This is What Passes For an Idea?


Did you know that Sacha Baron Cohen has ideas? This idea got him tens of millions of dollars and a much-heralded deal:



In the laugher, Sacha Baron Cohen (repped by WME) plays dual roles: both a goat herder and a deposed foreign dictator who gets lost in the United States. Cohen wants to keep the storyline close to the vest, but we're told it's in the spirit of Coming To America meets Trading Places. It will be his next film. Not only is Cohen starring, but he's also writing the film with the three Curb Your Enthusiasm scribes -- writers Alec Berg (repped by UTA), Jeff Schaffer (repped by UTA), and David Mandel (repped by WME) -- and all four are producing. The quartet went to 6 studios in 2 days pitching for an hour each. ("They all kind of came up with the pitch together. And one of the reasons this was so special is that the whole storyline was fleshed out, including all the main comedy scenes, by Sasha during the pitch.") But this is the first time Sasha is bringing these new characters to the big screen.



It must have been some pitch. I've already fallen asleep.


It's the Saddam Hussein story, had he taken the deal to leave Iraq before the start of the Iraq War. Let me guess what happens--Mr. SBC goes and has someone act unimpressed with his character's resume, and the character in question shouts "don't you know who I am?"


When I read about these half-assed attempts at making films and entertaining people, I reach for old DVDs and I just watch a Steve McQueen film.

He Did What?


I have to admit that I was surprised to read this, too:

Here's Dallas Braden after l'affaire A-Rod-walky-over-the-moundy:

"The long and short of it is it's pretty much baseball etiquette. He should probably take a note from his captain over there, because you don't run across the pitcher's mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind."


And here was A-Rod's response:

"He just told me to get off his mound. I was a little surprised. I've never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. I've never even heard of that in my career and I still don't know. I thought it was pretty funny, actually."


I wrote this morning that I had never heard of that particular unwritten rule. Since then, however, I've done a bit of Googling and read some stuff some other people have written and I think it's safe to say that it's at least a minor unwritten rule. It's not up there with "don't steal second when you have a 10-run lead" or "don't go one-flap-down on your home run trot unless you're Jeffrey Leonard," but it exists. It may be a dumb rule -- as so many of the unwritten rules are -- but it's a rule and ballplayers seem to care about such things.

Which causes A-Rod's comments to ring hollow. That guy has been around baseball his whole life, so I'm assuming he's heard of it. He may or may not have walked across the mound with the intention of getting under Dallas Braden's skin -- maybe it was just a brain lock -- but his response was truly intended to.

No, you don't "walk across the baseball mound." You don't tread upon the mound, period. That's not only his mound--Dallas Braden, the pitcher from the other team--but it is also his teammate's mound as well. And you don't walk on it. Period.

Poor Tara Reid


Tara Reid
First Sandra Bullock, then the lovely Jennifer Love Hewitt, and now this:



Four months after becoming engaged, Tara Reid says her wedding planned for next month is off.


The actress and Playboy model, 34, gave no explanation, releasing only a brief statement saying, "Tara Reid has confirmed that she will not be moving forward with her May 22 nuptials."


After dating for several months, Reid and Internet entrepreneur Michael Axtmann were engaged in January when he presented her with a ring while having dinner at a Los Angeles restaurant, prompting applause from other diners.



I was having a great day on the blogs, working my way through all of the issues of the day, and now? Now all I want to do is close the blinds and take a nap. That poor young lady. What kind of a world do we live in? We all need love. We all need some good press. We all need to know that there is a chance...


a chance...for love.

This Will Help Kal Penn Feel Better About Leaving Washington D.C.


Kal Penn, newly unemployed robbery victim in Washington D.C.
It's never fun to be robbed in public:



Kal Penn, known for his portrayal of Kumar in the "Harold and Kumar" stoner flicks,  was robbed at gunpoint in northwest Wash., D.C. --  perhaps ironically on 4/20, a day held dear by marijuana devotees. 

It was "a basic street robbery" and no one was hurt, according to an anonymous D.C. official who spoke to The Washington Post

Penn was approached by a gunman around 1:30 a.m. near 15th and S streets in the Dupont Circle area, reports The Post. His wallet was stolen, among other belongings.



When they say "other belongings," it means that the robber took his pants AND his underwear.


I know this from experience. In Washington D.C., they have a shorthand for what to say when someone important or famous is a victim of street crime. If they say that he was "uninjured," it means that the hooker kicked him in the groin. If they say that he was "forced to lay down," it means a District Roll in the Gutter (a District Roll is when the gunman and his friends make you roll in the gutter until the knees and elbows are worn out of your suit). If they say that he lost "other belongings," it means he was robbed by a man who had no underwear, and wanted some extra pants for job hunting.


The media will help you keep these things quiet. When you're a Congressman or a Head of State (such as from Botswana or Canada or East Timor), you will get robbed in the District. Your first day in the District means that you will, fairly early on, be faced with a criminal wearing a smirk and holding a gun on you, saying "welcome to the damn District" as he robs you. Stunned, you will report this and nothing will happen. There will be a metro section write up, and nice things will be said about you, unless you're from the deep south or Indiana.


Trust me, you want them to say that you lost "other belongings" than to have them say "forced to lay down." A District Roll is humiliating, especially when your female companion had to "stand by the garbage cans."


Don't ask.

