Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Woe Is Me Award...

Poor Lura Lynn. It’s the holiday season, and she wants her hubby home. In a recent interview she said, "I was hoping we could get him home by Thanksgiving, but that's not going to happen…” Poor Lura Lynn.

Poor Lura Lynn. Having her husband gone has affected her health, she told the Chicago Sun-Times this past Tuesday. She’s receiveing treatments here in Chicago for an aneurysm, and not having her man to stand by her during this trying time is taking its toll on her. "I'm alone. . . . It is very, very difficult, “ she told the Sun-Times. Poor Lura Lynn.

Despite her health challenges, 74-year-old Lura Lynn spends every weekend visiting her husband. She drives down to Terre Haute, Indiana each and every weekend, without fail. Poor Lura Lynn. Such a tireless trooper she is. Lura Lynn was hoping to have her man home by Christmas, but it looks like that’s not going to happen either, and she doesn’t want to get her hopes too high, according to a quote in a recent edition of the Sun-Times.

Who is Lura Lynn and who is this husband she loves so much you may be asking, as that lump in your throat gets bigger, and your sympathy wells up. It is, afterall, the season of giving, forgiveness and goodwill toward all! Lura Lynn is Lura Lynn Ryan, former first lady of the state of Illinois. And her hubby that she misses so much? None other than George Ryan, 74-year-old former Illinois governor, liar, cheat, swindler and scumbag; now serving a six and a half year prison term at the Federal Correction Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.

For those of you non-Illinoisans reading this, let me get you up to speed. Former Governor Ryan once served as our Illinois' Secretary of State. As Secretary of State Ryan committed various crimes ranging from the illegal sale of government licenses, contracts and leases by state employees. In a nutshell, all of Secretary Ryan’s illegal activities began to come to light in 1999 in regards to a 1994 traffic accident in Wisconsin. In the accident which involved a semi-truck and van, six children of Reverend Scott Willis and his wife were killed. But what does this accident have to do with George Ryan, you may ask? The driver of the semi-truck was an unqualified driver who could only obtain his licesnce illegally through a bribe to a Secretary of State’s driver’s license facility. In turn, this bribe money (and countless other bribes by countless other unqualified drivers to obtain licenses) was funneled into Mr. Ryan’s campaign coffers. The very campaign coffers that he used to carry him to the governor’s office.

Now George Ryan is serving his time in Terre Haute, Indiana. Which brings us back to poor Lura Lynn. In the Sun-Times interview she goes on to say, “He hasn't seen his grandchildren since he started serving his sentence a year ago…He doesn't want them to see him in that light.” Poor Lura Lynn and her grandchildren. I ask you this Lura Lynn: how do you think Revernd and Mrs. Willis feel this holiday season? Do you think their grief is less than yours? Do you think they miss their six children, six children needlessly slaughtered by an unqualified truck driver that had it not been for your husband’s greedy hand, wouldn’t have been on the road in the first place? The thing you want the most is your husband home for the holidays. What do you think Mr. and Mrs. Willis want? You ma’am are disgusting and your whining and pleading are vulgar and insulting. I dare you to look the Willis family in the eye and make your case for your husband’s freedom.

In the Sun-Times interview, poor Lura Lynn goes on to state, "It's such a waste for him [Ryan] to be sitting down there [Terre Haute prison] doing absolutely nothing.” She made mention that if he were released he could take part in community service. Community service? You’re joking, right? Your husband’s greed is directly responsible for the death of six children, and the pain at least one family will endure for the rest of their lives, and you think your husband should be allowed community service? I think your scumbag husband SHOULD sit in jail with absolutely nothing but time. Time to ponder his deeds and how his greed changed the lives of so many. So many he will never meet, and so many that will never have what you so selfishly pray for, their loved ones home for the holidays.

I think a fitting job for your husband when he’s finally released would be driving a van on a Wisconsin highway. A highway filled with unqualified semi-truck drivers. Drivers who obtained their licenses with bribes through your husband’s office and his greedy desire for money and power. Always wondering, always frightened that the next truck to blow by him, or perhaps the truck behind him will be the one that causes an accident. An accident that will forever sever him from his family at future holidays. Perhaps then he’ll know how the Willis family feels right about now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paying Bills...The Green Way!

With the growing attention to "being green" and "going green" I thought I would write a little bit about paying bills green (ie, online bill paying.) I pay all my bills online and the economic advantages of doing so are pretty obvious. A person saves 41 cents (the cost of a stamp), plus the cost of the check. A typical family pays on the average 20+ bills a moth, and they can save $80 or more a year by paying bills online, according to the NACHA, the Electronic Payment Association.

