Opinions, Etc. 01.14.04

Damn, I’m stuck for a lead today.  It’s a lot harder than it looks, folks.  You have to put something down that’ll engage the audience right away, before they click the back button.  What I normally try to do is take a little tidbit of news or something and use it to inspire me, but there’s nothing really inspiring.  Unless, that is, you want me to write about why the CFO of Enron pled guilty (obviously so that he wouldn’t have to testify against Junta members, duh).  But that’s a boring-as-hell lead.

Instead of that, I’ll just get right into things, and what better way to start than with You’re A Moron?

YOU’RE A MORON:  SEE DEAD HORSE.  BEAT DEAD HORSE.

Sometimes, I get a letter that tries so hard to be insulting that it really merits attention.  Naturally, these letters come from complete idiots, and a good portion of them work off of the assumption that I’m not a fan of wrestling, despite an incredible body of evidence to the contrary.  This mostly happens among readers who are new to me and are insecure about being wrestling fans, especially since it isn’t “cool” right now to be one, unlike a few years ago.  They think that my disdain for the current product is a personal insult.  Naturally, they have to try insulting me back.  I know that I’ve given YAM to a number of people of that particular strain in the past, but when you begin a flame letter with

With all due respect,

you’re in YAM territory.  So step up to the plate, Bryan Galliford, and swing away…

at what point did you stop being a wrestling fan and become a whiney, I-am-powerless-in-my-own-life-so-I-will-trash-something-else-to-make-me-feel-big, critical retard??

Ah, the mating cry of the insecure wrestling fan, who believes that unconditional acceptance of the current product results in a validation of his choice to be a fan, providing a bolstering of what other people think is a decision that justifies geekhood in the realms of the adolescent.  Has it ever entered your mind that I never ceased being a wrestling fan, but that the current product is so dire that it deserves my criticism?  In other words, I’m being an honest wrestling fan.  You’re the delusional retard.

And saying that I criticize because “I’m powerless in my own life” implies that I need a justification to criticize.  I don’t.  I can criticize if I want, and I do so for very good reasons.  What’s your reason, oogums?

Were you ever a fan??

For longer than you’ve been alive, bitch.

If so, what you have become is sad, if NOT, you have no business writing about something you don’t love, or at least LIKE.

Yes, I do.  Hell, I write about Dubbaya and the Junta, don’t I?  And there’s no one who’s ever mistaken my feelings for them as love.

There are some bad things inthe wrestling, BUT there are good points too, yet EVERYTHING is crap to an idiot like you.

And when I see something good, I mention it.  It’s often in the context of a valid criticism, but the positive aspects are shown by counterpoint.  How many times have I said something like “It’s a crime the way they’re wasting Booker T/Chris Jericho/Molly Holly/etc.”?  You praise things that are good.  You slam things that are bad.  I think that should be obvious, even to you.  Unless you’re so personally caught up in seeing validation for your views by respected, popular commentators as justification for your own beliefs, in which case you’ve got some serious self-image problems.

Are you pathetic that you REPEATEDLY mention ‘I told you so’ when a news source (that you constantly slam) agrees with you???

God, are you an idiot.  Have you ever taken a stand on something in your life, or are you just a gelatin-spined sheep?  Almost certainly the latter.  So let me inform you of this little fact.  When you take a stand against what is popular opinion, you get a lot of heat for doing it.  When you remain true to that stand, you get even more heat.  When people start to come around to your side, you have the right to say “I told you so” if you’ve remained true to yourself.  Let’s take this case as an example.  You don’t know how much shit I’ve taken for my stand on Austin.  Now, a half-reputable “news site” with a reputation for getting the occasional inside-the-locker-room scoop is stating that opinion backstage is turning against Austin for reasons that I mentioned months ago and have repeated.  It’s not other IWC people coming around to my viewpoint (although that’s nice too), it’s talent as well.  I think that’s reason to crow in front of the sheep like you, if only to traumatize you into actually thinking for yourselves instead of following the crowd.

Maybe if you actually had an opinion on something and expressed it once in a while, you’d know the sense of satisfaction of being right.  Yes, it’s shallow, but I can take pleasure in the shallower pursuits from time to time.

The only reason you have this job is you probably can’t do anything else, or you were in the right place at the right time.

