AJ Ericksen's Blog World

Tuesday, November 30

Ken Jennings Loses

To confirm earlier Suspicions,click Here to hear audio of the loss.

Update: According to the Associated Press, Jennings has a book deal, scheduled appearances on Letterman and Regis (with the lovely Kelly Ripa), and is seeking endorsement opportunities. Likely, that's what H&R Block is thinking by offering him free tax preparation services for life.

Reality TV

ESPN's Bill Simmons opines on the state of Reality TV in today's column. Sharing my sentiments that "The Bachelor" is horrible TV no man should watch, he writes:
There's a reason this [the 'Bachelor' dumping his new fiancee before walking down the aisle] keeps happening -- these guys became well-known celebs because of the show, but there's a three-month lapse between the final choice and the final episode when they're sequestered from their "future fiancee." Once they realize they can hook up with hot chicks outside the show because of their new-found celebrity, suddenly they don't need to settle down anymore. Now that, my friends, is the definition of irony. These guys sign on to find true love and end up plowing through one-nighters like Colin Farrell. It's the most dramatic STD yet!
More importantly however, I was delighted to learn that Bill and I share the same guilty pleasure, Blind Date
I'm just coming right out and saying it: This show is my No. 1 Guilty Pleasure in life, which is a whole other column. But it's the only show that consistently makes me laugh out loud at least once an episode.

And yes, that's a sad reflection on the state of TV comedy today. But the writing, editing and graphics are as good as anything going right now. Seriously. Just watch one episode. It's like smoking that first cigarette in Vegas -- once you start, you can't stop.

Saturday, November 27

Academia

If you, like me, are a conservative-leaning student, likely you are sick of arrogant, left-wing, self-important, socialist professors who would refuse to even dignify a conservative's arguments and bemoan that a majority of Americans vote Republican.

For you, George Will's latest column -- "Academia, Stuck To the Left" -- is a great read. Among other things, he notes that Harvard and the University of California System are the largest corporate political contributors, ahead of Time-Warner, Goldman-Sachs, and Microsoft. Enjoy some of his always-eloquent prose:
Many campuses are intellectual versions of one-party nations -- except such nations usually have the merit, such as it is, of candor about their ideological monopolies. In contrast, American campuses have more insistently proclaimed their commitment to diversity as they have become more intellectually monochrome.

They do indeed cultivate diversity -- in race, skin color, ethnicity, sexual preference. In everything but thought.
Emphasis added.

Car Update

Here is what MacGyver did to provide drainage to my Integra:

With drill in hand and a smile on my bearded face, I prepare to make the holes.


After breaking one bit that got tangled in the carpet and then cutting back the carpet to expose the floor boards, I drilled.


In total, there are now six drainage holes. My brother Paul assisted in the process, drilling two holes.


Our nephew, Carter, presided over the whole affair. (Actually, he arrived later in the evening.)

Tuesday, November 23

Cuban on The Donald

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban mocks Donald Trump and his recent bankruptcy filing.

Ugly guys with money still score.

Monday, November 22

Monsoons & MacGyver

For almost two straight weeks, the rain's been coming down on Austin, Texas. Everything is a big, wet mess. And when I say everything, I mean Hilda -- my '92 Integra.

Hilda is old and has been in accidents before so, when it really pours, some of that water breaches the hull, so to speak. The result is a puddle of water on floor on the driver's side -- which is both embarrassing and humidifying.

Sure, I could attack this problem with a wet/dry vac or some towels. But I want a more permanent solution. I thought to myself, What would MacGyver do?

What would MacGyver do?

Two things came to mind: a Swiss army knife and a roll of duct tape. I haven't thought of knife-based solution, and taping the door and window shut presents certain obvious problems vis-a-vis in- and egress.

My solution (to be done on Wednesday when I have access to my dad's tools): Drill a small hole through the floorboard for drainage. Is this ghetto or Phoenix Foundation? Moreover, does anybody have a better solution?

