Category Archives: Observations

Can We PLEASE Get Rid of John Kerry?

Why the long face?

Why the long face?

Seriously.

Can we please get rid of John Forbes Kerry, the most ineffectual, useless, gutless, waste-of-space in the Senate today?

This poseur has been in the Senate since the early ’80s and, because he represents Massachusetts, has barely been challenged since. He has been hiding in Ted Kennedy’s (considerable) shadow since then, occasionally showing up to Washington between trips to his various yachts (including gas-guzzling powerboats – so much for the value (or credibility) of Al Gore’s endorsement), mansions and vacation spots.

Can you think of one useful piece of legislation the guy has been responsible for in all those years?

Say what you will about Ted Kennedy, at least no one accuses him of not representing the Commonwealth, taking a stand on an issue or making his mark during his tenure. Can you say that about Kerry? The guy’s a key example in Wikipedia under the term “flip-flop”.  You think I’m kidding?

Completely, utterly, gutless and useless.

You know, it’s one thing to be useless, it’s another thing to be arrogant and useless. And that’s why I particularly despise this guy.

Here’s a quote from Kerry just after a brief “debate” with his Democratic challenger on TV this morning, when asked if there’d be any more debates:

“This is what we negotiated, this is what we agree to, and we’ve done it,” he said. “I go back to work in Washington. I’ve got a full-time job, unlike my opponent.”

Are you kidding me?!

He’s never held a job, made a payroll, started a business, run a business or even worked in the private sector, to my knowledge. He comes from money, marries into super-money, does a half-assed job as Senator, loses his bid to the Presidency to the most ridiculed, least-liked sitting President in modern times, and that’s his attitude?

Shouldn’t he have retired in embarrassment after that? I guess if you have no shame you can’t be embarrassed. Of course, had he any shame he wouldn’t be running for re-election on his record, such as it is.

The sad thing is, we’re still in Massachusetts, there’s no one that will challenge him who’s got any gravitas and so we are likely to have to endure this effete, haughty, empty suit and haircut of a politician for yet another six years.

Crassen rassen frassen…

 

[for an updated and sympathetic view, check this out]

On Amazon: The Totalitarian Two-Fer

(I know I’m a little late with this, but here it is nonetheless…)

I had mixed emotions about the Olympic Games in China, especially after witnessing the opening ceremonies.

I couldn’t help thinking I had seen something like this before. So when NBC started hawking a DVD of the Opening Ceremonies in their entirety…

I clicked through…

NBC DVD

NBC DVD

but decided to see what they had on Amazon, just in case…

and, lo and behold….

 

(c) 2008 Stevie the K. All rights reserved

(c) 2008 Stevie the K. All rights reserved

The Other Side of Soccer: Our Idiots are Tougher than Your Idiots

I guess I don’t give this side of soccer much attention, because it tends not to be an issue here in the States, but perhaps it’s an inevitable consequence of soccer’s global emergence.

Or, just another example of the increased idiocy level of people in groups.

Crew-West Ham United friendly marred by brawl between fans

Security guards hold back fans after a fight broke out at an exhibition match between MLS' Columbus Crew and English Premier League side West Ham United.

Security guards hold back fans after a fight broke out at an exhibition match between MLS' Columbus Crew and English Premier League side West Ham United.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Owe Starbucks a Debt of Gratitude

Recently, the Starbucks chain of coffee shops announced a series of store closures, indicating an economic retrenchment after many years of rapid growth. In some circles, this stumbling on Starbucks’ part has been met with cheers of satisfaction, as if a hated style of music had fallen on hard times.

One of the phenomena of our popular culture that has amused me over the last ten years or so is the almost religious hatred that some people have for Starbucks. Unwittingly turning the power of successful branding on its head, these people take it upon themselves as a badge of honor to reject Starbucks as a kind of self-awarded validation of their middle-class rootedness.  Even some very wealthy people do this. Think Mike Barnicle, for example.

