December 30, 2004

Another Welcome!

Dantravels has been sending me a rather large portion of hits, so it's only fair that I add him to my blogroll. Although I don't know Dan personally, I like reading his blog, and we must think alike because his last two posts were on toys and breasts. Please take a minute or two and check it out.

December 29, 2004

Ooooh....I Want That!!!

How many times did you say that growing up? Let me refresh your memory with this list of the top 100 toys of all time**. It's amazing how many of these I owned/played. (Battling Tops rocked!! And if either of my sisters is reading this...Where's my Electronic Detective??) This one's for Ken:

#94 - Smoking Monkey
Aside from the fact that it was seriously politically incorrect on many, many levels at once, the Smoking Monkey was the source of much confusion for British youngsters, who could neither understand nor appreciate why anyone would actually want a toy chimpanzee dragging on a pretend cigarette nor indeed what possible use or purpose it might serve.

Purpose? Purpose? It's a smoking monkey...Who needs a purpose?

** When I say "all time," I really mean "historic time," as nowhere on that list did I see those prehistoric favorites the rock, the stick, or the ever-popular "Knock Out Grog And Steal His Fire," the first and only board game to be played with a real board.

UN-grateful

I'm about to say something that's probably unpopular. That's all right--I'm ready to be called mean, unfeeling, etc. That comes with putting your opinions out there for all to see. Not everyone will agree with them.

In the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami, with the death rate continuing to rise (60,000+ last I checked), I'm pissed at the United Nations reaction. This was a terrible tragedy, without a doubt, but I can't tell you any more about it than what you'll see on the news. So I'm going to tell you something you may not have heard.

The U.S. offered aid to the region immediately after the incident. The response of U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland?

"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really."


The "we" technically refers to "rich nations," but it's clearly a thinly veiled jab at the U.S. Now, don't get me wrong...I think we ought to send as much aid as possible to those people. But let me also say that I'd like to bitch-slap any county that even slightly criticizes our efforts. I can't help but think of them as a bunch of ungrateful relatives who have spent the entire year doing nothing but telling us and each other how much they despise us and then complaining that we only got them a tie for Christmas. (That must be what it feels like to be an attorney--everyone hates you until they need you, at which point you become their best buddy.) And even if you give a pass to other countries...The U.N.????? Should I point out some of the obvious points?

This is the organization that facilitated the biggest scam in human history, the amount of which dwarfs our aid contribution. Just think what kind of help could be provided with those funds.

As I posted on before, the "stingy" U.S. provides the lion's share of the U.N. budget. This is because member countries pay "what they can afford." Apparently, the U.S. can afford more than all the other members of the security council combined.

I know what you're all thinking: What about the debt, the back dues that the U.S. owes to the U.N.? According to Cliff Kincaid, the debt doesn't exist. In fact, Kincaid claims, were the UN to repay all the "undocumented" aid America has provided over the years, they would likely go bankrupt. (Granted, the article is old, but it's not THAT old.)

Ultimately, we'll do everything that we can. We always do. We give more aid to the rest of the world than any other country on the planet, as well we should. But soon, this disaster will drift away in the world's memory, and there will be that lull before the next one, and once again we will be the imperialist U.S. molding the rest of the world to our desires. And people--some foreign, some domestic--will hate us. Maybe it's just the cynic in me poking through, but every time it happens, I become a little more of an isolationist.

December 28, 2004

Woo-Hoo!!

Still busy with the grading thing, but had to take a moment to celebrate reaching 5,000 hits.

Also, check out the Ten Least Succesful Holiday Specials of All Time from the good people at National Lampoon.

December 25, 2004

And To All A Good Night

Well, it's technically Christmas already, but since I haven't gone to bed, I'll pretend it's still the night before.

As I approach the end of the year, and 5,000 hits, I just wanted to say "thank you" to you all. Those of you who pestered me to start this thing, and those who linked to it, or stopped by once in a while for a laugh, even those who came by to disagree...you all make doing this worthwhile. And I feel very lucky and privileged to share this small part of me with such good people.

I hope that wherever you're going, and whatever you're doing tomorrow (today?), you are happy, safe, and content. But not too content, because you need to get your asses back here and get me past the five grand hits mark.

So until then Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah/Merry Kwanzaa/Happy Festivus (for the rest of us) and "God Bless!"/"L'Chaim!"/"As-Salaam-Alaikum!"/"Hey, Buddy!"

...And to all a good night.

December 23, 2004

He Told You So!

I caught this article from Yahoo! news, about Senator Dick Durbin's assault on Donald Rumsfeld:
The incoming deputy leader of Senate Democrats demanded answers Saturday from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as to why U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan lack protective equipment for themselves and their vehicles.

Nothing sickens me more than when politicians use tragedy to grab a few headlines. And that's exactly what Durbin is doing here. If he really wanted to know why, he should have read this incredibly insightful opinion piece by Bruce "Nostradamus" Bartlett, from way back in 1999:
As a consequence, defense officials are scrambling to pull together the resources needed to sustain our operations there. Unfortunately, they are bumping up against severe limits resulting from the drastic deterioration of U.S. military capability during the Clinton Administration. In just fiscal year 1998 alone the Defense Department lost the following assets.

Aircraft. The number of combat aircraft fell by 434 or 4.8 percent. Sixty-two airlift planes were also retired, and 857 other aircraft. In total, 1,353 planes were taken from service, reducing the number of aircraft available by 6.6 percent.

Ships. More than 10 percent of all submarines were decommissioned, reducing the total to 123 from 137 the year before. Ten support ships were lost and 684 small boats. Overall, U.S. ship strength was reduced by 16 percent.

Combat vehicles. The number of tanks were reduced by 827 or 7.6 percent. Other combat vehicles fell by 6,360 or 14.5 percent. Overall, available combat vehicles declined by 13.1 percent.

He finishes with this:
In short, Bill Clinton's emasculation of the Defense Department is going to sandbag his successor, regardless of who it is. We can only hope that that person has the political will to do what is necessary in the face of inevitable opposition.

You may be asking yourself how the Clinton administration managed to gut our nation's defense so much. Maybe this will help. It's a few selection's from Dick Durbin's voting record. (from LexisNexis(TM))

Aye HR 2461 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION FOR FY90-91
Terminate further production of the Stealth bomber.
(CR# 167; Tally: 144-279 Date: 07/26/89)

Nay HR 5006 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FY 1993
Pass H. R. 5006, Defense Authorization.
(CR# 172; Tally: 198-168 Date: 06/05/92)

Aye HR 5006 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FY 1993
Terminate the production of B-2 bombers.
(CR# 170; Tally: 162-212 Date: 06/05/92)

Aye HR 5006 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FY 1993
Reduce the authorization for SDI by $937.5 million.
(CR# 169; Tally: 161-211 Date: 06/05/92)

Aye HR 5006 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FY 1993
Ban domestic nuclear testing for one year.
(CR# 164; Tally: 237-167 Date: 06/04/92)

Nay HR 1530 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FY 1996
Pass H.R. 1530, authorizing appropriations for DoD military
activities for 1996.
(CR# 385; Tally: 300-126 Date: 06/15/95)

Nay HR 7 NATIONAL SECURITY REVITILIZATION ACT
Pass H.R. 7, to revitalize the national security of the United
States.
(CR# 145; Tally: 241-181 Date: 02/16/95)

Thanks a lot, Dick.

And So Did He!

Bartlett's not the only one who saw it coming. Decorated vet Col. David Hackworth sent an open letter to President Clinton in 1998:

Hackworth raises a series of excellent questions that should be addressed not only to Clinton but to every member of Congress:

Why are there more colonels than machine gunners in the U.S. Army?

Why are there 150,000 military personnel hunkered down around Washington, DC, when infantry platoons, who close with the enemy, are uniformly 30 to 40 percent under strength?

Why does NATO have 44 U.S. Army generals in Europe when we have but four fighting brigades there? This is roughly one general per rifle/tank company.

Why do the top generals and admirals in NATO have plush villas and fat staffs which require millions of dollars per year to support, while many of our warriors live in tin trailers and can't make it without food stamps?

"Sure we have 1.4 million military personnel on the books," continues Hackworth, "but we have only 29,000 trigger pullers -- the indispensable riflemen who put holes in enemy soldiers. Your politically correct civilian defense chiefs have eviscerated our force with their constant politicking, treating the profession of arms as though it were an 8 to 5 operation like the Post Office, rather than one whose life-and-death mission is to defend America."

December 22, 2004

Was That One Lump Of Talking Spiders, Or Two?

Now...if you could combine this religion with this (previously mentioned) one...well, now you got yourself something.

Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, My Ass

I know Christmas is supposed to be a time of cheer and good will and all that, but for me it's a time of final exams, papers, and projects--all of which I have to grade. So bear with me; the pickins is gonna be slim for a while. In the meantime, have a look at the top 10 hoaxes for 2004.

