Rice grilled at confirmation hearing – headline from cnn.com
Shouldn’t you fry or boil rice rather than grill it? Personally, I wouldn’t want to taste it.
Panic attacks are the gifts that keep on giving. One thing I was told by my shrink when I saw her on Wednesday was to monitor my blood pressure, in addition to popping tranquilizers and cutting down on the Lamictal. So on Saturday, I went to Wal-Mart to grab some soda and use their blood pressure machine. Let me just tell you that the results were not too encouraging. In fact, it was so high that I thought I was in the first stages of a heart attack. So I ventured over to the emergency room for a little bit more of a professional opinion. Let me tell you one advantage of being in a pissant town like this: in Chicago, on a Saturday afternoon, an ER would be so loaded that I’d have to wait at least two hours. Here, I went right in. They ended up monitoring my BP for about an hour and checked me out thoroughly. There was nothing wrong with me other than elevated blood pressure (to be euphemistic). So they sent me on my way with a week and a half of diuretics and told me that the tranquilizers should take care of the rest. The last thing I need right now is to have the shit scared out of me like this. I did check my BP again yesterday and it was lower, so this is working. I just have to be sure to take the diuretics and tranquilizers after work, because that would be an incredible inconvenience upon me, and for that matter the rest of the inspection crew.
You know, I should start posting my medical records as a PDF file. It’d just simplify matters.
Let’s just get on to the Tuesday Mess…
THE PIMP SECTION
Lucard discusses the alleged racism of H.P. Lovecraft and Joseph Campbell. Very appropriate for MLK Day.
Hatton does Raw with his friends, as usual.
West covers a show that’s getting more dull as the weeks pass.
Gordi discusses music from Vivaldi that isn’t The Four Seasons. Expand your knowledge of the Divine Antonio.
Memo to Porter: Jan Stephenson tried changing the image of women golfers a couple decades ago, and it really didn’t work (although it did change her image tremendously). But all that transfer news puts me in a mood to forgive you for this lapse.
Urciuolo discusses the nature of substitutions. We don’t have any substitutions at IP except given advance notice. We’re pussies that way.
McLoone‘s on Hillbilly Heroin, and we’re all the better for it.
Nguyen bemoans the NFL Playoffs. Frankly, I’m not watching, nor do I care.
Kaye‘s dolls are more than meet the eye.
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:
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.
THE OMEN II
Okay, everyone knows how I feel about Wife-Beater. I find his presence intolerable, and I am continually amazed that Vince continues to do business with this drunk redneck scum after all the f*cking trauma he’s put Vince through over the years. But the business continues because he’s a “name”. According to Big Johnson over at 1bullshit Junior, the latest deal between them is for three films to be produced under the WWE Films moniker. If this deal sets up a return to wrestling, though, especially at Wrestlemania (which has long been rumored), all of my knives will come out. That person should not be anywhere near a ring or a TV screen at any time after his antics. And, frankly, people who still pop for him after all of this are complete f*cking idiots who don’t deserve to read my column.
That’s all I have to say on the matter.
FINAL RESOLUTION, OR TWO LETTERS TOO MANY?
Well, it’s not available for download as I’m writing this, so I’ll just have to kibitz the results.
First of all, if you go back to the Round Table, the only match that I got wrong was Raven/Watts. This just demonstrates my long-documented inability to predict what WWE wants to do with its PPVs. I used to be able to predict WCW with no problem, now I’m doing the same with TNA (and that’s no coincidence, is it?). The only reason I picked Raven, frankly, was because I was feeling sorry for him being caught in this bullshit angle with zero exposition and zero resolution. We know more about who raised the briefcase than what Raven, Watts, and Page are going on about. I’ll have to detach my emotions even more than I have in the future. And poor Erik Watts suffered a separated shoulder during the match. Well, karma’s a bitch, huh?
