Archive for May, 2008

   The unfortunate news for old school wrestling fans this week was that Penny Banner passed away at the age of 73 at her daughter’s home in North Carolina after a long battle with cancer. Penny Banner was one of the most decorated women in the history of professional wrestling, considered one of the all-time greats along side the late Fabulous Moolah. Some of her achievements included being the first recipient of the CAC’s Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement Award, she was inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in New York, the St. Louis and Stampede Wrestling Halls of Fame, and she will be the first woman inducted to the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo in 2008. Penny Banner was an AWA and NWA World Champion, and some said she was women wrestling’s Ric Flair to Moolah being its Hulk Hogan.

   After wrestling she competed in the Senior Olympic Games in Swimming, the Shot Put and Discus throws. Penny Banner lived a long and full life, left many great memories to fans and truly left us with an amazing legacy in the sport she loved. My thoughts and prayer are with her family, friends and fans.

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   I’ve about had it with Hillary at this point. The woman is starting to come off to me as someone who knows she’s going down in flames and has decided that everybody is going down with her.

   Two plus months ago it was pretty obvious that, barring Obama getting hit by a bus while crossing the street, Hillary was not winning her party’s nomination. Still, she pressed on and it seemed like she was trying to ensure herself a nod as the next Democratic nominee for 2012 if Obama failed to grab the brass ring this go round. It sorta made sense. If she could show how strong she was this go round and convince people that she was the more electable of the two than she might be a lock for a 2012 run.

   Now we’re in May and the only thing that Hillary seems to be doing is self-destructing and trying to take her party with her. Hillary cannot win. At this point, neither she nor Obama will gain the number of votes needed to be the magic number (51%) winner, but Obama has a clear lead in the votes and more of the popular support. The only way that Hillary can win her party’s nomination at the convention is by some unforeseen and catastrophic event taking out Obama or by a backroom deal.

   In the case of a catastrophic event, Hillary doesn’t need to go any farther than she already has. If anything were to knock Obama out of this race by the convention, Hillary is the natural runner up. If that’s what she’s looking for she has already achieved it. She looks like the best candidate for a 2012 run if Obama fails in 2008 and she’s the natural choice if anything causes Obama to be removed from the race before the convention. Jobs done. Pack it in and go home.

   The backroom deal option is more problematic. For one thing, it just ain’t gonna happen. There’s no way in hell that the Democrats will allow themselves to self destruct to that level and Hillary has to know this. While they might have stabbed John Edwards in the back for Hillary; The Democratic Party will not cut the knees out from under the first popularly elected black Democratic Presidential nominee for Hillary.

Not

Gonna

Happen.

   There have been a number of *moderate* black voices in the Democratic party and in their more friendly members of the press that have made it clear that an action such as this would fracture the party insofar as the black vote and the support of moderate black politicians. They’ve been told point blank by the more radical members of the left that there would be an all out revolt in some quarters.

   And it’s not merely the black vote that will see this division or this all out abandonment of the Democratic party. A number of white voters have said in various interviews that they would have problems with the party if it backroom dealed Hillary in over Obama when the votes clearly show him as the rightful nominee.

   The leadership in the party will not allow this to happen. Hillary has to know this. She and Bill are very politically astute and they know how to read the political winds better then most. So what have we got left to guess at Hillary’s motivations?

   Hillary is in her last run and has nothing to lose. She some pundits have stated that Hillary would still be “young enough” for a go in 2012 or even 2016. But is that how she’s looking at it and would a 2012 run be in the cards after this fiasco?

   Hillary would have to be banking her hopes for a 2012 run on Obama not getting elected or blowing it so badly that he could actually be challenged for the 2012 nod by someone in his own party. And either way, she may have gone past the point of no return in her campaign this year to do that. Hillary is losing support in a number of quarters and burning a few bridges with this extended campaign or hers. It would be one thing if it were close and she had a shot at winning, but there’s no way she’s winning and it now looks like she’s putting her ambitions over the good of the party.

   A 2016 run would only work, setting aside some of the bridge burning, if Obama’s VP was very unpopular or chose not to run. It would also mean eight more years as “just” a politician and maybe less than that if she’s alienated enough people. And again, that’s the slim chance option.

