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, May 28, 2005


From Pigpen...

"If a CEO has a conscience (I don't know I'm not one, purely speculating) then who care what happens or how it goes. We all have the capacity and opportunity to be CEO's our selves one day. Bill Gates may be on eveyones capitalist hit list, but unlike most CEO's he is Microsoft, he went from the ground up and in my opinion guys like him deserve all the benefits that go with it. CEO's like Enron, Boeing and Tyco I don't hold in the same opinion."

From Pigpen...

"This just about sums up the problems with the first half of the 20th century huh? Money quote...

"As older societies, we tend to think of ourselves as more experienced in the way societies evolve, and we tend to be skeptical of Americans who seem to think that if you believe hard enough, and you muster enough resources, you can change the world...In the last year or so, as we've engaged in discussions about the transformation of the Middle East and democracy, I have told my American friends that the region in this world that has seen the most transformation and change is Central and Eastern Europe--without shedding a drop of blood. So don't preach to us. And don't think transformative change will work according to mechanistic rules. This is very complicated. Changing the way people think often has to do with religious and cultural issues--we tend to think of them as long-term, and Americans think, Let's solve the problem in the next four years!"

Neil Diamond is one of my favorite artists. However, I don't think he knows how to emotionally pace his set order. I was listening to Hot August Night II yesterday, and the track selection and order is quite interesting. Coming outta track 6, "Hello Again," Neil uses the crescendo of that song to build into one of my favorite bitter ballads, "Love on the Rocks." From there Neil uses the excitement to play into "America." Then by track 10 the momentum is in full force and I'm slapping my knees and bouncing right along happy to be "Forever in Blue Jeans." However, after this song he simply takes a major dump and runs right into the sleeper ballads "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "I Dreamed a Dream."

Now in Hot August Night I, there was also a heavy ballad section at the beginning of Disc 2. However, since these end up on another disc it doesn't disrupt the continuity coming outta "Kentucky Woman" and "Stones." In fact, in HAN II it's not until tracks 14-15 that he finally starts building momentum to the same finale as in HAN I where "Song Sung Blues" Leads to "Cracklin' Rosie."

I guess the listener is supposed to be all into the Barbara Streisand moment. However, there is just something about straightforward ballads that just doesn't work with Neil Diamond. It could be his voice, it could be his ability to write excessively cheesy lines. In the bitter ballads such as "Love on the Rocks" or the new "I Haven't Played This Song in Years" his ability as a songwriter shines as he can deliver that emotional punch in the crotch that makes these songs so wonderful. However, when it comes to filling me with that delightful glow similar to the love of a woman, I'm going to have to leave that one to Cracklin' (Wild Irish) Rosie. Nevertheless Hot August Night I and II are wonderful albums that every person should own. (yes, that means YOU)

This weekend is the feast of Corpus Cristi and to celebrate the year that John Paul II dedicated to the eucharist, the new Pontiff is making his first papal visit...

"Benedict XVI's first apostolic trip will be to Bari for the 24th Italian National Eucharistic Congress where he will highlight that the Church cannot exist without the Blessed Sacrament."

It's a very symbolic and wonderful first trip to celebrate a great feast within the church. Hopefully, he will be able to use this as a starting point and organize many other trips to follow in the tradition of JPII. But that's just Tondar's opinion.

Check out this must-read TV interview of Pat Buchanan on the O'Reilly Factor. I know what most of you are thinking, "great those two ass-clowns." But if you get the chance you should really read the piece because Pat provides interesting insight into the idea and origins of the culture war. He traces it back through socialism, comunism, and even the anti-authoritarianism of the French Revoultion enlightenment era. From Gramsci, to Marx, to Rousseau, Buchanan follows the anti-Christian roots that make up today's left.

I find Buchanan's theory of the evolution of political thought very convincing. In addition, I would even offer a hypothesis as to why these ideas continue to undermine our society today. Though it is not intentional, I think many on the left stand on the shoulders of the anti-authoritarianism of the 60s counter-culture and seek to make a difference. In many ways they have followed the Gramsci styled Marxists and have championed causes such as injustice, social and economic inequality and associate these with the evils of the man (capitalism, military strength, or any other form of power). I think thanks to pop-culture, the press and other forms of media, many have bought into this group think mentality and simply follow the left without thinking for themselves (note MTV's effort to rock the ignant vote).