Beyond that though, the environmental savings can be pretty impactful. Javelin Strategy & Research estimates, based on a 2007 study, has concluded that if all U.S. households viewed and paid their bills online, it would save the following per year:

2.3 million tons of wood or 16.5 million trees
1.6 billion pounds of solid waste, or 56,000 fully loaded garbage trucks
26 million BTUs of energy, enough to provide residential energy to the city of San Francisco for an entire year
3.9 billion pounds of toxic air pollutants, an amount equal to that produced by 355,000 automobiles

Something to think about next time we all sit down and start writing out that monthly check!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Great Local Place To Shop Award

Sorry I didn't get my weekly award blog posting done this weekend. I was under the weather fighting a tooth infection that will culminate in early January as a root canal. OUCH! So, better late than never; here is my weekly award.

This week's award (the "Great Local Place To Shop Award") goes to Vitamin Outlet in the Andersonville neighborhood. Vitamin Outlet is, in my opinion, the best place in town. The staff is friendly, the selection and quality is outstanding, and the prices are so good you'd swear they made a mistake! For what I buy there, I typically save anywhere from 25-50% over places like GNC (rip off store!) and The Vitamin Shoppe. Yesterday I was there to buy a new bottle of multi-vitamins and some protein powder, and I can say with confidence I saved AT LEAST $30! Regardless of your needs, whether you're a vegan shopping for soy cheese, someone looking to try an alternative medication, or a bodybuilder trying to get a break on a supplement price, I guarantee you, this is the place! Stop by for something specific, or just stop by to browse. If you're like me, I always try to shop with a local owner first. I'd rather see my money spent with a local shop owner working hard to maintain a business than spend it with some nameless, faceless corporation. And Vitamin Outlet is worth every penny!

Address: 5158 North Clark (on the southwest corner of Clark and Foster), Chicago, Illinois 60640, 773.334.3348

Store hours:
Monday thru Friday 10.30 - 8
Saturday 9.30 - 7.30
Sunday 10 - 6

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ted!

In late October, Ted Stevens, 85, well-known horse's ass and Republican senator from Alaska, was convicted on charges of corruption. And on Tuesday, his birthday, he lost his senate seat to Democrat Mark Begich by roughly 46.6% to 47.7% of the vote. To all that I say this:

Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday dear Ted!
Happy Birthday to you!

I hope you get everything you deserve on this wonderful, wonderful day!

Just so you know Teddy old pal, prison jump suits only come in three sizes: small, medium and "Man am I fucked!"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shame On You Award

Even though the vote was almost 2 weeks ago, I still have to say, shame on you, California for making the ass backwards move to vote "yes" on Proposition 8, the propostion to amend your state's constitution to restrict the definition of marriage as strictly a union between a man and a woman. As a gay man (GASP!) my first thought is, "who the fuck do you think you are?!" I will be writing another blog entry in the near future on the whole notion of same-sex marriage. But for now just let me say again, shame on you, California! How dare you use the ballot box to further agendas of hate, fear and bigotry. To you I say, if you want to deny homosexual couples the right to marry, then heterosexual couples should be denied the right to divorce. If we can't be allowed to have it, then you should be not be allowed to trash it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bond. James Bond.

Let me state for the record that next to my friend Dan, I am one of the biggest, most serious James Bond fans (both novels and movies) I know. With that said, let’s begin.

Moore. Roger Moore. Sir Roger Moore to be exact. And he isn’t happy. With the release of the 22nd Jame Bond film, “Quantum Of Solace” (QOS) Sir Roger is quoted in a Reuters article as saying, “I am happy to have done it [played Bond], but I'm sad that it has turned so violent.” Sir Roger sadly comes to the conclusion that the more violent, darker 007 is “keeping up with the times…” In the same article, Sir Roger goes on to say that he was appalled by all the violence in his swansong performance as 007, “A View To A Kill” (AVTAK). He describes that movie as not being Bond. Indeed!

For starters, who gives a shit what Sir Roger thinks. Perhaps he’s feigning disgust with the violence in AVTAK (which there is none seriously to speak of) to cover up his embarrassment for being associated with such a piece of cinematic garbage? That’s where I’m placing my money. On my list of worst Bond films, AVTAK ties for first with “The Man With The Golden Gun” (TMWTGG) and “Moonraker.” Ironic that they're all Roger Moore Bond films, eh?

With a critical eye (or not so critical an eye for that matter) one recognizes early on that AVTAK is simply a pathetic rehash of “Goldfinger.” Let me sum it up for you:

- Opening credits with lots of silhoutted, undulating, naked women
- Introduction of deranged evil dude and his quasi-female sidekick
- Deranged evil dude plots earth-shattering evil
- Enter Bond. James Bond
- Bond bags the quasi-female
- Newly empowered epitome of sexual womanhood ("Oh, Jaaames!") sees the error of her ways
- Woman helps Bond
- Bond has big confrontation with deranged evil dude
- Bond saves the day
- End credits

If you don’t believe me, watch both films. Goldfinger is riveting, original and entertaining. AVTAK is slow-paced, boring, predictable and downright laughable.