   I don’t see those as two very strong possibilities. I honestly think that Hillary is now living down to her worst detractors’ stereotypes of her and she’s out for her own power grab while everyone else can be damned. She’s willing to damage Obama before he even gets into the main race and she’s pushing the idea of having the party overturn Obama’s lead at the convention to crown her the winner. And like I said above; that’s not going to happen

   The Democratic party has long held two very powerful things over the republicans. They’ve long held a substantial majority of the black vote and they’ve long been the “champions of the oppressed” when it came time to play the race card for political leverage. They’re not going to throw either of those two things away for Hillary.

   They’re not going to alienate the black voter block by stabbing Obama in the back for Hillary; especially after years of droning on about how it’s the Republicans who always want to oppress blacks, disenfranchise their votes, and hold them down from positions of power. There is no way in hell that the Democrats are going to publicly and blatantly screw over Obama at the convention and risk losing that powerful of a voting block for the next ten, fifteen or twenty years.

   They’re also not going to risk losing one of their favorite political tools in the race card. There’s no way that the Democrats could get away with screwing over the first popularly elected black presidential nominee and then be able to turn around and wield that card with anything close to the strength that it’s had for years now. Losing these two things is just too great a cost to the party for the relatively meager rewards that a Clinton presidency (based on what happened in the last one) would pay out. They’re just not going to do it.

   Hillary has to know this. Bill has to know this. Both of them have played the game long enough to know the rules and to know the score. Hell, even if they’re too blind at this point to see it, Terry Mcauliffe and a host of other advisers should be pointing it out to them every day now. So where do we go from here?

   Hillary may well be in the last throws of, as she sees it, her chance at the brass ring. She may have it in her mind that she’s got just this one chance and that’s it. As a result of that, she’s seemingly decided to live down to the worst caricature of her political self and put her power and ambition above all else. She’s headed down a path that can only end in her going down in flames, but she’s damned and determined to take everybody else with her if she goes down. She’s going to try and take Obama down and damage him so badly in her attempt to usurp his place as the nominee that he goes into the real race injured, bloody and maybe exposed and vulnerable depending on what dirty tricks the Clinton Machine pulls out of its bag in the next few weeks. If the unbelievable happens and she strong-arms the party into stabbing Obama in the back for her and giving her the nod; there’s no way she gets elected. The divisions that would create in the party, if not the all out civil war, would damage the party going into November and likely keep everyone but the most die-hard Hillary supporters or the most die-hard Republican haters at home.

   Either way, she takes the party down in flames with her last grasp at the brass ring if she continues on this apparent path. Either way, she lives down to her critics worst declarations of her being a crass, power mad, callous bitch who’s looking out for number one and everybody else can go screw themselves. If Hillary ever wants a real shot at the presidency again, she needs to wake up, look at what she’s doing and back out of this course of action before it’s too late for her to do so (if it’s not already) and work damned hard at getting back in the good graces of a number of people in her party by supporting the rightful nominee. She needs to shut up, drop out, and go home now.

Dished.

Posted: May 14, 2008 in Entertainment, Life

   Back in December we took up Dish Network on their offer of free HD programming for six months with a one year commitment. The regular programs that everyone has looked nice in HD, but one of the things that Jenn and I really latched on to was The Voom Network.

   The Voom network is a package that that has several HD only channels and you can only get them with a dish or cable provider. They had an animation channel that was ok, but the only thing I ever saw on it that I looked at was the new CGI version of Captain Scarlet. Another channel played a lot of family fair in HD like Flipper, UFO and Thunderbirds. Ok stuff, but not mandatory viewing in our house.

   But then there’s Monsters HD: http://www.monstershd.com/

   I love that channel. Great stuff 24/7 and in glorious 1080p HD. Hell, even the old B&W stuff looks amazing in 1080p HD. And they have a lot of that old B&W stuff as well as the new stuff.