December 13, 2004

Some Tech Support

I've been back and forth with blogger's tech support for some months now. The Problem? When you set your template to allow you to edit a post while signed in, you should see a little pencil at the end of each post. I couldn't see any pencil. Seeing as they're free, I can't complain about blogger too much, but their "help" consisted of several different ways of saying: "Well, we can see it so it must be something wrong at your end." I wasn't trying to blame anyone; I was merely looking for help. You know, getting it to work again? I had already guessed the problem was here somewhere, but it would have been nice if they had given me a few suggestions.

Anyway, I finally solved the problem. It was the settings on my Norton Internet Security. If any of you are having the same problem, or if you know someone who is, here's what you can try:

Open NIS and go to 'options.' Click on the 'web content' tab and add www.blogger.com to the list of sites. I also added the address for my specific blog, but I don't know if you have to or not. Once the site is added, you can adjust the individual settings for that site using the other tabs. The one that seemed to make the difference for me was permitting the 'information about visited sites,' although I don't know why exactly. But experiment with those and you might have some success.

Blasphemy!!

I was watching Ebert & Roeper this evening, as I do every Sunday. Most of the time, I find myself siding with Richard Roeper, as I think Roger Ebert has begun to let his personal views (politics) creep into his reviews. Tonight, though, he went too far. They were reviewing Beyond the Sea, and Ebert had this to say:

I think Kevin Spacey sings better than Bobby Darin.

Now, it's one thing to say that Spacey "sings like Darin," or that Spacey does a good job with the singing. It's another thing entirely to say that Spacey sings better than Darin. I've seen clips from the film, which include sections from a few of the musical numbers. I will agree that Spacey does a good job with the singing. I'll also add that those who are saying that Spacey sounds "just like" Darin probably don't know much about the music from that period. Yes, all crooners sound alike to a certain degree--often many different artists will do the same song. That's why they call the songs "standards." But it just amazes me that people will confuse Sinatra with Darin with Bennett with Harry Connick, Jr. I imagine it would be like watching a George Lucas film with Mr. Ebert and telling him that it's just like a Ridley Scott film because they both have done films about outer space and aliens. He'd laugh himself silly.

Anyway, play me a recording of the Rat Pack singing a song together, and I can tell you which lines of the song are Sinatra, which are Martin, which are Sammy, etc. Hell, I can even imitate most of them. If you run into me sometime, ask me to do Elvis singing Sinatra and Sinatra doing Elvis. (Speaking of which, Darin did a mean impression of Elvis. Find yourself a copy of "Who Takes Care of the Caretaker's Daughter" on Two of a Kind and you'll see what I mean.)

This idea that Spacey is "better," though. Yes, it's all a matter of taste, I suppose. To me, however, it's like saying that an Elvis impersonator is better than the King himself, or that Diet Dr. Pepper is better than Dr. Pepper. You see, the success of an imitation lies in the extent to which it can remind us of the original. But you must have the original as context. For example, there would be no Elvis impersonators without Elvis, no Diet Coke without Coke. In that case, it's near impossible for an imitation to be "better" than the original. Sorry, Kevin.

I realize that this is my issue, and probably means nothing to most of you. In that case, get your own blog and write about what you want to. I look forward to reading it. And I'm not against the film. Honestly, I'm glad the film's being made, and I'll be sure to see it. If, after seeing it in total, I think differently, you'll see it here. But when I see clips, I don't see Darin; I see Spacey playing Darin. And that's all right. Yeah, the lines are cool, but it's Spacey-cool, not Darin-cool. Spacey's trying too hard--it seems forced. Darin's cool, that laid-back coziness with the world, was so much a part of him, inextricable, seemingly effortless, and very tough to capture. But still, that's okay. Spacey is an actor after all. It's his job to do the best he can to capture the character. And he can sing, no doubt about it. He's even going on tour, a kind of tribute, I guess.

I just don't want people to focus so much on the imitation that they forget about the real thing.

December 12, 2004

Christmas Recycling

I sent this out in an emai to a chosen few last year, but now that I have this new, improved forum, I thought I'd share it again.

The Dead Serious Top Ten Holiday Activities

10. Contact plumber’s union about the possibility of staging a wondrous holiday musical/ballet. Title: The Buttcracker!

9. Making fruitcake for family and friends. It’s the one time a year I get to flour my nuts.

8. Making sure all the neighborhood kids know that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings…and every time a car horn honks, a puppy is killed.

7. Recycling things around the house to create thoughtful, homemade gifts. Dried-gum lint roller keeps clothes lint-free AND minty-fresh.

6. Well, let’s just say that this Christmas, when I say “ho ho ho,”...I’ll be taking a head count.

5. Set out on a holy Christmas pilgrimage to find the land of the heat and cold misers.

4. I like to live on the edge: I’m makin’ a list, but I’m only gonna check it once.

3. Find some cantankerous old rich guy, and take him on a magical trip to view the Christmases of his past, present, and future. Then, when he’s pleading in front of his tombstone, take his wallet. It’s a cautionary tale—you gotta keep an eye on that sucker.

2. Stage a nativity scene with monkeys dressed like bellboys. When local church groups complain, tell them it’s a “Darwin Christmas.” Then throw monkey poop at them and run.

1. I really wanted to do something funny and clever for number one, but the truth is, I’ll probably just get liquored up and kick the shit out of an elf.

December 08, 2004

Square?? Square??

Do the two squares cancel each other out?

I got this link from Petitedov, who got it from Karol.

DDashing
EEntertaining
AAwkward
DDevious

SSquare
EEdgy
RRare
IInfluential
OOutrageous
UUseful
SSquare

Name / Username:


Name Acronym Generator
From Go-Quiz.com

It's True

I tried to downplay it, but since Ken let the cat out of the bag (really, someone ought to take that bag away from him), I'll acknowledge it--I'm another year older. Unfortunately, I have to teach all day long. But at least I'll get to spend this special day doing what I love...looking at young co-eds. (What? You thought I was gonna say teaching? C'mon, you should all know me by now.)

December 06, 2004

Friendly Fire

Here's a fairly candid and in-depth account of Pat Tillman's final hours. Just heartbreaking. I can't even bring myself to quote from it.

Think Again!

So, you've been keeping up on your science? Well, now that you've read about how soft drinks are harmful to your children, or how obesity kills 400,000 people a year, or how global warming has nearly made the polar bear extinct...you should read this article, which lists the top ten most embarrassing moments in health and environmental science for 2004.
The list spotlights individuals and organizations that -- through exaggerated claims, bad judgment, and/or hidden agendas -- have most egregiously undermined public confidence in the scientific community’s capacity to conduct sound and unbiased research.

JunkScience.com has exposed and debunked flawed research and unfounded scientific claims since 1996.

Re: The polar bear "extinction":
A Canadian Press Newswire story earlier this year reported that, in three Arctic villages, polar bears "are so abundant there's a public safety issue." Local polar bears reportedly increased from about 2,100 in 1997 to as many as 2,600 in 2004. Inuits wanted to kill more bears, which are "fearsome predators."

An aerial survey of Alaskan polar bears published in Arctic (December 2003) reported a greater polar bear density than previous survey estimates dating to 1987.

If polar bears are getting skinnier as the 1999 study suggested, it may be due to greater numbers subsisting on the same level of available food. After all, harvesting Alaskan polar bears has been limited by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and international agreements since 1972.

This might become one of my new favorite sites.

Please, Mr. Postman!

I finally added an email address to my profile so those of you who wish to comment, but don't want to do it publically, can do so. You can find it under my profile, but if you just can't wait, here it is:

dserious@gmail.com

So, now, I hope to hear from you quiet readers out there--you have no more excuses. And to all: I'm never above getting emails that point out how wonderful I am.

December 03, 2004

Quote Of The Day

Apparently, there's a sexual theme going tonight, but the quote made me laugh, so I had to include it.

Colin Farrell, when asked if it was true that his full-frontal nude scene from A Home at the End of the World was cut because audiences found "little Colin" a little too distracting:

I don't know. I see my cock every day and I'm not distracted. But, hey, who knows?

What might be even better is the bit with Angelina Jolie later on in the article.

He was always wearing those djellaba [togas]. Where there would normally be a pocket in pants was a pocket in the djellaba. And he would go up to people, including me, and say, 'Will you help me get this out of my pocket?' And staring up at me was his penis. I got him good, though, once. I pulled and pulled, and I stretched it so much it almost was pulled off. [bold mine]

Yeah. You got him good. I'm sure he'll never do that again. Oh, and he mentioned something about not throwing him in the briar patch.

Let's Go To The Videotape!

I was just watching Sharon Reed on Letterman. Who is Sharon Reed, you ask? Well, she's the Cleveland television news reporter who stripped down to her personality to cover Spencer Tunick's latest project: photographing thousands of nude people lounging in the Cleveland streets. I originally picked up Ms. Reed's story on my radar a couple of days ago (my radar is very closely attuned to the words "naked" and "women") but decided not to write on it. "Why not, DS?" some of you may be asking. "We know if there's something you love to get behind, it's naked women." To those people, I respond: quit writing your own jokes.

While it's true that I believe a lot of the world's ills would be corrected by including more naked people on television (Are you reading this, makers of Desperate Housewives?), the reason I haven't mentioned Ms. Reed before this is simple: I'm not that impressed. Oh sure, you can say how brave it was for this reporter to strip down and mix with the subjects of her story, but I want to make a few things clear.

