Monday, February 28, 2011

I am on a drug; it's called Charlie Sheen

In a promo released Sunday night by ABC News, Charlie Sheen told “20/20” “I am on a drug; it’s called Charlie Sheen.”

When I heard this quote, I too was forced to admit that “I am on a drug; it’s called Charlie Sheen.”

Ever since I was young, I wanted to be Charlie Sheen.  Maybe not switch spots with him at the age of 11, but he was who I wanted to become.  It seemed like every role he played was the badass rebel who took crap from nobody and was barely in control of himself (and, by extension, his awesomeness), just enough to save the day.  He was even able to carry this role across genres, from comedy spoofs to action and drama films.  Even when he wasn’t playing the rebel-without-a-cause, he was still the guy who was doing what you wanted to be doing, or what you would be doing, whether it be clawing your way to the top of the corporate ladder or stopping the invading commie horde.  In fact, when I was in the 7th and 8th grades, one of the ways in which we could do book reports was to pitch the book as a movie, and write about the movie that would be made.  Invariably, I would choose books that had strong male leads, and Charlie Sheen was always who I would put in that role.  I suppose, in my mind, I was casting my (then ideal) future self in these roles, and Charlie Sheen was that future self.  One of the big factors was probably complexion and hair color; I could never see myself as a Patrick Swayze or Val Kilmer (believe it or not, Val Kilmer was popular at one point in time).  Anyways, from that point on, I was on a drug; it’s called Charlie Sheen.  And that drug wasn’t the-cut-with-oregano-or-baking-soda (or whatever it is they use to cut drugs) product that is Spin City or Two and a Half Men; no, I was a junkie for the uncut in-your-face awesomeness of Major League, Red Dawn, Hot Shots, Navy SEALs, and all the rest.

On a side note, Sheen also referred to his alleged 36-hour cocaine bender with porn actresses last month as “epic behavior.”  Epic.  Just epic.  Even describing it as such is pretty epic.  At some point in time, porn stars transformed from amoral tramps worthy of only scorn and derision into slightly laughable yet somehow desirable dinner/evening/36-hour-cocaine-binge companions.  And the agent of change?  None other than Charlie Sheen!

And so, partly in tribute to the greatness of Charlie Sheen, partly in tribute to the awesomeness of the quote (Come on, referring to yourself as a drug?  Vintage Charlie Sheen!), and partly because tongue-in-cheek humor will be a little distasteful after he kills himself with a drug overdose, I present to you a selection of must-see kick-ass Charlie Sheen movies:

Red Dawn
Come on, you know you want to start your movie career off as a teenage commie killer who, with a small band of buddies (WOLVERINES!!!!!!!!!!), is responsible for stopping the invading Soviets in their tracks!!


Shoot my crooked Sergeant and get shipped home from the war?  Do I dare live the American dream?

Wall Street
Greed.  It's good.  Scientific fact.  Plus, how awesome is it that Charlie Sheen got his dad the role as *spoiler alert* his dad in this film?  

 Young Guns
 So this movie is pretty awesome, and it's not just because Lou Diamond Phillips is a peyote-popping injun.  No, Charlie Sheen and his brosef, Emilio Estevez, take the wild west by storm, with a little help from Jack Bauer. . .err, Keifer Sutherland.  It loses a significant awesomeness quotient when Sheen's character is killed halfway through and Estevez's character is allowed to live, but if the opposite would mean Sheen would have to star in the Mighty Ducks franchise, then I'll take it.

Navy SEALs
Michael Biehn takes a break from running away from Terminators long enough to help Charlie Sheen kick some Mideast terrorist ass! 

Hot Shots / Hot Shots part deux
This was the genre spoof before it became all cliched (think just how much Scary Movie sucks because you know it's just going to make fun of every scary movie that has been released since the last).  It also contains one of the absolutely funniest scenes to be included in a major motion picture release (please make sure to see Apocalypse Now and Wall Street if you don't find this funny):

And saving the best for last:

Major League and Major League II

"The Wild Thing" Ricky Vaughn.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, get off the computer *NOW* and go find these movies.  If Charlie Sheen kicking your ass with a 101 mph fastball ("Give 'em the heater, Ricky!") isn't awesome enough, let's have him do it after Joan Jett sings Wild Thing.  I can't believe there supposedly is another one of these in the works!!

