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.

Not To Sound Cold, But...

This idiot that decides to off himself by parking his SUV on the train tracks, and then chickens out at the last second, fleeing the vehicle moments before the train hits it and derails, killing or wounding more than 200 people?

I just can't believe that they're going to have to spend money to jail and try this yahoo, and then--most likely--spend money on his appeals and execution.

If I was working in the jailhouse, I'd be sure to slip a nice piece of rope and a stool into his cell at some point. The courts are too crowded already.

And for any of you other chuckleheads out there thinking about it... Hey, go ahead, check out. I think you're stupid, but ultimately, I don't care. It thins the herd. But don't be a self-absorbed asshole about it. Don't park you car in front of something that carries other people at 70 miles per hour. Don't shoot yourself and leave a gun around where kids can find it. Same with pills. Don't slit your wrists--do you know what kind of a mess that's going to leave for your loved ones to clean up?

You wanna do it? Here's what you do--strip naked, coat yourself with barbecue sauce and climb into the polar bear pit at your local zoo. You get the headlines and attention that you couldn't get in life, and hey...The bears get something out of it too.

Speaking Of Messes

Ted Kennedy claiming that the presence of U.S. Troops is the cause of the violence in Iraq is like claiming that Mary Jo Kopechne was to blame for Chappaquiddick.


No Accounting For Intelligence

This just in from Yahoo news:

Seventy Nobel Prize laureates including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Thursday endorsed the leadership of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the face of questions about his role in the tainted Iraq oil-for-food program.

"He has never failed to take a critical look at the U.N. to examine its weaknesses and recommend improvements," the prizewinners said in a statement released by the nonprofit New York-based Better World Campaign.

And then this gem at the end:

The Better World Campaign, which organized the letter, is a sister group to the U.N. Foundation, created in 1998 by a $1 billion pledge by media mogul Ted Turner in support of U.N. programs.

Well, there's certainly no conflict of interest there.

Kofi Annan has moral authority and wisdom? I think I found it more believable when Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, aka "Comical Ali" insisted that "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"

January 26, 2005


Too good to pass up--A bunch of celebrities tell their favorite swear words to British television. Zach Braff's is the best.

Might take a while to load. Be patient. You also need to have macromedia's flash player installed. (Most people do, don't they?)

January 24, 2005

Take That, Treehuggers!

Who thought human interference and destruction on a global scale would be a good thing?

At the peak of the last ice age, which began 70,000 years ago, 97% of Canada was covered by ice.

The research showed that without the human contribution to global warming, Baffin Island would today be in a condition of "incipient glaciation".

"Portions of Labrador and Hudson Bay would also have moved very close to such a state had greenhouse gas concentrations followed natural trends," said the scientists.

The experiment had probably underestimated the amount of ice that would exist today in north-east Canada without human interference, they said.

Anthropologist Dr Benny Peiser, from Liverpool John Moores University, said: "If the research findings are correct, a radical change in the perception of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will be required.

"Instead of driving us to the brink of environmental disaster, human intervention and technology progress will be seen as vital activities that have unintentionally delayed the onset of a catastrophic ice age."

Can you imagine the scene if we hadn't burned all those fossil fuels?

CANADIAN #1: The ice looks a little closer today, eh?
CANADIAN #2: Aboot a foot or so.

Quote of The Week

From Petitedov:

"I'm all for erect nipples but honesty goes a long way with me."

I have it on good authority that this was also the original opening line of Bush's inauguration speech.

January 23, 2005

Not Again...

It's midway through the first quarter, and it's 10-0...but not in a good way.

Did I mention I hated the Patriots?

...Beginning of second quarter:

Typical Steelers playoff behavior. They seem to be playing better, but give up the big play. (Just like they did with the Jets last week.)

...Two minutes left:

Let the consoling begin. Go Eagles.

...Game Over:

There is no God.

Very Sad News

Johnny Carson, dead at 79. What a great, great entertainer and a wonderful man. Rest in Peace.

Moore Than Meets The Eye

I was a bit alarmed to get an email indicating that Fox news (and I) may have rushed to judgment on the "Michael Moore bodyguard" story. Petitedov pointed me to this link over at Ace of Spades, who led me to this link over at Moorewatch.

