A penguin and a polar bear are sitting on an iceberg. The penguin yells, "No Soap Radio!" They both jump in the water.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Apparently Mel Gibson actually does hate Jews

I didn't think much of the rumors that Mel Gibson, after being arrested for DUI a few days ago, went on a rant about Jews. That is, until the LA Times confirmed it.

The story was originally broken at TMZ.com. Gibson went off on Jews, as well as the arresting officers, saying a few non-kosher things, such as "Fucking Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." There were more variations on the word "fuck," who he was going to fuck, how fucked he was, what the fuck, things of that nature, but his political statements stuck mostly to the Jews.

Makes you wonder how much of that anti-semitism the Catholic Church has washed off its hands.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

So I'm not eating at Ham's anymore

Go Triad - Most Greensboro residents know that Ham's Restaurant started in that tiny building on Friendly Avenue a little more than 70 years ago. It has changed form throughout the years, and it has branched out a bit, but some of the roots still show.

For starters, the menu is heavily sandwich- and burger-based, which makes sense for a place that started off as a deli. Still, the increasingly popular Ham's is shaping up to be another successful, albeit faceless, restaurant chain.

Each of its restaurants boasts the trademark toy train chugging about the place, but the rest of the decoration offers no discernible theme.

Street signs from another century, birdhouses and athletic memorabilia cover the walls. It's as if a disorganized antiques store exploded and a restaurant was salvaged from the remains.

One feature of Ham's I enjoy is its resemblance to a sports bar. There are never fewer than three televisions in sight, no matter where you're sitting. The location on High Point Road also has a pool table and a few arcade games if you get bored with ESPN.

Unfortunately, like many bars, Ham's offers karaoke a couple of nights a week. Nothing quite ruins a meal like a drunk person belting out Celine Dion. But bad karaoke wasn't enough to keep me from checking out "Charlie's Cheeseburger," the Tuesday special offered at the High Point Road location.

For $2.99, you get an Angus beef cheeseburger and a side of scrumptious potato chips with ranch dressing for dipping. The only downside is that you're required to buy a soft drink with the deal, which tacks on another $1.99. That's how they get you, as they say.

My $3 meal arrived, and I was confronted with a frustrating example of getting what you pay for. I can only guess, but it seems that Ham's keeps up with the Tuesday-night cheeseburger rush by making a few orders early, say around noon, and letting them sit out until an unlucky customer orders one. My burger was a six-ounce mass of only slightly warm meat, the melted cheese having long ago reformed to its solid state.

Full column here

I've gotten only happy readers and Nigerian bankers emailing me about this one, but it's my first actual negative review. We'll see how it plays out.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rocky 6 trailer

A trailer for the 6th Rocky, Rocky Balboa, is out. I wasn't excited before. Now I'm excited.

At first I thought the idea of Rocky fighting again was kind of stupid, but every Rocky has been kind of stupid. Sylvester Stallone is kind of like that dumb friend in high school who always had really bad ideas that somehow seemed to end up in fun times. "Hey guys, let's go down to the lake and kick homeless people!" or "Let's go to Tiajuana and watch this chick suck off a horse!". Bad ideas, but you laugh later.

Stallone wrote, directed, produced and starred in it. I'm always interested in projects where one person has so much control. It helps you really see what they can do, how far their vision can take them. The auteur theory, my professors would call it.

Plus nobody gets their ass kicked like Stallone.

Lance Bass: I'm gay

"I didn't know this...but N'Sync is gay. I can tell by your reaction you're a little shocked, aren't you? Well, they are gay. Gay, gay, gay, gay. They may not know they're gay, but they are rooty, tooty, fresh and fruity. And I don't know who their manager is, but he's gay too." - Lewis Black

NEW YORK (AP) -- Lance Bass, band member of 'N Sync, says he's gay and in a "very stable" relationship with a reality show star.

Bass, who formed 'N Sync with Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick, tells People magazine that he didn't earlier disclose his sexuality because he didn't want to affect the group's popularity.

I'm not sure what to make of this. It's too obvious to joke about, but too funny to ignore. The headline by itself cracked me up, but there's also the goofy looking picture they used. Then again, he's just a goofy guy. What person is named after two nouns? Lance Bass.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saddam hospitalized

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has been taken to the hospital after suffering from the effects of a hunger strike, launched in protest of his ongoing trial, the chief prosecutor in his trial said. Full story

I think the funniest part of this is most of the world's reaction will be "Saddam Hussein was on a hunger strike? How'd that work out for him...oh."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

This is why mail is going out of use

The US Post Office is launching an assortment of comic book stamps, which will feature the following characters.

_Batman: Young Bruce Wayne mastered all forms of combat after his parents were killed. He uses his wealth to equip himself with the tools to become the great crime fighter. He made his debut in 1939 and was joined by Robin a year later.

_Wonder Woman: A figure of strength, beauty and courage, she has been inspiring women since her first appearance in 1941.

_Plastic Man: After an accident at a chemical plant gives Eel O'Brian the ability to stretch and alter his shape, he renounces his criminal past and becomes the longest arm of the law. He debuted in 1941.

