Thursday, March 29, 2007

Warning - high explosives

Pro athletes are usually not as nimble off the field as they are on it. Then there's Michael Ray Richardson.
Before Tuesdays game against the Yakima Sun Kings, Richardson made anti-Semitic comments to two reporters in his office when discussing the contract general manager Jim Coyne had offered him Monday to coach his team in the CBA and USBL.

Not that Richardson is the 'tread carefully' type, but to trip headlong on the third rail? And then to go back and stomp on it repeatedly?
"I've got big-time lawyers," Richardson said, according to the Times Union. "I've got big-time Jew lawyers."

Oh, my...

When told by the reporters that the comment could be offensive to people because it plays to the stereotype that Jews are crafty and shrewd, he responded with, "Are you kidding me? They are. They've got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They're real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they've got to be crafty."

First rule of holes - stop digging. Second rule - even if you think you have a point, you can't usually go back and make it after a great honking blow-up like this. Just stop, retract, and come back around later. If you have this kind of a gift for putting things the worst possible way, it's better just to stop and retract, and let other people handle the media.
And he continued, "They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?" he said. "Which I think is great. I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they're run by Jewish. It's not a knock, but they are some crafty people."

At this point, saying "there's nothing wrong with it, I think it's great, they're very successful" is useless. The reporters were almost certainly slack-jawed, eyes widening in horror. This is like thinking it's OK to jump from the top of the Chrysler Building because you're aiming for the sofa cushion you dumped out on the sidewalk.

Richardson is going to be sacked, for certain, which is itself a shame. He'd turned himself around and gotten free of the cocaine habit that derailed his NBA playing career. (Note to all you kids out there: drugs mess up your brain.) Since I have no blogging "career" to speak of, I'm going to go ahead and try to get around this delicately.

Richardson was stereotypical, sure as shooting. "Insulting" is accurate, "clumsy" a definite. He was asked absolutely nothing about race, so his decision to bring it into the discussion is truly bizarre - the biggest indication that it's anti-Semitism in play. Whatever he may have meant to say, he missed the mark, unless the mark was his own keister, in which case, bullseye. His "they've got a lot of power" line was straight out of the Cliff's Notes to World Conspiracies.

Here's the question - if he had been asked about race, and sipmly replied, "I admire anyone who can do well for himself despite great hardship and opposition," and left it at that, would he be getting suspended and eventually fired? He could even make the case that he'd done the same thing by kicking his coke jones, and we'd have had an uplifting human interest story instead of a spectacular self-immolation. There's the barest scrap of a hint of that sort of statement deep under all the insane crap he did say.

Against this, there's the half-apologetic, "Not that there's anything wrong with that," which is often what people toss out after leaving the impression that they DO think something's wrong with it. The article also mentions that he'd spat out a Coulterism at a heckler, which should have already gotten him a pink slip - insulting the paying customers is bad for business.

Oh - and I love the statement his team made afterward:

"The Albany Patroons' organization sincerely apologizes to any individuals or ethnic groups that these alleged statements may have offended," the statement read. [in part]

Alleged? Two witnesses, likely an audio recording - nothing alleged here, guys. He straight-out said it. How about, "Coach is good at basketball, and bad at thinking. He realizes that he just insulted a good majority of the country. He's sorry about that. So are we. We're considering our options." And he is sorry. He says in his own statement, "[The suspension] is terrible and I don't think it's fair... But I want to make an apology if I offended anyone because that's not me."

In other words, it's possible that all he sees in himself is that scrap of compliment, and thus he can't see why he should be punished for what (in his mind) is mere clumsiness. The larger picture - that his words amounted to, "Jews are pretty good people even if they are Jewish" - is entirely lost on him. All speculation is moot. He's toast and he deserves it, but I can't help but have a little sadness for the guy, that he could be so completely blind to how he sounded and what he meant.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The get well caption contest

update, bump - first off, you guys rule. The word went out from this time and place... uh, sorry. Wrong President. Just chalk it up as another one of those weird parallels. Where was I? Ah, yes, you rule. These captions are a riot.

Second, I'm glad to report that the Invincible Super-Mom is OK - if by "OK" you mean
According to the doctors, there was no permanent damage, and the fact that she drove herself to the emergency room--stopping to get gas on the way, in an almost freakout-inducing incident of Old Lady Toughness--worked out well, as it kept her from suffering a major heart attack within the next few months.

The emphasis is in the original. When I said "Invincible Super-Mom" I had no idea. One of his commenters asked if she crashed through the hospital wall on a rocket-bike, guns blazing.

Chris Sims' Mom = Awesome. Chris Sims' Mom doesn't suffer heart attacks, she destroys them. Chris Sims' Mom wrecks cholesterol's face. We ought to just run a caption contest about her, instead of for her.

Fans of Chris Sims will be sad to hear that the Invincible Super-Mom has had a heart attack. Her prognosis is good, but it obviously means that Chris will take a break from the awesome while he handles important matters.

This is when the fans have to step up, and so I snitched the following picture from the ISB to run a caption contest - to fill the gap a little bit, and to give Chris a smile as a thank-you for months of fun. (Among his many gifts, he is the King of the Alt Tag.) So, you tell me - what do you think Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, and our 16th President are discussing down there?

I think Teddy just blinked, man.  Seriously.
"See that gap? I'd totally fit next to you on Mount Rushmore. It would even be actual size."

Do better than me in the comments!

