Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

COOKING WITH GALLO

I'm currently working up a potroast for the workweek, and spaghetti and meatballs for tonight. However, the meatball recipe called for milk, which is something Tondar NEVER drinks. So...

When the recipe calls for milk...
Add an appropriate amount of ranch dressing to slightly less sweet vermouth than the recipe calls for. You'll be surprised at how yummy those meatballs actually come out!
SETH CALLS FOUL ON THE DEMS

From Seth...

"Here's a Democrat boner.

What the bar owners don't want to say is that they're losing money not because of fewer patrons so much as because of what is bought: food. I worked in the restaurant business, and the only reason we sold hamburgers past 8 o'clock is because the party might get beer.

They're losing money on alcohol sales. Lots of it. But Massachusetts still has a small Puritan streak about alcohol, so the restaurants don't want to come out and say what's really bugging 'em about the ban.

However, as much as I'd like to see the tobacco industry kneed in the groin by every person to ever get hooked because they infuse extra nicotine into Camel Lights, I think a widespread ban is a tad Socialist when Socialism isn't necessary. Non-smoking sections I understand. But if there are so many people who want to eat without smoke in the restaurant, why don't they frequent a non-smoking restaurant, of which there are a great many. Capitalism. If there's truly a market for non-smokers to not have to breathe Carbon Monoxide while they eat, the market will grab 'em. Closing the market for smokers and restaurant owners who want their business isn't fair; restaurants don't make enough to take the hit for the common good.

The only consideration I can see otherwise is for the wait staff. If you're a non-smoking waitress and you get lung cancer from working in a smoke-filled environment (because most of the restaurants in town are such), then you've got a serious gripe.

Anyway, here's the story:

"As air clears, profits going up in smoke


By Matt Gunderson, Globe Correspondent | December 9, 2004

Last July, bar manager David Berry was worried. Business at his bar in Ayer, Carlins Restaurant Inc., was dipping as a result of a statewide workplace smoking ban that had just gone into effect.

Regular patrons were migrating from his bar every weekend, opting to stay at home or head to private clubs or New Hampshire, where they could smoke indoors, he said.

Five months later, matters have hardly improved. Berry says business continues to founder -- it's now some 20 percent below where it was last year. Berry blames the smoking ban mostly for his losses.

"I think people are less likely to go someplace where they can't smoke," he said. "It's really that simple."

Like Berry, bar owners, managers, and patrons across the region, especially near the New Hampshire border, have been seeing a dramatic drop in business that coincided with the onset of the smoking ban.

A Revere bar, Bill Ash's Lounge Inc., has recently distributed petitions across the state, requesting that legislators repeal the ban. The owner of Bill Ash's, Kerry Tunstall, estimates he has gathered approximately 3,000 signatures for the petition. So far, patrons and bar owners from Tyngsborough, Dracut, and Lowell have signed the petition.

Shana Patenaude, manager of the Lowell bar C'est La Vie, said business has dropped close to 40 percent since the ban went into effect. Bar stools that were once filled in the daytime and early evening are now empty, she said.

C'est La Vie has set up a "smoking patio," but that solves only part of the problem, said Patenaude. Nashua is only a 10-minute drive from Lowell, which, she thinks, has played a major role in the exodus of patrons.

"In the good weather, you see a difference," she said. "In the bad weather, there's nobody here."

In Tyngsborough, Bob Heroux, bar manager of Katie O'Conley's, said business has dropped nearly 30 percent.

"The whole law was designed to protect people in the workplace," said Heroux. "All my bartenders smoke, and that's why I can't understand it."

Even venues farther from New Hampshire report seeing a difference after July.

Lisa Coffin, owner and manager of Bacci's Restaurant & Sports Bar in Tewksbury, said business has skidded about 10 percent since the ban went into effect. Bacci's is both a restaurant and a bar, which, Coffin said, may explain why she's seen slightly less of an impact than bars in the region.

When legislators were talking about the smoking ban, much of the debate centered on the economic ramifications for bars and restaurants, said Don Siriani, chief of staff for state Senator Susan Fargo, a Lincoln Democrat, who sponsored the law.

