Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kerry on, Wayward Son

I am not even going to post to the links of what this creature did. If you are on the web, you already have seen and know. But some quick thoughts:
  • He has killed any hope of ever, I mean EVER, being president of this country. France, I don't know. Not only because the tape is the gift that keeps on giving, but Dems that he is campaigning for are being challenged to denounce him. He can kiss goodbye a ton of support from his party two years from now. Boy, do they hate him now.
  • This is a massive Freudian slip. He stabbed his own in the back when he returned from 'Nam. These people wonder why they can't get the GI and Vet vote.
  • I wasn't going to say this, but the man has denigrated the service of my father and my brothers, so I need not be kind.
  • "I apologize to no one." Oh really, Senator? I bet you do a lot of apologizing at home where Teresa wears the pants with the checkbook in the back pocket, you whipped....

Oh, and I was one of those dumb guys who joined the service. But I wasn't as dumb as my younger brother, who actually got stuck in Iraq.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Musical Monday's soundtrack

I saved this for a Monday, and now it's your turn to play along. Here are the ground rules, as decreed by Groovemaster Nat King Cullen -

  1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
  2. Put it on shuffle
  3. Press play
  4. For every question, type the song that's playing
  5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
  6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...
The fun of it is, you don't pick what you'd want. You just let the shuffle decide. In my case, the shuffle has 3,249 tracks at its disposal, checking in at just over 201 hours. (Yipes.) So, here we go, the Nightfly Soundtrack, Take One:

Opening Credits: Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies, Weird Al Yankovic. (Oh, great start.)
Waking Up: Jingle Bells, Robert Goulet (on the Simpsons). ("Your manager says for you to shut up!")
First Day At School: Theme from Moonlighting, Al Jarreau. (No do-overs, right? Poopie.)
Falling In Love: Burning Love, Elvis Presley. (Luckily, I get to hit "next." Why is this even on here?)
Fight Song: What Makes You Think You're the One?, Fleetwood Mac. (Sweet.)
Breaking Up: Bungalow Bill, the Beatles.
Prom: Flash Light, Parliament. (It could be worse - it could have been that Warrant song that was our "official" prom song. Erk.)
[btw, if the next song is "Life" by Sly and the Family Stone, I'm officially freaking out hard.]
Life: Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, the Yardbirds.
Mental Breakdown: Back on the Chain Gang, the Pretenders. (Um... wow.)
Driving: The Battle of Hoth (Empire Strikes Back), John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra. (Nice touch - a bit of the Imperial fanfare at the start, and the track's 15 minutes long.)
Flashback: Reelin' in the Years, Steely Dan. (I swear I'm not lying.)
Getting back together: Vacation, Connie Francis.
Wedding: Hot Fun in the Summertime, Sly and the Family Stone.
Birth of Child: Don't Forget to Remember, the Bee Gees.
Final Battle: the "Haffner" march, Mozart.
Death Scene: Massachusetts, the Bee Gees. (A repeat, in a collection of hundreds of artists. I'm disappointed.)
Funeral Song: Blue Christmas, the Platters. (And yes, it's an upbeat cover of the song.)
End Credits: Livin' Thing, ELO.

I'm going to have to do this again sometime, with a less stupid computer - other than a nice swing in the middle and a classy Final Battle, it's a mess. A C at best, maybe even C-. And hitting next after the credits (let's say, to open the sequel or score a "bonus scene") got me the Bee Gees again, and while they're great, they wouldn't figure heavily into things if I were scoring this.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Important Police Work

The Tampa Tribune is against a referendum on the ballot in our county that would give more power to regulate “adult” businesses. The Trib claims that this would tie up police resources for more important work.

Work like this:

On Oct. 13, police opened an investigation into Belden after Julie Irwin, a 38-year-old jewelry maker, accused him of kissing and groping her in the bar of a Harbour Island restaurant.

Doug Belden is the Hillsborough County Tax Collector.

I haven’t done the bar scene since the first term of Ronaldus Magnus, so I need advice from those more experienced. The guy‘s a sleaze, but is this a law enforcement matter? Would the police be this concerned if it were a private citizen like myself doing the groping?

Especially since it probably happened about 10,000 times in Ybor City Saturday night?

Friday, October 27, 2006

What this world needs...

...is a Black Jesus:

Director/co-writer/co-producer/star Jean Claude LaMarre, an actor who has helmed several features, most recently "Brothers in Arms," injects a smattering of racial references into his sliver of the greatest story ever told. Indisputably, there has never before been a telling of Jesus' life in which the itinerant preacher has claimed he was born in a manger because discriminatory lodging laws in Bethlehem denied his mother a bed at an inn. And nowhere else has Nicodemus asked his fellow Pharisees, "Can we believe that this dark-skinned Nazarene is really Him?"

Now I know that our Lord did not look like Charlton Heston or Max von Sydow, and a close look at Chapter one of Matthew’s Gospel shows that our Savior had some African ancestry. But the film maker is so obsessed with skin color that he leaves out the most important aspect of our Redeemer (bold highlights added by me):

But lacking the drama of Jesus' trial and the passion, as well as the substance of his teachings, LaMarre's turgid take has very little to offer dramatically or inspirationally.

What is more important to know about Jesus? That he said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father except through Me.” or the color of his skin?

Top Ten time!

Top Ten new features of the "Gerald R Ford" class of US Aircraft Carrier -

10. Free loaner carrier whenever your original is in drydock
9. The captain trips down the stairs whenever he leaves the tower
8. Cool nicknames like "USS Unelectable" and "Lost to Carter"
7. Standard 6-CD changer in the dashboard and XO-side airbags
6. People don't automatically associate "Gerald Ford" with the United States, so you avoid a lot of embarrassing anti-American sentiment in foreign ports
5. New standing orders - land a fighter jet, chug a Pabst
4. Flight deck flips over entirely to reveal 9-hole pitch-and-putt golf course
3. Captain Chevy Chase
2. You get to tell EVERY city to "Drop Dead" before launching missiles

and the number one new feature of the Gerald Ford Aircraft Carrier -

1. It's not named "GM"

Thank you, Swillers!