   Jenn and I both got hooked on Kung-Fu HD: http://www.voom.tv/kungfu.html

   They’ve been playing all the Zatoichi films the last few months as well as a number of classic era Shaw Brothers, Jet Li and Jackie Chan as well as the high fantasy stuff that Honk Kong does so well. Jenn, being a huge Jet fan, has been loving it and the Zatoichi films have been on heavy rotation when she’s on Ian duty in the living room.

   Jenn also latched onto Equator HD: http://www.voom.tv/equatorhd.html

   Very good shows and she was building up a nice DVR load of Wildlife Nannies and Medicine Woman.

   And then this morning they were gone. I called up Dish Network thinking that there was a bug with my set up and was told that they had dropped them so that they could upgrade some of the channels that are still on standard def to HD. It was a bandwidth issue.

   Of course I was told that we also got the MGM HD channel and a few others that I don’t remember added in as well. I noted to them that those new channels kind of killed their bandwidth statement. I wasn’t very happy by the end of the call and said so. The guy on the phone said that he wasn’t surprised. He had gotten a lot of calls this morning about Monsters HD and Kung-Fu HD specifically.

   He noted my complaint in the call logs and advised me email Dish Network. I did, but I don’t expect much to happen. And it’s kind of a shame as well. I told them something in the email that they’re probably going to take as just someone saying whatever they can to back their point, but I told them the truth.

   They can’t beat Direct TV with most of the sports nuts I know. Direct TV has a sports package with locked in exclusives that all the die hard sports nuts I know would sell their left nut (or knocker) for. But the horror, sci-fi and martial arts fans out there are pretty vocal as well. And they like special programming like Monsters HD and Kung-Fu HD. They like it so much that it’s a selling point.

   I’ve talked about 20 people into getting Dish Network since January. Hell, I might have talked 21 (Mulligan) into it if he hadn’t already locked himself into a provider. And I did it mostly on Monsters and Kung-Fu. It was unique programming that Direct TV and out local cable company didn’t have and it was 24/7, uncut, unedited and commercial free movies that catered to the horror/sci-fi and kung-fu fans. And it really was a selling point for a lot of people I know who were on the fence about which provider to go with/switch to.

   And they’ve lost one potential customer already. One of our dispatchers is a horror hound and she loves martial arts flicks. She was going to go Dish in a month or so based 90% on my talking about those two channels. Hey, it only sounds unbelievable until you realize that 95% of the channels that any provider has is identical to every other provider. It’s the perks as much as the price that snags people. For her, that would have been a big perk. When I see her again and tell her that there is no more Monsters and Kung-Fu on Dish, I’m not sure that Dish will be as attractive to her as it was before.

   Sadly, this is just another example of how a portion of fandom is still seen by most power players and money men. We lose two channels that could have been great selling points to a target audience and get two channels that air the same old studio movies that the other five basic cable movie channels air. And the fact that the new ones are HD means very little when you stop and think about the fact that in about six months they’ll all be HD. But we’ve got ’em and those two channels that cater to that nonexistent (but strangely, freaking huge) fan-base out there get almost no advertising. no promotion and then get punted.

   As a horror, sci-f and comic book fan, all I can say is this:

AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

   Ok, If you know me at all then you knowI’m a wrestling geek. I have videos, DVDs and books on the history of the business. I can tell you trivia going all the way back to Hackenschmidt and Gotch. And, yes, horror of horrors, I like some of the wrestling autobiographies out there.

   Mick Foley’s books were the best out there for my money. They’re funny, informative and very reader friendly. Several times when I’ve been asked about a wrestling book for a non-wrestling fan who wanted to learn something about the business and some of the personalities in it; I’ve recommended his books with some reservations. Foley has a quick wit and an odd sense of humor that shines through in each page. However, he also discusses some subjects in a manner that might confuse someone who doesn’t know the business and he certainly discusses a few subjects that might shock the hell out of some people who don’t know the business.

   But then, back in November of last year, I was given another book.

