Monday, September 29, 2003

SEC week 5 in review

As the wife said, we're laid up with some kind of death funk today. So just a quick catchup on the football weekend.

LSU did not fall victim to the letdown syndrome, and beat the snot out of MSU. Seeing Nick Saban blowing his stack and yelling at players when we're up 34-0 in the 4th quarter is a great thing. We've got a week off now before Florida.

I went 5 - 1 in other SEC games, but not one went the way I expected. Kentucky should have beaten Florida; Alabama had Arkansas beat; Carolina and Vandy forced overtime; and Eli & Co. couldn't out pass Texas Tech.

So 6 - 1 for the week; 33 - 11 overall and 5 - 0 in LSU games.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Nice to meet you, "Steve"

For about a year and a half, women in Baton Rouge, La., lived in desperate fear of a serial killer. Six women were plucked from their homes, raped and murdered between Sept. 2001 and March 2003.

The fear that gripped the city was unreal. My sister, who lives about a quarter-mile from the scene of one of the killings, actually bought little cans of pepper spray to hand out to my wife, my mother and my other sister when we went down to visit this past spring (the weekend the last victim was killed ... so thanks, sis!).

In May, they caught the guy who they think killed the women - oddly enough here in Atlanta.

Anyway, after living through the serial killer nightmare, the female residents of Baton Rouge are, of course, much more careful about their personal security now.

Or maybe not ....

In The Advocate (the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) this morning was a story about a series of incidents at apartments around LSU in which female residents have been waking up to find a strange man either watching them sleep or actually "snuggling" with them in bed.

He calls himself "Steve".

"Steve" has entered at least nine apartments near LSU in recent weeks while female students were sleeping.

"Steve" sometimes folds the girls' clothes, sometimes makes himself a snack and always either watches the girls sleep or climbs in bed with them for some cuddle time. He's managed to not raise too much attention because he's apologetic when the girls wake up and says he thought he was in a different apartment.

He hasn't - at least so far - tried to rape or murder these girls.

The "Steve" incidents are made possible, apparently, because few of the female residents bother to lock their doors in these apartment complexes.

In fact, the roommate of one of the girls "Steve" snuggled with says most people in their complex have an "open door" policy - they all leave their doors unlocked so friends (and friends of friends) can come and go freely, anytime.

It was only after some of the girls started talking about "Steve" coming over that everyone began to realize this was a recurring thing.

These girls all live less than two miles from the scenes of three of the serial killings. The last of the killings happened just this past March about a mile away.

Now, of course, the girls are buying deadbolts and pepper spray.

Baton Rouge Police were raked over the coals for not catching the killer and not "keeping women safe" for months after it became obvious a serial killer was on the loose in town. So it's easy to understand this quote from the B.R. Police Chief:

"Did we not learn a lesson from the serial killer investigation to lock the damn doors?"

Sleeping women awaken to 'guest'

Thursday, September 25, 2003

SEC football review/preview

The L.A. vacation threw the normal posting schedule way off here at Cap'n Ken's, and I didn't get out my recap of last week's football action. And Friday is normally my predictions day, so I've decided to split the difference with a special review/preview edition this week.

So for the review:

LSU downs Georgia - Heckuva game, to say the least. I managed to stay media-free until Monday night and watched it live (to me) on the PVR. I'd picked my boys to win, and they did.

Florida beats Tennessee - The Vols finally impressed me, taking the Crocodiles to school. I'd picked the Vols.

Bama loses to N. Ill - Damn Tide. I'd picked them.

Arkansas beats N. Texas - I got that one right.

Kentucky beats Indiana - Got this one right, too.

Houston beats MSU - I didn't realize just how bad the Bulldogs are. Missed it.

S. Carolina over UAB - Easy one; I got it right.

TCU beats Vandy - Also easy; also right.

So for the week, I was 5 - 3. For the year, 27 - 10. LSU picks are 4 - 0.

Now, for Week 5:

After this week, just about every game will matter; as the non-conference foes give way to SEC rivals.

LSU is up in Stinkville to play Miss. St. I've come to the opinion that this year's Tigers will not fold in the easy games, as has been our tendency in the past when we start well. Of course, saying that will likely ensure that we do fold.

But I'm putting real faith in the boys after the Georgia game. We beat State, 31 - 17


Arkansas at Alabama - This will be another week for the Hogs to prove they are as good as they look. Alabama is playing for pride; but I don't seen the Tide winning this one. I'll go Arkansas, 34 - 24

Florida at Kentucky - I think the Crocs will be an up-and-down team all year. They should have beaten Miami, then couldn't hang with Tennessee. They beat Kentucky, though. I'll go Crocodiles, 45 - 31

S. Carolina at Tennessee - After the Florida win, I'm pulling for the Vols in the SEC East. I'd like to meet up with a team we didn't play in the regular season if we make the SEC Championship. The Vols know they are driving the East now, and they don't let up here. Vols, 28 - 17

W. Kentucky at Auburn - The Lesser Tigers still aren't playing SEC teams (I don't count Vandy). What a waste of a weekend. Tigers, 10 - 3

Texas Tech at Ole Miss - The Rebels go out-of-conference for the third week in a row (4th if you count the Vandy opener). I'll go Ole Miss, 52 - 45

Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt - A worthless game between worthless teams. Tech, 21 - 10

Hold the phone

Just now I got a call from Sprint PCS - on my wireless Sprint PCS phone. The guy on the other end made sure to tell me I would not incur charges for the call and that he was calling to make sure I was happy with my service ... and to tell me that I could get an even better deal on the package I have.

I told him "no, thanks" and that I was not interested in making any changes to my service right now.

What's behind this unusual outreach from Sprint? Number portability.

I was shopping for new phones a couple of months back, and an agent at T-Mobile (the company I'd most like to switch to, partly because they have a great network and great devices, and partly because they employ Catherine Zeta-Jones as a spokesbabe) told me that number portability is coming for sure this fall (November 24, I believe).

Since that time I have noticed a flood of ads and offers from wireless carriers. And the call from Sprint reinforces the carriers' strategy: lock up customers in new contracts before portability goes into effect.

So hold your phone, at least until the end of November.

When the era of number portability arrives, you'll see a couple of changes in the wireless phone market:

1) Phones and service plans will become cheaper
2) Required contracts will become longer

I'm currently not under contract with Sprint, which is why they are so eager to lock me up before portability is a reality. But I'm not biting.

I'm a free agent, and come November 24 I'll be shopping my business around. I assume I'll be locked into a 2-year contract, but I'll have my pick of companies and plans ... and my number to keep.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The LAX meltdown

As mentioned by the wife, I had a bit of a run-in with some federal agents at LAX on Monday morning.

After enduring the ridiculousness of airport security and the TSA on just four or five round-trips since Sept. 11, 2001 (God help me and/or the TSA if I ever have to start traveling for business), I snapped. Here's how the whole thing went down (the wife makes the encounter sound much too civil):

- Waiting in line to be cleared of any terrorist intentions by the metal detectors, I began my mental checklist: phone in bag, no keys or coins on me, plenty of handsome gray bins to put my laptop in; shoes .... damn. I was wearing a new set of kicks bought in sunny Southern California.