So why should you listen to the senior writers here more than the newbies? Because we know what we’re talking about. Here’s the complete list of names of people who predicted that Styles would win the X Division belt and that Team Canada would lose the tag straps: me, Widro, and Grut. Widro didn’t give explanations, and Grut was just doing this for kicks. I gave a good reason why Team Canada should drop all of the straps in one shot. It starts on Friday. Memo to Adam Copeland: if you want to see someone do a whiny bitch promo correctly, tune into Impact and wait until Scott D’Amoron gets the mic. He’s going to be in a complete tizzy, going off in every direction at once. Also, there’s a great benefit to this as per TNA’s booking. The current holders of the X Division belt and the tag straps are the Default holders. They’re the ones you turn to if the booking’s become confused or the matches are becoming repetitive. The Default holders allow the rest of the division a chance to regroup, start competing among each other for the right to face the Default holder at future PPVs (starting at TNA: That Phil Collins Song), and hopefully produce a matchup that 1) we’ve never seen before, 2) one that we haven’t seen in a while, or 3) one that we’ve seen recently, but with a challenger whose credibility has been increased by the intramural activity. Well, that’s the way it should be done, anyway. WWE used the Dudleys in this role because they couldn’t think of jack shit to do with any of the tag divisions, and it caused them to start drawing X-Pac Heat. TNA is using Default Mode correctly.
Hooray for me, I also predicted that the Number One Contenders’ Match would be Brown pinning Page in order for Nash not to lose his heat. However, I never expected they’d change this to some kind of elimination rule so that Nash REALLY wouldn’t lose his heat. I’d like to have a look at Nash’s contract. Somewhere in there, there has to be a clause about this, right next to the separate catering, the free mani-pedis, and the blowjobs on demand.
Hooray again for me, one of my hopes came true: Brown no-sold the El Kabong. Well, at least the first one. From Osterlund’s description, the title match looked to be straight out of the ECW Playbook. I’m going to have to watch this one to form an opinion on it. I don’t think it’ll be good, but anything that makes Brown a legit contender is fine in my book. They need a little fresh blood in there to augment Styles, Killings, and the other usual suspects.
The Ultimate X match is something that I’ll have to see to form an opinion on as well. It was an example of good booking, though, with Williams not being involved in the final decision, thus enabling him to go all whiny like D’Amoron. He can now claim, like Sabin, not to have lost the X Division title via pinfall or submission. And at least he was able to hit the Canadian Destroyer, but it was on Styles. Remember that Sabin had a counter for the Destroyer which he wasn’t able to use in their one-on-one title match. If Sabin had countered the Destroyer in the middle of Ultimate X, that would have completely killed Williams. Instead, he stays in the mix, which is a good thing for the X Division. Williams has shown that he definitely belongs, and has improved his image as an in-ring competitor since he got the strap. Sabin and Styles, we don’t have to talk about. They’re so full of cred that it’s dribbling out of their ears. So good for everyone in this case.
AMW deserved to win the titles after last month’s brutality, pure and simple. Don’t cry for Team Canada; AMW’s been booked to be the dominant tag team in TNA. It’s only fitting they have the belts. My problem becomes: who are they going to drop them to? Their only competition was Triple X, and they’re broken up permanently. Don’t tell me that it’s going to be 3 Live Kru, please.
Is Christopher Daniels going to go back to being a face after that blown BME on Kazarian? If so, Daniels/Kazarian will be a pretty damn good feud. They both can work the mic and can do it in the ring as well. And considering the crowd reaction to both, Daniels’ position is definitely as a face. So let’s hope for a one-on-one at That Phil Collins Song.
Sorry I can’t make any more comments, but, as I said, the PPV isn’t available at the time of writing, so I can’t go through it like it deserves to be. Sounds like a typical TNA PPV, though: one or two good matches with filler, and the world champion’s in the filler, which doesn’t help the credibility of the organization. Gordi was right in saying that long title reigns have helped other feds, both here and in Japan, establish a champion’s credibility and by osmosis the credibility of the whole organization, but that Jarrett is doing root harm to TNA by keeping the belt, because he’s been getting less and less over as time goes by. Even he must know that if he doesn’t drop the title within, say, two months, TNA is really screwed. Let’s hope that he sees enough in Monty Brown to give him a shot.
LAND OF CONFUSION
Memo to Abyss: Make up your f*cking mind. Either you’re leaving or you’re staying. Unless the Jarretts were working us in order to make the run-in at Final Resolution a surprise. In which case, I apologize for using that tone of voice with you, and ask you, please, don’t hurt me.
(And 1bullshit Junior says that it was both. Abyss signed a contract extension earlier in the week, but they kept it under wraps in order to preserve the surprise. So I was right and wrong at the same time. Schroedinger would be proud of me.)
