Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Tag time for Cap'n Ken

I'm within 30 days of my birthday, which in Georgia means it's time to renew the car tags. Both my Maxima and the wife's Santa Fe come due for tags on my birthday (I'm listed first on her title), which means a double-treat of ad valorem taxes next month.

[editor's note: If you buy a new car in Georgia, buy it between 1 and 90 days before your birthday and you get to skip the first year of ad valorem taxes. That saved us somewhere around $600 on the Santa Fe.]

And, as a bonus, I get to renew in person this year, thanks to us moving into the new manor last year.

But wait! There's more!

I also get to renew my driver's license this year. I'm sure that will be a real joy now that they've closed all the Kroger DMV kiosks.

I'm actually eager to do the license renewal. I'm starting to get odd looks when people have to check my ID. I don't know exactly how old the picture is, but in it I'm wearing a tie. That dates it to at least August of 1997, the last time I had to wear a tie professionally. I begged the DMV people to let me take a new picture when I changed my address nearly 4 years ago, but they wouldn't let me. I'm hoping it's different when you actually renew.

So tonight I was doing some advance research on the wheres and whens of tag and license renewal. And in my surfing of the DMV site, I discovered something that apparently had slipped under my radar.

Loyal readers of The Wisdom will remember my award-winning pieces on the URL trend in tags and on Georgia's new URL-laden tags being rolled out this year.

Well, as it turns out, the state has decided not to replace the "Georgia ... on my Mind" tags with the ultra-lame "www.Georgia.gov" tags. A press release issued in late October says the state has decided to only issue the URL tags for new vehicles and when somebody orders a new vanity, college or other specialty plate. Seems the state would rather save the $7.8 million it would have cost over three years to replace all the current tags than promote one of the world's most obvious governmental URLs on all vehicles in the state.

I can't believe I missed that.

Also on the DMV site, I found out that the state now issues "Low Speed Vehicle" tags:



Vehicles with that tag are restricted to roads with speed limits of 35 MPH or less. It's unclear whether the decision to get a "Low Speed Vehicle" tag rests with the driver of the vehicle or with justice-minded citizens such as myself.

I'd love to have the power to slap one of those on the next minivan I get behind going 45 MPH up I-75.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Hey look, John Edwards lying ... (not that most Americans would care)

With the Georgia primary coming up in a couple of weeks, presidential campaign commercials have started popping up on local TV. And I saw one for Socialist Senator John Edwards tonight that I felt compelled to respond to.

Please understand that I know my opinion doesn't matter. The wife and I are in a very insignificant minority in this country - we make pretty good money. We're among the top 15% of income-earning households, in fact (don't get jealous - you probably are, too. If you're married, both of you work and you each make $37,500 a year, you qualify).

It's the 63.4% of households which have incomes of less than $40,000 that socialists like Edwards cater to. The American majority of under-achievers wants the government to give them "stuff" and they want the "rich" to pay for it. And Edwards (even more so than John Kerry) is happy to offer up the grab bag of goodies to win their votes.

It's a winning strategy, of course. In politics, you go where the numbers are. That's why nobody - not even the "caring" Democrats - will stand up for the rights of homosexuals when it comes to "marriage." They may believe in their hearts that all people - including gay folks - should have equal protection under the law, but homosexuals make up, what, 10% of the population?

That's even more of a losing platform than championing the cause of people who make good money and pay a lot in taxes.

But I digress.

The commercial used Edwards' standard "there are two Americas" theme (one America for the rich, one for the poor, you see - and that's a bad, bad thing), and when talking about taxes, here is the outright lie that sprang forth from his oh-so-pretty trial-lawyer mouth:

"Two tax systems, where the wealthy and corporations pay less; working families pay more."

Yes, that's what he said. He said the "wealthy and corporations" pay less taxes and that "working families" pay more.

Let's go to the stats!

The figures below (and above) are from the IRS' own "tax stats" section. And they represent the truth.

• On his website, Edwards defines the "wealthiest Americans" as the top 2% of income earners. That, according to the IRS (and Edwards), means a household income of $200,000 or more. In 2001, those households earned 54.5% of all income and paid 74.7% of all individual income tax. On average, households in this group had an effective tax rate of 20.90% on their income.

• It's hard to tell what Edwards considers to be "working families", although there is a reference on his site to limiting programs for "working Americans" to households making under $50,000. In 2001, those households earned 29.2% of all income and paid 13.5% of all individual income tax. On average, households in this group had an effective tax rate of 7.05% on their income.

Even I can do the math on that one. If you have a higher income and pay a higher percentage of your income in taxes, you're paying more tax than someone with a lower income and lower tax rate.

Yet Edwards will throw out a lie like "the wealthy and corporations pay less; working families pay more" without flinching (yes, I backed up the DVR to make sure I got that line right).

And 63.4% of Americans will buy it.

P.S. Corporations don't pay income tax. You pay the "corporate" income tax because all of the income corporations pay tax on actually comes from the corporation's customers. Which is you.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

I set out this morning to update and make consistent my passwords for the different online banking/financial services I use. No, you won't be able to guess my new password.

When I got to Citibank, there was a link on the password change page which read "User ID and Password Guidelines" and within that page there was a section titled "Citibank Vulgar Language Policy". I figured that might be fun to read.

By policy, Citibank will not allow me to have a user name or password containing language that:

• Is sexually explicit, vulgar or obscene.
• Is racially or ethnically offensive.
• Exploits a minor (any person under the age of 18).
• Defames, abuses or threatens physical harm or death to others or oneself.
• Represents violence.

"Determination of whether there has been a violation of the policy, and whether any action is warranted, is made at our sole discretion."

OK, the first category (sexually explicit, vulgar, obscene) is pretty easy to understand. Sam Jackson can't have "badmotherfucker" as his password. Although why they would restrict passwords - which are only useful if nobody else knows what they are - is a mystery to me.

They also can't be "racially or ethnically offensive", so no "mexicansarelazy" or "jewslovemoney" there.

Then things get a little tricky.

My user name and password can't "exploit a minor"? I'm not sure how language can exploit a minor. I guess "cometodaddyyousexylittlegirl" is an inappropriate user name or something.

I also can't defame, abuse or threaten physical harm or death to others or myself by use of my user name and password. I guess "johnedwardsisasocialist" is out, unless my user name would be protected by the defamation standards applied to public figures. But the part I like in this line is the inclusion of "oneself" in the prohibition. Under these terms, I can't use "ihatemyself" or "iamfat" as a user name/password. Citibank must care a lot about me as a customer if they work to prevent me from putting myself down.