Pay particular attention in “Goldfinger” to the scene when Goldfinger meets with mobsters from all over the country and outlines his plot. A particular gangster, one Mr. Solo, decides to opt out. He’s done away with by being crushed in an automobile in a junk yard car crusher, a “pressing engagement” as Goldfinger puts it, dripping with raw, evil sarcasm. Now compare this to the similar scene in AVTAK. Deranged evil dude Max Zorin has assembled his “board of directors" meeting except this time in a blimp of all places. (A nice metaphor for Sir Roger, actually. As Simon Winder says in his wonderful book, "The Man Who Saved Britain, A Personal Journey Into The Disturbing World Of James Bond," Roger Moore in AVTAK looks like a bloated container of yogurt several weeks past its expiraton date that has exploded in the back of the refrigerator. But I digress.) Zorin explains his maniacal plot, as all good Bond villains do. Again, someone decides to opt out of the plan, and he meets his demise by sliding down the blimp's collapsable staircase, plunging to his death. Zorin then asks the rest of the group if anyone else would like to “drop out.” That's just cheap and wrong on so many levels. It's amazing Christopher Walken as Max Zorin can deliver the line with a straight face.

Is this the ugly violence that Sir Roger is appalled by? Maybe it could be the laughable and extremely implausible final fight scene on top the Golden Gate Bridge between Bond and the ax-wielding Zorin? Or maybe it’s the ridiculous scene where one of Bond’s cohorts is killed in a car riding through a car wash? (Who stays in their car as it goes through the car wash in the first place?) Or maybe it’s the scene where Bond is rolled unconcious in a car into a lake (watch for the cable in this scene actually pulling the car into the lake!) and left to drown, but survives by sucking air from one of the car’s tires. Bond being saved by the air in a car tire? This is no more the violence that Sir Roger abhors than AVTAK is a great Bond film.

It’s ironic that the lowest period, in my opinion, of the Bond franchise was the Moore era. I can site example after example of the ridiculousness of the Moore films. In TMWTGG Bond defeats the villain Scaramanga by taking the place in Sacramanga’s target gallery of the 007 mannequin he practices with. We should believe that a world-class assasin can't recognize the difference between a mannequin and the real thing? Give me a break!

And “Octopussy” contains what I think is probably the most embarrassing scene of the entire franchise, and of the Moore films specifically. 007 is seen swinging from a vine in the Indian jungle to the Tarzan yell. Ian Fleming must be flipping in his grave!

At the risk of sounding like a snob, I consider myself a Bond purist. Having read the books (some several times over) I can confidently say 007 is not some fop or dandy who punches with his wrists, drinks vodka martinis shaken not stirred with pinky raised, has watches with laser beams in them or is the grinning, wide-eyed Eton school boy getting his first piece of ass. He is not the 007 who saves the world with smirks and pathetic one-liners Sir Roger would like us to believe in. Bond is a paranoid, chain-smoking borderline psychotic and alcoholic. He is a man troubled by his profession and he tamps down his personal angst with alcohol, cigarettes and women. He gets the job done, but it haunts him. He is a man driven by his demons. In other words, Roger Moore never was Bond.

“Casino Royale” (CS) marked a return to the gritty Bond, the haunted Bond, the visceral Bond. And it’s about time. I was admittedly cautious of Daniel Craig at first. Seeing him on the screen in the pre-credit sequence took away all my doubts. The bathroom fight scene is one of the most vividly brutal scenes in any Bond film I can recall. Bond now exists in the real world. A real world with real villains who have real intentions and do real harm. No caricatured villains with silly schemes and sidekicks with even sillier names (I mean Grace Jones as “MayDay”? Give me a break! How could you possibly find that a threat?) If CS foreshadows the level of depth and quality that QOS will deliver, then we’re all in for a great film. If you haven’t seen CS I highly recommend it. And I suggest you sit with your legs crossed during Bond’s chair torture scene. It will make the toughest of men cringe. It’s a scene I couldn't possibly imagine Sir Roger in, and to be honest, I wouldn’t even want to.

Monday, November 10, 2008

George Bush, Overachiever

George Bush has achieved a milestone...of sorts.

Today CNN and Opinion Research Corporation released their latest joint poll on presidential approval. 76% of those questioned disapproved of the job Dubya is doing. This is the “highest low” for a CNN poll ever, and one would have to go back to polls during World War II to find a Gallup poll with numbers that low.