[When we flew out of Atlanta, there was a little black box you could put your shoes on to see if they would set off the detector. A clever bit of customer service to help mitigate the stupid shoe situation. At LAX, however, there were no such shoe checkers. We were running a little early for out flight, so I figured I'd let the detector itself be the checker for my new shoes' usefulness as a terrorist tool.]

- So I get up to the checkpoint, put the bags and laptop on the conveyor and prepare to walk through the detector. The helpful TSA agent manning the human scanner tells me I might want to take off my shoes. I told him I did not think they would set off the machine and asked if I had to take them off. He told me I did not have to take my shoes off.

- Once I get through the detector (without setting it off), TSA dude tells me to step to the side for a pat-down search. I asked why and was told "because you didn't take off your shoes. We search everybody who has thick soles and does not take off their shoes." I spent only a few seconds on the "but you told me I didn't have to take off my shoes" line of reasoning before releasing TSA goon No. 1 from my wrath.

- Enter TSA goon No. 2. Actually a fairly friendly guy. I asked him why I was being searched even though I am 100% certified to be clear of dangerous nail clippers, tweezers, etc. He told me it was TSA policy to hand-search anyone with significant shoe soles who walks through the detectors in such shoes. He said Atlanta was not following the rules if they didn't search me when I went through in similar shoes, and I guess that's correct. As he wanded and patted me, I tried to get him to admit that what was happening to me was ridiculous. He seemed to understand this, but would only throw out the government line: "It's what we're told to do, sir." "Absolutely ridiculous, but I know you're just doing your job" was my reply as I was released from federal custody.

- I thought I had things under control, but seeing the wife getting her patdown while I was gathering my stuff from the conveyor sent me over the edge. As I walked toward the last batch of TSA goons (headed by TSA goon No. 3 - a guy at a desk who must have been a supervisor), I kept repeating "absolutely ridiculous" in a voice loud enough for all the nearby TSA goons to hear.

- TSA goon No. 3 then replies "we're just trying to keep everybody safe." Bad move.

- I kept walking, but let off a good tirade about how this "security" does nothing to increase safety; is only meant to make people "feel" safe and is just plain stupid. No. 3 then said perhaps I was stupid.

- I was about 15 feet past No. 3 when he let fly with the "I bet the people on Sept. 11 wouldn't have thought it's stupid" line.

- I don't remember much after that, except that I turned around and got up in the guy's face and was then dragged away by the wife. I was aware enough of what I was doing to not say anything like "if I wanted to hijack a plane, I bet I have something in my bag that I could use," but otherwise he'd pushed me into auto-rant mode.

I didn't get locked up with Robert Blake at LA County Jail, so I consider it to be a successful protest.

And in retrospect, the thing that bothers me most about this TSA "airport security" crap is not the rules about shoes. It isn't that your grandmother is as likely (if not more likely) to be searched as a Saudi national. It isn't that we've spent God knows how many billions of dollars on a "security" infrastructure in reaction to Sept. 11 when anyone with half a brain knows airliners are the last thing that Islamic terrorists will try to use next time.

No, what's bothering me most now is that we, the innocent, non-Arab, natural born U.S. citizens, put up with it so willingly.

We buy see-thru luggage to make searches easier. We obediently take off our shoes for fear we might get a patdown. We don't ask the TSA goons why they pulled an old lady out of line in front of us. We don't say "that guy looks like a terrorist; search him" when we see an Arab in line. We don't march on Washington demanding change. Simply put, we don't complain about it.

I did my part on Monday.

Monday, September 22, 2003

L.A., Day 4

Sunday started at Mel's Drive-In, yet another Sunset Strip landmark. We got in at the perfect time - not yet a wait, but almost full of people. So good people watching, including a very agitated guy who must be an industry guy who thinks he deserves a no-wait seat (Mel's saw it differently).

After breakfast, we swung past Tower Records (the historic Sunset Strip location, of course) so I could blow the $25 gift certificate I'd been carrying around since Christmas. Got myself a double-disc collection from The Blasters (have to go with an L.A. act, of course).

From there it was down to the Melrose Avenue commercial strip. Finally a shopping/entertainment district that lives up to the hype. Centered roughly around Fairfax Ave., Melrose is like a Little 5 times 5; block after block of funky/vintage clothes shops, record stores, cool restaurants, etc. I got the makings of my Halloween costume on Melrose today.

We spent a good long time on Melrose, then set our sights on the mountains and the coast.

First, though, we swung through Brentwood to see where Marilyn Monroe died and where O.J. killed Nicole. We found Stephen Spielberg's and Goldie Hawn's houses in Pacific Palisades as well.

We took Sunset all the way out to the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway for the simpletons among you), then took a sharp right toward Topanga Canyon. We wound our way through Topanga over to the edge of The Valley, then turned back into the mountains via Mulholland Highway. Man, if you have a couple hours to give to a drive, I highly recommend the Santa Monica Mountains. Hard to describe, but really amazing that so much nothingness can be so close to Los Angeles.

Mulholland eventually brought us back to the PCH north of Malibu; and we drove north a ways to Oxnard (the Oxnard stop was for a bathroom break. NOTE: The only bathroom in Oxnard is at a Mexicali 7-11). Then we came back down the PCH to Malibu; taking special note of the big, expensive houses (for no reason). A stop off at the Malibu Pier brought us almost to sunset (the daily solar event, not the road); and we drove on down to a seafood place to await the solar demise.

The restaurant (and especially its made-from-scratch margaritas) was excellent, and the sun delivered as promised.

By the time we made it back to the hotel, it was almost 9 p.m., making our day almost a full 11 hours of non-stop fun. We packed up, and as I write this we're packing it in for the night.

The flight tomorrow is at 10:30 local time, and thanks to the Atlas factor, we don't get home until 7.

P.S. We're witnessing an odd California dynamic. It's after 10 here now (post-1 a.m. Eastern), and the Emmys have been on since 8 our time. Problem is, they actually happened beginning at 5 p.m. our time (8 p.m. Eastern). So what we're watching "live" is actually over, even though it's pitched to us - the people who are sitting a few miles from where it happened - as being "live". Jennifer Garner is not up at the podium as I write this - she's at some afterparty.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

L.A., Day 3

Saturday was a driving day; but mostly intown. After an in-room breakfast of Starbucks and pumpkin scones, we headed west toward Westwood Village, the UCLA commercial village. It's a cool area with plenty of coffee shops and cool architecture (apparently Westwood Village was developed in the late 20s). There are a number of old-school movie theaters, and word on the street is that a whole lot of L.A. movie premieres happen over there.

But Broad Street in Athens or even Chimes Street in Baton Rouge it is not. I guess UCLA kids have enough money to not need cool, cheap record stores and the like.

