Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Simon Cowell cures global warming... dropping one of the coldest lines in history on Idol last night.

I'd just finished my game and the Ladybug and I were hanging out in the lounge area at the rink while I stowed my gear, and we watched with the guy at the counter and about fifteen other players and fans (all family, naturally). Simon is a great heel - it's part of the fun to watch him hammer the clueless and talent-free, and he plays well to that, but last night he went wayyyyy across the line with the girl with Crystal Gayle hair:

He smiled, chatted her up, asked her to bring in her mom (similar hair), and had her stand by her side while she sang - hands folded, sort of quiet and choir-solo-ish. This was simply a sweet girl who likes to sing and wanted to try it.

"It looks like your mom really liked it."
"That's understandable... it was an audition that only a mother could like."

Holy hell. That's just brutal - not only the line itself, but setting it up the way he did and then casually tossing the line off, with her mother standing right there. WTF, Simon? She didn't have any wiggle or jiggle so you could bully her?

She bawled outside. I mean bawled, and not that half-phony "How dare they not swoon before my demented greatness, all my cats love me!" sort of crying, with one eye on the camera. (Her dad was great, by the way, consoling her. She'll be fine if her family really is as on-the-ball as they seemed.)

There was some good fun to be had.
  • Paula was on her meds the first half of the show (and then was not there the second, for a "family function" - read "sleeping it off");
  • We got Jamie Lynn Ward - the second she appeared I started chanting "Pick-LER! Pick-LER!" even before we got her backstory. If she didn't swallow her own tongue during the audition she was going through. You'd be better off betting against gravity.
  • Brandy turned in such a lousy performance that Simon followed her out to tell her again that she sucked. This also led to the best exchange of the night, after she claimed the wood floor made her sound bad:
Randy: Try singing on the carpet instead.
[No improvement.]
NF: I guess the rug's made of wood, too.
Teammate: Dude, it's her voice that's made of wood.

That broke up the whole room. Still... Simon's cutdown is sitting ugly in my gut. I mean, whiskey tango foxtrot...

(For more on the show, this is your must-read.)

Monday, January 29, 2007


Oh, Sheila...

Pants on fier!
That will teach you to talk about Peter Gatien!

(Source - the ever-famous Backstroke of the West. Do not attempt to drink beverages while reading.)

Musical Monday - Tuesdays With Simon

OK - so if you want up-to-datedness on all things American Idol, this is your place. (Cullen also does some timely posting.) You're welcome.

I was all about the hurting on Tuesdays last year, but my old league played Monday. It folded, and my new league plays Tuesdays, and I do some reffing. This means that between games I get maybe ten minutes of Idol, and have to play catch-up via the old VHS. (I really should be watching Paleolithic Idol, I'm lucky my computer doesn't run off a team of hamsters on a treadmill.)

Anyway, I would like to see some of the Hollywood rounds so I can at least get behind a few people, but so far the only full ep I've seen is the most recent NY/NJ audition show.

Note to file - most superstars don't have to wear their own name on the front of a homemade t-shirt. Neither do they enter singing competitions to do a half-assed speed-talking spaz-dance deal. He was even off-key! How is it even possible to TALK off-key?!? Even Joan Collins was ticked.

Thank you, Ian Benardo, for teaching us to laugh about love... again.

The 22-year old teenager adopted by Bolivians was quite talented, however, as was Rainbow Brite the opera rocker. "Who are you," indeed, Simon. She probably could have belted that out on the spot if you really wanted. He's going to have to start listening to these auditions with his eyes closed or something.

She's sweet on Wagner
I think she'd die for Beethoven
She loves the way Puccini lays down a tune
And Verdi's always creeping from her room

As for the Sopranettes, immortalized as BFF1 & 2 by Cullen... it's plain that Pt Pleasant is a better singer; she also seems like a decent girl, unlike Ms. Holmdel. My prediction is that, if Holmdel lasts longer (or they go out together), they'll be OK; but if Pt Pleasant outlasts Holmdel that friendship is done.