Friday, November 19

Mormon = Moron? (Part 2)

Yesterday's Post, reader Sabra M. forwarded me the follow-up message:
Subject: Follow up on Crystal City problem

Thanks for all of the responses. It appears that this incident was in fact a [deleted] 1st Ward family home evening event. We will post a message on the Crystal City neighborhood e-mail list and explain the situation.

This event reminds us all that we live among people who have little understanding about our church -- in fact many have misunderstandings about our church. In Utah, for example, a service project like this would be fully understood and considered fun, but here in Washington, D.C., people became very upset and even scared with unknown people knocking on their doors in evening hours.

I am the biggest supporter of the [deleted] Wards having been a member for many years. The people that attend these wards are terrific! Let's just be careful to use good judgment in the future.

Thanks,

Bishop [deleted]
[deleted] Ward (italics added)
I am frequently amazed at how often our people become so insulated from "the world" that they have no grasp of basic social norms.

Thursday, November 18

Mormon = Moron?

We're not in Provo anymore, Toto.--This Blog's Washington D.C. correspondent Kristen sent me the listserv message below. In it, we see how cheesy, Provo-style "wholesome entertainment" can go woefully awry. It's frightening because, deep down, I know members of my ward could easily wreak similar havoc on Austinites.
Dear LDS Members,

A group of three individuals went through Crystal City neighborhood on Monday night knocking on people's doors offering to do service projects as part of a "service scavenger hunt." Since it was dark and some of the services offered seemed a little off to these people, Arlington Police were called. The group identified themselves as being Mormon. As a result, the Crystal City neighborhood e-mail list has been blazing with all kinds of information about this group. [Probably, not all of this information is accurate or positive.]

There are several LDS families that receive these neighborhood e-mail postings and they are concerned that the church is being misrepresented.

But since it happened on Monday night, it make me concerned that a "fun family home evening project" might have turned into "scare an entire neighborhood project."

The group offered to rake leaves. One person claims they offered to clean their toilet. Another person said they offered to read to their children. Obviously, all of these request threw up read flags for people who are extremely concerned about crime in their very urban neighborhood.

If anybody knows anything about this, please send me a message. If LDS people are involved, we would at least like to set the record straight so their neighborhood does not have to be concerned about a potential crime issue in their neighborhood. [Between the lines: Don't be such morons. Think a little bit about others' perceptions of you.]

Thanks,

Bishop [Deleted]
[Deleted] Ward

Wednesday, November 17

Gilligan's Island

As you have doubtless notice between airing Steven Seagal movies, TBS features a new show this month called The Real Gilligan's Island. Expectations are low -- the original wasn't very good either (although it's success surprised most critics).

Anyway, the cast (there are two) really adds fire to that age-old debate: Ginger or Mary Ann?

I've always been a Mary Ann guy, but it seems producers are determined to tip the scale for Ginger. There are two hot Gingers -- Rachel Hunter (nice but older) and Nicole Eggert (Charles in Charge girl grown up) -- but only one of the Mary Anns qualifies as a major babe. But she might be enough to beat the Gingers.

You be the judge:
vs. vs.

Monday, November 15

To Gamers Everywhere

McSweeney's has a piece today titled "An Open Letter to My 22-Year-Old Self." It's a good read for anybody who spends a lot of time dedicated to gaming:
"Pathetic bastards," you say, "they've allowed themselves to become controlled by their girlfriends." Here's the thing, though: when your friends go home at night, they are having sex with these girlfriends. You, on the other hand, are playing three to four hours of video games, not to speak of the time spent searching the Internet for cheat codes.

Wednesday, November 10

Money-Shot with the Queen

Check out the smile on the bloke at left
[Source: thisislondon.com]

"After Arafat, Hope"

William Safire writes of Arafat in The New York Times:
The only lifelong terrorist to win a Nobel Peace Prize lies comatose in Paris, with his well-heeled wife - for years unwilling to share his privations in Ramallah - screaming at Palestinian leaders on Al Jazeera television that "they're trying to bury [him] alive!" More likely, they may be trying to learn in what secret accounts he buried millions of dollars.
Also, be aware that The Wall Street Journal is available free (normally for subscribers only) online this week. That paper has the best editorial page, bar none.

