Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An Unfulfilled Future

The other day a co-worker commented on how she can't believe it's almost 2007. It got us reflecting on how popular culture in the '60s, '70s and '80s portrayed the early 21st century and just how different it actually is. While last year Ask Me Later brought you a list of the Ten Things That Should Have Happened In 2005 But Didn't for it's New Year's offering, this year we'd like to give you something in a bit broader sense. So without further adieu, I present you with a list of things promised to us by now for which we're still waiting.

Personal Transportation
We were promised...
Small, personal, commuter aircraft buzzing around cities, landing on rooftops and parked in our driveways. If Philip K. Dick's/Ridley Scott's vision was in any way accurate, at least law enforcement would be zooming about in Spinners chasing down replicants (see below). And let's not forget jet packs, rocket boots or Marty McFly's infamous hoverboard!

We have...
For people who just don't want to limit themselves to wearing fashionable head gear only when biking or like to look like giants magically floating through crowds, we have the Segway. Those who don't care what others think and find themselves strangely attracted to Danny DeVito will enjoy the Smart car. Hippies have hybrid cars, and if it's true what they say about someone's vehicle making up for other shortcomings, they finally can compensate for all that patchouli induced air pollution they've caused by driving an environmentally sound auto.

As an aside, and just so readers don't think I'm complaining without ever having offered my own contributions to the advancement of personal transportation, when I was about ten I had plans to build my own hovercraft. The basic design entailed a ceiling fan attached to an overturned refrigerator box. When I shared this idea with my father, he told me I couldn't even clean my room so how could I expect to build a hovercraft. Thanks for the support, dad.

Mass Transportation
We were promised...
One word: Monorail.

We have...
City buses where your co-passengers have an overwhelming tendency to smell like wet dogs whenever it rains and the drivers who always look like their one stop away from navigating the whole operation into the nearest body of water. Light rail propositions that really amount to nothing more than buses on tracks. A nationwide passenger train network operated on leased tracks so undermaintained that in some stretches on the east coast trains can't operate at speeds over 30mph. In all fairness, some places outside of Disney World or Vegas actually do have monorails, but are you really willing to risk your life in downtown Detroit just for a glimpse of what the future doesn't hold?

Space Travel
We were promised...
According to Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, by 2001 major airlines would be running flights into space where we could check in to orbiting hotels. Other futurists envisioned a permanent moon-base, if not an entire colony.

We have...
Travel limited to either government-run space programs and astronauts or billionaires financially propping up those programs just for a chance to hitch a ride, all using vehicles with 30-plus year-old technology. Moon sand.

We were promised...
In general, 20th century concepts of 21st century fashion fell into either one of two categories: The jumpsuit or black leather. The jumpsuit is traditionally gray with a colored stripe running down one side indicating one's social status, profession, etc. I would imagine it is also made of some high-tech material that requires little washing, maintains a comfortable temperature, is stain resistant and contains a tracking device so the government can find you anywhere on the planet. Associated hairstyles with this outfit would either be bald or circa 1974. Leather, on the other hand, is more typical of a renegade or "cool" future. Considering it's the future, my guess would be that it isn't truly leather, but rather a PETA-endorsed substitute made of something like Soylent Black. If wearing leather, picture Flock of Seagulls hair.

We have...
Let's face it...this is one of the few items (save for high tech material or Soylent Black) that we probably could have right now if we really wanted. Hoping to get things moving along, I even considered just wearing a jumpsuit with a stripe and establishing myself as a real trendsetter. The downside was I couldn't decide on a stripe color. Then I lost interest.

We were promised...
Ultra-human-like replicants a la Dick's/Scott's Blade Runner. Bavarian killing machines traveling through time to change the past, all started by a computer becoming self-aware in July of 2004. HAL 9000. Haley Joel Osment. Robin Williams.

We have...
Admittedly, many of the androids, robots or supercomputers cited above were from an unspecified "not too distant future," but it is a little disappointing to know that the average consumer today is limited to things like the Robosapien, an animatronic monkey or the Roomba. But when you think about it, maybe that's for the best. After all, super-advance robots come with all sorts of problems. Frankly, I'm much happier to see Arnold Schwarzenegger serving in office than chasing down Sara Conner. And if there ever comes a time where I can buy an android Haley Joel Osment or Robin Williams, I'll seriously consider becoming a Luddite.

Alien Invasions
We were promised...
Well, alien invasions! Stretching back to the 19th century, if you were to take with confidence the visions of countless authors and film-makers, Earth should have been invaded several hundred times by now. For the most part we would have successfully fought off these invasions by either infecting the alien computers with a virus or giving the aliens themselves the common cold. Everyone on Earth would rejoice and there would be global peace and harmony, having joined forces to fight a common enemy.

