Category Archives: thoughts – incensed

dear HGTV…

I normally love your channel. I like seeing all of the ideas that I could do in the house and yard for fairly little money. I like seeing the really awesome designs that some people can come up with. For the most part, you and I are tight.

However, your commercial for your new show “Sleep on It” makes me gag. The faux-musical number just leaves me diving for the remote whenever I see it. The show looks like an interesting idea – prospective buyers stay a night in the house to see if they really like it – but I’ll never watch it because of the horrible commercial.

I hope that you can find it within you to realize that this was not a wise choice, and come up with something that doesn’t make me scream inside whenever I see it.

Love, Brandon

the one time you’ll ever see political commentary here

I feel reasonably certain that I’ve never made political commentary on this site before. There are several reasons for this. One is that I don’t tend to follow politics all that much. This stems from many things, not the least of which is my complete and utter disdain for the whole process. It seems like it’s almost better if you don’t win, because then you get to complain about the person/party that’s currently in office, and tell all of the city/state/country that if only you had been elected, things would be so much different.

I know better than to say that my life goes by unimpeded by the political process. Without it, I don’t have the roads to drive on to go to work, or quite possibly a job to go to without initiative for small business owners. And so on. But I’ll come right out and say it…I really don’t see that much first-hand contact with the government and politics in general in my day-to-day life. And that’s exactly how I like it.

The above statement probably gave you a pretty good insight into what I believe politically, but if you require me to say red or blue, I’ll tell you I’m a Republican. This is not to say that I’d always vote a straight ticket, or for that matter, that I restrict my beliefs into one of the two parties. For example, I like some of what the Libertarian Party thinks. But there’s also some of it that I very strongly disagree with.

Anyway, I realize that the “laissez-faire” style I like is not the case for many people around the country. Whether you’re trying to convince someone that another tax cut is just what the economy needs to continue moving forward, or that the social topic du jour (I won’t say it here, but it rhymes with “day carriage”) applies to you in a specific way and you feel shorted by the system, there are plenty of people out there who are trying to get ahead via the political process.

The problem is that they think by advocating one of two sides or candidates, that this will be the case.

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the sixth ring

The University of Florida has the worst football ticket ordering system in the country.

Here’s the deal. Starting Friday, at specified times, students can call in to the ticket office and request tickets. There is no other way to get tickets. In effect, this reduces the entire campus to a large mass of speed-dialers and redialers, trying to be one of the 20 or so who can get in and get a ticket at any one time. This is rather difficult when you’ve got about 40,000 people vying for one of those lines.

I have tickets now, thankfully, but it wasn’t without a lot of busy signals and “This line is busy…we will continue to try the number for 30 minutes for 90 cents” messages and a couple of cramped fingers at the end.

And by the way, the title of this entry has nothing to do with the phone system. It’s the particular area in Dante’s Inferno that I’d liken this situation to, if repeated ad infinitum.

a few lessons ALDOT should learn

Driving to my hometown this past Friday, I decided that I would try something different and take the Alabama River Parkway. This proved to be a terrible mistake.

A little background might be necessary, so here goes. Montgomery, Alabama is a nice enough town. However, it has had road construction around the I-65/I-85 junction area for the last seven years. The construction is slated to end in approximately spring, 2017. Well, it seems that way, anyway.

At any rate, making it through Montgomery to Highway 231 and the homestretch of my journey takes roughly 30 minutes. Which isn’t horrible, but it could probably be better.

Enter the Alabama River Parkway. This toll road, off of the same exit 179 of “Interstate or 82” fame, claims to allow its travellers to bypass all that nasty construction and reach the desired goal of Highway 231 more quickly.

Coming toward Montgomery from Birmingham, a few miles before the exit, is a billboard proclaiming the joy that is this turnpike. On the billboard is a lady waving a construction flag, beckoning you to turn off of the interstate and head toward the parkway instead.

Oh, sure, she looks friendly, smiling at you and all. But she knows that it’s all a Siren song designed to trap unsuspecting drivers. I haven’t driven by that sign at night, so I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure that her eyes start glowing red when no one’s looking.

Anyway, back to the idea that I had to take the parkway. I turned off of the exit and proceeded toward the parkway. I get to the toll booth and pay my 75 cents, and begin my journey on the Little Parkway of Horrors.

