Friday, June 29, 2012

Broken news

About CNN's rush yesterday to be the first to report the Supreme Court's ruling about the Affordable Care Act, declaring the individual mandate initially unconstitutional and not getting around to revealing that the justices actually voted to allow it as a tax for seven minutes:

That's the kind of crackerjack reportage that will keep me not watching CNN.

Or Fox News. Or MSNBC.

And the way journalists on NPR kept talking about how they themselves did not see this result coming rather than about the story itself show why I don't support my local public radio station either.

Attention media: You don't have to make it so easy for The Daily Show to make fun of you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Three years ago today...

...she became my wife.

And every day since the best part has been the time spent with her.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The everyday, every day

Saturday we went to an ice cream shop where its slogan on the sign read: "Handmade Ice Cream.  Everyday."  It was pretty good so I don't see why they'd tell everyone it was run-of-the-mill, pedestrian, commonplace, "everyday"; they should tell people they make it fresh every day.

But hey, it's not up to me to tell them how to promote their business.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

House Hunters in the Outhouse

My wife and I are people who keep the TV on more than we should. Allow me to concede that right up front. We watch (as in, actively choose to pay attention—or as close to that as anyone does in this era of Twitter and iPads and the other diversions that can co-exist with TV viewing) a fair number of shows, but there's also times when we put something on that's mostly just background—well, more pseudo-background, as it can prove to be something that gets as much attention as the shows we actively sought (and probably recorded) but without us having the specific intention of devoting ourselves to it in any way. It's something to have on while, say, making dinner, or cleaning up after dinner, or after going to bed as something that won't be disturbing and where it doesn't matter if we fall asleep part way through the episode.

Over the past couple months we've switched over to making HGTV that just-throw-on channel. People buying houses or fixing up houses or designing houses is innocuous enough to not be disturbing, but can still be compelling enough to sometimes make us back up and watch the beginning again if it gets interesting later. And we figure it might help motivate us to get back on the hunt for a property and stop renting.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Note to the writer of the plot synopses for DirecTV: Nailed it

IFC's offering at 9 a.m. today: the 1958 camptastic horror flick, Blood of the Vampire.

The IMDb plot synopsis: "A man and wife are terrorized by Mad Scientist Dr. Callistratus who was executed but has returned to life with a heart transplant. Along with his crippled assistant Carl, the 'anemic' Mad Scientist, believed to be a vampire, conducts blood deficiency research on the inmates of a prison hospital for the criminally insane to sustain his return to life."

The DirecTV info plot synopsis: "A couple enters the asylum of a mad vampire doctor and his one-eyed assistant with bangs, Carl."

Nothing sells the movie like very specific details about the henchman's hair style.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Story of the fire

Tuesday night my wife and I were lying in bed, watching the 10 p.m. episode of House Hunters, when we heard beeping noises outside our condo's window. At first it sounded like a truck was backing up, over and over, but it quickly became evident that no truck could be backing up that long.

Then we heard shouts.

Now, the building next to ours (which is literally 15 feet outside our bedroom window) has occasionally had some loud conversations late at night—thankfully not very often, but shouts are not entirely unprecedented. However, the shouts weren't between two people arguing or something; they were panicked.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to never fail

Even if you don't succeed in achieving your intended goal you've only truly failed if you didn't at least get a good story out of the experience.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Smile Game

I'm not yet a father, but here's a tale of me and a child for Father's Day:

The other evening while riding home on the train the seat in front of me was filled with two brown eyes and a pacifier; a little cutie who couldn't have been more than a year old stood on the seat (balanced by mom in the seat next to her) and she found me as fascinating as the world passing by out the window. Or perhaps she merely found facing toward me to be a more stable posture for her.

At that age obviously they have no grasp of social convention and don't balk at staring. And staring. And staring. There's a reason infants strike us as so adorable; otherwise they'd be annoying as heck.