From there we headed down Wilshire to Santa Monica. The Santa Monica pier and the beach underneath were packed with folks who came out for the Red Bull Flugtag, in which people build "flying" machines and hurl themselves off the pier into the pacific ocean. We couldn't get close enough to see much of the action, but we checked out some of the crafts in the staging area, and saw the video on the news later. Somewhere in the crowd was emcee Danny Bonneduce.

We hit Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade afterwards. By far this was the most disappointing part of the trip so far. Third Street is about 3 blocks of old downtown storefronts and whatnot turned into a pedestrian avenue. Sound pretty cool? Well, it might be if they had not leased each and every space to standard mall retailers (Sketchers, Gap, Pottery Barn, you name it). What a wasted opportunity.

[Santa Monica side note: It is illegal for anyone other than senior citizens to use the shuffleboard courts at the Santa Monica senior recreation center.]

After bailing from Santa Monica, we decided to become the worst kind of Hollywood tourists - celebrity hunters. We bought a cheesy Map to the Stars' Homes and - after realizing the paper map was useless as a navigational tool and swinging by the hotel to plug the addresses into MapQuest on the laptop - started some stalking.

First on the list was Britney (of course). She's actually sold her L.A. house - to Brittany Murphy - but a good thing to see nonetheless. It's at the end of a tiny road winding up from Sunset Blvd. into the Hollywood Hills. An ugly place, really. I guess she gave up style for security.

Other stalking highlights:

• Halle Berry lives kind of near Britney, also on a tiny street. The wife recognized her house from the news footage of her SUV being pulled out of the garage following her hit-and-run incident.

• We saw the fabulous walls and gates of Madonna, Aaron Spelling and Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston. The city actually makes it illegal to stop in front of the really big celebrity homes. The Pitt house looks really awesome, with kind of an ivy castle effect working.

• We saw the L.A. home of Elvis. Pretty cool place; looks bigger than Graceland. There was a Jettafull of kids gawking through the gates when we drove up; making me believe it must not be the Elvis house. But it was. Props to the kids for respecting The King.

• Anthony Kiedes from the Chili Peppers has to be the coolest star in Hollywood. He lives in this old Hollywoodland (as in underneath the sign) house on this tiny, winding road.

It's amazing how the streets in the Hollywood Hills are so damn small and the houses are - from the outside at least - so unimpressive. The views, of course, are great. And the hills are the place to be for up-and-coming stars. I'd also imagine more tourists would stalk the stars if they were easier to get to.

After all the stalking, we were pretty well beat (again). So no 3 a.m. Viper Room trips.

Star sightings: Ray Liotta having dinner at a cafe; faux Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones driving a Boxter down Melrose Ave. (good enough faux couple to count as a sighting)

I managed to avoid seeing or hearing about the LSU / Georgia game (and I'm not checking email lest some bonehead wrote me about it). I shant look at newspapers or surf past ESPN today. With any luck, I'll be able to watch the game fresh on the PVR when I get home tomorrow night.

Today we're hitting the Melrose Ave. strip (we did a drive-by yesterday, and it looks very Little 5ish) then heading out to the coast. We've got the addresses of Malibu homes plotted (Johnny Carson, David Geffen, Axl Rose, etc.) and we're gonna drive the PCH awhile.

The Emmy awards are tonight, but that's not our stalking style.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

L.A., Day 2

As forshadowed in "The Cap'n on the coast", our second day out left began at Duke's Coffee Shop, next door to the Whiskey on the Sunset Strip. Yep, the place was where The Doors started, as witnessed by the big Doors poster on the wall.

There's talk that Duke's is a great place to see celebrities, and we had an exciting brush with fame there today.

Sitting mere feet away from us was a guy who apparently directs TV shows and a buddy of his who is apparently a writer trying to become an actor (you sit close together at Duke's). The director is doing a project with Ben Stiller, and he was encouraging his buddy to do short films to get in the director biz. Apparently the biggest project his buddy has been involved in was standing off camera feeding lines to Abe Vigoda. "That's cool" were the encouraging words of his director pal.

After Duke's, we hit the Beverly Center mall (L.A.'s largest) for some browsing, then some grub shopping around Hollywood. Nothing too exciting there.

Then on to do the mandatory Hollywood tourist thing - the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Lame.

Some more convertible touring, including a scouting trip to the Wiltern theater (site of the Eddie Izzard show which prompted this trip) and a drive-by of UCLA's Westwood Village, and it was back to the hotel to think about dinner before the Izzard show.

We picked Cafe Med a casual but hip Italian place on Sunset. We sat on the patio and watched the parade of luxury cars on Sunset Blvd. And - this is exciting - we got our first confirmed star sighting: Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray turning the corner in his Escalade. Hooray for us.

There was also a girl who I thought was Jennifer Garner (wasn't), and some guy who was eating there who had to be somebody, since he looked poor but drove away in one of those Mercedes military truck things. Likely a member of one of those 99X bands.

From there it was off to see Eddie. I'll let the wife go on about the show (when she has the time), but we saw none other than Mel Brooks in the audience. Also there was that Elizabeth Berkeley girl from Showgirls and Saved by The Bell (I never thought she was very attractive, but after seeing her in person, I can say for sure ... she's not very attractive.)

Again, there were probably a dozen people in the audience that I believe to be "famous", but I couldn't tell you who they are. But I figure if some guy shows up at a show like this looking like Tommy Lee (tattoos, facial hair, ski cap) and with a hot girl on his arm, he's either famous or an idiot.

And now it's 11:30 local time (2:30 a.m. on the internal clocks), and we're once again not getting dressed to hit the Viper Room around 3. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2003

The Cap'n on the coast

Greetings from sunny West Hollywood. The Cap'n and the wife arrived L.A. way yesterday, and we'll be out until Monday.

I won't rant too much about the flight, except that Delta made us buy our own food AND still charged $5 to watch the movie (we watched The Royal Tenenbaums on the laptop instead). At least they took credit cards.

Yesterday was spent getting the lay of the land. What MapQuest doesn't tell you is that Sunset Blvd. is about a 1500-foot vertical rise from Santa Monica Blvd., where we're staying. So a 1/4 mile walk up to The Whiskey took about 45 minutes. We'll drive from now on, thanks.

We got us a convertible Mustang, which is cool and will come in handy when we hit the PCH this weekend. Apparently you can tell that someone is a tourist in L.A. because we're the only ones with the top down. We cruised Hollywood, hit Mulholland Drive, took pictures with the Hollywood sign in the background, etc.

After the time change hit us, we opted for taco-stand tacos and burritos for dinner, and crashed about 9 p.m. local time. Yeah, lame. But what do you want?

Three observations from Day 1:

1) If you think Atlanta is polluted, you should see this place. From the Hollywood Hills, you see nothing but brown sky looking toward downtown. I think I know know why they ban smoking in restaurants; that's the only place to find decent air.

