Anything from current events, campaign finance reform, sports (especially baseball), corporate/political/legal ethics, pop culture, confessions of a recovering comic book addict, and probably some overly indulgent discourses about my 3-year old daughter. E-Mail: sardonicviews -at-
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Friday, February 06, 2004

The Final Straw

That's it. The wife and I have to organize the computer desk and abjure the clutter on it. When my beer has no stable place to rest, things have gotten too far out of hand.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

It Always Starts Slow and Dismissed with a Joke

Yet another lawsuit against beer makers.

A California couple whose 20-year-old daughter was killed by an underage drunk driver filed a lawsuit against brewers Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. and SABMiller Plc unit Miller Brewing, claiming their advertising is targeted at minors, the plaintiffs said on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, which seeks restitution based on profit gained from marketing to underage consumers, claims that packaging on some products such as Anheuser-Busch's "Doc" Otis' Hard Lemon Malt Beverage and Miller's Jack Daniel's Original Hard Cola resemble packaging on soda.

"We allege and intend to prove that these manufacturers are luring underage drinkers into potentially life-threatening addictions before they have the maturity necessary to make an informed decision whether to consume alcohol," plaintiff's attorney Steve Berman said in a statement.
The chance of the plaintiffs winning the suit against Anheuser-Busch and Miller is "not very good,," said Patrick Long, vice president of DRI, a trade group of lawyers who represent defendants in civil litigation.

"There is a lot of stuff in their advertisements about (topics such as) drinking responsibly and friends not letting friends drive drunk," he said. "There is a certain sense of cynicism in the general public about cases like this."

Next, expect someone to target automobile manufacturers for trying to tempt kids under the age of 16 to drive because they have advertised vehicles with characters from animated cartoons.

It's tempting to dismiss this as BS. Be it because people are suing to get the deep pockets or that it is yet another attempt to dictate changes through the courts rather than legislation.

The success of tobacco litigation has only spurred more interest groups to keep pushing. While they have failed so far with alcohol and firearms, they have no disincentive not to keep trying. The flip side, is that the firearms and alcohol manufacturers have seen what happened when tobacco companies attempted any sort of compromise. They won't even open the door to any accommodation now.

Forget the Primaries; Forget Politics; Forget Cleveland

It's National Letter of Intent Day in college football.

I've been doing all of my posting today on the bad day for Pitt over at Pitt Sports Blather.

I'm just glad I don't get too wrapped up in this.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

This is Just Wrong

Sometimes I really wonder about the people in charge of the US military (via Vodka Pundit) when they make this an issue.

The U.S. military has asked South Korea to ban lap dancing and other lewd acts at local nightclubs near its bases, saying they negatively impact military discipline.

The officials said the military was taking similar steps at other bases in the United States and overseas against lap dancing.
U.S. officials declined to specify what they meant by worsening military discipline.

I shudder to think of the effect this ban will have on the morale.

Monday, February 02, 2004


When the wife was pregnant I wanted to name the kid Zaphod if it was a boy, in honor of the greatest book ever. The wife never conceded the argument, but it became moot when we learned it would be a girl. I'm still holding out hope when we get around to the next one. Still, even I wouldn't make my kid a computer upgrade, version 2.0 (via Volokh).

Super Ads

Once again, I had no dog in this Super Bowl; so I decided to chart the ads like last year.

Methodology/explanation: Completely subjective. Started paying attention around 6pm. Had a few Beam & Cokes at that point. Drank Boddington's the rest of the way. Had to contend with the wife and a 19 month old during the game.

Movie Previews:

6:47 -- Van Helsing. Looks like it could be based on the comic book, but I'm not sure (No. Site lists it as written and directed by Stephen Summers [The Mummy and The Mummy Returns]). The wife is thrilled because Hugh Jackman's the lead. Looks like it's got nifty FX, but not much else.

6:53 -- Troy. Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom. Completely vague in the trailer. The plot doesn't inspire me on closer look.