However, I think I'm going to stand by this one for the moment. If it's wrong, then not only did Fox News get it wrong (the story's still up, although they supposedly removed the link from the home page), but so did Newsday:
A California man who told police he was filmmaker Michael Moore's bodyguard was awaiting arraignment Thursday night in Queens for carrying an unlicensed handgun at Kennedy Airport, authorities said.

Moore, the 2003 Academy Award-winning director of "Bowling for Columbine," which spoofs and criticizes America's obsession with guns, was not with the bodyguard, Patrick Burk, 34, of Los Angeles, police said.

Port Authority Police arrested Burk at 8:10 p.m. Wednesday after he presented a black, .40-caliber Mauser pistol at a United Airlines ticket counter while trying to board a flight home, police said.

Burk has a license to carry the gun in Florida and California but not in New York, police said.

Sources said Burk arrived in New York with Moore on Jan. 11 for what was to be a short stay before they were to head to Michigan. It was not known how long Burk and Moore were together in the city.

Apparently, so did UPI:
Patrick Burk, 34, of Los Angeles, arrested at Kennedy Airport for carrying an unlicensed pistol, Newsday reported Friday.

Burk, who works for California security firm, Gavin de Becker & Associates of Studio City, said he was a bodyguard for Moore, who won an Oscar for best documentary for his anti-gun film, "Bowling for Columbine."

A National Rifle Association spokesman said: "This is the height of hypocrisy."

Port Authority police arrested Burk, who had presented his unloaded and locked .40-caliber Mauser pistol at an airport ticket counter, because he did not have a license to carry such a weapon in New York.

Oh, and so did Court TV:
A bodyguard who has protected outspoken moviemaker and gun-control advocate Michael Moore was arrested at Kennedy International Airport for allegedly carrying a pistol without a New York license, authorities said Thursday.

The points that Gavin de Becker brings up in his email refuting the story are nit-picky at best, and incorrect at worst. I know he wants to protect his firm and his employee. But let's face it--nobody cares about Burk and this incident or the firm he works for. Moore is the target. The story probably wouldn't have been picked up were it not for Moore's involvement. Regardless, de Becker says that it's incorrect to call Burk "Michael Moore's bodyguard" because he works for de Becker's firm, and protects others as well. That's ridiculous. Look, if you go up to Michael Moore and ask "who's your bodyguard?" he's going to say "Patrick Burk," no matter if Burk protects others or not. I would say that qualifies him to be "Michael Moore's bodyguard." Can you imagine someone trying to argue that you couldn't say that "[whatever establishment] is my barbershop" simply because it was owned by someone else and they also served other people? And they might not be actually cutting your hair at that very moment? Besides, in at least two of the stories Burk himself admits working for Moore as recently as January 11th.

De Becker also claims:
When checking in for the flight, Patrick Burk voluntarily advised United Airlines that he was transporting an unloaded, locked firearm in his checked luggage, precisely as regulations require, and not “carrying” a weapon, as your story inaccurately reports.

Again, I'm not sure this is necessarily incorrect. The gun was in his luggage. Unless he moved it by telekinesis, he was probably--you guessed it--carrying it. Just like someone might say "I'm carrying condoms in my wallet," or "I'm carrying tissues in my purse." De Becker's objection is understandable, though, because people will likely confuse the everyday use of "carry" with the legal use--to have on one's person. Misleading? Probably. But incorrect? I would say technically not. Regardless, the point is that Burk was on his way home to Los Angeles, which means he had the gun in NYC where he is not licensed to have it. Now, obviously no one can prove he "carried it" in the legal sense, but it seems likely that since he was there since the 11th apparently guarding Moore, that he probably would have the firearm on his person. Why else bring it?

de Becker also says it's incorrect to call the gun "unlicensed." I somewhat agree with him, because to say it's an "unlicensed gun" makes it seem to be, say, something bought on the black market, although I think then it would be called an "unregistered gun." But again...In a technical sense? The gun is not licensed to be used, or carried, in the state of New York. de Becker points out that it is "registered" to Burk, which I'm sure is the case. I might be mistaken, but I believe that "registered" and "licensed" are slightly different things. Sort of like a car. As long as I have a license (which applies to me), I can drive any car, no matter who it is registered to(which applies to the car).