2) Just about everyone here looks like they could be a celebrity. Seeing people on the street, anybody could be a young, hip star. Peering into the Mercedes, Hummers and BMWs provides a bit of a star qualifier, but most people in the fancy rides look more like lawyers or doctors. I may have seen Penelope Cruz on Mulholland, though.

3) Hollywood and West Hollywood, from what we've seen so far, seem pretty fucking cool. Very much an urban neighborhood, easy to walk around, yet it's got the sunny California thing working for it. We hit some really awesome bungalow neighborhood down Beverly Blvd yesterday. I doubt we could afford it.

We're off for breakfast now. We're gonna hit a place called Duke's Coffee Shop, which is next door to the Whiskey and used to be a club ... where The Doors were the house band.

Gotta love this place.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

God help us if we make old people, black people ... or EVEN WORSE ... old black people, sad

Dammit, I did NOT plan to blog thrice today.

But as I was about to close the window displaying the Washington Post story about AOL Time Warner losing the AOL part of their name, the big animated GIF ad on the page caught my attention:

OK, there's a lot of fodder here. The Universal Service Fund is bullshit (I have to pay for poor people's telephone and Internet service because I can afford my own telephone and Internet service) anyway, and I could write 10,000 words on that alone. But I shant (anger is for the wife anyway).

But spend a few minutes letting the magic that is animated GIF tell the story of this ad.

The tagline for this ad is "THIS IS UNFAIR to Seniors & others ..." and there's Barbara Bush looking all sad because the USF is going to turn against her.

But on the first screen, we get the headline "THESE FEES WILL HURT US" with photos below of:

a) two old black men - one of whom may actually be a Claymation figure - who appear to be quite sad
b) a youngish, blackish woman who appears to be quite sad (and angry)
c) a young black couple who appear to be quite sad

I've been around this media thing long enough to know there are no accidents in advertising. When ADT puts together a home security ad, they think long and hard about what their "burglar" will look like.

So these folks were picked on purpose.

We have 4 "victims" of this change presented. All except one is black (or reasonably black). They don't look particularly poor, either. Just black.

Now, I wasn't surfing when I saw this ad. It's in the business section of, which has to have a predominately white audience.

Am I, Mr. White Reader, supposed to feel guilty because the people who will be "hurt" by this are black and therefore support the effort to change things?

Are the ad masters coming to realize that a lot of young people like myself have zero sympathy left for the Gimme Generation? And maybe I'll have more sympathy for the black experience?

The Cap'n answers your search questions

This is a new, semi-regular feature here at CKHW. I'll seek to answer questions implied by the search terms folks are using to find this particular corner of the Internet.

For the debut edition, I'd like to answer the question:

"should I buy the east atlanta house" posed by a Yahoo! user.

Well, Mr. Yahoo! user, yes! Absolutely!

East Atlanta, as you know, is Atlanta's hippest neighborhood, and it's getting hipper (and more expensive) by the day. There are a lot of homes for sale in the area, but I think there are two key things to look for.

1) Price. You can easily pay $300K or more for a decent place, but look in the $220K - $240K for the real deals

2) Location. Never, ever, ever consider buying a house that's more than a half-mile from the Village. The best place to live is south of Glenwood and east of Flat Shoals.

I came across a real bargain the other day. You should consider buying this place:

Van Vleck House

Hope this helps. Good luck in your search!

SEC week 4 preview

Yeah, it's only Wednesday. But the wife and I are heading out of town tomorrow, and I shant neglect my football previewing duties. [note: yes, it is absolutely ridiculous that I am not going to be around for the LSU/Georgia game. In fact, I'll be in a part of the country where it probably won't even be on TV. Tom's right - the Eddie Izzard show we're heading west to see better be fucking funny]

I'm pondering a strategy of avoiding all media through Monday and watching the PVRed game when I get back Monday night. This seems like a better bet than asking the wife to spend 4 hours at a sports bar while we're on vacation.

Anyhow, the LSU/UGA game is shaping up to be huge. No, bigger than huge. 3X Huge, perhaps.

Not only is the game going to be the first real test for both teams and the first SEC games for the teams expected to win their divisions, but it's shaping up as potentially the defining moment for the next decade of SEC football.

Both LSU and Georgia are on the cusp of becoming the dominant team in the SEC, the role enjoyed by Florida and, to a lesser degree, Tennessee over the past 10 years.

What have been respectable but not powerhouse programs over the past couple of decades are now both led by highly-respected, smart young coaches who are driven by the opportunity to build dominant programs in the country's best football conference.

Saban and Richt are the real deals. And they both have solid talent and legitimate top-10 programs. One of these teams will come away from Saturday's game with the opportunity and expectation to be a top-5 team this year and the SEC's golden child for the forseeable future.

The team that loses, of course, will take second chair in the SEC for now and set its sights on winning the division and getting revenge in Atlanta.

So on to the pick.

I predicted in my pre-season picks that Georgia wins this game.

Through three games, Georgia has been impressive. And so has LSU. In short, I like our chances in this game better than I did before the season.

And here's why ...

You'd better believe each of Tiger Stadium's 91,600 seats will have an ass in it Saturday. I figure they'll break the record of 92,141 set at the Auburn game in 2001 that decided the SEC West title.

The Tiger fans will be out for blood. LSU is out of the gate at 3-0, has outscored opponents 143 - 27, is in the top 10, ESPN GameDay is in town and this is the biggest game for the program in years.

David Greene thinks he can handle the crowd and the noise. Only if UGA scores 14 points early, Dave. Otherwise son, you're not gonna be ready for this.

Georgia hasn't been to Baton Rouge since 1998, when the Tigers went 4-7 and the stadium held 12,000 fewer drunk Cajuns. In fact, Georgia has only come to Baton Rouge 4 times since 1952, so they have no idea what they are in for.

On the field, this is a great matchup. Both teams can score and are hard to score on. I think the game will come down to execution, who can make the fewest mistakes, and the crowd.

In the end, I like our chances. I'll say LSU, 27 - 24

• Elsewhere, I think Tennessee is playing Florida, but not too many people seem to care about that anymore. I'm completely unimpressed by Tennessee and more impressed by Florida than I figured to be. I'll take the Crocodiles, 38 - 24

• Northern Illinois at Alabama - I'll take the Tide, 24 - 10

• North Texas at Arkansas - Regular Texas couldn't handle the pigs, who looked exceptional, so don't expect North Texas to. Hogs, 35 - 17

• Kentucky at Indiana - I hate the Big Ten and have no respect for about 9 of them. Kentucky, 48 - 17

• Mississippi State at Houston - MSU is 0-2. I like that. But they beat Houston. I'll say MSU, 17 - 14

• UAB at South Carolina - Cocks got clocked by UGA. UAB is kind of the same thing as Alabama, only they play in Birmingham (of course so does Alabama, but not all the time. I don't think UAB ever plays home games in Tuscaloosa, but I could be wrong). I'll take the Cocks, 21 - 10

• Vandy at TCU - Give it up for the smart boys from Nashville. They selflessly gave Auburn some of its pride back last week by handing them 44 points. That was nice of them. The Horny Frogs are unbeaten and in the top 25, however. I like TCU, 24 - 7

• Auburn vs. Open Date - Auburn, 3-0 in OT.