The "dress and stilettos" guy (yeah, that's classy, Simon) set out at the top of his range and had no room left. That's what killed him. "Three Times an Idol" girl, unfortunately, chose a show-off song, and one that is, sadly, one of the most annoying ditties ever sang. I would have felt worse for her if she hadn't made that speech at the end, which sounded more daytime soap than heartfelt plea. I'm glad that the "Build Me Up Buttercup" guy is getting another go, though. He can sing, and I like how he's handling having gakked the words last year - that sheepish "yeah, my bad" deal is just the right balance.

Coincidentally, a guy who worked at the rink where I started playing sang that song all the time.

Why do you fill me up (fill me up)
Buttercup, baby, just to let me down (let me down)
And mess me around
And then worst of all (worst of all)
You never call, baby, when you say you will (say you will)
But I love you still

I need you (I need you)
More than anyone, darling
You know that I have from the start
So fill me up, buttercup
Don't break my heart

I will remember that song after I've forgotten my own name.

Not much else to say that hasn't already been said funnier elsewhere. I'm not sure where the Joe Jackson dude came from - forty-seven years old?!? - but he was rather sad to hear. Shouldn't you be at the PTA meeting or something?

In general, I'm not sure why nearly everyone goes in for the cut-rate Whitney Houston mewling. They sound like they're hyperventilating and it only serves to expose their lack of talent. Hit the note and hold it for longer than a quarter-second, dammit. "Love" is one syllable, not twelve - "lo-wu-oh-uh-OOOOOOOH-EEE-oooooh-vvvvvv-ooooh-wu-ohhhh..." You can be smacked, you know, so sing or shut up.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

UMC= United Marshmallow Church

Which is what the United Methodist Church is turning into:
There will be U2 music at Sunday's 6:30 p.m. contemporary service at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Orlando. The church's praise band (isn't there a catchier name than that?) will perform U2 hits such as "In the Name of Love," "With or Without You" and "Beautiful Day" to raise awareness about poverty and social issues.
Where did the idea originate? It all started with an interview that Bono gave at the Willow Creek Leadership Conference, an annual meeting involving a wide range of church denominations."He was talking about being involved in changing social ills, and that just went into the back of our minds," says Justin Cox, an assistant to the youth director at First Methodist. "In the month of January, we have been talking each week about different social issues -- poverty, homelessness, AIDS. We remembered Bono's interview and his campaign."
Cox says the church has never incorporated any rock or pop music in its services, but the Bono connection was a natural one. Young people also know of Bono's activism, particularly through the RED product tie-ins launched by the Gap and Apple."If you listen to the words in the music, people can sing along and understand how they apply to AIDS and poverty and being sexually active," says Sharon Tice, a volunteer in the church's youth ministry.

U2 has put out some good stuff. I turn the radio up when U2 is on. But when you are a "praise" band playing it in church, you are no longer a praise band. The operative word is "praise", which is defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary ( ) as:

transitive verb
1 : to express a favorable judgment of : Commend
2: to glorify (a god or saint) especially by the attribution of perfectionsintransitive verb : to express praise

I am in the music team in our church. We do not call ourselves a praise band, but we come a lot closer to it than these guys. It all comes down to the purpose of your Sunday meeting. In our church we sing praises (definition 2) and then one of our pastors opens the Bible and talks about what's in it. (That's called the "Dragnet" preaching style - just the facts, ma'am.)

If you're going to use your Sunday morning meeting to promote social activism then merge with the Episcopalians and become the Democratic National Committee with holidays.

I have no problem with churches being involved in politics (whoops! Conservative churches are involved in politics, mainstream theo-lib churches are involved in social activism. I need to keep that straight.) But if the social gospel is all you have, then you don't have the Gospel.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fer criminy's sake

Via Crab Apple Lane, a tale about your classic Flight From Hell. I've a good deal of sympathy for the passengers, having been in bad situations with delayed flights and airline ripoffs - but Rob's choice of Quote of the Day just... well... aarrrgh.

