Thursday, December 27, 2007

The most wonderful time of the year.

Post-Christmas sales have started. One of the biggest sale items I'm seeing are the games for the Nintendo Wii. If you managed to get a Wii, now is not a bad time to buy Zelda or U R Mr Gay. Some people are accusing Nintendo of intentionally creating a shortage but I wager incompetence and fear were bigger reasons for the shortage. Nintendo didn't believe enough in their own system to up production when it would've meant something. Now they just don't have enough of them.

I personally want a Wii but refuse to put effort into finding one. I'm not going out of my way to force Nintendo to take my money thank you very much. They had better hope I keep interest long enough to find one. Last year I was kicking around the idea but there were none available. When I finally saw one in the store, it was getting near spring time. Boat repairs and maintenance took center stage at that point and there was just no money for something best used indoors. I didn't even think about it again until playing one about two weeks ago. If it's spring time again before I can get my hands on one, you can bet money that it will be next winter before I even consider it again.

Brick-and-mortar stores in general struggled this year while on-line retailers did quite well. You can probably guess where the sales will be. I'll be heading to Target today to try and score one of those plug-into-your-TV Ms Pac Man games for $10 if they still have any. I'm looking at taking one apart and wiring it up to some proper arcade controls for some proper Ms Pac-Man/Galaga goodness. I even found some old leaf spring joysticks and buttons to give it the right feel (springy instead of clicky). There are plenty of other odds and ends on sale there.

I'll probably also head to the board game kiosk at the mall to see if they've clearenced Settlers of Catan enough for my liking. For those who don't know, Settlers is easily the best board game made in the past 20 years or so and probably one of the best board games ever made. I'd put it 3rd behind Stratego and Chess. (Yeah, I know I put Stratego above Chess but I'm a sucker for incomplete information games. I would put dark chess above Stratego if it didn't require 3 boards and a ref who knows the game well.)

In non-nerd news, clothes sold rather poorly (especially women's clothing). Expect some massive sales for clothing in general.

What are you guys looking at getting this late-December-early-January shopping season? What are you returning?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Now, That's What I'm Talking About

Yessir. Getting geared up to go home and chill with the Moms and the Pops on Island City. This means that Pops will undoubtedly attempt to bait me into some sort of religious/political argument, most likely over the "War On Christmas" but possibly on Presidential politics. If I take the bait, the argument will get out of hand, as per usual, and all sorts of bourbon will be needed to unspool. I'll try not to take the bait, or (more likely) just hit the bourbon early and avoid much coherent thought (it is difficult, after all, to start an argument with a stumbling family member in a Georgia Bulldawgs' dreadlock beanie who won't stop talking like Lil' Doogie).

Luckily, I don't need to write out the entire transcripts for my readership, because folks like Doug over at Hey, Jenny Slater! have saved me the time and trouble by doing such a great job. In the latest installment, HJS takes on the "Catholic League" and their spokeshole William Donohue. I felt so much glee at reading this, that it warmed the cockles of my cynical, bitter, guilt-ridden Catholic heart.

I simply had to share it with all of you, especially those of you who constantly point out Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton's flaws. Demogougery is a two way street, after all.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Am I Missing Something Here?

The City of San Francisco is considering a tax on caffeine. It's part of the mayor's "Shape up San Francisco" program. Excess caffeine is bad for your health so I do understand a tax on caffeine being proposed in that package. But the thing that strikes me as odd is that the defense given for the tax is that the tax on caffeine will curb obesity. WHAT?! Taxing one of the main ingredients in over-the-counter diet pills is going to help the fight against obesity? It would appear that they really want to target high sugar drinks. Why then do they propose to tax caffeine instead? Wouldn't a sugar threshold make a lot more sense? Something is odd here. What am I missing? (And note that the typical answer of "Dirty politicians are trying to get money anywhere they can." only gets to be used only as a last resort.)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

War on Christmas Redux

I was flipping through the channels the other night and Bill O'Really was on FOX news talking about this year's "War on Christmas." I've got to go back to the archives to find some of the stuff we talked about over here.

