April 14, 2005

Monkey Quote Of The Day

I think monkey pimps would go a long way towards validating evolution, don't you?

--Yours truly, while discussing monkey sexual behavior with Dr. Wheaton of the Institute.

Upon further contemplation, we decided that the most likely candidates would have to be orangutans, because they wear a lot of orange fur, and seem much more likely to beat other primates with a folded-up coat hanger.

April 12, 2005

Ooooh....Look At Me!!!!

In yet another bit of shameless self-promotion, I posted a few more pics.

My first attempt at stand-up. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it

C'mon, you know you want to sing it. "Believe it or not, I'm walking on air..."

Ah, yes. This is from my life as a traveling minstrel, a Bard. Barred from ever playing the guitar again, that is. Hahahahahahahahaha!

Sis's birthday party, aka a bevy of cute young ladies and me the only boy for miles. "Oh no! Please, please don't throw me in the briar patch!"

Sing it with me, won't you? "Love for sale. Appetizing young love for sale. If you want to buy my wares, follow me and climb the stairs. Love for sale."

Weather good. Hair bad. Wish you were here.

I'm sure nearly everyone has a same-sex pyramid photo somewhere. It should never, under any circumstances, be shown publicly...oh, crap!

"I see tall people!"

April 07, 2005

A Life (an early one anyway) In Pictures

Because a) I finally hooked up my scanner, b) they are old enough to maintain a certain amount of anonymity, and c) I have to defend my own cuteness in the face of other cute pictures, I've decided to post some photos of the young DS his own self.

My first picture. Also, apparently, my first Joe Cocker impersonation.

My first football game--Jets vs the BALTIMORE Colts

Here's a little game I like to call "Hide behind the curtain and scare the bejeezus out of Mommy." It was soon to be followed by the "Not sitting down for a couple of hours" game. NOT one of my favorites.

Now that the Old Man's cut me in on the will, he won't be needing THIS any more...

Here I am, helping my dad lay some pipe. (Which, if I were speaking euphemistically, would just be wrong.)

Here I am, sporting a haircut I like to call the Prince Valiant. This picture was apparently taken before the concept of barbershops...and also before the concept of self-esteem.

Here I am looking for that pony my parents promised me. The joke's on me, because I have no concept of size, and don't realize that barn is way too small for a pony. We'll see who's laughing when it comes time to put them in a home.

Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief

I also tried many different careers as a child. For example:

Explorer. ("I believe if we make base camp here, we can reach the summit of the toy closet by sundown.")


Escape Artist ("And now my lovely assistant Sister Serious the Elder will seal me inside the magic cabinet.")

Bullfighter (I still wake up screaming because of this one. Best not stare at it too long.)

Lounge Singer ("For my next number, I'd like to do a little ditty called 'Hot Cross Buns'...in A flat.")

Batman (Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed out after dark, which seriously curtailed my crimefighting activities.)

Broadway dancer ("Jazz hands! Jazz hands!")

Actor (Here I'm re-enacting the Capone baseball bat scene from The Untouchables..."Teamwork. Teamwork.")

And finally, some sort of orange-pajama-clad gunfighter.

April 04, 2005

It's Just A Shame

In case you haven't been reading the comments over at Wheaton's place, I want to let you know that commedian Mitch Hedberg was found dead in his NJ hotel room last Wednesday. If you've never seen Hedberg perform, you missed one original and damn funny guy, let me tell you. Here--courtesy of Sean--is page with some of his material. And here's a news story about the incident.

Cause of death has yet to be determined/released, although rumor has it that it was a heart attack. If I find out more, I'll post it.

March 31, 2005

You Mean, Besides The Fact That We Both Nailed Madonna?

Ken sent me an email pointing out that Guy Ritchie and I have something in common--we both have been slammed by the Catholic League.

(Thanks to Murph at Life Goes Off)

With Friends Like These...

I generally don't like to bring my work life into the blog, but this incensed me so much that I couldn't help it. One of my colleagues sent this email out on the faculty list. (Apart from other things, I find that alone inappropriate.) It's from "her friend Grover." I sincerely hope that Grover is not really a "friend," as that in itself is enough to make me never speak to her again. See, Grover is Grover Furr, who teaches at Montclair. If you don't know, he happens to be--besides named after a muppett--an apologist for Stalin. Yeah, THAT Stalin. Here's a choice line from one of his musings:

The mass murder of Jews, but not only of Jews, by the Nazis is very well documented. In the case of the Cold-War horror stories demonizing Stalin, the shoe is on the other foot -- all the evidence points in the _opposite_ direction.

This, of course, will come as a great suprise to those families who suffered and/or fled the Soviet Union.

You can read some more about Furr at Frontpage Magazine. To be fair, many consider Frontpage to be...less than objective. I will urge you, then, to visit Furr's own web pages. Web pages that he directs his students to use, by the way. Read the man's own words. Check out the reading lists for some of his classes. It's no wonder that he disagrees with the ideas of 'balance' and 'intellectual diversity' in the classroom. The man is, in a nutty-shell, the very reason the Academic Bill of Rights was put together.

But I digress.

The other thing I want to mention is the article that accompanied the email. It's from Stanley Fish, and concerns itself with that very same 'balance' and 'intellectual diversity.' Here's the complete (I know it's long) text:

On Balance

The only thing you get when you enforce a political balance in hiring,
teaching, or campus life is a politicized university


Recently, the Supreme Court once again took up the question of whether it is permissible under the establishment clause of the First Amendment to display representations of the Ten Commandments in courthouses and other public spaces. At issue is the relationship between those displays and the "Lemon test" -- the legacy of Lemon v. Kurtzman, a 1971 ruling that, in at least one interpretation, bars the state from engaging in activities that endorse or promote religion.

In the course of a long legal journey that included suits, injunctions,
petitions, decisions, and appeals, those in favor of the displays argue that their purpose is secular, not religious. The Ten Commandments, they say, are one (although not the only) source of the values and traditions upon which this country was founded. Therefore to display them in a public place is merely to recognize that history, and to provide a momentof education (not proselytizing) for passers-by.

In response to the findings of a district court that the Commandments and some accompanying documents were chosen only because of their obvious "religious references," officials of the two Kentucky counties involved in the latest case modified the display, adding to it political texts, patriotic texts, song lyrics, and pictures.

The idea was to surround the religiously charged materials with materials obviously secular, on the theory that, so surrounded, the religiosity of the suspect documents would be muted and even negated. That strategy (which may or may not prove successful; we'll have to wait and see) is taken from the landmark cases County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union (1989) and Lynch v. Donnelly (1984).

In Allegheny, the court ruled that a stand-alone crèche placed in the county courthouse in Pittsburgh "has the effect of endorsing a patently Christian message." But in the same decision the court said that a menorah, placed outside a government building and flanked by a Christmas tree and a sign saluting liberty, "does not have an effect of endorsing religious faith."

In Lynch, Justice O'Connor wrote that a crèche displayed in Pawtucket, R.I., along with teddy bears, candy-striped poles, and an (ungrammatical) sign reading "Seasons Greetings," "does not communicate a message that the government intends to endorse the Christian beliefs represented by the crèche." The reason, she adds, is that "the overall holiday setting changes what viewers may fairly understand to be the purpose of the display -- as a typical museum setting ... [which] negates any message of endorsement."

I leave the issues raised by those cases to the court's deliberation. My interest is in the mechanism by which materials bearing substantive content (as in "Jesus Christ died for your sins") are turned into museum pieces -- that is, into texts whose messages have been aestheticized or commercialized, in the case of the holiday setting (and did Justice O'Connor forget the etymology of the word "holiday"?) -- with the result that they are no longer taken seriously as texts by spectators or readers.

It is not simply that the "museum setting" negates the message of endorsement; it negates any message, and that is its purpose. The name for this transmogrification is balance: If you want to take the edge off or pull the sting from a message that may prove provocative and controversial, balance it with other messages that are either bland or differently provocative.

In that way no one can accuse you of endorsing or saying or meaning anything. Doing the dance of balance indemnifies you from any criticism, except the criticism that you stand for nothing in particular, which will hardly be received as criticism given that standing for something particular, or being perceived to stand for something particular, is what you are trying to avoid.

Of course you could always say that what you are standing for and indeed standing up for is the First Amendment. That really sounds good, but more often than not it is just a fancy way of running away from the real issues that might be debated if balance had not become your new theology.

That is why balance is such an attractive option for administrators when someone like Ward Churchill comes to town, or threatens to.