They embrace, say, Dunkin’ Donuts as their coffee source of choice as if to say, “I’m a regular guy, ’cause I hate Starbucks”. But in fact, coffee costs pretty much the same at either shop. So it’s not an economic issue.

So go on with your smug, self-satisfied rejection of Starbucks. Because that has everything to do with your self-image; reject the comfy furniture, the calming wood interiors, the soft lighting, the idiotic substitution of foreign-sounding words for “small, medium or large”, or the availability of wi-fi so that a pretentious doofus can sit at a table for a few hours with their laptop pretending to workfor whatever reason.

The irony is, that no matter where you do enjoy getting your coffee from, that coffee is better because of the existence of Starbucks. In fact, Starbucks is the one core reason why good coffee is available nearly everywhere nowadays. But not too long ago, that was not the case.

Fifteen or more years ago, Dunkin’ Donuts, along with virtually every other place that served coffee, did so from one of those “Bunn-O-Matic” hot plate-heated glass carafes, using some crappy generic ground coffee obtained through a food distributor who probably also provided the napkins and the Sweet-n-Lo.  That coffee was made by some disinterested person opening up the store in the morning, and it sat there until it was gone and someone had to make more. Or, if the place wasn’t busy, it would sit there on the burner and get burnt. Or, perhaps someone put in too much water and you drank hot brown water.

I often hear how people who claim to hate Starbucks do so because they don’t like the coffee. “It tastes burnt”.  “It’s bitter”.  However I’ve found that many of those same people don’t drink their coffee black. Of course, that’s a matter of taste, but if you’re one of those people who dumps three sugars and half a cup of milk into their coffee, then your opinion really doesn’t matter. Because you don’t really care what real coffee tastes like. Or smells like.

But for those who actually like the smell and taste of good coffee, say a big “thank you” to the fact that Starbucks exists. Because they raised the bar for everyone. Before, you couldn’t find a dependably good cup of coffee anywhere. Now, local coffee shops thrive in virtually every town, because people now know what good coffee tastes like, and they demand it. McDonalds has great coffee now because of Starbucks. And yes, Dunkin’ Donuts has great coffee because of Starbucks.

For what it’s worth, I like Starbucks. And Dunkin’ Donuts. And McDonalds. And I’m glad I can get a really good cup of coffee at any of them. But I also know why that is.

And now, so do you.

God’s Will?

One doesn’t want to be thought of as intolerant, or insensitive at a time of a family’s crisis, but after yet another example of a ‘faith-healing’ family’s child dying needlessly, I’m going to spew.

Does it ever dawn on these people that perhaps, just perhaps, God, the Holy One, blessed be He, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, gave us the ability to reason so that we could discover medicine and scientific breakthroughs and actually heal the sick with that intelligence and capability?

Why do these morons insist on cloaking themselves in stupidity and ignorance in the name of God?

Can’t faith and intelligence coexist?

Of course, this raises a whole set of discussions on faith and behavior, e.g. evolution vs. creationism and intelligent design, religious wars, intolerance between religions, etc.

Fine. Discuss.

 

Chelsea Fans: You Don’t Know What You’re Saying

Avram GrantI watched the great Chelsea v. Arsenal game yesterday in which Chelsea came from behind to beat Arsenal at home 2 to 1. Now, those of you who either know me personally or read this blog enough know that I personally don’t care who wins. I’m just an American who loves English football and I have the luxury of not being a supporter of any one team. I like to see great team play, great individual talent and execution and, when it happens, great tactical adjustments by managers.

Now, if you’re still reading at this point, it’s likely because you like English football,  so I don’t have to recap the entire history of Chelsea’s change in management this year – the whole “cult of Mourinho” vs. Avram Grant and so on. Suffice it to say that it seems clear that the Chelsea fans, despite the successes the team has had since Grant’s assignment, still somehow feel that Mourinho is the only person who could possibly lead the team to the Premier League title.