Monday, September 15, 2003

SEC week 3 wrapup

Fun weekend of football; although the wife didn't do me the favor of going home to see her parents this time (should be a requirement Sept - Dec), so it was hit-and-miss on pigskin watching.

My boys in Baton Rouge took care of Western Illinois, although through the pain of fumbles, dropped passes and just damn sloppy play. It was 13-7 in the 3rd quarter, but we ended up rolling it up to 35-7. A total of 457 yards of offense (305 passing by Matt Mauck) is a good sign for Georgia this week. And get those fumbles out of the way early, Joe Addai.

So we've got the three easy games under the "W" column, which we usually don't manage to do. And cumulative score is 143 - 27. Again, against creampuffs, but a typical LSU year has us 2-1 at this point with a cum score of 54-45.

And now Georgia. More on that later in the week.

Elsewhere, Auburn managed to score 44 on Vandy. Good job there.

Arkansas pulled off the big upset at Texas (I swear I almost picked this as the upset ... but didn't). Setting up a big game to end the season.

Bama looked rough early but finished off Kentucky late.

Florida rolled over Fla A&M. No surprise. I said 77-7, and it was 63-3.

South Carolina at Georgia. Well, a boy has to try. What fun is it to pick the favorite? Short story is Georgia still looks damn good (although it appears their schedule hasn't been as tough as once thought). It'll be a good game in BR on Saturday.

Ole Miss and ULM. Eli was pissed, and Miss ran up 59 points.

Miss. State at Tulane. It's the "upset" the Cap'n got right! Although hardly a shocker. I like that the final was exactly 1 touchdown more for each team that I predicted.

So let's recap:

Week 3 finds the Cap'n with a record of 6-2 and raises the season record to 22-7. LSU picks are 3-0 for the season.

Friday, September 12, 2003

The Man in Black

The wife woke me up sometime around 6 this morning to tell me Johnny Cash had died.

Quite honestly, I've been expecting to hear this news just about every day since June Carter Cash died four months ago. Seeing Johnny in the Hurt video some months back, it was easy to see, as the wife said, that he "was not long for this world." He was 70 then, but looked 90. That video felt like an obituary.

And when June - the woman who saved his soul 40 years ago and had taken care of him ever since - died, I knew Johnny couldn't be far behind.

Johnny doesn't need me to tell you how important and amazing he was. If you don't know enough about Johnny Cash to realize why, I recommend an excellent and detailed obituary from The Gate.

I'll note one thing, however, for you to think about and absorb. Johnny began his career working with Sam Phillips and ended it working with Rick Rubin. If you don't grasp the meaning of that, I can't help you.

Other good Johnny reads:

The Tennessean obit

Country Music Hall of Fame profile

Career Highlights on

So long, Johnny.

P.S. To CNN and everybody else who devoted more time this morning to the death of John Ritter than the death of Johnny Cash:

SEC picks, week 3

Seems most teams - except LSU - are playing conference or significant games this week. We have one more warm-up before Georgia.

So here goes:

• LSU vs. Western Illinois - W. Ill is said to be the best DII team out there, but this should be a cakewalk (note the growing confidence that LSU is good). I'm going to say 42-10 Tigers.

• Auburn at Vanderbilt - Man, this is tempting. Vandy almost beat Ole Miss, you know ... Nah, it's Auburn 14, Vanderbilt 13 (yes, that's a dig at your boys, Charles).

• Arkansas at Texas - Texas is always overrated, and Arkansas is pretty much untested. How about I go for an upset here? Nah. Texas 24, Arkansas 17.

• Kentucky at Alabama - Bama should have beat Oklahoma. They will beat Kentucky. Alabama 28, Kentucky 14

• Florida A&M at Florida - Those are going to be some pissed-off crocodiles. Florida 77, A&M 7

• South Carolina at Georgia - Tough one. Georgia looked great against Clemson, but Clemson has showed itself to be not so good. Carolina looked great vs. Virginia, which hasn't yet shown itself to not be good. For the sake of getting UGA fans to shut up ... South Carolina 21, Georgia 10

• UL Monroe at Ole Miss - Eli is pissed. If his guys can hang on to a few balls, it's Ole Miss 48, ULL 13

• Miss St. at Tulane - Tuck Fulane! Might be a good game, though. The toss-up of the week, if you ask me. I'm gonna go .... hmm ... hmm ... let's say .... Tulane 24, Miss St. 21

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Theida Salazar for ... whatever the hell she wants to do

As the wife mentioned in her blog today, I lost my wallet last night at Turner Field. Best as I can figure, it fell out of my pocket sometime in the last couple of innings. [note: I think I've figured out why my $9.99 Gap shorts were on clearance - shallow pockets].

I have a habit of feeling for my wallet when I get up to leave someplace, and when we headed out of the stadium last night, it weren't there. I was only about 20 feet from my seat, but by the time I made it back, it was nowhere to be found.

So the rest of the evening was spent calling the credit card companies and NetBank to get my cards cancelled. Thanks to the asshat who used one of our cards to buy himself a membership to last week, one of our accounts already had a replacement on the way (it was in the mail when I got home today).

This morning I called the Braves' lost and found number and reported my wallet lost. I had very low expectations from the voice-mail system they have to report lost items. But just a couple of hours later, I got a call saying they had my wallet (apparently they had already called my house after looking up my number based on my license).

My wallet was there, along with the credit cards and - amazingly - cash.

So I stopped by The Ted on my way home and grabbed my wallet. A quick inventory showed:

• $33 in cash (as far as I remember, exactly what I had before)

• all six credit cards (no, I don't use six credit cards; I just have six credit cards)

• my $25 Tower Records gift card

• my $15 worth of MediaPlay cash

• the receipt for the $25 I spent for work at Krispy Kreme Monday

• my driver's license

... and so forth. Easily a $100+ loss if I don't get the wallet back.

Then I notice, tucked away behind the cash, a business card. It reads:

"Theida Salazar for Georgia House of Representatives."

Apparently Theida - or somebody who works for her - found my wallet. It makes sense that a politician is the one type of person who might be expected to return a wallet with all the cash intact. Especially if they have a business card to stash inside it.

It looks like Theida is running for a Cobb County post, so I can't vote for her. But if she ever moves to Atlanta or runs state-wide, she's got my vote. For whatever she wants to be.

Thanks, Theida.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Plate update

Yes, the news of Georgia's new, URL-laden 2004 license plate did break here at Cap'n Ken's. (see Why didn't I see this coming?).

My piece on the topic appeared August 14, and a Google news search shows the story breaking in the mainstream press more than two weeks later.

So far there has been no outrage from Ray Charles fans, advocates for the poor, Cobb & Gwinnett counties or Georgia Clean & Beautiful (again, see Why didn't I see this coming?). But wait until the first ones start to appear in 2004.