So I smiled at her, and behind the pacifier I could see the corners of her mouth curl up in a smile. I did this with her as long as I could feel comfortable with engaging in a staring contest with a stranger's child (so I wouldn't cross over into creepy territory), then glanced down at my iPod or out the window, and her mom or slightly older sister would point her toward the window. However, it would only be a matter of time until she was facing me again, and we'd play the smile game again. Then we'd all take a window break.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Protecting Americans

There's a greater chance you'll be killed by a driver who's texting behind the wheel than by a terrorist. So when do the drone attacks against distracted motorists begin?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Woo, Kings fans, woo

Last night the Kings won the Stanley Cup championship*, the team's first NHL title in its existence. Angelinos were thrilled. They were not, however, eloquent.

It's one thing for fans at the game to be reveling in a way that limits their responses when reporters stick a microphone in their faces to "woo!" or something that deep. It's another thing when they call up the local oldies station, presumably sit on hold, and then when they finally get on the air and they have nothing more than "woo!" paired perhaps with stating the obvious (e.g., "Kings are the champs!"). While the enthusiasm is commendable, and the sentences uttered are factual, it does seem like one might wish to take a moment to consider what one would say before dialing the radio station.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Danger behind the wheel

I saw a little part of a piece on the news the other morning where the Transportation secretary was again talking about how people think they can drive safely while texting or using a device but they can't.

I'd argue that people cannot drive safely. Period.

Allow me to elaborate.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Go, Kings, go.

Working late this evening (because the wife wouldn't be home until late due to a work function) I was walking through downtown to the train after the Kings' Stanley Cup final game had finished. Had they won it would have clinched the franchise's first title. I'd looked up the score on my phone, but even if I hadn't I could have told from the solemn looks on the faces of those in Kings' jerseys that the Devils had taken game 4.

Of course, the Kings are still up 3 games to 1 in the series, and need only win one out of the next three to hoist the Cup. Now the series shifts back to New Jersey for game 5, and as they're undefeated on the road in the playoffs this year, so it's cause for cautious optimism.

Still, to have won it in front of the long-suffering home crowd would have been pretty awesome. But the fans were out in force tonight.

And people say L.A. doesn't get excited for its sports teams.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Democracy inaction... in action

Today was California's primary election, and aside from the pointlessness of voting for an already-decided presidential candidate there were a number of local races and a couple state-wide propositions on the ballot. They're expecting low turnout at the polling places, and as usual that's considered cause for despair among those who report on such things and those who pay attention to those who report on such things. If only 35% of eligible voters bother to cast a ballot that's viewed as a bad sign for democracy.

While I understand that sort of sentiment, and as hard-fought as were battles in the distant past to get everyone the right to vote, I also think in a state this large, getting roughly one out of three to do anything is phenomenal, and to be dispirited about that is probably holding the population to a standard that's unrealistic in this day.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Tiny triumph: New towels

Last weekend we were in Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up some items, and wanted to get some new hand towels for the guest bathroom, as we were to have guests later that day. While in the towel section we realized that the fancy bath towels we got for a wedding gift were now nearly three years old, and between those and one other set of towels that we pretty well alternate using and washing, using and washing, week after week, it may not be out of the question to consider some new bath towels for our own purposes.

We didn't get the really fancy ones; we didn't get the cheapest ones either (they were $15 each). We aren't living high on the hog but we can afford $30 in new towels.

It's funny how extravagant new towels seemed before we got them—or at least, how out-of-mind buying new towels was. But after getting them and drying off after showering… it's amazing how wonderful they are!

So, do yourself a favor: Buy new towels every year or two. Even if you're on a budget, it's worth the investment.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The futility of surveys

On the Political Gabfest they cited a phone survey conducted last year where Americans were asked whether they would vote for a theoretical presidential candidate who had a specific non white heterosexual Christian male aspect. If the person were qualified but were African American, or Latino, or gay, or atheist, etc., would that prevent voting for that candidate. And the results apparently were such that only 94% responded they would vote for a qualified black candidate—that there were 6% who would admit in a non-anonymous survey to another person on the phone that no matter what they'd never vote for someone on that racial basis. As an aside, the host pondered aloud who, in 2012, says that openly?