February 2, 2008

Children today are so lucky

So, yeah. Apparently you can now buy a LEGO set of the entire opening scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

This is a very curious tie-in for LEGO. I say that because while LEGO has done many awesome tie-ins over the last few years (Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, etc.) this is the first LEGO theme based on a series of movies that revolved heavily on two major elements: occult religous artifacts and Nazis. I imagine common decency and the threat of global outrage will prevent LEGO from making any playsets involving either.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:38 PM

February 1, 2008

With friends like these

In a gesture that I can only guess is a unique blend of political triangulation, self-promotion, and genuine, honest insanity, Ann Coulter is now claiming she'll vote for Hillary Clinton over John McCain.

Now, granted, most rational people take Mahmoud Ahmadinejad more seriously than Ann Coulter, but it's a fascinating look into the right-wing hatred of John McCain. I seriously doubt she'll actually vote for Hillary Clinton, but perhaps there is something to be said about the idea that McCain will have hard-right Republicans staying home as opposed to being motivated by Hillary Clinton to go out and vote. I don't know how that would affect the national race but it certainly offers optimism for the Democrats on down-ticket races.

And if anything, it's fun watching Alan Colmes literally not be allowed to speak.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:40 AM


I called in sick from work today for the first time since, well, high school. I'm sort of the alternate extreme end of the health care problem in America- there's all these stories about people who struggle with the health care system, and my problem is I wouldn't know where to start struggling if I wanted to.

Here's the thing- I'm not bragging about it or anything, but I almost never get sick. I was the one member of my entire family who didn't have asthsma. I never injured myself and needed to go to the emergency room. I never needed braces, never had a cavity. I'm pretty much Bruce Willis in Unbreakable only with a lot more hair and body fat.

The disadvantage of this is twofold: one, when I get a cold, as I do about twice a year and am experiencing right now, it destroys me. A bad enough sinus problem and I can hardly stand up. I guess you could describe it like someone who, as an adult, had never been stung by a bee as a child. They're probably more scared of bees that other people who were stung as a kid because they don't actually have a base point of what a bee sting is really like. This is getting weird but, hey, I'm on drugs right now.

And two, which goes back to the original point of my post, I have absolutely no idea how this country's health care system works. I keep hearing friends talk about "referrals" and "specialists" and I have no idea what they're talking about because my last major doctor's appointment was at an office where teddy bears holding balloons were painted on the wall and at the end of my checkup I got a sticker and a pretzel rod. So you have to imagine how confused I am about all of this when I have a cold, and I go to my magical all-knowing insurance company's website, and it gives me a list of ten doctors in my area, who I then call and am told by every single one of them that I can't actually go to them today because they "aren't enrolling new patients." See, when you never get sick, ergo never need to see a doctor, it doesn't really register with you that you're supposed to sign up with a doctor in advance to, what- have on retainer? I don't even know.

Ultimately, what's going to happen with me is what's going to happen with I would guess most other people in America, even the ones with health care coverage- we're gonna grab the bottle of NyQuil and lie down and hope for the best. That's really depressing, if you think about it: so many people are lucky enough in this country to have health insurance, and for basic health care coverage, their doctor has to be over-the-counter items from the local Duane Reade. It's kind of amazing that we're constantly asking how we can be a country with so many people unable to see a doctor... and we don't even mean the people who actually have health insurance... and are unable to se a doctor.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:54 AM

January 30, 2008

Please stop it

Please, just stop. Hillary Clinton is not going to ask Barack Obama to be Vice-President. It is not going to happen. It was never going to happen. There is no conceivable reason for it to happen.*

Barack Obama is very young, both as a person and a politician. If Hillary Clinton becomes president and is re-elected in 2012, Barack Obama will be 55 on the day of the 2016 election- five years younger than Clinton is right now. He can honestly wait for another four/eight years to run for president again, and especially with someone as dynamic as Hillary Clinton as president, it seems very unlikely the office of vice-president will be anywhere near as career-building as being a sitting senator in a Democratic majority for another four or eight years.

Likewise, as far as demographics go, Obama provides nothing to the ticket. He doesn't give her any added states in the general. Overall, the biggest threat Clinton faces in the general against John McCain is not young voters, women, or minorities, but older white male voters who will gravitate to McCain like a bug lamp- half because they like McCain, and half because they really, really hate Hillary Clinton. Obama is not going to pull those voters in.

Barack Obama is dead weight to a Hillary Clinton candidacy, and Hillary Clinton is an anchor to the long-term ambitions of Barack Obama. Making him vice-president isn't moving him up, it's locking him away in a closet and I can't believe Obama and his team aren't smart enough to know all that.

