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."