Friday, April 28, 2006

The Next World Superpower

As much as I would love to be optimistic about our nation and our country in general, it seems obvious to me that we are doomed to the same fate as the empires that came before us. This can be seen through our declining moral standards, our idolatry of entertainment/pop culture, and a general mindset of indifference to the sovereignty of our nation.

So, this being considered- what countries seem ripe to come up and take the title of World's Superpower?

Here are the top 5 contenders, some obvious, some perhaps not.
(By the way.... that guy's biceps are ridiculous, I hope it works for "superpower")

1) China

The obvious choice. Billions of people. Billions. World's largest standing army. Tons of cash. No minimum wage or health care benefits for workers. Average manufacturing laborer's wage: $0.50-1.00/hr. Check out import/export stats and our trade deficit with China. Yikes.

2) South Korea

The Japan of 25 years ago. Technology and automotive exports continue to grow... Samsung, Hyundai... I mean who even knew of Kia 10 years ago? From 1994-2005, Kia increased U.S. sales from 12,000/year to 275,000/year. Heard anything positive about the American auto industry lately?

3) Iraq

Some people would say this is genius, others would say I'm retarded. With their abundance of Oil, their political positioning, and the inherent power of what is really a theocracy, Iraq is potentially very powerful. If they can find a dominant leader that is a little more internationally savvy than say Saddam Hussein or Mahmoud Ahmenijad, their potential is unlimited. Especially considering the Bible tells us that Babylon (present Baghdad) will be the seat of the world government under the Anti-Christ- and I put a lot of creedence in the Bible.

4) India

They are the weaker half of the two uber-population countries. Also sporting a billion people, India has a lot of industry and is definitely a major presence in the world market. I don't know if anyone really fears India though, I mean- Gandhi, technical support lines? Somehow the Chinese are more fearsome.

5) Texas

We can still return to our Republic roots! Housing is booming, we've got lots of room for growth,and we undoubtedly have the best high school football in the nation. As long as we keep allowing Latino immigration into the state, we will even have a working class! We'll just enlist those who are already here... instant standing army of 1 million Texians.... deep in the heart of Texas.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thank YOU, Thank You For Smoking!

So, I had a good weekend.... Played dominoes, went Country dancing (yes, I still hate almost all country music.. Lyle Lovett is great though), good church service, quality Triathlon training.

Perhaps the best part of the weekendthough, was going to see the movie Thank You For Smoking on Friday night. Great flick. I wasn't aware of the rating going in, so there were some relatively crass parts- unneeded sex scenes, too much language, etc. However, the message and the humor are tremendous. I laughed out loud on several occasions, as there are some lines in the movie that are priceless.

Overall, it is a great script. Very well written and thought through. Nick Naylor will likely become some sort of icon to represent the ultra-slick lobbyist. His character is just tremendous. I especially like his revenge on William H. Macy's character during the congressional hearings. Just ridiculous. Also the way he manipulates Sam Elliott's character on a trip out to California.

It is an intelligent and interesting commentary/parody on the entire lobbying "industry". Here is the andTim... seal of approval.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

blog potpourri, of sorts and whatnot

a few things to cover here...

1. Stephen A. Smith (espn sports journalist) has temporarily won me over. he had deion sanders on his show last night and they started talking about the Duke lacrosse situation, etc. Smith brought up how Jesse Jackson was involving himself and making it a racial issue and some such. well, then Smith took a sidebar and ripped Jesse Jackson for about 7 min straight tellin him to stop using stories like this for his own publicity. it was greatness. kudos to Mr. Smith.

2. my wife and i went and saw the Broadway version of Phantom of the Opera last thursday night. of course i saw them in dallas, but they are touring the country. i would have to say on a scale of 1 to 10 i would rate it "ok". story was a little weaker than i had hoped, the singing was pretty good, but we were sitting kinda far away and had this huge doofus with a terrible goose honker laugh sitting right behind us. being that it was the Phantom and all, my expectations were rather high, and they were not really met. glad we saw it though.

3. i have been dodging comment on this immigration nonsense for quite some time for various reasons. one, if i expressed my true feelings i might offend some readers. two, if i expressed my double true feelings, perhaps i would offend andTim. in short, the rallies are only hurting you immigrants! now you are on the map and the government realizes the severity of the issue. prepare yourselves to be sent back to your homeland sooner than originally anticipated if you just continued to use bogus social security numbers and were smuggled across in crates. put your mexican flags away and either be an American or do not. the rest of the world has laws, why is it not ok for the U.S. to have laws that restrict nationwide anarchy? we have a country going on here, and if you want to join the club, please go thru the proper channels.