And, finally, no representing violence. What does "represent violence", anyway? "bloodstainedsidewalk" does, I suppose. And "jackiechan" certainly does. How about
"itwasadarknightdowntownandasinglespentbulletcasinglayonthepavementglisteninginblood"?
Does artistic merit win me any favors with the Citibank User Name and Password Appropriateness Patrol?

Friday, February 20, 2004

Leaving on a jet plane

Finally in the Ohio portion of our program, the tale of Cap'n Ken's flight back. Enjoy.

So, since they consider cake servers to be weapons, can you not discuss wedding plans in line? Airport security here in Dayton was not too bad, except that they required me to show ID twice in the same line. Once at the front of the line, once before I went to the scanners. Why? It seems one of those (the first, I'd imagine) is rather pointless, and it just served to slow things down as people reached for their IDs again after figuring we were done with them for the moment. And the monitors above the scanners now have this warning: "TALKING ABOUT OR CARRYING THE FOLLOWING ITEMS [weapons, explosives, mace] IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED". Talking about those items is strictly prohibited? I can't say to the person next to me "Hey, looks like they have banned mace now"" or strike up a conversation with a guy wearing a Ruger jacket about the comparative merits of the .357 Blackhawk and the .44 Super Blackhawk? I guess the TSA now controls your speech. Soon even thinking about such things will get you arrested.

They didn't hassle me for not taking off my shoes, though. So I guess I should be grateful for that.

Of course, Christopher Columbus' family runs a bed & breakfast in St. Augustine. Across the tarmac from my window-seat at Gate 14B is the airport fueling operation. The company's name is Wright Bros. Aero. The Wright Brothers were from Dayton and back in the day had both their bicycle shop and a small aviation business here. Is this the legacy of their company? The family of the men who invented powered flight now run an airline gas station in Dayton? Seems rather underwhelming.

Splat! The gate attendant just announced that we'll be delayed a few minutes because the airplane that's taking us back to Atlanta hit a flock of birds on the way down a few minutes ago. I can see the pilot, some ground crew members and what looks like a gate attendant out under the left wing now, checking things out. The gate agent was taking pictures, maybe as some FAA requirement or maybe for her own "funny bird incidents" scrapbook. I won't be able to publish this before my flight, so if the bird incident causes us to crash and die, I have to hope somebody finds my laptop and can get the data out. I'm saving this file on my desktop as "it_was_the_birds_that_did_it.txt"
BIRD UPDATE 1: It's now 5 minutes after our scheduled departure time, and we're still not able to board yet. The wings checked out OK, but there's apparently a bird-guts-related issue with the windshield of the plane. The gate ramp is blocking our view, but I can see three or four guys out in front of the plane, and water streaming off it as they remove the remains of our little feathered friends. If I was flying Southwest, I know this would make an episode of Airline.
BIRD UPDATE 2: We got out about 45 minutes late, and got in to Atlanta about 30 minutes late. The Atlantans among us (including Mr. Jackass mentioned below) had to sit on the plane a few minutes longer than we should have to let the people scrambling to make connections get off first. Damn birds.

The D-Zones. I discovered on the flight up Wednesday that Delta has instituted a new boarding procedure. It used to be they boarded First Class and their premium SkyMiles members, and then began boarding by rows starting in the rear. And I used that procedure to guide my seat-selection process. I picked 44A on the way up so I could go ahead and get on the plane to make sure I have space for my carry-on and all that. I picked 16A on the way back so I could get off the plane and get home sooner. A simple system that worked fine for me.

But I came to discover Wednesday that Delta now uses "zones" to determine when passengers board. And it's not a simple system. Zone 1 is obviously First Class and I heard a gate attendant say Medallion SkyMiles members all board in zones 2 and 3 (I bet you have to have a certain number of miles to make zone 2). But on the flight today, I was also in zone 2. In Row 16. There are 8 zones total, and on the way up my Row 44 seat was zone 4. Others who boarded in my zone were sitting near me in both instances, so they must group certain rows together to make the zones. But I don't know how the zone logic works, so how am I supposed to pick a seat based on my desires about boaring first or getting off first? Maybe delta.com has a key to figuring out your zone, but I imagine it's a more closely-held formula. We shall see.

Mr. Jackass. As I'm writing this, I suppose we're somewhere over Kentucky or Tennessee, but having read Sky Magazine on the way up and not having anything of my own to read, I thought I'd relate a story. Within about two minutes of boarding the plane, I managed to piss off the guy sitting next to me. Yes, he's sitting next to me right now. (To Mr. Jackass next to me - should your eyes wander over this way from your quite interesting-looking set of training materials - complete with very fancy WordPerfect clip art - you're a real fucking jackass.).

What happened is this - I got to my seat and found a computer case under the middle seat of my row. I was one of the first in my section to board, and there was nobody around who seemed to be connected to this bag. I asked the guy who just sat down in front of me if he'd put his bag under the seat behind him. He said no, so we both figured somebody had left it behind. So, being the thoughtful person I am, I called the stewardess from the back of the plane and showed her the case. She took it to figure out who's it was when Mr. Personality appears from the rear of the plane. Seems he lacks control of his bladder to the point that when he steps on an airplane, he must immediately use the bathroom. Or maybe he's just such a jackass that he doesn't care that he's going to get in the way of the 35 rows of people sitting behind us who are boarding as he comes back from the bathroom.

In either case, he shows up and I tell him I saw the computer case and it didn't appear to belong to anybody, so I gave it to the stewardess (who, of course, was still on the plane - it's not like his laptop had been shipped off to New York or anything). He snaps back something like "Jesus, I just went to the bathroom" and goes off to fetch his case. He returns and I apologize for a second time, to which he responds "I didn't realize I had to take my computer to the bathroom with me."

I was done trying to be a nice guy at that point and just stopped paying any attention to him. I've got my MP3s playing with my earbuds up to an unacceptable level, though. I hope he likes The White Stripes (he looks more like a James Taylor fan, though).

So there he sits in his nicely-pressed jeans, toying with his middle-management moustache and stinking of some kind of Aramis-level cologne.

And if you're reading this Mr. Jackass, may I say again "fuck you."

