May 1999

Kaptain Robbie Knievel

    I was just watching one of the few Fox specials I enjoy, with Kaptain Robbie Knievel and his absolutely crazy jump across the Grand Canyon... I hadn't realized that it is also the worlds longest motorcycle jump as well! Anyway, I'm actually really surprised by the amount of buy-in that I had to the actual show. I've seen all kinds of these daredevil specials, and for the most part they're pretty lame, especially the ones where the people don't even try to land whatever it is they're jumping; of course Robbie Knievel is the exception to this. Anyway, normally, although I don't want them to crash, it really doesn't bother me if they do... Now what really struck me was while watching this special was the fact that I was really worried... I mean, I actually considered not watching it because I didn't want to see him fall into canyon; of course I wanted to see him jump in more, so I kept watching. But it struck me, what makes what he does any different (to me) than what the other daredevils do?
    I'm sure part of it is the whole Evil Knievel legacy, and how they strike me as underdogs, and as such you really want them to overcome whatever obstacle that's set before them. It also probably comes from the absolute absurdity of the jumps they make... Like between two buildings? Or over the Grand Canyon? I mean, when I heard it I thought the information wasn't accurate, or that he was going to use some sort of rocket-motorcycle like his dad did when he tried (although I think that was the Snake River).
    Well, all I want to know now is; What next? I mean, I don't know what he's going to jump next, but you know it's going to be harder than this (!), and there's no way I'm going to miss it. It's cool that he has a website, although it's a tad sparce, it's got the right idea because it has quite a bit of content about him (and I used it tonight to find out how long the jump he made was).

Engineers and Prostitutes

    Before everyone jumps to some sort of wild conclusion based off of my 90's hype title, I must say that this doesn't have anything to do with engineers and prostitutes directly, more just their relative proximity. Ok, here's the tale... I was in Borders books the other day with a friend of mine who shall remain nameless to protect his identity. Being the consummate professional that I am, I as not looking for anything having to do with prostitutes, instead, I was looking for a book on DSP theory, which is in the engineering section of the bookstore. Well, at this particular bookstore, the engineering section is right next to the humanities section dealing with human sexuality... Which is rather strange to begin with, but while I was looking through their limited selection, my friend called another book to my attention.
    The book begged to be read; it was a royal blue book with big black letters that simply said "Prostitution", a very interesting title. Now, this book wasn't some sort of pamphlet, or quick read, it must have been at least an inch and a half thick, and without any glossy pictures, so it was a legitimate book. As we flipped through it, we quickly gathered the basis of the book, it was a how-to book! Kind of a "Hooking for Dummies", although I would wager it was geared towards the more professional than the amateur... It gave some mundane background, I guess most of the information contained was from some research project up in Canada, where it's legal, and involved many of the working girls up there. While this was mildly entertaining to read, the real winner was the graphs... oohhh, the graphs!
    It really was surrealistic, it contains these geographic maps that had regions highlighted and categorize by the median income of the average family there - you know, if you're working the streets, it's always important to work where there's cash to be had. And it also contained other valuable data, like what percentage of men from different age groups brought their own condoms, and what places sold condoms for different rates. Why, just think, you probably would save more money than the cost of the book with just this handy little piece of advice.
    Anyway, it just struck me as interesting that someone, somewhere, spent the time to actually categorize, analyze, and them write about all of the little details of this particular profession... I also thought it was funny that such an analytical breakdown of human sexuality could be found so close to the engineering section; and I thought they were on opposite ends of the spectrum! heheh...

Entertainment Tonight

    I'm sure everyone at least has seen Entertainment Tonight once, or knows what kind of show it is... Basically your run of the mill cotton-candy Hollywood current events and trivia show, with about the same nutritional content as a box of vanilla wafers. Now normally this show deals with very important issues, that affect almost all aspects of your life, like who was the best dressed at the Oscars or as their current poll is ask "Which detestable character is the meanest movie villain ever to reek havoc on the big screen?" Deep probing questions that really get into the psyche of people... Take that poll for instance; most news organizations would only be looking for the most detestable villain, but ET goes that extra mile in finding the meanest villain as well - what a commitment to excellence!
    I really shouldn't be too harsh on them, since when I'm a big rock-n-roll star, I'm sure they're going to want to interview me, and I wouldn't want them to think I don't appreciate what they do. I mean, it's really like a public service, and people really need to know what kinds of cereal I like, and who the first girl I kissed was, and maybe what she's doing now. But anyway, back to the vague point of this ramble... In doing my part as a contributing member of society, I was watching ET the other night, and they did something that I find amazing - the covered the highschool shooting in Colorado! Sure, it's big news, but it's hardly something that I would expect to see on ET...
    This got me to thinking; I can easily image there are people out there who get all of their current events and news from shows like ET and Access Hollywood. Now, let's take this one step further, could you image what a skewed view of the world such a viewer would have? I mean, you're basically talking about covering the most frilly-nonsense possible, and then the absolute worst headline on the same show, but nothing inbetween. I found this particularly interesting, since they really didn't do anything I'm aware of about the stuff going on in Kosovo, except to say Michael Jackson was writing some kind of crazy tribute song to all of the refugee children... Man, that guy get's more out there ever year! I could easily see the hardcore ET viewer as also being the proud subscriber to the Weekly World News , which I might add exposes proof this week that the year 2000 is the doomsday. I wonder, if you uncovered information that lead you to believe the end of the world was less than one year away, would you spend that year spreading the word, or would you just travel and have a blast for the last year? I know what I would certainly do... Man, this ramble certainly has become a ramble, but the incoherence is bound to be a side effect of all the ET I've watched lately... It's limited me to a usable attention span of less than 3 minutes, so I find it really hard to write anymore. Of course, there really isn't much point either, when the world is going to end in a couple of months as well...