First of all, Sharon Reed has the face and body of a Playboy playmate. Here's a link to some of the pics from her story. (warning: semi-nudity) And after seeing her on Letterman, I can say the pics don't do her justice--the woman is sexy as hell. So, no...I'm not impressed that she got naked. If I looked like that...Well, I'd have to start using the other restroom, but also, I'd spend a good portion of my day naked. You want me to be impressed? Let's see a reporter who DOESN'T resemble a Goddess take the assignment. That'll impress me. Barbara Walters. I'll be impressed as hell. Pre-stomach-op Al Roker. I'd give him an award. In both cases, I'd probably get a little ill, and possibly lose the ability to be aroused for several weeks, but I'd be damn impressed.

That said, congratulations to Ms. Reed for the positive reaction she has received from viewers. And for those of her fellow reporters who have sniffed and sniggered and chastised...Hey...Pal...She's hot and she wants to get naked. Shut the hell up already, and make yourself useful...Hold her clothes or something.

December 02, 2004

For Old Time's Sake

Now that Ridge is stepping down from Homeland Security, that gives me a chance to revive one of my favorite posts of all time.

Go here.

November 30, 2004

I Don't Remember Books Like These In School

I know it's wrong, but God help me, I can't stop laughing!

Two of my favorites:







The rest are here.

Someone may have sent these to me already. And by someone, I mean Wheaton. If so, sorry Ken, but hey--they're still funny!

November 29, 2004

I May Be Walking The Plank Soon

Cap'n William Teach over at Pirate's Cove and I have been having a slight disagreement over this article. Now, forgetting this particular issue, I suspect that Cap'n Teach and I think alike, and I'm always looking to add another link to my blogroll. So head on over and weigh in on the issue, tell me I'm completely wrong, whatever. Just make sure you hang around and read some of his other posts.

November 28, 2004

Just When You Think There Are No Good Gifts Left...

Target comes through.

Anyone for a candy-cane and peanut butter sandwich?


(I'm sure this will get taken down soon, though.)

Just So There Are No More Disputes...

Here are the rules for calling "Shotgun!" My favorite:

Amendment XV: Ozzie Pissbolt
If the driver gets confused or annoyed with chaotic rules arguments, he may shout "Ozzie Pissbolt," suggesting that the first person to touch the car is awarded shotgun.

Home Video (Sort Of)

Over at fallujah.us, you can watch some raw footage of the U.S. soldiers campaign in Fallujah. This is not the stuff you see on the news.

November 27, 2004

Put Up Or Shut Up

I know I haven't been that political recently, and I apologize. It's a fairly hectic time for me, and I haven't been able to write as much as I'd like. However, I can't stress enough how good of a job people like antimedia have done in keeping me informed on the current goings-on.

One of his posts in particular has caught my attention. He links to My Soldier, an organization that allows individuals and groups to adopt a soldier. It's easy, and free, and I urge you to sign up. And when someone you know on the right gives thanks or offers a toast to our men and women in uniform, say "I'm glad you feel that way," and ask them to sign up for My Soldier. When someone you know on the left insists that although they are against the war, they support the troops, say "I know a non-political way you can do that," and ask them to sign up for My Soldier.

When a person enrolls in the My Soldier program, they agree to adopt a soldier. They receive a “starter kit” containing guidelines for letter writing and care package preparation, a red My Soldier bracelet, and a specially designed My Soldier baseball hat to include with the first letter they send to their deployed United States Armed Serviceperson. The first letter/care package they send is addressed to their soldier's platoon contact who then distributes it to their soldier. The soldier then replies and direct correspondence begins (about 80% of soldiers respond, but 100% appreciate getting the letters).

There's no good reason not to do it.

November 26, 2004

One Thing To Be Thankful For

I'm thankful that I'm not playing against Peyton Manning in any of my Fantasy Football leagues. My God, that boy's a freak of nature. He threw 6 touchdown passes today. Six. And I should point out, he only completed 23 passes, so essentially one out of every four passes was a TD.

Now, the single-season TD pass record is 48, held by Dan Marino. (I'm working from pure memory here. Normally, I'd look it up, but I'm tired. So, please correct me if I'm mistaken.) Manning is a virtual shoe-in for this year's MVP, and unless something really odd or unfortunate happens, Manning will shatter Marino's record. He already has 41, and if he can keep up that pace, he'll end up in the high 50s.

I'm sorry, I just have to say this one more time before I sign off:

One out of every four passes was a TD.

I can't even do that on Xbox. On the easy level.

November 24, 2004

Shut The Hell Up!

Okay, I've heard representatives from the NBA invoke the war in Iraq as some kind of excuse for the players' behavior, and I've heard it more than once. What a fucking crock. Take your head out of your ass and acknowledge the problem.

Speaking as a sports fan, I fully acknowledge that with the possible exception of Pat Tillman, most sports figures are greedy bastards. And I'm fine with that. Hey, as long as we are willing to pay ridiculous prices for tickets, memorabilia, cable packages, etc., get all you can. But the NBA players in particular have been busy cementing their carefully cultivated image as overpaid crybabies with this idea that somehow the punishment for the other evening's brawl is too much. Why is this story even news?? I'm almost ashamed to be writing about it.

Here's the thing: you make a lot of money for doing something that most people think of as 'fun.' People look up to you. Children model themselves after you. For right or wrong, sports figures like yourselves provide an (unrealistic) expectation for many of our nation's youth--"I don't need an education or training; I'm gonna play pro ball." If after all that...after all that money and glory and fame, you can't control yourself and set an example? Then I say "fuck you." I hope the next guy in the stands picks up a chair and ends your career.

And you're lucky I'm not in charge of disciplinary action because here's my view. I don't care who started it, I don't care who said what to whom, if you swing on a spectator, if you go into the crowd, your career in professional sports is over. Done. Hope you managed to keep from spending at least some of that bonus on drugs and whores.

Who knows? Maybe I'm just bitter. I mean, I love sports, I do. They're our "bread and circuses," no? I mean, let's face it--it's hard to remember how sucky your own life is when your team is facing a third and goal with 10 seconds left and a four point deficit. But I do think that what I do, and what my colleagues do, is more important. We also face pressure and thanklessness from bosses, parents, and students. And yet, I don't know that any of us have ever felt it necessary to throw down with a grade-obsessed father. But hell, we don't get paid as much either. Come to think of it, no one has ever asked me to nationally televise one of my three-hour classes. Nor has Budweiser agreed to provide computers or other learning equipment for a thirty-second advertisement spot midway through the class.

Playing professional sports in the U.S. is a pretty nice way to earn a living, and comes with a lot of privilege, but also a lot of responsibility. Guys like Ron Artest, and those who would mimic his behavior need to be reminded of that.

November 20, 2004

Vroom! Vroom!

Hey...finally got me a real car to get through the winters instead of that wind-up I had been driving. She got a clean bill of health from the mechanic and the loan went through, so come Monday, I'll be driving a nice little Jeep Grand Cherokee. I think I may have to name her Jane Seymour because even though she's a little older than what I was looking for and has a few miles on her, she's still absolutely beautiful. (Ms. Seymour, should you stumble across this, feel free to be flattered or repulsed as you will. Oh, and you're welcome or I'm sorry.)

It's Here! It's Finally Here!

Well, it's officially Ken's birthday. If you found my blog through his, you already know this, I'm sure. He has a few posts up about the event in a bit of self-promotion the likes of which I would never participate in (December 8th). After reading Ken's post criticizing gift-giving, I was tempted to "out" him in the comments by pointing out that we exchange gifts yearly. And then I realized that in a way, he was right. While we do exchange gifts, we do it in a very manly, unassuming way. First of all, we're almost never on time. This way...Could be a birthday gift, could be a Christmas gift, could be payoff on a gambling debt...Who knows? Secondly, the gifts are always the same. I send Ken an Amazon.com package of all the books I would have read if I hadn't given up reading for my porn habit. He sends me a package of dry ice. Did I mention the dry ice was surrounded by lots of Cajun goodies, which I then eat nonstop until I get sick? Really, it's a very nice setup.

I think he gets it right when he talks about the gender difference, though. If you'll forgive the upcoming language and chauvinism, I'd like to compare gift-giving with post-date discussion. Specifically, the differences in the way each gender deals with them. As Ken pointed out, gift-giving takes on some kind of mythic Jungian significance for women. It's either a token of emotion, or an act of competition. If Lord of the Flies was written with a cast of young women, the rescue team would very likely have arrived to find a tight-lipped girl weaving sheet sets from palm fronds, muttering "give me a kiln-fired dish set with gold edging mined from the Forbidden Mountain, will she?" Men aren't like that. We don't want to make a big deal of things, lest other guys see any emotion in us. (Unless we're watching Brian's Song, or our team loses the Super Bowl...We're not monsters, for God's sake***.) We also don't extend the gift-giving niceties. There's no follow up. Well, practically none. I only have to confirm that Ken didn't already have any of the books I sent. He only has to confirm that I didn't choke on a piece of snout. Again, it's very much like the sharing of date information:

Two Girls After a Date
Girl 1: How was it?
Girl 2: Oh my God...It was perfect! He was wearing this nice...[what follows is a word by word replay of each and every moment of the entire evening, including who was wearing what, where you went, who ate what, and what songs were playing in the car AND what each of those things meant]...and it only lasted for three and a half-minutes, but he fell asleep in my arms!

