20 February, 2009

THE BIG SWITCH...ready...set...NO!

Back in the 70s one of my neighbors, Doc Poindexter, used to rail about the absurdity of commercial television. Of course lots of people have felt the same way over the years― hence, it became known as the "boob tube". Actually, Doc had his own special name for it: "smell-o-vision".

Let's cut to the chase. As poor as TV can be under regular circumstances, I suggest that that "THE BIG SWITCH"―the proposed changeover from analog to digital transmission―has already become the most disturbing non-event of the third millennium. For gigamonths, all we heard―sandwiched between the usual array of mind-numbing commercials―was notice after notice about the change to occur on February 17, 2009. February 17th just happens to be my birthday! And the countdown went on and on and on... "a hundred more days," they said..."eighty"..."sixty"..."forty"...etc.

"Seventeen," now we're getting real close! Bring it on, I can't wait. Put us out of our misery, after suffering through thousands of these lame public service reminders. Even though I've long passed the point of being anxious for my birthday to come, this year it can't happen soon enough. Like beating your head against the wall...it feels so good when you stop...soon we will have reason to feel good again.

UH-OH! Lest we forget that we are in the midst of creating a society so helpless, that as individuals we won't be able to do anything on our own, the government has decided to extend the time required to prepare for THE BIG SWITCH another four months!!!! In case you have cable or satellite and aren't affected by all this, installing the equipment required for the change to digital is about as easy a process as buttering a piece of bread...perhaps easier. On the back of your converter box... plug your antenna wire into its input jack, connect a wire from the output jack to your TV, and turn the sucker on. It will take you longer to prepare a TV snack than to hook up a converter box.

I can't help but think of the commercial where the boss pleads for assistance to prepare a dish of microwave pasta. He reads the directions: "add water, microwave, strain, stir"...throwing his hands up in despair he says, "What is this...Japanese?" Yes, the dumbing down of America―the beat goes on. The opposite should be occurring; we should be teaching people to stand on their own two feet, accept responsibility, get the job done―no coddling―you do things on time, on your own.

WARNING: if they extend this BIG SWITCH fiasco beyond four more months I'm taking hostages!

~PITTSBURGH starts with PITT!~

05 February, 2009

An Incredible Story

Recently, a friend sent me the following story:

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University.On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife,after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Let's dedicate the tale you just read to all those people who like to clog inboxes everywhere with heart-warming bullshit stories. Not forgetting those who plead with you to continue a chain―prayer chain or whatever―so something truly marvelous will happen. You know, they go something like this: If you send this letter to thirty-seven of your closest friends, including the person who sent it to you, within the next fourteen minutes, Osama bin Laden will die at the stroke of midnight from an exploding spleen.

Time's a wastin'...you better get busy!

~PITTSBURGH starts with PITT!~

02 February, 2009

CSI Super Bowl?

When the Steelers won their fifth Super Bowl title there was a tsunami of bitching and moaning from the Seattle faithful, including their coach. Remember? It was cool to receive a picture via email of a bottle of Seattle Seahawks Whine (note the spelling), which was made from sour grapes. Last night, bloggers, who did not like the fact that the Steelers won their sixth title, started the same kind of bitching and moaning. "The refs were paid to make sure Pittsburgh won." Nonsense like that. If you were inclined to take a payoff, I doubt that you would pick the highest profile sporting event in the world to do it. Deliberately cheat in front of a billion witnesses? I don't think so.

Now that we have reviews after every critical play I fear that this could be carried into absurdity, with the help of technology, of course. Will there one day be sensors planted in the shoes of tight ends and wide receivers, so we can tell if they touch both feet in bounds when they catch a sideline pass? I certainly hope not. Picture a full blown CSI investigation after every play! Like I said, things could reach the point of absurdity. (Here's where I like to make my persistent anti-technology pledge. That is, if everyone agrees to throw their computer off a cliff, I'll chuck mine first. Yes, I believe we were happier when we just had mothers and not motherboards. Oh yeah, and man WILL destroy himself with technology, even if it's a thousand years from now. Thus concludes my Gloomy Gus Report for today.).

Back to THE GAME. I think Santonio Holmes and Ben Roethlisberger should have shared the MVP award, with James Harrison a close runner-up, although Harrison getting that unnecessary roughness penalty late in the game wasn't at all smart. It was probably payback, but he could have stalked the guy later and punched him out, instead of costing his team a penalty.

Terry Bradshaw never set the world on fire with dazzling statistics, but he was the glue that held the offensive machine together in the playoffs. Not dazzling in the playoffs either—just enough to win. Roethlisberger is like that. He doesn't wilt under pressure; he gets stronger. Let's hope Big Ben gets four rings like Terry did...or more.

Here we go Steelers... here we go!

~PITTSBURGH starts with PITT!~

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