy. Hey, you know what I found out the other day? You were born with a tail. That’s some weird shit! [Here I turn to Billy’s friends] That’s some weird shit, right? I thought that only happened on TV, but Billy here, his parents took him to have an operation when he was three months old. They cut the tail off. Sure, left a scar right at the base of his spine. It’s faint, but next gym class, check it out! Oh, yeah, and Billy? You were an accident. Your father drinks too much because of you.

“And Billy? Or should I say Monkey Boy? This is how you make Chad Connors feel in the cafeteria every day. And if you so much as give that kid the stink-eye and I hear about it, that video of you spanking it to Kristen Stewart in Breaking Dawn is going up on YouTube. You, Monkey Boy, will become the definition of viral.”

It’s just one of the concepts I’m working on.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

War shit is sexxx-ay!

You may not know this, but the Joint Strike Fighter back-up engine program is in peril.

Seems that not all our law-makers are on board to continue funding a back-up engine system for an advanced fighter jet that we'll just have to share with those grasping Europeans, anyway. One engine should be good enough for any plane. Scott Brown and John Kerry are urging the Senate to continue funding the project, mostly because the program would create 400 new jobs in Massachusetts.

I'm for the program. Because war technology is sexy. After-school programs, home heating assistance programs, universal healthcare? Yaaaaawn. Oh, sorry. Were you bloviating about something, Senator?

I was in my happy place. Dreaming of flames and shrapnel.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I got your Academy Award right here, pal

Black Swan: I'm just uncomfortable with the whole "mentally ill artistic genius loses reality's email address" thing. I blame it on having seen Isabelle Huppert in the Piano Teacher--I'm never going to get over that. I salute Natalie Portman's effort to throw herself into the role. I just don't think Black Swan has the gravitas to win.

The Fighter: Aside from uneducated Bostonians being really, really in right now, The Fighter probably should win on its own merits. But it won't. Because of The King's Speech. Marky Mark is getting better, but he's still kind of flat. Christian Bale carried the whole damn thing, and transformed a fairly decent movie into a flick that actually might have been worthy of 1/4 of the buzz it's gotten--which is still a lot. But The Fighter won't win.

Inception: Leonardo DiCaprio and bitchin' special effects. Dude, that whole city was upside down! That's a popcorn movie with a gimmick. Doesn't mean it should win an Academy Award.

The Kids Are All Right: Annette Benning and Julianne Moore are lesbians, see, and they each have babies with the same sperm, and they name one of the kids "Laser"... Is this movie the set up for a joke, or a serious Oscar contender? My opinion is the former. And both Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska are wildly overrated.

The King's Speech: This movie was boring. You know it. I know it. But people just lurve to see Colin Firth be Colin Firth. This time, Colin Firth has a speech impediment. Blammo! Academy Award. Thanks, everybody! See you at Sean Penn's after party!

127 Hours: James Franco is on his way to being the new Heath Ledger. The new, mentally stable Heath Ledger. And he did one hell of a job keeping you interested in a story that essentially takes place in about one and a half feet of Moab, Utah. But really? This is an episode of I Should Be Dead. Not an Academy Award winner.

The Social Network: This has an outside shot of taking the Oscar away from The King's Speech, but I hope it doesn't. The only thing I'm more sick of than Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook is Jane Lynch. Who will no doubt be nominated for something next year. Or hosting the damn thing.

Toy Story 3: Can anyone tell me why in the blue fuck Toy Story 3 is even in this? It scared most of its intended audience, and made the rest cry. Here's an idea, make the wacky adventures of a cowboy doll and his Space Ranger sidekick dark! No. And I hope that bad idea isn't vindicated with an Oscar. It will only encourage Lee Unkrich.

True Grit: Remakes, even inspired remakes, should not be up for Academy Awards. You didn't create it. You riffed on the John Wayne movie. Thanks for an enjoyable 110 minutes, Cohen Bros. I look forward to your next project, but let's not go overboard here.

Winter's Bone: I resist your allure, Winter's Bone! Mainly because I could practically taste the anticipatory, Oscar-flavored drool dripping from Debra Granik's and Anne Rosellini's lips even while I was watching this movie.Winter's Bone is Oscar bait, and I don't like Oscar bait.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Your movie really CHANGED me, man!