In ancient Greece, the passion of two of history's most legendary lovers, Paris, Prince of Troy (ORLANDO BLOOM) and Helen (DIANE KRUGER), Queen of Sparta, ignites a war that will devastate a civilization. When Paris steals Helen away from her husband, King Menelaus (BRENDAN GLEESON), it is an insult that cannot be suffered. Familial pride dictates that an affront to Menelaus is an affront to his brother Agamemnon (BRIAN COX), powerful King of the Myceneans, who soon unites all the massive tribes of Greece to steal Helen back from Troy in defense of his brother's honor.

In truth, Agamemnon's pursuit of honor is corrupted by his overwhelming greed; he needs control of Troy to ensure the supremacy of his already vast empire. The walled city, under the leadership of King Prium (PETER O'TOOLE) and defended by mighty Prince Hector (ERIC BANA), is a citadel that no army has been able to breach. One man alone stands as the key to victory or defeat over Troy; Achilles (BRAD PITT), believed to be the greatest warrior alive.

Arrogant, rebellious and seemingly invincible, Achilles has no allegiance to anyone or anything, save his own glory. It is his insatiable hunger for eternal renown that leads him to attack the gates of Troy under Agamemnon's banner; but it will be love that ultimately decides his fate.

Two worlds will go to war for honor and power. Thousands will fall in pursuit of glory. And for love, a nation will burn to the ground.

Any, oh so subtle, political messages in the film are purely coincidental.

7:13 -- The Alamo. Flash images in the ad, border on incoherent. Mainly inconclusive as to whether I'll bother. IF so, it won't be because of this ad.

7:38 -- Starsky & Hutch. Studios are this desperate? Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg. Who cares? I don't even see this as a DVD rental.

7:52 -- Secret Window. Johnny Depp. Looks like incoherent flash previews are the theme. Why bother trying to convince viewers to see the movie based on anything more than brief images strung together without any real meaning.

9:09 -- Hidalgo"Starring (and I'm not making this up) Lord of the Rings', Viggo Mortensen. Yet another flash type preview. I really do not understand how they expect any recollection/impression to linger. Something else that popped into my head. No real explanation for the impression, but why do I see Viggo as this generation's Christopher Lambert?

Notably absent Spider-Man 2, Hellboy, and a host of expected action/adventure flicks.


There were ads, but what stood out didn't leave a positive impression.

6:10 -- New Ford GTO. Yeah. Okay. [correction: it should be GT not GTO]

6:38 -- Dodge Magnum. Monkey on the Back. Uh-huh. Just didn't work.

7:18 -- Mitsubishi trying to compare its offering versus the Camry based on power and maneuverability. Who cares. People buy the Camry because of reliability, trust and features. You target Camry based on comparable price and try to offer more warranty and services. Camry has trust. Mitsubishi has nothing. IT almost seemed like there was more to plug \ Toyota.

7:53 -- Chevrolet with kids having their mouth's washed out with soap, because they said "Holy ---" as the car went by. Unfortunately they only said the particular vehicle's name once and no name on shown,while my kid was jabbering. Wonder how many other parties had people miss the name?

9:23 -- Cadillac ad. Wind resistance fx. Saw it in the Matrix a few years ago. yawn. That's why they are your grandfather's Caddie.

Budweiserser/Bud Light

Usually the best overall group, but rarely does one stand out by much. No exception this year.

6:37 -- What does your dog do? Fetch the Bud Light. Crotch bite. It's hard to miss with a good crotch joke.

6:49 -- Cedric the Entertainer gets a Bikini Wax. Ouch. Again, only can show once. Bud's ad campaign gets that. So all of these are one shotters for the night. Will see them again during the year, though.

7:00 -- Budweiser ad with Ref tuning out abusive head coach complaining. TV crew wonders how he can ignore the yelling. Flash to the guy at home tuning out the wife. Every married guy smiles then quickly pretends not to when he realizes the wife is looking at him (or is that just me).

7:12 -- Budweiser Clydsdale tryouts. The donkey. Stupid. Expect to never see this one again.

8:55 -- Bud Light; Monkey pass. Monkey talks crudely to babe while guy is doing something else. It's a guy thing. Expect to see this one in the near future. Best in group.

9:24 -- Budweiser. "This isn't mine." lipstick in car isn't the babe's he tries to return it to. Predictable but decent.

Soda showings

Nothing but Pepsi products this year.