4. i ate two salads, 3 breadsticks, and the entire Tour of Italy at olive garden tonight for dinner. the server took my plate and looked at me funny as i swiped the last dreg of marinara with a breadstick to clean the plate. what do ya think about that?

5. the sopranos is a good show. you should watch it. unless of course you are offended easily by foul language, racial slurs, nudity, sexual situations, or violence. then, i suggest you stick with the Golden Girls.

6. ya know what music is good? Led Zeppelin. i declare "Dyer Maker" the song of summer.

7. i took an allergy skin test on Tuesday at 3pm. verdict? i am allergic to rabbits. yes, i was tested for rabbits. bitch ass rabbits. figures, nemesis # 2 just wont leave me alone. by the way my trap is still setup and the count is 2. both have been released more than 5 miles from my house. cant take any chances with those bitches finding my yard again. more on the allergy test soon, there is plenty to write about on that topic. if you have ever had one you probably know what i am talking about.

so, how are ya? how have you been? i feel like i havent written in forever. hi there.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Real American Idols

This may be the most obvious blog topic ever, but I don't care. It likely suprises no one to say that America is in a severe state of decline, rotting from our insides out. Everything that once made America great is now rendered a punch line by the likes of Bill Maher. Amongst the myriad of problems America has one of the most prevalent is our obsession with celebrity.

While Andy Warhol stated that everyone will get their 15 minutes of fame, not everyone deserves it. America has always had a fascination with celebrities but that has turned into obsession. We idolize musicians, actors, reality TV folks, and rich people. Even the most popular TV show is ironically entitled "American Idol". (I really don't have much of a problem with American Idol, most of the people on the show are relatively talented, the show is well-produced, and at its essence it is a simple and innocent concept).

Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Elvis Presley- these people are American icons, and celebrities. But they had an iota of the screen and print time given to someone as talentless as say, Paris Hilton. (See previous blog, Kelly Osborne and Vocal Overdrive as well) Now, it is very unfair to compare the exposure of those stars in their hayday to someone of modern time, simply because of the amount of exposure available. In 1950 you had radio, TV still in its infant stages, and newspapers. Now you have internet everything, cable, satellite, cell phones, terrestrial radio, satellite radio, podcasts, etc, etc, etc.

The problem with this obsession is that it is hollow. Most everyone we idolize has a craft that produces nothing but entertainment. Entertainment is almost completely hedonistic. It does very little to contribute to the advancement of society. Our real American Idols should be people of merit. People of character, with deep moral convictions, whose motive in life is not to become famous, but to benefit the world they are in as much as possible during the fleeting breath of life we are all given. Great war heroes, government servants (not politicians), great thinkers and scientists, teachers and authors. These people should be the Real American Idols.

We might want to look to the Greeks and Romans amongst others. These were great empires like our own that fell into oblivion. The most valued men in Greek society were their philosophers- that's why we know the names Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates thousands of years after their deaths. The most valued men in Roman society were great war heroes, that's what Roman boys aspired to be and that's probably why Rome so completely dominated the world at the peak of their civilization.

How many people in our society can name a great American philosopher of modern times? How about a great war hero of the last 20-30 years? If you can come up with more than one of either, then you are the exception. Yet how many people can tell you the name of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's daughter? We are sick. If it's really true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, it was probably because he was obsessed with becoming the next "Roman Idol" instead of defending his city. Nero- the Clay Aiken of yesteryear.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bullet Trains in America

For those of you who didn't already know, I may be the world's biggest advocate for train travel. I don't know if you could go so far as to call me anti-car, but I love the train. Traveling in Europe and living in Japan quickly taught me the value of train travel.

1- They are fast

The Shinkansen in Japan has hit speeds up to 275 mph. The French TGV has hit 320. Both Trains regularly top out around the 170-180 mph mark in regular travel, but that is still really freaking fast.

2- They are smooth

You can easily eat a meal, write a letter, read a book or do just about anything on a train. 50% of the people riding these trains are sleeping due to living in our sleep deprived world. The trains in Japan were so smooth, I was sometimes afraid to fall asleep for fear that I wouldn't feel it stop.

3- They are easy to use

Go to the station, find out what time the train is going to the city you want to go to. Get on the train at that time. Go. Not hard. You don't have to go through massive terminals (a la Intercontinental Houston or any other International Airport). You don't have to get there 6 hours before just to make sure they can check every orifice* of your body for sharp devices. You don't need a travel agent. You don't have to fill up with gas, check tire pressure, get an oil change, etc. Granted, in our post 9/11 continued security freak-out we would still find ways to check everyone before getting on a train. In Ueda where I lived, you had 30 seconds to get on the train, find your seat, and sit down. 30 seconds. It was awesome.