Now, let’s decide on what makes a good toll road. Surely we could discuss this topic for days on end, but to be succinct, let’s restrict our line of thinking to this cardinal rule of a good parkway that I’m sure can be universally agreed upon: it should be designed to let us go at least as fast as the interstate would let us.

Given that one rule:

  • There should not be a speed limit of 35 on a parkway.
  • There should not be a red light on a parkway.
  • A toll road should not go through a residential area of a town.
  • A parkway should be designed to take you around congested traffic areas.
    • Corollary: it should not dump you directly into the middle of one.

Is this too much to ask? I don’t really think so, but ALDOT thinks differently. And as a result, my normal 30 minute trip through Montgomery was extended to 50 minutes. I bet that flag-waving girl on the billboard had a good chuckle at my expense.

So I may soon be mailing the good folks at ALDOT a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a handwritten note asking for an apology in triplicate and my 75 cents back.

The folly of censoring C.S. Lewis

The folly of censoring C.S. Lewis

I don’t know about you, but the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorite stories growing up. I’ve read each of the books at least four times, and the stories are wonderful in that they are great adventures.

However, now it appears that Harper Collins publishers want to remove the Christianity from these books and republish them. I don’t understand this. The author makes some good points in the article…allow me to make a couple of connections.

He mentions that they would like to remove the fundamental Christian subtexts from these works. This is wrong for many reasons. First, any revised version is not the way Lewis intended the works to be read. He obviously wrote them that way for a reason. Secondly, the writer of the article is right…removing these subtexts reduces the books to really nothing more than comics. They become commonplace. One of the best things about these works is the very fact that they can be read on different levels!

But the point of this is to capitalize on the revival of kids reading books, the way led by the Harry Potter series. Hm, I wonder…would J. K. Rowling object to the removal of all things witch in these books? After all, there are people who are offended by such things, and who would not read or buy the books as a result. But that’s the whole point of the books, you protest. What’s the big deal about Harry and his friends if that part of the story’s not there?

My point exactly.

There are so many grounds that I’m opposed to this on that it would really be long-winded of me to write them all down. But one of the most glaring is that if Harper Collins publishes these books under the pretense of not offending anyone, they will have effectively stripped away the essence of the books, leaving only an empty hull of an adventure tale.

annoying driver profile #1

I don’t have these written down or anything, but I’m pretty sure that there are multiple habits that other drivers on the road have that I can’t stand. (In other words, this could develop into a recurring theme.) Here is the first installment.

Have you ever seen a State Trooper or some other cop on the road and slowed down? I don’t; I’m driving the speed limit. Now, this is not intended to put down those who speed. I’ve accepted this as a fact of life, even if I don’t do it myself. No, my ire here is reserved for a special brand of speeder.

I, of course, am referring to the speeder who, when he/she sees the aforementioned cop car, slows down to 10 miles an hour below the limit.

Have you ever been stuck behind one of these people? Do they not realize that they are perfectly within their right to drive the speed limit, even if it means passing the cop?

I wonder what’s going through the mind of someone who does this. “Hey! If I drive really slowly by the cop, maybe he’ll think I’m a really safe driver! Maybe he’s giving out rewards to anyone who goes under the speed limit! Maybe he’ll even pull me over and take away that ticket that I got in ’92, cause this evens it out!”

Actually, this would be an interesting scene to me:

Driver: Is there a problem, officer?
Officer: (No-nonsense voice) License and registration, please.
Driver: Sure.
(Officer takes both and walks back to his car.)
Driver (pleading to himself) C’mon, please, please…
(Officer walks back to driver’s car.)
Officer: Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?
Driver: Because…I was driving under the speed limit?
Officer: That’s correct. Do you know how slow you were going?
Driver: Maybe… (grimaces) 65?
Officer: Try 60 in a 70.
Driver: (Elated) Really?
Officer: (Now smiling) Yessir…you know what this means, don’t you?
Driver: I sure do!
Officer: You had 4 previous speeding tickets at $75 a piece. Here’s a check from the government for $324.
Driver: (In awe) Interest too?
Officer: That’s right. (Tips hat) Now you have a good day.
Driver: Thanks, officer! I will!

No…this scene will never happen. Instead, whoever this person is will mosey by the cop, forcing me to slow down too. They’ll wait till the cop is out of view, and then speed back up to whatever they were doing before.

And I’ll inwardly caterwaul.