The Poor Woman is Being Hounded Into Obscurity


Kate Gosselin
Perhaps it's me, but my pity for Kate Gosselin comes from a realization that, in a past life, I was probably a douchebag, and Kate Gosselin once married a douchebag, so there it is.


Douchebag husbands leave you lonely, and high and dry. No one knows this more than Kate Gosselin:



Even before she was booted from “Dancing With the Stars” Tuesday night, seeing Kate Gosselin in tears had become a common occurrence.


Was the crying something she was doing for sympathy? Was it a failed attempt to garner votes to keep her on “DWTS”?


Skeptics would like to think so, but according to a friend of the mom/reality star, that’s not the case. Really, Gosselin is feeling pretty alone these days.


“She’s lonely, unhappy and doesn’t really know who in the world she can trust,”  a Gosselin friend told In Touch Weekly. “Her emotions are getting the best of her.”



Oh, it's heartbreaking, I know. I've done so many things that I'm ashamed of, not the least of which was telling the family court judge that I had no idea who my own children were. Yes, the judge called us in, and when the decision was rendered to assign Byron and Miranda to me (because they were juveniles), I tried the soap opera trick of pretending to have amnesia. I wheeled about the room, stunned, repeating over and over again, "I don't have any idea who these kids are!" Miranda, of course, played along, pretending to be Helen Keller. Byron sort of messed things up by pretending to have Lou Gehrig's disease, but, bless his heart, he was the most believable of all of us.


It was not meant to be. The judge assigned me custody of the children and I had to learn how to be a single parent. The loose girlfriends I had during that period helped me to feel less alone. My considered advice to Kate is this--have sex with some easy-to-discredit commoners, like insurance salesmen or television personalities, and fulfill your needs for now. Douchebags are the currency now, and, as you age, spotting them gets more difficult. Enjoy being a single parent. Find good help. Obscurity is right around the corner for poor Kate, unless she can avoid marrying down and being seen with someone clawing their way to the bottom.

Is This Worth Worrying About Right Now?


High at the top of my list of priorities--you, know, things that NEED to get done--I would put these things:
1. Put more Americans back to work
2. Restore faith in our banking and investment industries
3. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
4. Control government spending
5. Educate more Americans
There are many other critical things that need to be done as well. We need more savings, better information about the food we eat, better health care for uninsured Americans, and incentives for small businesses to start and then stay in business.
Do we really need to talk about this at a time when we're spending ourselves into oblivion, our infrastructure is crumbling, our Veterans are going without the help they need and while millions of Americans aren't getting enough to eat?
Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce the change Tuesday, said the official, who is not authorized to speak on the record.
The 1972 Title IX education amendment required gender equity in sports programs at educational institutions receiving federal funds.
Universities initially faced three requirements to prove they were complying with the law: that the proportion of male and female students participating in sports at the university was proportional to the number of male and female students enrolled in the university; that the university was expanding opportunities for women students in athletics; and that the university was meeting the athletic abilities and interests of women students.
See, it's all about what George W. Bush did to ruin America:
In 2005, the administration of former President George W. Bush changed the third requirement, allowing the university to prove it was meeting the athletic interests of women by carrying out surveys of students' interest in sports. The NCAA and women's sports advocates said a low response to such surveys could be interpreted as indicating a lack of interest in sports when actually it could indicate a lack of availability of sports activities.
Under the new policy, universities will no longer be able to claim that a low response to surveys means a low interest in sports, the official said. The new rules still will allow the use of surveys, but universities will have to go further to prove they are complying.
The offiicial told CNN the new rules "restore the system to what it was before" the 2005 change. That rule "made it easier for universities to avoid complying with Title IX," the official said.
While those same universities are jacking up tuition because their state funding has been cut, they'll have to allocate resources to make certain that everyone in school registers a sound, informed opinion about the viability of the school's female water polo team. As always, this is because George W. Bush ruined America. Well, this is one thing the Obama Administration is all over. They can ignore torture, war, death, assassination and extraordinary rendition and they can ignore the fact that your privacy rights have been shredded sixty-seven different ways, but they cannot ignore the fact that college kids have no goddamned opinion about Title IX. Most college kids, by the way, don't play sports. What a shock.
This is what it's like when you have nothing going on, and life is an embarrassment of riches. You have time to devote to worrying about whether or not someone is taking the time to fill out a questionnaire about men's and women's sports. Title IX has ruined athletic programs all over the country while improving things for women. It's too bad we couldn't have found something that would improve things for women without eliminating sports for men. There are a lot of defunct teams and programs out there, thanks to Title IX, and now the Obama Administration has sent Joe Biden out there to make things even worse.
Is that a fiddle I hear in the distance while I'm roasting weenies? Is the Emperor up to his shenanigans again? Shouldn't Rome have a better fire department right now?
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How Childish


Anyone can desecrate a flag if their team loses, but here's the story of a couple of "fans" who simply couldn't handle the fact that their team won and they couldn't deal with it like adults:
A celebration of Canada’s gold medal hockey victory over the United States in February may have two Canadian residents of California facing criminal charges of vandalism and flag desecration.

The La Quinta, California, Police Department said Monday it has asked the Riverside County district attorney to file misdemeanor charges against Ryan Smith, 25, of Bermuda Dunes, and Matt Seifert, 26, of Palm Desert.