So my dream is to have a Houston-Dallas-Austin train. Most of our cities aren't set-up for travel without a car, but think about all the extra jobs that could be provided for cab drivers, construction workers (building public transportation), ticket-takers, etc. If you have ever driven I-45 from Houston to Dallas, I-35 from Dallas to Austin, or 290 from Austin to Houston, you know that these are three of the most boring drives ever. Totally flat in a straight line. On the weekends, the traffic getting out of any of these towns is brutal. Each trip takes at least 2 hours 30 minutes, if not up to 5 hours. (Just try to go to Dallas in under 5 hours from Houston on a Friday afternoon.) These drives are so boring that people routinely fall asleep and are seriously injured or killed in resulting accidents.

It is roughly 250 miles from Houston to Dallas. At an average of 150 mph, it would take 1 hour 40 mins to get to Dallas. Plus, you could sleep. Or read. Or have a cup of coffee or a beer and some nice conversation. You could leave Houston at 6 and be at dinner with a friend in Dallas at 8. Even if it cost you $60, I can't help but think that people would line up for it. The lack of stress, the lack of wear-and-tear on the car.... I mean c'mon!

We are ready for the renaissance of train travel in America. Struggling airlines could become Air-Train conglomerates. "I'm taking the 7:00 am Southwest Trainlines Bullet to Dallas for my 9:30 meeting." Imagine that. Granted, planes are always going to be the faster way to travel long distances. But for the 100-300 mile distance, the plane and the train are basically the same!

College students would buy rail passes to travel America during Spring Break, Christmas Break, or the Summer. Hostels and Hotels would spring up in small towns everywhere near the station. Tourism would increase in beautiful but unknown places like Arkansas, that people routinely fly over on their way to other destinations. The romanticism of train travel need not be underestimated.

Here is what we did in the 50's. Eisenhower was definitely a visionary in this respect. Here we are 50 years later, and we are in need of a new system. A high-speed rail system.

*First time orifice has been used on

Thursday, April 13, 2006

mike, you overhype lebron

do i?

yes yes, i know he just sprained his ankle. so what. i am going to make a bold prediction, of which you heard it here on mikeandtim first.

lebron will either...

1. average a triple double for a season
2. average 40+ points per game for a season
3. win 8 (or more) league MVP awards

rather bold predictions here. however, this guy is really good. if he stays healthy i really think he could put up some of the best numbers the NBA has ever seen. he can shoot the 3ball now too, which makes him super filthy. plus he can get to the basket as good as anyone, even Jordan. i really think he is good enough to average a triple double, that is my #1 outlandish claim. if anyone can do it, it will be lebron.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

mikeandtim book

due to the high volume of purchase requests for the first annual mikeandtim book, we must temporarily suspend the ability to order. the book contains all posts by mikeandtim since inception and is labeled as Collector's Edition. each book is also autographed by both mike and tim, which is not an easy task since we live several hundred miles apart.

please hold any new orders until after May 1 as we catch up on printing our current backlog of orders. we appreciate the support and i am personally glad that tim is not the only person who reads the blog.



Monday, April 10, 2006

Hello Blog Friends

Faithful Mikeandtim readers-

I must apologize for not blogging in two weeks.

Two weeks.

Absolutely pisspoor, I agree.

Anyway, Mike has been more than adequately picking up my slack as usual. Traveling, training, etc. has really eaten into my blog schedule. I would just like to say hello to everyone, feel free to write to us and send a good joke our way, a good story, or anything that just serves to enhance the day.

It was Mike's 27th birthday yesterday, as he and I were born 13 days apart in that great year of 1979. It was probably the best year of the century, although I am a bit biased. (Actually, 1997 was pretty good too. Work with that you numerologists!) Feel free to drop Mikey a "Happy Belated Birthday" today, he has earned it by staying alive this long.

As for me, I may be moving soon. But that should not affect the growth and development of or the wepromiseitiscomingsoon Alright, back to selling heaters and transducers.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Balls for Bonds Coalition

the topic of sports is one of huge interest to me. ever since i can remember i was playing them, and it all began with baseball. i love the game, cherish the history, and really get into records and who has a shot at breaking them.

which is why i would like to propose the following idea: let's get every pitcher to intentionally walk Barry Bonds every time he is at the plate until his career is over.