See Emily flay

Your Friday feast of frowning fury is fast upon us.

Notice how I avoided the Queen Mother of All Dirty Words, there. That's because there's plenty of THAT on the other end of the link. You are duly warned.

My contribution is simple - Spammers. No matter how you filter them or report them, they multiply like rabbits - but not the cute fluffy Easter card kind; more like the scaly, Skeksis, eat-your-own-young kind, that hums along to Rod Stewart singing "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"

[NB - "sing" is the wrong term for what Rod does to that (or any other) song. He runs it aground like a drunken tanker captain, then wallows in the wreckage. For all of that, he can join the list, with knobs on.]

But we were discussing spammers. Y'know, it's so much fun to spend a half-hour of my day at work cleaning up before I can actually do work - and most of these people aren't even trying anymore. Nothing that would make me even remotely think, "Hey, this might be business-related." One subject read "ViHaggara", which sounds like I'm being spammed by illegal immigrant stereotypes: Jo, main, you want some vihaggara? Eeet's good stuff. Whatsamata main, ju don' like vihaggara? Like ju don' gots no problem! There was also "lo sing we ight". It works as an advertisement for a failed Christmas carol, but not for a diet aid.

PS - "Rolex" is not spelled R-O-L-L-U-X, unless you are actually selling a brand of vacuum cleaner no-one's heard of before. My guess is that you're the one that sucks, spambot.

PPS - I also spend a half-hour at home cleaning up because you fail to curb yourselves, you misbegotten whelps of six-legged poodles. Quit flinging your poo at my front door. A big Old Man send-off to the whole pack of you, and may you join your fellow leech-breeder in Motel Five-to-Ten.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I predict Dirty Thursday 11/02/06

I saw most of the FL guv debate Monday night. Forget the polls, here is what I saw:

Crist was a candidate who has sewn up his base and is going after the middle. He had the confidence to give a Dem answer to an abortion question ("I am personally opposed, but.." Just quit sending me campaign flyers lying about how prolife you are.)

Jim Davis was a candidate still trying to reach his base. He mentioned W several times and even made a few weak attempts at race-baiting to try and motivate blacks to the polls. (This guy is a political eunuch.)

Black Dems feel about Davis the same way I feel about Crist. Even worse for Davis, because there is no evidence he gave a rat's toenail about black people before two months ago.

My prediction is that there will be some Dirty Thursday surprise sprung on Crist having to do with race.

I know, I'm wearing the tin-foil hat on this one.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

House of the Red Bullseye

Because I failed to read This Life yesterday. Sorry, Lisa.

There is a house in New Jersey
They call the Red Bullseye
And it's been the ruin of many a checkbook
Dear God, they just got mine

Well I started off in menswear
Bought my new blue jeans
Then I stumbled into electronics
And bought twelve DVDs

Now the only thing a shopper needs
Is a cart and an empty trunk
And the only time he'll be satisfied
Is when he's bought his junk

Oh mother, tell your children
Not to shop until they drop
Spend their lives and all their money
In the House of the Big Red Spot

I got one card at the limit
And the other was reclaimed
I'm going back to the Red Bullseye
To toss my cash down that drain

There is a house in New Jersey
They call the Red Bullseye
And it's been the ruin of many a checkbook
Dear God, they just got mine

Monday, October 23, 2006

Musical Monday, instrumental edition

At work, it's been King Hell Week since early September. When that happens I usually turn to the instrumentals: jazz, film scores, collections of pop and swing and none-of-the-above. I work pretty quickly without lyrics to concentrate over.

Cullen and I swapped large instrumental mixes a while back. I was pleased that we shared just enough similar taste to serve as a launching pad for the other stuff neither of us had heard of the other's collection. Good times. I've also been scouring for a couple of the cds he used, since Windows Media actually will tell you the album if it recognizes the song.

This means that you also get the "All Music Guide" review of said album (if there is one) and it's always fun to see which of your favorite albums only got 2 stars and a condescending smackdown - or which ones got the famed "No further information is available for this selection." It also means you get inane screeds such as one Dave Thompson's review for Shadows are Go!
The Shadows enjoyed 20 British hits between 1960 and 1965, and this is their first American compilation.

Considering the vast amount of vinyl-to-CD and tape-to-DVD work yet to do, this may not be as shocking as Mr. Thompson thinks it is.
So we probably don't even want to wonder what that says for the Great American Record-Buying Public,

We're too busy wondering what all those capital letters mean. "...great American record-buying public" is just as easy to understand, but doesn't make us clinch up inside in anticipation of what foolish thing you are about to write.
...smug, snug, and secure behind their piles of Ventures vinyl and sorry surf compilations, blissfully unaware that, a mere ocean away, entire generations were shaking to the Shads.

Hoo-boy. How about we go ahead and wonder what this says, in spite of it all. Maybe it says that this is the first American compilation of the Shadows, and as a result all this "smug ignorance" is somewhat understandable for those of us who were born after 1960. Maybe it says that there's a huge market for this now that surf is coming back. Maybe it says that you know jack about the American record-buying public (great or otherwise), and they had plenty of Shadows 45s in a separate stack. I lean toward that last, since you're slagging surf compilations in the same review in which you praise the Shadows' music.
You know the songs, of course...

WHAT?!? I thought we were smug, and cowering behind the mighty shielding power of "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run"?
...These melodies are scored into your brainpan regardless of whether you know, or even care, that the Shadows used to be Cliff Richards backing band.... yada yada infulenced Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.... blah blah you ignorant yobbo.

OK, I made up the ignorant yobbo bit. You'll have to grant me that it isn't much of an exaggeration.
...and with a cutoff date of 1966, there's not a vocal cord in sight.