An administrator in that situation can take his or her cue from Bill Maher, who invited Churchill to appear on his program Real Time but then paired him with the brother of someone who had been killed in the assault on the World Trade Center.

That is genius and a balancer's dream. Maher gets to defend free inquiry and to display his compassion for the victims of an atrocity at the same time. He comes off looking reasonable, fair, and, yes, balanced, while both Churchill and the victim's brother look a bit extreme. What administrator could wish for more?

Obviously, balance can be useful and I have employed it myself, when making up search committees or appointing members of a task force. But useful as it might prove, balance is not a real value. It is a strategy and as such is always political in nature. That is, balance is not the answer to an intellectual question; it is the attempt to evade or blunt an intellectual question. You resort to it not in response to the imperative of determining truth, but in response to pressures that originate more often than not from nonacademic constituencies.

That is surely the case with respect to the demand that a college or university faculty should display balance, in its hiring practices or in its tenure decisions or in its course offerings or in the materials assigned by individual instructors. In none of those instances is balance a legitimate educational goal.

Take the insistence that faculties be balanced so that there is a proportionate number of conservatives and liberals. That is the least defensible form of balance -- called "intellectual diversity" by its proponents, but is really affirmative action for conservatives -- because it assumes a relationship and even an exact correlation between one's performance in the ballot box and one's performance in the classroom.

There is no such correlation: The politics relevant to academic matters are the politics of academic disciplines, and the fault lines of those politics -- disputes between quantitative and qualitative social scientists, for example -- do not track the fault lines of the national divide between Republicans and Democrats. Thus it is not a coherent argument to say that students will benefit from having conservative as well as liberal professors; for with respect to the different approaches to a topic or a subject, party affiliation is not a predictor of which approach a professor will favor.

One might respond by pointing out that our nonacademic commitments and affiliations -- to religions, political agendas, ethnic origins, regional loyalties, sports teams -- will have, to a great extent, formed the person who enters the classroom, but that is an argument of determinism that is belied by every "tenured radical" (and there are many) who is on the "conservative" side in the battles of his or her discipline.

It is always possible to draw a line backward from the views you currently hold to the life events that preceded them; but preceding does not mean producing, and the line cannot be drawn in the reverse direction in a way that suggests that if you attended such and such a school, or read such and such a book, or underwent such and such a conversion, you would inevitably come out on this or that side of an academic debate.

Neither the dire consequences that supposedly come along with a predominantly liberal faculty nor the good consequences that would come along with a "redress" of the "imbalance" exist. The only thing you would get were you to enforce a political balance of persons hired or promoted would be a politicized university.

The same holds for the requirement that a curriculum be balanced between traditional and avant-garde courses. The courses a department ends up teaching will be a function of many things -- the kind of college or university it inhabits, the composition of the student body, the direction the discipline is taking. All of those are academic considerations, and in response to them a department might well have a balance of traditional and avant-garde courses -- not, however, as a goal
and by design, but as an unintended consequence of legitimate educational decisions.

And, finally, balance is not something an instructor should aim for when assigning texts or making up a syllabus. An instructor should first figure out what he or she thinks important and central and then make his or her choices accordingly. There is absolutely no obligation to include materials from every corner of the disciplinary landscape; there is an obligation -- and it is the only one -- to include materials that are, according to your intellectual judgment, relevant.

I teach Milton as a poet whose aesthetic is inseparable from his theology, and that conviction about Milton dictates the materials I assign and the questions I introduce and entertain. I am aware, of course, that there are other approaches to Milton -- psychoanalytic, Marxist, historicist, feminist -- and while representatives of those approaches make occasional cameo appearances in my class, they are, at best, supporting actors and, more likely, negative examples -- examples, that is, of interpretive directions I consider wrong.

I see no reason to include what I take to be wrong interpretations simply because they are there; no reason, that is, except for one imposed on me from the outside and with political, not educational, motives.

To be sure, educational motives might in some instances lead me to choose balance as an organizing principle; perhaps I am teaching a survey of critical approaches. But while balance might be the answer to the question of what's the best way of accomplishing what I'm after in the classroom, balance can never, in and of itself, be what I am after; unless, that is, I want to trade in the academic life for a frankly political one.

To be honest, I had planned a very long, thought-out, and researched reply to this verbal claptrap. I wanted to 'gut the Fish' so to speak. But here's the thing. Since Fish has fairly consistantly maintained that he disagrees with himself, arguing with him is an exercise in futility. But, since I haven't had much exercise today...

First, let me point out that the entire article is based on a false analogy. The idea that the presentation of religious symbols and the choice of viewpoints in an academic session are the same thing is absurd. It may be true that presenting religious symbols in a "museum setting" may make it seem like a courthouse, etc. "stand[s] for nothing in particular," but I have to wonder--what is it, then, that a professor is supposed to "stand" for? My feeling is that they don't. They facillitate, they challenge, they invigorate. They don't dictate or indoctrinate. Or they shouldn't, anyway.

In addition, Fish creates another fallacy: the false dillema. "I see no reason to include what I take to be wrong interpretations simply because they are there," he says. Thank goodness not everyone throughout history has thought that way. Otherwise we might be living on a flat Earth, around which the sun revolves daily as it and the other heavenly bodies travel through the heavenly spheres. Or at least we might think we are. The false dillema exists because Fish seems to imply that all "wrong" interpretaions are equally wrong. That is, completely wrong. That teaching that the world is hollow and inhabited by space aliens is akin to teaching that global warming is a myth. We know the world doesn't quite work that way. Take Hiroshima, 1945, for example. Was the atomic bomb dropped because the U.S. thought it would create a quick surrender, saving lives in the long run? Or was it because the U.S. wanted to put a scare into the USSR? Or was it simply because mushroom clouds are pretty? Well, which one is the "right" answer? Are the others equally wrong? What if I just happen to be a physics teacher who believes with all my heart that Superstring theory is correct. That means I am under no obligation to discuss oher theories? I don't think so.

Maybe Fish's analogy is good for something, after all. If a courthouse, say, includes a number of religious and secular symbols, one might argue that the impact of any one is dulled, and that the courthouse is endorsing nothing. The same might be said if (as I believe they should) they refuse any and all religious symbols. However, that doesn't translate to academics. If you provide a number of diverse views, you might not be endorsing any one in particular (I'd like to think that you are providing choice rather than balance), but if you remove all views, you teach nothing.

What I find ironic is that one of the best refutations of Fish's argument is made by Fish:

And, finally, balance is not something an instructor should aim for when assigning texts or making up a syllabus. An instructor should first figure out what he or she thinks important and central and then make his or her choices accordingly.

In other words, politics doesn't come into the classroom, anyway. It's all about the academics. In that case, certainly there would be no detriment to the students no matter what the ideology of the professor. And in that case, why not implement a policy that encourages fairness in hiring. Fish calls it "affirmative action for conservatives." It's funny how for some people that term only becomes derogatory when it refers to conservatives. I mean really...can you imagine Fish, or anyone else trying to make this argument about any other group? If political and ideological diversity don't matter, if it's all about the academic, then why hire women? Why hire Blacks, Hispanics, Jews? If balance in the curriculum doesn't matter, why even have a womens' studies program? Why have pop culture classes? What possible good can come from studying philosophy?

Well, of course the truth is, that in an ideal world, Fish would be right. We would leave our real selves at home and in the classroom adopt the unbiased, objective teacher persona, and we would only teach that which is "right." But this isn't an ideal world. One look at Grover Furr's websites should tell you that.

March 25, 2005

Your Money Or Your Life...Or A Quick Interview

This just in: In Flint, Michigan, a man has robbed a succession of banks. The twist? He impersonates film maker Michael Moore. Apparently the two men look alike, and even dress alike. When the tellers were asked how they knew it wasn't Moore, one of them responded "Easy. He wasn't a complete asshole."*

*Note: This part didn't really happen. But don't you wish it did?

Chew Have Gotten So Big!

Leave it to the Japanese to come up with this little doozy: Breast Enhancement Gum!

And here's Dave Letterman's top 10 list for the breast gum slogans.


After that warm congratulatory post, I wouldn't dare include another unpublished, recycled piece, would I? Sorry, I like this one too much. It's from back when mad cow disease was all the rage.

Here's what I want to talk (read: babble incessantly) about for the moment: Mad Cow disease. Now I recently got back to what I like to call "my fighting weight" (mainly because it sounds better than "my crying like a little girl weight"). I did this by switching to a high-protein diet. Before you start telling me how awful it is, I just wanna say--I feel better, I sleep better, I look better, and I have much more energy, so shut the hell up.