We have...
Unless Men In Black was actually a documentary, zilch. Even if you consider the events at Roswell in 1947 to be alien in nature, that wasn't so much an invasion as a wrong turn and a bad landing. All things considered, it's probably for the best that we haven't (yet) been invaded by hordes of little green men or giant flying saucers destroying our most recognizable landmarks. But if that day ever does come, rest assured that Will Smith will, in some capacity, be there to save the day.


The optimists out there will look at this list and try to argue for all the wonders we have seen come true in the early 21st century. Me, I want my damn hovercar.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hey Buzz!

I used to have a job that entailed a lot of driving around the country. Once, while travelling between Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama, I had the luxury of listening to deep-south AM radio. What was great about it was that four two straight hours, the programming entirely c0nsisted of people calling in, announcing things they were selling, leaving messages for people who had no phones or looking for directions. It was basically a radio-message board.

So I figured I'd try that here.

Hey Buzz! Give me a call!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Finding the Clues

Some years back, a female friend of mine gave me A Guy's Guide to Dating: Everything You Need to Know About Love, Sex, Relationships, and Other Things Too Terrible to Contemplate as a birthday present. Though it's probably not full of the best advice in the world, it is an awfully funny read.

Last night I was straightening out my bookshelves when I stumbled across the book yet again. Paging through it, I noticed a chart near the end of the book where the authors talk about getting over break-ups. One suggestion they make is writing a book on relationships and bad-mouthing every girl you ever dated. This is followed by a small chart listing the names of four women and why they were such hideous girlfriends.

A footnote accompanying this chart indicates that all the names have been changed, except for the first girl, Stephanie, who was such a horrible person they felt it their duty to warn others about her. Furthermore, they include hints as to who she is by saying she's from Wisconsin, her last name rhymes with 'pet' and she's a former beauty queen.

A bell went off in my head.

Any of our six readers think they may know who this person is?

Cuz...I do...

Fanboy here!

Transformers: The Movie: The Trailer...

Now online!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

C3P0 may finally get some respect

6 months ago I was theorizing on the probability of people advocating for "robot rights."

Yesterday, the Financial Times revealed a British government-commissioned report were this very issue was tackled. From the article:

Robots and machines are now classed as inanimate objects without rights or
duties but if artificial intelligence becomes ubiquitous, the report argues,
there may be calls for humans’ rights to be extended to them.

It is also logical that such rights are meted out with citizens’
duties, including voting, paying tax and compulsory military service.

Mr Christensen said: “Would it be acceptable to kick a robotic dog even
though we shouldn’t kick a normal one?

“There will be people who can’t distinguish that so we need to have
ethical rules to make sure we as humans interact with robots in an ethical
manner so we do not move our boundaries of what is acceptable.”

The Horizon Scan report argues that if ‘correctly managed’, this new
world of robots’ rights could lead to increased labour output and greater

“If granted full rights, states will be obligated to provide full
social benefits to them including income support, housing and possibly
robo-healthcare to fix the machines over time,” it says.

Would robo-healthcare be granted regardless of where the robot is built? Will water-proof robots be crossing the Rio Grande to get it? Will they use their laser eyes to tear through the fence?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Kane Watch: Feeling for Gene

In his Sunday column, Eugene Kane writes about his experience in trying to convince inner-city African-American students to remove the N-word from their lexicon.

I've gotta say, I sympathize with the guy.

"It doesn't mean anything to us," responded one student to a talk Kane gave to a class at Washington High School on the historical meaning of the word.

Like me, Kane believes it's a word best purged from our language entirely (of course, I would hope that this came about as the result of people understanding its negative connotations and refusing to make use of it rather than any law that would inherently violate First Amendment rights). So when he speaks directly to those using the word with the greatest frequency and tries to make them understand how detrimental it is, I can understand his frustration. In spite of Kane frequently stating that "it's different for blacks" assertion ripe with double-standards whenever its pulled out in reference to non-blacks using the word...he has consistently stood by his belief that we'd all be better off if the word was no longer used.

But after reading what these kids have to say, my opinion has slightly changed. Although I'm fairly certain the students' opinion on the word is mostly based on youthful ignorance, essentially what these kids have done is disarm the word, at least in their minds. By using it as a term of endearment or completely out of its original context, they remove all the hate it possesses.

As someone who shudders over the thought of any sort of censorship, or the thought-police knocking down my door merely for words I utter, in some perverse way there's a light of hope in these children's attitudes. They are declaring that words cannot hurt them. They are taking the old cliche of "sticks and stones" and making it a reality. Granted, it may not be intentional, but the outcome is intriguing. When one of the most disgusting words in our language comes into common use not because of overt racism but simply since it's lost its harmful clout, could this be an initial step towards a society in which victims no longer exist just because of a word spoken about them?