Two Guys After a Date
Guy 1: Did you screw her?
Guy 2: Yeah.
Guy 1: Nice.

(Of course, I myself would never participate in such a misogynistic exchange. These Cro-Magnons are merely representative of the less-sensitive men I have encountered in my life as far as you know.)

Anyway, if you haven't done so already, go on over and wish Ken a happy birthday. He deserves it. And Ken, if you're reading this--and you better be--Have a great birthday, and maybe I'll try something different this year. You're just lucky you didn't publish your birthday night plans a little earlier, or you'd be getting a very public strip-o-gram. A very public male strip-o-gram.

Before I forget...Go on over to The Subway Chronicles and read some good writing. The host is looking to break 20,000 hits for the month, so let's help her out. Oh, and Ken has a piece up there...But don't let that stop you.

*** Ladies, you might be wondering about groin injuries. There's really little emotion there. As any man will tell you, these are the inevitable steps one will take immediately after a buddy takes a punch, foot, elbow, ball, dog bite, parking meter, etc., in the goods.
1) A sharp intake of breath.
2) A sympathetic "Owwwwww."
3) Three hours of giggling and trying to re-enact just what his face looked like at the moment of impact. ("Then your eyes went in different directions, and you made this noise like, 'Yurk!'")

November 17, 2004

Oh, The Shame!

My party's candidate, Michael Badnarik and Green party member David Cobb have raised enough money to get a full recount in the sate of Ohio.
Badnarik and Cobb said they aren't trying to overturn President Bush's 136,000-vote victory in Ohio, but just want to ensure that all votes were counted properly in the face of concerns about Election Day irregularities.

"Our bottom line is to stand up for the integrity of the voting process because the voting process is the heart of the democratic process," said Blair Bobier, spokesman for Cobb.

Bobier said it will be worth the price to ensure the final outcome can be trusted.

Okay, first of all...Bullshit. This recount benefits neither man, unless somehow 150,000 votes thought to be cast for one of the two major candidates were actually cast for Badnarik or Cobb. I suspect that their reason for doing this is the very one they deny: They want to overturn Bush's victory in Ohio.

Secondly, I'm all for the "integrity of the voting process." Show me a perfect, fraud-free method of voting and I'll sign right up. Heck, everybody wants that. But what I don't want, and what the country doesn't need is weeks or months of recounts, and legal maneuvering. Even the recounts aren't free from influence. Take Florida in 2000. Much of the "recount" consisted of people looking at a ballot and trying to figure out who the voter was trying to vote for. That's impartial? I'll bet you that recounters who supported Bush found more Bush votes than those recounters who supported Gore. They weren't cheating; that's just human nature: "Everybody thinks like I do." Anyway, to get back to my point, suppose this re-count goes against Bush. Do we then allow him pay the fee and get a recount of the recount? At some point it has to end. Do we allow recounts on other closely contested states? Please...Bush won the popular vote, the electoral vote, the Republicans won seats in the legislature...The people have spoken. It's over; let it go.

There are many people out there who will tell you they believe in Democracy. But they don't. They only believe in it when the outcome goes their way. If you see someone protesting the re-election of President Bush, that person does not believe in Democracy. Free speech, maybe, but not Democracy. You see, believing in Democracy means understanding that things aren't always going to go your way, and accepting them when they don't. As much as I dislike John Kerry, I will give him credit for this: he conceded. I honestly thought he would be worse than Gore, dragging the election out for months. But he did the right thing. Good for him.

Anyway, I'm ashamed that my party's leader is the one leading this course of action, and I'm ashamed that he can't be honest about his motives.

November 16, 2004

Finally! A Religion I Can Get Behind...Or Between.

Religions come and go, but this one's the breast effort I've seen in a while. I especially like their chant. Tits chest so...I mean it's just so inspiring, you know?

I wonder what they do instead of making the sign of the cross?

The 21 Billion Dollar Question

Does anybody really need to be told this? I only mention it since the new amount is more than twice what was reported earlier.
Saddam Hussein's regime reaped over $21 billion from kickbacks and smuggling before and during the now-defunct U.N. oil-for-food program, twice as much as previous estimates, according to a U.S. Senate probe on Monday.

"How was the world so blind to this massive amount of influence-peddling?" asked Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, head of the investigations subcommittee.

How, indeed? Well, first of all, the world wasn't blind. At least not all of it. While debating the issues in the pre-invasion arena, more than a few writers brought up the idea that "gee...Isn't it strange that the same countries who refuse to participate in the coalition, and are doing their best to stop the U.S. are the very same countries that hold the most in Iraqi oil contracts?" (Did you really think that the French, Russians, and Germans actually had moral reasons for not invading Iraq? Really? Even the Germans? Because I'm pretty sure that invading is their national pastime.) And it isn't too much of a jump from that bit of influence-peddling to the filthy swamp of it that we now know went on in the U.N. There have to be some of you out there who remember that there were reasons for removing Saddam Hussein beyond the WMD issue, despite what the mainstream media wants you to think.

No, the question is not "How was the world so blind to this massive amount of influence-peddling," but rather "Now that we know, what is going to be done?" I just don't see how the U.N. is going to survive this. I mean, realistically, I know that the world will just turn the other way, a few will have to be sacrificed, and business will go on. But I just can't understand it. The U.N. has not only participated in fraud on a global scale, it has--in my humble opinion--been acting in concert with a dictator's attempt to deny his people the basics of food and medicine. Please...read that last sentence again, just so it sinks in. I'll wait. Now, you might say "well, they probably didn't know it was happening," but that's only because nobody wanted to look. They were too busy pointing out how the evil, greedy Americans wanted Iraq all for themselves. Which, of course, is now why our gas is cheaper...Oh, it's not? Well, that's why we pillaged all their ancient treasures and kept them for ourselves...Oh, we didn't? Huh..Go figure.

This sickens me. The U.N. needs to go. Now.

The Power Of Three

My first thought, upon reading this was "You've got to be kidding."
With not much original reporting, I discovered that the latest big fine by the FCC against a TV network -- a record $1.2 million against Fox for its "sexually suggestive" Married by America -- was brought about by a mere three people who actually composed letters of complaint. Yes, just three people.

Now, I'm just disgusted...and more than a little scared.

November 15, 2004

Mystery Solved?

Has the lost city of Atlantis finally been found? The truth is never quite as exciting as the mystery, I guess. I don't know...I figured that if this was the real Atlantis, I'd hear Ted Knight in voice-over: "Using his telepathic powers, Aquaman summons a school of moray eels."

(Unless you watched Saturday morning cartoons in the '70s, you have no idea what that last bit was about. No matter.)

November 13, 2004

Maybe Dr. Feelgood Ought To Mind His Own Damn Business

Here's yet another reason that I think we need to tone down our scientific advances.
While Meloy, an anesthesiologist and pain specialist in Winston-Salem, was putting an electrode into the spine of a female patient with chronic back pain, the woman reported a decrease in her pain and a delightful, but very unexpected, side effect.

And before you make the same wrong guess that I did, no...it wasn't an increased desire for scantily-clad tickle fights with her attractive, adventurous ex-cheerleader girlfriend with you as referee.
"When we turned on the power in this case, she let out a moan and began hyperventilating," Meloy said on ABC News' Good Morning America. "Of course we cut the power and I looked around the drapes and asked her what was going on. Once she caught her breath, she said 'you're gonna have to teach my husband how to do that!'"

I guess the downside is that there is now one less reason for a woman to want to sleep with me. But for those of you who are already involved, this could have an upside. Just get your special lady one of these implants, say, for a birthday or anniversary. And hook it up to a remote control. (You must keep this remote on your person at all times. Remember those lab animals that kept hitting the stimulus button until they died? Well, when you come home to find your loved one dead with the remote in her hand and a shit-eating grin on her face, you'll wish you did.) Anyway, once you have the remote control, you can end almost any disagreement with a simple push of a button.

"What do you mean you had lunch with your ex?! Oh, and I suppose it was just two old friends, right?! If you think I'm just going to stand idly by why you and that who...ooh...ooh...Sweet monkey JEEZUS!"

"You were saying, dear?"

"Can't...talk..."


This doctor ought to either be beaten severely, or given a Nobel prize. I can't decide which.

November 12, 2004

R.I.P.** Yasser

Well, looks like somebody in the press got it right.
YASSER ARAFAT died at age 75, lying in bed surrounded by familiar faces. He left this world peacefully, unlike the thousands of victims he sent to early graves. In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

** Rot In Pieces, you evil bastard.

November 10, 2004

Not Quite The Best Headline Ever

But it's funny nonetheless.

Trojans Come From Behind Against Beavers

The writer didn't even need to use the untapped potential of players Reggie Bush and Marcel Love.

November 09, 2004

Can't Think Of A Good Headline

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't read this article by Dennis Prager. I can't say I agree with everything he says, but I recommend it just the same.