So now you're asking how do you counter this? Personally, I think the right is going about it the correct way. The counter-culture is most effective when it does not represent power. However, these lefties have grown up and now control many institutions such as the media, newspapers, universities, and other channels of mass thought. The best way to overthrow the entrenched man is to use the same tactics employed by the socialists to gain control. Use a liberal underdog mentality to challenge the man and all the places where liberalism has failed. Pat Buchanan is right-on in his historical analysis. However, it is going to take hip new revolutionaries to reveal liberalisms shortcomings and provide grassroot answers to the problems of today's man.

Friday, May 27, 2005


From James...

"I have to question the original emails assertion that the first million dollar salary was in the 1980s. after all it was henry ford who was one of america's first billionaires, and he died in 47. so figure out how much he needed to pay himself a year to make that sorta cash, in the dollars of those days.
basically, i don't think things are too much different today in corporations than they ever were. at one time j.p. morgan bailed out the US government, thats how incredibly wealthy he was. adjusted for inflation, he was the richest man who ever walked the earth, according to forbes magazine.

So as far as the "what can we do about it" question, the answer is nothing. though i do feel that we should do something about the growing gap between the rich and the poor in this country, which i don't believe to be directly correlated to executive salaries."

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Polish girls rule! Posted by Hello

Though I agree with the author's premise that the Phoenix Suns have to pay their dues for a few years before they can be considered a true playoff contender (see Jordan's Bulls or the Rick Carlisle Pistons), I just don't think "hazing" is the best terminology for this phenomenon.

From Seth...

" This was from my editor, who's a Republican, by the way.

My big question is, what can we do about this legally? Can the government make/enforce a law saying an executive cannot bring home more than X percent more than his full-time employees? Or tie to to R&D? As much as I'd like to do something, the Declaration's "Pursuit of Happiness" is quite clearly, in modern and contexual understandings, a statement of a basic principle in America of allowing people to make money.

There's sense to that, too. A socialist implementation of salary capping has the innate downside of halting the executive's incentive. What would Bill Gates care about making a better product if he personally won't take home a cent more for the effort? The counter to this is what does Bill Gates care now about making a better product when he already makes more than he could possibly spend.

Another big question, why do the companies allow this? Certainly, paying a fifth of a company's earnings to its executves is a drain on the companies' productivity, right? Is it just a case of board members getting kick-backs to give the CEO kickbacks?

If the battle of our generation will be about privacy, I guess this issue will have to come up (certainly after the executives' best pals are out of office, though). Weigh in, minds."

From Seth's Republican Editor...

"I think you and I had a discussion a few times about how to fix some of our societal problems. Wages seem to be building a larger gap between the classes. Here is some info I read during lunch from the Motley Fool.

A mutual fund called Bridgeway has a rule that the president can make no more than 7 time the lowest salaried worker. The lowest paid worker get $38,000 per year. The article compared that to a fund called Gabelli Asset Managment owned and operated by Mr. Gabelli. He was paid $55 million in 2004 which included an $11 million incentive bonus. The writer questioned why an owner of a company would need an incentive bonus.

Below are some salaries of well known companies as reported for last year. To me, it does not seen that long ago that the first reported salary that cleared $1 million happened. By my calculation, if that occurred in 1980 and inflation averaged 3 percent, the highest paid executive should only have made a little of $2 million in 2004. If the average inflation rate was 5 percent, it would be $4.2 million. I use the inflation rate because companies often use that to justify holding salary increases down.

Finally, note that outlandish pay isn't restricted to some mutual fund managers. According to Business Week, the average CEO of a major corporation in 2000 received about 531 times what the average hourly worker earned. That's up from a multiple of 85 in 1990 and 42 in 1980. The AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch listed the top five most highly paid CEOs in 2004 as Terry Semel of Yahoo!(Nasdaq: YHOO) with compensation valued at $109.3 million, Steve Jobs of Apple(Nasdaq: AAPL) with $86.3 million, Lew Frankfort of Coach(NYSE: COH) with $64.9 million, John Wilder of TXU(NYSE: TXU) at $55.0 million, and Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum(NYSE: OXY) at $52.6 million."

