Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dear Idiot: Thanks a lot, Turner Television, a bomb-sniffing dog ate my sandwhich...

One thing I miss about not being in government, I don't get the early inside gossip. Like today, when the was filled with stories of "suspicious" electronic devices found affixed to the undersides of a bunch of bridges in Boston.

A friend of mine still on the inside said the things looked like Spongebob. Apparently he doesn't watch Adult Swim on the Cartoon Channel, or he might have recognized the little guy as Ignignokt or Err the Mooninites from "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Unfortunately, however, my friend is a grown-up with a real job. As are the members of the Boston Police, so they don't have time to watch idiot cartoons. Had Boston hired a police for of slacker college student underachievers then they might have not been fooled...

So apparently this was a guerrilla marketing campaign by Turner Broadcasting to hype Aqua Teen Hunger Force, or the movie based on the series coming out soon, or some such foolishness.

Couple of problems: from a marketing standpoint, if you know what that cryptic figure is, you probably already know about the movie or the series. If you don't know that the cryptic figures are, then, well, that's not really going to tell you anything, is it?

And these things were attached to the underside of bridges. In 2007. Without any permits. The cops needed lifts to take them down. Wouldn't you be worried if the cops didn't take this stuff seriously?

So when someone standing at a T station noticed one of these things and asked the transit cops about it, well, naturally the public safety apparatus in town went bananas.

One of these things were attached to the underside of the viaduct for route I-93, one of the major access routes from the north of Boston. When it was found naturally the State Police shut down the highway. During the morning commute.

And then a couple of T lines too were shut down during rush hour. And as this stupidity triggered an elevation of the threat level, other protocols kicked in, such as random bomb-sniffing dogs being run through the evening trains.

A good deal of slacker idiots are writing in to the Globe bulletin boards excoriating state and city officials for "over reaction", but what the hell else do you expect?

First of all, if you're going put up bombs, they're not going to look like sticks of dynamite with an alarm clock attached. They're going to look like something else.

Second of all, you can't go around putting crap like this on public structures, especially in the current climate.

Turner should know better. This is a billion dollar company (owned by Time Warner) which presumably has at least one lawyer on staff.

Boston Police have already arrested the guy who placed these things on the bridges -- a "struggling artist". But he's just an idiot chasing a buck. I hope that the attorney general and district attorney don't stop with him. Turner caused probably tens of thousands of dollars in actual damage today (public safety personnel overtime), not to even mention the inconvenience caused to thousands of commuters. Unfortunately they accomplished what they wanted; skads of free publicity for their idiotic show (the news has been showing clips -- it looks idiotic).

Well, that's all the venom I can muster. What do you think?

UPDATE: Mayor Menino was on Fox25 this morning upping the ante, saying this little imbroglio cost the city and state upwards of $1 million.

Also turns out that in addition to the 38 or so ads plastered about town, they also discovered two fake pipe bombs, one strapped to the support stanchions of a bridge and the other in an office at New England Medical Center yesterday morning at the same time. Now does the cops' reaction make a little more sense?

And it also turns out my train was off-loaded yesterday and searched with dogs because of a separate, unrelated, phone-in bomb threat. Lovely.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Movie Night: Failure to Launch

Ok, I had been avoiding this one. Really, how much Matthew McConaughey can anyone take? Like I really need to let Wifeypooh feast on that eyecandy? And then I considered my recent spate of Kate Hudson films, and, well turnabout is fair play..

(and it doesn't hurt that Kate #2, Zooey Deschanel, is in this one...)

But first, a note about Netflix: Dudes, get those little plastic coverings you can put on the DVDs before you send them off. WTF are people doing with their movies? Playing freakin' frisbee?

Last weekend got "The Devil Wore Prada" at the behest of the wife, and the first twenty minutes and the last twenty minutes were completely unwatchable, even with the nifty computer DVD which has progressive scan and all that. Absolute garbage. And now the movie in on the "Very Long Wait" list, so they're not shipping out a replacement anytime soon. Bastards...