In 1967, the band had clear skin installed so you could see their vocal cords. Pretty much finished them as a charting band.
...its 23 tracks take your senses by storm, easy listening burned through with a vitality that makes a mockery of the unhip reputation the band (like their boss man) acquired après Beatles.

Besides naming many of the tracks - completely unnecessary, since there's a complete track listing before the review starts - this is the only time the reviewer even attempts to describe what kind of music this is, except that it's not surf or the Ventures, despite being compared to both right off the go. That's extremely lame. I like the "après," though. Classy. Let's skip to the end.
The fact is, this band was kicking butt while you were still saying 'bottom,' and this isn't a retrospective after all. It's a manifesto.

Since the latest recording is forty years old, sport, yes it is a retrospective. I mean, say what you want about Paul McCartney (Heather certainly is), but he's still writing new music après Beatles. (Classy!) The manifesto part is all yours, and like most writing in that genre, it sucks out loud. It is, however, superior in one fashion - it's short, so I can make fun of it more easily. For example, you wrote 'butt,' not 'ass,' and then insulted your readers for only saying 'bottom.' That's funny. You're as edgy as a Play-Doh knife and you know it.

And quit telling everyone how inferior they are that they only just now got around to buying music they enjoy. You aren't better than anyone else because you discovered a band earlier than other people. It's nauseating to listen to blithe gibberish pass itself off as important writing, and worse when the writer is only writing to give himself airs - to the point of openly snubbing the readers who are his only reason for writing. If you didn't actually sign the Shadows to their label and sit in the producer's chair, you don't really have a point to being such a snot, do you?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Go Figure (Exodus 20:2-4)

" I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. " You shall have no other gods before Me. " You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
Exodus 20:2-4 NASB

More people who claim to believe that the above verse is the Word of God believe in astrology than the average American:

12.3% Americans who believe astrology impacts one's life and personality.

13.6% Evangelicals who believe this.

Can someone explain this to me?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Which line was not in the movie "Airplane"?

“Timmy, do you like gladiator movies?”

“Timmy, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”

“Timmy, have you ever gone skinny-dipping with a priest?”

Another lunchtime down the tubes

I'm sick of the MSM not getting credit for all the great journalisming that they do, you know? As a former journalism major, this reporter can tell you that The Craft is difficult enough without hearing all this non-nuanced hoo-hah from bloggers in pajamas (possibly with footsies) and their cheap blended scotch.

Just look at the exclusive scoop from the brave embedded reporters of CNN - at great personal risk:

Sure, but YOU'D rather watch NASCAR, right?  Hick.
Anyone can ride shotgun with the finest fighting force in the history of God's green earth, but it takes cojones to ride with the Islamists insurgents facing such overwhelming odds. Why, one could get beheaded shot at poor ratings if one isn't careful. A sniper-scope view of our own occupying soldiers is a story you won't find anywhere else!

In order to bring you this harrowing footage, we're willing to take that kind of risk, so you filthy Internet parasites should be more respectful of us crusading journalists. Now you know why our sources must remain anonymous, even from the chain of command of their victims targets. What would happen to the news if we passed on word of where these people were, and how they organize? They'd never trust us again, that's what. So when they say they want "a PR campaign aimed at influencing the American public," well, we deliver, because it's important. We can always get more soldiers, but once sources lose trust it's over - Kim Jong Il stops returning our calls, and Kofi too, and soon we won't be able to tell you anything we want. Don't you dare question my first amendment rights! (Or my patriotism.)

(w/t to the filthy parasites at The Coalition of the Swilling)

update, 3:08 pm - Mr. Bingley reports that the above satire is, if anything, short of the mark. Not only do they talk about "getting beyond the emotional debate" and airing it, they give us another link to the damned thing. Miserable snot-licking dung-jockeys.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


This... is my boomstick!

The Zombie Movie Survival Quiz

Like Ash from the Evil Dead trilogy, you are the hero. Congratulations. As the chainsaw toting king of witty one-liners, you certainly know how to handle any of those undead nasties heading your way, don't you?

Take this quiz!


Make A Quiz
More Quizzes
Grab Code

Go get some at A Boy Named Sous.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The boys at FJM...

...are sophisticated men who know their racket, and Moneyballing stat-swingers all. They also get quite busy laying down the hurt on bad sportswriting. As a result, they may have missed today's gem from the reliable Tim Keown. A sample:
Analytical all year, a lot of the paid experts will base World Series predictions on goofy stuff like momentum and team chemistry, stuff that really has nothing to do with who wins a baseball game.

The man ought to send Ken Tremendous a fruit basket or something.
You can say what you want about the postseason and heart and whatever else, but understand this: If Lou Piniella succeeds in getting A-Rod to the Cubs, the decision to hire him as manager will be worth twice what they pay him.

Let's just go ahead and confer capitals on the man - he is now The Reliable Tim Keown.

There's more, of course. However, I do dare to dispute TRTK on one point - his item on Jose Uribe.

Must have been a nice Jeep, is all I can say: Police in the Dominican Republic issued an arrest warrant for White Sox shortstop Juan Uribe and his bodyguard, who are suspected of shooting two men who walked too close to Uribe's Jeep.

And not only that, but the details read like a bad joke: The two men Uribe is suspected of shooting are a Dominican farmer and a captain in the Italian Navy.

That's bad, but after the highly-publicized kidnapping of Ugueth Urbina's mom, it's actually not surprising. Many of the country's successful citizens have to live in security compounds to keep safe; gangs look at carjacking as a reliable means to earn some butter-and-egg money when they're not robbing people or holding them for ransom.

Bottom line is, Urbina saw two strangers approaching his car and his first reaction was likely, "Oh hell, these guys are gonna dump my corpse in the street and take off in my car." I'm not saying it's right, but I think I need more details.