CNN’s Polling Director Keating Holland said, “No other president’s disapproval rating has gone higher than 70 percent. Bush has managed to do that three times so far this year. That means that Bush is now more unpopular than Richard Nixon was when he resigned from office during Watergate with a 66 percent disapproval rating.”

Way to go George. I always knew you were an overachiever.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekly Award

Each weekend on my blog I'm starting a "Something" Of The Week Award. That "something" could be anything really, depending on my thoughts, or it could be something or someone that deserves special mention. It could be Winner Of The Week, Loser Of The Week, Ass Of The Week, Liar Of The Week, etc. With that said, let me introduce you to my first award:

Joe Lieberman, Ass Licker Of The Week

So now that the election is over Old Uncle Joe is scared. The former democrat-turned-independent/former-independent-turned-republican toady and court jester has that feeling in the pit of his stomach like the man who spends his life’s savings betting on the wrong horse and watching it all disappear.

Earlier in the week Old Uncle Joe said after meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that he agreed with President-elect Obama, that we should all unite and get the country moving again, economy-wise. Wow! What a difference an election can make on a person’s point of view. Harry Reid says that even though Old Uncle Joe has voted with democrats a good deal of the time, his actions and words raise concerns and doubts. Indeed. So why is Harry Reid so concerned? What has Old Uncle Joe said or done that gives Harry Reid such concern? Let’s have a look shall we?

For the best evidence of Old Uncle Joe’s back stabbing, let’s visit parts of his speech to the Republican National Convention this past September.

“What, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this?”
(Ass licking would be my guess…)

“Now, let me -- let me share something with you that I'm in a unique position to do as a Democrat.”
(Since that position is you on your knees Uncle Joe, my guess is that “something” you want to share is your eager tongue.)

“My Democratic friends know all about John's record of independence and accomplishment.”
(Uhm Uncle Joe, you have no Democratic friends anymore…)

“As a matter of fact, friends, if John McCain is just another partisan Republican, then I'm Michael Moore's favorite Democrat.”
(Joe, let me introduce you. Michael Moore, meet your favorite Democrat Old Uncle Joe. Old Uncle Joe, Michael Moore.)

Old Uncle Joe really wants to convince us he’s a democrat, doesn’t he? The intersting thing about that is that Old Uncle Joe is labeled an independent by the Senate’s official website.


Joe Lieberman is:
A) A Democrat
B) An Independent
C) A closet Republican
D) An ass-licking opportunist willing to tongue the ass of whomever he happens to think may benefit him most

The answer of course, is D!

But the fun doesn’t stop just at the Republican convention, oh no! At any and all opportunities, Old Uncle Joe has made sure everyone knows his feelings about the democratic candidate Barack Obama. Amongst other things, Old Uncle Joe has said:

“…in the Senate, during the three-and-a-half years that Senator Obama's been a member, he has not reached across party lines to accomplish anything significant…”

Anything significant? Hmmm…let’s see about that, shall we? In 2006 Obama teamed up with Richard Lugar to introduce S. 2566, the Obama-Lugar Act. It was a bill that focused on keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the wrong hands, and also seeing that those weapons are destroyed. I should add that Richard Lugar is a Republican senator from Indiana.

In 2005 Obama supported S.5; a bill dealing with class-action lawsuits, making outcomes more fair for class-members and defendants. Obama was one of only 18 Democrats who voted for and defended this bill.

Sounds pretty significant to me. How about you?

But why all the Obama hating? It’s weird actually because back in 2006 Old Uncle Joe was in a serious fight for his senate seat against Ned Lamont. Who did Joe turn to for help? The rising star of the democratic party, Barack Obama, of course! And Senator Obama worked hard to convince Connecticut voters that Old Uncle Joe was their man. An official in Old Uncle Joe’s campaign at the time had this to say, “We needed him [Obama] to strongly validate us as a candidate that liberal Democrats should not desert. We went to the Obama operation with a very urgent plea for him to come out for us.” So Old Uncle Joe begged. Nice image, huh?

Obama didn’t really owe Old Uncle Joe anything. He agreed to help Joe for the sake of party unity. So what did Old Uncle Joe do then? He stabbed Obama and the Democratic party in the back by registering as an independent. As we all know, Old Uncle Joe prevailed, to go on to fight for John McCain as president. Which brings us back to the Harry Reid comments at the beginning of this posting. Old Uncle Joe placed all his eggs in the wrong basket it seems, and now he’s worrying about all the eggs being broken.

Old Uncle Joe has attacked Mr. Obama’s rhetoric by saying that “eloquence is no substitute for a record.” Really Joe? In my opinion ass licking is no substitute for integrity.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Enough Said...




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