Oh wow. I've just watched my second episode of Goodness Gracious Me. It's like In Living Colour but with British Indians instead of the Wayans.
My favourite skits:
There were a couple of misfires. The running gags involving the Bhangramuffins and the ones with the ravenous obese Indian boy were rather tedious to sit through.
But on the whole, it was another enjoyable episode.
Optimus Prime, a firefighter and National Guardsman now serving in Iraq, now has a weblog. (I previously wrote about him here and here.) Make sure you check out his web page as well.
Being a Transformers fan myself, I will not stoop to make snide comments about him here.
It's hard to believe this isn't a premature April Fool's item:
Iraqi civilians feed hungry US marines
That was indeed a beautiful gesture by those Iraqis. I'm reminded of Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins's words:
You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.
But bear in mind the following anecdote:
In his weekly radio address, Bush accused Saddam's "dying regime" of committing dozens of atrocities against its own people and prisoners of war, citing graphic reports of an Iraqi woman who "was hanged for waving at coalition troops."
There's a balanced overview of Churchill by Edward Rothstein that acknowledges both his heroic stature and his misjudgements. Churchill famously dismissed Gandhi as a "fakir" and once considered Mussolini a "really great man".
(It's a pity Rothstein uses the article as an opportunity to allude to current events i.e. "And that sometimes war, for all its horrors, was the only choice.")
JFK once said, "Winston Churchill mobilised the English language and sent it into battle." I concur heartily. I can't read some of the British Bulldog's speeches without getting goose bumps. When was the last time you could say that about a politician's speech?
It's interesting to compare the oratory skills of Churchill and Bush.
You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself.
You might recall Rumsfeld and company were outraged -- outraged! -- that Al-Jazeera would show graphic images of dead US soldiers.
Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke does this:
Clarke played excerpts of a BBC documentary showing the aftermath of the Iraqi government's use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in the northern Iraq of Halbga in 1988.The footage Clarke used included a video close-up of a Kurdish woman with grotesque facial disfigurement.
Clarke played excerpts of a BBC documentary showing the aftermath of the Iraqi government's use of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians in the northern Iraq of Halbga in 1988.
The footage Clarke used included a video close-up of a Kurdish woman with grotesque facial disfigurement.
So if you're keeping score:
I was feeling restless earlier so I decided to colour my digi-doodle of *takes deep breath* Microman LED Powers L-28 Perfect Shining Tector Shining Solomon.
It's not too bad. I took some liberties, though. I decided to go with a flesh-coloured face instead of toy-accurate gold. He's more bishounen without the gold-plated face, I think.
I'm not too happy about the way the translucent plastic parts -- parts of the sword and the torso -- turned out so the picture still needs work.
Side note: Although Pixia's author has been releasing new versions fairly regularly, it just seems Pixia is less stable now. I've had more crashes with the last two versions of Pixia (2.6m and 2.8a) than with 2.5n.
I've lost quite a bit of work because of the crashes. Lesson learnt: Jesus saves and so should I. And save often.
Optimus Prime, my favourite Transformer. It's nowhere near as good a rendition as I'd like it to be but considering this is the first time I've attempted to doodle him in quite awhile it's not too bad.
MeFi reports Operation Teenage Angst Fest is seeking the suckiest angst-y journal entries. (Here's a typical example.)
But what to do when you just don't feel like updating your blog cum journal? Why, MeFi suggests you try the Apathetic Online Journal Entry Generator. An example:
I've just been letting everything wash over me recently. My mind is like a fog, but maybe tomorrow. I haven't gotten much done lately. Shrug. I just don't have much to say these days. More or less nothing seems worth bothering with.
Yes, you too can have the dullest blog in the world.
Championship Manager 4 has finally been released. (Gamers Dotcom is selling it for RM99.)
Divorce rates worldwide should rise dramatically in the next four months.
Greg Mitchell highlights the top 15 media foul-ups in its coverage of Gulf War II: Wrath of Son.
Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera's web site has been hacked in retaliation for the Qatar-based network airing footage of dead US soldiers.
This is just stupid.
Freedom of speech shouldn't mean some folks should be freer to speak than others.
And where there were two, now stands one. The big development in last night's episode was Jaburu and Tambaqui merging to form Jacaré (Portuguese for "alligator").
Confidence and misplaced confidence were the recurring themes of the episode.
Rob and Deena were confident everything was falling in place for them. They had convinced Heidi, Jenna, Alex and Matthew to vote with them. This left Roger, Butch and Dave, who had confidently assumed Alex, Rob and Matthew would vote along gender lines, oblivious to the fact they were no longer part of the dominant voting bloc.
The immunity challenge -- it's now for individual immunity -- revolved around the "outlast" concept. Each survivor had to stand on a precarious perch with immunity awarded to the last one standing.
The highlight of the episode for many must've been Heidi and Jenna stripping during the immunity challenge. For cookies and peanut butter. Naturally, it was censored. (Their stripping, not the cookies and peanut butter.)
The calculating Deena ended up winning both immunity and a share of plate of spaghetti and meatballs after negotiating with Christy and winning a game of rock, scissors, stone. A masterful move.
Finally, Roger -- bossy, bigoted, chauvinistic, annoying and completely clueless -- was gleefully voted off by those he had irritated.
The episode ends with Deena in the top dog role once again. She's touting a final three consisting of Rob, Jenna and herself. The lawyer obviously hopes to use her superior oratory skills to sway the jury and win herself one meeeelion dollars. At this point, nothing can stop her.
The only hope Dave and Butch have is to attempt the improbable and contrive to regain the confidence of Alex, Matthew and Christy.
The more I see the scheming Rob, the more my antipathy for him grows. The guy simply believes he's too clever for everyone. Everyone around -- with the exception of Deena, who he respects -- is a knucklehead to be manipulated.
But I do have to give him props. Of all the survivors this season, he's the one who has his strategy down pat. He's manipulating and scheming and gloating but he's doing it without attracting a great deal of attention. He's been pulling the strings when the strings needed to be pulled but without being noticed. I don't think he has a single vote against him yet.
Roger has the quote of the week: "I don't think I got outwitted or outplayed, but I definitely got outlasted." That's so wrong. He was so completely outplayed he didn't see his ouster coming.
If all goes according to Deena's plan, Dave -- perceived as the strongest one out there -- is going to be the next guy out. The teaser for next week's episode shows Heidi getting cosy with him but it could be a ploy to get the rocket scientist to lower his guard.