Ultimately, the decision hinged on previous studies throughout the nation, where statewide smoking bans have gone into effect, he said.

California was the first state to adopt a statewide ban, and studies there showed business improved at bars and restaurants after the ban went into effect, said Siriani. "They actually noticed a steady trend upward in revenue for bars and restaurants," he said.

Bar owners and managers, like Patenaude, complain about the exemptions for private clubs, such as the local American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars post. But private clubs generally don't compete with bars and restaurants for business, argued Siriani, partly because only members and their guests can attend private clubs.

"Private clubs are also not really competing with food offerings," he said. "They are more like an extension of someone's home. It is not a public place."

The woes of Massachusetts businesses on the border of New Hampshire are a historic problem, and one not easily resolved, said Siriani. But the smoking ban has benefits for the state, not the least in terms of curbing health-care costs, he said.

"State spending on health care will be lowered because of what I'm sure will be clear reductions and in smoking and second-hand smoking-related illnesses," he said.

Carol David, a bartender at Katie O'Conley's, said the smoking ban may improve health, but her wallet is suffering. Her tips have been on such decline since July that she was forced to work a second job at C'est La Vie, she said.

"It definitely hurts," she said. "No one is coming into bars anymore."

Dracut bar owner Debbie Burke said the smoking ban has also had less obvious financial effects. Fewer people drink and play Keno, for example, when they have to go outside to smoke, she said.

Burke said most of her customers at Deb's Lakeview Lounge are "old timers," who have always been used to smoking indoors.

"When they learned about this whole thing," she said, "they just said 'Forget this' and left.
BANDWAGON WATCH

I don't wanna create a new time goblin for everyone, but did anyone happen to catch UM's win over #15 Iowa. Omar pointed it out to me yesterday at work. This raises the question, how good is this team? Do we start watching? Ya know, if they can win 10 games in the Big Ten I think they are in the Tourney for sure. Even ole Choodle says they are bubblicious at 9. Plus if you look at this team, they are loaded with alotta young talent and could be making some noise next year.

For discussion, is bandwaggonry warranted?
SETH ZINGS TONDAR

From Seth...

"Conservative Media??

Told you this White House is corrupt. Or is this somehow just the liberal media trying to promote communism?"

Of course this raises the idea of blogging ethics. What responsibility do bloggers have to be honest and truthful in their writing and opinions. Personally, I would say that the best answer is to take your news, information, and opinions from a variety of sources to always be sure you're approaching an issue from multiple angles.

Though Seth should be reminded that this was a columnist on the take, which is far different than a hard news figure like Dan Rather using fake news to sway the electorate before an election.

But either way, Seth is right that this is a terrible abuse of power and waste of taxpayer money. Can you imagine the outrage if Clinton had pulled this little stunt? Of course, this is a serious kick to the crotch of the credibility of the Bush Administration. It will be interesting to see what the fallout from this is.

*shaking head* Posted by Hello
CAN'T GET YOUR HEAD AROUND IT WATCH

If you get in trouble for handing out naked pictures of yourself at Walmart, why would you do it again?
STICKY SITUATION IN WASHINGTON RACE

From Seth...

"Want some quick insight? Every state sends provisional ballots through the machines without verification, and most states have made it legal to do so.

Most Provo ballots (over 80 percent) occur for the same reason: no drivers' licence or voter registration card. However, when you go to your precinct, there's a very good chance they'll let it slide.

Why?

Because Mary Marden gets to her polling place and... oh, there's Emily Schrieber checking in the names. Hi Emily. How's Bob and the kids? Oh, shoot, I left my purse at home, do you want me to go get it?

Nah. It's cool.

Sure, there's a little room for error here if election workers know to get provo ballots to their friends, etc. But Mrs. Schrieber isn't the only one at the table, and everyone there (bi-partisan) basically have to say it's cool. Why go over Mrs. Marden's ballot painstakenly, or force Mrs. Marden to come back with the proper documentation when, by gosh, it's Mrs. Marden right there, and her boy Timmy plays with your boy Johnny and your girl Sarah babysits them both all the time.

