Saturday, January 01, 2005


Heppy New Year, Leaguers!

It's a whole new year. Which means that, once more, our planet has succesfully completed a revolution around El Sol. Goody.

I'm not overly sentimental about New Years. After all, unless you have a party to go to, it's pretty much a night to watch some 2nd tier programming and a day to clean up your Christmas stuff which might still be sitting out.

What will I do differently in 2005? Nothing. 2004 went fairly well. I hope to complete my taxes a hair earlier, but with my class going on, I'm not holding my breath. I also hope to manage my money a lot better. This may mean (shudder) reducing the number of comics and comic related merchandise I buy. Or else making a lot more money. Unfortunately, my boss doesn't like me a whole lot, so I am not holding out for a banner salary year in 2005.

I hope you all had a good New Years and I hope you have good luck remembering to write "05" at the end of the date.

Currently, UT is down 21-31. I have no faith is Greg Davis's ability to mastermind his way out of this one.

Ah, well. At least we made it to a decent bowl game this year.

Anyhoo, I can still wish all of you a happy, healthy 2005! Let's all try a little harder to make the world a better place this year than last.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Randy is taking exception to the fact that I compared him to McDonald Land's own lovable goof, Grimace. Apparently he took it as a literal, physical representation. Which, of course, it was not meant to be. (Following Randy's logic, I think I look like ROnald McDonald, Jim looks like The Hamburglar, and my wife looks like a mophead with eyes and stork legs)

"Dude," Randy complains, "You just called me a big , fat purple thing."

So now I leave it to the readers to decide...

Does Randy resemble Grimace? Physically? Personality wise?

Personally, I think they both have warm, endearing googly eyes.

Subject A

Subject B

Thursday, December 30, 2004

So my new favorite commercial is a Rawlings basketball commercial. You'll know it when you see it.

My new least favorite commercial is the commercial for the "Big & Tasty" burger from McDonald's dollar menu. Not only is it a paean to a really crappy piece of food, and has the sort of hyperbolic voice over that make sme want to choke the creative team behind the commercial, but the dude at the end of the commercial doesn't even deliver his line well.

Pre-dating the "SuperSize Me" brou-haha, and the lawsuit where the fat kids tried to sue McDonalds, books were coming out basically trying to make you run screaming from your local McDonalds. An image problem to be sure. With some minor menu changes and a new, hip spin on a nasty, old product, McDonalds decided "I'm Lovin' It!" would be rapped, sung and generally forced into the stickier crevices in the back of your mind.

McDonalds advertising is really at its best when they throw Ronald (Me) into a commercial with Grimace (Randy). Ronald and Grimace do something stupid and then chase around the Hamburglar (who is, in more ways than I can count, exactly like Jim D). It's a simple formula. It reminds you of McDonalds as a name, makes their product sort of fun, and appeals across a wide audience. (Actually, I used to think those Fry Guys [Jamie] were hilarious).

The commercials starring actual people appearing to be happy at McDonalds have never worked out quite as well.

The "I'm Lovin' It" campaign has done more to steer League HQ away from McDonalds than any five anti-McDonalds documentaries could dream of doing. Simply, I am not lovin' it. I am trying to get a coke and fries because you're the only fast place to get a bit between home and work. Unless I want Del Taco. And, no, I don't want Del Taco, either.

There's nothing hip about pre-cooked/ microwaved burgers. There's nothing emotionally gratifying about eating at McDonalds. it's simply something to feel vaguely guilty about.

The Big & Tasty Burger costs a mere $1.00. Which, in this land of $8.00 cheeseburgers, is a hard thing to look away from. Of course, most likely, The Big & Tasty tastes like it costs a dollar, and we have to remember it's all about volume sales with McDonalds. THus, the dollar menu.

But that doesn't stop the subject of our commercial, who is sitting alone in a McDonalds, from waxing rhapsodic upon the topic of his Big & Tasty (which may be my new name for Jason, btw). He compares the burger to the Pyramids, the wonders of Rome, on and on about how amazing a $0.05 bun, a scrap of lettuce, a wiggly tomato slice and a microwaved hunk of beek really are.

I think he then says something out loud to his burger (the gushing praise arriving in VO), like "how do they do it?"

Our burger loving hero (who has his eyes locked upon his burger as if, maybe, he will soon make sweet, sweet love to the burger) is revealed to not be alone! Rather, he is with Stock Player #372 from the WB's central casting. Stock Player #372 is the now popular chubby, curly haired, goateed slacker made popular in ads for FedEx and Fritos.

Our Burger Fool is woken from his reverie by Stock Player #372, and the hilarious (I mean HIGH-LARIOUS!) line, "Dude, you're talking to your burger."