From Jay Leno's Thursday night monologue:
Robert Blake was in court again today. Officially entered a plea of not guilty. That shows his growth as an actor. We’ve seen him do drama, but this is his first stab at comedy.
And they say Leno isn't funny.
Conan has a funny zinger as well:
Today in Iraq, American and British troops handed out food to hundreds of Iraqis. But to no surprise the Iraqis handed the British food back.
I spent almost three hours last night defragging my primary hard disk -- again -- after having problems writing to the D: partition -- again -- during a routine virus scan.
I'm not sure what the problem is. I initially suspected it was either because I've disabled the UDF file system or because I'm running a dual OS system (Windows 98SE/Windows 2000).
I was about to format the hard disk and revert to a single OS but thankfully I spent some time checking out the Microsoft Support Center before taking that time-consuming step.
I've also been having trouble shutting down Windows 98SE as well and it turns out this might very well be the source of the problems I've been having.
This article describes the problem:
When Windows 98 Second Edition does not shut down properly, it may appear to stop responding (hang) for several minutes while the following message is displayed on the screen: Please wait while your computer shuts downOr, you may see only a blank screen and a blinking cursor, or your computer may restart instead of shutting down.
When Windows 98 Second Edition does not shut down properly, it may appear to stop responding (hang) for several minutes while the following message is displayed on the screen:
Please wait while your computer shuts down
Or, you may see only a blank screen and a blinking cursor, or your computer may restart instead of shutting down.
There are apparently many possible reasons why one might have problems shutting down occasionally but I'm not too interested in finding the cause of my problem at the moment. Mucking about with BIOS amd the PnP system would suck up more time and energy than I have to spare right now.
The article continues:
Windows 98 Second Edition tries to perform many functions during the shutdown process, including: * Completion of all disk write functions. * Flushing the disk cache. * Running the Close Window code to close all currently running programs. * Transitioning all Protected-mode drivers to Real mode.
Windows 98 Second Edition tries to perform many functions during the shutdown process, including:
* Completion of all disk write functions.
* Flushing the disk cache.
* Running the Close Window code to close all currently running programs.
* Transitioning all Protected-mode drivers to Real mode.
I would assume a failure to shut down properly would have big repercussions somewhere along the line. I'm also guessing problems might be exacerbated in a multiboot environment.
Anyway, I've downloaded and applied the Windows 98 Second Edition Shutdown Supplement. Or as I like to refer to it: "the patch".
Psy-ops have been put in motion to plant the seeds of fear, uncertainty and doubt to weaken the resolve of opponents.
And I'm talking about Real Madrid and Beckham.
The Madrid team wants Becks badly.
Then again, perhaps not.
It's funny how the story popped up less than two weeks before Real Madrid and Manchester United meet in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Here's another version of that Kenshin digi-doodle. I did some modifications to the pose, added tiny details and some shading.
I then used Gonta's filters (Bump for the background and Pencil for the figure) with the following results:
I like the speedlines-ish effect of the Pencil filter. It's a nice quick 'n' dirty way to put the figure in motion. The Bump effect for the background needs tweaking, though. It looks like icky JPEG compression artifacts right now.
From Dahlia Lithwick's article:
The Supreme Court Tries Sodomy
Version 2.0 of that earlier digi-doodle of a Revell Robolinks (a.k.a Takara Blockman) figure.
Widdle North Korea, another member of the Axis of Evil, is feewing negwected:
North Korea elbowed its way back to prominence on Wednesday when it pulled out of military liaison talks with United States officers, and a United Nations envoy said the North was pushing ahead with preparations of an atomic plant at the heart of a nuclear stand-off.US and South Korean officials have expressed concern that communist North Korea might try to stage an incident of some kind - possibly a missile launch or a naval incursion - to draw attention to itself now that the spotlight is on Iraq.
North Korea elbowed its way back to prominence on Wednesday when it pulled out of military liaison talks with United States officers, and a United Nations envoy said the North was pushing ahead with preparations of an atomic plant at the heart of a nuclear stand-off.
US and South Korean officials have expressed concern that communist North Korea might try to stage an incident of some kind - possibly a missile launch or a naval incursion - to draw attention to itself now that the spotlight is on Iraq.
Flippancy aside, it's tempting to read too much into this. After reading Chris Crawford's worst-case scenario, I'm not taking any moves North Korea makes lightly.
Matthew Fisher reports not all Iraqis are ungrateful at being liberated from Saddam's clutches:
There was no hostility to speak of. There were some Iraqi civilians and as we drove there was an increasing number of Iraqi soldiers and there were incredible scenes. Scenes of many Iraqi citizens joyously welcoming the Americans. Also, saying with their arms, "Praise be to Allah" for being delivered. They were thanking the Americans for that.
Ah, but one might not want to take that as an indication all Iraqis are going to welcome the US troops as liberators. Fisher cautions:
However, it must be said they are Shias. The area we have been travelling through is predominantly Shia. Saddam Hussein is a Sunni and the Sunni strongholds lie around Baghdad and to the north so perhaps this is expected.
Donald H. Rumsfeld offers this bon mot:
A war is a war. It's a brutal thing.
Such penetrating insight. You can see why he was named Defence Secretary.
Paul Wood reports about the "brutal thing" aspect of the war:
Five-year-old Ahmed Raleb Ali is heavily bandaged and clearly in pain.Cameras click away as his father tries to comfort him.Yes, this is what the Iraqis want us to see. But the suffering here is no less real for that.
Five-year-old Ahmed Raleb Ali is heavily bandaged and clearly in pain.
Cameras click away as his father tries to comfort him.
Yes, this is what the Iraqis want us to see. But the suffering here is no less real for that.
Meanwhile, Jon Donvan talks to less-than-grateful liberated Iraqis:
To be sure, conversations with people on the street here begin relatively calmly. But the more they talked, the angrier they got.In part, much of their discontent stems from the unknown. In speaking with them, the newly-liberated Iraqis ask the same questions that seem to nag many outside Iraq.Why are you here in this country? Are you trying to take over? Are you going to take our country forever? Are the Israelis coming next? Are you here to steal our oil? When are you going to get out?
To be sure, conversations with people on the street here begin relatively calmly. But the more they talked, the angrier they got.
In part, much of their discontent stems from the unknown. In speaking with them, the newly-liberated Iraqis ask the same questions that seem to nag many outside Iraq.
