Thursday, June 26, 2008

What's in a name?

Yahoo! Did a piece today about “famous people” who change their names. I found this funny as this list is rather…how should I put this…shitty?

1. Tiger Woods Real Name (Eldrick Woods)
2. Madonna Real Name (Madonna Ciccone)
3. Lil' Wayne Real Name (Dwayne Carter Jr.)
4. Miley Cyrus Real Name (Destiny Hope Cyrus)
5. Coco Crisp Real Name (Covelli Crisp)
6. Hilary Banks Real Name (played by Karyn Parsons)
7. Gene Simmons Real Name (Chaim Witz)
8. Hulk Hogan Real Name (Terry Bollea)
9. Larry the Cable Guy (Daniel Lawrence Whitney)
10. Ray Stevens Real Name (Harold Ray Ragsdale)
11. Bow Wow Real Name (Shad Gregory Moss)
12. Soulja Boy Real Name (DeAndre Ramone Way)
13. Triple H Real Name (Paul Michael Levesque)
14. Bono Real Name (Paul Hewson)
15. Sting's Real Name (Gordon Sumner)
16. Jay-Z's Real Name (Shawn Carter)
17. Tila Tequila Real Name (Tila Nguyen)
18. Marilyn Manson Real Name (Brian Warner)
19. John Wayne Real Name (Marion Morrison)
20. Prince's Real Name (Prince Rogers Nelson)

First off, there are 4 rapper’s names on the list: Lil’ Wayne, Bow Wow, Soulja Boy & Jay-Z. Not that I am the barometer of all things cool, but I have never heard of Soulja Boy & it’s my understanding that almost ALL rappers use fake names, so they should be excluded.

Second, you can’t list dead people…even if they were the forerunner to “bad ass” in this country, sorry Duke.

Third, if you are going to list comedians can you put some big ones like Dangerfield (I know he’s dead)? Larry the Cable Guy & Ray Stevens are only funny to people who eat possum…and my parents.

Fourth, can we be remotely topical here? Madonna, Gene Simmons, Bono, Sting, Marilyn Manson and Prince are all musicians from before I had pubes…ok maybe not Manson, but who has heard from him in say…a decade?

Fifth, wrestlers ALL use fake names. Except Brett Hart, whose book is amazing! No Triple H and no Hulk. I also would throw Coco Crisp into this gripe. Many baseball fans label wrestling as “phony,” I don’t think any of those people would argue Coco is “the real deal.”

And finally the “Huh?” names. I don’t know who Hilary Banks is. I know I suck. Maybe she was the sister on The Fresh Prince…wasn’t their name banks? If forced to guess I’d say she is a finalist on American Idol. And Tila Tequila. I was quite proud when Julie and I were watching “the Soup” one night and I said, “who the hell is this Tila Tequila?” She laughed and filled me in…I was proud I didn’t know.

Which leaves us with 2 names on this list: Tiger Woods & Miley Cyrus. Tiger should be bumped for his disparaging remarks about hockey (look it up)…and his name is more of a nickname. His name is actually Woods, as Cyrus’ is actually Cyrus.

Mostly, changing your name is just a vain thing “celebraties” do.

If I ever became famous I would change my name to: Blowjob MacBeth.
People would say, “That’s odd, what kind of a name is that?” And I’d say, “Scottish.”

Friday, June 20, 2008

Victims of the Pump

Oil may very well turn out to be the worst substance on the face of the earth, making even the most, mild mannered man become a warmongering whore, not unlike how red kryptonite turns the Man of Steel into…the Evil Man of Steel?

“You always wanted to fly Kent, now’s your chance.”

We have fought wars, conquered nations and sold out our mothers, all in the name of oil. And there seems to be no end in sight (the end of our dependence on oil, not “the end” – as that is December 29th, 2012).

The current oil crisis has now seen gas prices hit an all time high.

(Prices based on the ever shrinking US Dollar)

Belgium 9.02
France 8.75
Germany 8.88
Italy 8.93
Netherlands 9.85
UK 8.76
US 4.31

And things are about to get worse. Some Gas Stations are now doing away with customer use of a credit card…which inconvenient if not down right illegal.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - When gas station manager Roger Randolph realized it was costing him money each time someone filled up with $4-a-gallon gas, he hung a sign on his pumps: "No more credit cards."
He may be the first in West Virginia to ban plastic, but gas station operators nationwide are reporting similar woes as higher prices translate into higher credit card fees the managers must pay, squeezing profits at the pump."
The more they buy, the more we lose," said Randolph, who manages Mr. Ed's Chevron in St. Albans. "Gas prices go up, and our profits go down."

Is it wise to turn all gas stations, across a country that is suffering through financial hardship, into a strictly “cash business?” Aren’t gas stations/convenient store already a prime “stick up” joint for a fellow down on his luck and short this month’s rent?

