Thursday, May 19, 2005

Episode III: Attack of the Marketing

The final installment of the epic Star Wars series is debuting right now across the country. This movie, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, is supposed to tie together all the loose ends of the double trilogy and tell us how the geeky little pod racer pilot becomes the dark Lord of the Sith.

I was into the first 3 Star Wars films. They told a great sci-fi adventure story, and even though they were a bit cheesy, they were at least fun to watch. But I'm concerned about how things are going. In the 4th movie we had to deal with Jar Jar Binks. And I swear the acting got worse as we moved to the 5th film. If that was possible.

Now we all have to deal with the money machine that Star Wars has become. I understand selling action figures from the movie. But I think the marketing deals are taking away from the aura of the film.

Chewbacca in the sound studio doing voice overs for cell phone ring tones? Darth Vader staring down the creepy Burger King? Why? Is it all about the money? I don't recall any M&M's a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. And I'm pretty sure that Yoda doesn't need to use the Force to snag himself some Diet Pepsi. It's kind of sad. These characters are getting a little too familiar.

What's next? The Skywalker family on the Maury Povich show? Mr. Vader, I have the DNA results right here. You ARE the father.

All this being said, I will probably go see the movie anyway. I do want to see how everything comes together. And I'm just waiting for that moment when Anakin first puts on the robotic black costume and becomes the evil Lord Vader. But I hope that James Earl Jones' voice doesn't then ruin the mystique of the character and tell me how much money I can save by switching my phone service to Verizon.

Friday, May 6, 2005


It won't get you as much as you might think. $205,938,439.00 is the payroll of the New York Yankees this year. It is the highest in Major League Baseball.

By comparison, the Pittsburgh Pirates payroll is $38,133,000.00 for 2005. I'll save you the effort and let you know that the Pirates are spending 18.5% of what the Yankees are spending for players this year. Half of the Buccos are making less than $1 million. Half of the Yankees are making more than the highest paid Pirate. If you are curious about other MLB teams and players, there are sites out there that list them all.

So how do these numbers translate to on-field activities? That is why I'm posting at this particular moment. As of this morning, the Pirates are tied for 4th place in the NL Central. The mighty Yankee$ are tied for last place in the AL East. You don't have to be a baseball fan (or a sports fan at all) to realize that last place isn't good. If you think that the comparison isn't fair since I am talking about different divisions, we'll try it a different way. The Pirates are 11-16. The Yankees are 11-18.

This is not to say that the Bucs are playing well, or even that they could beat the Yankees in a head-to-head match up (which we will get to see June 14-16). Both of the teams in question stink right now. But you would think that $205,938,439.00 might get you a little more production.

The only thing that it gets is a different reaction. Now that the Yankees are playing poorly, everyone is going crazy - shaking up the lineup and talking about firing the Manger and/or the GM. The Pirates have been horrible for 12 straight years. For just $38 million, losing is expected. They only get a reaction when they actually win.

Even this early in the season it looks like the Pirates are well on their way to another losing season. But even if Pirates fans can't watch the Bucs win, we can at least watch the Yankees lose. Maybe we can be content with a better return on investment.

And knowing that an extra $167.8 million might not get us any better results.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Posts Update I

That is a Roman numeral I in the title. I'm using the SuperBowl method to keep track of the updates. Here is the latest news, starting with the earliest posts. (I'll only list those entries with new info to report).

Vikings Acquire Rubberband Man
During the offseason, the Vikings traded Randy Moss and his huge head of hair to the Oakland Raiders. Thankfully, he has gone back to wearing braids.

He Is Playing Basketball
Christ the King lost in the semi-finals of the New York City AA playoffs to Xaverian. He just couldn't pull off a miracle against a very talented team. (Xaverian went on to win the City and State AA titles).

Penguins Are Driving Me Crazy
My mother found the 32nd penguin - actually it is the shadow of a penguin. If you need to know where it is, check the comments section. The information was confirmed by Maria Smith at Arhaus.

I disagree with this sneakiness. Now I will REALLY never buy any of their furniture.

An Unwelcome Visitor
There have been no other rodents roaming around in our house. Either our visitor was on a solo mission or the others caught a glimpse of the sheer volume of traps set up for them and got the heck out before they met the same fate.

The Sound Of Silence
I still have not found my lost mp3 player and I still have not purchased a new one. I did, however, add 2 tapes to the center console for the particularly long rides home. There is still too much talking on the radio.

No Checks in the Mail
This method is working out great so far, but I did run out of stamps the other day after sending in my estimated local income tax for the first quarter of 2005. Apparently they need you to mail in that little form that shows your work when you figure out 1% of your income because it has to be on file, blah, blah, blah. That's OK, though. They'll make it up to me with their "Omit if you owe less than a dollar" rule at the end of the year.

Non Habeas Corpus
I have both shaved and finished The DaVinci Code since not being required for Jury Duty.

Rabbit Stew
With about 2 months to go, Toby's owner has $28,372.15 towards his goal of $50k. You'd better go buy a t-shirt or a coffee mug now. Remember, only YOU can save Toby.

Don't Cut My Hair
Lucca's moved down the hill and across Rt. 51 without telling me. And the good stylist is pregnant again. Oh, well. I finally caved and went to SuperCuts before my trip to Jersey, and everything came out fine. Fine enough for 15 minutes and less than 15 bucks, anyway.