More random thoughts from the Buckeye state

Let's just say I'll be happy to get back home to Atlanta. This is a work trip, so I shouldn't expect too much excitement, but Blue Ash ain't the most fabulous place in the world. So I'm left to ponder the little things around me.

What an attractive air dam you have on your grille. Ohio is one of those states that have both front-end and back-end license plates on cars. Driving around this morning, this question occurred to me: How much gasoline is wasted in states that have front-end license plates? Bear with me here. Having a license plate on the front of the car disrupts - to some small degree - the aerodynamics of the car; the less aerodynamic a car is, the more air resistance it creates as it moves; the more resistance created, the more energy needed to move the car; the more energy needed to move the car, the more gas consumed. If the state required a 4 foot by 4 foot steel plate to be attached to your grille, there would be an obvious increase is gasoline consumption per vehicle. So requiring a license plate that is something like 14 inches wide by 8 inches tall also has some effect on each car's fuel consumption. And now I'm wondering how much of an effect that is. Here's a hypothetical: Assume there are 2 million cars in the state, and each car averages 10,000 miles a year and normally gets 20 miles per gallon. If the license plate on the front reduces fuel efficiency by one-tenth of one percent, that means those cars would now get 19.98 miles per gallon. For those 2 million cars driving 10,000 miles each, that's an extra 100,100 gallons of gasoline per year. Significant? Maybe not. But these are the kinds of thing that get my mind working.

But I've never worried about technicalities. Driving up I-75, I passed a tanker truck with the following label on the back: "TECHNICAL ANIMAL FAT. NOT INTENDED FOR HUMAN FOOD". I get that some fats aren't made for eating, but what's this "technical" term?

MOTORISTS ADVISED TO DEPART TRAVEL LANES AT DESIGNATED EGRESS POINTS Also on I-75, there were signs posted at the end of construction zones that read "RESUME LEGAL SPEED". I know what they are trying to say - this is the end of the construction zone, so normal speed limits are back in effect. But "RESUME LEGAL SPEED"? That implies that I shouldn't have been driving the "legal speed" up until this point. In the construction zone, they post lower speed limits, which are - during those zones - the "legal speed." Poorly-worded road signs piss me off. There was another sign near Dayton that read "MAINTAIN PRESENT LANE". Why not say "STAY IN LANE"? Americans are generally very stupid, so I don't see why the highway department writes in anything above a third-grade level. I do miss, however, the signs along I-285 merge lanes that read "TAKE GAP GIVE GAP". I never figured how I was supposed to do both. I either took the gap or I gave it away, right?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Baby, if you ever wondered ... wondered what ever became of me ...

I'm living on the road in Cincinnati ... Cincinnati ain't the place to be. (sung to the tune of WKRP in Cincinnati).

Yes, this night finds me in beautiful Cincinnati Ohio. Or, more specifically, Blue Ash Ohio. A fabulous vacation? Not quite. Just work.

My experiences here aren't living up, of course, to the fabulous exploits of Cap'n & Wife in Las Vegas and Hollywood last year. But for my own amusement, here are some observations from the finest damn town between Dayton and Louisville:

If I'd thought about the children, I'd have never run down that highway worker. I flew in to Dayton and drove down to Cincinnati to save the company about $600. Just outside of Dayton, there's a big construction area on I-75. And entering the construction area, there are two big signs on either side of the road. One reads "SLOW DOWN, MY DADDY WORKS HERE" and the other reads "SLOW DOWN, MY MOMMY WORKS HERE". To add to the crumb-crusher effect, the sign was written in a "kid" font, with the "S" in "WORKS" drawn backward. Aww, how cute. I'm so sick of the "its for the children" mentality, I'm ret to scream. Just like the "Baby on Board" crap, you have to wonder if people think others are really more likely to create careless mayhem if you don't remind them that "the children" may suffer from your recklessness. I say not. I like the construction signs I saw a few years ago in South Carolina. They were standard orange diamond signs that read "Let 'em work. Let 'em live." I can get on board with that. Yes, I shall let them work, and in doing so, let them live!

And now the hotel next door is taunting me. When I rolled in to town last night, I needed to grab some stuff off the Internet that I'd created for my meeting today. So I get in to my Hampton Inn room and I notice no high-speed modem; no notes about wireless service, and not even a spare phone jack to plug in a dial-up connection. And no business center, either. The guy at the front desk said most people go over to Kinkos and rent Internet time there. Great. I managed to find a local Earthlink number and fortunately the phone cord wasn't hard-wired into the room phone, so I'm coming at you with a whopping 26.4 kbps. And the worst part is that my wireless card keeps picking up bits of the signal from the hotel next door. Of course, I can't connect to it. It just keeps popping up as a reminder of my dial-up misery.

Love the track suit, coach. We had dinner tonight at a place called the Montgomery Inn. It's apparently a famous local ribs place (word on the street is that Bob Hope used to order ribs flown in from the Inn to his California parties). The ribs were OK, but I'll take Daddy D'z over these any day. The Inn is also the home of the weekly radio show of University of Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins. And tonight was show night. As we were waiting for our car, Coach Hug rolls up and makes his way inside. Yes, it was a beautiful satinesque Bearcats track suit he was wearing. I resisted the temptation to remind him of just how freaking overrated his program has been for the past 20 years. I made plenty of headway in my NCAA basketball pools in years past picking his teams to get upset.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

'Coming up this hour, an exclusive interview with George W. Boosh'

The Atlantans among you are no doubt familiar with our town's two news/talk radio stations - Cox-owned WSB-AM (750) and Clear Channel-owned WGST-AM (640). And if you follow the media, you know that WSB consistently crushes WGST and has for years. Anybody remember "Planet Radio"?

There have been signs lately that Clear Channel is getting absolutely desperate. Saddled with a 100-watt nighttime signal, WGST can't reach the suburbs after sunset, so Clear Channel recently turned its FM "80s station" into a second talk station, much to the dismay of my wife.

And recently I've started to see (illegal) little blue signs stuck in the ground near busy intersections which read "For traffic information, tune to 640 AM." The signs are obviously put up by WGST, but they have no branding. The station apparently wants to get listeners by making people think there's some situation that requires them to tune in to 640. Pathetic.

However, on my way in to work, I often tune in to WGST's morning program before Neal Boortz begins at 8:30 on WSB. The WGST morning show is way better than the headline-reading boredom that is the WSB morning program.