6:43 -- Grizzlies breaking into a cabin then going into town dressed as a person with ID to buy Pepsi. Eh. The animals are cute.

7:08 -- Sierra Mist ad with bagpipers. The set-up looked promising, but the delivery blew.

7:17 -- Pepsi and iTunes. Downloading songs will not end. A fine FU to the RIAA.

AOL TopSpeed ads. Dumb and pointless. The less said, the better. Complete whiff.

Credit Cards

7:45 -- Visa ad promoting the summer Olympics with the women's 2-person volley ball teams playing in the snow. Winner. Probably a guy thing.

9:32 -- Master Card. Homer Simpson, priceless. It's the Simpsons.

Worst in Show

9:54 -- ONDCP ad about stopping pot use by going backwards in time. Parents the anti-drug campaign. B--- s---. Looks bad when CBS will air this b.s. propaganda but won't air or PETA's line of crap.

Most disappointing.

6:37 -- Fed Ex's alien. That's what the hype was for? I preferred the "Doomed" ad.

8:56 -- Staples and the Godfather-esque supply manager. Cute, but who is it really appealing to? You half expect them to have just paid to license the Dilbert crew.

Other In order of appearance

6:03 -- California Cheese. Cows in the sprinklers set to "Lady" by Styx. WTF??? The fact that any part of an ad budget was wasted on this is mind blowing.

6:11 -- Tostistos. "You're a lucky man." Watching the game on Wedding day. Amusing but predictable.

6:20 -- Pizza Hut. Jessica Simpson and the Muppets. Gen X and Y appeal. The actual quality of the commercial was irrelevant considering the wave of nostalgia for the Muppet Show that hit. Smart choice.

6:54 -- H&R Block. The Willie Nelson advice doll. It made me smile. Keeping with the Willie Nelson tax trouble theme they ran last year. There's something to be said for the continuity.

Best in Show

A real upset.

8:34 -- NFL Network. Jerry Jones starts singing "Tomorrow" from Annie to Bill Parcells then cutting to Warren Sapp, then Priest Holmes and other NFL stars singing. Surprising. Funny. Unexpected.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Blogroll Updates

Added some new links to the side recently.

Wonkette is groovy, juicy DC gossip.

Mike Madison, is a Pitt law professor talking about the Pittsburgh area. He also had the extreme good taste to include the indispensable Pitt Sports Blather in his links (gotta get the extra plugs in where I can, and damn the subtlety).

Anita Campbell runs a tightly focused blog on small business and the issues they face. Met Anita a few weeks ago. Very sharp lady.

Read as a combo

Two articles that should be read together.

The first concerns "ideology" and how to ignore reality. It's a little cold, but is an important read.

The second has been linked by many, many bloggers. For good reason. It concerns a someone on the left who supported the Iraq war and the argument with a friend who opposed it. I had a similar argument with a friend last June, while I was no where near as persuasive (and I'm not on the left), the outcome was still the same.

My friend said, "I'm for the UN and international law, and I think you've become a traitor to the left. A neocon!"

I said, "I'm for overthrowing tyrants, and since when did overthrowing fascism become treason to the left?"

"But isn't George Bush himself a fascist, more or less? I mean-admit it!"

My own eyes widened. "You haven't the foggiest idea what fascism is," I said. "I always figured that a keen awareness of extreme oppression was the deepest trait of a left-wing heart. Mass graves, three hundred thousand missing Iraqis, a population crushed by thirty-five years of Baathist boots stomping on their faces-that is what fascism means! And you think that a few corrupt insider contracts with Bush's cronies at Halliburton and a bit of retrograde Bible-thumping and Bush's ridiculous tax cuts and his bonanzas for the super-rich are indistinguishable from that?-indistinguishable from fascism? From a politics of slaughter? Leftism is supposed to be a reality principle. Leftism is supposed to embody an ability to take in the big picture. The traitor to the left is you, my friend . . ."

But this made not the slightest sense to him, and there was nothing left to do but to hit each other over the head with our respective drinks.

That was all we could do. Keep drinking and change the topic to baseball.


(Copyright © 2002-2005 Chas Rich All rights Reserved.);
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