Oh, man. Just sit back and let that one soak in. "Dude, you're talking to your burger." As if... ha ha... as if the burger can, you know, HEAR HIM!!!! Where do they come up with this stuff? No wonder I could never make it in advertising. Crap, that's funny.

The line delivery by #372 is the interesting part. With only 6 words to deliver in about two seconds, #372 makes the most of it. Instead of being just another actor delivering his lines in a believable fashion so as to convey some semblance of reality, #372 decides to tackle the line as if he actually doesn't understand what he's saying, or, perhaps, as if he's been kicked in the head mutliple times by a horse.

"Dude," he says, sort of slapping his friend's arm, trying to bring him back to reality. "You're talking to your burger." The burger isn't going to respond, man! it can't hear YOU!!! Don't talk to the burger!

Never before has a more wooden performance displaying such a stunning lack of talent been seen in a mere two seconds. Normally I'd love this, but at this point, McDonald's advertising just depresses me. This is yet another in a long line of cheerless McDonald's commercials formulated to joylessly appeal to a demographic which is pretty much a gimme if you're a teen-ager living in suburban sprawl, anyway.

Now, talent or no, #372 is going to make a boatload of cash for being in a nationally televised spot that runs all the time. Them's the rules with SAG. And you have to like that.

It is The League's suggestion to #372 that he spend his money one of two ways:

1) Paying back his parents for any money they have spent allowing him to be trained as an actor.

2) Tuition for college so #372 can select a new career more suitable to his skills. Such as, I dunno, not being on my TV anymore.

Soon the commercial will be little more than a memory, but may the dream of #372 and his poor line delivery live on.

God bless us every one.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Hinojosa New Years

So, a two fold interactive post here.

1) What are you doing for New Years?
2) What should Madi do to bring in 2005?


Last year Jamie and I did two things for New Years. We did a) Jack and b) shit.

1) I suspect this New Years will be more of the same.

2) I think Madi should go to Jason Steans' Rockin' New Years Eve. If, Jason is, in fact, having a Rockin' New Years Eve.

I strongly suspect no New Years will ever top that of 99'-2000 in my book. Best New Years, ever. And I have Pat Sanchez to thank. Sorry about your floor, Pat. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Apple has stepped up to the plate and has offered a a central location where you can make donations for diaster relief.

Thanks to Doug for the link.
Just a head's up. There's not much folks like myself can do for the tsunami victims across the Indian Ocean. But, if you have a few dollars left after Christmas, now might be a good time to consider visiting They've set up a donation site on their front page.

Red Cross, Red Crescent and UN Relief folks are in motion, but with death tolls at 80,000 and climbing, these areas will need more support than that which governments are going to have tucked away for just such a disaster.

Please take some time and visit a site such as the Red Cross site or

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Joys of Cat Ownership V (with Apologies to

Why Jeff the Cat does not go for walks on a leash...
Just an interesting item in the name of being fair and square:

American Airlines sent me a lengthy letter, which, I might add, was not a curt dismissal of my concerns. Unfortunately, they also had this attached:

This email message and its contents are copyrighted and are proprietary
products of American Airlines, Inc. Any unauthorized use, reproduction, or
transfer of this message or its contents, in any medium, is strictly prohibited.

So I cannot copy and paste the e-mail into the blog.

I have to say, while I am still not happy with my travel experience, I am impressed somebody out there took the time to write a letter which actually responded to my complaints and questions in detail.

A small part of me wonders if they knew about my lengthy rant from earlier this week here in these pages. But that's probably just me patting myself on the back rather than accepting that AA might have excellent customer relations staff.

*** UPDATE ***

And get this! AA sent us a TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER!!!! I didn't even notice that as I skimmed the letter the first time. Jamie just called me to talk about it, and I was like: Wha...?

So, anyway, that's an additional few points for AA!
a post Holiday read from The Onion.
What did YOU get from Santor?

Lee T. has written in and suggested that everyone send in their strangest Christmas present. He kicked it off this way:

The League should administer a contest to determine the strangest Christmas present received this year.

As for me, I received a shirt which actually claims on the label and accompanying product repel bugs. A bug repellant shirt. Yep. That's me.

Sounds like the work of one Jacob Q. Thweatt, but I can't be sure.

Doug counters (also relating the fate of a former gift to The League):

Doug was visited by Santor... in a big way. He received a copy of League favorite "Garfield" on DVD, and another DVD set... which is too horrible to mention.

Ho ho nooooooooooooooooo!

Doug collects bad movies, and surely Garfield will be a crowning jewel in his collection. (Doug is also proud owner of both R.O.T.O.R. and Nukie).

So, what did you get from Santor this year?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

..And we're back.

Thanks to Judy and Dick for yet another fabulous Christmas in sensational Lawton, Oklahoma (home of Lawton High Wolverines!). Jamie and I had a great time and it was all-around Christmassy.

