Son of a bitch…some cocksucker woke me up at 8 AM yesterday morning with a wrong number. Fortunately, I went to sleep before midnight and took a Klonopin, so I had a relaxing night of sleep beforehand. This was worse than being called in to do overtime, without the cows. However, it did give me the advantage of starting the column early and grabbing some coffee, which seems to help the other pills I take. So therefore I should have thanked the guy.
I do want to mention something that I kept forgetting during the Chicago Period. I used to go just over the border to Indiana for cheap cigarettes. When I entered Dyer, Indiana, right across the border (which had multiple cig shops on US 30, one of the main routes into Indiana), I kept seeing a sign. The sign said “Mary Kay Thanos, Lawyer”. That was beautiful. Three different forms of absolute evil in only four words. I’ve always thought I’d hire her in case of trouble, but I wasn’t sure she was licensed in Illinois…
…you know, I have no idea why I went off on that tangent. Sin of omission, I guess. I should have done it years ago.
Three more months until I can submit my promotion forms…it’s now a race against time. Can the Lamictal stabilize my mood enough to stand this shitty job until there’s light at the end of the tunnel? We just have to wait and see.
And speaking of waiting and seeing…damn, I can’t of a transition for that. The Palestinian Authority election is over, the first round of the NFL playoffs is over, even Marvellous Marvin’s wedding to Sharon Austin, everything that you can think of as waiting and seeing have been. There’s only one thing I can think of: the new nominee for the head of the Department of Homeland Facism looks like Jim Carrey in Lemony Snicket. So let’s just get on with it…
THE PIMP SECTION
Lucard discusses the works of Bram Stoker. He did more than Dracula, you know.
All Misha has on tap is the latest Zelda. But he does mention other releases this week. So good for him.
Fernandez wants semi-legal pot on his vacation. Hey, that’s why I went to Amsterdam while in Europe.
Gordi discusses Mahler and Dvorak. Hey, I’m a fan.
West has the Heat recap for you. It’s a Heat before a PPV, so there’s some worth to it.
Urciuolo has one new column in. Actually, two.
Nguyen goes off on everything under the sun.
Porter talks Instant Replay in soccer. Fuck that. Eliminate the Blue Line, and maybe more people will watch.
The Plays With Dolls Section chimes in with their yearly awards. Good for them.
THE ANTI-SPYWARE SECTION
Remember, this all started because the slugs at Enigma Software dared to advertise their piece of shit SpyHunter at 411 (one of the reasons why I decided to leave, honestly). So I’m responding every single column with proper anti-spyware information. And guess what? People are actually taking this to heart. They’re asking me for help if they’re infested, or they’re writing me telling me that their browsing experience is less annoying thanks to the stuff I’ve been putting up here three times a week for a few months now.
(And as I understand it, there are some unscrupulous browser toolbar people trying to advertise here at the Pulse. Well, don’t click on that ad, whatever you do. We’ll still get the money from the impressions, and your system will stay safe.)
Big, big Kudos to the guys at the Spyware Warrior Forum for pointing out to everyone the extent of criminal activity participated in by Enigma Software, makers of the bane of advertising on that site, SpyHunter. Slimeballs extraordinare, aren’t they? And in case you need more info about what flaming bags of shit they are, try here. Suzi’s Blog has a great list of other flaming bags of shit that promote anti-spyware programs that are spyware themselves. Consult it if you have questions.
(On a side note, those SpyHunter ads started over at Reality News Online, and BFM, a contributor there, spotted them. He told the webmaster, gave him those links that I cited above, the webmaster read them, the blood drained out of his face, and he contacted his ad provider. No more ads for Enigma products on RNO, thank you. So guess what? If you provide the info, there are sites who will listen.)
Here’s a list of the programs you really need to help you get rid of menaces, and, more importantly, prevent them from occurring in the first place:
Spybot and AdAware. The ONLY two spyware removal tools to trust. Do NOT buy any spyware removal tools, because none of them work better than these two, and all of them except these two are suspect.
SpywareBlaster. Will nuke thousands of different potentially malicious ActiveX controls, and now has the ability to prevent a number of non-ActiveX methods of installing spyware for people who use Mozilla/Firefox.
SpywareGuard. From Javacool, like SpywareBlaster. It’s a real-time scanner for spyware. A decent first line of defense.
IE-SpyAd. Throws numerous ad-related URLs into IE’s Restricted Zone, where they won’t display or affect your system. Bookmark this one, since it’s the only one that doesn’t have an in-program update.
A few people have recommended also installing the Sun Java Virtual Machine, since it’s Windows’ buggy, half-assed implementation of the JVM that allows a lot of spyware to install (less so within the past month and a half than before). I STRONGLY recommend that you visit here and update your version of Java.