Now, they’re calling for the U.S. Congress to pass a passengers’ bill of rights.
Oh, baloney. Enough of this "X's Bill of Rights" crapola. Passengers already have a bill of rights. It's called the Bill of Rights.

I can't stand this classifying people to the nth degree. It makes us think of ourselves not as citizens under an equal rule of law but as aggrieved subsets who aren't getting special attention (wah wah) and why doesn't Congress do something?

Well, Congress isn't supposed to do something about everything. The whole point of the actual Bill of Rights and Constitution was limiting Congressional power and leaving the actual business of everyday living to the sovereign citizens of the country - us. Crying for a law every time one has a merely unpleasant experience, and then giving that cry equal status in name with one of the revolutionary documents in world history, is nitwittery.

Of course it's not your fault Rob, and I'm not yelling at you. This is just another whack at the piñata for people who want the government to make life perfect forever and ever; who think that the moment you're dissatisfied someone has to be held liable. Even with cause (such as these passengers had) that's a dubious proposition.

Let's take this proposal (which I will NOT be calling the PBOR) one step at a time, shall we?

All American air carriers shall abide by the following standards to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers:

OK - right off, I'd like to point out that any American air carrier that does poorly with safety, security, and comfort should not be patronized, and should go out of business quite nicely without more damned laws - many of which are probably already on the books in some form or fashion. It's not like fraud is legal.

• Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.

And who gets to decide what "appropriate resolution" is? Right now, it's you the consumer. If Delta jerks your chain, fly United. If United strands you in Pierre, South Dakota, fly Continental.

• Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.

If they ask, then a responsible airline should tell them. If not, then why annoy them? "Oh, we're going to be late, just GREAT," they huff; but if the delay's only 15 minutes, why make the passengers huffy? They probably wouldn't have noticed anyway.

• Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.

I'm not arguing in favor of stranding people in a plane indefinitely, but I can't conceive of major airports not already having procedures for these cases, because a life-threatening event requires it. The problem is that in many areas, one can always take another airline, but you're stuck with the airport - and the airport may suck.

The solution seems obvious to me. If the airport is the problem, then any law or revision thereof should target that and not the carrier.

• Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
• Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.

These are, I think, already laws - you can't just lock people on a plane intederminately with no provision. More than that, it's common sense. You mean we need a law to tell us not to imprison our customers in an uncomfortable box all day?

Reading the original account, you see that American had unavoidable problems (technical and weather delays), and then made them worse by being understaffed around the holidays. For me the eye-opener, however, was that in some of the other cases cited, the delays were caused by well-meant laws badly applied. For example: international passengers stranded in a diverted plane, unable to stay because there was no customs service and unable to go on because the crew had reached their lawful work-time limits. How can the airline be made liable for that? On the flight in question, the captain was repeatedly denied permission to get to a gate and eventually did it anyway. But a nine-hour delay, however horrid, is preferable to the risk of a collision, certain to injure or kill many.

In either case, there are already all sorts of remedies in civil court, and the ultimate expedient, taking one's business elsewhere.

• Publish and update monthly on the company’s public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.

Actually a decent idea; but again, usually airlines and airports analyze data like these and, to keep themselves in business, they work to avoid these delays. In other words, why make a law when it's something the airlines already need to do well? (Notice the trend here?)

My heart goes out to the crew. They're just as stuck, with the added fun of getting screamed at (or possibly threatened) by weary and frustrated passengers, and an obligation to be kind and patient in reply.

• Compensate “bumped” passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price.

AHA. Sooner or later, we knew that this was going to have a "Gouge the Business" Provision.

• The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but [sic] rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.

And sooner or later, a new bureaucracy was bound to come into play.

Hey, dumbass lawyers - passengers and consumers already have formal ability to complain. They hired YOU, you useless dipwads. And there are plenty of non-airline executives with the formal ability to review and investigate complaints. They're called judges. BUT they can't do their jobs until you do yours, which is representing your clients' interests instead of grandstanding for some face time on TV.

• Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.

Orbitz isn't easily accessed? They're so easy to access, half the time I do it without even trying because of the damned popups.

• Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.

Look, I'm not just ranting off the cuff here.

Continental's policy.
United's policy.

I found them pretty much in less than a minute. I had more trouble finding them for places like Jet Blue and AirTran, which didn't surprise me. They aren't major carriers and there's a reason why. In other words, consumers already are watching out for themselves, aided effectively by laws already in place.

In all of these cases, the policy is (quite sensibly) that you tell the airline that your stuff is gone, and then they get cracking. I've had my luggage misrouted, and it's a drag wearing the same outfit two days in a row until you get shopping, but really, did it break my arm? And then I had new clothes, so really, it was win-win in the end.

Note that all of these sites will, with only minimal trouble, tell you about handling policy beforehand, and they also warn you that the TSA assumes responsibility under certain circumstances - and they then give you links to their web site and a helpful toll-free phone number.

None of this has yet considered that for a major airline, one can always go to the counter at the airport (or call ahead) and ask about stuff. Like, "Where's my luggage, you crooks? And why am I routing through Cleveland for a flight from Dallas to Tampa?"

There's something at the end of this stupidity that said that the laws would also apply to foreign carriers (I think, I don't know what code-share partners are since I'm not in the industry). Again, utterly useless since doing business here already implies following the appropriate laws.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hello, Mary Lou

The original "I just nailed my final vault, so take THAT" gymnast is 39 today.

I learned this while scanning through the radio waves on my way home today. The station does a "70's at Seven" bit, and the DJ decided to intro a song with the news about Ms. Retton. "You know, that gymnast from the 70's - how is that even possible?" she gushed.

Who knows? Up next on 70's at Seven - U2.

Ah, blogworld

Chatting about (of all things) Governeur Morris at the Sheila Variations, I had a friendly exchange with a guy whose name was new - and who surprised me by saying that it had been a while, how've I been?

Well, it turns out that new guy is actually THIS guy. Haven't chatted in a dog's age, but there he is. It's a small Internet, folks. You lose touch, you get back in touch... Well, I'm doing terrific overall, thanks for asking. It's good to hear from you again, and I hope you and yours are well.

And apropos of nothing (again), I think it took me until high school to realize that "Governeur" was Mr. Morris' given name; when I was a kid I always assumed that some guy named Morris was once Governor, but that they spelled it wrong in the old days.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Another Embarrassment to the Faith

This is what unbelievers rip us for - going into people personal lives. What "evidence of those rumor's truth"? Barbara Streisand CDs? An affinity for show tunes? Being LTN (Little Too Neat)?
Please stop now. Governor Crist, Michael Jackson and I are all 48-year-old single white men. One of us is gay, and it isn't Governor Crist or I.

Florida celebrated the inauguration of another Republican governor this month who promises to maintain the previous administration's policy of holding down taxes and improving quality of education. But Charlie Crist will also be seeking to quell rumors about his sexuality that dogged him throughout his campaign, and pro-family leaders say they will be watching for any evidence of those rumors' truth in the days to come.

