Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Way it Ought to be Done

An incredibly stupid company (my opinion, anyway) decides to market an energy drink and call it "Cocaine: The Legal Alternative". The drink began appearing in stores over the past month or so and due to its name, caused quite a stir.

Personally, I find the brand name offensive. I would never buy such a drink and if it were manufactured by a company that made products I use, I would switch companies due to my strong dislike of companies that would stick such a label on their product in an obvious attempt to gain notoriety, and supposedly sales from that notoriety. I'm obviously not alone on this as apparently the company (Redux Beverages of Las Vegas, Nv) received letters and phone calls from people who found the name offensive.

What's more is that retail outlets got flak for selling the product. So much in fact, that 7/11 decided to pull the product from its shelves.

(From MSNBC)
"Our merchandising team believes the product's name promotes an image which we didn't want to be associated with," said Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for 7-Eleven.

What I like about this whole matter is that it fits a particular belief I have. That is: Yes, we have free speech, but free speech runs hand in hand with responsibility. In this case, Redux had the right to name its product as such, but it was an irresponsible decision to give it that particular name. I am hopeful that the company ends up losing money for this decision and finds it to have been a mistake.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

NFL Power Rankings - Updated

Now that we are about 1/3 of the way through the season, here's my up to date rankings:

1. Bears - No team dominates every single game but other than Monday night, they have been impressive.

2. Colts - They've struggled quite a bit, but are always on top at the end.

3. Seahawks - No Superbowl hangover for them.

4. Chargers - Perhaps the most talented team in the NFL. Too bad they have such an average head coach.

5. Giants - They have a very difficult schedule. I still consider them an elite team.

6. Broncos
7. Patriots
8. Panthers
9. Saints - The surprise team of the year.
10. Bengals
11. Falcons
12. Eagles
13. Ravens
14. Jaguars
15. Steelers - They look like the team with the Superbowl hangover.
16. Rams
17. Cowboys
18. Vikings
19. Chiefs
20. Jets
21. Cardinals - Almost a good team. Watch out for them.
22. Buccaneers - One of the two disappointments this year.
23. Packers - Let Aaron Rogers have shot at it. Favre is done.
24. Redskins
25. Bills
26. Lions - Another team that has to get past it's losing ways. They are dangerous.
27. Titans
28. Texans - Think the Houston fans are unhappy about the decision not to pick Bush?
29. Dolphins - The other team that has really disappointed.
30. Browns - In their usual spot.
31. 49ers - Occasionally show improvement but aren't consistant.
32. Raiders - I can't say I'm disappointed that the two worst teams are from the bay area.

I'll post these every few weeks. My initial Superbowl prediction of Steelers vs. Giants is pretty shaky, but there is a lot of season left.

Monday, October 16, 2006

An Officer and a Guardian

A young and cocky military signee is going through training that is brutal. A seasoned instructor who is putting the young men and women through the hellish training is mostly concerned with their character. The young protagonist finds a local young woman, has casual sex with her, and tries not to get emotionally entangled because he knows it will all end when the training is over. The young protagonist also has a history that he has to overcome in order to pass the training. The young protagonist makes a mistake and is singled out to endure extra hardships to improve his character. These extra hardships, which include having a garden hose spraying water continually in his face while exerting physical activity, strengthen his resolve to become a better human being. Towards the end of the training, the protagonist abandons his young lady. Finally, at the end, our protagonist, who has successfully passed the training and established himself as a leader, decides he loves the young lady and shows up at her place of work to tell/show her.

Yeah, An Officer and a Gentleman was a great, landmark film but that's not the movie I saw yesterday. Michelle and I went to see The Guardian with Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. It didn't take either of us very long to realize this was basically, a remake of a film made 24 years earlier. There are some details that are different, of course. It's about becoming a Coast Guard rescue swimmer, as opposed to a Navy pilot for one. It was so similar to "Officer", though, that I was half expecting Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warren to chime "Love Lifts Us Up" at the ending scene.

The Guardian didn't just mimic An Officer and a Gentleman, it also borrowed scenes from Top Gun and Heartbreak Ridge. For the former, there is a bar scene where two military guys make a bet as to whether one of them will "get the girl". For the latter, there is another bar that is owned by an older, salty woman who is friendly with the older, salty man. She understands him and boasts about his heroics to the young trainee.

One of the reasons I don't see as many new movies as I used to is that there are so many remakes. (The Omen, The Poseidon Adventure, for example.) The Guardian is a remake in disguise. Overall, it was actually pretty good if you can get past all the repeated scenes.

The Many Paths to 9/11

Michelle and I finally got around to watching The Path to 911 last week over the course of a three days. It is a five hour docudrama without commercial interruption and I didn't want to stay up late watching it so I recorded it so we could watch it at our convenience.

I found the film to be very well done. The cast, pacing, cinematography, and storyline were superior. I kept reminding myself that this is more drama than documentary. ABC reminded the audience several times that some characters were combined, some scenes were fictionalized, and that this film should not be taken as a factual documentary.

I'm not an expert on 9/11 and I'm not going to try to point out what was done with historical accuracy and what wasn't. I have been curious about all the hype and criticism this movie has received. Most of the criticism has come from left-wingers, including Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, and Madeline Albright. They complained that the film emphasized that the attacks were primarily their fault.

I listened to an interview with one of the film's producers, who incidentally and interestingly, is of Iranian descent. He responded to the criticism from the left by saying that he was not politically affiliated with any party and they took particular care to make an accurate account of the actions or inactions made by specific individuals, no matter what political side they were on.

As for my take on this. I believe Clinton and others, who have bashed this movie are way off base here. I've read and heard some ridiculous comments that this film virtually pins all the blame on the Clinton administration. No way! There is very little about Clinton's involvement or lack of involvement. It does get into some of his staff members dropping the ball. From everything I've heard and read outside of this docudrama, Madeline Albright and Sandy Berger did forewarn the Pakistani government that they were going to send missiles at Al Queda many hours beforehand. Maybe it didn't happen exactly the way it was portrayed in the movie but it apparently did happen. The film showed ineptitude by government agencies as well where the CIA and FBI wouldn't share information.

And yes, the film does point out how the Bush administration chose to ignore the information and warnings given by the previous administration. Similar, actually, to how the Clinton administration chose to ignore Iraq, but that's another discussion. Bush was shown in the classroom reading to children when informed of the attacks. It also indicated that Bush didn't take it too seriously right away.

I just don't see why people, (many of whom I would guess never bothered to watch the movie) are bashing this movie so. Sometimes I really wonder if we're forgetting whose to blame for 9/11. No, it's not Clinton, it's not Bush, it's Al Queda. That's who our anger should be directed at.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Baseball in October

For the first time in years, I am actually optimistic about the Dodger's chances this postseason.

My predictions:

Dodgers over Mets
Padres over Cardinals
A's over Twins
Yankees over Tigers

World Series prediction: It will be 1988 all over again - Dodgers over A's.

I realize as I write this that some games have already been played. I can honestly say that these were my predictions two days ago.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm Still Here

I'm still here. I've actually got several half-written blog entries in progress. They will start to appear soon. Thanks for your patience.