Anyway, to sum all of this up, I wouldn't call the news stores "incorrect," but they are a bit misleading, and Moorewatch should be commended for publishing de Becker's email, and providing the other side of the story. Regardless, the point to all of this really has very little to do with the incident at the airport. The reason I posted the initial story, as did Moorewatch.com, et. al., was because of Moore's hypocrisy. That hasn't changed. The man who made sport of the NRA, who claimed America had an "obsession with guns," that we are living in a "culture of fear"...He still hired armed guards to protect himself.

Once More Into The Breech

I'm so nervous about the AFC championship game, you'd think I was playing in it. I'm a Steelers fan. I've never been anything else. And I hate the Patriots more than any other team in football. (plus, they play dirty.) I've hated them ever since they beat the Steelers a few years back with an illegal forward lateral that was never called. And I hate the fact that despite the Steelers having home field advantage, a better record, a better defense, AND the fact that the Steelers have already beat them once this year, the Patriots are favored by three points. I don't know how that happens. Oh, sure, everyone says "Well, Roethlisberger played like a rookie last week and they barely beat the Jets, and now the Pats have Corey Dillon back."

Okay, first of all, Roethlisberger did NOT "play like a rookie" last week. He made two mistakes in the interceptions. Otherwise, his stats (17/30, 181yds, 1TD, 2 INT)were pretty similar to Chad Pennington's (21/33, 182yds, 1 INT). And they may have barely beaten the jets, but remember, it was really on two big plays--one of the interceptions, and a special teams return. Other than that, the Jets offense scored all of three points. And yeah, they'll have Corey Dillon back, and he is a good back. But he's not a miracle worker. Week eight, when these teams met, the Steelers defense held New England to five yards rushing. Not one back, mind you, but the whole team. Of course Dillon will do better than that, but the Steelers' Defense is devastating against the run. And even though they have Dillon, they don't have either starting cornerback (which, last time, left Plaxico Burress with a mismatch advantage that gave him two TDs), Defensive End Richard Seymour, Defensive End Rodney Bailey, and possibly Linebacker Ted Johnson. That's a pretty beat-up defense, especially against a Steelers tough offensive line and what could be the best triple set of receivers in the leage in Burress, Hines Ward, and Antwaan Randle El. And if that isn't enough, don't forget they're going to run Jerome Bettis again, and again, and again, until the defense is tired. You say Bettis is tired? Fine, then they'll just run Duce Staley at them...again, and again, and...Tell me again why the Patriots are favored?

Let's face it, it's going to come down to one thing--can Big Ben handle the pressure and keep from turning the ball over? That will make the difference. Here's my advice to Cowher, for what it's worth: I'd come out shooting, trying to take advantage of the second string cornerbacks, especially the Burress mismatch that worked so well last time. If it works, and you take a little lead, then the rest of the day is ball control. Lots of running (you've got two DE's out), and short, inside slant passes because they're quick to get off, and almost impossible to defend. Run the clock down and keep their defense on the field as much as possible. AND NO SPECIAL TEAMS SCREWUPS!!!!!!

Anyway, I believe the Steelers are the better team, and that they can win. I hope they do. I'll probably be miserable for days if they don't. (In that case, I welcome all consoling from female readers.) I remember in week eight, telling a friend that I had a feeling that the Steelers would beat the unbeaten Pats, and that this game might be a precursor to the AFC Championship game. Looks like I was right. The following week, Pittsburgh played Philly--also unbeaten--and I told the same friend that I had a feeling they would win again, and that this game might be a precursor to the Super Bowl. Here's hoping I'll make it two for two.


January 22, 2005

Too Good To Pass Up

I haven't picked on Michael Moore in a while but I couldn't let these go by without posting them. The first is about Moore's bodyguard.

NEW YORK--Filmmaker Michael Moore's bodyguard was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon in New York's JFK airport Wednesday night.

Must be authorities didn't buy the "Sorry, I just opened a bank account" excuse. Next thing you know, K-Mart employees are going to film themselves outside of Moore's building, asking him to no longer give his bodyguard money for bullets.

Who's buying into the "culture of fear" and "obsession with guns" now, Mike, you hypocritical fuck?

The second one isn't quite as karmically satisfying, but it's close. Seems Moore was denied entrance into his high school's hall of fame...for the fourth time.
"Would you want him as a role model? Would you want your son or daughter to be like him?" asked Don Hammond, a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee. "I haven't talked to anybody yet who's for him. The word to describe Michael Moore is embarrassing. He embarrasses everybody."