After the Canadian national team defeated the U.S. 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game in Vancouver on February 28, police say Smith and Seifert went to the top of desert mountain, removed an American flag that had been placed there to honor the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and replaced it with a Canadian flag.

Robert C. Sterling Jr., whose mother erected the flag after 9/11, told The Desert Sun newspaper he found a torn U.S. flag buried under rocks at the site.

According to The Desert Sun report, a Riverside County sheriff’s detective who led the investigation said last month that the Canadian men were remorseful when told of the reason the U.S. flag was erected at the site.

It's sad when a detective has to get involved in a victory celebration gone horribly wrong. This kind of thing goes back and forth between U.S. and Canadian fans, and it got old a long time ago. Why can't people just grow up?

Radical Islam Will Never Defeat South Park


South Park's Four Main Characters, and Mr. Butters


Americans love their freedom, and they love their culture. The fellows who run South Park are a beloved part of American culture, and they're smarter than most people. It's high time we started to pay tribute to their ability to win these debates with humorless prigs:




The radical Islamic Web site Revolutionmuslim.com is going after the creators of the TV cartoon series "South Park" after an episode last week included an image of the Prophet Mohammed in disguise.


Revolutionmuslim.com, based in New York, was the subject of a CNN investigation last year for its radical rhetoric supporting “jihad” against the West and praising al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Its organizers insist they act within the law and seek to protect Islam.


On Sunday, Revolutionmuslim.com posted an entry that included a warning to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that they risk violent retribution– after the 200th episode last week included a satirical discussion about whether an image of the prophet could be shown. In the end, he is portrayed disguised in a bear suit.



If you want a good reason to support the efforts of the United States government to kill a radical cleric living abroad, then you need look no further than this:



Over still photographs of Parker, Stone, van Gogh and others, the Web site runs audio of a sermon by the radical U.S.-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who is now in hiding in Yemen. The sermon, recorded some time ago, talks about assassinating those who have “defamed” the Prophet Mohammed  citing one religious authority as saying “Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that.” U.S. officials say al-Awlaki is on a list of al Qaeda leaders targeted for capture or assassination.



My guess is that Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone haven't stopped laughing at this hollow threat. How ironic is it that this radical website is fully protected under the free speech laws of this country, the same free speech laws that allow Parker and Stone to have a laugh at the nonsensical preciousness regarding the image of Mohammed. Hollywood may cringe at the idea of being made fun of by South Park, but, secretly, it means you've arrived and are worthy of their consideration when they go after you.

Fix It Doesn't Sound Like a Magical Pill to Me

This is What Happens When You Tomcat Around


Poor Mel Gibson:



What's his latest breakup going to cost Mel Gibson? 

According to a family law specialist, the wealthy actor-director-producer will likely pay a large amount of child support to ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva for their 5-month-old daughter, Lucia, but probably has no legal responsibility to make alimony payments, given the fact they were not married. 

"This is not dissolution of marriage action. The mother would have rights to child support, which in the case of Mr. Gibson, will be very substantial," says attorney Steven Knowles, who estimates support of $12,000 to $15,000 a month. "He is what we call a high-income earner, and there is a high-income earner stipulation that says they must pay any amount reasonably necessary for the support of the child."



This is the woman he (possibly could have) used as an excuse to blow up his marriage for, and this is the same Mel Gibson that can't make a movie without an uncomfortable amount of physical violence and pain embedded into it. Watching Mel Gibson destroy himself in public just isn't much fun these days.

I Can't Understand How I Haven't Seen This Yet


The Darjeeling Limited


I have to see this film. No idea when I'll get to it.

The Volcanic Sham

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to think that this was all just a sham:



Dutch airline KLM carried out a test flight Saturday night and detected "no problems" from the volcanic ash that has shut down air travel across much of Europe for the past four days, the airline announced Sunday.


"At first glance there is no reason to suspect that anything is amiss. We observed no irregularities either during the flight or during the initial inspection on the ground," said KLM president and CEO Peter Hartman, who was on the flight.


"Technical inspection conducted after yesterday's flight revealed that no problems had been encountered and that the quality of the atmosphere is in order," the airline said in a statement.


It's planning nine more test flights for Sunday, it said.


Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in the Netherlands is one of the busiest airports in Europe.


Saturday's test involved a Boeing 737-800 flying at an altitude of 41,000 feet (13,000 meters), the maximum altitude for the aircraft.


The first test flight Sunday departed from Dusseldorf, Germany, about 6:30 local time (12:30 a.m. ET).



Now, that's not to say that there aren't very good safety reasons for not flying when there has been a massive discharge of volcanic ash into the sky; what troubles me is that there have been many eruptions since the advent of jet travel, and there hasn't ever been a travel interruption anywhere near as bad or as long as this one. 


In 2004, there was a massive Icelandic volcano eruption, but I can't really find evidence that it caused 17,000 flight cancellations. What's different about this eruption? What's different from the eruptions in Italy on Mt. Etna? How many flights did that cancel? Was this eruption just that much greater in scope and magnitude?


Here is my other question. Was this all just a sham so that the European airlines could shut down for a week and take a badly needed holiday from their daily operating costs? If you think in terms of the makeup flights, yes, the airlines have a backlog of flights. If you think in terms of the post-Easter holiday disruption, it affects business travelers a great deal more than tourists. The airlines are likely refunding a lot of money, but they're also not spending as much on fuel, maintenance, or salaries if they are giving furloughs to workers.