An Embarrassment to the Faith

About six years ago in Tampa we had some "Christians" running a Ponzi scheme. They would lie and cheat people out of their savings while claiming that the laws of the country didn't apply to them because they were "citizens of heaven".
Then there's this clown:
A Florida evangelist who founded a creationist theme park but was accused of tax fraud because he called his employees missionaries and paid them in cash has been convicted on those counts.
Kent Hovind, of Pensacola, is known as "Dr. Dino," for his Dinosaur Adventure Land, and had declared at a hearing last summer he did not recognize the government's right to try him.
Creation Science Evangelism ministry in Pensacola included a museum and a science center, too, and is dedicated to debunking evolution. He has offered $250,000 reward to anyone offering sufficient proof of evolution.
The evangelist says he's not a tax protester, asserting he has no income or property because everything belongs to God.
But a 12-person jury deliberated for 2½ hours before finding Hovind and his wife, Jo, guilty of all counts in their tax-fraud case, according to a report in the News Journal.
He was found guilty of 58 counts, including failure to pay $845,000 in employee-related taxes. He faces a maximum of 288 years in prison. Jo Hovind was charged and convicted in 44 of the counts involving evading bank-reporting requirements. She faces up to 225 years in prison but was allowed to remain free pending the couple's sentencing on Jan. 9, the News Journal said.
To the rest of you cheats, thieves and liars who use my Lord and Savior as a prop, why not read His Word before you before you try and use my God as a defense like this criminal (note the portions in bold).

Romans 13:1-7
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A bedtime story

This is a little story I put together to answer a question my Ladybug asked me at the rink one day. - NF

Once upon a time, a nice boy named Randy Holt decided to take up the sport of ice hockey. He got laughed at a bit, mostly because he was smaller than the other boys once he was done growing. Adult Randy was rather an average 5’ 11”, 185 lbs.* But once Randy started playing, the other kids stopped laughing – because he would clobber them if they didn’t.

Randy Holt was good enough to represent seven different NHL teams in ten years. A majority of his games were spent with the Washington Capitals, but his most notable game came in early 1979, when he was a Los Angeles King. His primary responsibility wasn’t scoring. The Kings had Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer, Dave Taylor, and Butch Goring to score goals. Randy’s job was simply to make sure that nobody tried to knock down those guys.

On this particular evening – March 11, 1979 – the Kings traveled to play the Philadelphia Flyers, and an all-out brawl broke loose in the first period. Randy got into in with Ken Linseman, whose style of play would soon earn him the nickname, “The Rat.” Linseman was only a rookie at the time, and much more successful offensively than Randy. In fact, he scored five goals in 30 games that rookie season, one more than Randy totalled for his entire career. But during this brawl, Randy set a standard no other player has ever matched: he was assessed 57 minutes in penalties. To go along with the ten that he already had, Randy finished with 67 penalty minutes in one game.

An NHL game only lasts 60 minutes.

Others have done more in the long haul. Four different guys have topped 400 minutes in a season – an average of five per game. Dave “Tiger” Williams rang up 3966 minutes in his career – over 66 complete games spent sitting in penalty boxes. (When he was actually on the ice he was good enough for 241 career goals.) There was Ogie Oglethorpe of Slap Shot fame, “with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country's refusal to accept him.” But let us remember Randy Holt, who for one night was on a par with any of them – March 11, 1979, at the fabulous Sports Spectrum of Philadelphia, where Randy Holt was the King of the Rink.

*Adult Nightfly is 6’ even, and about 170 pounds, just for comparison’s sake.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quote of the month

From the estimable Ken Summers:
Yet, even in the most anti-smoking jurisdictions, it is legal to carry concealed cigarettes as long as you don't fire one up illegally. I could go for gun laws like that - legal to carry one concealed as long as you don't fire it off illegally.

It comes from a fisking of this editorial favoring forced disarmament, and you will enjoy said fisking immensely. Like hitting deer with a Camry, baby...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Filed under...

Card catalogues rule hard.
There are a couple of in-jokes on the card, but most of the attempted humor should be obvious. Ten points to the first person who gets the movie quote.

(w/t to Sheila for finding the Card Catalogue Generator)

UPDATE - Thanks to Tracey and her link to the Dewey Decimal blog (!!) I now know that "516" is not only the area code for my old hometown, it's also the official categorization for works on geometry. (The 500's in general are devoted to SCIENCE!)

And speaking of 24...

I had never seen it. In fact, the only thing I knew for sure about "24" was that Jack Bauer is like Chuck Norris crossed with Mr. T, but with Indiana Jones' resourcefulness and James Bond's determination. In other words, I expected my television to explode from awesome.

Maybe that was part of the trouble... because those first three hours drove me CRAZY.