C'mon...Is it really that surprising that most of the folks from Davison can't stand Moore? I mean, here's a guy who attended private parochial school until age 14, then went to Davison High. But what do we constantly hear from Moore and his people? Moore is a "regular guy," a "Flint native," that he "grew up in Flint," he continues to sign his letters "Flint" (despite having a million-dollar NYC apartment), all of which is done to carefully create the image he wants--that of the struggling working guy. Moore has ignored Davison. Why? Maybe it's because it doesn't jibe with that image. After all Davison is actually the wealthy, white suburb of Flint.
Davison's median household income is one and a half times that of Flint's, and its median house value is just over twice that of Flint's. Davison's 2000 unemployment rate was a minuscule 4.6 percent, a third that of Flint's, and its poverty rate was half the national average. Davison is also lily-white to a staggering degree: African-Americans make up only one-half of one percent of its population.

That's from Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man. Sorry I don't have a link.

In short, Moore has done everything possible to dissociate himself from Davison and its high school. All the town is doing is returning the favor.

January 21, 2005

Two Completely Unrelated Things

What the hell??? About 80% of my hits are now coming from google searches looking for images with the search terms "Colin," "Farrell," and "finger." And they're almost all from international versions of Google. What the hell is going on here? Is there some story about Farrell giving people the finger that I missed? Am I now involved in some international conspiracy? You! Yes, you--the one from the Netherlands...can you explain this? Any of you?

and on a lighter note, here's Larry Elder on Social Security.
In 1992, the Wall Street Journal asked President Clinton, "Let's run a couple [of deficit cutting schemes] by you just to see if you would entertain them: raising the retirement age for Social Security benefits." Clinton answered, "I think it's something we ought to look at, I sure do. When Social Security was instituted . . . the retirement age was pegged at an age that was higher than the average life expectancy of the people paying into the system. The average person that actually drew retirement benefits spent about five or six of their adult years in retirement. Now, with the fastest growing group of the population over 80, by the turn of the century the average person could literally spend 20 years in retirement. . . . "
He's right, and it's one of the biggest problems with Social Security. As originally intended, it was to provide benefit for those who were of strong stock, and managed to live past life expectancy, NOT to supplement retirement benefits.

January 18, 2005

Did I Miss Something?

I've been getting quite a number of hits from Google looking for pictures with the search terms "Colin," "Farrell," and "finger."

What's that knuckleheaded Irishman been up to?

And We Share A Birthday!

How smoking hot was Teri Hatcher at the Golden Globes? The actress, who won an award for "Desperate Housewives," usually looks good, but for some reason she looked particularly fetching that evening. Sigh...She'll always be Lois Lane to me.

And while I'm on the topic of "Housewives," I have to say--I know she's psychotic, but I find myself strangely drawn to Marcia Cross's character Bree. I'm sure, though, that if I just hit myself in the goods with a hammer a couple of times, that desire for abuse will go away. Either that, or I'll black out for a couple of days.

Don't Let Her Order The Lobster!

I can't remember if I posted on this challenge before or not (and I'm too lazy to look right now), but the gist of it is that customers of Denny's Beer Barrel Pub have three hours to eat a six-pound burger...with another five pounds of "fixins." So far, no one has been able to do it. No one, that is, until one plucky girl tucked in her napkin.

Kate Stelnick, 19, of Princeton, N.J., who weighs just 100 pounds, on Wednesday became the first person to eat a six-pound hamburger - and five pounds of fixins’ - within three hours.

Yesiree, little Katie Stelnick has earned her place in the history books, as well as a lifetime of "swallowing six pounds of meat" jokes.

Some Bad News

I just lost two of my classes for the Spring. To put that into perspective for you non-academics, just imagine that someone cut your paycheck by about $1000 for each of the next four months. Yeah...that bad.

Dating, Round 2

The post high-school dating history, MY post high-school dating history was not so much barren as it was...spotty. I took a couple of years off before I went to college, and since I had a good job, I spent quite a bit of time hanging out in bars, drinking, playing pool, etc. Living in a college town, there were plenty of dating opportunities--video store girl, much-too-horny girl, known-her-since-she-was-eight girl--but none of them seemed to last too long. There's no mystery about it, mind you. It was all my fault. Now, I'm not some ladies man, but for some reason, these girls always seemed to like me a little too much a little too fast. Indeed, it was probably because I'm not a ladies man; I'm just a nice guy. (Okay, everybody: Awwwwww)Whatever the reason, it was always too much, too soon for me, and I pushed these girls away. And believe me, over the years, I've beat my head against the wall many times, wondering what the hell I was thinking. They were very nice girls, and I know (now) I was lucky they were even interested.