Everybody Acts This Way When They Go To London


Kiefer Sutherland braces himself for a moment of clarity
I feel bad about not being completely up on what Kiefer Sutherland has been doing lately. I'm usually good about knowing what aging Hollywood bad boys with limited career choices are up to. I even know where I can find out where Josh Hartnett's career went, and, brother, you ain't finding it on IMDB.


The last time I dared write about Kiefer, I probably got it all wrong. He was framed. He was innocent. He has always been misunderstood. He doesn't miss Julia Roberts. Who, in their right mind, would miss her? Can you imagine the complaining she must do when someone forgets how wonderful she is? Is that mean? I don't mean to be mean. I just think that she's high maintenance, and Kiefer can't do high maintenance. He can do self-sufficient, if that.


Anyway, here's what's what:



Kiefer Sutherland started the night having drinks at a hotel bar — but by 4 a.m., the “24” star was photographed shirtless and stumbling on a London street.


According to reports, the actor was spotted drinking wine at the Covent Garden Hotel bar with a friend, where he stayed until 2 a.m. Next, he was driven to a nearby strip club, Stringfellow's Gentlemen's Club. Around 4 a.m., paparazzi captured the actor, who had since removed his shirt, being escorted out of the club by bouncers who held him in a headlock.


The actor was stumbling and falling all over the street — then reportedly was placed in his car and chauffeured back to his hotel.



Shirtless? Removed from a strip club?


That's date night, U.S.A., right there. Tens of thousands of men--good men, to be certain--are removed shirtless from strip clubs every day. I've been removed while shirtless from countless strip clubs, ballparks, shopping malls, grocery stores, dry cleaners and even St. Patrick's Cathedral. It's no big deal. You get a little rowdy and people make it their business to throw you out. So what? All you have to do is say, in a very loud voice, "do you know who I AM?" and then, everyone goes back to what they're doing. Works every time.


Call me when Kiefer does something worth blogging about, okay?

What a Great Fan of the Game

College Football Fan FAIL


Oh, my:



A New Jersey man is facing charges after police say he intentionally vomited on an 11-year-old girl and her father in the stands during a Phillies game.


Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Clemmens, of Cherry Hill, N.J., was arraigned Friday on charges stemming from his behavior at Wednesday night's Phillies-Nationals game.


Police say Clemmens made himself vomit on an off-duty police captain and his daughter after a companion was kicked out for unruly behavior.


Easton police Capt. Michael Vangelo says he saw Clemmens put his fingers down his throat. Philadelphia police say Clemmens also punched Vangelo and vomited on an arresting officer.


Clemmens is in custody on charges including assault and harassment. Bail is $12,000. His listed phone number is disconnected.



Sounds like another winner. It's too bad that a handsome, up and coming young fellow like this has to get caught by Johnny Law having a harmless night out. Throwing up on someone else's kid is what nowadays? No biggie?

It's Always Find to Find Chemical Weapons Buried in the Neighborhood

Jerry gets a belly full of English steelSome time ago, I began writing more and more about World War I, and now it's time to increase the frequency of articles and items about that subject, if only because we are merely a few years away from the centennial of the start of the war. Few bloggers have the intellectual heft to write about such a subject; I certainly do. Tell your friends about me. I'm tired of being left out of the major discussions.


There was the discovery of a weapons site not to long ago in suburban Washington D.C., and now you can add another site to the legacy of the war



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has uncovered what could be a fourth major disposal area for World War I-era munitions and chemical weapons in the nation's capital.


Digging was suspended April 8 as a precaution at the site in the pricey Spring Valley neighborhood near American University after workers pulled smoking glassware from the pit, project manager Dan Noble said Thursday.


Preliminary tests show the glassware was contaminated with the toxic chemical arsenic trichloride. Officials will review safety procedures before digging continues.



Record keeping being what it was, you'd think someone would have had the common sense to write down where the dangerous chemical weapons were buried or tested. Sadly, no one did, or, if they did, the records were pitched a long time ago.


Given that we have the possibility that these weapons are still out there, and still pollute the environment and endanger people, don't you think there should be a little more attention paid to finding these weapons and removing them?

Kick Ass

 






I have always lived my life like a super hero and a rock star, minus the bad music, and I have always kicked ass. Now, they've made a movie about me. 


You're welcome.

No Love for Nicollette?


Nicollette Sheridan
This does not bode well for Nicollete Sheridan and her war against Marc Cherry:



A line has been drawn on Wisteria Lane. 

Desperate Housewives stars Eva Longoria ParkerTeri Hatcher, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman issued a joint statement Tuesday pledging their support for show creator Marc Cherry in a lawsuit filed by Nicollette Sheridan. 

"It would be irresponsible of us to let the public believe that being a part of this show from its inception has been anything but a blessing," the statement says. "We have no first-hand knowledge of what Nicollette may or may not have experienced, but we would never characterize our set as a hostile environment.


"It is, in fact, the opposite," the statement continues. "The friendships and support that Marc Cherry, the cast, the crew and the producers have shared for the past six years have made this a wonderful job that we are grateful for every day." 