* Okay, I'm saving this part for the end: obviously, there's a conceivable reason to suggest Hillary make Obama her VP, and it's mostly coming from pro-Hillary places (like, for example, TalkLeft). It's pretty clear that in a "pulls in voters" sense, Clinton needs Obama a lot more than Obama needs Clinton. And it's also pretty clear that the likely picks for Clinton- Bayh, Vilasack, maybe Richardson- are not going to make her candidacy inspiring during the primary. Basically, the idea that Obama will join the Hillary ticket makes the idea of voting for Hillary a lot more palatable. The problem is it's as likely as the Kerry/McCain rumors of 2004, and just as stupid.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:22 PM

Reader request

A longtime reader is looking for an MP3 and wants to know if anyone has this:

...an MP3 made by a DJ by the name of Rx. It's a remix of the Melle Mell song "White Lines" done using samples from George W Bush speeches. This song was used at the end of a documentary called "American Drug War" (and the credit roll has other sounds, etc. thus making that instance of the song unsuitable) and only appeared once on a media file server online.

Anyone out there able to help?

Update: Foundted! Thanks to other longtime reader Louisa, who will receive an imaginary puppy immediately.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:10 PM

Idiots with microphones

These people have the same job title as Edward R. Murrow. This is because there is no law that prevents that.

There should be.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:06 AM

Epic fail

I'm not jumping for joy at McCain's victory in Florida or anything- given his leads in the Feb. 5 states it's pretty likely we're going to have the toughest possible GOP challenger facing the Democrat now- but I am also hearing that the final act of subservience to McCain's campaign this morning will be the dropping out of Rudy Giuliani, and that's just, well, amazing. I've just never seen a perceived frontrunner collapse so greatly, so quickly.

I never wanted Giuliani to be anywhere close to the lead, and yet that's where he was for practically three years. It's simply amazing that he could have lost so badly in so many primaries. What was his strategy? There wasn't one.

That we avoided a Giuliani presidency is a great thing. The man was George W. Bush with ambition- a corrupt, vindictive Napoleon who would have gone down in history being compared with Nixon's level of secrecy and paranoia and Bush's record of effectiveness. He was violent and greedy and used 9/11 like a comma when talking. He's easily the only Republican candidate who could have had a White House that historians would argue was worse than his predecessor's.

Sadly, Giuliani is no more vanquished than any other candidate- he'll likely retire to a position in a consulting or legal firm where he will make, quite honestly, more money than most of us will ever see in our lives. But at the very least, he won't be able to have someone killed without actually paying for it. So we've got that.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:45 AM

January 28, 2008

Story Time with Governor Sebelius

With all due respect to Ezra's recent praise of her (and her alleged VP potential), if that was Kathleen Sebelius' coming out party then I think she needs to go back in for a little longer. Thankfully, the State of the Union address was just as boring, but the Democratic response still shouldn't put me to sleep. That Sebelius' "good night; god bless" at the very end actually reminded me of my grammy tucking me in after reading a storybook to me is probably not the kind of image the Democrats were looking for.

Look, I'm sure Gov. Sebelius is a great person and a wonderful politician, but last year's response was Jim Webb, who kept you on the edge of your seat with a combination of a compelling speech and the knowledge that he's batshit and could have just gone straight for the cameraman's throat at any point during the rebuttal because he's actually a shaved Animal from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. There's simply no comparison.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:30 PM

"In the white men room"

Latest comic - click here!

I've noticed a trend this primary season on CNN- they have a very unique method of covering the primaries. Basically, every major primary or caucus, the coverage is done in their giant, expensive high-tech studio setup, where the two white male anchors get to play with lots of high-tech gadgets and devices. My favorite, of course, is their giant iPhone touch-screen TV thingie which is not needed in any way to cover an election. They clearly just think it's very neat and like touching buttons. Every now and then, one of the two white male lead anchors wants a varying opinion. For this, they walk all the way across the studio to this little table where all the female, black, and/or old pundits are sitting with tiny little Dell computers.

Not to be considered completely biased, there are certain days when women are allowed to anchor political coverage on major cable news networks. These are known as "weekends." They don't get to touch the giant TV at all.

The layout of racial demographics in cable news hosting is not a new subject here, but given the amount of time wasted in the last month about how Hillary Clinton is a woman and Barack Obama is black it's starting to get just a tad aggravating. Let them play with your giant metaphoric computer screen, Wolf. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Buy some crap and join the list.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:47 AM