One of the things I like is that at 8:23 every morning, WGST has an interview with some kind of "news maker". On Mondays, for instance, they always have Steve Roberts from ABC News on to talk politics. And during the NFL season, they had John Madden on every Friday to preview the Falcons and other weekend games.

Or so I thought.

This morning they featured an interview with a guy named Frank Caliendo, who is a comedian/impressionist appearing at some local comedy club. But the interview began with this intro: "Welcome back John Nadden, who you hear every week during the football season."

That's right. John "Nadden". Not Madden. Nadden.

I remember thinking Madden sounded particularly incoherent during those WGST interviews, but I also very clearly remember that his appearances were never, ever, labeled as satire, the work of an impressionist or anything of the sort. It was always "joining us is John Nadden" (which, of course, is not distinguishable from "joining us is John Madden" on the radio.)

But they had a big laugh about the "Nadden" appearances on WGST.

It turns out this Caliendo dude appears on Fox Sports as Madden, Rush Limbaugh and other characters to give weekly NFL picks.

On TV, of course, the comedy/satire context is clear. Even so, Fox clearly labels these bits as "Frank's Picks" and makes it clear that he's doing impressions. Which is what you'd expect of a legitimate media outlet.

WGST, it seems, is not burdened by those same kinds of standards. It was ironic that on the same morning they laughed about Caliendo's "John Nadden" appearances, they were oh-so-careful to explain that they are reporting that Alex Polier is denying an affair with John Kerry only because that rumor had, itself, become a story.

Caliendo and Tom Hughes (the WGST morning show host) were quite amused by the fact that AJC sports editor Furman Bisher was so taken in by the fake Madden that he included a bit in his column about being glad football season is over so he won't have to listen to Madden on WGST.

They explained that the actual John Madden is not very happy about the WGST ruse. Hughes' defense was "hey, we never said he was John Madden. He's John Nadden!"

Again, this seemed to surprise them. Who cares if a major-market radio station supposedly presenting "news" passes off a comedian as the country's most respected NFL personality and goes out of its way to not reveal it's a joke?

So maybe it was James Curville who provided the post-Iowa analysis a few weeks back. And perhaps it's Paul Hervey doing those Paul Harvey segments; Rush Limpaugh airing everyday from noon to three and Dr. Maura on in the evenings.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Yes, Dex is better than near-naked women

As the wife mentioned, we took in Echo Lounge's Valentine's Day burlesque show last night. And, as she also mentioned, the opening act was The Dexter Romweber Duo, the new incarnation of the Flat Duo Jets (Crow must have 50% ownership of the name).

If you've ever seen Dex, you understand his genius. If you haven't, it's a hard thing to explain. But Dex's act (whether the Flat Duo Jets or just the Duo) consists of himself, his Sears Silvertone guitar, an amp and a drummer.

Thanks to Jack White, the world now understands what kind of noise can come from a boy with a guitar, but Dex has been doing it for 20 years. No effects pedals - not even a wah - are needed. Dex pulls an amazing sound out of his discount-store guitar, 15 feet of amp cord and a single-cone amp.

The Flat Duo Jets show at The Chimes circa 1986 (opening for Dash Rip Rock) still ranks as the single greatest show I've ever seen. Dexter has slowed down a bit in the 18 years since, but he still lives and breathes basic rockabilly/blues rock & roll.

Dex was hanging outside (in the rain) when the burlesque show ended, so I got to pay my respects as we headed out. I had a long conversation with him at a New Orleans show back in the day, but this time I just thanked him for a great show, shook his hand and told him to come back to Atlanta soon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

501 #2, meet 721 #5

So all this chatter (between myself, TCL and That Yellow Bastard in my comments, mostly) about TiVos and my own DishDVRs got me motivated to fix my sickly Dish 501 unit, which lives in the bedroom at the new house.

The 501, which was my original DVR, has a problem with playback. You back a show up, it'll play for a few seconds before the sound cuts out and the picture freezes. Annoying, to say the least. We watch 99% of our TV downstairs on the 721, so I've been living with it.

My 501 is more than three years old, and given my experience with 721s (No. 5 is still just seven months old), I think it's had a good life.

But it was time to fix it. I figured the best route was to reformat the hard drive, which I had to do on 721s Nos 1 through 4. I couldn't find instructions on how to force a reformat online, so I gave Dish customer service a call.

"No", Mr. Customer Service Man said, you can't force a reformat of the 501 like you can on the 721. He walked me through a number of reboots, resets, etc. to see if we could solve the problem. No chance.

So he tells me the unit's going to have to be replaced, because the hard disk is bad. Of course, the 501 is way out of warranty, so I'm figuring I'll continue to just live with it.

Then Mr. Customer Service Man says "Our Dish Network equipment plan would cover this. It's $5.99 per month."

I'm thinking, of course, he's mocking me for not having the equipment plan and would recommend I get it after I buy a new DVR.

But no.

HE: "If you'd like to sign up for the equipment plan, we'll send you out a new 501."

ME: "So if I sign up for the plan, you'll replace the receiver that broke before I signed up?"

HE: "Yep."

ME: "Um, OK."

He puts in my order for a new 501, signs me up for the $5.99 service plan and then informs me that because it will take three to five days for my new 501 to arrive, he's going to credit me for the cost of my service for those days (because I don't have a "working receiver"), which will amount to a credit of about $13.

I resisted the temptation to tell him I've had this problem with the 501 for six months, so how about a $400 credit?

After I hung up with the guy, I got online to see how much 501s are selling for these days. I can't imagine anybody paying this much for the base-model DVR, but the street price is around $279 for a standalone box.

So two years from now, I will have paid $131 (including my $13 credit), gotten a fresh new 501, covered the proven-to-be-unreliable 721 for any problems, plus added replacement coverage on my two remotes and the satellite dish stuck on a pole in the backyard.

Come to think of it, 721 #5 hangs up for a few seconds whenever I start a frame-by-frame advance ... might be time for a new one ...

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Buy American

So I've got the Virginia/Tennessee primary stuff running on CNN tonight (no, TCL, I'm still not back in to politics; but I always love to see how bad HoDean does on election nights). And I figured this was as good a time as any to actually check out what kind of crap we'd have in store if Kerry were to beat Bush.

I went to Kerry's website and tried to find out how much of my money he wants; what he plans to do with it and generally how much the ass-raping I would experience at the hands of President Kerry would hurt.

Frankly, Kerry scares me much less than John Edwards, who can't go five minutes without saying "no child should ever go bed hungry" or some other damn socialist garbage.