I, too, am on a drug; it's called Charlie Sheen.  Now get some porn stars and pass the cocaine!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What *did* we learn in school?

I was browsing through the internets the other day, as I am wont to do, and I came across a piece talking about how Pluto is not a planet.  Pluto isn't a planet?  Well, duh, where were you in 2006?  Didn't you catch the uproar over how something that we had been taught in school for roughly 90 years was now wrong?  For those who need a quick refresher, in 2006, the International Astronomical Union (now those guys know how to party!!!) officially listed three criteria to be considered a planet: the body must be in orbit around the Sun, it must be massive enough to have a nearly round shape, and (where Pluto fails) it must "clear the neighborhood" around its orbit.  Fair enough, at least they gave Pluto a reason for its rejection; it is kind of funny that the mnemonic device for schoolchildren to learn the planets would have to be changed, albeit slightly.  Instead of "my very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas," (or nice pasta, or nutty poo) children now say, "my very excellent mother just served us NOTHING!!!" (I guess she's not as excellent as you thought, huh?  I bet you wish Pluto was a planet again so you could have some freaking pizza!)

But so it got me to thinking about all of the stuff that we learned in school that is now wrong.  I realize that, obviously, as humanity discovers more and more, we'll expand our knowledge and so those sorts of lists will be adjusted accordingly.  For example, I don't know how many elements there were "officially," but I'm pretty sure when I was in 6th grade science class, the periodic table had somewhere in the neighborhood of maybe 102 elements, and now I think we have 112 named elements recognized by IUPAC (the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry - another group of rock stars), with another six supposedly discovered but not yet confirmed.  I'm not complaining about this; such is the nature of discovery.  But here are some things you might find surprising:

How many oceans are there?   Four, right?  Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic?  Surely we haven't downgraded the Arctic Ocean into a sea or a lake or anything, right?  Well, actually, the International Hydrographic Organization is in the process of officially ratifying the existence of a *fifth* ocean, the Southern Ocean, which carves off pieces of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans south of 60 degrees south latitude to make a ring around Antarctica. 

Image From Wikimedia Commons

Well, how about colors of the visible spectrum?  We still have ROY G BIV; surely they haven't added any more colors, right?  Would you believe that "nurple" is the new color that follows violet?  Hopefully not, because this is not the case.  Actually, most modern color scientists no longer recognize indigo as a visually distinct color in its own right, but rather as a hue of blue or violet.  As color is a little more subjective than, say, the official definition of a planet, ROY G BIV will probably continue to be taught in classrooms, but probably just because it's easier to remember than ROY GBV.  What do you think:

Image From Wikimedia Commons

And so now, I think I understand why our schools are in the state they are - how can we hold our schools to a high standard if we can't even figure out how many planets there are, or how many oceans the Earth has, or even what colors we can see???  Did I even really learn anything in school???

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Damn you, future!

So I've recently gotten the wife interested in Star Trek: the Next Generation, and we've been recording a TON of episodes on the DVR to watch later.  Today, we watched the two part pilot episode - Encounter at Farpoint I / II - and while she enjoyed the beginning of TNG, I (having been a fan of Star Trek TNG since it originally aired in the late 80's - 90's) enjoyed the best TNG had to offer.  I liked how they split the ship into the battle & saucer halves to get you hooked on the tech advancements from the start, I liked DeForest Kelley cameo-ing as a crotchety 137-year-old Admiral, and I like how we find out that Wes Crusher has inherited Bill Cosby's chest-o-sweaters, but what is the best the future has to offer?


Now, if you watch the episode, you see women wearing the dress first, as an obvious throwback to the Star Trek from the 60's, but then this guy is just casually thrown in, like, "hey, it's the future!  Guys wear dresses all the time!"  Were we supposed to hope to see Picard in one of these?  How much do you think this actor made, anyway?

Friday, February 25, 2011

96-yr-old sex escort Milly Cooper still earns £50,000 a year |

Can it be the world's oldest practitioner of the world's oldest profession?