My only real concern is this Mad Cow Disease. I don't know that much about it, except that, well, there's these cows....and they're mad...maybe because we lead them down a concrete chute and fire steel pins into their heads.

Now I think we can all agree that a cow's life consists of standing around in bunches and then being eaten. God knows what will happen should they try to escape from this docile, and quite tasty, existence. I was prepared to take up the anti-cow movement, by organizing a little group I like to call All Cow Haters, Outside of Oprah (ACHOO). It was then, however, that Ken explained to me that Mad Cow Disease is simply a disease from eating tainted beef, which I almost never do.

Apparently, it's only English beef that can pass on the disease, so as my good deed for the day, I'm gonna tell you all how to remain safe.

1) You could give up beef altogether, but why would you want to do that? Then you could only eat vegetables, and McDonald's hamburgers, which contain only trace amounts of meat. But still, it's an option.

2) English people are very polite and well-mannered. If you happen to see a cow that clears its throat, or says "I say" before mooing, best not try to eat it.

3) English people like to spell things wrong, like 'colour'(color), 'honour'(honor), and 'football'(soccer). So beware of consuming any product spelled 'beuff', 'boeff', or 'spam'.

4) Don't go to England. I think this one goes without saying. They have a nasty history of enslaving every other culture they come in contact with. Plus they drive on the wrong side of the road.

5) Don't sleep in the subway, Darlin'. Boy, I love that song.

6) Drink lots of alcohol. This might not help, but it couldn't hurt.

So there you have it. Hope I've helped. And I hope that I have done it without offending anyone. But knowing Ken as I do, he must have a Limey vegetarian on his mailing list somewhere. To you, madam, I apologize.


Hey, over 10,000 hits! I thought about singing my praises, but instead of congratulating me, I wanted to congratulate all of you. What for? Well, for managing to stick with me through what can only be described as an 'inconsistent' variety of posts. As I said to someone recently, if I was doing this just for me, I'd keep a journal instead. At least part of the reason I do this is because I want to entertain, inform, or even irritate all of you.

So, thanks.

March 24, 2005

Stupid Quiz Thingie

I found this over on Petitedov's blog. Here's mine:

Your Seduction Style: The Natural

You don't really try to seduce people... it just seems to happen.
Fun loving and free spirited, you bring out the inner child in people.
You are spontaneous, sincere, and unpretentious - a hard combo to find!
People drop their guard around you, and find themselves falling fast.

I was hoping for "Sex Bomb," but what the hell...this works.

Bred Any Good Rooks Lately?

I'm so far behind in my blog reading that I didn't even notice that Kenny sent this task on to me. So I thought I'd do my part.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
I would have thought it would be obvious. The Kama Sutra, of course. (For those who haven't read Bradbury's book, in the novel-world, all books have been destroyed. To insure that these valuable resources survive, members of an underground all "become" books. That is, they memorize them and can recite them to others. Living texts. Neat idea, right?)

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
I can think of lots of movie character crushes. (My favorite one of those? Rachel Ward's Dominoe in Sharky's Machine.) But literary characters? I can't think of any right now.

The last book you bought is:
I just bought The Bear in the Attic, by Pat McManus, because his stories are a guilty pleasure, and Stories From a Moron, by Ed Broth, because as I was browsing through it in the store, I realized it was the first book to make me laugh out loud in a long time. (My favorite blurb from the back cover? Part of a letter from the editor of Fencers Quarterly Magazine. "Dear Ed: We do not publish stories about individuals like Conjugal Cal, or about underwear--no matter how often references are made to fencing..."

The last book you read:
I've been reading a bunch of them piecemeal. I guess I'd say Yaacov Lozowick's Right to Exist, Richard Preston's The Demon in the Freezer, and a couple of books on World Mythology (for work).

What are you currently reading?
The McManus and Broth books mentioned above. (And about a year and a half's worth of magazines like Maxim and Premiere that I fell behind on.)

Five books you would take to a deserted island.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig
The Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell
Dr. No, by Ian Fleming (what can I say? It's my favorite Bond novel!)
Either October Country, by Ray Bradbury, or possibly a book on Raftbuilding
A blank book (and pen), so I could create a record of my inevitable descent into madness and slow, painful demise.

In case you're wondering why no science books...Well, science changes so much, so fast. It'd be like having one issue of a newspaper. And really, what good is it going to do me, unless it's something like Electricity From Coconuts and Seagull Poop Made Easy?

And by the way, I'd gladly trade any book on that list for a deck of cards.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
I'll pass it on to anyone that will take it. Maybe then I can get some of you to comment. But since I have to put down three people...
1) Mr. Doug Pace because a) he rocks, and b) I'm actually curious to read his answers
2) Petitedov because of our conversations about various books
3) Sister Serious the Younger because I think she'd like answering the questions.

March 23, 2005

I Disagree

Well, Ken once remarked that he and I used the same brain, but on different days. But I've finally found something that we disagree on. I was just reading his post on the Terri Schiavo case--something I've been discussing with people lately anyway--and I have to say I'm a little surprised at his conclusion. Not so much because he made it, but because I think it's got a little bit of misinformation in it. (Sorry, buddy.)

Let's start with what we both agree on. First, Terri Schiavo is in a vegetative state. An article just published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Timothy Quill, professor of medicine, psychiatry, and medical humanities and the director of the Center for Palliative Care and Clinical Ethics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y. confirms this:

On February 25, 1990, Terri Schiavo had a cardiac arrest, triggered by extreme hypokalemia brought on by an eating disorder. As a result, severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy developed, and during the subsequent months, she exhibited no evidence of higher cortical function. Computed tomographic scans of her brain eventually showed severe atrophy of her cerebral hemispheres, and her electroencephalograms have been flat, indicating no functional activity of the cerebral cortex. Her neurologic examinations have been indicative of a persistent vegetative state, which includes periods of wakefulness alternating with sleep, some reflexive responses to light and noise, and some basic gag and swallowing responses,
but no signs of emotion, willful activity, or cognition.

In addition, he points out that there has never been a case in which someone with Ms. Schiavo's condition has ever "come out of it." There have been a few cases where the patients did come out of a coma, but none showed the brain deterioration that she suffered, and they were all much shorter "coma" periods. Remember, this woman has been in this condition for 15 years. The overwhelming medical evidence seems clear: she will never recover.

I also agree with Ken that she never wrote a living will, or produced any written document stating her wishes should she end up as she has. (But, I should point out that this would not necessarily indicate thoughts one way or the other, as Schiavo was a young woman without children at the time of the incident, and few people consider a living will at that age.)

But I think that's where we go our separate ways.

Ken, like so many other people I've heard, call the husband "shady," or "greedy." I just don't think there's any evidence to support that, simply supposition. If anything, Terri's parents are the ones that come off greedy. Let's look at what we can prove:

1) Michael Schiavo spent three years trying everything he could, including experimental treatments, to improve his wife's condition. Three years.

2) Yes, Schiavo did win a malpractice suit. He received $300,000 for himself, but $750,000 went to a trust earmarked for Terri's care.

3) Schiavo, and Terri's parents were essentially working as a team until shortly after the money in the above decision was awarded. While it is still unclear what exactly was said, Schiavo claimed that Terri's parents, the Schindlers, demanded that he share the award with them. The court backed this up:
It is clear to this court that such severance was predicated on money and the fact that Mr. Schiavo was unwilling to equally divide his loss of consortium award (the $300,000) with Mr. And Mrs. Schindler.

Since a significant amount of monies had been set aside for Terri's care, and since Schiavo filed and pursued the lawsuit, and would seem to have rightfully received the money, I have to wonder: who is the "greedy" party here?

4) For those who would argue that Schiavo wants his wife to die to get his hands on her money, and that somehow the Schindlers must be the selfless ones since they are adamant about keeping Terri alive, let me point out one fact that should be obvious. If Terri dies, yes, Michael, as her spouse, would get something. However, if she stays alive, and--as the Schindlers have been pushing for--Schiavo divorces her and "moves on with his life," guess who then becomes the sole heirs? In addition, in 1994, the Schindler's petitioned to have Michael removed as Terri's guardian. The Schindlers later "dismissed that petition citing financial considerations as their motivation." I'm just saying...There's plenty of finger pointing to be done on both sides.

5) A quick note on this issue of Michael Schiavo living with another woman and having children with her. Do I need to point out that for the last fifteen years...Let me repeat that...fifteen years, the man has been married to a woman who requires constant care, who cannot return his love, show him affection, or in any way engage in a meaningful relationship? Anyone want to cast the first stone?