   I liked the wrestler who wrote the book, but I had a lot of stuff I was doing, reading and working on. I already had a back list of books to read and several of them of the nonfiction variety were, shall we say, rather dry and hard to get through. But I kinda had to get through them because I was trying to learn a thing or two. So, anyhow, I got through them and looked at my book pile. I decided I’d read the one book that was the oldest in the pile. That one would be this one:

 Around the World in Spandex

   Let me tell you something… This is a great book. It’s funny, well written, very reader friendly and mostly safe for most ages. Chris Jericho’s life is an interesting one and the trip he took to be where he’s now at in his profession is entertaining as hell. From starting out as a kid in Canada who idolized the Hart family, rock stars and his Hockey star father to his travels through the various wrestling companies in Mexico, Japan and America learning his craft; this is a thoroughly entertaining story that’s very well written and very smartly done.

   Honestly, you could do a lot worse for a fun summer read than this book. If you like humor, if you like humorous looks at traveling the globe, if you like action and/or if you like stories about someone coming from nowhere and, with a few really bad bumps along the way, making their dreams come true then this is a book for you.

   And one of the great things for me about the book is that it’s guaranteed to have a sequel. Chris is still relatively young, he’s still an active wrestler and kinda rock singer and the book only covers his pre-WWF/WWE days. The book ends with the “Millennium” countdownthat occurred just before Chris Jericho stepped through the curtain and onto Raw for the first time.

“A coming-of-age, follow-your-dreams story that is both fun and inspiring. It’s a great read!” – Janet Evanovich, #1 Bestselling Author

“This may be the first-ever autobiographical, action-adventure, how-to-achieve-success book ever written. Dreams do come true. Happy endings still exist. This book proves it.” – Jim Ross, “The Voice of the WWE”

“I was really enjoying this book, empathizing with Chris’s plight as an aspiring wrestler, laughing out loud at many of the dead-on depictions of some of the more colorful characters in our business. Suddenly, all that enjoyment stopped as a wave of momentary panic crashed right into my literary ego. ‘Oh no,’ I thought. ‘What if this book is better than mine?'” – Mick Foley, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and Three Times WWE World Champion.

   What they said and then some. Buy this book and have a good read.

What… The… Hell…

Posted: May 10, 2008 in Life

   Ok, we all know what a troll is when talking web speak. Some trolls are dumb, some are smart but dense as hell when it comes to grasping simple concepts and some others just want to be the biggest @$$ that they can be. But some… Some need a Troll Hall of Fame. And, no, this isn’t about our favorite visitor from that strange place known as Planet M.

   I’ve been playing on some sci-fi and horror boards and looking some stuff up. Some of the boards were little; one man run sites with only ten to twenty posters like this one, while others were major sites like IMDB. While pinging and ponging around the sci-fi boards, especially those devoted to discussions about the new Battlestar Galactica, I found someone who is quite possibly the single most sad, pathetic and relentless troll to ever grace the net. He has a handful of names that he uses for when he’s been banned from a board under his preferred name, but his primary handle is spiderr987.

   He was blitzing the IMDB Battlestar boards under the name GINOsuks for quite a little while now. The name being what he’s all about. Galactica IN Name Only sucks in his opinion. He loves the original series and can’t stand the new series, hates Ron Moore and hates the people running the Sci-Fi Channel. And he’s been saying that non-stop for almost five years now.

   I’m sure you’re asking yourself why that merits mention. There are things that we all don’t like and have said so for far longer than five years. Well, you would have had to see this guy in action. spiderr987, or just spider from here on out, is mental.

   Do you want to see something scary? Google spiderr987 (note the two r’s) some time. You’ll get pages of hits. And something like 90% of the hits are of spider posting the same seven to ten copy and paste screeds against the new series, Ron Moore, Bonnie Hammer, etc. on dozens upon dozens of sites dating back to the start of the new Galactica. 9% of the hits are of people talking about him and how they’ve had to delete entire threads that he created that were just endless repeats of his copy and paste posts. Now, that leaves us 1%. What’s the 1% that’s out there? Well, that’s the thing that makes him even odder.

   You can find a tiny handful of posts out there where he’s actually talking positively about the original Galactica. Why this is odd is because he claims to be a huge fan of the old show and his hatred of the new show is based on it not being true to that show and scuttling the continuation series/movies that have long been rumored to be in the shopping around stage. He claims to greatly love the original series (TOS from now on) and thinks Glen Larson is a genius.  But he has only a handful of posts talking positively about that. And, the kicker there is that they only talk about the fact that he likes the show. They don’t actually have him discussing the show itself outside of him saying that he liked it.