Yesterday, if you asked me what my favorite movie was, I might have said Raising Arizona, or The Empire Strikes Back, or Kelly's Heroes. The Big Lebowski is, of course, a masterpiece.

And then I saw Lesbian Vibrator Orgy.

It's a short but heartfelt tale of the human condition, unvarnished desire, and the nobility of striving toward personal fulfillment.

I laughed. I cried. I felt something.

I could watch it again and again. It was better than Cats.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The burning of effigies starts promptly at 8:00 pm

Winston Churchill once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried."

I still believe Americans are better off than the citizens of almost any other country (except possibly Canada. And West Germany. And maybe Sweden). But we're sliding. I remember seeing that craptastic Kevin Costner movie,
The Postman, and thinking "Americans revolting against their own government? Yeah. Right." And I recently heard someone say that "Nobody would take to the streets here. They might miss an episode of American Idol..."

That's probably right. We're too soft. Right now.

But I'm starting to wonder if there's a bottom, if there's a limit. What would it take to have Americans snap and go all anarchy stylin'? Say Congress dicks around until Social Security finally goes tits up, Wall Street fucks us again, gas is at $10 a gallon, the rich/poor divide gets even more obscene, and partisanship in government gets so bad that the people's business stops completely (I mean completely, instead of just mostly, which is where we are now). Say all this stuff happens at nearly the same time.

Would I light a torch and grab a pitchfork? I really don't know. Would any of you? What's your limit? What's bad enough that you would accept the uncertainty of violent change over the crumbling and dysfunctional status quo?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Imagine what Washington could have done with The Bomb...

Which way to them there Pyramid thingies?

The state department says that there are approximately 50,000 Americans in Egypt right now, but only a small number have asked for help in leaving the country.

I'm assuming the rest of them are out with the protesters helping to burn cars.

"Hosni who? I just like the sound of breaking glass. Smashy, smashy!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

If you can't spell it, for God's sake, don't eat it

I eat some nasty stuff, okay? Once at a Tigermart, I ate some spiced ground meat shaped like a tube and stuffed with American cheese food. I ate this stuff from a dim sum cart that looked like Jell-O, quivered like Jell-O, but emphatically was NOT Jell-O. But I'm throwing a bullshit flag at the gastronomic infraction that is DiGiorno "wyngz". Not because they're gross (and I have no doubt that they taste like congealed sphincter), but because the government had to pass a special regulation so DiGiorno could start selling this crap in the frozen food aisle. Think I'm exaggerating for effect again? Well, slam your eyes up against the following, smartass:

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has a standard of identity in Title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 381.170(b)(7) that defines a poultry "wing." The use of the term "wing" cannot be used on any poultry product unless it complies with this standard of identity. In comparison, FSIS allows the use of the term "wyngz" to denote a product that is in the shape of a wing or a bite-size appetizer type product under the following conditions in which the Agency considers its use fanciful and not misleading:

  1. The statement may only reference the term "wyngz" (no other misspellings are permitted). All labels bearing the term "wyngz" need to be submitted to the Labeling and Program Delivery Division (LPDD) for sketch approval because it is considered a special statement that cannot be generically approved;
  2. the poultry used is white chicken (with or without skin);
  3. "wyngz" is placed contiguous to a prominent, conspicuous, and legible descriptive name (e.g., "white chicken fritters") in the same color font;
  4. the smallest letter in the descriptive name is no smaller than 1/3 the size of the largest letter used in "wyngz;" and
  5. a statement that further clarifies that the product does not contain any wing meat or is not derived only from wing meat (e.g., "contains no wing meat," "with no wing meat," "contains breast meat and wing meat") is placed in close proximity to the descriptive name and linked to "wyngz" by use of an asterisk. "Wyngz" referenced elsewhere on the package, e.g., on the front riser panel, would also need to be displayed with an asterisk linking it to this statement on the principal display panel.
Go ahead, DiGiorno. Package up those poultry tendons and skin bits. But if spell check doesn't recognize it, I'm not about to ingest it.