Apart from these points, the case really comes down to one thing: what are the patient's wishes? And this is where, I think, everybody is getting it wrong. Ken says "this isn't a right-to-die case," but I disagree. That's exactly what it is. According to the law, anyway. It's true that Schiavo left no written instructions. However (and this is a BIG however):
The relevant Florida statute requires “clear and convincing evidence that the decision would have been the one the patient would have chosen had the patient been competent or, if there is no indication of what the patient would have chosen, that the decision is in the patient’s best interest.” Since there is no societal consensus about whether a feeding tube is in the “best interest” of a patient in a persistent vegetative state, the main legal question to be addressed is that of Terri Schiavo’s wishes.
In other words, the court has to try to figure out what the patient herself would want. The "rule of thumb" used in the Karen Ann Quinlan case in the 1970s stated something along the lines of: If the patient were to awaken for 15 minutes, but knew that she would then return to her previous state, what would she choose? In this case, the court DID make a determination as to Terri's wishes. After listening to witnesses from both sides (no, it's not just the husband saying she would want to die), the court decided that there was "clear and convincing evidence" that Terri Schiavo would not choose to be kept alive by machines. Now, if you'll permit me a small digression...

I just want to point out that the witnesses offered by Michael Schiavo could not be impeached under cross-examination, and their statements were reasonable and timely. However, (yes, another however) the evidence offered by the Schindlers included an alleged statement by an eleven-year old Terri, and another witness who claimed that Terri made statements while watching the Karen Ann Quinlan case, except that upon examination, the statements were apparently made six years after Quinlan's death, and which, I'm guessing, the court found suspect. (Mainly because the judge said as much, noting: "The court further notes that this witness had quite specific memory during trial, but much less memory a few weeks earlier on deposition." Ouch.)

Back to the matter at hand. The court's decision was upheld by the Second District Appeals Court. As a matter of law, the court has found that Terri Schiavo's desire was to NOT be kept alive by extraordinary means. That's pretty much the end of the story. After all, that's the whole point. No matter what you think of Michael Schiavo or the Schindlers, legally, this case has been decided. There appears to me no miscarriage of justice, apart from a manipulative press and a pandering congress, both of which had absolutely no business getting involved. In the end, folks, that's really what sickens me.

March 17, 2005

Faith And Begorrah

Seeing as it's St. Patrick's day and all, I'll probably be busy all day playing with me shillelagh.

May the road rise to meet ya!

March 16, 2005

And Dat's De Name Of DAT Tune

Well, seeing as I'm rehashing old writing, and considering that Robert Blake got away with it beat the rap was acquitted, I thought I'd throw out a little blurb I wrote when Blake was first arrested. I don't have a name for it, but if I had to come up with one, I think I'd borrow from the "Barretta" theme song at call it something like:
"Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow (that way you won't see this bullet coming)"


I'm sure by now that you've all heard about the murder of actor Robert Blake's wife. You know, in this country, that if any celebrity spouse dies under mysterious circumstances, two things are bound to occur. First, the media starts slinging shit like Luke Wilson's truck in that scene from Meet the Parents. By the time they're done, you often wonder why: a) the victim wasn't killed years ago, possibly by pissed-off drug lords or white slave traders and b) how the victim's spouse even became a celebrity in the first place, since his/her talents would obviously suggest other occupations, like lurking around a slaughterhouse.
The second thing bound to occur is that somewhere, somehow, the initials "O.J." will appear. The New York Post reported on an interview with O.J.--or Mr. Simpson as I like to call him in case he reads this--and claimed that he offered Robert Blake a few tips on getting through this tough time. Of course there was the obvious things-don't take a lie detector test, don't watch TV, make sure you eliminate the wussy little playboy/witness living in your guesthouse--but it was the more insightful things, the things the Post left out that were so interesting.
"Robert has to deal with reality," Simpson said. "He's going to be second guessing himself a lot. Blaming himself. 'Why did I go back to the restaurant?' Things like that. I can't tell you the number of times I thought: 'If only I hadn't stabbed her in the throat, Nicole would still be alive today.' But you can't survive on 'if onlys.'"

Mr. Simpson had some other suggestions for raising Blake's spirits.
"Don't listen to people. They can be cruel with their accusations. I mean, sure, it looks bad when you park on a deserted street, blocks away from where you're going to be eating. And some people might find it suspicious that he left her to go back to the restaurant to get his gun, but … he left his gun at the restaurant? Really? What, with like, the hat-check girl? Didn't this guy play a cop? Sheee-it. Punk ass white boy amateurs. Uh I mean, you know, stay strong, God is love."

According to Simpson, Blake still faces a tough road ahead.
"The best thing that he can do right now is to try to find the real killers as quickly as possible, even if he has to check every golf course in a three-hundred mile radius."

When asked if he thought Blake was innocent, Simpson got a far-off look in his eyes.
"Well," he said, scratching his chin, "I don't know. But if he did kill her, it must have been because he loved her very, very much. And remember, in this country, a man is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." Then he smiled, shrugging. "And even then…"

March 13, 2005

Deja Vu All Over Again

I think (knock wood) that the computer problems have been dealt with. Unfortunately, there is a family tragedy that will keep me busy for the next day or so. Because I value you all so much, I thought I'd throw out some rehashed (but new to the blog) material. That way you'll have something new to read. This first one breaks the boundries of good taste. Shatters them, really. But why start small? So, with apologies to...Well, just about everyone, I present:

Horoscopes for Mentally Unbalanced Children
(because everybody needs a little push now and then)

Scorpio: The sign for Scorpio is the venomous scorpion. This is because most people born under this sign end up poisoning people. You might want to make a list of your enemies and invite them over for a pretend tea party. Then you can bury the hatchet…in their heads. Poison? How are you going to poison anybody? It’s a PRETEND tea party, silly!

Aries: Aries is ruled by the planet Mars. Mars is the Roman god of war. His minions, the Martians, are the ones trying to steal your thoughts through the electrical sockets. You might want to plug those with something. Forks work well.

Capricorn: The goat is the symbol for Capricorn. Goats will eat anything, even that nosy Jehova’s Witness stored in the freezer. Can you say “forensics”? Good. Do you know what “forensics” means? If you had a goat, it wouldn’t really matter now, would it?

Taurus: Taurus is the sign of the bull and its ruling quality is stubbornness. In fact, Taurans often go so far as to do the polar opposite of even the slightest suggestion. On a lighter note, today is your day! You definitely should NOT drink all your father’s gin and go lie down on the train tracks.

Virgo: Virgos are known for their meticulous attention to detail. They are very neat and clean. This is why they are hardly ever caught. Well, that and a propensity for eliminating witnesses.

Aquarius: Aquarius is the water bearer, the carrier of the “precious fluid.” If you are an Aquarius, there is a good chance that people are covetous of your “precious fluid.” These people are perverted sinners and must be punished. You will know who they are because they will make you feel tingly in that “special place.”

Pisces: Your sign is a fish, which is possibly the wimpiest of all signs. It is very likely that nobody likes you and that everyone makes fun of you when you’re not around. While committing terrible atrocities in public places might not make people like you, you can be sure that they will quiver in awe at your terrible power.

Leo: Leo’s sign is the Lion. “Lion” sounds an awful lot like “lyin,’” don’t you think? Words that sound alike are called “homonyms.” Ha ha ha! What a funny word! When the police ask if you hit your little brother with the bat, you should tell them “no!” Then tell them: “I’m Lion.” After they finish beating you with telephone books, you can explain all about the words that sound alike, and everyone will have a good laugh. Ha ha ha.

Gemini: Gemini is the sign of the twins. Do you have a twin? Are you sure? Who do you think covers your clothes with blood while you sleep?

Libra: Libra is represented by the scales. Just like the scales of Justice. Today is a good day to dispense some Justice. Can you think of anyone who needs to feel the swiftness of your Justice? How about some government officials? Maybe you should write to Jodie Foster and see what she thinks.

Sagittarius: You’re one of the fire signs. This is because nothing satisfies you quite like the pungent aroma of burning flesh. Those crowded dance clubs shouldn’t have those boxes piled in front of the emergency exits anyway. Fire is red. Blood is red. Satan is red. Red, red, red.

Cancer: Cancer is a pervasive disease, much like those dirty, dirty whores. Many times, cancerous tumors are cut out from healthy tissue with very sharp instruments. Do you have any sharp instruments? Go get them.

March 09, 2005

Another Groaner

So this beautiful, naked blonde woman walks into a bar with a duck under one arm, and a two-foot salami under the other. The bartender takes one look at her and says "What is this, some kind of joke?"