(update, three minutes later - well, there we are. It may not even have been Uribe, and the gentleman farmer may be trying to play on public sentement to mooch some dinero from a recognizable (and rich) source. I'll have to follow this a little more closely.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Musical Monday - Closing Time

This ain't no Mud Club
I ain't got time for that now
--Talking Heads, "Life During Wartime"

That's all for CBGB's, Greenwich Village's popular club. (w/t to Cullen) They helped break bands like Blondie, Talking Heads, and the Ramones - Patti Smith was the last headliner for Sunday's farewell concert.
"It may be the end, but it's not over," said longtime Bruce Springsteen cohort and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt.
"New York City and rock 'n' roll in general will never recover from losing this place. I will not stop fighting until it is dismantled by its creator."
Ah, yes, more deep philosophy from Mr. "I was Dean Martin in the E Street Band" Zandt. It's the end, but it's not over, but we will never recover! And we love it so much it must be dismantled! (The Stone Pony is about forty miles due south, there, Severino. And let someone else drive.)

Hm, I don't see everyone's favorite Catholic liner notiste chiming in on this one, which surprises me. For someone who's lived within easy traveling distance, I have surprisingly little emotional attachment. I've walked past it a couple of times but never went in. Now I won't get to at all, although I agree with Cullen and hope that Mr. Kristal can see his club reopen. (In Vegas, of all places. Blondie can come full circle, going from the club circuit to playing casinos, and back again.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

2 GOP senators urge new Iraq strategy

I am good. When I saw this headline on my ISP home page, I said to myself, "Hagel and Warner".

This close to the election they give cover to Dems ripping the president, and they know it. Hagel is running for president and trying to out-McCain McCain. Warner is President McCain’s Secretary of Defense.

The only way my hand would touch the screen for McCain would be for it to be hacked off my arm first. Too many times Dems, in ripping the president would start off with the phrase, “I agree with Senator McCain”.

I know that President McCain (along with Vice President Graham and SecDef Warner) lost to the president on the interrogation bill, and having realized that he actually needs Republican to vote for him in the primaries, McCain is starting to kiss the base’s tush.
Zu Klein, Zu Spaet.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Florida Amendments on this year's ballot

First off, I have a strong bias against amendments of any kind. The Florida Constitution is the easiest to amend in the country (just ask the pregnant pigs). Most of these ballot initiatives could have been taken care of by regular law passing. Isn't that what law makers are supposed to do? MAKE LAWS?

General rule: If you can't vote yes, then vote no. NEVER LEAVE AN AMENDMENT QUESTION BLANK!!!!

#1 State Planning and Budget Process. The Florida Legislature put this on the ballot. Why didn't the same people just pass a law? NO

#3 Requiring Broader Public Support for Amendments. Normally I would vote yes on anything that would make it harder to amend the FL Con. But I will vote NO until the State Defense of Marriage Amendment is added.

#4 Protect People, Especially Youth, From Addiction, Disease and Other Health Hazards of using Tobacco. This amendment is pure Bravo Sierra. Absolute Barbara Streisand. Complete Pferdkaese.

If tobacco is the Weed of Satan, if the desire is to protect people, especially youth, yada, yada, yada, why play these games? Make it illegal. Call up the National Guard and burn it in the fields! The reason why this stuff is still legal is because the biggest cigarette junkie in FL is the state treasury, which cannot live without the tax revenue.

Cigarettes and the lottery. Why should the Florida government soak the rich when the poor give it up easier than Paris Hilton? Please vote NO.

#6 and #7 Homestead Exemptions for low income seniors & disabled vets. Once again, the Florida Legislature put this on the ballot. Why didn't the same people just pass a law? I could vote YES.

#8 Eminent Domain. This is in response to the Kelo decision by the Supreme Court, which expanded the ability of local gov'ts to take your house. Back in the day, local gov'ts could take your house to build a firehouse, library, police station - use for the public good. What's been happening is that the Supreme Court has ruled that it is okay for the gov't to take your house and sell the land to a developer because the profit from the sale and the increase in property taxes is considered a public good.

So, instead of a developer coming the you and offering to buy your house, he has the easier task of greasing a few county commissioners. If you like your house, vote YES.

Hopeful this is helpful. Forgive me for slipping into a little military slang and German in which you would not want to hear coming from your children's lips.

Somewhat later than advertised

And surprise, but it's a big disappointment! I got out of work later than expected, met up with the Official Fiancee, and there went blogging. As a result, well, the post is not ready. This isn't something I can just zing off, either. But I will continue to plug away offline. Think of it as a nice surprise one of these next few days.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Interfaith hospitality blogging

update and bump (Oct 13, 1:35 pm) - Thameed has replied in the comments below. Thoughtful stuff; I'll work up a full reply for late tonight. Don't let that slow down anyone else, however.

original post (Oct 11, 1:27 pm) - Stacy of Still Stacy (funny how that works out) had a running discussion with a couple of Muslims commenting at her blog, taking issue with some of her statements on Islam. She offered to give them a post of their own, and one fellow, Thameen, has taken up the offer.

This deserves some in depth discussion, but for now I observe that there is one big thing that Thameed only hints at, and that ought to have been stated plainly for the record. Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet to the final revelation of Mohammed; as a result, the word of Mohammed is not open to any sort of discussion. (If I'm wrong on this, Thameen, please explain it further.)

In general, Westerners (even non-Christian) deal with Him on different terms - they accept or reject His claims, but in either case, it's a valid topic of discussion. Even the old Christian bumper sticker, "He said it, I believe it, that settles it," has as its fulcrum that key element - I believe it. It has been considered and accepted. And after this, the consequences get a lot of play: because I believe it, how then must I act? How do I reconcile my daily life with the life I am called to live in Him? And if serious new evidence or arguments come around, the question goes back on the table.

Having a similar discussion in Islam is questionable at best. Thameen mentions that "when you move away from the very basics of Islam, it becomes difficult to find consensus among Muslims." He does not mention that the reason why is that nobody opens the debate that may eventually lead to some consensus. It's too risky.