So, with Chelsea down one-nil in the second half, when Grant made a daring double substitution inserting Anelka and Belletti in place of Ballack and Makalele, many in the crowd at Stamford Bridge started the mocking chant “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing”, along with invocations of Mourinho’s name.

Because soccer substitutions are permanent for the course of the game, they represent major strategic and tactical choices. The only American analog I can think of is in baseball, where the removal and substitution of a particular pitcher or hitter at a critical moment in a game can make or break the eventual outcome of that game. However, in my experience, while the fans may boo or moan, they don’t call the manager out in the same way as they do in soccer, where chants and songs are more traditional and commonplace. Instead, fans call up sports talk shows after the game is over and, with perfect 20-20 hindsight, proclaim their brilliance and insight.

Well, in this case, divine justice prevailed as Grant’s substitutes made an immediate and beneficial impact on the game, setting up two Didier Drogba strikes within eight minutes of each other, and giving Chelsea the victory. And although Grant, in an interview after the game, stated that he didn’t notice the fans’ mocking and disapproval, one can only speculate that he had, at least internally, a sense of personal satisfaction.

From my distant vantage point, I do not see or hear the day-to-day commentary or experience the cultural mood that comes with being a Chelsea fan. But it seems to me that Grant has come to Stamford Bridge under very challenging circumstances, produced excellent results and has comported himself with class. You’d think the Chelsea fans would appreciate that fact and enjoy it.

But clearly, “They Don’t Know What They’re Doing”.

Basking in the Sunny Rhetoric of Change

I’ve generally been staying away from politics in this blog – I think there are plenty of people covering the various positions with more enthusiasm and insight, without another semi-qualified bloviator chiming in. But really, what’s with all the smoochies for Obama?

I made fun of Hillary’s “35 years of change” for the empty, grasping phrase it was. But is it only because people are finally seeing her for the phony, say-or-do-whatever-it-takes-to-win mercenary she really is that people are embracing Barack Obama with such fervor? Or is it just because all the other choices (for Democrats, anyway) are out of the race? I’m not sure, because I felt that most of the Democrat choices were pathetic, empty vessels to begin with. Edwards was a total haircut, and his “two Americas” position was belied by his own ridiculously opulent lifestyle, funded by shaking down corporations in the courtroom. Biden was probably the only really qualified Democrat candidate, but as a long-term Senator, seen as part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

But all this “love” for Obama? Why?

Because compared to Hillary, he’s palatable. It’s as simple as that, unfortunately. And that’s all that’s left to the Democrats.

I mean, who among us didn’t throw up a little into our mouths when Hillary summed up her recent debate appearance by saying how “honored…truly honored” she was to be appearing with Barack Obama. Honored?! Are you kidding? She RESENTS his presence in HER run for the Presidency! This was supposed to be HER slam-dunk nomination! How’s she going to be the First Woman President? Honored? She’d kill the bastard if she could get away with it. And at this point, everyone’s kind of figured that out, at last.

So, those who consider themselves “Democrats” or to the Left can bask in the sunny, empty rhetoric of “change” coming from someone who isn’t Hillary. Never mind that he’s accomplished nothing that would qualify him to be President of the United States. You can even feel kind of good that you’re going to vote for a Black Guy who is (bonus!) well-spoken and not particularly threatening; proving (at least, to yourself) that you’re not, even in the least bit, prejudiced against black people. Sure, he sounds nice, and reasonable; you’re sure he really represents the best hopes and aspirations for the country, right?

Here’s a couple of nice pieces casting some criticism on Mr. and Mrs. Obama. ‘Cause if the Clinton Presidency taught us anything, it’s that you’re getting the spouse with the candidate.

I think what’s really needed is an alternative to the flawed primary system that doesn’t let ninety percent of the American people vote for the candidates they’re REALLY interested in supporting. Why do a few, unrepresentative doofuses in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina get to influence MY opportunity to vote? I’m sure I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Alternatives, please!