For the first time in dog’s years, a WWE title change happened at a house show. Of course, this was expected to occur. It was the tag titles, which had an injured member in Nick Dinsmore. La Res was the beneficiary on Sunday at Winnipeg (of course, the titles would have to change hands in Canada). In order to replace Dinsmore, Jonathan Coachman was pressed into service as Regal’s partner, but Regal maintained his face credentials by deciding to turn this into a handicap match, and La Res took advantage.
First of all, wasn’t Winnipeg the site of Ric Flair dropping the world title to Bret Hart about twelve years ago? They must reserve this kind of stuff for Chris Jericho’s hometown. Second, how asinine does this make their booking at New Years’ Revolution? Once the ref gave the crossed arms, they could have changed the booking in midstream and handed the titles over to Christian and The Man Whose Name I Cannot Mention Due To Conflict-of-interest Regulations. Regal could have handled it, and so could Christian. Set up the pinfall for those two and move on.
And I must point out this fact: for the first time in a long time, both Raw and Smackdown tag champs are actual tag teams rather than singles wrestlers put together for no real reason. Maybe this might mean a revival of the nearly-dead tag ranks in WWE. I doubt this, but it might happen. You never know with these people.
Of course, that wasn’t the strangest thing that happened in Winnipeg. According to one of the Observer’s unpaid stringers, the obvious “You Screwed Bret” chants started up when Shawn Michaels came into the ring. At that moment, Ric Flair grabbed the mic and started to defend Michaels, not only breaking kayfabe but also the fourth wall. He stated that Michaels was “the greatest opponent I’ve ever been in the ring with” (now that’s saying something considering Steamboat and Sting) and that WWE will “stop coming to Winnipeg” if the crowd continued doing this. In order to further twist the dagger, he called Bret “a Ric Flair wannabe”. This was no work; he was legitimately upset. I just wonder what Vince will think of this. Flair was a liability with that “virgins” line that pissed off advertisers and the audience. Will he be seen as a continued liability after this one, or will Vince forgive him because, well, he’s Flair?
AND ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
The Observer’s reporting that 3PW, the promotion owned by Jasmine St. Clair and a favorite among TNA workers wishing to moonlight, is now part of history because St. Clair no-showed the Saturday event and no one had the money on hand to pay the workers. The guys who stayed and wrestled did so out of loyalty to the Blue Meanie, who the workers felt got the short end of the stick from his gal pal. They were paid a small amount from the gate. That didn’t stop Tod Gordon, who was booking this nightmare, and Joey Matthews from quitting prior to the show after finding out that no one was going to get paid. Low Ki supposedly kicked a hole through the door when he found out. Even Jack Victory, who must have been used to this situation from his time in ECW, left the building. Meanie decided to defend his regular lay by saying that she transmitted the money via Western Union, but he was too late to pick the cash up at his local Western Union because they closed at 5PM.
With the departures of so many wrestlers due to their feelings of being screwed and the departure of the booker, this is almost certainly the end of 3PW. No one’s going to trust St. Clair after this little incident (and another where she no-showed because she claimed that her mother was sick and she had to be by her side). Too bad. It was looking like a good indy alternative for a while. They’re going to try to put something together next month at the Bingo Hall, but after this incident, their chances of getting workers are pretty low.
FOR THOSE OF YOU KEEPING TRACK…
Roderick Strong, who got bitched out by Kurt Angle on last week’s Smackdown in the Kurt Angle Invitational, is doing well on the indy scene. He participated in ROH’s Saturday card where he went over in a handicap match. The guy’s everywhere: WWE, TNA, ROH, and he’s playing a number of roles. Bitch, jobber, and serious competitor, respectively. Maybe we should be watching this guy a little more carefully. A little more cred and he’s going to be a good addition to either the X Division or to WWE’s cruiserweight group.
And Mick Foley did another angle with Samoa Joe at that show, implying that they could feud, but they’d make a lot more money doing it in WWE. Was dropping the belt the first sign that Joe might be signing with WWE? Hey, I’d love to see the guy on a weekly basis, since I don’t follow ROH. Maybe this is a good thing.