Sorry, but I've had some computer problems lately, which have restricted my access to the web. I'll explain those later. In the meantime, since it still seems to be hit and miss, and I don't have much time, I'll leave you with this variation on the "guy walks into a bar" joke:

So, this baby seal walks into a club...

Thank you.

March 02, 2005


Headline of the Week?


As if that weren't enough, check out the end of the article:
In addition to Harding, Feldman will feature four other pro wrestling matches, including "a local wrestler who weighs 650 pounds."

There will also be a raunchy Paris Hilton look-a-like contest, with the winner getting at least $250 in cash, Feldman said.

"We're out to give South Florida fight fans a classy night out," Feldman said.

Ah, The Good Old Days

You know, you really don't see enough of this kind of thing in today's Hollywood.
Not long after Howard Hughes bought the Sands Hotel in 1967, Frank Sinatra had a falling out with the management after they cut off his credit in the Casino. After throwing some furniture at Casino boss Carl Cohen, who promptly punched out some of his teeth, Sinatra signed a contract with Caesar's Palace. (emphasis mine)


Let The Collection Begin

Sigh. Sometimes I hate it when I'm right. A few posts ago, I mentioned taking up a collection to keep the remake of The Pink Panther out of the theaters. Here's a (not so well-written) review that seems to confirm my fears. There are a few "spoilers," but perhaps in this case we should call them "warnings."

February 28, 2005

I'm In With The In Crowd

It's heartening to know that Petitedov, The New Vintage, and I had almost the same opinion of the Oscars.

One thing I did want to mention (although Petitedov beat me to it) was Salma's description of Che Guevara as a "youthful idealist." Now, granted, we should judge the film on its content and not the later life of its main character. I just hope the Academy is as enthusiatic about my new film project--just in time for next year's Oscars. It's going to be a buddy pic about a young house painter named Hitler and a seminary student named Stalin.

My Point Exactly

Why is it that in the U.S. we're still re-hashing films that have already been made, while in South Korea, they're coming up with cool ideas like this.

A Summer Reading List?

Random House's list of the 100 best novels, along with the 100 best as chosen by their readers. Apparently the readers really, really like Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard.

Of course, I was immediately turned off by the RH's number one. Ulysses? Really? That's the best you can do? I was an English major and I wouldn't read the damn thing again if you paid me. I actually find the list a little pretentious. No Hemingway until #45? Please. Two Henry James novels in the top 30??? Have any of you ever read Henry James? They used to use his novels instead of anesthetic before operations. They've got The Maltese Falcon, but nothing by Chandler? No The Big Sleep? I might just have to go down to Random House and bitch-slap someone. Or pay Kenny to do it.

P.S. One upside: It doesn't deserve #7, but I really like Catch-22.

Sex Ed For Girls, Texas Style

Laura Bush's 10 Things Every Girl Should Know About Boys and Their Privates.

And Just So The Boys Don't Feel Left Out

We have this site.

There Goes The Neighborhood

Looks like the Dutch are pulling up stakes, packing up their wooden shoes and beating a hasty retreat. From the New York Times:

This small nation is a magnet for immigrants, but statistics suggest there is a quickening flight of the white middle class. Dutch people pulling up roots said they felt a general pessimism about their small and crowded country and about the social tensions that had grown along with the waves of newcomers, most of them Muslims."The Dutch are living in a kind of pressure cooker atmosphere," Mr. Hiltemann said.

Of course, some of this fear results from incidents like the death of film maker Theo Van Gogh. Criticize the way Muslim women are treated, get your throat cut. They should be thankful they don't have skyscrapers. (If I'm not mistaken, their tallest building is under 500 ft., or just under a third of the height of the twin towers of the WTC.)

So now, I guess we just wait for the inevitable New York Times editorial that will tell us that the Dutch deserve the kind of violence that Van Gogh experienced. It couldn't possibly be unwarranted; it must be some kind of retalliation. I for one welcome it because if people like Ward Churchill are right, and the victims of militant Islam bring the violence upon themselves, I'd really like to find out just what the Dutch did. Maybe when that kid stuck his finger in the hole and plugged up the dyke, he kept the water from flowing to Baghdad

It's interesting to note that in the article linked to above discussing Van Gogh's death, his murderer apparently had a motive besides Van Gogh's controversial film.

Investigators revealed that Bouyeri's motivation to kill was likely sparked by the movie Submission and further aggravated by his hate of the western world and those who refused to accept Islamic values. (emphasis mine)

UPDATE: Petitedov and New Vintage have some insight on this. Check them out.

Can I Borrow Your Towel? My Car Just Hit A Water Buffalo.

I have to say that I was extremely disappointed that Hollywood was going to remake one of my favorites comedies--Fletch--even though Kevin Smith was involved. Actually, extremely disapointed doesn't cut it. I hated the idea, much like I hate the idea of remaking The Pink Panther with Steve Martin and Kevin Kline. What is wrong with you people??? Don't you have any original ideas??? Steve...Kevin...do you really need the money that badly??? Because I will take up a collection to stop this movie from reaching the screen, if it comes to that.

Anyway, the point is that I felt that Jason Lee was just not going to be able to fill Chevy's shoes on this one. However...

A new rumor has softened me somewhat. The buzz going around now is that Lee just doesn't have the face/name to "open" a movie, so the new frontrunner is none other than Zach Braff, from TVs Scrubs. So while I certainly don't think that he can fill Chevy's shoes, I think he's very well suited to bring something of his own to the character while still paying tribute to the original.

Playing With Balls

Over at ESPN, you can vote for the hottest actress in a sports-themed film. Ordinarily, I'd go with none of the above and choose someone like Yasmine Bleeth from Baseketball. Unfortunately, since I saw that mug shot of her cocaine arrest, I find that I can't sleep unless I curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb. Good god, if that doesn't get kids to stop doing drugs, nothing will.

I'm also sure that there's a good number of men out there complaining because others weren't included on the list. Keira Knightley in Bend it Like Beckham, for example.

Although I'm not really a fan of her or the movie, I voted for Jessica Biel in Summer Catch.

Well, Where The Hell Was I?

I guess that some celebrities have it just as rough as the rest of us. It's hard to believe, but Teri Hatcher says that she thought about paying for sex.
The Desperate Housewives actress says she went without sex for four years following her break-up from husband John Tenney.

She said: "I thought about a male hooker. It would be like getting your carpet cleaned and there was a spot they didn't get out.

"You would feel safe saying. 'I need you to get this spot out or I'm not paying you.'"

I would just like to say to any other beautiful, horny actresses out there that I am available for any "carpet cleaning" that needs to be done. As far as the money changing hands, let's not worry about that. Besides, I can't afford to pay that much.

February 27, 2005

The First Step Is Admitting You Have A Problem

Every year, I swear I will never watch the Oscars again. And every year, I do it anyway, and then somewhere along the way, I begin to wish that I had beaten my head in with a shovel. This year was no exception.

High points:

Robin Williams was funny as always, even though I think he missed the joke. Elmer Fudd replacing Brando in Streetcar? Too easy. Elmer replacing fellow baldy Brando in Apocolypse Now? All I can say is "The howwow...The howwow."

One of my favorite groups, Counting Crows, even if Adam Duritz was sporting Sideshow Bob's hairstyle. So, he dated both Jennifer Anniston AND Courtney Cox?...Really?...Huh.

A nice tribute to Carson. Even dead, that guy brings class to everything he touches.

Jamie Foxx--I was afraid the Academy was going to do him dirty and give him the supporting award instead of the one he deserved. (Sorry, Clint.)

Low Points:

What's with the "guess where the next presenter is coming from" format? Whoever had that idea should be shot. And then the winners stepped up to an aisle mike like they were in a late night show skit. I kept expecting Biff to rush up and give them a canned ham.

Sean Penn...Every time I see the guy, I wonder what planet he's living on.

Renee Zellweger...Why does she always look like she's about to sneeze?

Pierce Brosnan and the animated costumer from The Incredibles presenting together? Pierce looked like he was ready to die of shame.

I have to say that I'm not that impressed with Chris Rock so far. He said it himself in the monologue...sometimes you just need a star. I don't think he's quite "big enough" for the job.

That's it for now, but I reserve the right to add items to the list as I remember them.

UPDATE: Clint Eastwood's mother at the awards? Daaaaaaammmmnn. And you thought Clint was one tough sumbitch.

UPDATE: It's the next morning, and I still can't "Accidentally in Love" out of my head. It may not have won best song, but it's still one of those catchy tunes, kind of like that "MmmmBop" song by Hanson. That's another one you just can't get out of your head...Oh crap.