This "War on Christmas" stuff has been going on for a while. I remember waay back when I was in CCD (Catholic meetings for young folks) lo, those many years ago back on Island City. One week during a holiday season, when I was growing my hair out and wearing steel toed combat boots around like I had something to prove, CCD brought in a guest speaker to tell us wayward kids about how we were "losing what Christmas was all about." His primary example? That some folks called Christmas "X-mas."

Being the smart ass that I was (so much has changed, after all) I raised the point that only a few weeks earlier, we had learned that Emperor Constantine of Rome had converted before a great battle, and had Chi - Rho labeled on some of his armies' banners. Chi - Rho were the first two Greek letters of "Christ," and the Greek symbol for Chi is an "X," so that saying "X-mas" is just a different way of saying "Christmas."

The Christmas Warriors (tm) also can't stand when I bring up that the word "holiday" is just a conjuntion of the words "Holy" and "Day." So all those folks who are mad at "Holiday Trees" and "Happy Holidays" are getting angry at people for saying, effectively, have a blessed Holy Day. But excuse me for being literate. (As a disclaimer, I do come from the only state in the Union to replace the Confederate flag on their state flag with a different Confederate flag but nobody's complaining anymore, such is the importance of symbolism...)

The guest speaker didn't like me very much. Can't imagine why. It sure is tough to let really real history get in the way of all that mythmaking. (HT: Clicked) But I've never been the expert on the Christmas thing anyway, as the holiday (there I go again) is generally a cold time of the year, and I prefer palm trees to misteltoe and red, red wine in a plastic cup on the beach to roasting chestnuts. But my parents have a fire pit in their back patio on Island City, so we make due. Least the ice in the cooler don't melt so fast, is what I'm sayin'.

The Moms, on the other hand, gets really into it, and there is a chance you will be able to see her house from orbit for all the shiny lights.

This year, the first blogger I see to bring up the tWOC is DADvocate, and though he and I see this issue very very differently, he brings up a hilarious point. The Surgeon General has chided Santa Claus for "being too fat" to role model to kids in our obese society. Now, that's comedy.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Tour Guides: Open Thread

The folks over at Georgia Sports Blog are compiling a eating/drinking guide for that army of Bulldawg fans that will overrun the Crescent City 'round about New Years. I've got my suggestions, for sure, but I wanted to open the field (especially to our Saints regulars who know what it is like to have fun in and around the Superdome) to any suggestions. When you write this, remember, almost every red and black clad individual making the trip will, at some point of the weekend, stroll down Bourbon Street.

My suggestions:

French Quarter
Angeli on Decatur - good pizza all night long (Decatur & Gov. Nicholls?)
Napoleon House - nice place for lunch, try the bread pudding (Chartres & St Louis)
Molly's on the Market - drinks in a low key atmosphere (Decatur & Ursuline)
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop - drinks in an 18th Century atmosphere (Bourbon & St. Phillip)
And when you're done with the Quarter, walk East past Esplanade to find Frenchmen Street, and walk up and down like it is Clayton Street in Athens.

Downtown (CBD)/Warehouse District
coming soon

Uptown
coming soon

Around the Superdome

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

25 Skills to Have

This article is titled "25 Skills Every Man Should Know" but really anyone should learn how to do most of these. How many do you know how to do? Some of them are more important than others. For example, you can learn to use a torque wrench by thumbing through the instructions so I wouldn't go out of my way to learn that before it's needed. However, learning to maneuver a car out of a skid should be something everyone learns to do well before it's needed.

Personally, I can confidently do 21 of the items. I've never cleaned a bolt-action rifle. I have no idea how to do CPR. And I don't trust a radiator hose I've patched to last for long enough to be useful. I've tried and failed that same technique on a pressure washer hose. I'm also not a pro at rescuing capsized boaters. I could probably do it if needed, but I wouldn't mark it as a "Yes."