Say what one likes about Christianity - many already have, some of them Christians - but they've never stopped hashing out the details amongst themselves. Much is made of the infighting that has led Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox to spill blood over those details; but Islam doesn't have that debate across sectarian lines that I've seen, and it hasn't spared them a jot of the bloodshed. Muslims claim more Muslim lives each year than any Western country can lay claim to, and often it's not about disagreements, but agreements: honor killings, for example, are carried out against family members in accord with a point of conduct not kept. (That the victim of the killing never consented to the conduct - or may have had absolutely nothing to do with it at all - doesn't seem to be the point.) The sectarian violence is deplorable, but one culture shows evidence of progressing beyond it, in spite of it; the other doesn't.

When it comes time to interact with other cultures, the West, informed by centuries of dealing with its internal differences, comes out much further ahead - they don't avoid evil, but they have a mechanism that helps to mitigate their misdeeds. Islam, informed by centuries of avoiding uncomfortable self-examination, tends to deal with other cultures in the same vein, and makes many of the same mistakes, but with aggravating factors.

This may seem harsh. I'm trying not to be; I see Thameen's grace and generosity and count it as great progress. It's just an outside observation.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


A Cessna Cirrus SR-20 owned by the New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle has crashed into an apartment building alongside the East River in Manhattan, killing four people.

ESPN is reporting that Lidle was piloting and is among those confirmed dead. MSNBC is just now corroborating. TV says that there will be a press conference with Mayor Bloomberg shortly.

update, 5:07 pm - now the ESPN link is more detailed. It's practically identical to the MSNBC one, so apparently there's some rip and read going on; let's just call it the AP report.

update, 5:19 pm - oh, well that's tactful, CNN:

And in other news, footage too gruesome for public consumption - LET'S WATCH!
The underlined bit at the very bottom reads "Watch the orange flames ravage the apartment - 1:50". Geez, do you think you could have a little courtesy for thirty minutes in respect for the dead and their families?

update, 5:26 pm - Bloomberg's on now. First Q was about Lidle. (British-voiced lady. Nice. Work for CNN much?) Bloomberg cut her off: "We don't release names before notification of kin." Good for him. She finished the question anyway. Wankette.

2nd Q - how many apartments affected? A - unsure, some have been combined into suites. (It's an upscale building, lots of professionals, some writers/actors...)

two Qs on terrorism. Bloomberg - "This is an aviation disaster; unlikely to be more than what it appears to be." Praise for the emergency response teams.

5:30 pm - Bloomberg - the plane took off from Teterboro, tower lost radar contact when plane lost altitude.

Q about flight restrictions. Bloomberg - NTSB will have to determine if it was a violation or if trouble took the plane out of its flight plan. "I'm sure it will take some time, but they will eventually release their report..." More praise for emergency response.

5:33 pm - Q - "What does this say about the security of New York City's airspace?" Bloomberg - I don't see that there's any greater significance, it's just an accident.

Q about flight record - Bloomberg - "A small plane like this would be unlikely to have a flight recorder, those are only for larger commercial flights."

A couple more questions trying to link this to 9/11 - typical journo template sort of thing, from the sound of it. (Lots of that sort of thing in the text reports, too.) Bloomberg's not buying.

5:36 pm - Bloomberg summing up: took off from Teterboro, circled the Statue of Liberty; no violations of flight plan until plane dropped, going north of 59th St. Bridge; plane hit at 2:42 pm. 11 firefighters treated for minor injuries. No bodies found among debris in the apartment, two on the ground. Confirming only two. Steadfastly refusing to name anyone, or even to tell whose plane it was. Masterful. He's doing very well here.

5:37 pm - Bloomberg's out. Eyewitness News channel 7 is on board, still pegging this as "Cory Lidle killed in plane crash."

update, 5:42 pm - I missed this while typing, the reporter is mentioning it now: two people were actually in the apartment that was struck by the plane, and were unhurt. (Luckily, not near the window.) Confirming two dead, an instructor and student pilot, NOT four.

5:44 pm - another fine touch from the anchor: "They don't release names until the kin are notified, but of course they have to know by now." BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN BLARING THE NEWS FOR THE PAST TWO HOURS.

5:55 pm - Lidle had about 75 hours of flight experience, their expert du jour (Ron Wasilko, a flight instructor) calls it "beginner level experience." Calls the weather conditions "marginal" and said he wouldn't have taken out a training flight in it.

6:05 pm - Interesting - the Al Jazeera account just popped up. Not a single mention of Lidle, but lots of stuff like this:
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation said there was no indication that the crash on Wednesday was related to terrorism. But the White House said it was not ruling out any theory for the crash.
  • George Bush was informed shortly after the crash, which evoked memories of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • A woman who lives on the same street, Chris Foege, said, "I just stood there in shock, I thought 'this can't be happening to us again.'" It was like "9-11 all over again."
  • The television images of the burning building evoked memories of the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001 on New York and Washington when hijacked airliners were flown into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, killing almost 3,000.

That "This can't be happening to us again" bit ran in an inset box. I'd twit them on all of this, except that it sounds a bit like some of the AP stuff I've been reading the past hour.

6:53 pm - ESPN updated their story with a sidebar of athletes, coaches, and sports administrators killed in plane crashes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Turgid Tuesday

Or, "Ho-hummenshanz." I've literally got nothing but a half-clever title for half a post.

Thing is, I prepared nothing. I was hoping someone was meming so I could piggyback, but today there are no outs. I don't have a standby post ready for pixels yet. The weekend was three solid days of jump, jive, and wail.

I loved it all. Proposing was the easy bit; not in the sense that it was the least work - it's true but I expected that - but in the sense that it's the most abstract. Hey honey, we can see even more of each other, permanently - whaddya say?

Well, she said yes, and so we're setting about making it happen. It's the difference between a building and a blueprint. (Wow, original metaphor there. I really do have nothing, might as well ride this all the way down.) So, we're assembling materials, pouring the foundation, and each step makes it more prosaic. A hole in the ground describes the outline of the building a lot better to the untrained eye than the blueprint, even if a skilled foreman can look at the one and turn it into the other (and beyond).