Surprisingly, many people have asked me about the Microsoft Anti-Spyware Beta. I downloaded it and tried it, and it shockingly did a great job. Since it’s free, I’ll recommend it here.
So many people have asked about a free anti-virus program that I’m also going to recommend AVG. Totally free, and works really, really well, as well as commercial anti-virus programs. Frequent database updates, good heuristic detection, everything you want in an anti-virus package.
Another program that I’d like to add here is a little tough to work with for noobs if it goes buggy (you need to know a little something about your Networking settings in order to debug if something should go wrong). Protowall is a supplement to your firewall or NAT system. It hooks directly into XP’s networking system to block any and all traffic that comes from URLs on a list maintained by the program (all protocols, not just TCP/UDP). It’s mainly designed for anti-P2P purposes (which will appeal to a great many of my readers), but it contains lists to block spyware and ads. Its blocklist can easily be updated using its supplementary program, Blocklist Manager. I have Protowall running and a Blocklist Manager icon on my desktop, and I use Blocklist Manager to update the blocklist every couple of days. You will have problems getting to some sites unless you shut down Protowall temporarily, like ESPN or Sports Illustrated, but it does have a tray icon you can right-click and shut down in a few seconds. It’s the third layer of anti-ad material for me, with IE-SpyAd and AdSubtract running alongside it. Warning, though: it only works with XP. I’d recommend its predecessor, Peer Guardian, for other MS OSes, but it isn’t being developed anymore, and there were still bugs in it when development stopped. You can get Protowall and the Blocklist Manager (which will also work with Peer Guardian) at Bluetack’s site.
Of course, only download them from the links provided above. And only download those programs; don’t fall for the ads that are shown at various websites.
With AdAware and Spybot, check for updates using their internal update function at least once a week. Run them at least once a week or whenever you think you might have problems. Remember, the new version of Spybot has browser protection capabilities, so have that run at startup and leave it running. Check for updates to SpywareBlaster once a week. It only needs to be run once initially in order to establish protection. Then, after it downloads updates, just click on the line that says “Enable Protection For All Unprotected Items” and kill it. It doesn’t need to be active. For IE-SpyAd, bookmark the site and check for updates twice a week, since it has no kind of internal updater. Since all it does is add Registry entries, it doesn’t eat up anything. Run the Blocklist Manager every couple of days to make sure that you keep up on the latest banned URLs.
If you’re having trouble with spyware or a browser hijacker, or think that you do, head over to the SpywareInfo Forums, where the pros there can help you diagnose and get rid of stuff. I was promoted to Full Helper status there and ended up joining ASAP, the Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals. Look for their symbol.
The Ravin’ Cajun asks me to recommend a good client-side spam filter for MS mail programs running under Windows. Now, this is something I don’t have experience with because my ISPs have always had good spam filtering, plus, I use Thunderbird, which handles the remainder quite nicely, thank you. Some readers wrote in and recommended SpamBayes, which is totally free and supposedly works very well, so I’ll add it on to the anti-annoyance list that we’re building up here.
Now that 1.0 has been released, I feel good in recommending Firefox as an alternative to IE. Go grab a copy and see what you’re missing.
HOW DO YOU SAY “PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING” IN SPANISH?
Just in case you haven’t been following this, Hector Garza’s bust wasn’t for pot. He was carrying a pair of anabolics over the border. They’re OTC in Mexico, but against the law in the US other than to prescribe for medical reasons. So that’s why he’s still in jail right now waiting on a couple of hearings, scheduled for yesterday and today.
I should have known this. Right now, I’m banging my head against the wall for this. I was talking with Fleabag one day about Garza (we’re both fans of him), and I said that he looked a lot more muscular, toned, and bulkier than he did in his days with WCW. Due to the fact that I hadn’t seen him since WCW, and that was a long time ago, I attributed this to a training regimen. Well, he’s a wrestler. I should have realized he’d take the short cut to getting that way. He didn’t look freakish like Big Sump Pump or Trip, so steroids weren’t the first thing I thought of. Well, silly me. I know this business, and I totally didn’t have that in my mind when looking at him.
But, who’s more of an idiot, me or Garza for risking liver damage and other side effects from taking that shit?
Everyone’s panties are in a twist because New Jack was backstage at Raw. Actually, my panties are in a twist too. This guy is nuts, he’s done time, he’s incredibly violent, and he does maniacal moves with no provocation. He’s sort of the bastard love child of Booker T, Jeffykins, and Sandman. And he’s allegedly called Stamford within the past few weeks with an idea on how to use him (viz. 1bullshit Junior). As what? They’ve lived perfectly well without a suicidal bump machine since they pushed Jeffykins out. The guy never showed he could wrestle in ECW (like he had to there). His biggest attraction in ECW, other than rubbing his head on a cheese grater, was the fact that his ring music played continuously throughout his matches.