From Ben...

"I'd have to side with the "this is capitalism" argument. Sure Bill Gates doesn't care about making a better product anymore... but he sure did once upon a time and that's what got us such atrocities as Windows. I do think that that is the incentive that drives competition, and if the CEO wants a big salary he deserves it. That is, as long as the regular employees are paid fairly. If the company's employees, both salaried and hourly, are treated and paid fairly then the CEO can do whatever he wants with his dough."

Check out how 2,500 lives were saved on 9/11 by ignoring authority and using individualistic efforts to high-tail it outta the World Trade Center. Let this be another lesson to y'all about listening to the man.

You may be surprised to learn that Shaq has only won 1 MVP. Check out this David Schoenfield breakdown that puts this stat in perspective. Though Shaq is the most dominant player of this era, it was rare for him to overcome the statistics and impact of other players during this time period. A very interesting must-read.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


It's best not to ask questions for which you do not want answers. Posted by Hello

Ever wonder what is the proper procedure when a consecrated Host falls on the floor when distributing Communion? Well has an answer to this and many other questions.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


On the way to work Tuesday morning I was able to catch an apology by Jeff from Q100. I honestly have to admit I don't normally listen to these guys. However, in one of my A. D.D. radio fits, I had to stop and give this bit some attention since they mentioned the great Maddox. But anyways, it turns out that one of the talk-jocks, Jeff, stole from Maddox's latest post, and then used it on the air. What I find so amazing is that Maddox actually found out and posted on it. To be fair, Jeff's rant continues on much longer. However, when seen side-by-side. It is obvious what inspired Jeff's "Trippin" rant.

Darwin strikes again as a couple of idiots remove themselves from the genepool trying to build their own light sabers...

"Two Star Wars fans are in a critical condition in hospital after apparently trying to make light sabres by filling fluorescent light tubes with petrol.

A man, aged 20, and a girl of 17 are believed to have been filming a mock duel when they poured fuel into two glass tubes and lit it.

The pair were rushed to hospital after one of the devices exploded in woodland at Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire."

Kinda makes you long for the days of the Clown Wars when fatties would do battle against a true Phantom Menace (hat-tip to Frank for the link).

Who dat smoove customer bringin' da lay to the ladies? Posted by Hello

It's hard to tell at this point but it seems like the Senate has reached a truce that will simply postpone the nuclear/constitutional option until the next Supreme Court showdown....

"Under the terms, Democrats agreed to allow final confirmation votes for Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor, appeals court nominees they have long blocked. There is "no commitment to vote for or against" the filibuster against two other conservatives named to the appeals court, Henry Saad and William Myers.

The agreement said future judicial nominees should "only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances," with each senator - presumably the Democrats - holding the discretion to decide when those conditions had been met. Officials said the pact was intended to cover the Supreme Court as well as other levels of the judicary."

Sounds like the Dems caved on their filibusters for the time being. And we'll simply have this battle again later when we go to replace Rhenquist. Which under those circumstances...seems to me the "president deserves an up or down vote on his nominee." Especially considering recent history when Orin Hatch let Ruth Bader Ginsburg out of committee and allowed her to have a floor vote. But for now everybody can walk away congratulating themselves on saving the status quo.

Monday, May 23, 2005


From Pigpen...

"If this was a pamphlet distributed by the catholic church or the RCA (not this subject matter of course), there would be such a Constitutional outcry about church and state or right wing agendas it would make you ears bleed. But not in this case, this groups agenda is blasting forth loud and clear propelled by the tax monies of the citizens. Not really safe for work, use your discrestion."

With game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals about to get underway in 2 hours, it's time to quickly breakdown the matchup as the kids see it. For ole Tondar, there are 2 things that have amazed me about the Heat during this playoff run. First, Dwayne Wade has suddenly elevated his game to the level of a Larry Bird or Michael Jordan type. In fact as Tim Reynolds of the AP points out:

Wade is one of only two players to average 25 points, six rebounds and eight assists on at least 50 percent shooting in two playoff series in the same year. Larry Bird is the other, doing so in 1986 when carrying the Boston Celtics to their 16th and last NBA title.