For further reading and opinion about the tags from the lazy "professional" journalists:

AJC's Lane Ranger, Aug 29.

AP Story, Augusta Chronicle, Aug 30.

Gainesville Times Editorial, Sept. 2.

ETA for a Business Chronicle story: 6 weeks.

Britney endorsement withdrawn

First off, let me say that I do not receive any compensation for my extensive list of endorsements appearing in the right rail of Cap'n Ken's (although I'd sure like to ... T.L., your sister should send me some jambalaya).

And among the products endorsed by the Cap'n until now was Britney Spears. Britney's a Louisiana girl (Kentwood, no less) and - in my estimation - is pretty damn cute. Not yet a woman? Come on. That's the ass and tits of a woman, friends.

[note to loyal readers: the above mention of "ass" and "tits" alongside Britney Spears is merely a ploy to get more search engine traffic to Cap'n Ken's.]

Anyhow, I decided sometime over the weekend, after watching parts of that horrible NFL kickoff concert thing (thank you once again, PVR), that Brit is officially over, and I now withdraw my endorsement.

At the risk of referencing one of the most over-referenced phrases of the 21st century, with the NFL thing and that ridiculous tongue swapping episode with Madonna on the MTV VMA awards, Britney has "jumped the shark".

Struggling to remain relevant in a pop music world that moves faster than white people in the Country Club of Louisiana when Master P buys another house for his crew there, Britney pulled out some weak-ass J. Lo routine for the NFL gig. It was bad, and I think the end of the line is near for young Britney.

I've been to Kentwood (the ex-wife's alcoholic father's second - of three [and counting] - wife was from there). For anybody from Kentwood to make anything of themselves, much less become a world-reknown multimillionaire pop princess, is quite an accomplishment.

So congrats on that, Britney. Enjoy your money, your homes, and see if you can create a career for your little sister.

And please hang on a while longer. If you stop being a "celebrity," I'll have to take you off my list of celebrity women I can screw without the wife getting pissed.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Another Boy For Jesus

OK, I don't try to be completely anti-"Christian" here, these things just seem to find me. Case in point: I was looking at LSU's official site today to see whether a big Tiger freshman - QB JaMarcus Russell - is active, redshirted, or whatever.

So I find his profile page (which is not particularly helpful), and at the bottom there's a really insightful - i.e. "what's your favorite video game of all time?" - Q&A with young JaMarcus.

Among the Qs and As:

What is your favorite book?: The Bible
What is your favorite place to visit? Church
If you could meet any one person, living or dead, who would it be? Jesus and Martin Luther King

What a fine, young "Christian" man. Apart from apparently not realizing that Jesus and MLK are, in fact, two people, he sure has a fine, "Christian" heart, doesn't he?

Elsewhere in the Qs and As:

What is your favorite musical group or artist? R-Kelly
Who is your favorite actor? Martin Lawrence
What is your favorite movie? Run Tel Dat
What CD is in your CD player right now? Young Rollas

R Kelly, of course, is currently facing a total of 33 counts of child pornography in two states for his alleged fondness for videotaping sex acts involving himself and teenage girls. And some - but not all - of his CDs carry Tipper Gore's "Explicit Lyrics" label.

Martin Lawrence (who's work includes JaMarcus' favorite movie, correctly titled "runteldat"), is known for his profanity and sex-charged standup routine.

The review of runteldat states "This is surely the dirtiest comedy performance ever released to the general public, but beneath his barrage of profanity, crudeness, and unabashed sexual material, Lawrence gets into some serious truth about life's trials and tribulations ..."

JaMarcus must have misspelled the act he refers to as "Young Rollas", because Googling that only returns his profile page from the LSU site (and, soon, Cap'n Ken). I'll assume he's referring to some underground hip-hop act.

I have no problem with R Kelly (at least until his trials wrap up), Martin Lawrence, foul language, hip-hop, wild sex, crudeness or vulgarity. In fact, apart from hip-hop (I'm a white guy, after all), I endorse all of the above (maybe not the underage videotaped sex, though).

What I do have a problem with are bold pronouncements by "Christians" such as JaMarcus about how much they love Jesus, how important church is, etc. when their real lifestyle completely contradicts all the Jesus talk.

If you love Jesus so gosh-darn much, should your favorite movie be "the dirtiest comedy performance ever released to the general public"?

Ask yourself, JaMarcus, What Would Jesus Watch?

Who's finding the Cap'n?

Here at Cap'n Ken's, we've been gearing up our marketing and customer research efforts. You'll now see we're part of some blog listing/linking services, and we've begun to track audience behavior much more closely.

In browsing our user referral data, we found the list of search terms leading folks to the Cap'n quite interesting. The Cap'n asked that we share some of the findings.

Regular readers of Cap'n Ken are well aware of his trials with the DishPVR 721 (he tells us No. 5 is still alive after two weeks. Yippee!). Thanks to all his ranting on the topic, "dishpvr 721" is among the biggest search terms driving traffic here.

Of course, LSU and SEC Football drive a lot of visits, as do East Atlanta and matters of the Cap'n's hood.

We had to dig deep to figure out a few of the referrals, though. People ended up at the Cap'n's place by searching:

SLOGAN ABOUT WISDOM AND VIRTUES on Yahoo [Try it] - the Cap'n is the 28th result there. Comes from "Shh .. it's the mosquito people"

gwinnett nissan murano sale on Google [Try it] - we're the 4th result for this search. From "All about the Benjamins"

Dave Reese architect from alabama on Google [Try it] - also the 4th result, from "Fame, fortune and friends"

and best of all:

ice cream machine fairly used for sale in u.s.a from september 2003 on Google [Try it] - the 11th result, from a blend of several Cap'n postings

We've been trying to tell the Cap'n that his rambling style is causing problems here in marketing and promotion. One day he's on LSU football; the next he's trashing Christians (again). But taking sense into the Cap'n is like talking butter into a muffin. Just doesn't work that way.

Monday, September 08, 2003

SEC week 2 recap

Well, my Bengal Tigers came through in a big way, spanking what must be the worst team in the Pac 10 (Arizona) 59-13. The game was never close, and despite the announcers' cheerleading of Arizona throughout the first half, they just couldn't hang.

It's hard to make too much of the game, Arizona being so pitifully awful, but it's surely a better outcome than, say, only beating MTSU 29-7 or losing to Ga. Tech.

Games I got right:

• Oklahoma over Alabama - if not for a fake punt, Alabama probably comes away with the big upset. But no.

• Miami over Florida - if not for Ron Zook, Florida wins this one. I came real close to actually rooting for Florida (it takes a very, very special circumstance for that to happen) because the Miami thugs are such asshats that they got 15-yard celebration penalties after almost every touchdown. Thankfully for Miami, the Crocodiles have Ron Zook.

• Georgia over MTSU - Dawgs win, but didn't look good. Clemson lost to Furman, casting doubts over the quality of UGA's win in week 1.