Monday, November 8

"Pearl Harbor" Lyrics

Click Here.

Souvenir of a Campaign


[Thanks Kristen]

Friday, November 5

The Values-Vote Myth

More on the "moral values" vote, today from The New York Times op-ed page. David Brooks discusses the "misleading result" that comes from "an inept question" in the exit polls, and there is good news in his analysis for liberals and conservatives alike. It's a rare even-handed Times op-ed piece.

But since I'm conservative, let me also highlight a little jab at liberal elites:
But the same insularity that caused many liberals to lose touch with the rest of the country now causes them to simplify, misunderstand and condescend to the people who voted for Bush. If you want to understand why Democrats keep losing elections, just listen to some coastal and university town liberals talk about how conformist and intolerant people in Red America are. It makes you wonder: why is it that people who are completely closed-minded talk endlessly about how open-minded they are?

Thursday, November 4

"Moral Values"

So much has been made by people at both ends of the political spectrum about the masses of voters who turned out for Bush citing "moral values" as their most important issue.

Liberals view "moral values" as meaning homophobes and Pro Lifers who would take away people's civil rights. I am not a homophobe, but I am Pro Life; these attacks from the left are disturbing in their ignorance and because of the real contempt liberals have for fellow citizens they view as uneducated, unenlightened, superstitious rubes. They cannot seem to except that being Pro Life or Pro Choice is just a choice about what you value more: the life of the unborn or a woman's ability to choose. Both are important values, and reasonable people will weigh them differently.

Anyway, I digress. I only meant to post this point from The Economist, showing that these "values" voters aren't who many think they are:
Yet there is counter-evidence. When asked directly about their attitudes to abortion, the responses this time were no different from 2000: 55% said it should be always or mostly legal. On gay marriage, 26% approved and 35% supported civil unions. So it is possible that “moral values” are not just a matter of social conservatism but also code for trust in the candidate, or respect for a man’s willingness to take a stand—where Mr Bush won easily. Mr Kerry never quite managed to persuade voters of his leadership qualities.

Sports Guy's Take on NBA

Bill Simmons describes the differences between the Eastern and the Western Conferences thus:
"In the National Basketball Association, the East and West conferences are like the Hilton Sisters. Maybe they look alike, and maybe they're both overrated products that receive far too much hype, but one of them is ten times more interesting than the other. And in this case, the West is Paris Hilton."
Hey, hot stuff.
[Clearly Paris, at right, is more fun than little sister.]

Wednesday, November 3

Finally, It's Over

Reaching these goals will require the broad support of Americans. So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us.
[Source: www.nytimes.com. Doesn't Barbara look stunning?]

Click on the image for transcripts of Kerry's concession (one of his best speeches) and Bush's gracious victory speech (with a special shout out to Texas).

P.S.This Blog joins ESPN Page 3 in a bipartisan sigh of relief that now celebrity endorsers can shut up. Stick to your day job or, in the case of fading stars and B-list celebs, get a day job. An sample from this fine article:
Puff Daddy -- er, P. Diddy, Puffy Combs, whatever -- implores us to "vote or die." He wants us to take back our country. Agreed. Why don't we start by taking back every classic song you've sampled and ruined over the last decade?

Tuesday, November 2

Election Coverage

Just listening to Ron Reagan, the left-wing son of the Great Communicator, spew his self-righteous vitriol against religious conservatives is almost enough to make me switch from MSNBC's excellent coverage to another network. As evangelical voters give Bush solid victories in contested states like Colorado, all he can do is attack these poor, benighted (to him) souls.

Why do liberals constantly and arrogantly proclaim that their secular morals are so vastly superior the moral values cherished by people of faith? What snobbery!

More importantly, where is Natalie Morales, the most beautiful anchor in cable news? She was filing reports just before the polls started closing. I wish she were on instead of Reagan.