This is a job?  Hey, someone should start paying me, if that’s the case.  No, it’s a hobby right now.  In other words, I do it because I enjoy doing it.

And you must be a new reader not to know my writing history.  The reason I have this “job” is because I put asses in seats.

Why do I get the impression that you are an ugly,

Not handsome, but not mirror-breaking.  Average-looking, if you weeeeel.

overweight,

Six foot, two hundred pounds.  Nope.

30 year old

Only nine years off.

virgin

Sorry, lost that when today’s college graduates were fetuses.

that still lives with your mum,

Not since I was seventeen and went off to college.

surfing the net for porn because he has no REAL friends……

Okay, I’ll plead guilty to that.

Very sad……

Yes, you are.  Now go away until you rediscover your humanity and leave your sheephood in the dust.

Speaking of morons, it’s Dubbaya Time!

FLY ME TO THE MOON

Well, what can I say?  Dubbaya is doing something that I sorta approve of in regard to something that he should be quite familiar with, namely space.  God knows that the black hole between his ears gives him a personal perspective on thing cosmological.  Finish up the ISS within six years?  Get the next-gen shuttle built?  New moon missions with a base to follow?  Manned exploration to Mars?  I’m in favor of all of it.  It stimulates the space geek glands in me.

But the ambitions don’t really match up to the amount of money that’s going to be squirreled out to NASA.  Five billion in budget increases over five years just won’t get the job done.  Of course, the money might be there if someone, I won’t mention who, didn’t decide to waste eighty billion on a hostile invasion.  But I won’t talk about that.  This week.

The problem with this is, of course, Dubbaya.  He didn’t cast the budget increase in the light of being an accomplishment for America.  He decided to display it as an accomplishment of his administration.  The poll numbers prove this.  Groups of registered Democrats were polled with a significant difference in the way the question was phrased.  When the increase was stated to be a plan of the United States, the Demo poll mirrored the even split that showed up in the complete poll.  When it was stated as a “Bush administration initiative”, disapproval jumped to a 2-1 margin.  That was a tactical error, and it leaves an opening for Demo candidates to attack Dubbaya on frivolous spending, especially with the economy still being sour.

Of course, Dubbaya didn’t have the advantage that Kennedy did of another nation shooting for the same goal.  The Chinese just put their first man in orbit, and, let’s face it, using that as a rallying cry to accomplish this isn’t really the same as “We have to beat the Soviets to the moon”.  Plus, we have all these cooperative efforts going on with ISS and such.  The remarks made by some when Rover transmitted back from Mars and Beagle 2 was lost in re “America’s still the best in space” were regarded, rightfully, as jingoism not in the best interest for the Future Of Humankind.

That being said, if this ends up creating a timeline that will make situations like the one on this week’s Enterprise (oh, sorry, Star Trek:  Enterprise) happen, I’m all in favor of never leaving this planet’s atmosphere again.  Boy, did they piss away any goodwill they garnered from their recent run of good episodes.  If you dare, watch it tonight.  It’s horrid.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Well, the moment that we’ve all been waiting for has come.  The only “Best Of 2003” List that really matters, in fact, the one that justifies the existence of all the others, has been released.  Yes, Mister Blackwell’s come out with his annual Worst Dressed List.  Gossipuses and people desperate for column material all wait on baited breath for Mistah B to pronounce judgment.  And stepping up to the podium to accept her well-deserved fate is…Paris Hilton.

Wait a second.  Paris Hilton?  A woman whose most famous moment last year involved, well, not being in clothes?  Is Mister Blackwell starting to lose it?  Ah, no, faithful readers.  Not when he can come out with lines like “Grab the blinders, here comes Paris. From cyber disgrace to red carpet chills — she’s the vapid Venus of Beverly Hills!”  Yes, the bitch queen of fashion still has his touch, able to damn the moronic rich and famous with economy that I envy.