• Tennessee over Marshall - I came close to picking Marshall for the upset, and they came close to pulling it. Tennessee the best team in the SEC East? Hardly. Florida looks much better, and Georgia looks better, too.

• Kentucky over Murray State - Nothing to see here. Move along.

• Memphis over Ole Miss - My upset special, and the Tigers came through. [side note: if the Memphis Tigers can actually get themselves a live Tiger as a mascot, why do the Auburn Tigers settle for a bird as their mascot?]

• Arkansas over Tulsa - Not much of a test for the pigs, but you have to figure them No. 3 in the SEC West, behind LSU and Alabama.

• Vanderbilt over UT Chattanooga - Go Coms!

Games I blew:

• Auburn over Ga. Tech - I hear even the Tech fans didn't believe they could win this game. Auburn is as bad as they looked in week 1, it seems.

• Virginia over South Carolina - Way to go, Lou! I think Holtz is much like former LSU hoops coach Dale Brown - he shines when he has so-so players to motivate. I feel ashamed for picking an ACC school over an SEC school.

So week 2 sees me at 9-2 in my picks, and overall 16-5 for the season.

And based on the first two weeks of the season, my pre-season outlook for LSU is leaning toward some changes (I shant make an official change in my prediction, however).

Overall, I think LSU is looking stronger than I would have thought, so that bodes well. I like our chances much more against Auburn (obviously) and Georgia after two weeks, and I'm less confident that we'll beat Florida. South Carolina looks good, but we'll see.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Pennies and Pounds

While the wife was in NashVegas this weekend, I started the very involved task of packing up for our impending move. The plan is to use our third bedroom - heretofore our "office" - as the staging area for boxes and miscellany as we pack up the house.

The office works out well because we haven't painted it and it wasn't very well decorated, either. Thus, it does not lose much appeal as a box-storage room when we show the house.

So I start in on the process of breaking down the room. I get my ugly OfficeMax modular desk taken down; pack up the books from the Home Depot shelves and take the boxes out of the closet, repack them into new boxes and stack them in the corner. But also among the break-down tasks was dealing with the ugly "loving cup" full of pennies that has sat on my desk for three years.

The "loving cup" was a shower gift from my first marriage. I think it's supposed to be a vase, but it's an ugly metal bucket with handles. When it was opened at the (co-ed) shower, my buddy Lee remarked "You know, Ken, you're going to have to defend that next year." The old man - a business associate of my thankfully former father-in-law - who gave it to us was not amused.

In any case, the loving cup has become a repository for pennies. Lots of pennies. I used to think a whisky bottle was a good place to store pennies, but then the brother of a friend of mine got cracked over the head with a penny-filled Jack Daniel's bottle during a robbery, and the resulting scars made me think better of that idea.

And with 98% of the office packed and boxed up, I was left with a loving cup full of pennies sitting in the middle of the floor. Couple with that my (plastic) Coke bottle coin bank, and I had a lot of change to deal with. For this purpose, I had bought a box of one-gallon Ziplocs. After running my mixed-up change through my change sorter, I was left with six big Ziplocs full (by weight, not volume) of little Abes.

Ever curious, I toted the bags into the bathroom to give them a weigh. The bathroom scale only ways in half-pound increments - so we're not talking precision here - but what we have is 37 pounds of pennies.

That's two Dobies worth of pennies (Dobie, for those of you who do not know, is my wife's horrible little MinPin. Yes, he's fat). So how much is 37 pounds of pennies worth?

The answer is not as easy as you might think. According to the U.S. Mint, pennies made up until 1982 weighed 3.11 grams (.006856 pounds). After that, a new mix of metal was used, dropping the weight down to 2.5 grams (.005512 pounds).

So, if all of my pennies are from 1983 and later, 37 pounds of pennies is $67.13. All made before 1983: $53.96. The actual number, of course, is somewhere between. The weight is also not exactly 37 pounds, of course.

And now that I have $54 - $67 worth of pennies, what do I do with them? I'm thinking CoinStar. Apparently both the Ghetto Kroger and Super Giant Foods have these money suckers installed now. I'm much too cheap to ever drop quarters, dimes or even nickels into those things (I think the fee is something like 6%), but I think it's well worth it to recoup the cash from the little copper paperweights.

I think I'll go to Super Giant, as to avoid the potential embarassment of Will or Charles seeing me cashing in.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

SEC picks, week 2

I got so wrapped up in Airport yesterday, I neglected to make my week 2 predictions. GameDay is on as I write this, so it's down to the wire for my fearless predictions.

My Bayou Bengals are in Arizona to take on the Wildcats. I'm not at all a fan of Pac 10 football (or Big 10 football, for that matter. Those "10" conferences can't hang with Southern football). And Arizona is just about the worst team in the Pac 10 this year.

So LSU wins it. I see a 14 to 24 point win.

Elsewhere, Oklahoma comes to Alabama to play the Tide. Somehow Bama has never hosted a No. 1 team in Tuscaloosa. Not sure how that happened, I'd like to see Alabama do well, and there's a chance they can hang tough. But I think Oklahoma is too much for the shamed Elephants.

Florida goes down to Miami to take on the Canes. On GameDay they mentioned that this is the first non-conference road game Florida has played in 12 years. Just shows what a puss Spurrier is. I like Miami here, and it will be telling to see how close Florida can keep the game and how well they can move the ball against Miami.

Georgia has Middle Tennessee State at home. I lived in Murfreesboro for a year when I was in the 3rd grade, and we lived next door to MTSU. Good luck to the Blue Raiders. Georgia wins in a big, big blowout.

Auburn is in town to play Tech after getting embarassed by USC. The Plainsmen have everything to prove; Tech has a freshman QB and lost to BYU last week. Auburn. Big.

Tennessee hosts Marshall. Tennessee should take this one big, but Marshall is one of those teams that always threatens to break out and beat a big team. Vols win it.

Virginia at South Carolina. Virginia wins.

Ole Miss at Memphis. The Rebels almost lost to Vanderbilt. No way I can pick them here. I like Memphis in an upset.

Murray State at Kentucky. Kentucky wins.

Tulsa at Arkansas. The Hogs took week 1 off, so I'm interested to get a look at them. Arkansas wins.

UT Chattanooga at Vanderbilt. Vandy looked about as good as they ever have last week against Ole Miss. I'll go with Lionel Richie's former band here.

Friday, September 05, 2003

... and don't call me Shirley

The other day I came home and found the DishDVR 721 (yes, No. 5 is still alive) tuned to the classic 1970 film Airport. Airport, of course, begat Airport 1975, which begat Airport '77, which begat Concorde: Airport '79, which begat Airplane!, which begat countless Leslie Nielsen mockfests.

I'd seen pieces of the original a few years back, but never the entire film. So, a quick DVR search showed it coming on overnight this week, and I grabbed it. With the wife out of town and some time to kill, I laid back and took in the masterpiece tonight.