February 26, 2005

Random Thought

I know you're not supposed to stick the Q-Tip in your ears, but it feels sooo...damn...good. It's like a little eargasm.

February 24, 2005

Caption This! Part 15

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! For my next trick, I will proceed to drink a glass of water while Senor Putie sings "Lady of Spain."

Oedipus Wrecked

This has to be the funniest thing I've read so far this year. Many thanks to PetiteDov for making me laugh so hard I cried...and in front of colleagues, no less.

I May Be Poor, But I'll Be Rich In Music

I'm not one for frivolous purchases. I mostly spend my money (the little bit that doesn't go to bills, anyway) on movies or books. But since Ken introduced me to woot!, I've been hooked, checking it daily. I've made a couple of small purchases there, but they finally made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I just bought the "Rockford Fosgate WiFi Car/Home Audio Bundle" for $199.99 plus $5 shipping. My understanding is that the bundle consists of two major components and two wireless adaptors. The first component is a console that connects to your stereo to your computer using one of the wireless adapters. This way, you can play all those wonderful MP3s you've got on your computer through your home stereo instead of those cheesy computer speakers. It's got a remote, too. The second component (the one I really wanted) consists of a 20 Gig portable hard drive and a stereo-type faceplate that go into your car. You can hook the drive to your PC via USB and transfer all those MP3s, or you can use the other wireless adaptor to trasfer them. You can even have them transferred automatically while you sleep. Then you can play all that music through your car stereo.

Now I know what you're saying--"DS, have you gone mad?! You, of all people, swayed by flashy technology, like a magpie after a shard of glass! O' the shame of it!" But as I said, it was an offer I couldn't refuse. If you've followed the product links above, you'll see that Crutchfield offers three of the four products in the bundle. The total? $439.97. I just got all four for less than half that.

So I may have to tighten the belt a little. I may not have food. I may not have electricity. I may not have internet access. I may not even have gas to drive anywhere. But as long as that car battery holds out, by God, I'll have Music!

February 22, 2005

Too Much Loathing, Not Enough Fear

People are bound to let you down eventually.

Hunter S. Thompson, whose life and writing, vivid and quirky reflections of each other, made him one of the principal symbols of the American counterculture, shot and killed himself yesterday at his home near Aspen.
I have no respect for someone who commits suicide and pisses away his talent. Punk ass.

February 20, 2005

Figures Lie; Liars Figure

Unbelievable. I just saw on my local news a story describing a "social insecurity" calculator on NY Senator Charles Schumer's web site. I followed the link, already knowing what I could expect. Schumer didn't disappoint. It took me all of about 10 minutes to rip holes in their calculations. I'm no economist, though, so I'll give you some links to a few places that can explain it better than I.

Andrew Roth over at Social Security Choice
His Update, containing links to (among others):
The Heritage Foundation
The Cato Institute (includes their own calculator)
A couple of posts at Political Calculations

My Apologies

On the recent lack of posting (or at least the lack of consistency). Of course, the academic year is always a little busier for me than the summer, but lately I've been particularly busy. Not only have I developed a little bit of a social life, I have also been frantically trying to apply for a number of full-time positions. Add to that the tutoring and directed studies I've taken on to try to make up for this semester's lost classes, and...Well, something's got to give.

Keep checking in, and I'll keep trying to post on a (semi) regular basis. Deal?

(Although I know most of you are probably here looking for Colin Farrell's finger or Justice League porn.)

I'm Not Exactly Beaming, But...

Yes, I'm a little proud. Not only did Ann Coulter come out with a column on Ward Churchill and his "free speech" which said pretty much the same thing I did, she even used similar examples:

If a math professor's "speech" consisted of insisting that 2 plus 2 equals 5, or an astrophysicist's "speech" was to claim that the moon is made of Swiss cheese, or a history professor's "speech" consisted of rants about the racial inferiority of the n-----s, each one of them could be fired by a state university without running afoul of the constitution.

Just because we don't have bright lines for determining what speech can constitute a firing offense, doesn't mean there are no lines at all. If Churchill hasn't crossed them, we are admitting that almost nothing will debase and disgrace the office of professor (except, you know, suggesting that there might be innate differences in the mathematical abilities of men and women).

and mine:

Is Ward forcing his views upon his students? Is he indoctrinating them in his own radical beliefs? This is what CU should be investigating, the same as if they received word of a math professor teaching that 1+1=11, or a geography professor who continually lectures his students that the world is flat.

Now, I'm a believer in the protection of free speech, even when it's unpopular. However, I also believe that the right of free speech is not absolute. There's always the old example of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, but you could also consider libel/slander laws, or even those court cases in which people were arrested for using profane language in public places. (The "cussin' canoeist" case was overturned on appeal, but people are still being charged under the same law.) We have to balance the right of individual expression with the possible harmful effect(s) it may have on others in the community.

I'd suggest that "great minds think alike," but that's just scary.

February 16, 2005

An Impotent Announcent

Breaking news from the "Uh...dude, you're on your own" department:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A New Jersey man has filed a false advertising lawsuit against a maker of herbal penis enlargement pills, alleging the medicine does not fulfill its promises, the plaintiff's lawyer said on Monday.

Two similar cases, filed last year in Colorado and Ohio, accuse manufacturers of herbal dietary supplements, VigRx and Enzyte, of falsely claiming to be able to add substantial length and girth to a man's penis.

All three suits seek class action status and claim to represent more than 1 million total plaintiffs.


Caption This! Part 14

Lillian feels a prick for the first time since behind the carousel at the '31 World's Fair.

Robster Craws? What The Fuck Are 'Robster Craws?'

This just in from the "Take that, PETA!" department:
A new study out of Norway concludes it's unlikely lobsters feel pain, stirring up a long-simmering debate over whether Maine's most valuable seafood suffers when it's being cooked.

The study did, however, discover that butter suffers in unbearable agony while being melted.

Hey! I Don't Salivate!

Jeff Jarvis has a couple of excellent posts up "defending" bloggers in the wake of the Eason Jordan fiasco.

So why are some of these journalists attacking the bloggers with such spittle and spite, with the kind of invective they usually try to keep out of their columns (Steve Lovelady called us not just a lynch mob but "salivating morons," stooping to the level of intelligence, subtlety, nuance, and articulation of an Oliver Willis fuss)? Yes, it's jealousy. Yes, it's fear. But it's also truly about not understanding how this world could possibly operate. These are the people who used to control the news and they think it's now uncontrolled; they think that's bad.

Those who choose to chastise bloggers need to focus on two important facts. The first is that many bloggers out there (myself included) have graduate or undergraduate degrees in English and/or experience in journalism; we aren't complete neophytes. Regardless, simply because one has a vocation unrelated to media doesn't mean one can't have a basic sense of integrity and ethics. There are many bloggers out there who, I believe, have a higher degree of integrity than, say, The NY Times (presently, anyway). The Times is still getting away with stuff like this:

In September, conservative bloggers exposed flaws in a report by Dan Rather; he subsequently announced that on March 9 he would step down as anchor of the "CBS Evening News."

You'll note that the bloggers are lumped together as "conservative," yet Rather--despite the fact that his political views are well known--is not labeled as a liberal. The meaning? Mainstream media is objective; bloggers are biased. No mention of the politically charged nature of the "report." No mention of the fact that what cost Rather were not the "flaws" (which, for the record, I think is a really nice way to say "forged documents." Maybe we could start using this delivery in other fields. "Well, Mr. Jones, you have an inoperable 'flaw' in your lungs the size of a golf ball.") in the report, but rather (no pun intended) his stubbornness and arrogance in refusing to admit what nearly all of his viewers could see was obvious. Try posting a sentence like the one above on a well-read blog and see how long it lasts untarnished.

The other fact so often neglected in at least one important way by the mainstream media is one that they themselves report with more than a hint of foreboding--people are listening. Those, like Lovelady, who are so busy calling us "lynch mobs" and "salivating morons," are not asking themselves the important question, which is: Why are bloggers able to exert such pressure? Why are so many turning to the various blogs out there for their information? What is it that we are giving people that the mainstream media is not (besides fodder for our posts, that is)? Maybe it's a chance to respond in a comments section, to feel like part of the process. Free exchange of ideas is a seductive idea, and one not readily practiced in the MSM. Maybe it's the fact that people understand that unlike the mainstream media, most of us do this without making a cent. There's something appealing about the idea of men and women giving up time and effort to pursue the news, especially in a county often labeled apathetic. I know I'm amazed at the work done by some of the bloggers out there. Whatever the reason, however, the monopoly on information is over, and as it is in any free market, those who supply the best product will thrive.