Hatcher, who plays housewife Susan on the show, separately expressed concern that the actress was singled out in the lawsuit alleging Cherry hit Sheridan in the face and that her Edie Britt character was killed off when she complained about him. Sheridan's suit alleged that when Hatcher went over Cherry's head to complain about him to ABC executives, he told Sheridan, "I hope Teri Hatcher gets hit by a car and dies."



Marc Cherry may or may not be nuts; everything I know about him comes from the fact that he might have once done a cameo on Arrested Development. I do know this: when you're the odd duck in a pond full of duckettes that are circling the head duck to protect him from having all of his property and money confiscated, watch out for the duck with the switchblade.

Build Your Own Broadband Infrastructure

If I had my druthers, this is the sort of thing I would do to provide broadband for myself: I would build it myself.


That's right. I would go out and buy a Fixed Wireless Access system and set it up on my property, provided I could get the necessary permission from the cranks who pretend to run things where I might live. This is the kind of thing that would be fairly easy in New Hampshire but next to impossible in tax-happy, restrictive Maryland. In New Hampshire, you Live Free or Die. In Maryland, you're surrounded by idiots who would burn down their own homes with free matches if they weren't explicitly banned from having them, forced to pay an extra tax for three extra fire departments, and if it wasn't for all of those public service announcements telling people not to burn down their own homes.


Here's what some citizens did in Great Britain:



A UK village which raised £37,000 to set up its own network offering 200 homes the super-fast broadband that BT could not deliver has been launched.


Rutland Telecom will offer the residents of Lyddington speeds of up to 40Mbps(megabits per second).


Other telecom firms had said it was not economical to provide fast services to the village.


Getting fast broadband to rural areas is back in the spotlight as the government shelves its funding plans.


It is estimated that around 2.5 million homes in the UK cannot get broadband speeds of more than 2Mbps.


The Rutland Telecom scheme was a joint effort between villagers fed up with slow broadband speeds and a local ICT firm that was reselling BT's broadband.


That's all well and good, but 2Mbps is too slow to bother with. That's technically DSL broadband, but it doesn't cut any mustard with me.



For that money, here's what they should have done:



A Broadband Wireless Access radio network consists of base stations (or Access Points) and Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) radios, also called Subscriber Units (SU). A wireless Access Point (AP) is typically mounted on towers or tall buildings since each customer requires line-of-sight (LOS) back to the base station in order to receive service. The AP delivers a high-speed Internet connection bandwidth to each SU (up to 500 per AP) within it's 60° service sector. Because the AP is communicating with multiple SUs, it is considered a point-to-multipoint (PmP) network. Point-to-multipoint wireless networks are highly cost efficient and easy to manage since the Access Points serve as the management portal and their quantities are limited.




Advantages of Wireless Broadband Internet Access


Trango's high-speed fixed wireless broadband internet access equipment is the quickest and most cost effective way to reach the most customers.



  • Quick and easy to install — faster return on investment, lower Total Cost of Ownership

  • Flexibility — Trango wireless Internet access networks are easy to scale and grow as your business requirements change

  • No recurring costs — you own the infrastructure

  • Low equipment costs — Base station costs are minimal when compared to long range wired facilities costs.

  • Easy to add subscribers — subscriber unit and customer acquisition costs are very low; up to 500 SUs per AP

  • High Speed — DSL and Cable are limited to slow speeds compared to broadband Internet access solutions from Trango: up to 10 Mbps per subscribe



I wouldn't necessarily just accept what "Trango" is telling me; I would shop around and try to find the best deal. Essentially, you have to jump in and put in the tower, then connect that tower to the Internet. That would be prohibitively expensive for most people, but I could handle it, easily. What I would then do is tap the neighbors and see who would be willing to jump in, and I would hire someone to run it like a co-op. Subscriber fees would be set at a level that would allow me to recoup my costs within three years, four at the most. After four years, you'd have to upgrade the technology on the tower, you see. You'd have to live in an area starved of broadband or desperate for a better deal.


Here's how I would go about it--I would go after broadband AND phone service, and see what I could do to take customers and money away from the phone company. But, that's me. I hate the phone company. Always have, always will.


The more people who jumped in, and paid the monthly subscriber rate, the less overall it would cost. So if you had fifty neighbors kicking in a monthly stipend, and if they were geographically able to point something on their house at the tower, all the better. No wires, no digging, no closets on the street. Just a turnkey operation, bringing in the money necessary to sustain and expand the network, if possible. You might have to go with this system, which would be non-line of sight in nature.


The problems would be difficult to surmount, however. You'd have to have someone manage and collect the money; you'd have to contend with a city or local government that would pitch a fit if you actually took business away from someone with a franchise agreement with said local government; you'd have to keep the thing up and running.  I think it would hinge on the tower, though. Most neighborhoods would have issues with such a thing, and you would have to remember that a tower wouldn't be allowed to sit high over the neighborhood (maybe three storeys, maximum).  It would, in effect, make you a small businessman, however. Manage it well, learn to maintain the technology, successfully make it so that the tower was acceptable to the community, and you'd likely make money after a few years.


It's just a thought. I don't have the time to do such things, however. I'm busy blogging, and that's far more rewarding that giving my idiot neighbors faster broadband.

Rather a good time being had by all...


When you get one of these MacBook Pros, you end up wondering why you even used anything else.

The added bonus from ours is, the DSL speed is improved dramatically. Just doing things is improved dramatically.

Worth it?

Yes.