So what’s in it for either side? For New Jack, is he that desperate for money that he’s willing to go against the image he’s built up, and to give a big “Fuck You” to Heyman? For WWE, do they really want to get into bed with this guy knowing that sometime, he’s going to f*ck up and f*ck up big, all for the sake of an alleged idea that “creative” will screw the pooch on? Is this really worth it?
Of course, take this with a grain of salt from me. I was the one who said that WWE should never rehire Eddy Guerrero after his rehab stint due to his recidivism. That’s probably been my biggest f*ck-up in nearly five years of doing this column, but it sure looked like the right thing to say at the time. Who knows, New Jack will probably come in there and be the new Shelton Benjamin. Weirder things have happened, especially when it comes to WWE.
A lot of people have mailed me and asked me how I feel about Nick Dinsmore’s ruptured patellar tendon. First of all, I sympathize with him considering the condition of my knees. However, the main point is this: I’ve been against this angle since before it started. I’ve been begging with them to stop it since that point. They haven’t, and have annoyed the living hell out of me in the process. Now, they have a chance to bury this whole thing thanks to an extended absence by Dinsmore (supposedly a number of months). As long as I don’t have to watch this abortion on my screen, I’m happy about it. Really happy. So here’s to a good recovery for Dinsmore and a major repackaging when he’s able to come back.
Does that answer your questions?
Since I just finished downloading New Years’ Revolution and haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, I’ll forego comments on it (other than to say that I believe I was the only one in the Round Table to pick Trish to win the women’s title match). Instead, I’ll just transi
tion to Raw…
THE SHORT FORM
Shelton Benjamin over Maven, Royal Rumble Qualification Match (Pinfall, t-bone suplex): God, I’m so bored with the program between these two. Let’s hope that this is over at last. Decent performance by Benjy as usual, sucky performance from Maven as usual.
Mohammed Hassan over Novocaine Helms (Pinfall, face-first plant with no name…let’s assume WWE will call it something classy and respectful to Hassan’s talent, like the Sand Nigger Special): Well, at least it’s a step up from Lawler. I think. The weird part of this whole thing is that Hassan might not be the break-out star of this group. Hassan is a little too bland (and will need a face turn eventually if he wants to not become Heat fodder), but Khosrow Daivari is showing some personality and bipolaresque mania out there. Let’s hope he gets another wrestler into the stable (I can assume that someone on the roster might want to be an “Arab sympathizer” just like Rob Conway). I can’t get enough of him.
Edge over Rhyno, Royal Rumble Qualification Match (Submission, standing figure-four): Oh, bleh. Well, at least Rhyno didn’t look as much like a bitch as he usually does. There, I can say something good about anything if I wanted to. Which I don’t.
Our Lord and Savior and Chris Jericho over Christian and Tyson Tomko (Submission, Tomko submits to Jericho, Walls of Jericho): Well, that question has now been answered: three sets of powerful shoulders can handle one enormous sack of crap.
Christy Hemme over Maria, Lingerie Pillow Fight (Pinfall, Garcia-ference): In order to find something positive to say about this festering pile of pubescent-appeal shit, I can note this: it got the mic out of Maria’s hands for a week. Now that’s something good.
Randy Orton over Dave Batista, Number One Contenders’ Match (Pinfall, Greco-Roman chair shot): Six months ago, this would have been a train wreck. Six months from now, once Batista learns to pick up the pace a little, it’s going to be great. Now, though, it’s barely passable as a main event and still a large load to put on two guys who haven’t scraped off all of their greenness yet. In an SE context, though, it worked beautifully to further plant the seeds of the Batista turn.
Deja Vu: I skipped the opening promo (until Orton showed up) for one good reason: I’ve seen too many of these apres-title-win Trip speeches to take another one. Blah Blah Blah I am the Game Blah Blah Greatest Ever Blah Blah…it’s the same damn thing every time. So who really cares? I ended up making breakfast while this was running. That’s where my priorities lay.
Art Or Skill?: Shawn Michaels made yet another demonstration why he’s one of the best on the mic ever. As soon as the “You Screwed Bret” chants started, he immediately went off-script and got off a few zingers to the crowd and to Edge (“Looks like you have some fellow Canadians here tonight.”). He then retured to what he was talking about with Edge, and made it flow so naturally that you could see there was no problem there with him. Most wrestlers would get flustered and start breaking the flow of their promos if something like this should happen to them. Not Michaels. I may not appreciate his ring skills that much anymore, but when he gets a mic in his hand, I’m there.
And I’ll be back tomorrow with something, barring another ice storm or something like that.