November 08, 2004

Oh, What Now?

I just have to ask...Is there anything the election results aren't to blame for?

From the New York Times:
Paramount's "Alfie," a remake of a romantic comedy about a roguish womanizer starring Jude Law, opened to a dismal $6.5 million in more than 2,000 theaters, far below expectations. The tepid response was the latest blow to Sherry Lansing, the chairwoman of Paramount who last week announced her plans to leave the job when her contract expires in 2005, and whose movies have performed poorly this summer and fall.

Wayne Llewellyn, the president of distribution at Paramount, said that the conservative ethos reflected in last week's election results might have hurt the film.

"It could be the mood of the country right now," he said. "It seems to be the result of the election. Maybe they didn't want to see a guy that slept around."


Just a thought, but maybe people would go see your movies if you'd quit making mediocre remakes of mediocre films, you dumb shits! Write something original, for God's sake! Quit trying to mine the archives and start talking to the thousands of writers that are out there. I'm sure there's at least one out there that has an original, marketable idea. And if you can't find one, come see me--I've got a couple I've been saving.

At The Risk Of Jinxing Them...

Can I just congratulate my favorite NFL team? I was prepared for a season of disappointment and sorrow. Nearly every preseason magazine I read placed the Steelers at the bottom of their division, saying things like "rebuilding year," and "lucky to have a winning season." Hell, they don't even have any Monday Night Football appearances this year--that's how bad they were supposed to be. But after the last two weeks, I'm gonna go ahead and say it--they look to me to be the best team in the league right now.

I'm cringing even as I write this because of the Jinx factor, but I feel pretty comfortable with the argument. Two weeks ago, I watched the Steelers end the Patriot's winning streak which extended back to last season. And they didn't just beat them, they crushed them. The Steelers' defense, missing a few key players, shut down one of the most potent and versatile offenses in the NFL, keeping them to 5 rushing yards. (To be fair, Corey Dillon was not playing, but a) Faulk isn't terrible, and b) Five yards???) They did the same thing this week to the Eagles, keeping them to 23 rushing yards, and keeping Terrell Owens to only 53 receiving yards. Big deal, right? The Steelers have always had a decent defense. But wait! Now they also have an offense! As I watched them move almost effortlessly down the field against two of the top defenses in the NFL, I kept thinking of that scene in Happy Gilmore, when bad guy Shooter McGavin suddenly realizes that Adam Sandler has added a decent putting game to his slapshot-style power-drive. "Uh oh...looks like Happy learned how to putt."

There's no denying they've got a killer offense, though. Let me just frame this for you: They beat the only two unbeaten teams in the NFL back to back. Outrushed them 466 yards to 28. Outscored them by 61 to 23. Did I mention they did this with a rookie QB? Yep, Ben "Ruthless"berger (I swear I'm gonna get that to catch on.) took over for an injured Tommy Maddox. The thing is, if you watch Roethlisberger, he doesn't look like a rookie. He doesn't rattle. He doesn't seem to make "rookie" mistakes. He seems aware of the pocket and while he's no Vick, he runs fairly well. And like most rookies, I would expect that he will get even better as he learns more.

So I expect to see them in the playoffs, and I hope to see them in the Super Bowl. But just in case the Jinx spirits are listening...I never said that.

Portman Update!

It appears that my earlier information about Closer was slightly off...maybe. Now the Internet Movie Database is reporting that Natalie's topless scenes will remain in the film. Only the full-frontal scenes will be removed.

November 06, 2004

Yeah, But They're Not France, Germany, Or Russia!

Looks like at least one part of the world is happy with the results of our most recent election.
Millions of Iranians expressed their satisfaction on the outcome of the US Presidential elections and George W. Bush's victory by calling and congratulating each other. Many were seen walking in the streets and shaking each others hands or showing a discret [sic] V sign.

I apologize, though, because I was zipping around late at night, and I bookmarked this link to blog about, but I forgot to mark down where I first saw it. Sorry.

Huh? What Them Say Bout Me?

I noticed that in lieu of whining about "stolen" elections (although there has been some of that), the new sport for this election's Democrats seems to be making themselves feel better by categorizing everyone who voted for George Bush as stupid, or uneducated, or ignorant. Take your choice.

Here's one reprinted from the New York Times, from a website that purports to bring you 'the truth.'
Dr. Joseph, a bearded, broad-shouldered man with silken gray hair, was sharing coffee and cigarettes with his fellow dog walker, Roberta Kimmel Cohn, at an outdoor table outside the hole-in-the-wall Breadsoul Cafe near Lincoln Center. The site was almost a cliché corner of cosmopolitan Manhattan, with a newsstand next door selling French and Italian newspapers and, a bit farther down, the Lincoln Plaza theater showing foreign movies.

"I'm saddened by what I feel is the obtuseness and shortsightedness of a good part of the country - the heartland," Dr. Joseph said. "This kind of redneck, shoot-from-the-hip mentality and a very concrete interpretation of religion is prevalent in Bush country - in the heartland."

"New Yorkers are more sophisticated and at a level of consciousness where we realize we have to think of globalization, of one mankind, that what's going to injure masses of people is not good for us," he said.

His friend, Ms. Cohn, a native of Wisconsin who deals in art, contended that New Yorkers were not as fooled by Mr. Bush's statements as other Americans might be. "New Yorkers are savvy," she said. "We have street smarts. Whereas people in the Midwest are more influenced by what their friends say."

"They're very 1950's," she said of Midwesterners. "When I go back there, I feel I'm in a time warp."

Wow. Read that one any way you want--it still smacks of elitism. This next one, were it about any other group, say one divided along racial lines, would likely have produced charges of hate speech and ended Jane Smiley's career, such as it is. (I read A Thousand Acres, dear. It's King Lear on a farm. Congratulations.) It's such a fanatical piece of writing, that I wonder if it's not meant to be taken seriously, like Swift's A Modest Proposal. But it is published in Slate, which I guess would be analogous to Swift's piece being published in a cookbook. Here's an excerpt:
The reason the Democrats have lost five of the last seven presidential elections is simple: A generation ago, the big capitalists, who have no morals, as we know, decided to make use of the religious right in their class war against the middle class and against the regulations that were protecting those whom they considered to be their rightful prey—workers and consumers. The architects of this strategy knew perfectly well that they were exploiting, among other unsavory qualities, a long American habit of virulent racism, but they did it anyway, and we see the outcome now—Cheney is the capitalist arm and Bush is the religious arm. They know no boundaries or rules. They are predatory and resentful, amoral, avaricious, and arrogant. Lots of Americans like and admire them because lots of Americans, even those who don't share those same qualities, don't know which end is up. Can the Democrats appeal to such voters? Do they want to? The Republicans have sold their souls for power. Must everyone?

Now, I don't condone violence, especially against women. But, right now, I would very much like to punch Jane Smiley in the face. It's true that I'd likely be confirming at least a part of her prejudices, but at this moment, with her vitriolic article still on my mind, my way seems much more satisfying than trying to change her mind.

Do the Democrats really think Republicans are that stupid? How do they explain the increase in support for Bush? Were there some Democratic farmers out there in the Heartland that got kicked in the head by mules, and now wander about like Lenny in Of Mice and Men, saying things like "tell me agin 'bout the Ter-rists, George," and "George? When we find them weapons of mass 'struction, you can have them all, George. I just want some ketchup for my beans"?

At the risk of sounding arrogant (which it will), let me tell you a little about myself. I used to be a member of MENSA (I stopped paying dues). My IQ, when last measured, was 165. I was playing chess at 2 and a half years of age, and reading novels at five. I have a graduate degree. Although my degree is in the humanities, I enjoy reading in the sciences, particularly theoretical astrophysics. I understand Einstein's (general and specific) Theory of Relativity, the Pauli Exclusion Principle, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and so on. I have an uncanny knack for being able to build and diagnose computers, despite never having had any instruction. Why, I'm even cultured enough to enjoy theater and foreign film. And guess what? I voted Republican. Now, why did I blow my own horn? Well, partly because I want you to understand just how insulting it might be to have somebody call me ignorant or stupid. And partly because there are others out there, as intelligent as I am or more so, who also voted Republican. The Democrats in this country do not have a stranglehold on intelligence, or culture, or diversity of thought. For them to even think that they do, much less speak or write it, is the worst kind of prejudice.

So, for those of you out there who voted for George Bush, and are tired of the aspersions being cast on your intellect, here's what you do: The next time someone states, or even hints, that Bush won because the people who voted for him are ignorant, hit them with some facts from the people at Gallup.

* If the uneducated people of the country had NOT voted, not only wouldn't Bush have lost, he would have actually won by a larger margin. According to Gallup, nearly a third of all voters had an education described as "high school or less." Of that third, 54% voted for Kerry, while only 46% voted for Bush. Yes, that's right--more uneducated people voted Democrat than Republican.

* Bush kicked ass among those voters (48%) who had "some college" or "college graduate (no postgrad)," winning the first group by 12 percentage points, and the second by 16 points. That's nearly half the voting pool.