_Superman: The Man of Steel first appeared in 1938 and has been an icon ever since. Raised in Smallville, the baby from Planet Krypton uses superpowers to battle evil.

_Green Lantern: Launched with the space age, test pilot Hal Jordan became Green Lantern, a galactic peace officer with an emerald power ring.

_The Flash: Police scientist Barry Allen is transformed into the fastest man alive in 1956 by an explosive mixture of lightning and laboratory chemicals.

_Aquaman: The former King of the Seven Seas remains is determined to protect both the Atlanteans and surface dwellers from those who endanger them, using his strength, speed and ability to communicate with marine life.

_Hawkman: He has artificial wings powered by the mysterious "Nth metal" which allow him to soar through the sky in pursuit of evildoers. He is a master of ancient weapons.

_Supergirl: Superman's cousin arrives on Earth as an impressionable teenager and eventually becomes his secret weapon.

_Green Arrow: First appearing in 1941, the Emerald Archer learns his skills while trapped on a desert island. He later escapes to become a modern Robin Hood.

First of all, these stamps are being sold under the title "Superheroes." Batman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and Hawkman have no super powers. Without his alien metal, Hawkman is noting (oh he can see far and talk to birds, give me a break). Without his money and toys, Batman is nothing. Without his bow, Green Arrow is nothing. And without his ring, Green Lantern is nothing. (As a side note, why is it that people complain about Superman being too powerful when Green Lantern's ring can do anything he can imagine?)

Plastic Man is one of the most ripped off superhero concepts of all time (though, to his credit, Plastic Man is the earliest I've heard of). I want to see Plastic Man, Mr. Fantastic, Elongated Man, Elastigirl and Slapstick fight to the death. It'd look like an orgy at Gumby's house.

Supergirl is so stupid that I don't even want to talk about it. Why don't we throw in Batgirl, Spiderwoman and She-Hulk while we're at it. Just because a superheo is popular does not mean that a spinoff with boobs will also be popular.

DC can do better. I mean, it's DC, granted. But they can do better.

Judge orders teen to cancer treatment, slow painful death

AP -- A judge ruled Friday that a 16-year-old boy fighting to use alternative treatment for his cancer must report to a hospital by Tuesday and accept treatment that doctors deem necessary, the family's attorney said.

The judge also found Starchild Abraham Cherrix's parents were neglectful for allowing him to pursue alternative treatment of a sugar-free, organic diet and herbal supplements supervised by a clinic in Mexico, lawyer John Stepanovich said.

Jay and Rose Cherrix of Chincoteague on Virginia's Eastern Shore must continue to share custody of their son with the Accomack County Department of Social Services, as the judge had previously ordered, Stepanovich said.

The parents were devastated by the new order and planned to appeal, the lawyer said. Full story here

Here we have a kid saying "Your treatment makes me feel worse than the disease, I'll go my own route," and the government saying "No, you forgot that your body belongs to us."

I suppose next they'll finally be arresting all those Christian Scientist parents that watch their children die in front of them while refusing basic medical care. Although, taken in that light, this doesn't set such a bad precedent.

EDIT: This is from the wikipedia entry on Hodgkin's disease (an official source of science, I know).

"The high cure rates and long survival of many patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma has led to a high concern with late adverse effects of treatment, including cardiovascular disease and second malignancies such as acute leukemias, lymphomas, and solid tumors within the radiation therapy field."

Future lawsuit anyone?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

And he's surprised?

BBC - The Lebanese prime minister has called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah militants, saying his country "has been torn to shreds".

A life lesson from Fouad Siniora to the world: if you harbor terrorists in your neighborhood, don't be surprised when the people those terrorists have been attacking destroy your house along with the bad guys. In fact, guess what? You're a bad guy too.

Israel warned him, America warned him, the UN warned him, and now the Lebanese people are suffering for their governement's mistake. You reap what you sow.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE: Begging for a solution

It's not entirely fair to say that Greensboro has a homeless problem, but it's arguable. I say it's not entirely fair because every major city - and really just every city, town or municipality - will statistically have people who fall through the cracks of institutionalized welfare or, through bad life decisions or plain bad luck, just have their rug pulled out from under them. So then, to say Greensboro has a homeless problem is to say that it has an abnormally large number of homeless. That, unfortunately, is a hard fact to prove. It's not as if we can send out a questionnaire or do a census; people without homes are sort of hard to track down.

What is fair to say is that Greensboro has a panhandling problem, and that these two issues are not necessarily one and the same. Not every homeless person begs, and not every beggar is homeless. Sweeping generalizations seem to be tricky here, but there is one thing that most beggars do have in common.

The Guilford County Substance Abuse Coalition's latest newsletter details a study done by their Resource Teams. The study showed that "by and large once a panhandler had received sufficient funds, a trip was made to the nearest convenience store where alcohol was purchased and, shortly there after, consumed."

The newsletter goes on to say that "through surveillance and investigative encounters the Resource teams learned that the majority of the chronic panhandlers were abusers of alcohol, however the abuse and addiction to other drugs was also noted."

This study proves what most people assume anyway: the uncomfortable truth that most of the people you see begging are going to pour the change you give them down their throat a few minutes later.