So we get the perennial farce of looking at each other every now and then and saying, we have a china pattern! A guest list! Each month and week will add some other piece, another person we've contracted to snap pictures, play music, serve cheese puffs and martinis - and eventually, hold our mortgage, join our checking, and write our single car insurance policy.

Nearly everyone gets those little jolts, I suppose - nothing to do with the time or expense or effort, but the electric tingle that lets you know that another bit of the line is laid, and soon you'll be cutting ribbon on a real thing. And then, after that, we move into the real thing and run shop out of it for the next forty or so years. We're building a pre-history for kids and grandkids: we did this together, before you were born, and this is the picture and the souvenir table card.

Yes, we did look young then, didn't we?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Apologize to the New Jersey Klan? Never!

First, there are things when said with the words "New Jersey" which are totally funny. Poet Laureate of New Jersey (there is one!). The State University of New Jersey (good old 23rd-ranked RU).

And another has to be the New Jersey Ku Klux Klan. Apparently they are accused of sabotaging
Hammonton's plan to move their old town hall.

On a serious note, racism isn't just a Southern thing. The KKK has been alive and well in South Jersey for over 100 years. And for their own safety, the demonstration they threaten better have more than the reported 5 to 15 sheetheads.

Friday, October 06, 2006

This is why my basketball season ends with March Madness

A strip club. Sticky-icky. Guns. And NBA players. Just save the template and change the names for the next time. Read on:

Police say Pacer player fires shots in altercation outside strip club

Fifteen years of fun

In his first regular-season game since signing his contract-in-perpetuity, Rick DiPietro was lit for six goals in thirty-two minutes of play - against PHOENIX.

This shows exactly how big a sports mush I am. I've spent six months worrying about the Mets and their Methuselan starting rotation, but they're up on LA 2-0; I've been eagerly waiting for the Lord's Own Hockey to start, and the Isles get mugwhumped in the desert. (By the way, RDP managed four penalty minutes, too.)

Oh, and in Big Al's Weekly Lincoln Portrait Donation, we finally started our survivor pool. I had five possible choices for the first week: Saints v. Panthers, Rams v. Lions, Jags v. Redskins, Browns v. Raiders, and Bears v. Seahawks. Well, I won four of those five games in the regular pool. Three guesses which of the five I picked as my survivor.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Good Info re Crist/Davis & Foley

The last two posts from The State of Sunshine are good news for GOPers in Florida.

First Mr. Negron, the replacement for Foley is only behind by 3 points in a pretty heavily Republican district. He can make that up, so all is not lost in Foley land.

Second, Dem guv candidate Davis has done little (since choosing a black running mate) to fire up black Dems who haven't come out in numbers here since 2000. Davis is 21 points behind. He is going to have to go negative and racial to close that and flog the black vote. Does he have die Kugeln to do it?

Also, let's say that Speaker Hastert puts the hammer down on Foley last year when he first heard of the emails. I mean, investigates the meshuggah out of him. I can write the story now:

Bigoted GOPers accuse congressman of pedophila because he gay!
Any way Republicans played this it would have been spun to do damage to them.
I have no problem with the double standard, that GOP pols must be purer than their Dem counterparts because of media bias. But it's just sad that, in an effort to try and screw teen boys, Congressman Foley may end up screwing the country.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Foley Moley

Advance notice - the links in the lower half are likely to induce nausea, so click with care.

Building off the Barking Spider/Coalition tag team, I'd like to direct your attention toward the right of the stage, and this invaluable compendium of linkage from the Gateway Pundit.

The picture at the Swilling's post is really fun, as it shows Democrats celebrating finding a picture of a president, congressman, and federal appointee doing their jobs. (There's hope.) Other possible interpretations based on the Democratic response:
  1. Mark Foley is not allowed to visit his own constituents in his own state because he is a Republican, and later shown to be a sexual predator
  2. Mike Brown is not allowed to visit a hurricane relief effort led by his own agency because he will be fired from that job sometime in the future

Number One seems to be acceptable to Foley himself, as he resigned in disgrace. Perhaps the Left would have preferred the Clintonite alternative - a drawn-out trial in the House of Representatives to remove him from office, as per Article I, Section 5, paragraph 2.

Otherwise, I can't see the point here. A lot of people on both sides of the aisle knew about this for a while, including several people whose reason to be* seems to maliciously out politicians against their own wishes**, or to store up dirt for the proverbial October Surprise, even when it is evidence of criminal activity. Those people should join Mr. Foley in disgrace, and possibly win all-expenses-paid trips to Club Fed. As Calvin Coolidge famously (and briefly) said, "Let the guilty be punished." Not because they've got the wrong letter trailing their names, either - but because they are guilty of crimes.

On a purely political level, I'm not sure how much hay is to be made in this brief twilight of bad news for the GOP. If one only cares about punishing the other guy when it helps your results in the midterms, it's obvious that your side will go just as far to shield a wrongdoer. It doesn't inspire confidence; in fact, it puts paid to the notion that you're offering any sort of "New Direction," unless "faster" is a new direction. A Google search for "Top 10 Republican Sex Scandals" (similar to the link above; w/t to the Swilling) turned up a lot on Foley, and a few pages later, some stuff on then-mayor James West of Spokane, Washington; and Brian J Doyle, deputy press secretary of Homeland Security. It also turned up this laundry list*** courtesy of something called the dKosopedia, a Wiki page that is filed under "Articles Lacking Sources" and links to the aforementioned out-sourcing site mentioned above, which I will NOT share.

Comparing this to the oft-glossed malfeasance of congressmen and presidents is sort of like bragging about one's squirrel hunting in the home of a man with five lionskin rugs and a stuffed grizzly bear in the corner.

Here's the twist, however - the ones making these comparisons are the politicos themselves. Average folk - voters and taxpayers and humble 60-hit bloggers - are wondering why ANY of it gets a pass. The Dems are right to call Foley a skunk, but they seem to also think that anyone who's ever pulled the wrong lever is tainted by the smell. They seem to conveniently forget that many of their own skunks are currently trying to pass themselves off as exceptionally homely raccoons while this is happening, and worse, they are attempting to convince the world that their own farts smell like rainbows.