96-yr-old sex escort Milly Cooper still earns £50,000 a year |

Milly Cooper, a woman who first worked as a prostitute after World War II ended, still rakes in £50,000 a year from her sex services – aged 96.

Cooper claims she has slept with 3,500 men and has regular clients aged between 29 and 92, who pay up to £800 a time to be with her.

Briton Ms Cooper started work as an escort in the US after her husband died during the war in 1945.

She had moved to Las Vegas from her home in east London to be with the wealthy American but was left with a baby daughter and no regular means of income.

After working as an escort, she became a madam, handling bookings for ten girls, and continued in this line of work when she married her second husband.

But after a 25-year break from providing personal sex services, she got back in the saddle and has never looked back.

‘Nowadays, the girls have vast boobs and skinny bodies and parade around half-naked,’ said Ms Cooper.

‘In my day, we would call those girls trollops. The industry’s become mucky. At least I am maintaining standards. I always dress elegantly and my clients are gentlemen.’

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The most famous picture of all time?

Another "on this day in history."  I seem to be doing these a lot!

On February 23, 1945, on an unusually flat and featureless volcanic island in the western Pacific, one of the most iconic and easily identifiable photos in history was taken.  The US invasion of Iwo Jima, which lasted from Feb. 19 to March 26, marked the first time that US forces had assaulted one of the Japanese home islands, and it was also the only US Marine battle in which overall US casualties exceeded those of the Japanese, although Japanese combat deaths numbered three times those of the US (really because the vast majority of Japanese fought to the death).

Mount Suribachi, as the dominant geographical feature of Iwo Jima, was one of the most tactically important locations on the island, and so the American forces had placed a priority on capturing the peak.  Four days of hellish fighting after the first of 30,000 Marines hit the beaches, Suribachi was finally in American hands, and a patrol was sent to the top with orders to raise a flag.  That patrol reached the top with no enemy resistance, and so raised the American flag.  This flag, however, was too small to be easily seen from the nearby beaches, and besides, the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, who happened to be coming ashore when it was raised, thought that it would make a nice souvenir.  

So, a second patrol was sent to the top with a larger flag, and AP photographer Joe Rosenthal, having heard about the first flag raising, hurried to the top of Suribachi.  On the way up, he was told that the flag had already been raised, but he continued to the summit to grab a shot of the flag flying.  Once on the summit, he found a group of Marines (and a Navy corpsman) attaching a larger flag to a length of pipe, and another group of Marines nearby ready to lower the smaller flag as the larger one was raised.

The photo that resulted, "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima," is one of the most famous images ever taken.  Shown here is a stamp of the photo issued shortly after, still in 1945 (the actual image is property of the AP, and I don't feel like contacting them to license it for use on the Billy Blog).

The Battle of Iwo Jima raged on for another month before the island was finally declared secure on March 26, with a total of 6822 Americans killed or missing, including 3 of the 6 who raised the flag in the photo.  The three survivors were brought home, and their fame (from the photograph) allowed them to raise $26.3 billion dollars on a bond tour for the war effort.  The picture was also used to sculpt the USMC War Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington, DC.  

Not bad for a photograph of the second flag raised on Iwo Jima!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blackjack Strategy

Another short one today (man, it feels good to be lazy!) -

If you like to gamble, odds are (heh heh heh) you'll want to win money rather than lose money.  While we all know that the house always has the edge (how do you think they paid for all those fancy casinos?), there are a few things one can do to get the odds as close as possible.  The first, and most important, step is to choose a game with a low house advantage.  This means you need to stay away from the slot machines and keno parlors, and belly up to the tables - the craps table, the baccarat table, or the blackjack table.  Craps is a little more involved than I want to discuss now (perhaps later), but if blackjack is played with proper strategy, one can bring the house edge down to somewhere around 0.2% - 0.7% (better odds with fewer decks).  A house edge of 0.5%, for example, means that, on average, for every dollar that a player bets, the house will keep 0.5 cents, and the player will win 99.5 cents.  Of course, if you were to actually bet a dollar, either you would lose and the house keep that dollar, or you would win and receive the payout.  Lowering the house edge helps you out in the long run. 

On to strategy - here is how you should play blackjack:
Always split Aces and 8's, always stand on 17, and otherwise consult the card.  Print it out and take it to the tables with you, if you'd like. 