OK, so this guy is so damn cool he singlehandedly stops global warming. Jack Bauer sleeps with the lights on - because the dark is afraid of Jack Bauer. And what does CTU decide to do after the Chicoms kidnap him at the end of last season? What anyone else would do when the person in question has saved the world five times - they let him ROT for 20 months. And then, when they do get around to bringing him back, they've only done it to give him to some OTHER mortal enemy who wants America dead. (Starting with Jack.) NOT ONLY THIS, but they also give the Mortal Enemy access to all our satellites and communications frequencies.

Who wrote this episode, Harold Pinter?

Mind you - this would be like the Patriots losing Tom Brady in free agency, waiting two seasons for their entire team to fall apart, and then trading away their only four remaining good players to get him back - only to then trade him away again, with draft picks, for a punter. Maybe Bill Belichick should run CTU, because nobody else can.

Naturally, they do this and then don't plan some sort of contingency so they can track the other guy, too. I mean, why on earth wouldn't you trust a shady Islamofascist who wants to kill your best operative? And then, after Jack escapes anyway (because people pass out from his badassedness, leaving the coast clear), nobody thinks to say - ok, we left him here, he showed up there an hour later, and the other guy had him for half of that hour. They can't use all of that to maybe get within the general neighborhood and start searching?

There's more, and some of it involves spoilers, but let's just say that there was a great deal of coming up small in a big situation in those three hours - including the dad of the neighbors (you know the guy, the half-fading white afro candy ass) who decides to drive away and do the kid terrorist's bidding. Nobody owns a gun? You can't drive away, park, walk back and cap the kid? "I'll kill your family if I see anyone else," he says, but the genius is sitting WITH HIS BACK TO THE LIVING ROOM WINDOW.

If all else fails, drive off, call the cops, and then double back around and plow through the damned window with your damned car. It's hard for Kid Idiot to shoot people when he's changing your oil the hard way. And then, guess what? You have the address for the drop, the last phone number the kid dialed, and ample time to get Jack Bauer on line two. (I'd aim for Bauer directly, mind you, and not go through channels - they'd arrest you and blow up your house.)

Instead, the candy afro guy decides to go ahead with what Kid Idiot wants, to the point of killing another guy INSTEAD OF THE TERRORIST. And don't say that Kid Idiot had a gun - so did the guy he killed. It didn't stop Candy Afro from rushing him.

Of course, the only guy who has a clue is the jackass neighbor who is obviously an eeeeevil Islamophobe - and who gets whacked for his jackassery. Naturally, the crusading good guy of the hour is the lady who preaches to the FBI about how everything they do is illegal, then the moment they show up with an actual warrant from a real judge (with a gavel and everything), she destroys the files they've requested. And lectures them more.

Not that she wasn't enabled. Ol' Tom Paris there knows that she's a preachy little holier-than-thou, but he and both his agents leave her alone after serving the warrant. I thought that they were there primarily to keep an eye on her while he did the search - but NOPE. Brilliant move, Kasparov. (The only guy with the huevos to actually call BS on her is the Islamic guy who was arrested with her - and BTW, that was HER FAULT because he had nothing to do with it.)

I could go on...but then again, I couldn't. Really. I bailed after the third hour. They were all just too stupid. God, I hope that's not a realistic portrayal, because if it is, we may all have to move to Iceland or something.

Monday, January 15, 2007

In Church Last Sunday

I was listening to my pastor's message when he said, "Turn to Luke Chapter 24".

I suddenly thought, "24?"

The "Hush Rush" Bill

I'd take this seriously except for the fact that Dennis Kucinich is a barking lunatic.

Over the weekend, the National Conference for Media Reform was held in Memphis, TN, with a number of notable speakers on hand for the event. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made an surprise appearance at the convention to announce that he would be heading up a new House subcommittee which will focus on issues surrounding the Federal Communications Commission.