* To be fair, Kerry did win the "postgraduate education" bunch, but they were only 20% of the voting population, and he won them by only 6 percentage points. So, it appears that the Democrats would have you think that 47% of Americans who have made it to the highest echelons of our educational system, still managed to keep from picking up any smarts.

Well, there's the stats--take them for what they're worth. One final thought about that last bunch, the postgraduates. I belong to that group, and I work in academia, which is composed almost exclusively of members of that group who are Democratic (about 80-90 percent). I interact with them daily, and I've come to suspect something. Now, I am very fond of many of these people--they are my friends--so it hurts me to say this, but they are the most intellectually snobbish bunch of people I have ever met in my life. I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons that they stay in the world of academics is so that they are almost guaranteed to be intellectually superior to those they work with (students). Perhaps that provides some security for them. I really think they'd have a problem having to confront the fact that in the "real" world, there are people just as smart and as informed as they are, and that the opinion of these new people matters just as much as theirs does. In fact, I know they'd have a problem--just look at the way they reacted to the election.

November 05, 2004

And Speaking Of Star Wars Nerds...

Despite the poster, which I still think is sissified, Episode III looks pretty cool. Go here, and you can download the trailer.

Dammit!!!

This just in:
November 5, 2004 -- TO the dismay of "Star Wars" nerds everywhere, Natalie Portman will not be nude in the upcoming Mike Nichols movie, "Closer." Portman, who plays Queen Amidala in the space epics, was supposed to bare all for her role as a stripper in "Closer," until she got cold feet and asked Nichols to cut the footage of her romping fully nude in a topless club.

Bad move, Mike. This film could have made money.

Well, That Didn't Take Long

Already the "Kerry actually won" arguments have begun:
I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.

Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.
Perhaps if the Democrats spent more time actually addressing the issues instead of complaining how they were cheated out of every election they lost, they wouldn't lose as many.

I Wish I Could Tell You Who Said This...

...but I missed all but the quote on a radio show. And I'm paraphrasing.

Yasser Arafat is in a coma. Every night I say a little prayer that he will wake up. Yes, I sincerely hope that he will wake up, because while he's in a coma, he cannot feel agonizing pain. He cannot feel sad or helpless. He cannot suffer. And I dearly want him to suffer.

November 04, 2004

So I Was Wrong...Maybe

Well, it seems that Osama Bin Laden is alive, and that I've been wrong all this time. Maybe I should be tucking in the napkin, getting ready to eat some crow, but I'll tell you--I'm not quite ready to admit that I was wrong yet.

First of all, I'm not sure the guy on the tape IS bin Laden. Sure, he looks like bin Laden, but about as much as the guy playing Santa at the company party this year looks like the guy who played Santa last year--both have a big beard and a hat. I'm no expert, and the pictures I've seen from the tape look far away, but the new guy looks a little old to me. I also seem to remember that in the pictures I've seen of OBL, he had these jug-handle ears that stuck out from his head. The new guy's ears don't show, but I guess he could have them tucked under the head dressing. Also, this guy's skin looks a little lighter than OBL's, although this could simply be a result of having to stay indoors more frequently. Not conclusive, I guess, but I also seem to remember that Bin Laden was left-handed, but he appears to be right-handed on the video in question.

Even if the face is his, the words don't seem to be. He's reading from a script, something I've never seen him do before. It's Ramadan--a religious month--Where's all the religious talk? Where's the weapon he always has nearby? MEMRI has some interesting thoughts on the comment:
Another conspicuous aspect of the tape is the absence of common Islamist themes that are relevant to the month of Ramadan, which for fundamentalists like bin Laden is the month of Jihad and martyrdom. Noticeably absent from the Al-Jazeera tape was his usual appearance with a weapon, and more importantly the absence of references to Jihad, martyrdom, the Koran, the Hadith (Islamic tradition), Crusaders, Jews, and the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad on the duty to wage Jihad against the infidels.

There's just too much weirdness about the whole thing. And when did Bin Laden become a Democrat? He seems to be covering the Democratic talking points, and telling the people of the U.S. to vote for Kerry if they know what's good for them. But we know that unlike, say, Saddam, Osama doesn't hate Bush and only Bush because OBL was doing plenty of bad things during the Clinton administration.

Now I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but I have to wonder...If it IS Bin Laden (and until I see a closer, sharper image, I'm gonna say it's not) I wonder if perhaps he might be a "guest" of some other country. A country that might want to influence the election, say. That would explain the reading from the script, and the lack of the ever-present weapon, and the absence of religious reference.

I'm just thinking out loud, really, but I can't immediately think of anything that would preclude that scenario. Plus, no matter who won the presidency, OBL's "hosts" would have one hell of a bargaining chip post-election, wouldn't they?

Just something to think about.

Update: I'm not the only one who thinks it's fake. Also, here's a link to (from the same site) a funeral announcement from an Egyptian newspaper:
Islamabad -
A prominent official in the Afghan Taleban movement announced yesterday the death of Osama bin Laden, the chief of al-Qa'da organization, stating that binLaden suffered serious complications in the lungs and died a natural and quiet death. The official, who asked to remain anonymous, stated to The Observer of Pakistan that he had himself attended the funeral of bin Laden and saw his face prior to burial in Tora Bora 10 days ago. He mentioned that 30 of al-Qa'da fighters attended the burial as well as members of his family and some friends from the Taleban. In the farewell ceremony to his final rest guns were fired in the air. The official stated that it is difficult to pinpoint the burial location of bin Laden because according to the Wahhabi tradition no mark is left by the grave. He stressed that it is unlikely that the American forces would ever uncover any traces of bin Laden.

But hey, for all I know, that could be the Egyptian equivalent of the Weekly World News.

Caption This! Part 12


Left foot, right foot...Hey, this ain't so hard. Evolution, schmevolution--I'm going to get me a beer!

Best. Headline. Ever.

Go on...click it. You know you want to.

November 01, 2004

Just In Case...

...you missed this, buried in the post below, it's a NY Sun article that interviews a JAG officer who speculates that Kerry may have had a dishonorable discharge from the military.
With the only discharge document cited by Mr. Kerry issued in 1978, three years after the last date it should have been issued, the absence of a certificate from 1975 leaves only two possibilities. Either Mr. Kerry received an "other than honorable" certificate that has been removed in a review purging it from his records, or even worse, he received no certificate at all. In both cases there would have been a loss of all of Mr. Kerry's medals and the suspension of all benefits of service.

Certainly something was wrong as early as 1973 when Mr. Kerry was applying to law school.

Mr. Kerry has said, "I applied to Harvard, Boston University, and Boston College. I was extremely late. Only BC would entertain a late application."

It is hard to see why Mr. Kerry had to file an "extremely late" application since he lost the congressional race in Lowell, Mass., the first week of November 1972 and was basically doing nothing until he entered law school the following September of 1973. A member of the Harvard Law School admissions committee recalled that the real reason Mr. Kerry was not admitted was because the committee was concerned that because Mr. Kerry had received a less than honorable discharge they were not sure he could be admitted to any state bar.

I have to say, with all the information that's come out on this guy, I just really can't believe there are people out there who are willing to hand him the highest office in the land.

Last Call

I haven't done much talking about the election. Frankly, I'm kind of sick of it all. But Cox & Forkum have a few worthwhile things to say.

Here's my thoughts:

I'm not a big fan of George Bush. He seems a nice enough fellow, but he's a little too conservative for my taste. However, I agree with the stand he has taken against terrorism, which is my biggest fear about the future. If you are a terrorist...you have to go. If you are head of a nation that sanctions, supports, or rewards terrorism...you have to go. If you a "civilized" nation that engages in secret deals that funnel money to terrorists or leaders that support them...you are no longer our ally. No more drawing lines in the sand, no more consulting with corrupt international bodies. It's time to slap leather and draw. And I'd say that elections in Afghanistan, future elections in Iraq, and Libya's disarming are excellent evidence that this plan works.

And John Kerry? I can say a number of things, some based in fact, some strictly from my gut. I don't like this man. In many ways, he represents the things I hate most about politics. But even if I were to look at him strictly on his record, I still dislike him. We all know he served in Vietnam. For only four months, of course, because he turned some scratches into purple hearts and took advantage of a rule meant for seriously injured soldiers. After being discharged (and it seems that there might be an indication it was a dishonorable discharge), he turned against the men he fought with, accused them of horrible acts, and--as a civilian activist--met with enemy leaders. He was also a member of a group that discussed the assassination of American politicians, was present for the discussion, then lied about it. Then, he was a senator for 20 years, where he did...What? He doesn't mention much about his senatorial record. Some of you might know about the "Big Dig" and how well that has worked. (For those of you who don't, read that previous sentence with a lot of sarcasm--the Big Dig is one of the biggest money pits in American history.) With examples like that, I can't trust the guy on the economy, either.

Finally, I have to look at his idea for the future. He apparently has a lot of plans, but from the few concrete ideas he's managed to come out with, I can see that he is NOT the guy I want in charge of national security. It seems to me that his ideas about terrorism are much the same as those under the Clinton administration--the administration that for eight years followed policies that allowed terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda to flourish and led to the most brutal terrorist attack on American soil. I don't want four more years of that.

