Archive for August, 2008

My Newfound Respect for Paris Hilton

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

There’s a phrase I never expected to find myself using.

As you might guess from a previous post or two, I’m generally of the opinion that Paris Hilton is just another drunken party-girl. (To be fair, the magnifying glass lens of tabloid sensationalism might leave some people with a less than entirely favorable impression of me too.)

But despite her rather shameless public foibles, recent events have caused me to raise my opinion of Ms. Hilton by a notch or two.

Not being much of a TV watcher, I missed the ad (now viewable on YouTube), but apparently John McCain released an ad drawing a negative comparison between Barack Obama and party girls Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

So now comes the part where I end up with some respect for Paris Hilton.

Sometime in the past 24 hours, Paris Hilton released a short video responding to the McCain ad. It’s brilliant! Now obviously there were a few other people involved in writing and producing the video, but the fact that she not only responded to being included in McCain’s ad but also went along with poking fun at her own celebrity status… I have to respect her for that.

But there’s more. This short (1 minute, 51 seconds) video also includes the Hilton campaign’s proposed energy policy. Frankly, by addressing both long and short term needs, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than anything that’s come from the two major political parties in recent memory. (The fact that I generally don’t care for Paris, but like her plan more than those proposed by the Republicrats and Democans, should give you some idea of the esteem in which I hold those two groups. (If you’re not sure how high that is, I suggest you get some mining equipment. A shovel won’t get you low enough.))

I’m not entirely certain “President Paris” would be a good idea, but given the alternatives, maybe she could be Zaphod’s running mate?

Just Like Windows

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

My car’s “Check Engine” light came on last week. Rather than pay through the nose to take it to a dealership, I did some checking and found out that as long as it wasn’t something with the electrical system, the garage where I used to take my pickup could handle the hybrid just fine.

I just heard back from the mechanic. They pulled the diagnostic code from my car’s computer, checked it against Honda’s official list of diagnostic codes and … the code doesn’t exist! They reset the diagnostics, drove the car around a bit, and the service light didn’t come back on.

So the conclusion is that my car had a computer glitch. The solution was to reboot the car!

Slacking Off

Monday, August 4th, 2008

It’s perfectly valid, yet it’s been several years since I used this particular excuse reason for staying up all night.

Someone is wrong on the Internet!  I must correct them!

I hope this doesn’t mean I’m getting old!

Mischief Managed!

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

I drove down to Virginia this morning to help Mom and Dad load some furniture into their van. Before Dad and I put the first piece of furniture into the van, Mom unloaded the overnight bag and other small items they’d brought down in order to give the furniture as much room as possible.

Before we left my house, Dad noticed the squash on my counter and held one of them up and told Mom that I’d grown it in my garden. Mom immediately asked me what kind it was and I replied, “It’s round, white and from the next door neighbor.”

Dad grumbled, “You’re not going to let me get away with saying you grew it?”

“No. Because if I do, then I’ll be expected to know everything about it. And all I know is it’s round, white and came from my next door neighbor.”

While Mom was unloading the van, one of the items she took out was a white grocery bag that she didn’t recall seeing before. With a quizzical look, she opened the bag and then asked, “Oh, we get some squash too?”

And now Mom and Dad are are aware of “National Sneak Some Squash into your Parents’ Mini-Van Day.”

Pop Goes the Icon

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Marauder has been lamenting that his children won’t have the same appreciation he does for our generation’s cultural icons. And he’s right. Because it’s so well established in the overall pop culture, the line “Luke, I am your father” doesn’t have nearly the same impact as 28 years ago. One day Evangeline and Rachel will get to see Spaceballs and Darth Helmet’s revelation that “I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate” will seem completely unoriginal (as opposed to the amusingly cliché status it enjoyed in 1987).

This got me thinking, what “iconic moments” were already part of the background when I grew up?

One that immediately came to my mind was the knowledge that “Rosebud” was a sled. I saw the movie a year or two back, but I’d known about the sled for a couple decades. Citizen Kane came out in 1941, so that wasn’t just part of the background for me, it was part of the cultural background for my parents too.

Another movie ending which was already part of the pop-culture background while I was growing up centered around the lines

Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to hell!

I suppose it’s fair to say that the words themselves aren’t nearly as memorable as their context. They were shouted by astronaut George Taylor, while sitting astride a horse on the beach, immediately after he discovered the remains of the Statue of Liberty.

And just as Mel Brooks parodied the iconic “I am you father” revelation, he also parodied the final scene from Planet of the Apes.

What’s that coming out of her nose?
Oh shit! There goes the planet.

What surprising revelations have you seen in the movies and TV that you wish the next generation could enjoy the way you did?

Holiday Celebration

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

A lot of people (my parents in particular) aren’t aware of it, but this coming Sunday is “National Sneak Some Squash into your Parents’ Mini-Van Day.” As you might have guessed, this holiday marks the beginning of a months-long celebration of a bountiful harvest. Other special occasions in this celebration include “Sneak a Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch Night” and “Leave Tomatoes on your Co-Workers’ Desks Week.”

A few folks might note that I have a history of growing zucchini and other squash in my garden and find it awfully convenient that this holiday season comes just about the time I’d be starting to harvest squash. To them I say, “Yeah, it’s funny how that works out.”

And then some particularly observant folks might find it even more interesting how the first time they ever heard of this celebration was just a few days after my next door neighbor gave me a shopping bag full of squash. To those people I say, “That’s creepy! Stop spying on me!”

The key to a successful “sneak some squash” celebration is, of course, a small amount of stealth. If your parents don’t live nearby, you can surprise other people you care about with the unexpected gift of squash. Likewise, if there’s no mini-van to deposit the squash into, other means of presentation are also acceptable. The key is for the recipient to unexpectedly find themselves face to face with squash.

So how will you be celebrating this year’s squash season?