The Presidential candidate said that the committee would be holding "hearings to push media reform right at the center of Washington.” The Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee was to be officially announced this week in Washington, D.C., but Kucinich opted to make the news public early.

In addition to media ownership, the committee is expected to focus its attention on issues such as net neutrality and major telecommunications mergers. Also in consideration is the "Fairness Doctrine," which required broadcasters to present controversial topics in a fair and honest manner. It was enforced until it was eliminated in 1987.
This description of the Fairness Doctrine in the above paragraph is inaccurate, and written by someone who wants to see its return.
The Fairness Doctrine was a presidential executive order which required broadcasters to give equal air time to both sides of a controversial issue. Most broadcasters avoided this by making sure that their programming was as boring as life itself.
The AM radio band was saved by two events:
) In 1987 Ronaldus Magnus repealed the Fairness Doctrine.
2) In August of the next year, a former front office employee of the Kansas City Royals named Rush Hudson Limbaugh III started a nationally sindicated radio talk show from WABC 770-AM in New York City.
And the rest they say, is history.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Here comes the neighborhood

I think I share a widespread feeling when I see this billboard and say, "Aw, hells NO."

Beware the BAD COLOR!
Don't you just cringe thinking about the entertainment part of the Village?

I'm told that it used to be a huge field of sunflowers; no doubt, there were odd symbols carved into the flowers, because it was ALIENS! And now there will be fashionable shops, recreation, and dining - with dead people. You can buy anything, all on sale - but it's CURSED! (What a twist!)

Seriously, this just kills me. I have about forty jokes here.

Programming Note

Hi all - will be back with something tonight. Thanks for being patient, and for your well-wishes.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Read it First

Is this guy aware of the irony?

A Caney Creek High School dad is fired up because the Conroe Independent School District uses the book "Fahrenheit 451" as classroom reading material.

Alton Verm, of Conroe, objects to the language and content in the book. His 15-year-old daughter Diana, a CCHS sophomore, came to him Sept. 21 with her reservations about reading the book because of its language."The book had a bunch of very bad language in it," Diana Verm said. "It shouldn't be in there because it's offending people. ... If they can't find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn't have a book at all."Alton Verm filed a "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials" Thursday with the district regarding "Fahrenheit 451," written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. He wants the district to remove the book from the curriculum.

A lot of these classroom issues with books are legit, with parents concerned that the school is making their kids read porn. but to remove from the classroom a book about banning books....

Hat tip to my friend Tim Roth, who actually found this in a paper newspaper.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Pace en requiem

This post has been temporarily removed.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Still playing catch-up

My next stop was good ol' FJM. They had a lot of fun while I was away, particularly with Jon Heyman. (It's a fun piñata to smack at, especially since Skip Bayless isn't writing for Page 2 any more.)

This post was the one that got my eye, though. (Warning - like many FJM posts, there's a language alert.) Scott Brosius for the Hall of Fame? Because he had a few good postseason games?

Let's just contrast this case with another fellow who had a few great postseason games - a guy name of James Lamar Rhodes.

Back in '54, Rhodes' New York (baseball) Giants were facing down the vaunted Cleveland Indians - winners of 111 games, whose top three starters were Bob Feller-Bob Lemon-Early Wynn (each of them are in the Hall of Fame). Rhodes was a pinch-hitting specialist who'd hit .341 that year, slugging nearly .700 in his limited at-bats. His Series line against the great Indians: 3 games, 4-6, 2 hr-7 bi. His 3-run homer won Game One, far more famous for Willie Mays' over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz' 500-foot fly ball.

He didn't last long after that - Dusty Rhodes (as he is better-known) was never able to amass even 250 at-bats in a single season, and was out of baseball by the age of 32. In that respect, Brosius had far the better career. And even so, his "most similar players" are guys like Mike Pagliarulo and Ed Sprague. This is not a career that admits one into the Hall of Fame, even if a few of his brightest moments may warrant mentioning.