There were a few of the other kind, too. Not so nice. The most bizarre of which...Well, I'll just tell the story. I'm standing in one of my usual dives (the term 'dive' is accurate here) watching a pool game, waiting my turn. Next to me, out of the corner of my eye, I see a woman--obviously drunk and somewhat homely. The reason I notice her is that instead of standing straight up like the rest of us, she's making little clockwise circles, like one of those inflatable punching clowns after you've whacked it a couple of times.

She leans into me, and in a loud whisper that smells of booze and cigarettes says "It's my birthday." Polite fellow that I am, I offer the obligatory "Happy birthday." What followed was a little-too-long dramatic pause before she hit me with it. "You can fuck me if you want." I nodded at her solemnly, and said "I'll keep that in mind."

I went home alone. But I digress.

As far as the dating goes, it seemed like I was always the one doing the breaking-up, and for a while there, I think I actually became pretty good at it. The girl would generally leave with no hard feelings, maybe even thinking "you know...He's right." On occasion, I even managed some physical contact immediately after the break up. I don't know, maybe that happens all the time, but I remember thinking "Huh...how'd this happen?"

I should stop here for a moment and point out that although it might not seem it, I did have some scruples. For example, I never cheated on a girlfriend. Never did; never will. I have, however, been the "other man" a couple of times. I see no problem with that. I'm not cheating on anyone, and if she decides to cheat...Well, that's her thing.

Anyway...Where were we? Oh yeah...The college years. Subtitle? "Payback's a bitch." But seeing as the new semester is starting, you'll have to wait for the next post.

January 14, 2005


Finally, a fight worthy of pay per view. Although, like many of the Tyson fights, I can't imagine it lasting more that a couple of seconds.

January 12, 2005

Fer Cryin' Out Loud....

Can somebody please tell me how it is that The Thornburgh Independent Review Panel investigating the Rathergate memo scandal over at CBS failed to find any evidence of political bias??? Oh, perhaps it was because the panel wasn't exactly "independent," as Tony Blankley points out.

So the lawyers hired to independently investigate CBS have a lawyer/client relationship with CBS. Presumably, as a senior member of that firm, Independent Review Panel Member Richard Thornburgh also has CBS as a fiduciary client. Thus, unlike similarly named government independent investigations -- this one is paid for by, and carried out on behalf of, the target of the investigation.

Outrageous. Even Rather is still clinging to the illusion that this was all some sort of "honest mistake." His response is posted on Drudge, and includes the laughable line:

I have seen us overcome adversity before. I am convinced we can do so again.

Need I point out that the term adversity means hardship or misfortune, again implying that somehow, this was something done to CBS instead of something done by them. Unreal. Rather needs to look himself straight in the eye and say that "it's time to bolt the shutters because the stove is hot and Aunt Minnie's just about done with the wash." Whatever the hell that means.

You're Sick, Eh?

Think the U.S. health care system sucks ass? Thinking about going to Canada because their system is better than ours? You might want to hold off on those travel plans until you read "Miracle Cure" by Sally Pipes, or at least this column by Walter E. Williams.

"The median wait for an MRI across Canada was 12.6 weeks. Patients in Prince Edward Island experienced the shortest wait for an MRI (six weeks), while Newfoundland residents waited longest (33.5 weeks)." Overall, Canada's total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner to treatment averaged about 18 weeks in 2004.

I'm going to have to put "Miracle Cure" on my reading list, and if I get to it, I'll let you know what I find out.

Nit Pick

I'm going to pick a few nits regarding this yahoo news piece. None of them are too big a deal by themselves, but it's just more evidence of the way the news can be easily manipulated. First, look at the headline:

Iraqi Victim Says U.S. Torture Worse Than Saddam

Well, first of all, I have a little trouble believing that, simply because those people who have looked into it know the kinds of atrocities that were committed under Hussein. But...Is that what the victim really said? Let's look:

An obviously ill-at ease Mutar added: "I was extremely emotional because (even) Saddam didn't do this to us."