Thinking about counting cards?  That can give you the edge, but it may be a little too involved for the average Joe.  Good luck; if you're not especially mathematically inclined, you can passively count cards - as more low cards (2's through 6's) have been played, the deck strengthens for the player - increase your bet size.  As more high cards (10's and Aces) have been played, the house gains more of an advantage - decrease your bet size.

And that's that, a quick tutorial on cutting down the house advantage in blackjack.  Of course, bet with your head, not over it, and don't let another player ruin your time.  I hate listening to so-called blackjack "experts" whine about how some blackjack rookie was hitting when he shouldn't, thus taking all the good cards and ruining the deck.  Newsflash: the cards are RANDOM, you don't know what's next any more than I do.  I'm making fun of you the whole time you are complaining!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's a holiday!

(President's Day, to be exact)

So I'm taking a holiday, too!  In my absence of effort, here is the Axis of Awesome to make you laugh:

Apparently it's just as easy to be a rock star as it is to be a (lazy) blogger!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Manowar - Gods of War

If you want some awesome tunes to kick back with or kick some butt with, I highly recommend the album Gods of War by Manowar:

I stumbled upon Manowar in Jack Black's video game Brutal Legend (it has a mostly metal soundtrack); their song The Dawn of Battle was featured and totally melted my face off.  A little bit of internets later, I came across this *awesome* concept album that crosses a rock opera with metal and Norse mythology.  It's not just metal thrashing all album long; there is definitely a symphonic metal influence, including a choir and symphonic orchestra.  The album opens with an overture and has a few very artistic interludes.  I'll be honest, though - sometimes the metal just dominates, and I mean DOMINATES (make sure your speakers are turned up to 11):

With the interactions between Loki, Odin, and Thor, as well as armies swearing allegiance and vowing to die in battle with a background of rock, if you are interested in mythology or metal, you really need to check it out!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who is the only American President elected to a six-year term?

I know this will be a kind of back-to-back dose of history here, but it’s also an interesting piece of trivia.  As I’m sure you are aware (or you should be; if not, shame on you!), the US Constitution calls for the President to be elected to a term of four years.  You might be thinking, “ok, this must be someone who was elected to two terms, but then died halfway through the second, or someone who took over for a deceased president, served the remaining two years of that term, and then was elected to his own term.  Who can it be?”  Well, you’re on the wrong track.  I didn’t say, “Which president served for six years,” I said, “Who is the only American President elected to a six-year term?” 


I’ll give you a hint:

He wasn’t a President of the United States of America.

“But wait!!!  Didn’t you say that he was an American President?!?!?”  I did!  Here’s the scoop:

Jefferson Davis was the first (and only) President of the Confederate States of America.  Much of the Constitution of the CSA was taken directly from the US Constitution, with a just few changes emphasizing the problems that the Confederate States had with the US government.  Of course, slavery and its preservation were directly addressed in the Confederate constitution, as were measures to protect states’ rights and strengthen the executive and legislative branches of the federal government against each other, enhancing the planned ineffectiveness of the federal government.  One of these changes was to extend the president’s term to six years, and limit any one individual to one term.  Jefferson Davis, being the only President of the Confederate States of America, is the only American President elected to a six-year term.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thomas Jefferson elected president on this day in history, Feb 17, 1801.

Now you may be saying to yourself, "Self, isn't the US Presidential election supposed to take place in November, four years after the last one?  Well, self, I thought so, so how can this be true?"  Both you and yourself are correct; Title 3, Section 1 of the US Code states that the presidential electors "shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President."  However, that wasn't codified in the US Code until 1948, which was 100 years after election law very similar was passed.  Prior to 1848, though, US law stated, "electors shall be appointed in each State for the election of a President and Vice-President of the United States, withint thirty-four days preceding the first Wednesday in December, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, and within thirty-four days preceding the first Wednesday in December in every fourth year succeeding the last election."  So, the presidential election of 1800 took place from April to October, with the deadline for selection of electors being October 31, 1800.  It seems almost comical by today's standards, because with the rate at which information travel, one state's election returns would surely affect other states' elections happening on a later date, but that's how it happened.