i mean, why not? otherwise, he will break the biggest record in all of sports, the all-time career home run record. if he does, i won't be crushed, i just think it is better for the game. and i think mr. bonds has had some assistance/advantage in reaching this feat that neither Henry Aaron nor Babe Ruth would have had. certainly you could argue that all players have the advantage of better training, knowledge, technology, etc. however, these advantages have not interfered with most records, only the home run record. pitching has probably gotten worse, and hitting (other than for power) has probably gotten worse. regardless, it is obvious that performance enhancing drugs have changed the game. anyone guilty of using these should have some form of asterisk/annotation by their home run count. or at least a note saying those players played during the "steroids were not illegal in baseball" era.

the biggest reason this whole deal bothers me even goes beyond the records. it gives the impression to young players in jr high or high school that steroids are how you get to the pros. there were tons of guys i went to high school with who got on the juice at one point or another, and i would have to guess it had to do with how large these professional players have become, the relative ease one can access these drugs, and the pressure to get to the next level. that is a crime.

since 2001, the year Bonds hit 73 homers, and not counting last year (he was hurt and only appeared in 14 games) or this year, which just started...Bonds has drawn 755 walks. coincidence?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

work and Indians (alleged, not real)

well, sorry for sucking it up this week and being terrible writers. i have been mad wicked busy at work since i have had to pick up the slack from someone who is out on maternity leave. which is good because i get to do some new stuff, but bad because now it is saturday morning and i am back at work. plus i have been staying till circa 7pm every night on average. yuck.

now for the alleged Indians story. i say alleged because we are talking about Native Americans. i suppose Indians is an ok term to use, but i am not Native American so i am not really sure how Native Americans feel about that. regardless, these people are called Indians because sea-faring Christopher Columbo thought he had reached the actual India when he arrived at North America. and to think he was just trying to get his little paws on some Indian spices. curry isnt THAT good is it? sorry for the sidebar, i have ADD.

my wife works at a school where the mascot is the Indian. recently the superintendent has mandated that the mascot should be changed so as not to offend anyone and just to avoid any conflict of interest, so the principal has passed this along to the PTA. well, the PTA is supposed to have some level of say in issues such as the school mascot selection, so that is why they got involved. i should have prefaced this story by revealing that the parents of this school are in the 99th percentile of parent involvement at the school. this is an elementary school so of course none of these kids can do no wrong and are all massively overprotected-from-anything-negative little angels. many of these parents do not work. many of them live very close to the school, walk their children to school every day, then gossip in front of the school for long periods of time after school starts simply because they dont have much else better to do. this process repeats circa 245pm when the kids are nearly out of school. some of these are dads that dont even work. you get the point.

well, in a school such as this, parents have way too much power. they gossip, hang out in classrooms, eat lunch with their kids multiple times per week, etc. you can probably see where this is going with the Indian situation. since the principal passed along that the mascot needs to be changed, the parents have teamed up and have really turned this into a battle. i am pretty sure this is more of an exhibition of power/having their voice heard than it is something they really care about. a bunch of parents think changing the mascot is wrong and have been giving the principal hell for this change. saying "WHATTYA MEAN WE GOTTA CHANGE THE MASCOT?? THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!! WE WANT IT TO BE THE INDIAN!" they have gone to extreme lengths to keep the mascot the Indian, including bad-mouthing the principal, the teachers, the superintendent, and privately forming a strategery to combat this change. they recently held a PTA meeting with principal and teachers and had a vote on whether to change it or not and were sour to everyone who they presumed was voting in favor of the change. some parents went to the trouble of interviewing a few Indians. some cited tradition as a reason to keep it. some just jumped into straight up mudslinging and accusations. this whole deal is out of control.

i would like to remind the parents of the following facts/points:
1. this is an elementary school mascot. in a few years, your kid wont even be there anymore.
2. your child is between the ages of 5 and 11, and most likely could give a rat's ass what their school mascot is. who freakin cares if it is an indian, emu, or a flippin pecan.
3. the elementary school mascot is basically nothing. does anyone dress up in the mascot uniform? no. do you have a sports team? no. please describe the duties of such mascot.

4. you actually wasted hours of your life going to interview a Native American (i would like to know what percentage Native American your interviewee was, by the way) so that you could solidify your case? thats just bizarre.
5. must we remind you people that many sports teams have changed their mascot, or been asked to because some actual Native Americans may be offended by the goofy Indian mascot you have in your gymnasium which mocks their culture? if you were a professional sports team you might have a better argument because people identify the team with the mascot and tens of millions of dollars of mechandise are produced and sold, sustaining the team's existence. however, you are an elementary school and should refer to point #1.

i actually believe this could hit local news pretty soon if it continues. and believe me, these parents are not about to give in on keeping their beloved indian mascot. isnt it usually people protesting to rid schools of these mascots? who are these people?