Full column

Chris Lowrance kicks puppies

Carolinian Executive Editor and Yes! Weekly staffer Chris Lowrance wrote a piece ("Coulter digs the Dead and I can kick puppies") about Ann Coulter's claimed love for the Grateful Dead, Kanye West, and an assortment of other bands that make you think Coulter will literally say anything to keep seeing her name in print.

The main point he brings up is that the music Coulter claims she listens to has political messages that she's conveniently ignoring, and it made me think. I've long held that there is a lot of good Christian rock, and some good Christian rap, but lately as my hatred for religion grows I'm finding myself unable to listen to even the blandest of Christian songs.

The same, in a sense, goes for normal rap. I love rap in all forms, and most forms deal with pimps, hos, murder, stealing, and all sorts of other immoral, illegal things I don't normally participate in. There is a point I get to where the mindless trash of it all, the ad nasueum "niggas" and other curses that serve no purpose other than to maintain rhythm in an idiotic song with pathetic lyrics, gets to me and I have to fast for a bit.

But overall I find it hard to be moved politically by songs who advocate crime or the objectification of women and then, literally, have a chorus that rings "FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU..." If they don't put in the effort to make it a work of art then the mindless message gets paid no mind. This point would be a defense for Coulter if she was listening to Lil' John or something of that nature, but Kanye is still definitely at odds with her core beliefs.

That, and the "forked-tongue-in-cheek" line about put me on the floor.

I don't got Sips

Well, I did say it wasn't entirely official. If anyone is wondering why there's no Sips in this week's Go Triad (technically last week's, I'm a bit behind on my blogging), budget tightness resulted in no Sips, for now at least.

Oh well. As the French say, "Ce la vie," which roughly translates to "that sucks just a bit." Cheap Eats still runs bi-weekly, meaning not this week but next week (I've had numerous debates over whether bi-weekly really means twice a month or twice a week, and I've concluded that if you don't immediately understand what I mean when I say bi-weekly then I want you to get away from me).

Friday, July 14, 2006

Worse than Jehovah's Witnesses

Leslie and I are sitting in the front room debating whose turn it is to take the dog out for a poop, when there's a massive banging on the back door. We both jump. I don't get up, because we don't answer the back door. Our neighbor's back door is right next to ours, so it's hard to tell if someone's knocking on ours or theirs. We use the front, which has a ringer. That, and our neighbors to the back are extremely creepy.

Even though I wasn't going to answer the door, I'm paranoid and I decide to check. Along the way my bowie knife is slipped from it's hiding spot. There isn't a room in this house without a blade close by. Like I said, I'm paranoid.

No one is at the back door, but now our front door ringer goes off. I step into the community hallway and open the door. A panting, overweight woman whom I've never seen before engages me, already halfway through her first sentence. It seems that, unfortunately, she had some family coming in from town and she was supposed to meet them up around the corner, but they got lost and couldn't follow their directions, and her sister is sick, and she has the keys to someone's home....and because of all of that she needed some money.

It was a crappy version of a halfway decent con. Usually they'll come up to you with a faster story (if you can't follow it then you'll just assume they're out of breath, not that they're full of it), even showing you their driver's license to show they're not just begging for money. "Loan me a few dollars for a cab ride, and I swear I'll pay you back." It happened to me the first day we lived here. Some guy comes running up claiming that he just had a fire in his house, flashed his ID, and something something he needed money. I was taken aback and just dumb enough to give him a couple bucks.

Each of these cons is better than the next. There's a lady who walks around Pet Smart on Lawndale with a little girl in tow, saying she missed her bus and needs money for a cab. She never seems to have a problem walking back to her house, somewhere on the other side of Battleground. The least she could do is actually get a cab for the kid's sake.

Dealing with beggars and panhandlers is something we all have to deal with in Greensboro, but I still can't help feeling bad. What if this is that one person out of a hundred that actually needs the money? They're being turned away because of the other 99 lazy pieces of shit who'd rather beg for it.

So I test the stranger on my front step. Those are keys for whose home?

Oh they're, uh, for, uh, my mom's.

And she's the one that's sick?

Yeah, she's got the flu.

Uh huh. Sorry ma'am, I can't help you. I close the door, thinking that she might be able to actually earn some money off that routine if she practiced a bit. Then that wave of guilt.

"Luke, you've got money. You may be broke, but you can spare a dollar." I laugh to myself when I realize my excuse that I "didn't have any cash on me" was actually true. But I still feel bad.

Then my girlfriend, who had been watching from the window, tells me that same lady had asked her for some money earlier. Apparently her friend's car broke down, and she "needed the money for a cab." That seems to be the popular line. Consider the guilt erased.

So take warning. The beggars are no longer content to sit on street corners or wander around gas stations at night. They've figured out where the people with jobs live, and they're coming over.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Good night

Weirdest part of last night: Having one of the heads of UNCG's dorms run into me at a bar. (I'm an RA, so he's in a way one of my bosses.)

Coolest part of last night: Him buying me drink.

Funniest part of last night: My friend Jamie, between cover band songs, motions down the bar and asks me, "Is anyone else weirded out that that pregnant woman is in a bar?"