Mainstream media needs to pick up the lesson that the Democrats should have learned from the last election--It's not enough to belittle your opponents and count on public dissatisfaction to Kerry carry you through; you have to improve your own image. What's the quote? Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door? The mainstream media needs to start building, and quit complaining that bloggers stole their mice.

Welcome To The BBC, Bitch!

Just happened to see this bit of news:

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's media regulator [Ofcom] has chastised publicly owned Channel 4 for on-air trailers that promoted the U.S. teen drama "The OC" with one of the show's most infamous lines: "Welcome to the OC, bitch."

After which, a tree surgeon was dispatched immediately to see if he could remove the stick apparently up Ofcom's collective ass.

Seriously, what happened to that "you Americans are soooo prudish" attitude we've been hearing for the last decade or so from Europe? How about the European response to last year's Super Bowl halftime? "It's just a nipple, for fuck's sake!" Remember that?

February 14, 2005

This Warms The Cockles Of My Heart

I firmly believe that many of mankind's greatest problems are a result of cold cockles.

Here's a nice post over at Dan's travels.

CNN Reporter: Ok, we need to do an update on the lack of progress in Iraq, ya know, talk about the constantly worsening security situation, native unrest, that sort of thing...

Camera Man: We've been saying the situation is "constantly worsening" since about 5 minutes after they pulled down that statue of Saddam. I mean we'd practically have to see alien mantis people walking down the street, kicking in doors, pulling out small children, and eating them in the street for things to have been "constantly worsening" for that long...

It's A Holiday

For all those not wishing to celebrate Valentine's day, may I wish you a...

Happy National Ferris Wheel Day!

Ride 'em if you got 'em. (A slogan that, I suppose, works equally well for those celebrating Valentine's Day.)

Before I go, let me also share a Valentine's Day poem by good friend** Paul Simon:

She said it’s really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself at the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover

Just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

Just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just listen to me
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

**(not mine, but he must be somebody's)

Well, That's Just Weird

The strangest Google search I've had in a long time?

Justice League Porn

I didn't even know there was such a thing.

Wonder Woman: Why did you summon me? What's the emergency?

Batman: I...needed a hand with my utility belt.

Wonder Woman: That doesn't sound like a matter for the Justice League!

Batman: Today, it's the "Justus" League, baby...Just. Us.

Wonder Woman: You know, I could bind you with my magic lasso.

Batman: I'm counting on it. (cue '70s wocka wocka guitar) Now come on over here and see what you can do with this bat-pole.

February 10, 2005


I never got a chance to thank everyone for passing 6,000 hits, and here we are, already past 7,000.Yep, 6,000 flew by like it was 1,257 thanks to you faithful readers and those weirdos using Google, who are still looking daily for Colin Farrell's finger, and apparently, occasionally, Teri Hatcher's nipples.**

**Rest assured that if I ever have a meaninful encounter with either body part, all details will be found here.

Tomahawk Job

Man, I thought I had seen people rough on Churchill. Turns out that Ann Coulter, the one columnist who simultaneously turns me on and repulses me (how does she do that, anyway?), took on the question of Churchill's alleged Native American heritage (among other things) and scalps him like a...

Well, she does a number on him, anyway.

Color Me Surprised

It's rare that I vehemently disagree with FIRE, but it just so happens that they have started a blog. One of their first posts deals with a letter written by Greg Lukianoff to the University of Colorado at Boulder:
Thomas Jefferson once said, "Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it." Professor Churchill's opinions regarding September 11 have been utterly rejected by the public at large, have caused public figures from across the political spectrum to unite in their outrage against him, and have led many of his own colleagues to condemn his statements. If he intended to generate sympathy for terrorists, the effect has been the opposite. We need not fear his words, and we must not allow our anger to cause us to betray our deepest moral and legal principles. Indeed, it is most important that at times like these we defend our fundamental liberties. Liberty faces a far greater threat from a rejection of the First Amendment than it does from the opinions of Ward Churchill.

Now, I'm a believer in the protection of free speech, even when it's unpopular. However, I also believe that the right of free speech is not absolute. There's always the old example of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, but you could also consider libel/slander laws, or even those court cases in which people were arrested for using profane language in public places. (The "cussin' canoeist" case was overturned on appeal, but people are still being charged under the same law.) We have to balance the right of individual expression with the possible harmful effect(s) it may have on others in the community.

I agree that Churchill's essay is protected under free speech. That's not what I worry about, nor what I believe that CU should be investigating. You see, Lukianoff uses Jefferson's quote to defend Churchill's right to free speech. The problem is, that same quote also, I believe, creates huge problems for Churchill and justification for CU's investigation. Jefferson says "Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it," and Lukianoff uses the mass public outrage against Churchill to imply that reason has combated his "error of opinion." Jefferson is right, and in regards to the public essay, so is Lukianoff. But what about the classroom, a place where the power differential between student and professor nullifies the reason that would otherwise "combat" Ward's beliefs? Is Ward forcing his views upon his students? Is he indoctrinating them in his own radical beliefs? This is what CU should be investigating, the same as if they received word of a math professor teaching that 1+1=11, or a geography professor who continually lectures his students that the world is flat. The powers that be at CU are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the educational process. That Churchill appears to have made up his supposed Native American heritage, that he may have committed academic fraud, and that the essay in the midst of all of this has errors I wouldn't accept from my freshmen, much less a tenured professor, creates more than enough suspicion to investigate this man. Ward Churchill is an insult to those of us in higher education who do our jobs responsibly and professionally.

February 06, 2005

The Season Is Over...

We shall not speak of it again.

In Honor Of Super Bowl Sunday

My Top Ten Eleven Punchlines From Dirty Football Jokes

11. "...Because after every trip to my end zone, he'd start high-fiving me!"
10. "Believe me, I left as soon as I realized they were playing man-to-man!"
9. "Now that's what I call a backfield in motion!"
8. "Punter? I nearly killed her!" (Yeah, I know I used it below, but it was too good to leave off.)
7. "She got me for 'Illegal use of hands'."
6. "It was awful. I kept having to call a time out so he could 'ice the kicker' if you know what I mean."
5. "I came home early, and found him 'roughing the passer.'"
4. "That's okay, baby...I play better on a muddy field."
3. "After I scored, I waited for her room mate to come home, so I could 'go for two.'"
2. "He used to be a tight end...now he's a wide receiver."
1. "Gee, Mike, when you said you wanted me to 'toss the pigskin,' I thought you wanted to play catch!"

Oh, The Times, They Are A-Changing...

From WaPo:
Influential Sunni Arab leaders of a boycott of last Sunday's elections expressed a new willingness Friday to engage the coming Iraqi government and play a role in writing the constitution, in what may represent a strategic shift in thinking among mainstream anti-occupation groups.

In part, the Sunni and nationalist groups may be playing to their own constituencies. By all accounts, the Sunni turnout was far lower than that of Shiites and Kurds, although Sunni leaders debate whether that was a result of intimidation or adherence to calls for a boycott. But some residents in such Sunni towns as Ramadi and Tikrit have suggested there may be regrets over the choice. The disappointment seems strongest in urban areas, which have proved less sympathetic to the insurgency than the countryside.

The insurgents "made fools of us," said Mahmoud Ghasoub, a businessman in Baiji, a restive northern town. "They voted to disrupt the elections but failed. Now we have lost both tracks. We did not vote, nor did they disrupt the elections."

Guess that "I'm taking my ball and going home" philosophy wasn't working for you, huh?

Welcome to the World.

February 05, 2005

Caption This! Part 13

"...so I said: 'Punter? I nearly killed her!'"

It's Really Just Because I'm Lazy

I have been meaning to put up a post congratulating Antimedia for his coverage of the elections, and directing all of you over there, but I haven't. My guilt is now doubled because he happened to write a very nice post about me. But don't think that's the reason I'm writing the post now. This isn't just lip service, or some mutual admiration society.

I first discovered his blog during the Kerry/Vietnam/Swiftboat issue. He had done some amazing research, and I found that if I needed facts, figures, dates, etc. for my own posts, I needed look no further because if he hadn't done the research himself, he had a link to someone who did. And you can trust his research--the guy has integrity.

He's a regular read for me, and I think he's once again doing a hell of a job--this time, with the events surrounding the elections in Iraq. You would do well for yourself to cruise on over there and spend some time reading through the posts. Some of the best ones are here, here, and here.

He mentions that I was one of the early readers of his blog, but I have to say that I had no idea he was just starting out. I just assumed he had been around for a long time because the writing was so professionally done. I hope he continues with it.