In case you’re wondering, here’s the full list:

1)  Paris Hilton
2)  Madonna and Britney Spears
3)  Shania Twain (“buckled bombs and country-fried kitsch”)
4)  Diane Keaton (“dowdy, dumpy and frumpy”)
5)  Jessica Simpson
6)  Celine Dion (“a half-sequined scarecrow, half-gaudy acrobat”)
7)  Missy Elliott
8)  Melanie Griffith
9)  Courtney Love
10) Lara Flynn Boyle

I do have to admit that there were some obvious choices here, and Keaton also has that most-famous-moment-being-a-nude-scene thing going on top of that.  However, anyone who saw the Bears-Packers Monday night game, where Hilton showed up in a luxury box wearing then-swain Brian Urlacher’s jersey, will admit that Paris belongs on here somewhere.  Mister B also says that this year was harder for him than most previous years because of a general increase in good taste and because many of his previous mainstays had finally acknowledged the pain of his LART stick (like Fergie).  So I’ll give him points for effort.  Although how he missed Jeri Ryan’s Emmy couture disaster was beyond me.

MAILBAG!

Mister Blackwell isn’t the only person to have a LART stick.  BFM has one as well, and he’s going to use it on Ashish.  He pointed out that there was a bit of a mistake in Ashish’s article on the meeting prior to Raw.  Here’s what Ashish wrote in his blurb:

Vince also made a point to tell the wrestlers that he does not like when one wrestler turns his back to his opponent in the ring. Most wrestlers quickly realized that Shane McMahon does that probably more than anybody.

Now, here’s what the original item, under Milord’s byline at 1bullshit, said:

Something else that had a number of the wrestlers laughing after the meeting came from a comment that Vince made when he addressed the troops. He said that it always shocks him when a wrestler turns his back to his opponent in the ring. Of course, as the wrestlers pointed out to me, there is no one guiltier of that transgression that Vince’s son-in-law. (note emphasis)

Oh, boy, what can I say?  That’s an obvious misread of the original.  There’s really no excuse for that other than pure human error.  The problem is that he didn’t correct it when he corrected some other stuff (the double credit line for 1bullshit is a sign that he went back and edited it at least once).  And if it had been reported correctly, it could have provided a wonderful springboard for, oh, Haley to comment about this further without making us look silly.  Personally, I could get a boatload of mileage out of this story in regard to this being a rare veiled criticism of Trip by Vince.  Hell, anyone in the IWC could, given the level of Trip Non-LUV that’s out there.

This is an example of something that I was saying in Wrestling yesterday:  we’re not pros per se, although there are a LOT of writers on 411 who have earned cash through their scrivening experts (including Keith, Lucard, and me, just to name a few).  We don’t have a crack editorial staff that is able to catch obvious errors like this.  Mistakes like this are bound to happen.  And, let’s face it, the pros commit errors like this as well.  For instance, at cnn.com, which does have a crack editorial staff and the coffers of Time-Warner to tap to afford it, there was a blurb in the “other stories that relate to this” portion of the story on the Iowa Caucuses today that read like this:

Howard Dean won the first vote of the 2004 presidential campaign season on Tuesday, although it was more of a voting rights rally than a chance to express a preference for a candidate. Dean, the former Vermont governor, got 43 percent of the votes, followed by Al Sharpton with 34 percent, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun with 12 percent and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, with 8 percent.

Notice that the most important fact of the story is missing:  that the vote took place in DC.  The entire context of the story is missing.  This was designed as a teaser for a separate article on the DC vote, so you can justify this by saying that the hyperlinked story that this leads into will follow that up.  However, even a teaser should have mentioned where the vote took place, since the situation could easily apply to, oh, Puerto Rico or Guam as much as DC.

The point is that the rapid posting and instant communication that the Net establishes sometimes causes errors to take place.  You have to be extremely careful in what you post.  We’ve all made mistakes and we’ll continue to make mistakes, and it’s up to us primarily to catch them.

Semi-Regular Christopher Arrington is back from an extended absence.  So what does he have to say?

Now was last week the best week of the playoffs ever?  All the games were decided by a total of 19 points.  There was an overtime and a double overtime game in two days.  The decisions made by Mike Martz is finally getting St. Louis to know what the rest of the country already did in that Dick Vermeil made that team what it was.  And, of course, 4th & 26.  The only thing missing was on Monday a recap of the events by John Facenda and a commercial from Don Cheadle.

Well, the Facenda part would be difficult to do, but if any football weekend was worth attempting a resurrection, it’d be the one we had last weekend.  It was riveting, even though the Bears weren’t involved.  Best of all, thanks to last weekend, this upcoming weekend is now must-see, with some damn intriguing storylines.  Can the Eagles get it together after last week’s scare from the FudgePackers?  Can Carolina’s defense provide a spark?  Can Manning stay on this incredible roll against the best defense he’s played all year?  Will Indy get payback for the four stops at the 1?  As I’ll end up saying later, the only thing that can take the spotlight off of the NFL sports-wise is a certain girl in Hawaii.