Why are you here in this country? Are you trying to take over? Are you going to take our country forever? Are the Israelis coming next? Are you here to steal our oil? When are you going to get out?
Elsewhere, MTV Europe is taking a stand. A stupid stand. To wit:
In the memo, Mark Sunderland, one of the department's managers, recommends that music videos depicting "war, soldiers, war planes, bombs, missiles, riots and social unrest, executions" and "other obviously sensitive material" not be shown on MTV in Britain and elsewhere in Europe until further notice....Taking further cautionary measures, the memo goes on to advise against showing videos in which lyrics, song titles or even band names allude to war, bombs or other "sensitive words." It mentions the songs "B.O.B (Bombs Over Baghdad)" by Outkast; "You, Me and World War Three" by Gavin Friday; and anything by the B-52's.
In the memo, Mark Sunderland, one of the department's managers, recommends that music videos depicting "war, soldiers, war planes, bombs, missiles, riots and social unrest, executions" and "other obviously sensitive material" not be shown on MTV in Britain and elsewhere in Europe until further notice.
Taking further cautionary measures, the memo goes on to advise against showing videos in which lyrics, song titles or even band names allude to war, bombs or other "sensitive words." It mentions the songs "B.O.B (Bombs Over Baghdad)" by Outkast; "You, Me and World War Three" by Gavin Friday; and anything by the B-52's.
What does this accomplish exactly? What's going to happen if they air a song by the B-52s?
The NYT article also notes BBC Radio 1 is refusing to play "Bandages" by the rock group Hot Hot Heat because the word "bandages" may prove upsetting to some listeners.
If the word "bandages" proves upsetting to those listeners, what's going to happen when those hypersensitive people read about "war" and "casualties" in the newspapers and watch footage of dead bodies on the telly?
It's an odd war for those on the sidelines.
We've got a frontline view of encounters. With play-by-plays even. We can find info a lot easier thanks to the Web and in particular web logs that filter the fluff out and point out links that matter. There are even blogs by US soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
The presence of Al-Jazeera has ensured that graphic, hard to stomach pictures that would otherwise have been censored or ignored by the Western media would be beamed live worldwide.
Some folks are apparently absolutely outraged that Al-Jazeera's airing footage of US POWs and graphic pictures of dead US soldiers. I wonder if these same folks objected to pictures of Iraqi POWs and Iraqi bodies that were aired by the Western media.
I do think folks need to see those images if for no other reason than to ensure that human lives aren't euphemised and dismissed as "collateral damage" or "lost in combat". He wasn't lost in combat. He was shot in the forehead. That collateral damage? That's a 12-year-old who got the back of his head blown off.
There's a 5.25MB MPEG trailer for the upcoming PS2 Transformers beat-'em-up by Winkysoft.
The CGI art and animation of the cutscenes look good. It's great to see new animation of G1 favourites. The developers have even taken the trouble to include the classic G1 transforming sound effect.
Autobot characters include Optimus Prime, Jazz, Wheeljack and Rodimus Prime while the Decepticons include Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave and Galvatron. I wonder if there'll be hidden TF characters.
I'm sure most action figure fans are proud of their collection and like showing it off.
The New Straits Times reported yesterday one Malaysian guy decided to take it a step further. He's opened a toy museum to showcase his family's collection of action figures and dolls. And he's asking folks to pay to see it.
What a scam.
Loh Leah Chong, a 48-year-old former consultant engineer, quit his day job to open his Toy & Fantasy Museum three months ago. The museum, located on the fourth floor of The Summit in Subang, boasts of a collection of more than 100,000 items spanning 30 years and is estimated to be worth RM20 million. The article notes that even if you took a mere second looking at each item, you'd still need 28 hours to look at everything.
The collection includes toys belonging to his 10-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter who collect Transformers and Barbie dolls respectively. I doubt the Transformers collection is going to be terribly impressive if it's put together by a 10-year-old.
Although the items in the collection aren't for sale, there's apparently a gift and souvenir section.
The museum is open from noon to 10pm and the fees are RM12 for adults and RM6 for children.
The article included pictures from the collection including Spice Girls dolls, KISS action figures, a Wolverine action figure and a Wolverine arm (with claws extended, natch) accessory.
I didn't know Dave Barry was involved in the Academy Awards. He apparently helped write Steve Martin's material.
On the appropriateness of holding the ceremony at such a difficult time, Dave says:
I don't presume to speak for the Academy Awards, but I believe the general feeling of the people involved in putting on the show is this: We know you have more important things -- MUCH more important things -- on your mind right now. We know that, in the context of world events, it makes absolutely no difference who wins these weird little statuettes. We just hope that -- if you feel up to it -- you'll enjoy this brief and harmless diversion from real life.OK, maybe not ''brief.'' But however long it runs, we hope you like it. We especially hope you like the jokes.
I don't presume to speak for the Academy Awards, but I believe the general feeling of the people involved in putting on the show is this: We know you have more important things -- MUCH more important things -- on your mind right now. We know that, in the context of world events, it makes absolutely no difference who wins these weird little statuettes. We just hope that -- if you feel up to it -- you'll enjoy this brief and harmless diversion from real life.
OK, maybe not ''brief.'' But however long it runs, we hope you like it. We especially hope you like the jokes.
I've just finished watching Goodness Gracious Me, a British comedy television series revolving around -- coincidence, coincidence -- Asians (specifically, those who originate from the Indian sub-continent) in Britain.
My favourite skits in tonight's episode included a song set to the tune of Unforgettable called Untouchables, which was, of course, about the Kevin Costner movie. No, I'm kidding. It was actually about the caste system. Now, not many folks could get away with that and still come off funny but the writers and performers behind the show pulled it off.
Then there were the skits involving two aunties boasting about their sons in a game of one-upmanship (one-upauntieship?) which was taken to its ludicrous extreme.
My favourite skits of the lot, though, involved a running gag about a British woman trying to out-Asian the Asians. Funny stuff. And if you think differently, you can kiss my chuddies, innit?
I'm looking forward to the next episode.
The Malay Mail front page headline:
Bloody Bush War: It's a one-sided massacre of the innocent
The Malay Mail page two headline:
More Than A Match: Iraqis surprise US troops with stiff resistance near An Nasiriyah
Arsenal regained the top spot after defeating Everton 2-1.
Arsenal still lead by two with seven matches left.They've also got a superior goal difference (+35) compared to United (+24).