When you come right down to it, I'm as bad as the people the Cox & Forkum poke fun at, as bad as the "anybody but Bush" crowd. I'm an "anybody but Kerry" guy. I don't think he's Hitler, or anything like that. I just think it boils down to this: I'd rather go with the guy I've seen work for four years, as many ups and downs as he has had, than hand over the reigns to a complete unknown.

October 30, 2004

October 29, 2004

But I'm Suuuure He Felt Better After The Apology

Ouch. I guess Brittany Murphy had revealed--on national TV, mind you--a "little" secret about ex-boyfriend Ashton Kutcher. Regarding Kutcher's relationship with Demi Moore:
She [Murphy] said at the time: "I suppose that the crux of their relationship is that, to him, age doesn't matter and, to her, size doesn't matter."

While I'm cool with taking uppity celebs like Kutcher down a peg or two, I think this one hits below the belt (unintentional pun). I mean, who wants their shortcomings revealed on national TV (another unintentional pun)? And what about poor Demi Moore? I mean she's really getting the short end of the stick. (okay, THAT one I meant...and worked hard for.)

Well, at lest Murphy apologized.

October 28, 2004

My Hero

Larry Elder, one of the guys out there that I admire the most, has written a short, must-read piece.
Let's call this the Exploitation Theory: America enriches herself at the expense of other countries. America takes; others receive less. But for America's dominant, evil culture, and her extraction of wealth from others, the rest of the world could live in prosperity and happiness. America's wealth causes poverty in other countries. We win. They lose.

But the United Nations' Arab Human Development Report, written by Arab political scientists and scholars, came to a different conclusion. The scholars wrote about the comparative backward nature of 22 Arab states, covering nearly 300 million people. The Arab countries scored the lowest of all world regions as to freedom, the political process, civil liberties, political rights and media independence. The report found 65 million illiterate adults. Half of Arab women still cannot read or write. Ten million children between 6 and 15 years of age are out of school. The report describes a "severe shortage" of new writing. In the last 1,000 years, the Arabs have translated as many books as Spain translates in just one year. Only 1.2 percent of the population uses a computer, and only half of those access the Internet.

I'm just sorry I didn't link to it before today.

October 25, 2004

Apologies To Andy Kaufman

But I thought this was funny, no matter who you're voting for this election. They're Quicktime Movies. Medium quality is about 5 megs, and high quality is about 15.

Medium Quality

High Quality

October 21, 2004

Fake News



BOARDMAN, Ohio (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said he bagged a goose on his swing-state hunting trip Thursday, but his real target was the voters who may harbor doubts about him.

Kerry returned after a two-hour hunting trip wearing a camouflage jacket and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun, but someone else carried the bird he said he shot.

"The goose was carrying an AK-47, and was a clear threat," said Senator Kerry, "so I chased it down and shot it in the back."

Representative Ted Strickland was one of the hunting party members, as was Neal Brady, assistant park manager of Indian Lake State Park in western Ohio. "Neal had been winged," said Strickland, "and was on the ground in obvious pain. Senator Kerry, with no thought for his own safety, swung into action." When pressed about the incident, Strickland admitted that when he said Brady had "been winged," he was talking about an actual goose wing. "I don't think the bird liked the hat he was wearing," he continued, "and it just went after him."

Brady plans to request a Silver Star for Kerry. When reporters explained that Kerry wasn't actually eligible for one, Brady dismissed it with a wave of his hand. "ineligible, inschmeligible. I wouldn't be surprised if pretty soon papers showed up granting John Kerry the medal he deserves. "

In response, various hunters' groups across the country have come forward to question Kerry's version of events.

A Quickie

Two, actually. Here's the links to two great posts. (found the links on Antimedia's site) The first one is called "Why I Won't Vote For Bush," by Nelson Ascher. The second is a post over at Froggy Ruminations saying something that Ken and I (and, admittedly, many others) have been saying for years: Osama BinLaden is dead.

October 20, 2004

Just So You Know

I havent' dropped off the face of the Earth. However, that cold I had (which is still hanging on like a kitten on a screen door) put me way behind in my work. I hope to have some new stuff up this weekend.

October 13, 2004

Caption This! Part 11


I don't really have a caption for this one. It just really creeped me out. It has a very Dante's Inferno kind of vibe to it.

October 12, 2004

Who'd A Thunk It?

The Los Angeles Times has a very nice eulogy for Rodney Dangerfield. It was written by...wait for it...Roseanne Barr. Surprisingly, though, it's a wonderful testimony to Rodney, and it's obviously full of love and the respect that he always claimed he never got. You have to sign up to get the story, but it's free to do so. So, do so. Here's a little bit to whet your appetite:

My favorite Rodney story is the time we went walking in Venice, and he didn't want to walk all the way to the crosswalk, so he just darted out into the middle of a very, very busy street. I said, "We're gonna get killed!" and he said, "No, we're not, kid, I'm a draw." Then, like Moses, he walked on and the traffic parted. People honked at first, but then they caught a glimpse of old Rodney, waving and smiling, and they started to honk and yell, "We love you, Rodney!" There isn't much that can stop traffic in Los Angeles at lunchtime. "OK, I love you too," he was yelling back.

October 11, 2004

Someone Told Me It's All Happening At The Zoo

But apparently it's not. Seems that in the wilds of central Africa, scientists may have found a new species of giant ape. The new species is very much like a gorilla, but has a few oddities, almost as if they had been mating with another species.

Ken, you've been taking a lot of vacation time recently, I've noticed.

Some Great News...

...about some great news. Television news, that is. Over on Antimedia's blog, he's got a post about a new Iraqi TV station--of, by, and for the people. He makes the points that this is:

1. Something that could never have happened under Saddam, and

2. Big news that likely won't be reported in the mainstream media.

I happen to agree with him on both counts, so stop on over and check the post out. And pass the word on.

UPDATE: I didn't read close enough. It's a station located in the United Arab Emirates, but it serves Iraq. Still pretty good news.

October 09, 2004

Why Sean Penn Is A Prick

I mean, besides the giant ego. Personally, I think the ego tends to make him overract a bit. That's right, I said it--he overracts. And it's not a politically motivated statement because I disagree with Tim Robbins' political views just as much, but I have no problem telling you that Robbins acted circles around Penn in Mystic River, and--unlike Penn--actually deserved the Academy Award.

But enough of that for now. What really pisses me off is that Penn just wrote an open memo to Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of "South Park" and the upcoming Team America. Like most of Penn's writing, it's filled with some awkward constructions and sounds like some of the student writing I get when the student seems particularly interested in impressing me.

I do mind when anybody who doesn't have a child, doesn't have a child at war, or isn't or won't be in harm's way themselves, is encouraging that there's "no shame in not voting" "if you don't know what you're talking about" (Mr. Stone) without mentioning the shame of not knowing what your talking about, and encouraging people to know.

Huh?

Grammatical issues aside, the memo is tactless and unnecessarily vicious. He begins by (I guess) implying that Parker and Stone somehow used his name to achieve their success.

I remember not being bothered as you traded on my name among others to appear witty, above it all, and likeable to your crowd.

I remember them making fun of a lot of people on "South Park," and maybe Penn was one of them, but I honestly don't remember it. But so what if they did? I mean, is it that wrong to trade on the Penn name, son of famous director Leo Penn (and actress Eileen Ryan)? At least Emilio Estevez had enough class not to use the name Sheen. And Nicholas Cage didn't need to use Coppola, either. You see, despite that "bad boy" image that seems to follow Penn around, he didn't really have to struggle that much. Growing up in a show-business family in southern California? Jeez, it must have been tough to break into the business.

Now, let's go back to this winner:

I do mind when anybody who doesn't have a child, doesn't have a child at war, or isn't or won't be in harm's way themselves, is encouraging that there's "no shame in not voting" "if you don't know what you're talking about" (Mr. Stone) without mentioning the shame of not knowing what your talking about, and encouraging people to know. You guys are talented young guys but alas, primarily young guys. It's all well to joke about me or whomever you choose. Not so well, to encourage irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world. The vote matters to them. No one's ignorance, including a couple of hip cross-dressers, is an excuse.

I'm not sure what Penn's point is here. Is he claiming that people who have children (like his--11 and 13, I believe) are in the same group as those who currently have a child at war? And that if you don't, your opinion doesn't matter? Well, that just seems stupid. Is he upset that the South Park guys say that there's no shame in not voting if you're uninformed without stressing that they should be informed? That sounds great, but doesn't seem to go with the next bit, which claims that not voting will "ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitations, and death of innocent people throughout the world." This assumes--and stop me if I'm wrong--that these uncast votes would be cast for the candidate of Mr. Penn's choice. We all know that Penn is a Bush hater. Is he really arguing that it's the vote that counts and not who you vote for? If so, then his argument makes no sense. He seems to be arguing that if we just get enough votes, irrespective of for whom they were cast, we will prevent bloodshed. No, he's trying to sound objective, but he's really saying "vote for my guy." Or maybe he's just so egotistical that it doesn't occur to him that some of those newly informed voters could possibly vote for the other guy.

