Apr 29, 2014

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like Billionaire. I've stated in the past how much I enjoy movies that feature tales of financial scandal. Billionaire somewhat falls into this category and is a real-life account of Larry Hillblom, co-founder of shipping giant DHL (he’s the “H”). I won’t overshare details of this documentary, which you can watch for free on Hulu, but Larry relocated to Micronesia in order avoid paying taxes on his mountain of money in the US. After Larry’s early and unexpected death, the real drama began when his estate’s executors tried to honor Larry’s will (and the fact that he named no heirs) despite multiple island children coming forward to claim their piece of the pie. That’s all I’m going to share. Please watch the film for yourself - you will enjoy it. If you’re like me, you’ll be blown away about the massive dollar amounts that were discussed in the aftermath of Larry’s death.

Here’s a clip from a TV special that covered the same drama.

This week, I love my Mashie. It’s a little-known fact that one’s success on the golf course has a lot to do with the alignment of the cosmos. I really hope I don’t jinx the great relationship that I’m currently enjoying with my Cleveland Mashie hybrid golf club, but I really need to show it some love for its cooperation as of late. We haven’t always been on speaking terms - it’s mostly produced gnarly hooks for me since I obtained it on the cheap off of eBay a few years ago. But something’s clicked lately and I've managed to hit some nice shots with it, even from a bunker. Thanks to the cheesy infomercial Cleveland developed to sell Mashies, these clubs have a bit of a gimmicky stigma to overcome. But it gets the job done for me as long as I keep in mind the time-tested swing thoughts of “don’t swing hard” and “let the club do the work”.

This week, I don’t like the hype surrounding the recent unearthing of a bunch of E.T. games at a landfill. Before I give you the back story on this event, you need to get a clear understanding of the rise and fall of video games in the early 1980’s. Atari made huge waves with their home consoles but there was about a 2 or 3-year period of video game nothingness prior to the success of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Many people blame Atari for this gap thanks to their horrible, uninspired games that drove people away from video games. The E.T. game made by Atari and based on the hit movie is largely considered to be the absolute worst game ever made. Although I've never played this game, I would have to agree based on this gameplay footage.

{Photo Courtesy}

As the story goes, sales of the E.T. game were so poor that retailers shipped their unsold supply back to Atari. Decades later, a rumor that Atari buried all of their E.T. inventory in a landfill began making the rounds online. This added to the lore of this game’s history and it wasn't long before the rumor was confirmed by a former Atari executive (or something like that). Flash forward to last week’s unearthing, which was heavily documented:

This all leaves me with two questions:
  1. What did this accomplish? Good job on your big find but seriously...you do know why items are sent to landfills, don’t you? 
  2. Uh, did anyone else notice the near-pristine condition of some of those boxes and instruction manuals? I would expect the plastic game cartridges to hold up fairly well to 30 years of underground conditions but not the paper goods! HOLY COW - that stuff hasn’t decomposed one bit!! I know the games, boxes, etc. were probably held within other containers but...WOW.

Apr 10, 2014

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like Amazon’s Wish List feature. This embodies the next-level laziness and an aversion to interacting with other people that is brought on by the Internet. Let’s say I’m browsing the web and come across a neat t-shirt that I would like to own. Using the Amazon Wish List extension on my browser, a simple click of a button adds this shirt to a list of other items that I've added to a Wish List that’s associated with my Amazon profile. I can add or delete items at any time and even share a link to my Wish List with others. Adding items to my Wish List has become my newest hobby.

This week, I love food trucks. April 6th was “Food Truck Fellowship Sunday” at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Four (4!!) local food trucks were on site to serve up a variety of great food after church and Sunday school. I don’t get to enjoy this type of dining experience very often so I was really looking forward to digging in. They did not disappoint! Best of the bunch had to be Off the Hook - I had some great shrimp tacos and Julie had some awesome “rocket shrimp”. The size and taste of these shrimp FAR exceeded my expectations. It was hard to believe that something so tasty was prepared inside of a truck! I don’t know why I had a less-than-stellar impression of food trucks and food truck cuisine before this experience but I will always keep my eyes peeled for food trucks from now on.

Graham loved the food too but I think he liked the “bounce houses” the church set up even more.

This week, I don’t like NPR pledge drives. So, I've been listening to NPR a lot in my car lately. Before you label me a tree-huggin’ Democrat, know that NPR programming is surprisingly entertaining and their news segments are very informative. You've gotta love the somber tone use by the on-air personalities too...very soothing for post-work, rush hour traffic. NPR’s advertising-free stance is a definite bonus too since programs like The Rick and Bubba Show feature 49 minutes of ads per hour. You’ll never hear a full-on ad like you will on other stations.

Ah, but all good things must come to an end (at least for a little bit). WBHM, the local NPR affiliate, is currently hosting a pledge drive in which they constantly ask listeners to donate money to the station. This has been driving me crazy. They've got everyone from the general manager to the station janitor coming on air and reminding people how much a donation means. What’s worse is that they know it’s annoying. They try to compensate by regularly stating that WBHM is cutting the number of pledge drives in half this year. That’s a nice thought but all that really does is create a situation for a higher dosage of pledge drive begging!

I guess I should take comfort in knowing that the current pledge drive will be over soon and that we can get back to regular to normal programming that hits close to home.