Hmm...Okay. You see those parentheses around the word "even"? That generally means that word was not part of the original quote, but rather added for clarity or to make the sentence grammatically correct. It's obviously not the latter, for the sentence is grammatically correct without it. That means the reporter added it. Granted, there's not a lot of difference between the two sentences, but there is a difference. By adding the term "even," the reporter makes it sound like the man quoted is saying that US treatment is worse than that of Hussein...As it states in the headline. The man may, in fact, feel that way, but the quote on its own doesn't make that clear.

The second issue I have with this piece is in paragraph eight:

But investigations have shown many prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba also suffered abusive treatment after the government looked at ways to obtain more information in its war against terrorism.

Investigations? Many? I haven't heard of these investigations--why not mention them by name so I can examine them for myself? How many is many? 15? 150?

Again, I know I'm being nit-picky with these things, but isn't it just as easy to get them right and be specific as it is to get them wrong? Why not quote verbatim? He's obviously read about the "investigations"; why not tell us?

January 11, 2005


Next semester, I'm teaching a class on the Hero Myth. Growing up, I always heard stories like Sgt. Rafael Peralta's, but I always assumed it was just a result of the progession of that same Hero Myth, an exemplification of the sacrifice and devotion of all men to their causes. I should have remembered that somewhere, some way, all those myths are built upon a kernel of truth. Sgt. Peralta's story is one which can stand among any that I will be looking at in the upcoming class.

It's a shame that you won't read words like these in the mainstream media.

Kaemmerer recounts how later on the night of Nov. 15, a friend approached him and said: "You're still here; don't forget that. Tell your kids, your grandkids, what Sgt. Peralta did for you and the other Marines today." Don't forget. Good advice for all of us.

Well said.

Funniest, Schmunniest

Okay, for those two of you that are waiting for part two of the dating thing, never fear. I'm working on it, but carefully. I'm trying to be as honest as possible with it, while not simply vomiting words up in some kind of purging therapy session. In the meantime, I have to thank Ken for pointing out how I have shirked my duties. This top ten comedy scenes list from the previous post is simply atrocious. And it's no excuse to say that this was a British poll. The Brits may have absolutely awful food (toad in the hole???), but when it comes to comedy, they've given us Chaplin, Benny Hill, Monty Python, Peter Cook, Peter Sellers, and Irish jokes (bastards!) among others.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can do better.

That's right, I'm taking suggestions, either publicly or privately, for the top ten funniest scenes of all time. I'm sure this small group of us can come up with a list that will make all time proud. When submitting, consider the following criteria:

1) How funny was it? This is all time, so...you know...you better have milk coming out your nose, or something coming from some orifice.

2) How memorable is it? It should probably be one of the first things you think of when you think of that film. That's why I had trouble with trying to justify The Jerk or Airplane!--They're so overall funny that it's tough to pick out one scene.

3) Will it have broad comedic appeal? (This means that except for the Christopher Walken driving scene in...Annie Hall(?), and some of Take the Money and Run...no Woody Allen!) Theses scenes should be at least somewhat funny to everyone, so don't send in something like "I thought the witticisms in the ballroom scene of Le Pretentious Fuck were simply charming!"

4) Has it been oft imitated? This certainly is not a requirement to get on the list, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

So send in the suggestions, folks! I've got some ideas of my own to throw in, and ultimately I'm going to decide the final content of the list, so don't worry--if your choice isn't included, that just means you really don't have much of a sense of humor.

January 07, 2005


This was just too interesting to wait until the end of part two of my dating history. Apparently, Blockbuster has polled 4,000 people to find the ten funniest movie scenes of all time. Reading the list, however, I was shocked. There were a few I expected...the hair gel scene from There's Something About Mary, for example. (Ha ha! It's really semen...get it?!) But there were some very surprising inclusions, and some glaring omissions. (There'd have to be, wouldn't there, since although the claim is the funniest scene of all time, there's no film there before 1974.)

Still Here!

I know I haven't been around lately. It's just that I'm trying to enjoy this short time off that I have. Mainly, that consists of goofing off, and trying to catch up on books and television. I just finished watching all the episodes of the third season of "24" in about 24 hours. It really is the best way to watch it, I think. Man, seems like every year that Jack Bauer has one sumbitch of a day, you know? That man's got some bad karma.