Another great thing was the smackdown of George W. by Paul O’Neill.  Do you think it was just bitterness or do you think that the president is an even bigger ass than we thought?

Definitely that he’s a bigger ass than we thought, but that’s an automatic.  There’s no bottom to the barrel of assdom that the Junta is mired in.  O’Neill was completely believable in his statements.  Yeah, there was a bit of the redolent odor of sour grapes, but it’s not surprising that the Junta had plans to invade Iraq going back to the Transition.  Iraq had nothing to do with geopolitics or terrorism and everything to do with personal vendetta and the oil business.  That should be abundantly clear to anyone with two functional brain cells by now.

Alex Chubb from Oxford (the center of learning that’s in the UK, not the center of learning that’s in Mississippi) asks this:

I’m really into my US sport- I support all the Houston teams, which has left me in a quandry. Is Clemens still a heel now he’s an Astro?

Apparently only to those in the Noo Yawk media, who lambasted him on Tuesday.  Everyone else calmly accepts it as a guy who changed his mind and decided to come back out because 1) he’s pitching in his home town, 2) his best friend in the biz is now also pitching there, and 3) he won’t really “tarnish his legacy” because he still has it (and he’s going to ring up some gaudy numbers in the first part of the season because those NL players haven’t seen him on a regular basis).  As for what’s going to happen when he heads back to the Noo Yawk area to face the Mets, nothing that wouldn’t have happened anyway because he still has heel heat for the whole Piazza situation among fans at Shea.

Anyway, something confused me in your most recent article:  ‘Colts, Pats, Iggles, and Panthers all might have to play second fiddle to a
fourteen-year-old girl if things go right for her on Thursday and Friday’.  Who is the girl? I usually get all the references (even if your nicknames for the teams are often impenetrable) but this left me stumped.


Ah, Alex, you forget my passion for the sport of golf.  The fourteen-year-old girl in question is, of course, Michelle Wie, who will be teeing it up with the men at the Sony Open starting tomorrow.  She’s got a good chance to make the cut because 1) this is her home course and she’s a lot more familiar with it than any of the males in the field and 2) she outhits a lot of the guys.  If she makes the cut, there’s going to be a trans-Pacific media feeding frenzy on Saturday and Sunday that will overshadow the NFL playoffs.  Poor girl really needs a bit of charisma, though; her interviews have been duller than a Bob Holly promo.

Now on to the “computer problems” section of the Mailbag.  Longtime reader Tom Valentino got nailed again:

About six months ago, you really bailed me out with a problem similar to the one I’m dealing with now. Spyware is absolutely crippling my computer, especially my AOL IM profile.

In my Internet browser, under “Toolbars,” there is an extra one called “IE Search Bar.”  Also, the message “Happy Holidays Everyone!!  New Years 2003 Partayy!” keeps appearing in my AOL buddy profile, no matter what I do.

I have SpyBot, Ad-Aware and SpySweeper, yet NONE of them are getting the job done.  What the hell can I do?


Okay, IE Search Bar is definite spyware, and a common source of complaints.  It’s easy to get rid of.  First of all, have you updated Spybot recently?  If not, do so and try again, because I think it’ll remove IE Search Bar now.  If so, and it doesn’t, then I definitely recommend a trip to the SpywareInfo Support Forums.  They’re pros at getting malware off systems.  Before going there, though, you’ll need to get a copy of Hijack This.  It’s a program that will display what IE is starting up when it runs.  They’re going to ask you to post a log of Hijack This’s findings prior to getting help.  Hijack This is also a very powerful cleanup tool if you know what you’re looking for, but some of this stuff is so obscure that you should let the pros analyze your logfile and see exactly what you need to do.

Now, after you get cleaned up, there are definitely two tools to get, run, and keep updated.  The first is IE Spyad.  It’ll take a whole boatload of malware and advertising URLs and place them in the Restricted Zone of IE, thereby limiting not only the damage you can do to your computer, but also the number of ads that show up.  Ed Howes updates this about once to twice a week, so bookmark this puppy and go there frequently.  And it works with AOL.  The other is Spyware Blaster  It’ll block more malicious ActiveX controls than the Immunize function of Spybot.  JavaCool updates this frequently, and there’s an auto-updater inside of the program.  So you not only need to get and use it, but you need to run its updater on a frequent basis so that you can block the latest and greatest attempts at drive-by browser hijacking.  I use both of them, and have never had a hijacking.