Secondly, I have been very impressed by the performance of Miami's role players. Eddie and Damone Jones, Udonis Haslem have really stepped up their game. And I owe Alonzo Mourning an apology for not being crusty at all. On the other hand, it should be noted that the Heat acheived much of this success beating up on New Jersey and Washington. If they had to play against Rick Carlisle's Pacers or Allen Iverson, the success most likely would have been more moderate.

But anyways, ole Tondar and CNNSI agree with Seth that the Pistons will win in six, so I will throw the discussion over to him...

"It's funny. Rip and Shaq both have the same injury: an artoric contusion in the leg.

Rip's is in the calf, Shaq's in the thigh.

Yet somehow, Rip is being heralded as the under-appreciated Piston who will come alive on the offensive end and turn Dwayne Wade back into a human, while Shaq's injury could mean the difference in the series.

Let's be honest: the injury hurts, but not nearly as much as would losing again to the Pistons.

And the injury is one you can play through, but neither Rip nor Shaq will really be in top form.

But the difference in what's fast becoming the "Contusion Series" is the same as last year's NBA Finals: shape.

Namely, Rip's in better of it than O'Neal. I've had an internal contusion before..on a canoe trip. The trick is to work past it. Once the blood's flowing and everything's wet, it feels like normal. When you sit down and it tries to heal overnight, you wake up the next morning in pain and stiffness.

Well, by the time Shaq puts enough effort into getting warmed up, he'll be winded anyway. Tired. Late in the game. Rip? He's been playing on it. He knows what I learned while canoeing: paddle hard for the first hour and the pain goes away. Paddle Hard? That's Rip's middle name.

Rip "Paddle Hard" Hamilton doesn't have to go it alone. I'm going to say what every Piston fan thinks, every NBA fan knows, and nobody will admit for risk of being labeled a homer or bandwagoner: the Detroit back-court is the best in the nation. I'd put Chauncy and Rip, for what they do with and without the ball, up against any 1-2 out there. I welcome a challenge. Bring it on.

As for the front court, the Heat have Shaq. Shaq's more valuable than Ben. But tired Shaq isn't. Neither is tired Shaq going to present the defensive challenges that Detroit faced against the Pacers. Tayshaun can get back in the game. Ben can break free for a dunk. Sheed can be Sheed. McDyess can do any of those things.

And that's the real story. The Pistons aren't the better team overall. I respect the Heat and what they've done to win. But being better is just one way to beat a team, and Detroit has about 30 contingencies. Like, for example, 2nd-chance points. Like, for example, turning on the DElectric-FENCE. Like, for example, that night we know is coming in which every Piston starter gets a double-double.

So let's say there'll be some early game Heat leads, and some late-game Piston comebacks, and when the dust settles, the Pistons will do it in 6."

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A home in Sacramento's south Natomas neighborhood is surrounded by sheet metal, and neighbors are calling it an eyesore.

The D'Souza family lives in the home on Timberwood Court, and claims the aluminium pieces are necessary to protect them from unknown neighbors who have been bombarding them with radio waves and making them sick.

"(It's) a shield to protect against radiation, because microwave radiation is reflected off of aluminium, so it's a protective measure," resident Sarah D'Souza said.

*in a Beavis voice* Oh, no-kiddin. How about that! He He Radiation sucks. He He

Sunday, May 22, 2005


From Seth...

"OK, so the movie has already come out, and many of us have already seen it. However, to have a properly developed conversation on the topic, we must go in order. So here is what Seth was hoping for on May 18...

"8 hours and counting 'till Ep 3...

I read some of the pro-Jar Jar comments and found a bit of wisdom in one of them, though. Namely, that in Ep 1, the Anakin character should have been a teenager. Not so old as to allay the effect of having a youth podracing, but not so young as to make it wholly unbelievable. I think the part might just have been written for a teen: conflicted between manhood and childhood, protecting his mother or relying on her. Plus, it would have made it possible for the character to act like an overactive punk (a la Jason Todd as Robin). You know, the kind of teen-fuckery of a troubled child that you convince yourself a middle schooler can grow out of, but is actually an early manifestation of a darker adulthood.