Our first day in Lawton, the ground had a thin layer of snow so we suited up and went out to chuck hunks of snow and ice at each other. Judy (The Shark) McBride now has a pool table, and we spent a good amount of time around the table. I am no good at pool, and I demonstrated this numerous times throughout the weekend.

We had a very nice Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Eve night was spent touring Lawton, OK and checking out the sights and lights. Christmas morning was great, and I have to say that I did, in fact, rake in a great deal of Christmas Loot. I got a few books, a kick-ass DVD collection I'd been eyeing, and a great game from Doug (I cannot repeat the name here as it is French and I am sure to misspell it).

Followed that up with an adventurous viewing of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events (the audience habits of the patrons of the Lawton Mall need some work).

Now, all of that was the fun part. The troublesome part came into play during our travels. As you might know, the major airlines have been having some financial difficulties tied to fuel costs, security costs, etc... and I would propose that many of our problems stem from a cutback of resources at the sub-management level (always first to go, but usually more needed than the pencil pushers.).

Firstly, a week before our departure I received an e-mail informing me that my flight had been cancelled and we were rebooked for a flight two hours later. I called in to see what the story was and was told it was due to a faulty aircraft. I did not then, nor do I now believe this was true. The airlines did their usual thing and cancelled flights which were not booked solid. I noted that our connecting flight was only 45 minutes after our new flight time, and I suggested that I change my second flight's departure time to a later time.

I was assured that we would be able to connect (American insists that 35 minutes is enough time to connect between two domestic flights). I asked what would happen if we were late (given that Expedia was stating the flight we were taking was only 60% on time). They were willing to change my connecting flight to a later flight.


1) Our flight from Phoenix to Dallas was about 45 minutes late arriving (despite perfect flying conditions leaving Phoenix)
2) Being rudely told by the clerk at the desk in Dallas that incidents of Easter 2003 could not have occurred when I made an inquiry to avoid a similar situation.
3) Our flight being delayed from 4:15 to 5:00.
4) Having to change gates.
5) Our 5:00 being changed to 5:35
6) Our 5:35 being cancelled with no explanation
7) The new clerk being unaware of our cancellation and having to leave the desk twice to don coat and go outside to deal with some situation
8) Our new 6:15 flight being bumped to 7:00
9) Our 7:00 being bumped to 7:35
10) Changing gates a total of no less than 8 more times (I do begin to exaggerate. We lost track). We changed gates at least every twenty minutes until they quit posting a gate around 7:00.
11) Being told at 7:35 that we had a plane, but no crew
12) Our flight falling off the boards with no explanation at 7:40.
13) multiple people from our flight being told different stories regarding our situation, none of which seemed to really match up.
14) actually witnessing people in line being yelled at by clerks for just asking when we were leaving
15) Finally getting a crew and then being chastised for not already being on the plane by the desk crew
16) Sitting at the gate for about 30 minutes once on board
17) waiting for about 45 minutes to be de-iced

Well, that was nice. I hate American Eagle and it will be a long, long time before I fly them again. I was feeling pretty bad until I heard a story about a family friend who was caught in the Delta Airlines computer crash. He was stranded in the Cincincatti airport for two entire days before being picked up and returned home without ever making it to Houston.

On our way home, I pinged off the security system in multiple ways. My watch (in my backpack) was believed to be a bomb. My wallet had a security swipe card which set it off, and something else pinged it, too... but I cannot remember what it was.

We left Lawton more or less on time. In Dallas (with 45 degree weather and clear skies) we were delayed for more than an hour from departure.

On board, we learned some chip in the instrument panel wasn't working, so we had to sit on the airplane for an hour while the diagnosed and then repaired the problem. Eventually we did get to leave.

On the ground in Phoenix, we reached our gate to learn the skyramp was broken down and we could not deplane (this isn't to mention the douchebag who GOT UP AND WAS WALKING AROUND WHILE WE WERE TAXIING. I was convinced that they were actually delaying until they could get a cop to arrest the moron when he stepped off the plane. The fact that this jerk wasn't arrested is not a mark in the plus column in my mind.). We had to sit on the plane for an additional twenty or more minutes while they located a truck to move the plane. No stair-car. No roll-away stairs.

We spent more than four hours on a plane for a 1 hour 45 minute flight. Not to mention the people who were going to be late who needed to use that plane next.


Anyway, that was frustrating. Don't fly American for a while, not until they hire enough people to run their damn airline, anyway. What a nightmare.

I could write a letter, but the past two letters I wrote to American ended with a form letter non-apology declaring taking their airline to be a crapshoot at best. So, suck it, American Airlines. I don't need to write you, I just need to tell every single person how incompetent you are and that America West and Southwest never do this shit.