Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hummers and Toy Yodas

There's a big hoopla about a woman who won a Hummer in a radio station contest, only to find out it was a radio-controlled toy Hummer that she had won. She's suing for $60,000, the cost of a new Hummer.

Personally, I think it's plain stupid and greedy to sue over a contest prize not being what you had expected it to be. It's a PRIZE. It's not like it was paid by her employer in lieu of salary, in which case there would be definite grounds for a lawsuit. If she had paid careful attention to what was said in the contest promotion, she could have at least prepared herself for the possibility that she wouldn't win a car she could actually drive. (On the radio today, a man said the judge should force the radio station to award the woman a Hummer so she can go bankrupt trying to keep gas in it.)

Now today I heard on the same station that a former Hooters waitress in Florida is suing because of the results of a contest run at her old job. The employee who sold the most beer was offered what she took to be a Toyota. The fact that no mention was made of an actual model, like a Corolla or a Matrix or whatever, should have been a tipoff. Anyway, when the winner was announced, she was blindfolded, led out to the parking lot, and presented -- in full view of her coworkers and restaurant patrons -- with a TOY YODA DOLL!

In spite of what I just said about the prize being a gift, in this particular case I'd say that she should sue. It seems that in this case there was an intent, not only to mislead, but also to humiliate the winner. Why else blindfold her and lead her to the parking lot where everybody inside could see that there was no car there waiting for her? And as the woman herself said in a statement, employees should expect and receive better treatment from their employers than such deception. I don't know if she should get the cost of a new car, though, but she should definitely get something more than just a stupid doll.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Motown Remixed

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a CD entitled Motown Remixed. The title alone piqued my interest, because I'd had an idea about doing something like that myself for ages now. Of course, not having the equipment, know-how, or access to the original master tapes would have prevented me from being able to carry out my idea, but it was there anyway. Seeing that someone had actually carried out the idea drove me to go ahead and buy the CD, especially when I saw the songs chosen: "Tears of a Clown," "Keep On Truckin'," "Let's Get It On," "I Want You Back," "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," "War," "Signed Sealed Delivered," and so on.

This past week I bought another, that in my own mind didn't work as well: "Verve Remixed 3," from the same parent company, NBC Universal, which owns both Motown and Verve. Maybe because I associate remixes with R&B and dance music, some of the mixes on the Verve CD didn't click with me, though I have to say that Sarah Vaughan's voice sounds like it was made for this kind of project. I couldn't help thinking that if she were still alive she might lend her voice to some producer's side dance-music project, or maybe even put out a CD of contemporary dance stuff on her own.

I didn't pay much attention to the first two volumes, so now I have to go online and see if I can find snippets somewhere to give me an idea of what they were about. Maybe I'll find them at J&R Music World, or one of the Tower Records shops downtown (NYC, that is; the former site of the Yonkers store is now Westchester Toyota -- looks odd to see cars in what used to be my favorite place to buy music).

People 1, Ebbers 0

In a recent column in the New York Daily News, columnist Stanley Crouch celebrated the 25-year conviction of WorldCom chairman Bernie Ebbers for looting the company he founded. He mentioned that, among other things, this sends a message to all those lower-level criminals who use fat-cats getting off scot-free as rationalization for their activities.

I like this because it's a reminder to those fat cats that corporations are not their personal piggy banks for them to raid at their leisure. When WorldCom was a small company (I'm assuming it was once a sole proprietorship) Ebbers could take what he wanted to his heart's content, as long as he could explain his actions to the IRS, if called upon to do so, in a way that would keep him from landing in jail. What these guys don't seem to get (or not care about) is that once these companies go public, they're just that: PUBLIC. The old head honcho can't do whatever he wants without fear of repercussions.

Sad thing is, even though Ebbers is facing the music, though the 80-year-old founder of Adelphia has already faced the music, even though Ken Lay will face the music, overpaid idiots with dollar signs in their eyes will continue to do the same things, hoping against hope that the IRS, the SEC, and everybody else looks the other way, then acting shocked when they don't.