I'm beginning to appreciate the Sports Guy's view that Cooperstown is just as valuable as a museum than as a Hall of Fame, and the whole of the story ought to be told, good and bad. I am not in favor of Mark McGwire's candidacy, for example, primarily because the guy was essentially Dave Kingman until the andro, an oft-injured power hitter good for .230, 35 dingers, and 120 whiffs per year. But the SG has a point - if you put him in, put all of that right on the plaque and let the visitors decide whether he was a cheater or a lovable Bunyan.

Laissez les mal temps roulez

Via the Swilling:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Days after the police chief said he believed his department was bringing murders under control in New Orleans, the city logged at least five killings in 14 hours.

"At least," because there was a sixth murder, a woman "whose body showed trauma but whose death had not been classified." So, why do I say murder in her case?

The unclassified death was that of a woman whose body was found wrapped in a rug in the Lower Ninth Ward. [emphasis mine - nf]

Those who come by their deaths naturally are not stashed in rugs and dumped out for the neighbors to find.

This whole "under control" thing doesn't even stand up to basic math. The article states that 161 people were murdered in the city in 2006 - a total of 53 in the final three months. Lessee... that's a rate of 212 per annum, which means that the rate shot up in the final quarter. What is your conclusion?

A - new initiatives have brought the problem under control in recent months.
B - new initiatives have done diddly-spit.

If you said B, you are better at math than Superintendant Walter Riley, who went with A on Monday, and then left police spokesman Bambi Hall to give the numbers from October to December the very next day.

Granted that fourteen hours is a small sample size for the New Year. You may prefer the numbers from full years instead: a murder rate that topped the nation's cities in 2002 and 2003; from a total of 159 homicides in 1999, to 265 in 2004. Only 210 in 2005, most likely because Katrina emptied the place out to end the year and brought a lot of attention to those remaining, making it more difficult to slay one's neighbors. Still - more in 2006 with half of a city they had seven years previous?

It starts from the top, kids:

For the last time, dammit, I'm NOT Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!
No doubt he's handing out free chocolate milk to symbolize his deeply-held principles.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cook Cars, Not Pigs!

You have GOT to be kidding me.

A French court ruled Tuesday that an organization with far-right links can continue offering pork soup to the homeless, rejecting police complaints that the food distribution was racist.
Police banned the soup kitchen last month, arguing that the handouts discriminated against Jews and Muslims who do not eat pork on religious grounds.

Lemme get my little brain round this... if someone actually went about dragging Jews and Muslims into this building by force for a little appetizer, they could be arrested (and rightly so)*. BUT, they don't do that. People are free to walk away and eat elsewhere. Even if they're not Muslim or Jewish.

The mayor of Paris condemned the ruling and urged the police to appeal the ruling.
"Faced by this initiative which stinks of xenophobia, I want once again to express city hall's desire to fight all forms of discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism," mayor Bertrand Delanoe said in a statement.

It would be nice if that attitude included fighting actual incidents of anti-Semitism, such as synagogue vandalism, assault, and the stray "sh***y little country" comment. Then again, when the mayor of Paris essentially tells the police to be a law unto themselves and disobey the courts, it's probably not surprising that the citizens themselves fail to act lawfully.

* could be, but in France, probably not actually arrested.
** w/t to It Comes In Pints - who kindly quoted me alongside the King of the FFO Threads. Shucks, folks, I'm speechless...

Melting! Melllltinnnng!

Not surprising, either. If you don't post for a while, your readers begin to melt away.

Well, I'm back. Later today I can tell you of adventures from Points South of Here. For right now, I'm just glad to be in the regular swing of things. I even enjoy work. Truth be told, I've always liked my job, but this is more of a visceral digging into it. I'm relishing work. (And a great turkey pot pie, at least for the next 45 minutes.)

The first adventure I had in Points South is discovering that Points South have terrible internet connections. My mom's computer is two steps above a lit cinder block in the technological chain. As a result I really have some catching up to do with all y'all. Hope your Christmas was merry (white, where applicable) and your New Year happy!