Enough of that--on to the good stuff...well, the mediocre stuff at least. Seems like the topic lately is dating. I don't know why, unless it's that holiday thing where everyone takes stock of themselves, their love lives, etc. Whatever the reason, people are sharing their dating philosophies/histories. Mine should be pretty easy.

My dating philosophy: I don't do it. The quick and easy reason is that once, some time ago, I found the true meaning of love. Shortly after that, I found the other true meaning of love--the one where my heart was ripped from my chest and held up so I could still see it beating before it was thrown to the ground and crushed under a stylish leather boot. That's the short story. The long story is very gory and filled with expletives.

Now, of course, I can make jokes about it, but at the time, I felt a lot like Ralph Wiggum in that Simpsons episode--I was sure that if someone ran a videotape of my life in slow-motion, they would be able to find that exact, telling moment:

BART: "Watch this, Lis. You can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half!"
--"I Love Lisa"; season four

The dating history is somewhat of a roller coaster ride. I think part of the problem is that I used up a good deal of the dating mojo too fast. As a very young man of about five, I had plenty of girlfriends. If you've read past posts, you'll know that in school, I was a bit of a prodigy. I guess school wasn't the only place where I was ahead of the others. I can remember getting caught by my mother while my first girlfriend, Kathy H., and I were naked in my bedroom. I can remember getting in trouble for making out with my other first girlfriend Bobbie Jo J. on the way to the planetarium. My kindergarten experience was such that had I known then who Hugh Hefner was, I very well might have attended school clad in a smoking jacket and beechwood bubble pipe.

Fast forward to about twelve. Summer camp. Remarkably enough, I still had pull with the opposite sex, although I didn't know it. I remember those two weeks fondly--my first slow dance, with a girl who will always occupy a special place in my heart, and who was later taken from us by anorexia. And one of the best stories, too: When my parents came to pick me up, my mother asked me if I had had a good time. As if on cue, two of the cute girls from the camp (okay, one cute, one cute but psychotic) came running up and said goodbye by kissing me slowly and softly on the mouth and arguing over who liked me more. Mom just looked at me as if I had grown a third arm. "Well," she said, "it seems you did." That, by the way, was the last time I attended camp.

I'll throw in one more before leaving this land of milk and honeys to venture forth into what I call "The Lean Years." But this one was an important one. Amy, my first love. And even though I don't believe in it, it was love at first sight. I was...seventeen? I think that's right. I remember two things about her. The first is that I loved to loan her my jacket because whenever I got it back, it would smell like her, and I would be loath to wear it myself, lest the thing picked up my brutish scent. The other thing I remember is our first kiss. I mean, I remember every little detail. I remember that it was raining out, lightly. There was this eerie glow over everything because of a green garage light above us. I remember the familiar smell of her and the taste of her lips and tongue, and most surprising of all, I remember these tingling jolts of...what? Electricity? Pleasure? Maybe a mixture of both. They ran through my body and I felt alive, energized. Driving home that night, I couldn't stop shaking, like I couldn't possibly hold everything in. Had I come across a late-night traveler with a flat tire, I swear it would have been "Pffft... don't bother with that jack," and I would have lifted the thing off the ground with one hand.

They say all good things must come to an end, and this was no exception. College, and distance, and quickly fading youth all conspired against us. And whatever thoughts about her I hold today, I will say this: never again, after any physical contact with any woman, did I feel the way I did after that first kiss with Amy.

I know we're not supposed to kiss and tell...er, show, but I love this picture of her.

(After discussing it with some friends, I decided that it was best (respectful-wise)to remove the picture.)

Besides, I haven't heard from her in years. If she wants me to take it down, she can write me.

Okay, I need to take a break and steel my resolve before round two, where things get harder, and where you can really increase your scoring...although I didn't.

January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you! To ring in the new year, I thought I'd share this link to "National Geographic's Top Ten Quirkiest Stories of 2004."

1. Herring Break Wind to Communicate, Study Suggests
Schools of herring communicate by passing gas, according to an unprecedented study. The fish apparently hear the bubbles as they're expelled, helping them to find each other in the dark and form protective groups.

What's really amazing is that this happens to be the same method I use when I'm camping with friends and get lost in the woods.