But wait!  Didn't I just say that Jefferson was elected President on Feb 17, 1801?  Isn't that after October 31???  Why yes it is; I'm glad you were paying attention!  You see, the presidential election happened before the 12th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified.  Presently, when you or I vote for the president, we choose between separate candidates for President and Vice President.  Prior to the 12th Amendment, all candidates were lumped together, and the #1 vote-getter became President, and the runner-up was the new Vice President.  The founding fathers thought of a lot of things, but they didn't consider how political parties would affect elections.  When Jefferson was elected, he and his running mate, Aaron Burr, both received the same amount of electoral votes - and therefore were tied, so the choice for President was thrown into the US House of Representatives.  A lot of Federalist representatives (the opposing party of Jefferson & Burr) considered Burr to be the lesser of two evils, and so the House of Representatives took 36 ballots to eventually decide on Jefferson.  And so, today marks the 210th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson's first election!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is it time to rein in the federal government?

To answer it shortly: yes it is.  Apparently a large majority of Americans agree with me as well.  The problem is, that majority feels that we should still spend money on the things that they like, while cutting back on the things they don't like.  The thing of it is, though, that one person doesn't necessarily feel the same way about the same programs as the next person does.  The end result is a large mass of people who want to cut the government's budget, but can't decide on what to get rid of.  And then we wind up with a bunch of politicians who promise to get spending under control, who vow to reduce the deficit (which is a moronic proposition in itself - they're not pledging to stop spending more than we're bringing in, they're just planning on not spending as much money that we don't have - we'll still be going deeper into the hole, just not as fast), and eliminate government waste, but still wind up spending more than ever.  Well, it's time to do something about this, because we're just following the Europeans down the path of fiscal irresponsibility.  It's not a quick and easy fix; there is a lot of hard thinking to do and a lot of difficult choices have to be made.  However, the Heritage Foundation (a conservative think tank) currently has a poll up asking what you think we could cut "without harm to our vital interests."  (visit for the full scoop)  The last choice, which would supposedly save $70M, is to require federal employees to fly coach on domestic flights.  I would think this to be a no-brainer, but I guess since the government is spending other people's money, they have no problem hitting up the upgrades.  Wouldn't it be funny, though, if this was an area where spending problems were addressed, and ALL federal employees had to fly coach (including the president???)?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where did the TV go?

So maybe this is a "you had to be there" story, but after making dinner, the wife and I wanted to sit around and watch TV while eating said dinner.  Problem was, when we turned on our cable (we have U-verse; this is the first real problem we've ever had), the TV was getting no signal from the box.  So, after mashing on the controller for 5 or 10 minutes, I finally gave up hope for the "super-easy" fix, and got up to manually reset the box (by unplugging it and plugging it back in - the "easy" fix).  When the box reloaded, all we got was this orange screen that screamed "U-verse" at us.  For 10 minutes.  This finally prompted a call to AT&T's tech support. . .which we found out 10 minutes later was apparently the wrong number to call; if you have problems with your U-verse TV, you need to call this other 800 number. . .  So, after 6 more minutes of listening to a recording tell us how important we are, we finally got to talk to a real live human being.  After a little back-and-forth on our problem, she says, "do you know where the wireless router is?  What lights are showing on it?"  I get up to go check the wireless router, and immediately see the problem - my wife unplugged it while cleaning the office.  Sorry, AT&T phone lady, we're morons and we'll just plug this back in and be on our merry way!!!  Unfortunately, that was 20 minutes ago, and we're still waiting for the main cable box to initialize, so we can watch our recorded programs.  We just can't watch *live* TV; we'd risk having to see commercials!  (DVR revolutionized our lives; we never have to sit through commercials anymore!)

Monday, February 14, 2011

And now there's Twitter too?

I can't believe it; I'm making leaps and bounds into the social networking scene!  Follow me on twitter:!/BillyMattWade

Yeah, I'm lame, I realize this!

back after so long

Man, it's been forever since I've been a blogging!  I have to admit, The Billy Blog is supposed to help me get better at blogging, but I NEED TO DO IT!!!  I apologize for the inconvenience of missing out on my thoughts, but I figure you'll probably be ok.  Just don't miss out on any more!!!