Taunting “The Happy Fun Ball”

Taunting “The Happy Fun Ball”.
(And Other Strange things to do when it’s just to damn cold for Anything Else.)

“The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don’t have it.”
– George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“Beam Me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life here”.
– Bumper Sticker.

It’s cold outside. Much too cold for any kind of outdoor activity. My fixed gear bicycle is leaning against a wall. It wants to go for a ride, and so do I. Alas, it’s just too cold. (If you are a real “Hard Core” cyclist, and you can handle riding in this cold, I salute you.) This is the type of cold that makes me seriously consider heading to the town of Needles, California. Oh I know, it gets way too hot from about June on. A hundred and twenty degrees? Well, as long as I have plenty of chilled beverages to consume, I’m good for it, really.

Where some people get the stones to engage in cold-weather outdoor sports, such as skiing, in New England, is beyond me. This morning, the ski resort of Sunday River Maine, recorded a temperature of -22, with a wind-chill making it feel like -50. For a period of time, they had to close some chair lifts, due to high winds. No, I won’t be taking up skiing any time soon. But, if it works for you, knock yourself out.

It’s not as though I am stuck in my apartment with nothing to do. I am a Mac enthusiast, and I have plenty to keep myself occupied. “Bryce” is one very cool application. Making up alien-looking worlds can certainly cure the winter blues. I cannot say that I’m particularly “good” with Bryce, but it is great fun. (And it surprised me that Corel, which bought this title from the now defunct Meta Creations, brought Bryce into the OS X fold so quickly) When I’m not trying to create funky landscapes in Bryce, I can generally be found playing with some video or sound editing with QuickTime. At thirty bucks, I consider QuickTime “pro” to be one of the best buys in commercial software. Among other geek hobbies, I’m something of a collector of nutty WAV files. One of the best WAV sites out there is Sound America. Be forewarned though, if you go there, make sure that whatever you use to block popup ads is active and working. Sound America is one of the worst offenders for pop-ups. Watch for errant cookies as well. Another fine site for WAV collectors is The Earchives. This site, run by a gent named Bill Auclair, offers a nice collection of high-quality WAV’s, and the pop-ups are not there. (But again, make sure your pop-up blocker is turned on, just in case.)

For whatever reason, I just don’t seem to have the “Game Gene”. The only games I seem to enjoy are the “Mist” series. The action games just don’t seem to work for me, but if “Quake” is in your blood, then by all means, log into a server somewhere and have a blast. (Pun intended) Side Note: Cliff Barker’s “Undying” looks interesting. I’m something of a fan of Cliff Barker. I even own a DVD copy of “Hell raiser”, truly one of the best horror movies ever made. Perhaps “Pinhead” should be put in charge of discipline at inner city schools. There’s someone the kids would respect. Nope, no discipline problem since we put pinhead in charge. And school bullies? Well, they’re just “gone”. Heh-Heh. Oh such fantasies…

And when all that fails? Well, there is writing. And this time out, there a lot of things I want to talk about, surely more than space allows. I’m not sure how to put it all down. I had to think about what might be the best way to go about this. And so, once again I have to give “attribution” to former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle, for his “Not that it really matters, but…” series. And so…

Not that I expect anyone to give a damn, but…

If the economy is so bad, and so many souls are out of work, why do housing prices keep going up? What am I not understanding?

Think that if a nationwide policy of “Cash only, no credit or debit cards” policy were instituted at every gas station, people would suddenly go back to actually caring about gas mileage? Yup, you would actually have to remove cash from your wallet to pay for gasoline purchases. “Let the Mayhem begin”.

That $499.00 Jacket, with a pocket for the iPod and controls on the sleeve, is one very bad idea. (Sorry Steve, I know you meant well, but that price tag… Ouch!)

I now believe the long-standing conspiracy theory that Britney Spears is really a twenty eight year old woman, who has been carefully trained and coached to sound like a teen. And she now wants to attract a “more mature” audience? Lord help us all. (Yes, I do know that she is now twenty. So they say.)

And to think, there are probably a lot of young women out there, with real musical talent, who will never even get a chance. (That’s a weak poke at the commercial music industry, but all I can think of at the moment.)

I don’t know about you, but I am very disappointed that it is now A.D. XXIII, and we still don’t have flying cars, antigravity belts, or huge bases on the moon. (I hear you twenty-something’s laughing, but back in the 60’s we believed it was all coming.)

Think network T.V. is bad now? Ponder this; somewhere, there are ideas being hatched for programs that will make “Joe Millionaire”, and “The Bachelorette” look like “Masterpiece Theater”.

You know that commercial for the Nissan Murano? The one where a yuppie couple enters an antique shop, and the woman is looking over some sort of funky chest, and the man is taken by a vintage 1970’s jukebox, which plays “Smoke on the Water”?
I wish they’d make a sequel to that, where they guy buys the juke, drives away with a satisfied smile, and leaves “Future Soccer Mom”, at the shop.

You know those headshots of real estate agents, typically found in the realty sections of most newspapers? I don’t know why, but I find those to be very creepy. Those people all look as though they “took the blue pill”. (Not that my own headshot is anything to write home about.)

And is it just me, or are the real estate sections of most newspapers awfully close to the “Bankruptcies”? Coincidence? You decide.

And why is a “Handy Man’s Delight” priced at a quarter million? And what, precisely do they mean when they say that a particular house is located “in a quaint section of town”?

I got another of those really funny letters from American Express. This time, they want me to accept a loan of fifteen grand. Isn’t that amazing? Yes indeed, it says right at the top of the page, “A personal loan through your American Express Card can help you increase both your spending power, and your financial control”. Will someone please explain how being in the hole for fifteen grand does all of this? Do you think Bill Gates gets letters such as this?

If they are ever going to make that sequel to “Blade Runner”, they had better get started. Harrison Ford is getting “long in tooth”. (Personally, I don’t think it will happen. “Blade Runner”, and “Dark City” are two very fine science fiction movies, which should be left alone.)

Jack Miller, who runs “As the Apple Turns”, http://www.appleturns.com is one of the funniest people on the planet. And he’s a vegetarian? So much for that theory of mine.

How about a reality show where, instead of countries going to actual war, the leaders of said countries square off themselves, with the contest judged and refereed by a neutral government, such as Switzerland? It could be called “World Leaders gone bad”. (On Fox, of course.)

If the above were to happen, I’d bet on “Dubya”. And I’ll bet that if the need were to come up, Colin Powell could do some serious butt kicking.

“Saturday Night Live” is waayyy past its “pull date”. The reference to “the happy fun ball” is from when the show was still funny.

Note to Monica Lewinsky: Your fifteen minutes are up, hope you enjoyed them. (They’ve been up for awhile, actually.)

After all these years, David Letterman still “Has it”. You go Dave! (Although I do miss his slams against General Electric. Were they “Pinheads”, of “Boneheads”? )

If you ever need a Pram battery for your Mac, (that little purple 3.6 volt battery on the logic board, sometimes called a “1/2 AA”) they DO sell them at Radio Shack. Their part number is 23-026. Now you know, the next time one of their drones tells you “We don’t stock nuttin for Macs”. (You’ve got questions? We’re totally dumbfounded.)

Oh yeah, “there’s one more thing”: Jack Miller, my offer of lunch at the “Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Que” is still good. Real Memphis style ribs, pulled chicken, fantastic baked beans. And mashed potatoes that are heavenly. Don’t like ribs? Go for the brisket. Now, with this in mind, are you sure about this “Vegetarian” stuff?

Bruce Black

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