Reminds me of the title of one of Brand Nubian's old raps: "Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down." It may seem odd to refer to these "gentlemen" as punks, but when they keep doing these "stupid human tricks" knowing what the penalties are, what else is there to call them?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Gigli, the game?!

Browsing through by clicking the "random entry" button, I came upon a page of definitions for "Gigli," which apparently has become a verb meaning "to be of really bad quality." But one of the definitions mentioned a PS2 Gigli game. Which, fortunately, turned out to be somebody's idea of a joke.

I haven't been able to find anything about a Gigli game. And what would it be about, anyway? From what I've read, much of the movie seemed improvised; one review said it was about nothing, like "a bad Seinfeld episode stretched out to feature length, and then stretched some more." There's nothing there to base a videogame on, though I'm sure that wouldn't stop someone with enough dollar signs flashing in his eyes.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Mets and Yankees, part 33 1/3

OK, so maybe the Yankees are doing better than the Mets. They seem to be creeping up on the Red Sox, but I can't help thinking (OK, hoping) that creeping is all they do. After 86 years of flogging themselves over that nonsensical curse, the Red Sox and their fans deserve more than just a one-time chance at glory. Here's hoping they last a few years at the top.

As for the Metsies, they keep doing that one step up, two steps back, two steps up, one step back thing. While they dance in place, Atlanta's been creeping up on Washington the same way the Skankees have been creeping up on Boston. Washington will probably not do anything -- to the great relief of every general manager in baseball, since the team does not have an actual owner at the moment ("owned by Major League Baseball" is a sham) -- but I'm hoping the Mets will wake up and remember that if Atlanta makes it to the top, they will NOT go down easily. They have won 13 straight division titles, but some of the most recent ones were squeakers, since the team's stars aren't getting any younger.

Maybe the All-Star break is what the Mets need to turn things around...

Miss America Pageant on Country Music Television

The Miss America Pageant, having lost its network TV contract, will now be seen on Country Music Television. Among other things, this means you must now have either cable or satellite TV in order to watch. New York Daily News entertainment columnist David Hinckley sees a benefit in this new arrangement, one the contestants, and possibly viewers, are sure to like.

He says that, since country music's core fans tend to like women with some meat on their bones (me too), this could mean that contestants may actually get to... EAT!

Some time ago I saw a manipulated photo of a Miss New York from either the Miss America or Miss USA Pagent, and she had been given some ample curves by whoever had edited the photo. The caption said, "Too bad beauty pageant contestants don't look like this anymore." Maybe they will again someday...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Blog title not unique

I see that there's a movie coming out soon with the title Stranger Than Fiction. I s'pose I could pick up some extra traffic from this, so I'd best spruce up the place a little bit, and post more regularly.

I'm the last person in the world to make disparaging remarks about any racial or ethnic group, but it has seemed to me for quite a long time now that the British and Australians will gamble on just about anything. At least, British and Australian bookies will take bets on almost anything. There's an article on page 16 of today's NY Daily News that details the odds British bookies are giving on which major character will die in the next Harry Potter book. The odds favor(?) Dumbledore, who is a 1-5 pick to die, while Harry himself gets the longest odds (of course) at 16-1. And I've read where, in an Australian bar, people were seriously betting on which of two flies crawling up a wall would fly off first.

But then I guess that has nothing to do with ethnicity; given enough beer, and enough money burning a hole in their pocket, anybody anywhere can and will make stupid bets.

Dog-eating catfish dies

Some time ago an elderly friend of mine, who used to be a private chauffeur for a businessman who spent a lot of time in Florida, told me of some catfish that crawled out of overflowing rivers and attacked dogs and , in some cases, ate some of the smaller ones. I took it to be a bit of exaggeration, since my friend is something of a kidder. Then, today, I came across this story, apparently authenticated, about a dog-eating catfish in Germany.

I don't even know how I'd react if I found out that my pet, dog or whatever, had been eaten by a fish. Especially a fish species that I could eat for dinner.