To update my earlier entry, the ZoneAlarm 3.7.098 does indeed ask permission before downloading any updates.
I caught NTV7's live telecast of the Academy Awards earlier.
On the whole, though, I thought the spectacle provided an entertaining diversion and a necessary respite from grim events elsewhere.
Roger Ebert put a more noble spin on it:
There is a worth to the Oscars, because they honor the most important art form of our time. I believe movies can be noble, and good for the soul. They are empathy machines, allowing us for an hour or two to understand a little of what it would be like to be somebody else. To be of a different race or gender or religion, or live at another time or under other politics. They help to make us citizens of mankind.Of course most movies are shallow or silly, but sometimes there are movies that shake us up and make us deeper and better. If the Oscars can advance that purpose, then they are worth having, now more than ever.
There is a worth to the Oscars, because they honor the most important art form of our time. I believe movies can be noble, and good for the soul. They are empathy machines, allowing us for an hour or two to understand a little of what it would be like to be somebody else. To be of a different race or gender or religion, or live at another time or under other politics. They help to make us citizens of mankind.
Of course most movies are shallow or silly, but sometimes there are movies that shake us up and make us deeper and better. If the Oscars can advance that purpose, then they are worth having, now more than ever.
I watched the DVD of this British comedy yesterday. I think I was obliged to because the movie features a Manchester United reference right in the title.
The movie's about a British Sikh girl's quest to join a football team and emulate her idol, Phil Neville ... okay, I jest, it's Beckham -- despite the wishes of her conservative parents.
Despite the many footie scenes -- the film even opens with Manchester United playing Anderlecht -- it's not much of a football movie.
(Come to think of it, there hasn't been a football movie that truly captures the thrills and spills of the sport. "Shaolin Soccer" definitely doesn't count as a football movie.)
But I did enjoy "Bend It Like Beckham". Favourite moment: The father's pivotal speech towards the end of the movie.
Like Roger Ebert, Jonathan Ross has a food-related comment to make in his review:
And although every fibre in my being screams that I should avoid making analogies with Indian cooking, this film is sure to curry favour with those who like their movies sweet and spicy. So poppadum to see it.
I don't get all that fuss both reviewers made about Indian food but I suppose it isn't as novel to me because I eat Indian food just about every day.
And from "Bend It Like Beckham", we move on to Style It Like Beckham. Wai Wai reports:
Growing numbers of Japanese women, especially female office workers, are apparently shaping their pubic hair to match the tresses the top midfielder sported while he led his team in the soccer extravaganza Japan co-hosted last year with South Korea.
Wai Wai also helpfully notes there are apparently three different variations of the Beckham style.
The Sunday Star reports:
Deputy Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin has called on Malaysians to have a critical mind and self-censorship when watching news reports on the war in Iraq carried by CNN and BBC. ...He said this in response to complaints from the public that RTM still took news reports provided by foreign news agencies although the visuals and reports were highly subjective and one-sided.
Deputy Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin has called on Malaysians to have a critical mind and self-censorship when watching news reports on the war in Iraq carried by CNN and BBC.
He said this in response to complaints from the public that RTM still took news reports provided by foreign news agencies although the visuals and reports were highly subjective and one-sided.
As an addendum to my earlier entry on Optimus Prime going to Iraq, Botcollector has an interview with him. The guy didn't give his original name here either.
Some choice Optimus Prime quotes:
Let me tell you, being the real Optimus Prime is very fun....They of course razzed me for months on end about the name change. The women in our unit said I must have some big ones, and they blushed when I told them I certainly did....By the way, if there is any woman out there who will changer her name to Elita-1, I will marry you on the spot. I would kill to find a female Transformer fan.
Let me tell you, being the real Optimus Prime is very fun.
They of course razzed me for months on end about the name change. The women in our unit said I must have some big ones, and they blushed when I told them I certainly did.
By the way, if there is any woman out there who will changer her name to Elita-1, I will marry you on the spot. I would kill to find a female Transformer fan.
Oh, and Optimus Prime has a web site. Unfortunately, Optimus (can I call him "Optimus"?) seems to have exceeded his bandwidth limitation as of time of writing.
I hope the guy makes it out of Iraq okay. He seems a decent if more-than-slightly-odd sort.
The Dutch master, Ruud van Nistelrooy, proved yet again why he's arguably Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest buy of recent seasons by scoring another hattrick.
Incredibly, van Nistelrooy has now scored 32 goals in 44 appearances this season. It makes me wonder where are the goals going to come from if the Ruudster suffers a serious injury.
It was a rather forgettable episode all told. Some highlights:
Predictions for next episode?
Alex goes if Jaburu lose immunity. He'll be heartbroken about Shawna and the dominant voting bloc, consisting of Rob, Deena and Jenna, is going to keep Matthew around for his fishing skills.
If Tambaqui lose the immunity challenge, I expect Christy to be given the boot. Dave, Roger and Butch are going to keep Heidi for her athletic prowess.
United drew Real Madrid for the quarterfinals. The first leg, on either April 8 or 9, is sandwiched between crucial, must-win League matches against Liverpool and Newcastle.
Squeaky bum time, indeed.
And once -- okay, okay, if -- they pass that considerable hurdle, United can look forward to a semi-final date with the winner of the Juventus-Barcelona encounter.
WIll United manage to overcome the odds? I didn't really give them much chance in either the League or the Champions League this season. I still think Ferguson needs to overhaul the team.
But who knows?
Maybe United can do the improbable and overcome the formidable Madrid side. (Zidane, Raul, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Figo -- all in one side? Jeez.)
If only every soldier operating in Iraq heard this inspirational speech by Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins and took it to heart:
We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them. If you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory. Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there. You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis. You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing. Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
If you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory
There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send.
As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory. Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there.
You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis.
You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing. Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
Slashdot user B3ryllium on the Turkey situation:
Dear Turkey,All Your Base Are Belong To U.S.Sincerely,W
All Your Base Are Belong To U.S.
Peter Freundlich wonders about the logic of it all:
All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly. We are going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein that the United Nations cannot be ignored. We're going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to avert war.
Link obtained from Slashdot.
Optimus Prime is heading to Iraq. Prime, a National Guardsman who had his name changed when he turned 30, was quoted as saying:
I got a letter from a general at the Pentagon when the name change went through and he says it was great to have the employ of the commander of the Autobots in the National Guard.
I'm amazed that a general at the Pentagon would get the reference.