It didn't take me long to get bored, however, so I jumped over to Bush's site to see how an un-hip Republican president puts together a website in the era of candidate Blogs, "meetups" and all that new, "hip" Democratic stuff.

GWB actually does a good job with his site in an area called "W Stuff". He's got screensavers, wallpapers, web buttons and the like. He's even got news feed modules to drop in to your Blog (no, I'm not putting one here).

But the really cool thing is the George W. Bush Online Store. I'm not kidding.

About the coolest thing Kerry sells on his online store is the John Kerry toque:



But the Bush store rocks. They've got six separate product lines, each with an amazingly deep and interesting selection, plus a specific kids' section.

A sampling of merch:

There's the standard Bush/Cheney 2004 store with bumper stickers and whatnot:


Bush/Cheney Car Flag

At the President Bush store, they've got a lot of W-specific stuff, including this damn-sharp GWB "43" football jersey:



Then we get into the thematic stores. At Interstate W'04, there's all kinds of merch with this Interstate-inspired logo:

But wait, there's more ...

W The President borrows its style and black & white motif from the New York fashion scene:


W The President tote bag

If you're more of a Dude-Ranch type, I recommend the Farm Ranch collection. Borrowing from the John Deere and ropin'-and-ridin' genres, you can find things like this sterling-silver cowboy buckle there:



And, finally, there's the Americana Collection. This is where you go for your faded, American Eagle type gear:



All together, there's more than 100 items in the GWB store. Interestingly, the store has a very clear statement saying it's operated by some company called the Spalding Group, and Bush-Cheney '04 gets no money from the merch sales.

So without a profit motive for the campaign, I'm not sure exactly the benefit of having such a robust store. It's not like they sell the t-shirts for $3.50 to get them on the backs of every Americans or anything like that.

But it sure beats the Kerry Toque.

How about three tuners in the DVR?

Well, I missed the live Taser attack last night. I was caught up in True Romance when 11:00 rolled around, and I must have quickly and incorrectly dismissed the timer-conflict window on the DVR (I grab The Daily Show at 11 each night).

But no fear. The Internet won't let me down.

On the CBS Atlanta site, you can watch the video for yourself. In the typical restrained and very serious tone of local TV news, they called the report Prepare to be Stunned!

I liked how the reporter guy talked about all the precautions they took in the demonstration. He had EMTs standing by, was led to the floor by a couple of cops, had a nice gym mat to fall on and had his doctor clear him to do the demo.

Do they have to go through all that when they Taser an actual criminal?

Monday, February 09, 2004

Cap'n Ken answers your search questions

It's been a while since I opened up the old Search Bag and took at look at who's finding The Wisdom. And now that the Janet Jackson Super Bowl searching has died down (and I didn't even write about her tit!), here's the latest batch of terms showing up:

airport patdown attractive - Well, if you're in to that kind of thing, I guess. Personally I don't find much attractive about the airport patdowns nor the people doing said pats.

apartments around LSU - Back in my LSU days (circa 1987), the apartments around campus were mostly shitholes. TCL, Lee Barbier, Stinky and myself shared a 4-bedroom place that went for $485 a month and we thought we were freaking Kings of the Campus. When I drive by that place (on Alvin Dark, if you're interested) I think "man, what a dump." And that was the nicest place I lived in college. The worst place I lived was probably the apartment Lee and I moved in to after the Big Apartment Coalition broke up (TCL got a girlfriend, Stinky left and stuck us with Chip the Momma's Boy). My last semesters in college were spent with Dave at a place on Oxford Street which went for $165 a month. It was pretty much a slum, but it was full of like-minded poor college kids and our favorite basketball court was a quick walk across the cemetery. Dave's brother had found the apartment a few years earlier, and it was handed down through friends and family. I think a friend of Dave's still lives there. Nowadays they're building super-fly apartments all around LSU. Hell, they even opened some livable dorms after we graduated.

wine tasting liberal hippie - That reminds me of a great story from my pal Dave. Back in college, some friends of his "grew up" and decided they were wine lovers. They arranged a "wine tasting party" to which everyone was supposed to bring a nice bottle of wine for the group to taste and comment upon. Dave, hating this whole notion, went to Albertson's and bought the cheapest bottle of red he could find. He also, however, found a really, really expensive bottle of French wine and took note of the label design. Then he went home and re-created the "fancy" label - going so far as to char the edges to give it that "old world" look. He took the old label off, put his new one on, went to the party and put the bottle down on the wine-tasting table. I think you may see where this is going ... Of course these "wine connoisseurs" all raved about Dave's rock-gut wine with the fancy label. Being that the party was arranged by his good friend's girlfriend, he never spilled the beans about his gag. But I say well done!

coffee grits radial angel - I'm sorry, I can't help you.

Shock The Monkey

Watching the Grammys last night, I couldn't help - we were saving up the DVR delay for Celine & Justin - but catch a promo being run by the local CBS affiliate for their Monday night news.

It should be noted that the CBS station here in Atlanta is anything but the "news leader." I'd imagine more Atlantans get their news from The Porch Press than from CBS 46.

So with February Sweeps kicking off and the nation watching the Grammys on CBS, I guess they decided to pull out all the stops.

Tonight at 11, CBS 46 will shoot one of its reporters with a Taser - live!

I think the "news" value they're pitching is something about the equipment local law enforcement has available to it, but come on. This "story" is the Hail Mary pass of local news.

Fox 5, on the other hand, rolled out a real news story for Sweeps tonight at 6 - undercover video of a Rome (Ga.) police officer getting a private strip tease at a Latino bar while he was on duty. Now that's news!

Of course, I'm grabbing the CBS Taser stunt on the DVR tonight, and maybe it'll be amusing enough to write some more about.

But I want to offer our local TV news community the perfect Sweeps story idea - live undercover strip-club video. Couple the sex value of undercover stripper videos with the immediacy of live stunts like the Taser and you've got Ratings Gold.

Friday, February 06, 2004

The wisdom of Trey Parker

I just finished watching what I think is one of the greatest 30 minutes of television ... ever.

It was a rerun of last year's South Park episode called "All About Mormons". The wife and I saw it for the first time when it was fresh last fall, and I walked around in amazement for a few days after. And watching it on the DVR tonight drove home just what a great freaking show this was.