My initial thought, upon hearing this, is to hate the gas companies even more (if that’s possible). But it’s the small gas station managers that are suffering, and at the hands of the credit card companies.

All retailers pay what’s called an interchange fee, a percentage of the sale price paid to credit card companies on every transaction. The percentage the retailer pays is a fixed rate, typically under 2 percent, but as the price of the goods or services increases the dollar amount of the fee increases.

Simply put, when you are buying a candy bar or a yacht the credit card company gets 2% of the sale. Not a big deal when you are talking about .01% for the “Twix,” a really big deal when you consider its $2400 for the boat. And the same amount of paper is being pushed around on each transaction.

The report goes on to say:

As gas tops $4 a gallon, that pushes fees toward 10 cents a gallon. Now stations, which typically mark up gasoline by 11 to 12 cents a gallon, are seeing profits shrink or even reverse.In a good month, Randolph's small operation would yield a $60 profit on gasoline sales. But that's been buried as soaring prices forced the station to pay about $500 a month in interchange fees.

This is infuriating! Sure I want gas cheaper, but not at the expense of the Roger Randolph’s of the world…after all, he’s not the one calling me every night during dinner. The Visa rep however…

The credit card companies say fees are just part of the cost of doing business.
MasterCard at least has made a small gesture in trying to help the small businesses. They have put a cap on interchange fees for gas purchases of $50 or more, said company spokeswoman Sharon Gamsin. This helps the small gas station owner when one is filling up their yacht, not so much with their Subaru.
Visa argues that the fees are offset "by the tangible benefits to stations and their customer’s, such as the ability to pay at the pump.” I do admit I am an addict to pay at the pump. It’s my right as an American to not have to talk to another human being. Although it’s through our society’s lack of communication that we find ourselves mired in some of these problems.

In a last ditch effort to try and help their customer’s while continuing to make a profit, many gas stations have started offers incentives for customer’s using cash. Some offer any where from 4-10 cents off the price of gas. Doesn’t sound like much? Well think of this…would you go to the gas station down the street at 3.99 a gallon, or the one in front of you at 4.09? You know the answer.

As the price per barrel of oil increases at a horrifically historic rate, and gas prices at the pump do the same, there is more and more talk of drilling in remote places that have an even more remote chance of actually having oil. It’s time for real efforts towards eliminating our dependence on any oil, foreign or otherwise. There are real efforts being made to help reduce fuel usage thus decreasing cost and environmental dangers.

We need help!

When gas prices are likely up to about 5-6 bucks a gallon this November, think of Roger Randolph. Think of Mastercard. Think of Visa. Think of the Oil Companies. This of the yacht you’ll never be able to afford, and the candy bar life style many of us have been forced to accept. Think of how much money you just put into you gas tank to get across town to your local voting station. Think of which one of these candidates will take on the kryptonite of “big business.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cookie Monster America!

How do you choose the candidate you will vote for to run the free world?

Do vote according to your political party? Do you vote based on certain policies? Do you vote based on who aligns best with your ideological beliefs? Or do you perhaps vote based on who’s spouse make’s the best muffins?

Based on Family Circle Magazine’s “bake-off” it would seem the latter is how many people vote. Apparently the past 4 elections have all been decided by the Presidential candidate’s spouse who “brought” the best bake goods.

Betty Ford meet Betty Crocker.

Now that we are down to two candidate’s in the 2008 Presidential election, that means we are down to two dessert choices:

Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic Illinois Senator Barack Obama, has been stumping for her husband in the kitchen by making some shortbread cookies. Pork barrel appropriations are in short supply, while hints of lemon and orange more then make up for any “deficit” in taste. Along with liberal amounts of almond liqueur Amaretto, these cookies are the “change” this kitchen needs.

The Grand Old Party is putting forth the Grand Old Cookie, oatmeal butterscotch cookies to be precise. Cindy McCain, married to Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, is hoping the palate of America will “stay the course.” These cookies are rumored to be so delicious, that you’ll be signing a petition do drill the Alaskan Pipeline for more.

Readers can vote online at the magazine's website with the results to be published in mid-October, just ahead of the November 4 elections.

So far the oatmeal has the edge over the shortbread…no word on whether Ron Paul’s wife is pulling votes from either cookie. Rumor has it Mrs. Paul was likely to be disqualified as her Fish Sticks did not fit in the official rules of the normal two party contest.

Past winners:

2004 - Teresa Heinz Kerry's pumpkin spice cookies were “swift boated” by Laura Bush's oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies.

2000 - Hanging chads may have cost Tipper Gore's ginger snaps, but the supreme decision saw Laura Bush’s Texas Governor's Mansion Cowboy cookies made with chocolate chips and coconut declared the winner.

1992 & 1996 - Hillary Clinton walked away with the popular vote and all the delegates needed with the same recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

Hopefully the winning party this year is able to improve upon health care, as it seems that diabetics are running this country!