Now, as for the AIM hijacking, that sounds like you’ve got a virus.  Run an antivirus scanner ASAP.  Considering how many viruses and trojans are now using instant messaging systems to spread these days, it’s a good measure.  I’d also kill AIM off the system (unless you’re on AOL, in which case you can’t) and install Trillian, which is a lot more resilient (and will also do ICQ, Yahoo, and other IM systems).

The best way to get rid of spyware is not to be infected in the first place.  And the surest route of infection is to install KaZaA.  That leads into Semi-Regular Sam Hough’s question:

I’ve been having some problems with my computer and was hoping since you’re the guru of technology on 411 that you might be able to help me.

The first problem is that my families computer is FUBARed. My father and I think it is because of Kazaa (do you have any other options for free music sharing? Ones that won’t infest my computer with spyware?). However, since last week (after we downloaded quicktime) everytime I load up Kazaa a box pops up that says “File Read Error” and a few dozen of my songs just simply don’t show up. Do you know what the problem is with Kazaa and how I can fix it?


Oh, yeah, it’s almost certainly because of KaZaA, which is loaded with spyware and malware.  Uninstall KaZaA, then run SpyBot (update it prior to running it).  SpyBot should get rid of anything that KaZaA installs and won’t uninstall after you get rid of it.  After that…well, as people know, Sharman got KaZaA Lite taken down through various and sundry copyright threats.  There’s been a mad scramble in the community to get a project up and running that’ll work with the latest FastTrack iteration.  The one that’s seen the most progress is K-Lite, and you can find the latest beta here.  I think it only works with XP, though.  That’ll keep you connected to FastTrack, which, unfortunately, is still the best place to get music.

As for the problem with KaZaA, try copying all of your downloaded media out of the directory KaZaA puts it into and clear the directory out.  If you’re having problems copying, then you have a corrupted file.  Just kill the files in question and try again.  If KaZaA still won’t start, f*ck it and get K-Lite.

Also, because our computer is 4 years old we weren’t able to burn MP3’s,

That’s no excuse.  You have a burner in there.  All you needed was the right software.

so a family friend sent us software for Easy CD Creator 4.

And that’s definitely the wrong software.  Easy CD Creator (and a pre-Roxio one like 4 at that) absolutely, positively sucks.  Nero is the way to go.  And you can get key generators for Nero at the usual places (like Astalavista).

Somehow or another it was removed from our computer, so I reloaded it on.

Kill it again, and throw Nero on there.  You won’t regret it, I promise.

However, everytime I try to burn a CD now I get the following message: “There are no supported CD-Recorders available. Ensure that your CD-Recorder is powered on and that all cables are properly connected.  You may also need to update Easy CD Creator to recognize your CD-Recorder. To update Easy CD Creator select Web-Checkup from the Internet Menu”  Well, all the cables are connected, and I didn’t need to do the web check up thing last time. So could you help me out and tell me how to fix these problems? Thanks.

Okay…first of all, go into Control Panel -> System -> Hardware -> Device Manager.  Check DVD/CD-ROM Devices and see if your burner is showing up there.  If it isn’t, then Windows isn’t recognizing the drive.  At that point, you can try to replace the IDE cable of the CD-ROM, which is a frequent cause of that kind of failure.  Or, just completely unplug the IDE cable from the CD-ROM (both ends), reinsert it, and fire the system back up.  That sometimes works.  Also, when you’re in Device Manager, check the IDE ATA/ATAPI Interfaces section.  Click on the primary and secondary IDE channels and see if your drives are coming up in DMA mode.  Even a four-year-old system can run drives in DMA mode.

If you can use the CD-ROM for other things, then Windows is recognizing it perfectly, and it’s Easy CD Creator’s fault.  In which case, well, you’re getting rid of it anyway and using Nero, which will work since its list of recognized drives is much larger than a two-version-old Easy CD Creator.

And that’ll be it for this week.  See you guys next week over in Wrestling and then over here.