   Even on IMDB, where they have a board for both shows, he seemed to never engage anyone on the TOS boards in conversation about TOS. He’s  never posted on that board so much as once. But every day without fail he would hit the new Galactica’s board, usually three or four times a day, and post two or three times over his copy and paste garbage.

   Another poster on the IMDB boards mentioned that spider had been around and getting banned from sites for years now and suggested that anyone with a bored moment and looking for a laugh or two do what I suggested above and Google spiderr987. I did and the results, as I’ve partly listed above, were… Interesting?

   He has spammed boards that are pro-new Galactica for years now, he’s started a failed myspace group dedicated to slagging on the new Galactica and on the Sci-Fi channel and, and this is funny as hell, he’s picked fights with fans of TOS who like the new series because they couldn’t possibly like both and are being dishonest about liking TOS. He’s actually almost as hated by fans of TOS who’ve come across him on the web or at the odd convention as he is by most fans of the new show and he’s gotten himself banned from pro-TOS sites. He can’t even seem to enjoy something not Galactica related without his hatred of the new series creeping into things. One IMDB poster linked a review he wrote for the new Knight Rider series where he spoke well of that for about one paragraph. The rest of the review was complaining that Sci-Fi and Ron Moore should have done Galactica etc., etc., etc.

   Now, when I first came across him trolling some boards, I had the image of a kid, now somewhere between 18 and 22, with way too much time on his hands who was watching TOS on the Sci-Fi channel when the channel was starting up and steamed about the continuation projects falling apart. Nope. According to bloggers who know him in real life and the odd bloggers who have met him at conventions… The guy is closing in on 40.

   Now, you’re probably wondering why I’ve devoted an entire post to this guy. Well, I haven’t really. I’ve devoted it to what makes him tick. We’ve all seen trolls who pop up and just act stupid. We’ve all seen trolls who go to a movie or TV board and talk trash about a movie or its fans for a while. But trolls like that have an expiration date on them. The movie is hot, they visit the site, they get bored and then they bug off and pester someone else. The ones pestering most TV boards only do it while the show is getting some heavy buzz as well. They also mostly get bored after a bit and bug off. We’ve all seen the refugee from Planet M, but he doesn’t seem to have a crusade as much as a genuine defect with interacting with people. But this spider fellow…

   What the hell drives an almost 40 year old man to spend every day of his life for almost five years trolling multiple boards, multiple times each day, just to express hate for a TV show and almost never spend any time discussing the show he claims to love? And, and this is a real kicker, when he rarely posts something other than his pre-written, copy and paste posts, he makes it clear that he’s watching the show to more accurately criticize it and the plot points that he says Moore has no talent for.

   There are some signs of his really being a bit mental. Part of why he claims he does what he’s doing is to counter the stealth marketers. He’s amongst the part of TOS fandom that believes that most of the buzz and hype about the show is from paid staffers who have five to ten accounts on every website to talk up each episode and brainwash people into believing the show is good. Awards are all one by these stealth marketers flooding voting links or from Moore and crew bribing people like The Peabody voting board. He is, in his own words, countering the false buzz created by the GINO stealth marketer and the money people at NBC/Universal.

   But still, what the hell drives someone like that? I’ve come to accept that the web just allows the very rude to be even more so because they no longer have to look anyone in the face when being an @$$, but some things still blow my mind. But guys like this are just beyond my ability to truly wrap my head around. What is it about the web that acts like a magnet for the lowest of the low and what in the hell would make someone spend that much of his life being bitter, sad and pathetic on the web when they could be using that time to discuss the things they enjoy with like minded people or, even better, be out doing something fun in real life?

   Seriously, what the hell?!?

“Winfrey was a member of Trinity United from 1984 to 1986, and she continued to attend off and on into the early to the mid-1990s. But then she stopped. A major reason—but by no means the only reason—was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.”

http://www.newsweek.com/id/135392