Interestingly, the article does not give the guy's original name. Was it something he was ashamed of? Did that provide the impetus for him to change it? Could his original name have been ... "Leader-1"?
If you're going to rename yourself after a Transformer, Optimus Prime is definitely the way to go.
Could have been worse.
A lot worse.
Bad TF names to have if you're a soldier:
I caught NTV7's prime time news tonight for the first time in ages. I was completely taken aback by the fact they're broadcasting the news from Bintang Walk.
I realise that the NTV7 producers are having difficulty stealing viewers away from TV3's ratings king, Buletin Utama, but this is way too gimmicky.
The absurdness of it all was hammered home by the fact that passers-by walking past in the background were gawking and pointing at the camera as the Serious News was being read.
I was feeling a little restless earlier and did some digi-doodles.
This is my impression of a Takara Blockman (a.k.a Revell Robolinks) figure. I've taken some liberties with it (I've given the figure a face for one thing) but this digi-doodle needs a lot of work because the angles and proportions are just off.
Side note: I neglected to mention in my Robolinks review the fact the Robolinks stickers refer to the Blockman set designations. F'rinstance, Force 31 has "C-01" stickers which was the Takara designation for the equivalent Blockman set.
And here's another pix of the Captain.
Roger Ebert's Oscar predictions:
Best song: Probably Kander & Ebb's "I Move On," from "Chicago," as part of the "Chicago" landslide, but wouldn't it be fun to hear Eminem's acceptance speech? Do they make tuxedos with hoods?
So, the US and the "coalition of the willing" are getting it on in Iraq.
But what's next on the To Do list? Paul Krugman sez:
People who really know what they are talking about have the heebie-jeebies over North Korea's nuclear program, and view war on the Korean peninsula as something that could happen at any moment.
Why? How? Chris Crawford -- yep, the game designer -- describes one possible scenario:
North Korea is facing the same abyss that the Japanese faced in 1941, on a much broader scale. The Japanese were faced with the loss of oil crucial to their military adventures. Running out of time, they chose to attack. The North Koreans will do the same thing, only they have a more viable strategy available to them. They don't need to defeat the US militarily. They don't even need to conquer South Korea. All they need to do is send a single thrust south along the central axis of the Korean peninsula, curving west just below Seoul. A march of about 100 miles, requiring perhaps 5 days, will pocket Seoul and yield some 15 million hostages. The North Koreans then need merely wait for the disruption in basic services in Seoul to start generating suitably impressive daily mortality figures. Humanitarian considerations will force the US and South Korea to agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities -- under North Korean terms.
As expected, the Red Devils were outplayed in their Champions League match against Deportivo La Coruna. United were already through to the quarterfinals and decided to rest most of the first team. This gave the younger players rare starts and opportunities to impress. I only caught the last 20 minutes of the match but I thought Darren Fletcher fared the best among these Fergie's Fledglings. United ended up losing 0-2 but it could have been worse.
United's will next have to face either Inter Milan, Ajax or -- ack! -- Real Madrid.
Are cats supposed to be clingy creatures? I've never owned one before so maybe I'm off on this but I've always thought of them as aloof.
Asimo, our cat, is such a high-maintenance pussy. He'll mewl pathetically until one of us showers him with attention. And if I'm in the vicinity that means he'll insist I give him the finger.
The dengue outbreak in Malaysia is getting out of hand. Selangor recorded the highest number of cases and my district, Kuala Langat, had the second-highest number of cases in the state. This report gives some numbers but that was two months ago. It's gotten worse, I'm sure.
The local district council has been regularly fogging my neighbourhood for one and a half years now but the hits keep on coming. Our neighbourhood must be the breeding grounds of a new form of super-resistant Aedes aegypti.
My father contracted dengue last year around August. Three days of fever and the old man hadn't the common sense to think, "Hey, maybe this is something more serious than a plain fever." He kept taking his fever medication and assuring us he'd be fine. Fortunately, we forced him to go to the government hospital where he was immediately diagnosed with dengue. God only knows how many folks weren't paranoid enough in time and succumbed to Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. Thankfully, the old man made a complete recovery after spending several days in hospital.
AP quotes Swedish Crown Princess Victoria on the combat skills she learnt during a three week military training stint:
First aid, everything from patrolling to bed stretching, shooting and theory on handling crises.
I suspect United are in for a spanking by Deportivo La Coruna at the Riazor stadium early tomorrow morning. United are already through and are expected to field a second-string side while Deportivo, despite being out of the running for a place in the quarterfinals, might opt to field a strong side for pride's sake.
Meanwhile, the BBC reports Ferguson would consider winning the league title this season his greatest feat considering the injuries, Arsenal's lead and triumphalism.
United have overcome greater leads before and they've certainly had problems with injuries in previous seasons. Assuming that United actually go on to win it, it can hardly be considered a greater feat than winning the Treble in '99.
Oh, Ferguson's also managed to coin a new phrase: "squeaky bum time."
MSN Malaysia's Search description for this site:
Peruse entries of this journal where topics discussed include English premier league football and sports celebrities. Visit the photo gallery.
I myself would very much like to visit this photo gallery of mine. Unfortunately, I cannot as I don't actually have one. I do, however, have a picture gallery. Perhaps the writer thought my digi-doodles were of photographic quality?
Okay, maybe not.
Transfandom has posted an (apparently hastily transcribed) interview with Michelle Fields at the Hasbro Collectors Event which provides one revelation:
I know collectors are a growing business that makes up like 20% or some of the sales.
I had previously suspected the collectors segment of the Transformers market was larger than most fans think but even so, 20 per cent is an incredible number.
Ampersand, pondering the differences between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism, brings up this hypothethical example to illustrate how one needs to be careful:
For example, I might draw a cartoon of Bill Clinton eating babies; and the next week I might draw a cartoon of Sharon doing the same. The former would be fine; the latter would raise suspicions of anti-Semitism, and rightly so.
Rightly so? I disagree.
If one is going to draw Bill Clinton eating babies, I don't see any reason (*) why the suspicions of the overly paranoid should stop one from drawing Ariel Sharon doing the same.
Bringing up blood libel is just plain goofy unless there was an explicit indication in that hypothetical cartoon Sharon was eating babies because he was Jewish.
United managed to whittle Arsenal's lead down to two points. United were fortunate to eke out a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa while the Gunners succumbed to a 0-2 defeat at Blackburn.