Welcome to America, where we care about getting people a chance to vote and getting the vote tally right more than being absolutely sure every rule is followed to a "t". If we were stiff-a$$ brits, maybe we'd be greater sticklers for protocol. But we're not, and I think 'it's surely to our credit.'

Anyway, if this is the Washinton GOP's last hope, they must be getting awfully desperate."

Of course if Mary Marden is voting that many times with out her ID I can see why the Washington GOP may be upset. j/k It's difficult when elections become this close because every single vote can make a difference, and both sides become hotly bitter. One such example, is the zombie vote. Do dead people still have the right to vote? Who's checking these things? Close elections are litigators dream come true and a nightmare for election workers and officials.

Wash. GOP Demands New Governor Election


By REBECCA COOK, Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. - State Republicans Wednesday charged that hundreds of provisional ballots may have been counted on Election Day without being verified.

It's the latest in a series of allegations from Republicans who are pointing to flaws in the governor's balloting and demanding a new election. After losing the first two counts, Democrat Christine Gregoire beat Republican Dino Rossi in the third count by 129 votes out of 2.9 million ballots cast.

State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said an admission by election workers in King County that provisional ballots had been counted without verification is "absolute proof" of the need for a new election. The heavily Democratic county includes Seattle.

"It's enough right there to invalidate the election," Vance said. "This
is a bombshell."

Gregoire's inauguration is scheduled next Wednesday. Republicans are preparing for a possible court challenge to the election - the deadline to file such a challenge is Jan. 22.

Democrats downplayed the importance of the GOP claim.

"There would have to be thousands before it would make a difference," said state Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Brost. "This is just the attack of the day from the Republicans."

County elections spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said Wednesday that 87 percent of the 31,545 provisional ballots issued in King County have been validated and included in the official count.

Provisional ballots are given to people who go to the polls on Election Day, but who aren't listed as registered voters in that precinct. Election workers research afterward to determine whether the vote is valid and should be counted.

GOP election observers in King County said they saw hundreds of provisional ballots go straight into the voting machines on Election Day without any checks. Election workers said a review of polling place records should indicate the extent of the problem, but it may be impossible to determine exactly how many provisional ballots were fed into the tabulating machines on Election Day.

King County this week is reconciling its list of voters in the 2004 election, which is about 3,500 names short of the number of ballots cast. At least four other counties have similar discrepancies, which county auditors say is common.
2004 YEAR IN REVIEW: THE MUSIC

It was another crappy year for Rock and Roll. U2's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" was by far the best album of year, though, there wasn't much competition. The album actually sounds very similar to their early work on Boy. However, the music and lyrics are far more complex to be confusing.

As for singles and songs getting radio play, here is the Tondar Radio Top 10 of 2004. Remember, I listen to alotta internet radio from Europe so the list is going to be a bit skewed and biased against America.

10. Liz Phair - Why Can't I:
So the great alternative vulgar rocker of the 90's has finally sold out. However, in her transition to bubble gum pop she still finds a way to expressionistically use the music to capture that happy-go-lucky excitement of falling in love with somebody new. On top of that, Liz still gives us a glimpse of that angry rocker that sang "Hot White Cum" as she drops a very subtle F-Bomb bridging into the second refrain.

"Here we go
We're at the beginning
We haven't fucked yet
But my head is spinning"


Yeah, it's a very poppy song, but you can still catch plenty of Liz's nasty side. Steepped in that much irony and history, ya know Tondar's gotta dig it.

9. Maroon 5 - This Love:
It's good to hear a new band with respect for melody and songwriting actually become popular in the States. This was the funky little diddy that got them started.

8. Robbie Williams - Feel:
This was a radio staple in England this year. However, I don't think I ever even heard it from an American source. It's a solid song with great vocals, piano, and beat.

7. Mark Knopfler - Boom Like That:
Like "Money For Nothing" Knopfler takes another slow rockin' sardonic look at our post-modern culture. This time it's corporate fast food feeling his wrath...

"My name's not crock
It's Kroc with a K
Like crocodile
But not spelled like that way now
It's dog eat dog
And rat eat rat
Crockstar
Boom Like That"


This song was very popular on Atlanta's independent rocker 92.9 Dave FM.