Heidi Montag Now Scares the Crap Out of Me


Heidi Montag


It's not that I disapprove, but, wow:



Heidi Montag showed off her new F-cups (seriously) this weekend by hamming it up for a Las Vegas bikini photo shoot. Think she did it for the good of the nation? Wrong. My sources tell me Miss Montag was paid $10,000 for the busty shoot. But was it worth it? 


Montag has kept her new body under wraps -- literally -- for months since getting 10 plastic surgery procedures done in one day back in November of 2009. So what better way to reveal her new, enhanced figure than with a staged poolside photo op?

"It was worth every penny. No other celeb in the world could get this much attention posing in a bikini," one insider told me. My source went even further, saying, "The sponsors would rather have Heidi than Angelina!"



I'm not sure how to put this, but Montag probably went too far into the realm of Barbie for popular taste. There's definitely a market for this sort of thing (Pamela Anderson is now, sadly, a little too old for the crowd that likes that ridiculous kind of body shape), but does Montag have the staying power to hold onto it? What's to stop the next young lady from shoving two canned hams down her sweater?

Jim Carrey is Having a Tom Cruise Meltdown


Jim Carrey
This is just the sad consequence of over-ambitious career moves and the disappointing realization that all anyone wants to see Jim Carrey do is talk out of his ass:



Jim Carrey's relationship with Jenny McCarthy isn't the only thing that's in the past. So too, he says, is a part of himself he's happy to shed.


"I have freed Truman at long last!," Carrey wrote in an explosion of post-breakup Tweets, referring to his alter-ego from The Truman Show whose entire life was surreptitiously filmed for a reality show.


"I am grateful for my avatar's many yrs of dedicated service, but no one has ever won the Tour De France while back peddling. ... so I killed him," he wrote late Sunday night. "I do not plan 2 bow to expectations or to be confined by the fear of losing altitude in the 'statusphere'! (my word)."



Since none of that makes sense, let me translate:


Where's my Oscar???


Sadly, it was not meant to be. Carrey needs to adjust to life as a clown, a Jerry Lewis-like existence that will bring him movie deals but not of the kind or quality he craves. The weirder he acts now, the harder it will be for him to pull out of a tailspin and do what he wants to do. Tom Cruise allowed his quest for legitimacy (which an Oscar brings to a Hollywood actor) to turn him into a raving lunatic. Hence, Cruise is about as likely to win one as Will Ferrell is as likely to win one. 


What's in store for Carrey? Well, Mr. Ferrell is sort of a roadmap for him. Ferrell gets work when Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. pass on projects.

Jim Carrey is Having a Tom Cruise Meltdown


Jim Carrey
This is just the sad consequence of over-ambitious career moves and the disappointing realization that all anyone wants to see Jim Carrey do is talk out of his ass:



Jim Carrey's relationship with Jenny McCarthy isn't the only thing that's in the past. So too, he says, is a part of himself he's happy to shed.


"I have freed Truman at long last!," Carrey wrote in an explosion of post-breakup Tweets, referring to his alter-ego from The Truman Show whose entire life was surreptitiously filmed for a reality show.


"I am grateful for my avatar's many yrs of dedicated service, but no one has ever won the Tour De France while back peddling. ... so I killed him," he wrote late Sunday night. "I do not plan 2 bow to expectations or to be confined by the fear of losing altitude in the 'statusphere'! (my word)."



Since none of that makes sense, let me translate:


Where's my Oscar???


Sadly, it was not meant to be. Carrey needs to adjust to life as a clown, a Jerry Lewis-like existence that will bring him movie deals but not of the kind or quality he craves. The weirder he acts now, the harder it will be for him to pull out of a tailspin and do what he wants to do. Tom Cruise allowed his quest for legitimacy (which an Oscar brings to a Hollywood actor) to turn him into a raving lunatic. Hence, Cruise is about as likely to win one as Will Ferrell is as likely to win one. 


What's in store for Carrey? Well, Mr. Ferrell is sort of a roadmap for him. Ferrell gets work when Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. pass on projects.

Good For You, Mr. O'Brien


Conan O'Brien
Finally, someone starts to realize that network television is all but dead:



One of the perceived snags of Conan O'Brien going to cable was that he wouldn't get the same kind of big paycheck that he'd gotten on NBC and would likely command from Fox.

But as part of his deal with Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting to host a late-night show on TBS, O'Brien will have ownership of the show. That will give him the potential to make a lot more money then if he were just a hired hand hosting a show owned by a network. O'Brien's deal is for five years.

A deal between O'Brien's camp and TBS was struck in about 72 hours, according to people involved in the talks.

TBS previously had indicated it was not interested in O'Brien, but Turner Entertainment chief Steve Koonin said in an interview that was in part because "we assumed he had a deal with Fox."



With the increase in options--Internet being just part of the reason--O'Brien is counting on creating a show that gets dismal ratings.


Dismal if you only think in terms of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.


What it really means, though, is that O'Brien realizes that, to be good, and to be himself, he needs to do a show that people can watch either online or on TBS (I think a good number of people will watch his show without ever tuning in TBS, and this is why this move is a good one), and he needs to do it the way he wants to do it. No network suits, no pressure of dealing with the fact that the current Tonight Show audience merely wants to fold in comfortably and watch Jay Leno confirm what they already know, and that is, mediocrity sells in America. Mediocrity and tepid chuckles are all that will bring in the big shares.