And while I might agree with Penn that the vote matters to those innocent people around the world he alleges will be disemboweled, etc., I also have to say that it's none of their fucking business, nor is it yours, Mr. Penn, for which candidate I cast my vote. You see, that's the one place in this country where the lowly man on the street has the same exact amount of power as self-important assholes like yourself. We all get one, and only one vote. It's my vote, and if I decide to vote for either major candidate, cast a write-in vote for myself, or take the vote and piss it away completely...Well, that's my decision, Mr. Penn, not yours.

So, a sincere "fuck you" to you too, Mr. Penn, the man who has somehow found the moral high ground to criticize two young satirists, who--by the way--have done much more to educate the young people in this country than you have. The work that they produce may be irreverent and push the envelope, but it's also timely and thought-provoking. But maybe that's not fair. After all, in your career, you've been such an inspiration to young people. In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, you played an apathetic pot smoker. In Bad Boys, you played a...well, a bad boy. Oh, and then in The Falcon and The Snowman, you got to play Daulton Lee, a traitor to the U.S. (And they say life doesn't imitate art.) Of course, there was Casualties of War, where you got to play a psychopathic sergeant in the My Lai mold--that must have been inspiring for young people. And let's not forget the times you played a psychopathic cokehead lawyer (Carlito's Way); an unrepentant death row inmate (Dead Man Walking); or a paranoid crime-boss (Mystic River). Yeah, you're the fucking paragon of virtue. Maybe before you criticize others about the influence they exert, you ought to climb down off your soapbox and check out a mirror, jack.

In a P.S., Penn offers to take Parker and Stone, and Dennis Miller(?) to Iraq. If Mr. Penn really wants to come off as a tough guy, he'll make sure to let all the Iraqi press know before he goes over that his father was Jewish because we all know in what high esteem Jewish-Americans are held by some of the locals. Just ask Daniel Pearl's family.

Everyone Should Read This

Over at Iron Monkey, you can find a neat and tidy little guide to ways in which people can confuse the general public with statistics. Should be required reading.

October 08, 2004

I'm Getting Angry Again

From Britain to the Baltics, many sense a sea change in sentiment toward an America they once admired - largely linked to what they call an arrogant contempt of others after 9-11.

The headline? "Europeans Lament a 'Changed' America." Now...Let's see...What could have changed us? Perhaps it was when 3,000 of our citizens were murdered while the cameras rolled. And, of course, our "allies" who are now "lamenting" the change were actually busy fucking us in the ass by making backdoor (no pun intended) deals that made rich men out of leaders of countries that train, support, harbor, and encourage those who commit these kinds of murders. That enough reason for change, Braniac?

I mean, is there really even an issue here? Does anybody here remember the way Americans were treated abroad pre-9/11, and isn't it pretty much the same as today? C'mon, the French never much cared for us before...What's changed?

Among ordinary Frenchmen, the feeling is clear.

"We no longer feel much sentiment for America," remarked Laurence Torno. Her husband, a softspoken dentist, agreed. "It is too aggressive, too full of itself."

Their son, Pierre-Charles, 17, saved for years for a post-high school grand tour, starting in Florida and ending in New York. This summer he graduated and went to Australia.

"Before the Iraq war, my friends and I all felt a strong sympathy with America," Pierre-Charles explained. "Now we see no respect for people's human rights or international agreements."

So let's see...Saddam broke how many resolutions? Killed, gassed, tortured, and imprisoned how many people? But Americans are the ones with no respect for human rights or international agreements? Right. And "too full of ourselves"? From the French? Well, ain't that the crepe pan calling the kettle black.

I look at it this way...If my friends and neighbors stop by to visit and tell my my lawn looks like shit, and they don't like the way I'm landscaping, or raising my family, or whatever, I tell them "Hey...You don't like it? Stay the fuck home."

Anyone know how to say that in French, German, or Russian?

They're At It Again

Those funny guys over at jibjab. They've got a new cartoon/video/whatever the hell it is, and this one may even be funnier than the first. Look for "It's Good To Be In D.C."

October 05, 2004

Finally, A Little Respect.

He always said he couldn't get any (respect, that is), but Rodney Dangerfield was one of the most respected comedians of the last century. He passed away today, emerging from a post-heart-surgery coma long enough for one last round of laughs and to tell his family he loved them.

Known primarily for short, self-depricating jokes ("when I was young, they had to tie a steak around my neck to get the dog to play with me"), he will probably always be best remembered for his role as Al Czervik in 1980's Caddyshack. Although Bill Murry stole most of the film for himself, Dangerfield had a few gems. My favorite?

"Nice boy, wonderful boy, marvelous boy...now I know why tigers eat their young."

Like I said, Rodney...finally, a little respect. You've earned it. Make 'em laugh up there, will ya?

October 04, 2004

If It's October, Does That Mean This Is The Surprise?

I'm extremely hesitant to report this, considering all the falsified documents floating around out there, but everyone else is going with it, and as you'll see CNSNews.com is doing a lot more than CBS did to back up their reporting.

CNSNews.com is reporting that they have obtained 42 pages of documents which purport to show that

numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders.


If these hold up to scrutiny, they could end up being some serious mojo for the Bush Administration, as they tie Saddam to a number of significant terror events, including the 1993 ambush of American soldiers in Mogadishu.

I'm a bit leery of trusting CNSNews, and would feel better if a different source had broken this story. However, as I said, CNSNews does do one thing which CBS should have done and failed to do with their fake memo story: document their methodology.

In another article, CNSNews.com lays out how they came by the documents, who looked them over, and how others can see the documents for themselves. Although they don't name the source, they do say he/she is NOT a political appointee, and that they did not make contact with either the Republicans or the Democrats. They state that the document was translated by two independent translators, working alone. They state that the documents were examined by three other "experts," (only one remained anonymous) who all had experience with Iraq, in a double-blind test. Finally, they invite all journalists who want to examine the documents to make an appointment for viewing.


Oh Yeah? Well It IS Mightier Than The Sword, You Know!

I was watching Fox news, and they have reported that John Kerry pulled a black pen out of his pocket during the debate. I also found this article from the NY Post. While this is still a clear violation of the debate rules, and is still an indication that this is a man who feels some sense of privilege and thinks the rules don't apply to him, It's not the end of the world.

I'm still not 100 percent convinced, though. Kerry had something in his hands. And it was not a pen. In fact, the pen, which seems clear from the reverse-angle still photo that Fox showed, would have been blocked by Kerry's hand from the angle the rest of us saw. And yet we all saw something. Did anybody check the other hand? I'm going to try to find a higher-resolution clip/photo and report later.

Okay, looking through the video again, it looks like Kerry might have something already in his right hand, but I can't be sure because the resolution sucks. I think what it is, is that Kerry pulls the pen out of his jacket with his left hand and his right hand, hidden by the left, picks up some notecards or something already on the podium and transfers them to the left hand in an attempt to straighten them or unfold them, making it look like the cards came from the left hand.

And before you go accusing me of making a big deal out of nothing, let me point out:

1. The pen is still a violation of the rules, confirmed by the Kerry camp who said "we plead guilty to having a pen."

2. If the Bush team had made that same sarcastic confession, you all know the headlines would read: Bush Admits Breaking Debate Rules!

Bush Breaks Rules, Too

In an update to an earlier post, I pointed out that the Bush camp may have broken the rules of the debate as well. I'm posting this so you'll be sure not to miss it.

Since so far it seems that the networks and both candidates couldn't abide by the rules of the debates, I have to wonder why they even bothered writing them in the first place.

Reading Between The Lies Lines

Citizen Smash - The Indepundit has a couple of good points about some of the truth behind Senator Kerry's debate statements.

Kerry would have you believe that the President has a sand table in the White House War Room, where he gathers his generals around him and commands them on how to fight the war. He’s telling us that he could do a better job directing those generals than Bush has.

Bullshit.
Indeed. Like a lot of the Senator's claims...that's all they are--claims. With little or no evidence to back them up. For example his claim to reduce world nukes in 4 years instead of 13 reminds me of an old Zen parable:

A young man approaches a master and says "I wish to become enlightened. I will work very hard." The master says "Hmmmm....that will take you 10 years. Are you ready to devote 10 years of your life?" The student responds by saying "Ten years is a long time, so I will work twice as hard." "Ah," the master replies, "in that case it will take you 20 years."
If it's worth doing, it's worth taking our time doing. Besides, according to proliferation expert Richard Falkenrath, 4 years is a pipe dream. Here he is, quoted in the New York Times:

Mr. Kerry's timetable is unrealistic, he said, arguing that the easiest of Russia's hundreds of nuclear sites had been secured under the first President Bush and President Bill Clinton, and that those remaining involve more complex bureaucratic challenges.

"It's simply a preposterous claim for anyone to be able to say that the American government could compel the Russian government to transfer its nuclear materials from one facility to another - no amount of bribery or coercion or arm-twisting could ensure that," Mr. Falkenrath said in an interview. "Senator Kerry suggests there's some magic wand he can wave to make this move faster. There is none. We're making progress where progress is possible."
Perhaps in the next debate, Senator Kerry could discuss his use of the magic wand.