6. Black Eyed Peas - Shut Up:
Can't have a Tondar Top 10 list of songs without at least 1 song about love going awry.

5. Modest Mouse - Float On:
It's songs like this that keep me coming back to American Radio. Ya gotta like that pounding beat with delightful guitar melody. Not sure why, but this sounds like the type of song that should be screamed in a bar at 2 a.m. kinda like "Tubthumping" or "I Will Survive."

4. Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
If the Archdook had a themesong, this would be it. However, with such a great song in 2/4 time, how long before we see marching bands moving in herds to this one? The band music practically could write itself. Also between the videos for this, and "Float On," who ripped whom off?

3. REM - Leaving New York:
In a year where Tondar moved to New York, and then retreated, unemployed, and with my tail between my legs, it's fitting to see a great song from a great band about leaving a great city.

2. Anastacia - Left Outside Alone
This American's hit parade keeps on rolling through Europe with little notice from the States. But with a voice like Tina Turner and set to rockin' guitars, this girl is a Euro-hit factory in full force.

1. Dido - Life For Rent
Britain was all over the title track from Dido's second album. As for Tondar, I think she's a beautiful singer that keeps herself fresh without totally changing up her sound. And in a year when Tondar moved 3 times in search of a career and a future, this is a great song that rang true. You can just feel the haunting wandering feel of the song. In fact, it's so good, it's a shame that Johnny Cash has passed on. This would make a great song for him to redo in the style of "Hurt" or "Solitary Man." Just picture the man in black talking his way through these lyrics...

"I haven't ever really found a place that I call home
I never stick around quite long enough to make it
I apologize that once again I'm not in love
But it's not as if I mind
that your heart ain't exactly breaking

It's just a thought, only a thought

If my life is for rent and I don't learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine

I've always thought
that I would love to live by the sea
To travel the world alone
and live more simply
I have no idea what's happened to that dream
As there's really nothing left here to stop me

It's just a thought, only a thought

But if my life is for rent and I don't learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine

While my heart is a shield and I won't let it down
While I am so afraid to fail so I won't even try
Well how can I say I'm alive

If my life is for rent and I don't learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine

If my life is for rent and I don't learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine

Nothing I have is truly mine
Nothing I have is truly mine
Nothing I have is truly mine"


Hon. Mention:
The Music - Bleed From Within
The Streets - Dry Your Eyes
The Killers - Somebody Told Me
Stefano Picchi - Generale Kamikaze
Hillary Duff - Come Clean
TOP TEN OF THE WEEK

Pigpen's Top Ten Favorite songs (as of yesterday)...

"10. (not) "Syncronicity" - The Police:
The mp3 I have of this song is mislabeled, so the song is not really syncronicity, but I don know on which album it is, so I don't know the name of it. But it talks about "something crawls to the surface of a dark Scottish lake". It's a Police rendition of a hybrid between "Natural Science" and "Second Nature."

9. Reflections in D - Duke Ellington:
Great insturmental done by one of the big band masters. This song is great to listen to create an image in your head.

8. Hold On Loosely - 38 Special:
Who doesn't jam to this beast? Smart lyrics and a great guitar hook.

7. End of the Innocense - Don Henley:
As with any song the lyrics aren't always a face value account of what's being said. But regardless I like the lyrical story that this song conveys, it's so dark and depressing on a everyday people level, the Bruce Hornsby piano is the perfect compliment.

6. Train Train - Blackfoot:
I love the harmonica opening and the fact that once the song kicks it, it has an outta control feel of a drunk hillbilly.

5. Emminence Front - The Who:
A flat out awsome groove. Pretty weak that The Who had to show how 80's synth should be done. The bass groove to this is a real testament to how good John Entwhistle was as a musician.

4. Lonely Is The Night - Billy Squire:
Everytime I went to the DT lounge in Houghton I would play this about 6 times in a row. It's a great representation of teenage live, but with out the angst of the Linkin Park or the desperation of "Subdivisions".