But no. George had to be like his American Zoetrope pal Coppola and make Anakin into a young Vito Corleone meets Jesus of Nazareth. Unfortunately, George ain't nearly as good at it.

That's the kind of thing that would have made the difference between a good movie and a great one. That, and making Yoda a supreme Jedi Council Master rather than some quirky professor who just happened to possess a Jor-El-like ability to one-up his esoteric betters by knowing when to get the hell outta Dodge (

I didn't mind ol' Satan-face dying at the end, despite D-Maul's pure awesome-ality in the art of lightsaber combat. But dying for no reason, with nothing learned but that there's probably another Sith out there? Fah! Answer this: why is the emperor so concerned with loyalty from Vader in Ep 6? Well, why couldn't it have been because D-Maul got power happy and betrayed D-Sidius - facing Jedis before he's ready to do so, a la Luke. Or, if you don't have the guts for subtlety, simply keep Sidius around so we don't ever have to run into D-Douchebag in Ep 2.

Of course, there's some mistakes that risked turning it from a good movie to a mediocre one, such as having Anakin build 3PO, and the irritating little snot trying to deliver badly-written Lucas-ims like "I was wondering, what are medicholorians?"

Even bringing the droids into the story in the first place was retarded. They were foils in a New Hope, serving a triple function as plot foils, comic relief, and the passive viewer's unbiased window to the fantastic. Doing that earned them an invitation to hang around for Empire and Jedi. What in the world are they doing in this series? Lucas goes so over the top now to try to force humor out of his tin can Abbot and Costello that I had to will myself through the end of Attack of the Clones.

Oh, I have some nasty words to say about Count Douche-Ku, Natalie Portman turning from Queen Elizabeth to Ellen Ripley over the span of one movie, and the save-it-for-the-cartoons ridiculousness (no matter how "cool" the plebians called it) of turning Yoda into Heathcliff with a lightsaber.

So the guy had a point about there being some MAJOR structural problems with the movies. But like you, I can't seem to figure out how he made the logical leap from "Jar Jar is a bad apple atop a cesspool" to "keep the cesspool. The cesspool's great."

I also disagree with him as to the level of catastrophe that the presence of Jar Jar....annoying, insipid Jar Jar...represents for the movies. What's a lunch-pail worth to you, Mr. Lucas? What do you get from one more Pepsi cup at Taco Bell, one more action figure, another Pez dispenser, a few more collective t-shirts? Is it worth the ENTIRE PREMISE OF STAR WARS, WHICH YOU UNDERMINED BY ADDING THE GUNGAN FROM HELL????? This is something that any student of Irwin Kerschner - let alone his favorite student - should have picked up on. The storyline is that of the underdog good trying to defeat all-powerful evil, right? Well, what in the world makes a screw-up funny under those circumstances.

Let's get something straight about humor, something every first year film student, creative writing student, and bipedal ape should know instinctively: it's entirely situational. You wouldn't have Jay and Silent Bob start blurting out shoe humor from Sex in the City. And you don't put slap-stick comedy -- let alone particularly bad slapstick -- in a Greek Myth/Arthurian Tragedy/Biblical Hero/Samurai epic. What if Quentin Tarrantino had Bill step on a rake with Step 4 of his final 5? Get it? The funny moments in the first movies employed an in-the-trenches sort of humor: 'sorry kid, I'd save your life from freezing except you'd hate the smell of the inside of a Tauntaun.' Or 'look, we met a race of teddy bears who, as luck would have it, worship ambiguously gay droids.'

Jar Jar is the antithesis of appropriate comedy, which could explain the virility of the Gungan's detractors. Oh, Charlie Chaplin's a funny guy, allright, but you wouldn't want him tripping over ammunition while leading troops into battle, right? That alone could have ruined the character. You essentially have a war story where screw-ups equal death and defeat, and here's a total screw-up who can't even take a battle seriously. It ruins the who scene. What care we, the viewers, if a few Gungans die at the hands of the droid army. Lucas certainly doesn't, or he wouldn't have given frog-face stars.