Funny? Funny is a niche thing and Conan O'Brien can do funny, but his slice of the pie is always going to be a small one. Let's hope he can make himself and TBS enough money to do what it is he knows how to do.

So Much for Tiger Woods, Incorporated

Not to take anything away from Phil Mickelson, but this really could be the end for Tiger Woods, Incorporated:

Phil Mickelson soaked up a scene he knows all too well as he climbed the steep hill toward the 18th green at Augusta National to claim another green jacket.

Only when he rapped in one last birdie for a three-shot victory did this Masters get even better.

Standing behind the green — as always — was his wife, Amy, with her long blonde hair and easy smile, their three children at her side.

She had not been on a golf course since being diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months ago, and had stayed in bed most of the week.

“I wasn’t sure if she was going to be there,” Mickelson said.

A week of roars gave way to tears as they hugged for the longest time. Mickelson finally had to let go, and with a single tear trickling down his cheek, headed for the scoring hut to sign his card for a 5-under 67, the official stamp on a most compelling Masters.

“In the last year, we’ve been through a lot and it’s been tough. And to be on the other end and feel this kind of jubilation is incredible,” said Mickelson, who tightly grasped his wife’s hand until he headed off for an interview.

Do you think this contrast with Tiger and his array of pornstars and waitresses is an accident? It's deliberate. This is what golf wants. I happen to love pornstars and women of loose morals, but I don't want them in my golf.

Posted via web from TalkingSmackAboutSports

Talking About the Weather



These are stunning to look at, just stunning. You cannot plan to photograph the weather; you can try, but what you really have to do is be ready to shoot when the moment arises. Mike Hollingshead was ready when the moment appeared.

North Dakota Needs a New Mascot

North Dakota needs a new mascot:

A state Supreme Court ruling and a Board of Higher Education decision have retired for good the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname after a four-year legal battle.

The court ruled Thursday that the board had the authority to dump the nickname at any time. The court rejected an appeal that sought to delay action.

A motion later Thursday at the board's regularly scheduled meeting in Mayville to reconsider its vote in May to retire the nickname died after nobody seconded it.

Claus Lembke, the board member who made the failed motion, said the board was "giving in to a minority of people on the issue."

Board president Richie Smith had said before the vote that he thought no further action was required to retire the nickname.

Board member and university alumnus Grant Shaft said afterward that he believes most people are tired of the controversy.

"I think people have moved to the point, for a number of reasons, that they wanted this to move along," Shaft said.

I guess that if you just give up, you won't get to maintain the tradition of your school. It must not be that big a deal if people are surrendering to the lawsuits and changing their mascots. Perhaps they can work on a hayseed farmer motif or a drunken Santa Claus mascot--both would be surefire winners. I love the alcoholic Santa theme, and I wish there was a team that represented the pathos of a drunken Kris Kringle, failing to deliver presents and clean himself after being sick.

That's me, though. I hate the holidays. This is my favorite time of the year. No holidays.

Jessica Simpson Isn't Wearing Any Makeup


Jessica Simpson


No matter how you feel about Jessica, this really is a lovely photo, and here's why she posed this way:




Marie Claire with Jessica Simpson on the Cover
If you haven’t tuned in to “The Price of Beauty” on VH1, Jessica Simpson’s Marie Claire photo shoot, for the magazine’s May issue, will give you an illustrative synopsis.


Simpson will be featured on the cover of the magazine with air-dried hair, no makeup and no retouching.


"I don't have anything to prove anymore,” she told Marie Claire. “What other people think of me is not my business."


And while the Internet is abuzz with people praising her for the shoot, others are having a hard time believing there was no makeup or retouching involved.


Last year, Kim Kardashian appeared on the un-retouched cover of Life & Style in a bikini beside the quote, “I have cellulite, so what!”



Well, that doesn't mean I want to see it, but that's neither here nor there. When Jessica has confidence, she does fine. Confidence in a young woman is a good thing.

Shania Twain Can Do Anything She Wants


Shania Twain


If they gave Shania Twain a show about offset printing, making turnips look like former Vice Presidents, or a show about a man who runs around acting like he knows how to be a gentleman bounty hunter, well, I would watch it. I'd even stay up til three in the morning to watch it:



First came heartbreak, then a second chance at love. Next up for country superstar Shania Twain? Her own TV series.


Twain, 44, will star on "Why Not? With Shania Twain," an hour-long series premiering on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. "The show will follow [Twain] as she begins her climb back to the top, a personal journey filled with risk, revelations and unexpected adventures," said a statement from the network.


This won't be Twain's first foray in front of the camera since her marriage to Robert "Mutt" Lange fell apart in May 2008 over his relationship with her then-friend -- and employee -- Marie-Anne Thiébaud.



All she really has to do is write, record, tour and do what she's been doing ever since she came onto the music scene. "Comeback?" The woman is too talented for words. It's not a comeback when you're that talented.

The Space Program Runs Into the New Austerity

Space exploration has had to take a backseat--and a serious overhaul in funding--because we have spent ourselves into oblivion. If you know anything at all about research and development, the innovation of space flight and space research, then you know that we are simply eating the seed corn at this point. Tomorrow's innovations won't happen simply because we are not going forward with space exploration and research. All of the technology we use to communicate right now--the satellites being just the tip of the iceberg--has been helped in some way by space research. 