One thing I will say is that if you wish to learn how to do any of these things, start by disregarding any instructions you see on MSN. The instructions for framing a wall are downright scary. They'll have you cutting up your floor instead of measuring and cutting your bottom plate right in the first place for a door.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tourney

Crap.

Man, I really need to do something else for employment. Here it is after four or five days, and only now do I notice that two notorious Georgia bloggers were down in New Orleans, playing cards, of all things, downtown at Harrah's. Here's hoping that Sara and Drifting Through the Grift had a good time in the Crescent City, and take some good stories back to tell all they frens back in the Empire.

Here's also hoping that next time, I can be Johnny on the Spot and buy any visiting Georgia bloggers a drink. I know I'll get another chance sometime around New Years Day at least...

Truth Served Cold

I meant to post a link to this article by Jason Whitlock when it first came out, but it slipped away in the middle of a long weekend. Though the article got the nod from many major news and sports outlets, it did get buried rather quickly. Luckily, DADvocate posts this reminder and asks the same important questions that I think we all need to be asking.

It reminded me of where I live, and this telling post on the MD Filter back in September. And, unless anyone has forgotten, that was in September, then there was October and even more telling numbers.

Happily for the nation's national consciousness, no Presidential Debates will be hosted in New Orleans, so all those pressing and unpleasant issues (among other notables, please see also: infrastructure) will remain answered with only silence from those who are hoping to lead this nation.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

JAX

The City of Jacksonville, Florida has a guest column over at EDSBS, and it is well worth the read.

I'm sure Dante will be commenting shortly. Matter of fact, Owed Many Beers may even chime in on this one. Here's a little backstory.

When you go almost anywhere else, if you're from Georgia, you are From Atlanta. Telling people that you grew up "near Jacksonville" elicits a confused look, as if they want to say "stupid redneck, Jacksonville is like, in Florida or something" (because many of them don't actually know). But Jax doesn't fit that Miami-Tampa-Panama City Floridian mythology, so they hold their tongues, nodding and smiling at their new stupid redneck friend.

But when you grow up in Coastal Georgia, you're growing up either In Savannah or Somewhere Near Jacksonville. Not that growing up Near Jacksonville means much of anything, because, unlike most cities that dominate their surrounding areas (see also: In Savannah; From Atlanta), Jacksonville will just leave you alone, let you listen to their radio stations, sell you beer on Sunday, and sell your local ne'erdowells all the imported cannabis they can fit into a trunk and bring back through the Camden County roadblocks. More on the Camden County angle from Dante and OMB in a moment.

I always loved Jacksonville, though, because of the way they go about things. Any city that has the balls to put up with the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party for so many years deserves a significant amount of street cred in the first place. When they found out they were hosting the Super Bowl some years back, they responded by tearing up their entire intracity infrastructure, including interstates, and rebuilding them for the game. They had a radio station in the 90's that played alt-rock and hip-hop in the same format, and would play real heavy metal at night. They introduced the first releases of a band called "Limp Bizkit," back when that sound was fresh, never realizing what they were unleashing on the world. The mayor of Jax was discussing development at one point and said that, while they welcomed investment, they would not tolerate becoming the next Atlanta, which touched off a huge rivalry. One of the best music venues I've ever been to was Jackrabbit's, though for the life of me I can't remember where it was - I just remember that I inexplicably had to cross two or three major bridges to get there.

But I never went there a lot. I lived 45 minutes away from this rather large city for most of my life, had a major ex-girlfriend who is from there, and have maybe been there only 20 times. I've been to Waycross, Georgia about as many times, and Savannah always won on the day trip debate if a choice had to be made.

So I have to take the city's word for it when it comes to sense of self. But my trips there always had to do with watching rock and roll or going to a beach or buying beer on a Sunday, so my impression of the place is a little warmer and fuzzier than the self evaluation.