If you haven't seen it, here's a quick synopsis:

A new kid - Gary - moves to South Park, and Stan gets drawn in to his family. Turns out they're Mormons, and about half the show is spent on a period piece showing the history of Joseph Smith and how he founded the Mormon religion. The background of the historical stuff was a soundtrack with the refrain "dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb dumb" growing louder and louder.

The absolutely crystal-clear point of the show's first 29 minutes is that the story of Joseph Smith and the Mormon religion is - without a doubt - complete horseshit. There's a point late in the show when Gary's family tried to clarify "the best part" of the story; where Joseph Smith basically laid a bunch of bullshit down to try to prove he wasn't a lying jackass. After the explanation, Stan says "Wait, Mormons actually know this story and they still believe Joseph Smith was a prophet?"

We, the loyal South Park viewers, know what's up. Trey (and Matt Stone, who fetches coffee or something while the genius Mr. Parker is working) must have had a bad run-in with some Mormons, so he's using his show to ridicule them.

But then we cut to the final scene. Stan is fed up with the Mormon bullshit and tells the gang he's not hanging around the Gary kid anymore.

Then Gary walks up. Stan's thinking of ways to get rid of him when Gary says the lines that take the show 180 degrees and drive home the genius of Mr. Parker:

"Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense. And maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up. But I have a great life, and a great family. And I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don't care if Joseph Smith made it all up. Because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that's stupid, I still choose to believe in it. All I ever did was try to be your friend, Stan. But you're so high and mighty, you couldn't look past my religion and just be my friend back. You got a lot of growing up to do, buddy ... suck my balls."

Cartman says "Damn, that kid is cool, huh?" ... then cut to the credits.

Brilliant. Parker sets up the Mormons as a thing of ridicule - as he's done many times (ala Barbra Streisand or Sally Struthers) - but in the last minute of the show gives us a twist that stops us in our tracks and - by the way - drives home an oddly beautiful point.

Most South Park episodes have a point buried somewhere inside them, but I've not seen an episode that executed such a big point in such a turn-on-a-dime and unexpected way.

I was left speechless after watching the first airing of "All About Mormons", and even the second time around - knowing the setup and the payoff - it's an amazing thing to watch.

Taken along with the stunning achievement that was South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, the stuff Parker puts out in the South Park series has convinced me he may be the most talented man in Hollywood.

At some point he has to cut loose the dead weight that is Matt Stone, however.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Shaquille O'Neal (an LSU alum, of course) drew himself a $275,000 fine for cussing out a referee on a live interview the other night.

Asked to comment about the fine, Shaq said:

"No man, including David Stern, can do to me what FICA hasn't already done," Shaq said.

While I appreciate the sentiment and the mild tax protest implied by the statement, Shaq's quip is somewhat misdirected.

FICA, of course, is the ridiculous set of taxes most of us are forced to pay in to Social Security and Medicare. For Social Security, the government takes 12.40% of our income (the alert taxpayers among you will realize only 6.2% is taken out of your check, but you should also realize that the other 6.2% your employer is forced to pay directly to the government is also your money). But the government only taxes the first $87,000 of income for Social Security, which means Shaq reached his max Social Security tax of $10,788 about 2 p.m. on January 1st.

The Medicare portion, however, has no income cap. Everybody pays 2.9% of their entire income to that old-person "Gimme!" program. Shaq's estimated 2003 income was $30.5 million, meaning he kicked in about $885,000 to help old people offest the cost of early-bird specials and Buicks.

OK, so that's a pretty good point. Over his 11 years as a pro, Shaq's probably paid close to $10 million to take care of grannies across America. And I doubt he'll ever get in to David Stern for that much jack.

But based on his $30.5 million 2003 income, Shaq faces a federal income tax bill of somewhere around $10.6 million this year alone, and over his pro career, Shaq's probably paid $100 million or more in income taxes.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can fuck you like Uncle Sam.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

A loan is a terrible thing to waste

On the way home tonight, I heard a PSA on Sirius for the United Negro College Fund. The PSA featured a guy who wanted to be a teacher, but didn't have the money to go to college. Thus, he is a sandwich delivery guy. It was tagged, of course, with the "a mind is a terrible thing to waste" line.

Now, I have no problem with the United Negro College Fund. If a group wants to work toward sending negroes to college, more power to them. And if group wants to work to send white kids, Asian kids, one-legged lesbians or whatever to college, I say go for it.

But this notion that money is, in itself, an obstacle to college is absolute, complete horseshit. And I'm pretty sick of hearing it.

My family had no money to send me to college. My wife's family had no money to send her to college. Most of my friends also were not presented with a "college fund" when they graduated high school.

I got no scholarships, and by the time I graduated high school, I was working part-time jobs to help support my family. Yet an LSU diploma hangs on my wall (or would hang on my wall if I could find the thing and were inclined to hang such a thing on my wall).

How could this be? Why am I not delivering sandwiches for a living?

See, there are these things called student loans. And there's this thing called "working your way through school." I borrowed as much as I could to help me pay for college. I couldn't have borrowed enough to go to a private school, true, but I managed to pay my way through a big public college.

Would I have preferred to not leave college in debt? Sure. Would it have been easier to get ahead in my career with an Ivy League degree somebody else paid for? No doubt.

But that's life in what I like to call the real world. You do what you have to do to get where you want to be.

I'd be a lot more inclined to support a college fund that focused on students who have demonstrated family hardships such as disabled parents they have to care for, or even for teenage single mothers.

But that's not the message.

The guy in the UNCF PSA wanted to be a teacher, and he spends his breaks between sandwich deliveries teaching kids math. But it's so, so sad that he just didn't have money to go to college.

Again, horseshit. Pull up SallieMae and find out how to borrow money to better yourself. If you can't borrow enough to pay all of your costs, get a damn job.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Sembler center layout

Big Ed sent along a link to the first layout I've seen of the Edgewood Retail District (Target, Lowe's, etc. on Moreland Ave.), so I thought I'd share for those hoodies among you.


Click the image for the big, honking version.

Super wrap

Well, it turned out to be a hell of a game. Last time I'll mention this, but the game was won on a field goal where the first of the three key players - snapper, holder, kicker - was a 38-year-old NFL retiree who was called back to service when the Pats lost their two long snappers. Six weeks ago, Brian Kinchen was a humble Jesus pusher, and last night he helped win the Super Bowl. Hell of a story.

In other LSU Super Bowl news, New England's two-point conversion to put them ahead by 7 was scored by ex-Tiger Kevin Faulk.