That's going away now, and, with it, the possibility of capturing the imagination of the next wave of people who are going to be born in the next few years and won't have anything meaningful to inspire them, in terms of space exploration and going to places like Mars and beyond. There's a very real possibility that manned spaceflight itself might end altogether in the next few decades.

There is a new administration in Washington, trying to pick up the pieces of the debacle left by the last administration, and it is trying to come to terms with austerity and reality. Too bad there isn't anyone working in that administration who can do a better job than this man, whose tears are a little much to take:

It's Charlie Bolden's job to make people get it - to make them understand. So, how do you think he is doing? You may well have seen some of his Congressional appearances, and the speeches he's given of late.

There are those who think he's just sold the vision badly; there are others who think he's got the impossible sell.

Charlie Bolden, himself, says he was insufficiently prepared to roll out and explain the president's plan. He's made that confession on a number of occasions now and repeats it in the BBC interview with our Washington correspondent Philippa Thomas.

What do you make of his very public displays of emotion? We've seen Charlie Bolden swallow hard several times as he discusses the end of the shuttle. In our interview, the passion overwhelms him for a few moments. The tears flow:

"It is very difficult... it's really difficult. It's a programme that has gone for 30 years and it's been incredible. And you know during the programme I've unfortunately had an opportunity to watch or witness the loss of two vehicles, but most importantly 14 people. On the first crew that we lost on the Challenger, they were very, very, very, very close friends because I had trained with them. Mike Smith on the crew I had been in school with. So they were really close friends. It was a flight so close on the heels of my first flight; I had landed just 10 days prior to Challenger."
And speaking of the shuttle workers in Florida, he adds: 
"Shuttle becomes like a person to them, and so they're very attached to them and as each vehicle flies its last flight, they have a really difficult time. Unless you've been in this programme, people don't understand that; and they think we're crazy."

I urge you to remember that this is virtually the end of the space program, and we will never know what breakthroughs in science, medicine, communications, or research we will now never realize or see come to fruition. At exactly the point in our civilization when we need greener technologies and smarter use of our dwindling resources, we are killing the very thing that delivers untold riches in scientific solutions and discoveries.

Posted via web from An American Lion is on Posterous

Kal Penn Bails on his White House Job


Kal Penn


I've been disillusioned in my life, and I've wanted to quit what I was doing to go be a famous celebrity, but the disillusion I felt is probably different from that felt by this young man:



Kal Penn’s reps confirm that the actor will leave his post as Barack Obama’s associate director of public engagement to return to his acting career.


First up for the actor: a new “Harold & Kumar” movie, this one with a Christmas theme. New Line Studios has confirmed that the movie, to be directed by newcomer Todd Strauss Schulson, will begin filming in late June with an eye on a holiday 2011 release. (Creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg are moving to Universal to direct “American Pie 4.”)


The studio, now a division of Warner Bros., is still deliberating whether it will be shot in 3-D.


Penn began his White House stint last year, shortly after his character on the television show “House” was abruptly killed off in April, per Penn’s request to join the Obama administration.



Well, that makes sense, I guess. If you want to be taken seriously, what you do is, you leave your job in the White House to go do the third sequel about two goofballs directed by someone replacing the guys who quit to go do American Pie 4.


What happened to Penn at the White House? Was he snubbed? Treated like a common staffer? What happened to make him want to leave after less than a year and after saying he expected to be treated like garbage? Maybe he is being true to his beliefs; that would mean that true believers have no place in the Obama White House, I guess.

No Quarter for the Sorcerers

Kitty casts a spell on you, sir


One of the things I sit around, worrying about, is whether or not Saudi Arabia is going easy on sorcerers:



A Lebanese man sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for sorcery has been given a temporary reprieve, his lawyer says.


Ali Sabat’s execution was scheduled for Friday but his lawyer, May el-Khansa, told the BBC she had been assured by a Lebanese minister it would not happen.


Mr Sabat, who is in his 40s, was the host of a satellite TV programme in which he predicted the future.


He was arrested by religious police while on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2008 and convicted of sorcery.



What kind of a mind bases a legal decision on sorcery? Is this where I point out that, yes, science is dead, my friends. Science is dead. It’s 2010 and sorcery can get you executed in a country on the face of this planet. Is that something I shouldn’t mock or make fun of? Am I being intolerant if I refuse to believe that this mindset is backwards and dangerous? Or should I just accept the fact that people should be free to perpetrate ignorance and superstition throughout whatever country they’re from?



Human rights groups have accused the Saudis of “sanctioning a literal witch hunt by the religious police”.


An Egyptian working as a pharmacist in Saudi Arabia was executed in 2007 after having been found guilty of using sorcery to try to separate a married couple.


There is no legal definition of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia, but horoscopes and fortune telling are condemned as un-Islamic.


Nevertheless, there is still a big thirst for such services in a country where widespread superstition survives under the surface of strict religious orthodoxy, the BBC’s Sebastian Usher says.



Well, you cannot say that the Saudis aren’t being reasonable, now can you? Let’s not forget that this is a country that, rumor has it, probably has a nuclear weapon. Remind me not to go there, and remind me to keep an eye out for the religious police and their war on sorcery.


It’s 2010, right? Am I alone in thinking that…it’s 2010, for crying out loud. What the hell is going on in this world?