Well, anyway, this week we got "Failure to Launch", starring Lance Armstrong's lover Matthew McConaughey, the comley Ms. Deschanel, and fright-footed, horse-faced, man-handed Sarah Jessica Parker. (Apparently they had to digitially "fix" SJP's feet in editing, as they so ugly from years of stilletto abuse...)

I was thinking we'd get another four or five Sandra performance, but my interest was piqued when the PG-13 warning screen came up and said the film was rated thusly for "partial nudity". More about that later.

SJP, as annoying as I find her in real life was actually very charming in this film, and McConaughey was, well, Matthew McConaughey. In the one of the little featurettes one of the writers called his performances "laconic". How about this adjective: stoned. Everything I've seen him in he looks stoned. Not too surprising since, this is the guy who got busted when neighbors called the cops complaining about the nosie, and they went to his house to find a buck-naked McConaughey playing the bongos at two in the morning.

(And for those of you who clicked on that link hoping to find a picture of a buck-naked McConaughey, well, shame on you, you pervets.)

Usually these romantic comedies drive me nuts, mainly because they rely on the misunderstanding and chase scenario, where something goes wrong, and we the audience can see that it was just a misunderstanding, and we hope that they get back together, and they just do, but not quite, and etc etc and so on and so on... Drives me crazy, you want the truth.

But this one didn't have that endless "just missed it" feeling, and I thought better of it for it.

It was nice to see Brad Cooper (Will from Alias) getting some work, and Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw were actually pretty well matched as McConaughey's parents.

And yes, Zooey was sublime. But we've come to expect that, haven't we... It's those eyes. She could do the "HeadOn" commercial and I'd watch it.

And then there's the nudity. I'm not going to lie to you, I was hoping it was Zooey, and dreading it would be SJP... But, in retrospect, that would have been better. Even Mr. Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, would have been better. By the way, you know, I've always been impressed with Abraham Lincoln's beard... I don't know why I thought of that, it just always seems to come to mind when I talk about SJP and Matthew Broderick... Never mind... Moving on.

Again, nice beard.



So, as you guys are a bunch of perverts, I've taken the liberty of making a screen capture of the "partial nudity" deemed PG-13-worthy. So, if you just must see such things, click here, it's okay, I'll wait.




You back? Don't day I didn't warn you. Jesus Marimba. Yikes. I think I would've preferred Kathy Bates...

But, you know, it was actually a pretty good movie, for what it was. Don't expect to come out of it inspired to cure cancer or fight global warming, and don't expect to be touched in any sort of meaningful way (unless 57 year old white man butts are your thing and you're touching yourself after seeing the above captured scene). Expect to get a few laughs and see some decent acting and you won't be too disappointed.

And I didn't even fall asleep...

So, we give Failure to Launch:

Two Sandras**!

Until next time, keep warm!

** For those of you new to Kal, the Sandra Bullock Scale© was devised to rate a movie sleepability, due to my inability to stay awake through any Sandra Bullock film since Demolition Man. A perfect score of five out of five represents a movie's a) stupifying boredom combined with b) lack of even token nudity despite hot chickage [see Practical Magic... what a waste of time, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock and zero nudity... Rated PG-13 for sensuality my fanny...], making it impossible for me to stay up through.

A score of zero Sandras is a movie that has me riveted from the first minute and I don't even need to get up and walk around during, or grab a cup of coffe, or anything.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

So, who plays You?

RW is involved in a group of fine wits and raconteurs who do a "Roundtable" (after the famed Algonquin Roundtable... I call dibs on Wolcott...) post-and-discuss thing every Thursday.

This week Prego has the honors, and he's posted a question: who would play you in the movie of your life? Well, RW, as I've mentioned to him on his blog before (or maybe he mentioned it and I agreed, I can't remember), looks to me like Tim Curry. And Avi has offered up Oliver Platt and Jonathon Rhys-Davis (Gimli, or, even better, Professor Maximilian Arturo from Sliders). Although to me, Avi is always a doppelganger for my brother-in-law.

As for me, the years have gotten kinder. It used to be the most apt casting would've been singer-songwriter (and possibly hobbit, I mean, you ever seen the guy? He's tiny...) Paul Williams.

Or a younger John Madden (possibly due to my out-of-control eyebrows...)