A Slate article quotes an enthusiastic Wi-Fi user raving about its allure:
It's like having sex with my computer -- I'm all over the house!
Fascinating statistic from a Trends in Japan article:
About 60% of all cartoons watched by people around the world today originate in Japan.
I managed to locate a Nikkei Business article by Renge Jibu that nicely complements Andy Raskin's article on Takara. My thoughts:
What a great Survivor episode. It had everything I've come to expect from Survivor at its best: shocks, naughty put-downs, backstabbing, delightful comeuppances and amazing turnarounds.
The biggest talking point would be the reorganising of the tribes. This wasn't the first time Burnett pulled the switch but I had completely forgotten about this aspect of the game.
What a nasty surprise it turned out to be for Dave and Jenna who had to pick three members from the other tribe and two members from their own tribe to form new Tambaqui and Jaburu tribes. (They should consider themselves fortunate it wasn't done randomly like in Survivor 4.)
Dave was definitely the better positioned of the two since Jenna blabbed about her teammates whereas Dave didn't seem to reveal much.
Dave made some interesting choices. He chose to keep the weakest and oldest members of Tambaqui: the bland Butch and the bigoted Roger. On the other hand, he chose to pick the strongest woman from Jaburu, Heidi, and the two Jaburu misfits, Christy and Jeanne.
My guess is he's trying to get folks he can dominate and manipulate. From all appearances, he took the leadership role at the Immunity Challenge and then later singlehandedly won Heidi over to the men's voting bloc.
Shawna provides the funniest moments of the episode. She's lying on her back, whingeing and feeling sorry for herself and this results in a hilarious reaction shot of Jeanne pretending to gag.
But then incredibly, she completely recovers the moment the ex-Tambaqui men -- Alex, Matthew and Rob -- show up at the Jaburu camp.
(This sort of comeback would come as no suprise if you knew that Shawna plays un-American football. As Dave Barry astutely noted, football players are notorious for shrieking, falling down, and contorting their faces in sheer agony if they so much as stub their toe on a blade of grass only to recover miraculously ten seconds later if the referee takes no notice.)
This inspires another hilarious reaction shot, this time from Deena, who then provides the quote of the week: "It's amazing what a little bit of testosterone can do for somebody."
It was immensely satisfying to see the smug Deena get her comeuppance after her ruthlessness in engineering JoAnna's exit. Deena goes from bragging about being Jaburu's alpha female, top dog -- I think Jeanne would say Deena's specifically Jaburu's biggest bitch -- to a more precarious position as she realises she can no longer count on Shawna (who seems smitten by Alex) providing the crucial equalising vote at the their next Tribal Council.
Unfortunately, Deena didn't have to find out as Jaburu 2.0 won the immunity challenge. After some manoeuvring by Dave and some backstabbing by Heidi, Tambaqui 2.0 voted Jeanne off.
This brings up an interesting question, though. Will the original alliances still hold come the merger? Or will the members ejected from their original tribes bond with their new tribe members?
Predictions for the next episode? (As if I'm going to let the fact I've gotten it wrong every single episode so far stop me.)
If Jaburu lose, Shawna gets booted because she's still Jaburu's biggest liability despite her recent Alex-inspired revival.
If Tambaqui lose, Christy gets voted off because Dave's likely to keep his word after Heidi opted to sell Jeanne out.
The Star reports TM Net's Streamyx servers have been under serious denial-of-service pressure since early March. TM Net did not say if pears were responsible but we can only assume the worst.
The Malay Mail reports that a CD-ROM entitled "Clip Art for Schools -- Volume 2" produced by the Education Ministry as a teaching aid for primary schools contained -- gasp! -- pictures of scantily-clad women.
An Education Ministry spokesman was reported as saying, "It is certain that the Ministry does not think that lewd images makes for suitable teaching aid ... ."
Y'know, if I were in Standard 6, I would think that pictures of scantily-clad women would make a great teaching aid.
On the demonisation of the French (e.g. "freedom fries"):
A better idea would be to tear out every page in the Bible that features an Iraqi place name, such as Babylon, Babel, the Garden of Eden, Nineveh, and Ur. The Christian right will object, but we all have to make sacrifices during wartime.
I had a journal on Blurty for a few weeks but the site wasn't suitable for me. I wanted to showcase my digi-doodles but Blurty doesn't allow one to host binaries and pictures. I could have stored the pictures on this site (which had been previously hosting my long-forgotten Magic: the Gathering site) but Tripod's quite fussy about linking pictures. Direct links to pictures are replaced with a Tripod placeholder graphic. Exasperated, I deleted both my Blurty journal and my M:TG site and decided to create a new journal on my Tripod site.
But what tools would be suitable?
I had quite specific needs:
After googling for awhile, I found out about Blog. It satisfied all my needs.
Authored by Fahim A Farook, Blog is a freeware app that emulates Blogger with one important difference: You don't have to be online to edit and maintain your journal. This approach is ideal for me since I'm paying for my Net access by the second.
I tend to stick to Blog's simpler functions. (Blog also has advanced features that allows multiple users to collaborate on a single journal or have one journal published on multiple sites.) All I want is to be able to create, edit and publish my journal on a single site and Blog does this beautifully with minimum fuss.
The download is 1.93MB in size and once installed, the app takes up less than 3MB of hard disk space. While hard disk space is no longer an issue for me thanks to my new 30GB Maxtor Fireball, I've always preferred my apps to be slim and to-the-point without the frivolous unnecessary features that typify bloatware.
I was a little nervous about upgrading to the new version, 7.1, after using the 7.0 version for the past four months but Blog is smart enough to prompt you to backup your data files when you begin the upgrade process.
The new version is a mostly a bug-fix with tweaks to the UI. The author is already working on a 8.0 release which promises to have a bunch of nifty new features. You can follow the development of Blog on the author's web site.
I should also point out that bugs are worked on rather promptly. I was one of the first few users of Blog 7.1 and found out that the initial release had a problem generating archives. It was fixed promptly after I posted about it on the Blog Support Forums.
There are few drawbacks to this program and they tend to be minor.
For instance, the templates included with the program are a bit ... blah. You can modify them easily, though. Most of the template code is straightforward HTML with a few Blog-specific variables which are documented in a text file. In addition, it's relatively easy to convert the numerous Blogger templates out there into Blog equivalents as one Blog user has written a conversion guide. You should be able to get your journal up and running with minimum fuss.