I'd appreciate a little more honesty about the human condition. Does it really matter whether your rubbish heap has 11% less stench than someone else's? Even if Foley had been a paragon of virtue, wise as Solomon and cute as a bucket of puppies, you'd oppose his politics, right? That's the point. Something like this is going to quite properly lose one's supporters and send one to prison; it isn't indicative of some moral taint of Republicanism. If five people agree with you, and one of them turns out to be a serial killer, do the other four people have to change their mind in shame about capital gains taxes and the Second Amendment?

In short - stick to your vision for American governance, if you have one. If all you have is "the GOP has a few criminals," well, so does the Left. We're not proud of ours, and we'll help you bust them, but don't whine when we want yours busted as well.

* a little Kansas shout-out there, to make amends
** but only the Republican ones
*** among the genuine items is a generous portion of hearsay and rumor, and some people whose political affiliation is never mentioned, except for being on the list

Charlie Crist thinks I'm an idiot

I received a taped message from Charlie Monday night. In it, he mentions his positions on social issues (How did he find out I was a Bible thumper?), gay marriage, etc. He also said that he was against human cloning.

Human Cloning? Where did that come from? Then I realized that he is trying to make me think that he is against embrionic stem cell research, when he is actually for it.

I know that Democrats think I am stupid. I know that the MSM thinks I'm stupid. I am not realizing that a lot of GOP politicians think I'm stupid as well.

I'm not all hot and bothered over Crist. The unborn in Florida are screwed anyway, so I'll vote for Crist because the other guy would be a disaster. (The other guy is my congressman, Jim Davis, and he has a medical condition that would prevent him from being an effective governor. He has no gonads. The most cowardly politician in DC.)

But if Crist continues to remind me of how stupid he thinks I am, I may just write-in my pastor for Governor.

And when I meme, and when I blog

There'll be one more post on the Web to carry on...
  1. Most over-the-top celebrity demand. Actually, the big one - the insatiable demand - is the admiration and love of the public. Everything else, including all the contract riders made famous by The Smoking Gun, is simply symptomatic of this need.
  2. Most entertaining celebrity screw-up. The Crooze. It's such a public self-detonation, and better still, it's blown the clamshell wide open. People are asking questions and making mock of what they learn, and that's usually the beginning of the end for your cult as far as public image is concerned. Good times.
  3. You’re a top-tier celebrity. You travel to a new town for a month. What are your demands for your hotel room? Huh? Oh, I'm sorry, I was still laughing at "you're a top-tier celebrity." Hotel room, you say... OK, I ask for the room to be clean, comfortable, not missing towels or pillows or anything; and an extended check-out time. I love that.
  4. You’re a top-tier celebrity. What are you famous for? Writing, I hope; otherwise, for being the World's Fastest "Minesweeper" Player.
  5. You’re the star of a wildly popular sitcom. What’s the name of the sitcom? "The Four of Us." I actually had character sketches and plot ideas - the theme was "Seinfeld" without the neurotic self-absorption. "Friends" nearly had it down before turning Chandler and Ross into eunuchs. However, I've aged past the main roles and would now have to take a supporting role.
  6. Tell me a memory of something that happened to you in high school. We were supposed to dissect cats in senior biology, advanced placement. I've always had a pet cat growing up, and was not prepared to see several varieties for our enlightenment on our lab tables. I had an episode - we're not talking just crying, but bawling, blubbering, absolute despondence; the kind of thing that kills the snickering after a moment or two, when people start to realize that this is serious, the kid's totally lost it. Nobody ever blabbed about it that I found out, and nobody gave me a hard time afterward, which is possibly one of the kindest things I've ever seen, considering it was high school.
  7. Did you fall in love in high school? I crushed a time or two. Fairly embarrassing, but live and learn. Fortunately, one of the lasses was quite kind and we actually became friends for a year or so before graduation.
  8. What did you want to do with your life when you were in high school? No idea. Veterinarian was right out (see #6, above). I've always enjoyed writing but was never well-supplied with burning ambition.
  9. Have you ever come close to dying? I had an emergency appendectomy when I was 12. It was pretty bad, but they got to it in time.
  10. Have you ever broken a law? Besides traffic laws?
  11. Have you ever broken a bone? Thankfully, no, but I did dislocate my right pinky. It's been permanently kinked ever since.
  12. Is there one job you would do regardless of how much you were compensated? Overnight DJ. The show would be free-format, taking calls on good topics or just spinning unusual music when things were quiet.
  13. Name one thing you love most about your closest friends. That we don't have to audition for each other; we can just be normal together.
  14. What is the most unexplainable, supernatural thing that has ever happened to you? I've experienced moments that I believe were supernatural, but were explainable. To me that does not automatically disprove their nature.
  15. Why do you read blogs? I get to know people I would never meet otherwise, and have great conversations on every subject under heaven. For example - top Star Wars lines that are improved by replacing a word with "pants." Example - "Alderaan is peaceful, we have no pants!" (Thanks, guys.) Additional example not on the list: "Uh, negative, we have a pants leak down here - large leak, very dangerous..."
  16. Three movies that mean a lot to you. You'll be disappointed, guys - movies tend not to mean a lot to me. I have favorites, but nothing really life-changing or deeply significant. Maybe Star Wars for giving me a lifelong geekout, and Mary Poppins for the beginning of my soundtrack fetish.
  17. Flowers or candy? Books.
  18. Have you ever been questioned by the police or federal agents? In relation to other matters I've witnessed, then yes.
  19. Do you go on rollercoasters? Infrequently, but I enjoy them as a rare treat.
  20. Do you consider yourself more creative or more logical? Creative.
  21. Start a rumor about another person who comments on RTG (be nice!) I suppose that's Lisa, since it's her trackback I got this from: "Lisa buys soup and compulsively steals the small saltine cracker packs, and hoards them. She has over 65,000 individually-wrapped crackers from diners and restaurants across the country, spanning 28 years of dining."
  22. What is the longest you’ve ever stayed awake? Nearly two days. "At the end, I believed that I was a hummingbird of some kind."
  23. Tell me how you got one of your scars. I cut my left kneecap on a broken toilet bowl that we were hauling to the curb.
  24. What is your favorite smell? Plenty - fireplaces, grilling steaks, a burnt match, fresh coffee, and roasting marshmallows.
  25. What was your first job? Clerk, audio-visual department, Ocean County Library.
  26. What do you get complimented on? Creativity, smarts, and friendliness are usually what I hear about.
  27. Name one thing you disavow. The live-action Grinch movie with Jim Carrey. IT NEVER HAPPENED.
  28. Name one thing you affirm. The Nicene Creed.
  29. Do you believe in Karma? Capital "K", probably not. Little "k", sure - there are many arrows in His quiver.
  30. Are you physically flexible? Eh. I've been a goalie for some time, but I'm low on the scales compared to other goaltenders. For an average guy of my build and age, I may be high average.
  31. What are the last four numbers of your cell? Not applicable, as I am currently not in jail.
  32. What is your favorite love story? I'm kind of in it right now. Commercially, "Pride and Prejudice" is good for starters, followed by the Macawbers from "David Copperfield."
  33. You’re the anchor for your local hometown news station. What’s your sign-off phrase? I would have various production assistants read the credits in a variety of styles, a la "Whose Line."
  34. You are a character in a movie made in the 1950s staring Ava Gardner. What character are you? The lovable eccentric with a heart of gold.
  35. Favorite place and favorite weather? One place is much like another. It's the company, not the location. Similarly, I enjoy weather as a class - mild spring days are the best to be in, but I love love love big weather - the sound of a thunderstorm or a frame-rattling blizzard. In a strange way, I've even enjoyed the two hurricanes I've seen.
  36. You can go to the moon, round-trip, for $10. Do you go? Hells yeah.
  37. What’s your favorite acronym? Snafu, mostly because it's achieved word status.
  38. In your job, is it more important to be consistent or to constantly surprise your boss? Consistent, by a long margin.
  39. You have a week and unlimited money. What do you do? Pay off my Mom's house, support my parish for the next several decades, and throw a great wedding for my bride to be.
  40. Tell me a limerick. Geez, pick one.