But then heaven delivered Philip Seymour Hoffman (that doesn't sound too foofy, does it?)...

And yes, I talk like Truman Capote too... Well, hopefully not.

So who do you look like?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Well, two days in the world of do-gooder non-profits and I've come to one conclusion.

I'm going to have to lose some weight.

These people are all so thin. And they never use the elevator. Which could be why they're so thin. Now, over in the government world, I could blend in. There were bigger fatassess and smaller fatassess than me, but there were fatasses none the less. Over here in do-gooder-dom, it's me. I'm the only fatass. And while nobody's said anything yet, I can tell they're thinking it;

"you know, all that extra food he eats could go to starving kids in Malawi...."

"if he'd just not take the elevator all the time, think of all the carbon he'd save from the power not necessary to lift his fatass...."

"what's that thing around his neck?"

Oh, yes, the last thought relates to dress code. I have gone from a place where arguably I was the worst dressed person, to being a veritable GQ cover boy. I've hit them with suits the first two days, worn the black leather wingtips, the whole nine yards. I don't think they know how to take it. I expect to see a sweater vest and a pair of earth shoes anonymously left on my chair one of these days...

So looks like we're going on another weight-loss jihad. Well, it was time anyway, holidays being over and all that. Looks like it's no elevator and nightly treadmilling for Kal. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Beginings, and the State o' the Union

Well, Day One. First day in the new gig. Much paperwork. Much signing of names and exposing of private data. Many, many new names to memorize. The biggest difference between the public and private sectors? Wine in the office kitchen. No wine at the old gig. Wine at the new one. That's an upgrade. (I don't think I'm allowed to drink the wine during the day, it's probably for special events... Perhaps I'll test that next week.)

Anywho, got a nice new office, with a window that actually opens. Haven't had an openable window in eight years. I suspect my masters knew I was liable to throw myself, or, more likely, someone else, out of it at any time. The new folks don't know me that well yet.

Oh, and opening your window in January is not appreciated by your floormates, no matter how novel it is for you. Just thought you should know.

Oh, by the way, watching the State of the Union while I'm typing this and just caught John Kerry with a "I can't believe I lost to this nitwit" look on his face as Bush pronounced "insurance" like Cooter from "The Dukes of Hazard"; (INN-sur-ance).

Got taken out to lunch by my new boss, and in another novel experience, it was not from a place that could've employed John Belushi doing his "cheeseburger cheeseburger, no Pepsi, Coke!" routine.

(Ugh... Now it's vee-HICK-kles" for vehicles... Gack)

Oh... My... God... He just called Global Climate Change a "Serious challenge". Holeee crap.

Hey, that's neat, he spoke while Dick Cheney was drinking a glass of water. Neat ventriloquism trick..

Oh, Republicans, you can relax. That one sentence about "serious challenge" was the only mention of climate. And he called for an expansion of domestic oil production in "environmentally sensitive" ways. Excellent. I think he means making sure there's enough Palmolive dish soap in Alaska to wash off the sea otters when there's a drilling accident in the Arctic Preserve.

Anywho, the new job was fine, although the only thing taxed today was my memory of my social security number. I suspect it's not going to stay this easy.

Hey, Hillary's sitting behind Obama. Wonder if she's balling up little pieces of paper and throwing them at him. She looks like the type.

Well, gotta get going. If I'm going to listen to the rest of this speech, I'm going to need some libation...


Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Saints are coming...

Thoughts for this weekend of conference Championship football.

Bears Vs. Saints.

I feel for RW and Gino, I really do. You see, I believe in the football gods. I believe in a heavenly bureaucracy which oversees and influences the football season to achieve purposes; to teach humility, to uphold sportsman ship, to reward careers of great impact. Why else would a team named "The Patriots" win in the 9/11 year? How else to explain Pittsburgh's improbable Superbowl run last year, but to reward ultimate nice guy Jerome Bettis with a Superbowl in his hometown as his swan song? These things don't happen by accident.

Given that line of thought, how can you pick anyone but the Saints today? They've even got a ready-made song to go with the occasion (which they play before each home game), and their fates seem, like Sauron and the Great Ring, inexorably tied; in the Saints case it is to the hope and future of their once great city.