Another thing I wasn't too happy with was the built-in commenting system. I didn't actually make use of it so I can't really say much about it but I gather it's e-mail based which means your readers will have to e-mail the comments to you. I would much rather have a web-based commenting system. Fortunately, you can easily integrate web-based commenting systems like enetation with your Blog-powered site.
Finally, Blog is Careware. You pay for the license by caring for the people around you and giving them help when they need it. And if you don't honour the license, someone goes to your place and whacks you in the knee with a tire iron.
About the tire iron bit. The part about Blog being Careware is actually true. Cool, eh?
From Roger Ebert's review of "Bend It Like Beckham":
All ethnic comedies feature scenes that make you want to leave the theater and immediately start eating, and "Bend It Like Beckham" may inspire some of its fans to make Indian friends simply so they can be invited over for dinner.
I finally got the King of Braves: GaoGaiGar boxset last Thursday from S&M Arcade (which is not as kinky as its name suggests). The 4 DVD boxset, produced by Anime Studio of Hong Kong, is apparently on "special offer" for RM80. That might not seem like that special an offer but only if you ignore the fact there's 49 episodes of scintillating mecha action.
The quality of the visuals and the sound are both adequate. Menu options are limited to playing all episodes on disc, choosing specific episodes and choosing the subtitles.
There aren't any extras, unfortunately. As it is, they removed the opening and closing credits on all but one episode on each DVD to squeeze in the maximum possible number of episodes.
In addition, the "this is the key to victory!" teasers that end each episode have been removed. I don't mind that much as it doesn't affect the story line.
The soundtrack is in the original Japanese language with either English or Chinese subtitles.The English subtitles are typical of most Hong Kong-produced titles. It's good enough to provide the gist of what's going on. It's also good for a couple of laughs and some "Huh? Wha-?" moments.
Annoyingly, the English subtitles use the Chinese names for the characters and places rather than the Japanese ones. There are also moments where the timing of the subtitles are off -- either appearing before the corresponding dialogue or way after - but overall, it's not too bad.
The opening theme is a catchy little ditty called "Yuusha no Tanjou" that will leave you chanting, "GaGaGa GaGaGaGa GaoGaiGar!" The ending theme is a slower number that isn't particularly memorable, though.
The series is sometimes referred to by reviewers as Transformers on steroids or Transformers taken to the max and it isn't all that difficult to see why. For a Transformers fan hard up for animated mecha action (i.e. me), this is a godsend because there's plenty of gattai-ing and Giant Robot Action.
All mecha action and no drama or characters worth rooting for make for a dull series. Fortunately, GaoGaiGar manages to find the right balance between Giant Robot Action and human drama. The latter is a welcome surprise. Most 'toons sponsored by toy companies don't allocate much time developing non-toy characters the way this anime series does.
In terms of visual style, there's a jarring difference between the depictions of the mecha, which are intricate and lovingly rendered, and the humans, who look like they were drawn by a slightly bored 15-year-old during recess. I exaggerate, of course, but not by much. I guess it was partly a stylististic decision and partly influenced by the fact Takara, the sponsor, wasn't producing toys of the human characters aside from Guy. However, the human characters have proven so popular that several companies have produced models of several GGG personnel in recent years.
The creators are confident enough not to reveal everything and indeed the peeling away of the layers of mysteries in this series is part of the hook. I can't count the number of times I sat down just to watch one or two episodes and ended up watching five in a row.
Reasons GaoGaiGar rocks:
10) The story themes
9) The characters
8) The comedy
7) The HK subtitles (e.g. "butt connection!", "whirly dong!" etc.)
6) The subtext
5) Mic Sounders XIII
4) FAI-NAL FYOO-SHUN!
3) "Yuusha no Tanjou"
2) The action
And the number one reason GaoGaiGar rocks:
If there's one strike against the series is that it makes heavy -- and I do mean heavy -- use of stock footage. Stock footage is common but the sheer amount of it in GaoGaiGar startled me.
Overall, GaoGaiGar is tremendously fun and I have little hesitation in recommending it to Transformers fans.
From today's "Calvin & Hobbes" strip by Bill Waterson:
"I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity."
And of course, that leads me to link to the winners of the Bad Writing Contest. For more indecipherable writing, there's the hilarious -- and very convincing -- post-modern text generator.
Take one swig of your teh tarik halia kurang manis (low-sugar ginger-powered foamy tea) for every entry that has:
I spent nine hours defragging my hard disk last night.
Take a look at these pictures: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Here in Malaysia, we're frequently bombarded with skin-whitening cream ads, which at their worst would insidiously imply women with dark skin aren't as alluring as fairer women.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo ...
This one's inspired by and loosely based on GaoGaiGar's Shishioh Guy.
Speaking of GaoGaiGar, I absolutely love the anime series! I got the DVDs on Thursday and I tell you I haven't had this much fun watching a series in a long, long while.
I added some details to a digi-doodle of Megatron I originally started back in August '02 and then forgot about. I keep meaning to complete it and I will.
Another dull Survivor episode last week. My thoughts:
Hopefully, this Friday's episode should see sparks fly as Dave and Jenna find themselves on a date.
My predictions? Christy to go if Jaburu lose the immunity challenge while Roger takes the long walk home if Tambaqui lose.
"What do you really -- really -- want to do?"
So often in life, we take the safe route. We go for the tried and tested. We do things by the book. But what if we did the things we wanted to do instead of the things we were expected to do or the things we ought to do?
There's a good Andy Raskin article on Business 2.0's web site about Takara's return to form. (Thanks to Roger of the ToyboxDX BBS for the lead.) I've been following Takara's fortunes (and posted about the company's revival on Usenet back in 2001) so it's nice to get more details.
The fact Raskin speaks or has a working knowledge of the Japanese language after studying there must have aided him immensely during the interviews.
Aside from providing details on Takara, Raskin also divulges a couple of nifty factoids about the Japanese toy industry.
No matter how many times you proofread, you will only discover errors five minutes after you've published an entry.
HobbyLink Japan will never have items that interest you on sale except after you've exhausted your hobby-allocated funds.
No two ways about it. Drawing with a mouse is a pain. It's awkward and counterintuitive for someone who's doodled with a pencil for most of his life.
I don't mean to come across as a fancy-pants artist -- I do recognise the fact I'm an absolute amateur at best -- but I just doodle easier with a pencil or pen. I seem to end up spending 80 per cent of my time just erasing or correcting dodgy strokes when doodling with a mouse.