Of course, racists will still exist. And those racists will still attempt to use such words as insults. But if the recipients of the insult treat it as just a word, and nothing more, the racist loses yet another weapon in his arsenal.

I'm not saying this is the future. I'm not saying this is the intent of the students Kane spoke with. All I'm saying is that maybe we can find a little wisdom in the ignorance.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kane/Cuprisin/McBride Watch: Cage Match Time

This should be very interesting to watch play out.

And to answer Kane's question at the end of the post: yes. Though I've never heard you on the radio, I've seen you on TV. Man...not good. Not good at all.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What you could have had...

I just ran across this photo from Nick Schweitzer's Drinking Right photo pool on Flickr. If I recall, this was fairly early in the evening and my eyes should have still been wide over the excitement of possibly serving my fellow citizens.

This should also serve as a stark reminder to all those who did not vote for me what they're missing out on. Seriously, I'm wearing cuff links. That's just plain classy! And I even tied my own tie!

In another photo (one in which my eyes are open and, oddly enough, was from later in the night) you either see how good I would have been pressing the flesh or auditioning for the role to replace that smarmy guy in the Potowatami ads. Looking at this picture one might think that immediately after it was taken I leaned into Dean and asked him if he had any blow.

It's your loss, folks, your loss.


On a completely unrelated topic that I'm not sure justifies its own post but I want to talk about anyway, Jay Bullock and Mike Mathias are threatening to elevate Vikki Ortiz to the status of Mandy Jenkins, in part because she's hoping to start randomly crashing office holiday parties. First off, Vikki is one of my and Ramon's favorite JS Online bloggers. Second, note to Vikki: Friday, 7pm, Buckhead Saloon. Crash away!


One more unrelated topic: Dickie, Drinking Right's favorite bartender, seems to be the favorite of many others as he was selected Bartender of the Week by mkeonline. Last night, Dickie shared with me that one of my favorite television personalities recently dropped in at Papa's. As luck would have it, if Ms. Koglin were to Google herself (tee hee), she would find that the number one hit would be none other than Ask Me Later. As for her and I being in the same place at the same time (without my stalking her), I guess the stars just weren't aligned.

But are they ever?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Kane Watch: Eugene's 5-year Attention Span

Eugene Kane so regularly contradicts himself in his writings that one might believe he suffers from a limited memory. Of course, as has been pointed out before, it might not be the result so much of a limited memory as a selective one.

Take his most recent column, in which he uses the Falk explosion to remind his readers that in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, blown-up buildings are commonplace because of the actions of nations' leaders.

In looking at the destruction of the Falk building, which Kane acknowledges was an accident, he asks:

Why would anybody cause this kind of destruction on purpose if there was another

Perhaps he needs to be reminded of an another explosion that took place just a tad over five years ago.

Drinking Right Tomorrow Night

Just a reminder that tomorrow night is the "Happy Birthday Jesus!" edition of Drinking Right.

Gifts are not necessary.

The Saga Continues

No, it's not another Star Wars. What I'm speaking of is the never-ending saga of my clumsiness.

This morning I let the dog out and ran back up my back stairs only to stub my toe. It hurt just like any other toe-stub might hurt, only this time when I looked down to assess the damage, I discovered that I was now one toe-nail short.

Now, like I said, it really didn't hurt that much. But in nearly 34 years I've never experienced the complete and total loss of a nail, either finger or toe! I actually called my mother at work to determine whether there was some sort of procedure I should follow or not. Should I be seeing a doctor? Should I attempt to save the nail and reattach it?

Turns out bandages and Neosporin were all that was required. Fortunately, having endured the countless household injuries I normally do, I normally keep these on hand. Unfortunately, having endured the countless household injuries I normally do, I was all out!

So anti-bacterial soap and toilet paper it was!

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Am Not So Happy About This Thing

Ramon here.


Ramon would just like for all of the adoring fans of his to know that he will not be following the recent fad of the showing of the privates for the paparazzi.

Privates in private? That is still the possibility.

Ramon out!

United (High)Way Robbery

Elliot managed to touch a nerve with me in bringing up United Way's method of procuring "donations."

Like Elliot, I believe UW does support some very noble causes. At the same time, their practice or teaming up with corporations and coercing employees to donate lest they become outcasts for not giving is dispicable. Furthermore, UW is far from being socially or politically neutral, and has historically supported organizations to which I am morally oppossed.

But what's worst of all is that when you get that little donation card dropped on your desk, there's never a place to indicate you do not wish to contribute.

Hell of a scam...