This meme was the source of the Kansas bit, below, so congrats to Lisa on the double-trackback!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A warrior's drink

I hate to break the Spider's heart, here, but.... prune juice? (w/t to Lisa at This Life)

Yes, there it is on page five. I know these guys are pushing sixty, but really.

The guys seem awfully touchy about being considered a contemporary act, and not a nostalgia piece, as seen on that page. But even so, this rider is somewhat out of date, as Robby Steinhardt's out (again). He's been re-replaced by David Ragsdale, who's only pushing fifty. Break out the Ensure!

PS - they don't rate "Arena Rock" status, or even "Oldie Acts"? They're reduced to the Cutout Bin section? Oy vey.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Radio kaka

In many of the musical memes you've seen hither and yon, there's a category for dreadful music - songs that grate, annoy, vex, irk, or generally sound like cats on meth. But I had mercifully forgotten today's Dreadful Song until it slouched onto my radio a couple of days ago and made me ill.

Friends, I give you "At This Moment" by Billy and the Beaters.

(If you're drawing a blank you're one of the lucky ones. You should probably put this blog down now and have a snack or something, and come back tomorrow.)

Even when I first heard this song many moons ago, I couldn't really get the point. "OK, so your heart's broke..." Certainly it's possible to handle that sort of thing well - but Billy wants us all to suffer with him, so he has to go way over the top with the lyrics, with the music, with the whole vocal performance.

Bill, here's a hint: she don't love you no more because you're wailing all the time. The Beaters probably don't like you either, but they stuck with you because you could handle key changes and the amps all fit in your Custom Van. This is how you repaid them, and all of us. Now they can't get gigs at the Kiwanis picnic, for crying out loud. The drummer doesn't even put this down on his resume anymore; he tells interviewers that he spent six years in a Turkish prison because it's less horrifying.

Maybe it didn't seem so bad on paper. The band laid down the keyboard, muted the drums, kept it soft and rueful, and then called it a day. Then you breezed in, sang, added that pointless saxaphone krep, mixed it - and when they heard it they were aghast. Too late, fellas. Worse, it got picked up on "Family Ties" and the producers used it every time Alex P Keaton got weepy about whatserface that didn't want to sign a long-term TV contract so they sent her character backpacking across Europe, or something. And every time they heard it, they saw him moping, and died a little bit more in their souls.

Alex, the rest of the Keatons were too squishy marshmallow to tell you this, but man up. Geez, even the emo kids thought you should grow a pair. And what the hell would make you (or any actual person) use these lyrics to convince a girl to stick around? No woman is going to say to herself, Gee, he's even more immature and effeminate than I thought - sign me up. Then there's the big dramatic offer - "If you stay, I'd subtract 20 years from my life!" Yup, turn around, baby.

Who on earth thinks that it's romantic to widow one's true love twenty years sooner? Arrrrrgh.

I found two other versions, by the way: Tom Jones, and Clay Aiken. That says it all, don't it? (Confidential to Clay - COMB YOUR HAIR. It's the album cover: it may be the thing that convinces people to buy the album before they notice that you sang At This Moment on it.)

It's your turn, dear readers - anyone else guilty of audio assault should be named below.

A few notes

The Ladybug and I want to thank you all for the well-wishes over the past week.

I've gone back and done a little bit of cleanup on the formatting. Blogger's not playing friendly with our new contributor, and keeps hosing the html - that's where all of those weird dashed lines came from. We'll get it all right in the end.

The sidebar is also newly sorted.

Musical Monday will show up a little later in the morning.