Geaux Tigers!

This morning on the CNN news crawl, I saw the bit about Janet Jackson's boob being exposed, so the wife and I had to pull the game up on the DVR (no, I didn't watch that ridiculous show live). Everybody's trying to say this was an accident? Come on. It was nothing more than a pathetic attempt for Janet to seem interesting and relevant. She was performing Rhythm Nation, for Chrissakes. Couldn't MTV find anything more interesting to put on? They had to get Janet to drag out a 15-year-old song?

And come to think about it, why drag out Aerosmith in the pregame to do their old music (again)? Even Kid Rock was doing the greatest-hits thing. I know music sucks these days, but is it this bad?

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Party of one

My Super Bowl Sunday is so boring (still waiting for the wife to get home from NashVegas), I'm going to pass some time by giving the CKHW take on Super Bowl commercials (at least the ones that come on in the first couple of hours) and other things I see during the game that amuse me.

I'm guessing the "Super Bowl" commercials start in the 6:00 hour, so I'll start there.

• California Cheese - Cows taking a "shower" in the pasture's sprinklers make the bulls go "yowsah". Yawn. And "Happy Cows Come From California"? With a $40 billion state debt, I don't even think the bovines are happy out there right now.

• Taco Bell Club Chalupa - Yet another take on the "young kids in a car do funny things" theme. They get to the Bell and party down on some Chalupas. Again - yawn.

• Ford, with the GT40. Yes, that's a hell of a car. Is that what they're selling?

• Tostitos Scoops - Guys at a wedding end up watching football. OK, that does happen. I was at a wedding in Louisiana the day of the first-ever Saints playoff game, and somebody actually rolled a TV into the main reception area. The punchline of this commercial - the wife digs it and joins in. Since they're selling corn chips, I'll give them credit for a good shot.

• McDonald's - Middle-aged man asked to do laundry by his wife; accidentally throws used McDonald's burger wrapper in the dryer instead of a dryer sheet. Later, his wife is wearing a shirt which was in the dryer and now smells of McDonald's burger grease. This turns him on. They have sex. I guess for McDonald's, this is better than trying to say their food is good.

• Orange Juice - The commercial doesn't just consist of a voice saying "ORANGE JUICE IS GOOD FOR YOU, DAMMIT!", but it might as well have. The OJ people are pissed at Dr. Atkins, and they are fighting back.

• Back at the game ... and some flavor-of-the-month pop singer boy is singing "his new release" in honor of the dead astronauts. Anytime you can couple a heartfelt tribute to fallen heroes with an opportunity to pitch your new record, I guess that's a win-win. Tom Brady doesn't look to happy to be having to sit through this before the game.

• Damn, Beyonce's singing. Nothing wrong with that.

• The first Bud Light ad is some artsy thing that seems remotely a hip-hop play. I don't drink Bud.

• The Muppets and Jessica Simpson pushing Pizza Hut. Not particularly interesting, but nothing's hotter in 2004 than Jessica and The Muppets.

• Jesus, the coin toss alone is running about 15 minutes. Throw it, already! At least they have an LSU guy (Y.A. Tittle) tossing it.

• Back to the Ford story. Showing the GT in action. How the hell much do you figure that thing costs? Pretty sharp, and they did a good job of capturing the essence of the old GT-40. P.S. Google says $140,000.

• Cool, a fight on the opening kickoff.

• 4th down for the Pats, and a field goal try. Snapping, of course, LSU grad and Bible-class teacher Brian Kinchen. Snap looked OK, kick was not.

• Bud Light II - One guy's dog is trained to fetch beers, another guy's dog is trained to bite the first guy in the nuts to get beer. Not bad, but this kind of thing is getting old, no?

• FedEx - An evil alien works in an office, wearing a little paper human mask. His co-workers are pissed that he's an alien and try to expose him, but because his mask says "why don't we use FedEx?" he's a hero in the boss' eye. I like this one; inventive and unexpected.

• Dodge - A guy has a monkey on his back (literally) because he has a monkey on his back (figuratively) because he's trying to find a family car that's cool. The monkey comes off when he buys this new Dodge wagonish thing, which looks like a smashed Durango. Lame.

• A promo for the Janet Jackson halftime show. Editor's Note: The Janet Jackson halftime show will not be viewed by me. I'll use that time to catch up the DVR.

• Pepsi - A bear gets in to a cabin and eats stuff in the fridge. He doesn't have anything to drink, so he dresses like the burly cabin owner and buys Pepsi with a forged check. See, the man is burly, so the bear looks like him. Weak. And enough with the animals, already.

• Schick 4-blade razor. Not a new commercial. But I like to mock it whenever it comes on. The guy's saying "two blades ... three blades, it had to stop, right? WRONG!!!" See, they have four blades on their razor. Impressive. The thing I really like is at the end of the commercial where he says "It stops here." Why? If 3 is good and 4 is better, why not 5? or 18?

• AOL - I think these are the American Chopper guys. I hear that's a popular show, but I can't imagine why.

• Back to the game - Pats punting. Good snap, Brian.

• Van Helsing (a movie) - Looks too much like it's tailored for the LOTR crowd. No thanks.

• Bud Light III - A big black guy getting a bikini wax. I think he's somebody "famous", but I don't know who he is. Should I be proud or ashamed?

• The Brad Pitt Gladiator movie - I hear he plays Achilles and actually hurt his achilles tendon during filming. That's funny.

• H&R Block - It's about a Willie Nelson doll that gives advice. And H&R Block's advice is better. I hope so, given Willie's IRS troubles. Is this supposed to be making fun of his tax problems? I suppose so. Willie's old, so I guess he doesn't care that he's being made to look like an idiot.

• Chevy Avail - It's a tiny car that attracts the hip-hop crowd and is apparently very huge inside, as they show shots of the dudes playing basketball looking tiny inside. If it really was big inside, they wouldn't have to create an effect that makes it look big, now would they?

• Another Pats punt ... low snap! Damn, Brian. Focus, man.

• Another movie commercial. Something with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I don't go see movies.

• Bud - A referee can take the heat from a coach yelling at him because his wife is a raging bitch. I guess that's the Bud target market - guys whose lives are so miserable they have to buy cheap American beer because they drink so much.

• Monster.com - Love this one. A non-dialogue commercial showing the parallel lives of an interviewer and an interviewee on the day of the interview. Apparently they're a match, so I guess the guy got the job. Stylish, great music, and no bears or monkeys.