3. Just Another Nervous Wreck - Supertramp:
Sounds like a monologue set to music about a deadbeat who is getting the raw deal time and time again.

2. Natural Science - Rush:
We've been round and round on this one - I credit you with introducing me to the song.

1. Black Cow - Steely Dan:
Talk about the cynic's cynic, Steely Dan has the most sarcastic yet intelligent lyrics I've ever heard. Plus the big draw for me on this one is the horn arrangement that flows in to sax solo until fade out. A must blast in the truck, although when the windows are down and you're crankin the Dan people wonder what the hell.

Hon Men:

Prime Mover - Rush
Women In Love - Van Halen
Heavy Metal - Sammy Hagar
When the Levy Breaks - Led Zepplin
Fire Lake - Bob Seger
Roundabout - Yes
Paper Thin - Hot Water Music
Faded and Live - Knee Deep Shag
Bastard Machine - Domestic Problems

If anyone else would like to list their Top Ten favorites, send em in and I'll throw them up with the Pen's.
FRENCH TERROR ALERT

"AP and UPI reported that the French Government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "run" to "hide." The only two higher levels in France are "surrender" and "collaborate." The raise was precipitated by the recent fire which destroyed one of France's white flag factories, disabling their military."

hehe, this message brought to you by Frank.

Friday, January 07, 2005

WHINE TIME FOR OLIVER STONE

From Seth...

Stone Surprised by Poor Response to Epic


"Er...perhaps you just made a bad movie, Oliver, although it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of Southernors were turned off by the h0mo$exual scenes. If he's looking to get some partisan applause from the intelligent left, he should have done a better job with his research.

Alexander's h0mo$exuality wasn't about passion. First of all, it was a much more acceptable - even expected in some places - in Greek society (although not so much in the more militant Macedonian circles).

Alexander's father was the ultimate Alpha male. Alex, however, was educated by the best Athenian philosophers and took on a lot of the Greek culture to kind of establish his own identity. In public, he was expected from a young age to be a military general, all the more so because young Alex proved that he had a gift for it. Ever read The Chosen by Chaim Potock? Alex was a lot like the Hasidic boy character in that book: the prodigious child in an oppressive atmosphere who uses his outside influences to rebel in private.

Anyway, to balance his macho act in front of his father, Alex and his buddy became private prisses and, in their course of "playing Greek," l0vers as well. Perhaps Stone wanted to only express h0mo$exuality as completely genetic - you're born g@y or you're not. But I think that's just his understanding of it - the California-approved version. In other words, it's not a vendetta, so mush as Stone's preconcieved notions.

To my understanding, h0mo$exuality is psychologically a behavior, not an instinct, which means it's both having to do with natural personality, natural attenuation, and choices, rather than natural prediliction. I guess that's too complex for West Coast Liberalism.

So that's why I think he got bad reviews for the movie's g@y scenes, which most reviewers said were just too much. Of course, the Bible Belt had their militant "all g@y things are evil" explanation for spurning the epic, but when Stone wonders what happened to the majority of Americans who don't hate hate on all things $exual, that's my answer. The historical figure is interesting because he was a war figure who happened to be g@y , but Stone treats him more like a g@y guy who happened to be a war figure..

He didn't put enough thought into it. And thus he made a bad movie. The Bible Thumpers of America are bad enough without Stone giving them the power over what movies make big sums and which don't. Sorry, Oliver, but on this one, take the blame yourself."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

HEGEMON HEFFERS

Looks like democracy isn't the only thing America is exporting to the Middle East. But believe it or not, it seems many countries are well ahead of us.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

BEND IT LIKE YEZA

Well I am finally back in the ATL after a wicked weekend in L.A. I think yesterday had to be the straw that broke the camels back. I woke up to Drake swearing at 9 am because his alarm didn't go off. So at that point, I got up, started cooking breakfast, and working on the drink that I couldn't finish the night before. Well, one thing leads to another and I am riding Drake's bike through the ocean drinking PBR in the surf.

*ugh* "no mas...no mas!!"
FRANK QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I'd like to be a member of THAT "Raider Nation."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Transvestite Standup Comic: "I got titties and a dick! Y'all can't shake me!"