And speaking of maybe being a good thing, let’s turn to Raw…
THE SHORT FORM
Rob Conway, Sylvain Grenier, and Maven over Shelton Benjamin, Novocaine Helms, and His Fat Fuck (Pinfall, Conway pins Rosey, Au Revoir): Normally, I’d concentrate on the fact that this was Benjy trying to carry five loads at once, but it was an angle enhancement match for him and Maven, so therefore it isn’t even worthy of that consideration.
Shawn Michaels over Christian (Pinfall, Sweet Chimp Music): The Joe In Me is back after an extended absence, and here’s what he has to say:
What is WITH Ross and Lawler’s attitude toward Canada as of late? Since like April (a total of about 3 TV tapings), they’ve acted as if being in Canada is like being in the Saharan desert. And really, is it that far off a notion that Canadians would cheer for their HOMETOWN HEROES? Really? No one should expect that from them? Christ, god forbid they give support to each other.
This particular phenomenon, I wouldn’t blame Lawler for. He actually played to this by referring to Toronto as Bizarro World. He was just underscoring the opposing crowd reaction and displaying his “confusion” over it. I especially liked his line about Canada forgiving him despite his being the biggest detractor of Bret. Ross, however, came across as totally perplexed. The same situation happened when La Res took the tag titles in Montreal, Lawler getting into it and Ross acting like he didn’t have a clue.
And the match at least played to the crowd, with Christian getting in the majority of offense. Obviously, he couldn’t get the win because they’re teasing Michaels for another confrontation with Trip at Wrestlemania, but the booking was damn good. The match wasn’t great, but kudos to the bookers.
DAVE over Viscera (Pinfall, DAVEbomb): Match was nothing, of course, but did you catch that face pop for Batista? Combined with his improvement in the ring and on the mic, he’s going to hold that world title by a year from now. I don’t get impressed very often, but he’s doing a job on me.
Chris Jericho over Chris Benoit (Pinfall, inside cradle): Now this match suffered from poor booking. Neither guy was allowed to go at full steam due to the bookers wanting to retain the appearance of “equality”. It was a match not worthy of either of these guys. They deserve better.
Kane versus Gene Snitsky, No Holds Barred (ND, Broken Bodies Everywhere): Yuck. Well, this match was planned not to end the angle, and it fulfilled that. So I guess that’s something positive. I guess.
Their Tribute To MLK Day: The opening promo pointed out two little facts: 1) Muhammad Hassan has already mastered the art of cheap heat. The question is, can he move beyond that? He seems to already have some good skills on the mic, but the one-note gimmick may kill his advancement. 2) Chris Jericho is a great promo guy, but there’s one thing keeping him from the top echelon in that category like Michaels: his best work is always in playing off someone. He can’t cut a great promo where he’s just talking by himself. When he does do so, it’s very formulaic. This is not to disparage him, of course; it’s just to point out that there’s a difference between great and magnificent.
Memo To My Beautiful and Beloved: Please sterilize those lips before you come back to Daddy. I don’t want any trace of Randy Orton’s DNA on my body.
Canadian Content: The Joe In Me makes this comment:
The WWE should try something different next time they’re in Canada with Shawn Michaels: When fans start booing him and firing up the “You screwed Bret!” chants, let’s have him just completely ignore it. I think fans would end up quieting down after a while of that.
Yeah, they would, but WWE’s getting a lot of mileage out of that during their trips to Canada. Witness what Bisch did to Michaels backstage. The use of Canadian antipathy toward Michaels just upped the ante. It was a terrific presentation of “Bisch giveth and Bisch taketh away”. It also gives Michaels the benefit of working heel occasionally. He’s been a face for so long that it becomes easy to see whether he’s on the Summit of Mount Perpetually Over through this temporary heel turn (and he is there). So I really don’t mind it too much.
Me, Me, Me: So exactly why should Trip be discouraging Batista from entering the Rumble? If he loses, no skin off anyone’s nose. But if he wins, he could pull a Benoit and switch to Smackdown where he could challenge High-Quality Speaker Boy, and Batista’s face turn will be accomplished. If he should win there, Evolution will hold the World Championship and the WWE Championship, with neither being a threat to each other. Trip can’t see beyond his own nose. Well, he normally can’t anyway, but this time it’s rather acute. Silly of him.
And silly of me to be cutting off this thing right now, but I’d like to submit it before I have to go into work. Until tomorrow, enjoy yourselves.