• End of the first quarter. Scoreless.

• Sierra Mist - A Scottish dude gets liquid nitrogen up his kilt and onto his balls, and that is like drinking Sierra Mist. Classy. Is that Steve Buscemi's voice?

• The hockey movie - Eh, I know how it ends.

• Mike Ditka for Levitra, whatever that is. But you should see your doctor about it. I guess it's a dick-hard pill.

• Another punt for the Pats. Good snap, Brian.

• Bud, the Clydesdale. A donkey wants to be a Bud Clydesdale, but he's just an ass. But he makes it, which makes me wonder about the standards of Budweiser. I guess that's to be expected with cheap American beer.

• An Alamo movie - I know how it ends, too.

• Pepsi / iTunes - Great spot. "I Fought The Law" is playing (is that Green Day?), and they have an actual girl who was sued for downloading music saying "we're still going to download music free". Because Pepsi is giving away 100 million iTunes downloads. See, that's what an ad should be. It's funny, it's original, and there's a clear message behind it. Good job. It's my favorite so far.

• Ditka again for the Levitra challenge. How I am supposed to know if it might be "right for me" if you don't tell me what it does?

• Mitsubishi Galant - An accident-avoidance test against a Camry. Dudes in a truck throwing all manner of shit at both cars, with Ballroom Blitz in the background. Then they send cars down at them, there's a big mess and the commercial ends, prompting me to see what happens at, appropriately enough, seewhathappens.com. I think I shall. Good spot. P.S. Mitsubishi is not equipped to handle the traffic on that site. I can't get the commercial to load. How about seewhathappensbutnotrightnowbecauseeverybodyisboredwiththescorelesssuperbowl.com?

• Bud Light IV - A couple taking a snowy carriage ride in a park. The woman is given a candle; the horse farts and creates a blowtorch. Crude, but clever. But mostly crude.

• Anti-smoking ad.

• Charmin - A QB likes the feel of his center's ass, because for some reason he has Charmin hanging out of his pants. Also not a new commercia.

• Another field goal try for the Pats ... good snap, Brian ... but blocked.

• Starsky & Hutch movie - I damned loved Starsky & Hutch when I was a kid. Normally, I'd hate to see a movie re-make, but Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Snoop Dogg at Huggy Bear? Sweet. I may even see this one in the theater.

• Pepsi - A black guy in a diner, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to know who he is. But he's in love with the fat waitress because of the Pepsi. So-so.

• IBM / Linux - A little Eminen kid is watching Muhammed Ali on TV (the "I shook up the world!!" thing), then the real Muhammed appears to tell the kid to shake up the world, apparently with Linux. I like it, but will it appeal to the bear-buying-beer / flaming horse fart crowd?

• Touchdown Pats, after Cajun Man fumbled. And now the extra point ... good snap, Brian. And the kick was good, finally.

• Visa - Chicks playing ice volleyball. I like it so far ... The hook is "can't wait for the summer Olympics ... neither can we." OK spot, with bonus points for the chicks playing volleyball.

• Johnny Depp movie - Secret Window. OK.

• Chevy car/truck retro thing - All the kids have soap stuffed in thier mouths from saying "Holy Shit!" when they see the thing. Not bad.

• Lay's - Old people fight over a bag of Lay's, because they are so damn crispy now. Yawn.

• CBS March Madness promo - Samuel Jackson talking about French Lick and Larry Bird. It ain't Don Cheadle's NFL playoff commercials (which are excellent), and it's kind of a ripoff of that, but always love Sam Jackson.

• AOL - American Choppers again. Again, if I watched the show, maybe I'd think this was funny.

• Damn! Hell of a touchdown for the Panthers. Good work, Cajun Man!

• CBS promo - There's nothing on CBS I ever watch. Survivor? No thanks. CSI? I don't think so. I don't even watch Everybody Loves Raymond, and I hear that's not bad.

• Touchdown Pats! Here's the extra point ... good snap, Brian. Kick is good.

• Damn, Panthers aren't done yet. 6 seconds and they're on the Pats' 32. Kick is good!

• OK, it's halftime, which usually means most of the interesting commercials are done, so I'm going to wrap this up. If I see anything in the second half that's new and interesting, I'll amend the post. My favorite of the first half - Pepsi / iTunes, followed by Monster.com and alien FedEx. Lamest? I'll say the McDonald's "grease makes me horny" spot.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up carbs

I guess I was destined to get on Atkins. I did SugarBusters (a fine Louisiana invention) two years ago, and it worked well for me. Then I got back on the carbs, and put the fat back on.

Then early last year, my stepfather went on Atkins and lost about 30 pounds. And he's kept it off. Last summer, the wife's father went on Atkins and has lost almost 60 pounds.

So last Monday, I dove in and began the "induction" phase of Atkins. And it's working so far. I'd stayed with a semi-low-carb routine since the SugarBusters days (those were the days I stopped putting sugar in coffee and switched to Diet Coke and unsweet tea), but wouldn't hesitate to grab a burger and fries or sweets if I wanted.

But now it's Atkins by the book. Less than 20 daily grams of carbs, eat three meals a day, drink lots of water, cut the caffeine, etc. On my 7th day, I'm still on the wagon.

My biggest test so far came yesterday when I fired up Paula's Home Cooking on the DVR. It was a show where she visited Jimmy Carter in Plains and fixed the world's best ex-president some of her favorite breakfast grub.

The highlight was a thing she called "Gorilla Bread".

The wife makes a thing called "Monkey Bread", which is cut up little chunks of biscuits rolled in butter and brown sugar, and it's darn yummy. So, of course, I was intrigued by the Gorilla.

Paula's Gorilla is similar to the wife's Monkey, except that with Gorilla you take whole biscuits, flatten them out and stuff them with cream cheese before balling them up and rolling in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Throw some walnuts in the pan and drizzle with melted butter/brown sugar and you've got the Gorilla.

Did I mention the wife's in Nashville this weekend? It was all I could do to not run right out to Publix and grab the makings of the Gorilla.

But I resisted. The first Atkins test passed. I'm side-stepping the second Atkins challenge (Super Bowl Sunday) by staying home. Instead of eating chips and cookies, I'll be cleaning the house (the wife is bringing a NashVegas friend back with her to spend the night).

For those of you not boycotting carbs, here's the Gorilla Bread recipe.