Kane Watch: Note to Gene

Okay Eugene, we get it. You don't like George Bush. You think the Iraq Study Group report is vindication for every opinion you've ever had about the President and the war in Iraq (conveniently ignoring countless dissenting opinions from other analysts and Iraqis alike). But is it really necessary to point out what happens when you type in "miserable failure" in Google?

And is it responsible journalism not to point out what Google has to say about the result?

I're just being snarky.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

An Ask Me Later Milestone

It seems like just yesterday that Cantankerous and I were sitting in a bar, three sheets to the wind, talking about how we should start one of those blog thingies.

But the truth is that it was exactly one year ago today when Ask Me Later came smashing onto the scene with the post below.

On Blogging...

The first time I blogged I didn't actually know I was blogging. In fact, it was 1984, blogging meant something entirely different and my father had yet to have that conversation with me about what was entirely natural and not something to be ashamed of. Fast forward nearly twenty years and imagine my surprise to learn that not only is blogging something done by millions of people all over the world, but has become highly influential in the arenas of politics, pop-culture and commercial industry alike. Thank God its meaning has changed since I was a child. I've since learned not to make up words while hoping everyone else knows what I mean.

This marks my fourth attempt at creating and maintaining a blog. One might think that after three failed attempts I would just give up. But for some reason I feel I just must have one. For me, that's quite unusual. Typically I shun any of society's demands for what one must have. Sure, I believe I have to have a good hammer. A good hammer can solve a lot of problems. But I tend to ignore friends' advice that I pursue other goals, such as having a good therapist or a competent attorney. Oddly enough, the hammer, therapist and attorney all go hand in hand, but that's a topic for another post.

So here it is...attempt number four. I've named this "Ask Me Later" at the suggestion of a friend who I hope will be a major contributor to this blog. Hopefully she'll also regale us all with how the name came about. Until then, keep in mind that you're all stupid, I'm not and what I say goes, at least here. And I have a hammer.

Huh...things really haven't changed much, have they?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kane Watch: Yet to be determined

Kane asks an interesting question at the end of his blog post. Asks Gene, "Still yet to be determined, when did law enforcement get the idea that every black person they stop knows how to rap?"

To that, I'd like to offer a question in return: Since when did one cop's actions in Tempe, Arizona represent the actions of all law enforcement officers everywhere? Or, as Gene puts it, "law enforcement."

Isn't Gene usually arguing that you can't take the actions of one person from a particular segment of society and use that against other members of the same segment? That would be stereotyping, I think he calls it.

That's interesting because using the logical process put forth in his blog post, it would be valid to state that, for example, if one black man robs a place, then one can assume that all black men rob places. (ie, If one cop does A, then all cops do A)

Now don't get me wrong. I don't advocate the actions of the cop in Tempe, nor do I believe the proposition given as an example of Gene's reasoning. I'm just pointing out that the reasoning process clearly stated by the alleged "voice of reason" is about as hypocritical as it gets, and completely ignorant to say the least.

Fascinating, though.




At first I thought Cantankerous was getting some notice from Tim Cuprisin for her coverage of his overcoverage of the overcoverage on the snowstorm?

But, judging by the name he used, he must have been referring to some Greek blogger.

Hic! all you folks out there bombarding me with e-mails about the next D.R., just keep your pants on!

First off, my apologies. I frequently have the ability to read my e-mail, but rarely the opportunity to respond.

Second...YES! There will be a Drinking Right this December. And it WILL be on the second Tuesday of the month. And in spite of what some of you may have heard, it will still be held at good 'ol Papa's.

(As for the rumor you may have heard, we'll still do that...just another time.)

So check out the details on the next Drinking Right. It's a very special one, what with the holdiday season and all. That's right...I said holiday season. Don't get me wrong, though. This D.R. will better be known as the "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus" Drinking Right!

You may now take off your pants.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Blogging About Snow Coverage

Isn't there just a little bit of irony behind Tim Cuprisin's blog? Think about it. It seems the Spice Boys and Cuprisin share the same better-than-you tone in their respective blogs. But instead of local politics, Cuprisin limits himself to bashing local tv and radio.

Of course I expected him to poke some fun at the over-covered snow storm of '06, I mean, that's what he does. He makes fun of people.

But 28 posts about it?! I don't know what's worse, watching a plethora of reporters standing in the middle of a blizzard and commenting about the blizzard, or reading a blog making fun 0f those people. After about the 10th post I got to wondering, doesn't this guy have anything else to do today?

I would say his coverage of the coverage was as overdone as the coverage itself. Get my drift?

*Update: I corrected the initial typo I had in Cuprisin's name in response to the update of his wrong spelling of Cantankerous. For the record, that was per Casper's prodding.

**Update: "Cantankerous" is a fake name. Golly, do you think?

*** Foreseen Update: Casper is not a fake name. Seriously.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Vito's 2 today!