February 04, 2005

Just Wondering...

Does anyone know what happened to that serviceman who was captured? I heard he was rescued by Spider-Man, The Six-Million-Dollar Man, and some guy with a "kung-fu grip."

It seems that the heroes arrived too late, and the poor devil had already been beheaded. But after retrieving the head from the dog's mouth, the quick-thinking rescuers snapped it back on again, leaving the hearty soldier none the worse for wear, except for some dog slobber.

CNN military analyst James Marks, a retired Army general, questioned its authenticity.

He told CNN in a phone interview that the flak jacket in the picture had a kind of trim along the edges that he'd never seen before, and that the open-legged pants, as opposed to gathered hems, struck him as odd.

He also questioned what appeared to be camouflage paint on the face.

"We have not used camo paint with conventional forces serving in Iraq," Marks said.

Yeah...That was the clue. As opposed to the blank expression and painted-on pupils. Nice work, Sherlock.


Gives a whole new meaning to the words "to go."

Cheer Up, Everybody!

Yet another great stride taken in science:
The study, which is bound to provoke controversy, showed that the women who were directly exposed to semen were less depressed.

The crazy thing is, it seemed to make the men happier as well.

Yeah, It Was Me...What Are You Gonna Do About It?

At work, I saw a handwritten sign that someone had posted which read "1,440 U.S. dead as of 1/28/05."

When no one was looking, I wrote this underneath:

"8 million+ Iraqis paid tribute to them on 1/30/05."

Eh...What's Up, Doc?

This just in from National Geographic:

Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs.

The press attempted to get pictures of the creature in the incubator, but were turned away by one of the researchers. "Be vewy, vewy qwiet," he said, "We're bwewing wabbits."
In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.

The creature lived for only a few days, however. Apparently, the pitiful thing was depressed over not being able to wear pants, in addition to researchers making fun of the animal's speech impediment. A note found next to the body read "Th-th-th-that's all folks!"
And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.

"We hope he will be able to walk upright, and wear gloves and shorts," said one hopeful researcher. "He may even be able to pilot a steamboat, sweep up with a broomstick, and possibly own a pet dog!"

Oh, God...I have way too much time on my hands.

February 02, 2005

Sacre Merde!

Is it some kind of Truth in labeling?
In an announcement which is stunning the world, France has decided to change its name permanently to Stinkland.

Nope, just some hijinx from our good friends over at the Weekly World News.

Was Haley Joel Osment Too Busy?

From the "You've got to be shitting me" department:

Leonardo DiCaprio has received a lifetime achievement award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Aparently, they've confused DiCaprio with the Giant Panda, whose lifespan is roughly thriry years.

January 31, 2005

A Few Words

I don't have a whole lot to say about the elections in Iraq. I think they speak for themselves. Besides the obvious, though, I would point out two things:

1. There has been an overwhelming force-feeding of the message that "we aren't wanted" in Iraq. Eight million plus Iraqis let us know where they stand on the issue.

2. The "terrorists," "insurgents," "assholes," etc. have made it overtly clear that they are not fighting for Muslims, or the Iraqi people, or anyone other than themselves. Like a playground bully who slowly notices the growing crowd of children surrounding them, they must be beginning to realize that from this day on they will be a little less feared, a little less respected, and a little less influential.

Normally, I think I talk real purty-like, but today I want to borrow a little from Nelson Mandella's inauguration speech, which seems wholly appropriate today:

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.


We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.

January 29, 2005

Now If We Could Only Find A Giant Paper Bag...

I really wanted to send this to Dave Barry, but someone beat me to it.
No one is sure how the fire started, but a common theory is that heat from the decomposing manure deep inside the pile eventually ignited the manure.

Too. Many. Jokes.

The Porn On The Bus Goes "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

It seems that a school bus driver in Greece shocked parents when they learned that he had played an X-rated video for the bus full of 12-15 year olds. For some reason, the driver's alleged proposition just cracks me up:
"The driver said 'kids we've got porn, do you want to watch it'," one of the pupils told reporters. "Everyone started shouting yes, yes and he just put in a tape and we watched it on the small TV screens on the bus."

Of course, other than that, I'm thoroughly disgusted.

January 28, 2005

For The Record

I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but I'm dismayed at website after website that, apparently in their rush to keep from getting something wrong, fail to examine the facts themselves. Yes, I'm still rambling on about the "Michael Moore Bodyguard" story.

It's just that sites that I respect, such as Moorewatch.com, Moorelies.com, Captain's Quarters, et. al, are for some reason bending over backwards to criticize FOX news and others for a story that is no more misleading than the email sent from Burk's firm. And nobody (but me) seems to be criticizing that. I even sent an email to Instapundit, but he never responded. Let me just give you the last few facts.

1. Websites are claiming that the FOX story, as written, is "untrue," or "false," simply on the basis of de Becker's email. I've already covered this previously. The story may be misleading, but technically it's true. (Except for one point, which I'll come to later.)

2. de Becker, who runs Burk's firm, states that Burk "never worked for Michael Moore" in his original email. He later tells Moorewatch that Burk was in NYC protecting Moore. Now who's providing false and misleading information?

3. Burk's representatives claim that he "followed proper airline procedure" in checking his gun. This may be true. I have no argument with that--the charge was not an airline charge anyway. But what they don't tell you is that while he may have followed proper airline procedure, he didn't follow New York City gun law.
6. License: ...A license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver, not otherwise limited as to place or time of possession, shall be effective throughout the state, except that the same shall not be valid within the city of New York unless a special permit granting validity is issued by the police commissioner of that city. Such license to carry or possess shall be valid within the city of New York in the absence of a permit issued by the police commissioner of that city, provided that (a) the firearms covered by such license have been purchased from a licensed dealer within the city of New York and are being transported out of said city forthwith and immediately from said dealer by the licensee in a locked container during a continuous and uninterrupted trip; or provided that (b) the firearms covered by such license are being transported by the licensee in a locked container and the trip through the city of New York is continuous and uninterrupted; or provided that... (emphasis mine)

For those that don't read legalese, that means that unless you are Flying (or driving) through NYC, you may not bring a handgun into the city. Period. I have a relative from upstate New York who worked as a deputy sheriff. While going to NYC to pick up a prisoner, even HE was not allowed to bring his sidearm into the city. (Although that was some time ago, and the law may have changed on that.)

Burk was leaving NYC. He didn't buy the weapon there. We know this because it was registered in other states. This means he HAD to have brought it into NYC at some point previous. (Most likely when meeting Moore on January 11--why else bring the gun in the first place.) That's not a continuous and uninterrupted trip, and therefore it's illegal for Burk to posses (not just "carry") the weapon in NYC. As far as I'm concerned the case is closed right there. But a couple of other points.

4. I've heard people say that a judge "released Burk on his own recognizance," as if that somehow clears him. Sorry, that just means he wasn't given any bail. "Dismissed" charges are something different. He'll return to court on February 3 (according to Newsday) to answer the charges.

5. Although de Becker keeps claiming it's incorrect to call Burk "Moore's bodyguard," most stories I've seen state that Burk himself said that.

6. There is a difference between "licensed" and "registered." De Becker complains that the FOX Story makes a mistake by calling the firearm "unlicensed," but then says:
Patrick Burk’s firearm is legally registered to Patrick Burk - it is not “unlicensed.”

De Becker is trying to play semantic games. The gun is not registered in the City of New York. And it's Burke himself, not the gun who needs to be "licensed" in the City of New York. He is not. If he were licensed though, guess what must be on that license?

A license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver shall have attached the licensee`s photograph, and a coupon which shall be removed and retained by any person disposing of a firearm to the licensee. Such license shall specify the weapon covered by calibre, make, model, manufacturer`s name and serial number... (emphasis mine)

So, is calling the gun--which is not listed on a valid NYC license--"unlicensed" necessarily incorrect? I'll leave it to you to decide.

By saying that the gun is "legally registered" to Burk, de Becker makes it sound like Burk is not breaking the law. He is.

7. The one point that de Becker does get right is that the FOX article headline states that Burk was arrested on an "airport gun charge." That's not correct. The charge would be a city charge (I believe it's a felony).

De Becker plays games with words, lies outright about Burk never working for Moore, lies by omission in neglecting to state that Burk was in NYC to meet Moore on the 11th. He even has the nerve to insist that Burk followed airport regulations while in the same letter insisting (correctly) that the charge wasn't an airport charge! The fact that none of the people in such a rush to make a "correction" checked up on these and other claims that de Becker made disturbs me more than a little.