There are easier ways of creating digi-doodles. I'm sorely tempted to get a graphics tablet but they're costly devices. A Wacom Intuos 9"x12"graphics tablet costs RM1400+ plus.
Naturally, I want to be absolutely sure this doodling is something that warrants making that kind of serious investment. I would hate to lose interest in digi-doodling after I've purchased a costly graphics tablet.
In the meantime, I've been trying a few different approaches to make digi-doodling a bit easier for me.
I've been experimenting using different sized Pixia pen brushes. I find that using the smallest brush suits me best. I still end up correcting strokes a lot but I find that the end result tends to be closer to the picture in my mind's eye.
Take the above digi-doodle for instance. It has a scratchy, sketchy look to it, doesn't it?
It looks like the Malay Mail ("the paper that cares") has got into the act. Headlines from today's edition include:
All great sides eventually fade.
Liverpool stood tall in the Seventies and Eighties and fell from grace. They've still not fully recovered. United replaced Liverpool as the dominant side in England in the Nineties and it seems their time is up as well.
Whenever United lose a crunch match, it's usually the cue for British tabloids to write the team's obituary and publish new versions of "the reign is over" and "Fergie's lost the plot" articles. Invariably, United would then bounce back in a spectacular fashion and make the critics eat their words.
United lost 0-2 in the League Cup final but I think the writing's on the wall for this side this time.
Ferguson might have attributed the loss to the string of fantastic saves Liverpool 'keeper made but what it comes down to is United were beaten by a side they simply couldn't break down. United can't even claim they were playing with a weakened side since Giggs, Scholes and Brown returned to the first eleven.
Ferguson must be asking himself why his team is performing hot and cold for the past two seasons. Is the hunger still there? The consistency certainly isn't.
The 3-0 win against a blundering Juventus was sandwiched between a barely-salvaged draw against Birmingham and the League Cup final defeat by a Liverpool side still struggling to regain top form.
As it stands now, the League's almost out of reach. While United have made up greater ground in the past, it's difficult to see Arsenal slipping up at this juncture the way Kevin Keegan's Newcastle side famously did.
The Champions League? Try as I might, I just can't see United getting the better of the likes of Real Madrid.
With Roy Keane, the captain and fulcrum of the current side, talking about quitting "sooner rather than later" due to the heavy toll injuries have taken on him, perhaps it is time to take the radical step of dismantling the side by casting aside the jaded and the inconsistent.
But I doubt that's going to happen even in the unthinkable event United end up without any trophies for the second season in a row.
I expect Ferguson will spend money to get a striker and a defender, throw them in the mix and hope that it works next season. I'm not convinced it will, however.
It's been a great ride for a United fan these past few seasons, culminating in that astounding 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final of '99.
The Star reports Sir Cliff Richard's in town to perform a concert. The so-called Peter Pan of Pop finally looks like he's aging like a normal person instead of ... that guy. Y'know, the baby-dangling, crotch-grabbing, self-styled King of Pop.
Oh, by the way, Tuan Haji Lukeman, please take note that one of the songs Sir Cliff will be performing is "Devil Woman". Not only that but tonight's episode of the Gilmore Girls is entitled "Take the Deviled Eggs."
I caught Web Diver again this week. Brief thoughts:
John McEnroe guest-hosted for Letterman on Friday. (There's a recap on the official Late Show page.) The former tennis star wasn't quite as bad as Willis but poor nonetheless.
I was especially dismayed by the way he bushwhacked the French chef, Eric Ripert. Was it really appropriate to ask a chef about French government policy when said chef was cooking and trying to promote his cookbook? It was such a cheap shot by McEnroe. It's a wonder he didn't ask Tom Arnold to comment on the effectiveness of the UN Security Council while the latter was setting up a scene for his movie promo clip.
Speaking of Arnold, was I the only one wondering why the producers didn't ask him to guest-host? The hyperactive big guy was the best thing about the show. In-between licking his lips about a million times, he managed to slip in some funny comments about his third wife and his family.
Surprisingly, Paul Shaffer wasn't on active duty either for some reason. Visiting Dave, perhaps?
I caught the first episode of Popstars on NTV7 tonight. This is the Malaysian version of the Australian reality TV show about wannabes auditioning to become, you guessed it, General Accountants. No, no, they want to be pop stars in the hopes of one day having their songs illegally downloaded from the Net.
The judges were comedian Harith Iskandar, former Miss Malaysia/current DJ Yasmin Yusuff and Johari Teh (who was briefly substituted by Pacai for some reason that eludes me). The deep-voiced Johari took it upon himself to be the bad cop and, in one of the most notable moments of the episode, dressed down one of the contestants. While the camera was rolling. Ouch. I expect a number of the contestants didn't anticipate having themselves highlighted as hopeless singers on TV. They're probably thinking, "But I sound so good in the bathroom. Maybe it's the acoustics of this auditorium."
Side note: I wonder how many viewers misread the TV guide listing and tuned in hoping to see Pornstars? Pornstars. Now that's a reality show I'd want to see. The auditions would be really fun.
Zone Labs has made available a new version of its firewall software, ZoneAlarm. Aside from the usual security fixes and updates (which I'm all for, of course), the new version, 3.7.098, also has one new feature I'm uncomfortable with.
It automatically downloads updates.
I'm not very comfortable with this as I don't like the idea of software automatically looking for updates and sending data to the company's servers without my knowing about it. And yes, I'm concerned about Windows Update as well.
Oh, I'm sure the data being sent from my computer is perfectly innocuous but it's the principle. I'd like to have control over when and more importantly, what data is sent.
To be fair, Zone Labs has included an option to warn the user whenever contact is made with the company's servers. The Pro version allows users to opt for manual updates but I sure as hell am not going to pay for the Pro version.
It was a rather poor Survivor episode this week. My brief thoughts:
It's hard to predict what's going to happen if Jaburu lose the next Immunity Challenge. I initially thought the votes would go to Christy -- keep alluding you're being excluded and others are going to start excluding you -- but the preview for next week's episode makes it seem like Shawna is going to ask to be voted out because she just can't take it anymore.
But I'm assuming that's a typical piece of misdirection by the producer, Mark Burnett. My guess is that the men lose the immunity challenge again and either Roger or Rob get voted out. It will be close. Roger's a bigoted bossy pain in ass whereas Rob is a smarmy pain in the ass.
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Pass comments to tmwarwolf attitude at yahoo dot combut drop the attitude.
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