First off, unlike the sequels, Airport isn't just a disaster movie. It's more of a soap opera set at an airport in the middle of a snowstorm. Sure, there's a guy with a bomb on a plane, and that becomes the film's focus, but before that plotline unfolds about 45 minutes in, we're treated to the following:

• Burt Lancaster is the airport GM. He hates his wife, is thinking about leaving and seems to be fucking some blonde girl who works in customer service for an airline.

• Dean Martin is an airline pilot. He's married to Burt's sister and fucks stewardesses in his spare time. He enjoys fucking Jacqueline Bisset most of all, so much so that she's now knocked up. His wife knows about the stewardesses, figures he won't fall in love with any of them, and is waiting for the day when he comes home "for some reason other than to change clothes."

• George Kennedy is the head maintenance guy who is called away as he's about to start fucking (his wife, no less!) to come dig a plane out of the snow, as that plane is blocking a runway.

• Burt has to deal with area residents who don't like planes taking off over their homes. The residents are thinking about suing; Burt is thinking about building a big, modern airport, which would require a bond issue. Somehow this plotline is considered worth 15 minutes of film.

So 45 minutes in, I'm about ready for the bomb.

The movie also serves as a platform to display the wonderous technologies of the day. Burt and George both have mobile phones in their cars (back when mobile phones looked like big desk phones and featured rotary dials - my dad had one of those in his Cadillac back in 1977), Burt's office has a wall embedded with about a dozen radios and other gizmos, and he carries a beeper that buzzes and vibrates like a belt sander.

Couple that with the cool circa 1970 office decor, Dean Martin calling people "daddy", the ultra-mod split-screen shots during phone conversations, great lines like Gary Collins describing passenger injuries as "some cuts and bruises, shock and puking" and all of the bits that morphed into Airplane! moments, and it's an enjoyable flick.

By the way, the guy sets the bomb off in the bathroom, but they manage to land the plane OK.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Life in a Northeast town

I love this Boston Globe story that was farked today ...

Seems that in Cranston, R.I. (outside Providence), the mayor was not real happy with the benefits given to the city's school crossing guards.

Cranston Crossing guards work two 30-minute shifts each day. A different story I found from the Providence paper says the workers make $45 a day. But the city's 39 crossing guards also get health benefits for themselves and their families, life insurance, a pension, paid sick time and paid snow days.

Real-job benefits for a $225 a week job with summers off? The benefits have to be worth three times as much as the pay.

To simple Southerners like myself, who are looked down upon by many of the Yankee transplants who fled south from places like Rhode Island, this might seem like an odd situation.

But ...

The Cranston crossing guards have .... a union. They are part of the Public Service Employees Local Union 1033 up there in the sunny Northeast.

The Globe article focused on the mayor's hiring of a P.I. firm to watch the guards, several of whom didn't come close to spending 30 minutes at their crossings. The backstory is that the mayor attempted to fire the guards, who are - of course - a pretty significant burden on the small town.

Of course, the union sued the city and so far has kept the guards from getting fired. Seems they all have a contract that guarantees them employment through 2005.

And the unions wonder why they are seen as greedy and the enemies of society in general.

Christian update ...

This from the wife (I did not have the time to deeply research Christian Web resources):

We are not making this up ...

I repeat, we are not making this up.

Will Jesus do it for 5%?

I got home last night to find a flyer in the kitchen door from a 'hood Realtor. Seems the "For Sale By Owner" sign in our yard attracts enterprising agents looking for business. Can't knock the effort, although the best opportunity marketing I have encountered was the mortgage broker who tried to give me his card at Lowe's as I was walking out with the aforementioned For Sale sign.

Nothing really surprising in the flyer - it talks about why a Realtor is better than FSBO (for the record, I doubt we'll end up selling it without a Realtor, but no harm in throwing the sign up while we still have 60 days to live there). But what got me was the agent's URL:

Now, I tend to share Ted Turner's view about Christianity, but I'm not about to knock someone's faith. Whatever - sort of gunning down people in the name of Jesus - works for you, man.

However, I find something really disgusting about businesses that throw their "Christianity" around as a marketing tool.

If you visit, there's no mention of Shontel's deep faith in Jesus, her devotion to God or anything like that. Her "about me" section tells the heart-warming story about how she made an assload of money flipping a 'hood house and decided realty sales was for her. Yet she chose as her URL. Subtle, Shontel, subtle.

I Googled [+christian +businesses] and came up with, which lists all sorts of "Christian" enterprises.

Among my favorites:

Sherry Miller's Golden Chair - a beauty salon in New Jersey where "We believe in enhancing the natural beauty that God gave to each individual." Here's what Sherry has done to one New Jersey family (maybe even her own):
[photo removed]

Pfundt Motor Company - a highly religious used-car lot in Oklahoma. The Lord giveth Lincoln Towncars - and they're priced to move!

In defense of the wife

The wife came home this evening and told me to check out her blog. So I did. Seems she felt the need to write about her impending Accutane treatment for what she thinks is the world's worst case of acne. (the wife's acne blog).

To read her blog, you'd think my wife was a hideous, pock-laden beast not fit to display herself in public. Yes, she's 30 and still suffering from acne breakouts. And there's nothing particularly attractive or sexy about acne itself.

But what the wife suffers from more significantly than acne is the poor self-image that goes along with it. And it's unwarranted. My wife is hot. Much too hot, frankly, for me to deserve her. I married up; there's no doubt about that.

It's a sad thing that (hot) people such as my wife tend to focus on the one negative thing about their appearance rather than the many more things that make them extraordinarily attractive.

I shant go on about all the physical attributes that make the wife so hot, but suffice it to say she's quite the looker. Friends and family agree (those friends and family also agree she could do better than me ...).

And I guess I shouldn't complain about her low self-image. I figure that's the only thing that makes her settle for a mug like mine.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Week 1 Wrapup

No, I will not only write about SEC Football from now until January, but I do plan to note my observations week-to-week.

So week 1 - LSU played in a tropical storm against the semi-collegiate University of Louisiana at Monroe. 49-7 was the outcome. That's what's expected in a cream-puff opener; big number on your side, little number on theirs. Things were so sloppy in Deaf Valley, it's hard to read too much into the stats, but 306 yards passing between Mauck and Randall is not horrible. And good to see Justin Vincent and Alley Broussard get some carries in. Arizona will be a pretty good test this week.

Elsewhere, Georgia looked really strong blanking Clemson; Tennessee looked OK against Fresno, but not as good as Georgia looked. Florida scored 65 points on San Jose, which is very Spurrier-like. Alabama looked very, very beatable.

And then there's Auburn. Rough day vs. USC, to say the least. I don't think they are as bad as they looked Saturday, but they are obviously not as good as The Sporting News - who has them as a preseason No. 1 and still (to save face) has them at No. 9 - thought, either. The Trogan blanking dropped them from 6th to 17th/19th in the real polls. Ouch.

So the Cap'n is 1-0 in LSU predictions. I didn't post SEC predictions for week 1, but my unspoken predictions have me as 7-3 after the first week (I had Auburn, Miss St. and Kentucky winning). I'll post weekly picks going forward, for kicks.