The song I'm talking about is "The Saints are Coming", by U2 and Green Day. Not getting ESPN, I had no idea that the song had been played at the first home game at the Superdome this year. And then Isaw the video, and the crusty old sentimentalist in me got simultaneously chocked up and pissed.

I got choked up because I still think of the US and her military as a force for good in the world, and pissed because the failure of local, state, and national government during the Katrina disaster is such a blemish on those of us who work(ed) in government. This video, and its portrayal of a history that never was, triggers those emotions.

Thanks to Brian for turning me onto this vid.

As for the "other" game, my beloved Patriots vs. the Induhniapolis Colts, here's couple of thoughts.

a. I had a stepfather from Indiana. Don't really care for Indiana, or Indianians. Sorry.

b. It's quite distressing to me that the Colts vs. Patriots is starting to look like the Red Sox vs. the Yankees, and I'm rooting for the Yankees end of the equation.

c. I really hate to say this, but with all the hits the team has taken over the past two years (the Bruschi stroke, losing three coordinators to head coaching jobs elsewhere, Rodney Harrison's injuries, the Deion Branch fiasco, the Adam Vinatieri fiasco, the Seau injury, etc etc...), it's amazing that they're in the AFC Championship game. This team is playing with house money.

Here's the thing: the Colts have to beat the Patriots to win the Superbowl. That's why they (improbably) lost to Pittsburgh last year -- they hadn't beaten the Pats in the post season yet. Peyton Manning must exorcise the demon for this team to move on.

It's like the Patriots first Superbowl in 1986. To get there, they had to run the table of road playoff games against the Raiders (exorcising the 1976 phantom rushing the passer call that knocked the Pats out of the playoffs), the Jets, and the Dolphins. Playing in Miami, where the Patriots were like 1 and 306. Sometimes things have to be done first. And beating the Patriots is what the Colts have to do first in order to win the Superbowl. It is their destiny...

But, as we've discussed, since this is the Saint's year, I'm guessing it's just not in the cards for Manning to go to the Superbowl this year. Because if he goes, you know he has to win for the curse to be completely lifted. Argh... this gets confusing.

But put a gun to my head, and I'm going to say Patriots. It's not that I intellectually think the Patriots can beat the Colts. The Colts are a superior team, and built in a way that match up well against the Pats.

Here's what the Patriots are good at: they are very good at taking away that one thing you want to do. They gameplan very well for that, and their players are disciplined and able to focus on the task at hand.

But the Colts can do a lot of things. And even if the Pats take Harrison and Wayne out of the game (an iffy proposition I grant, but what they've got to do), Manning can still kill you with Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai. Do the Pats have enough bullets to take out everything the Colts can throw at you? I don't know. With a bunch of backups in the secondary, and old and slow linebackers.... I just don't know.


Head=Colts. Heart=Patriots.

Actually, I almost hope it's the Colts, especially if the Saints win the NFC game. I'd hate to be responsible to bumming out the entire city of New Orleans, all over again when the Pats beat them in Superbowl XLI...


Well, had to do it. One down, six to go.

Welcome to my world, part three. Part two doesn't count, as that was just a migration to Beta. Part three was necessitated by my secret identity becoming just a little too un-secret for comfort in my (real) professional life, where success does not come from people knowing what a weirdo I really am.

For those of you who just stumbled upon this blog, this will make absolutely no sense. For the three of you who regularly, well, semi-regularly, subject yourselves to that other place, well, welcome back. I could never stop blogging, it's too much of a compulsion. And since the new gig isn't on the public dime, and includes nifty new telecommunications equipment putting me on the grid 24/7, who knows, might just post more than twice a fortnight.

But it was time to regenerate, as I had just left the first job I ever had, a thirteen year association with state government. So how better to cut off one phase of life and start a new one than with a shiny new blog?

So here we are. Welcom aboard, and I hope we'll manage to have some fun and maybe even learn something!

Or at least we'll have a place to bitch and look at pictures of Kate Hudson.

That wouldn't be so bad...