Do we take this too seriously? No. You expect these things in an epic, and it's gross how irresponsible Lucas has become in that regard. He's in it for the marketing, and possibly eye-candy. But he's charged with a true cultural phenomenon. Generation X-ers don't take their kids to these movies so they can learn to speak idiot English and ask for the toys. They took them because the Space Opera caught their imaginations, and they wanted their children to experience the same thing. Jar Jar is the clearest representation of that betrayal.

I know Lucas tried to appease us, writing Jar Jar out of 'Clones. I don't know if he learned his lesson, though. That final Jar Jar scene in Ep 2, looked more like defeat -- crushing, embarrassing, Darko Milicic-is-on-the-floor defeat -- than self-realization and apology.

For a few minutes, before that fateful landing on Naboo, we believed we were seeing a Star Wars movie. Once the Gungan arrived, it became advertizing. Every kid in the audience went into buy-me mode. But for those of us to whom Star Wars still meant something uttered, in unison, the greatest "What the Fuck" of our generation.

To do that to Star Wars, tsk tsk, George Lucas. It's like Michelangelo following up the Sistine Chapel with a billboard for his new line of Bible dolls.

George now has 7 hours and 15 minutes to make save the series before I see it. I know it won't be nearly as good as its first three predecessors. But I can still hope against hope that it won't have Mr. Binks."

Here was an interesting thread between James and Seth's sister Abby as they discussed the Jar-Jar character and the damage he did to the Star Wars franchise...

From Miss Abby...

I think the digust in jar-jar binks is rooted more in language.

Ewoks don't speak english and you never thought twice about whether or not they looked like midget teddy bears because of a twelve-for-one sale at the local costume shop on teddy-bear costumes. Jar-jar, however, speaks english but butchers it into what Mom would classify as baby-talk. He would have been a far better character if he didn't add -sa to the end of every sentence. He would have been a strong character, at least acceptable if he had his own language to be only understood like jabba with sous-titres (subtitles) or a translator, thus giving another job to 3PO besides being annoying and saying stupid puns that ruin the movie. In Eps 4-6 it was allowed that the entire universe didn't all speak english, has this country become so amero-supremist that it is unfathomable for an entire galaxy to speak more than one language? Yoda's dixlexia is acceptable only because it is supposed to make him wise

From James...

"Yeah, not only that, but i can't help but associate jar jar with rastafarians. his ears look like long dread locks and his accent is very jamaican. i felt he was just plain offensive, like watching black face minstrel shows. that's why i kept thinking "are we supposed to laugh when he acts stupid because he is supposed to be black? is Lucas just that dumb, or is he racist?"

Abby responds...

"Pehaps because Disney pulls off ethnocentrism so well in their children directed movies, ie. Aladdin, Lucas thought that he could. I can only think that if Jar-Jar had not been so annoying he would have been accepted with the sterotypes that he portrayed. Afterall we accepted an admiral that looks like a fish but seemed more British to me than anything else in ep 6."

And James responds once more...

"Hmm, i'm not sure jar jar really represented any stereo types. he was just stupid, but talked like a jamaican. but it would seem all gungans are stupid, because the gungan king was suseptible to the mind trick, and also a fool. it would have been cool to see lucas pull out stereo types and have some good ganja smoking scenes (all that "spice" han was smuggling for jabba? now there's an interesting tie in!)."

To ole Tondar it seems the Jar-Jar problem was actually somewhat intentional. On the one hand Lucas did need a new character to market to the little kids that would have been caught up in the toys and consumerism of the new series. On the other hand, if you remember episode II, Jar-Jar played the perfect pawn for Palpatine. He was the one after all that voted the emergency powers to the Chancellor. In a way his character served the opposite function of the droids in episodes IV-VI. As they were slightly amusing and always helpful in a clutch situation, Jar-Jar was annoying and served to unravel the Republic during its moment of crisis. Unlike the tragic characters such as Yoda, Padme, or Mace Windu, Jar-Jar had no redeeming quality and thus, disdain for him is justified as he is the manifestation of the shortcomings of the Republic.