(Photo is a Chris Sims original, used here with permission)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bringing people together

There are some great things about blogging...
  1. Anyone can do it. You literally need no money at all. While I was computer-free for a time, I went to the library and updated... All it takes is the willingness to find something to say.
  2. It rewards merit and perseverance. You may not wind up at ESPN like Simmons, or with freelance work like many others. You may not get book deals out of it like James Lileks. But people will read and respond, sometimes from the unlikeliest places.
  3. Connections. I have a small chain of friends around the country based simply on all of us reading each others' stuff. These are people I'd never have a chance to "meet" otherwise. (And there are a few I've met in person.)
  4. It polices itself. A lot of people suspect blogging because one can say anything, never use one's real name (ahem, NIGHTFLY), and never reply to anyone who objects to things one says. I respectfully submit that this is much less of a problem than some people think - primarily because most people are not idiots. They can tell pretty quickly when someone is a troll or a loser or writes nothing worth reading. Such people wind up posting in a vacuum, and the only hits on their page are spammers and their own updates.
  5. Truth in Personality. Noms de blog aside, a person's real character comes out. Often what will happen is that a person will leave behind all the everyday fakery employed in day-to-day, face-to-face interaction and be much more honest behind the keyboard. You may pass someone on the street and think one thing, and then think something entirely different when reading what and how that person posts - free of the instant assumptions one makes based on dress, gender, skin, and demeanor.
  6. Variety. There are blogs about everything. Blogs exclusively devoted to crochet, and various religions, and a particular sport, and comics blogs, and game blogs, and blogs by pro athletes who play and develop games... There and photoblogs, essay blogs, blogs about politics, blogs about hiking and biking, and even a blog about smashing bad sportswriting. Which brings me to...
  7. The quality of the opposition. Said blog about smashing bad sportswriting clued me in to this hatchet job by Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, who has taken to moonlighting as a bad comedy writer. He must not be familiar with blogs at all if he thinks that it's all syncophant geeks who have lived in their parents' basement for 37 years. I know at least one blogger who was on his own at 17. I know parents that blog, kids that blog. Just bookmark this blog, and then click "next blog" on the sidebar and skip around for the variety. (I do want you to be able to come back easily.)

Mr. Shaughnessy, were he clever, could point out that his hatchet job was brought to light by a blog that more or less specializes in hatcheting other people's writing. I, being cleverer, will point out that his hatchet job was published in a nationally-respected sports section for millions to see, and was specifically aimed at a star pitcher in his own city who will be in the Hall of Fame after he retires. Getting mad at FJM for noticing is to be angry for them for buying and reading the column, which is presumably why it was written and published.

The clincher, though, is that so many "different" mainstream writers, such as Shaughnessy, Kathleen Parker, and even George Will have been slagging blogs... all these diverse individuals saying nearly the same thing, while the supposedly monolithic pajama-clad nerd herd have a million different topics, and no real need to be the be-all, end-all voice in any one of them.

(PS - the target of Dan "Curse of the Bambino" Shaughnessy wrote thus: "First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win." As the man says, Gandhi is one guy you don't want to mess with.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Holy Shamoley

Because, really, there's little else holy about it. From Teflon of Molten Thought*, a cautionary tale about -Ianity without Christ (and a much better title than the one you see here).

Every time I share a tale about something like this, I'm met with a warning "not to judge." In the sense that I am forbidden to say that I'm going to heaven and any of these folks aren't - absolutely. But in the sense that of the two of us, one may be getting more help - of course I can. In fact, I have to, in order to put myself in the position to get as much help as I can toward heaven, because Word has it that it's not easy to get there. Simple, yes; blessedly simple. It's simple to fly, too, as Douglas Adams reminds us: Throw yourself at the ground and miss. That doesn't make success any easier.

In this case, the trouble isn't really with any one thing. Praising God with contemporary song? Not bad in itself; even done badly (as it often is) it can be a help to some people. A down-to-earth pastor**? Good for him. Friendly milling about? My own Roman Catholic parish has the friendly milling down perfectly.

Now, add them all together, and one gets the impression that the whole affair lacks focus; that following Jesus involves nothing in the way of sacrifice or penitence or even basic solemnity. Not all solemn things are unhappy, you know. The key in Teflon's post is here: "The choir director was allowed to exalt God one more time with a hymn..."

Eureka. If you want to know what worship is about, that's it: we exalt the Lord our God. People don't like to do that, which is why churches in general have traditionally been solemn and serious places; to remind us visibly of the importance of being a congregation that belongs to Christ. Anyone will tell you that the lesson we hate most is usually the one we need to keep coming back to - in this case, every Sunday at least. We don't do this to make Him like us, but to express our gratitude that He already loved us, and died for us while we were yet His enemies.

It's certainly possible that a person at home in the First Reformed Comfy Couch for Believers is holier than I am. (To quote CS Lewis, for his sake I hope he is.) But it's possibly certain that this atmosphere is an obstacle to the faith, because it spits out the hard bits and leaves behind the mush. It's quite easy to come to think of Jesus as a buddy and thus as a helpful extra or a refined taste for well-rounded people, rather than as the Savior of the world. Or to put it another way - if you're really convinced that mankind is fallen and needs to be ransomed from evil, who would you trust to be capable of it: hand-holding, head-tilting Jesus, or table-flipping, storm-rebuking Jesus?

To go further, I don't think that the hand-holding Jesus makes much sense at all without the table-flipping. There's been no shortage of people willing to pat us on the head and say, "There, there, it's OK and so are you." There is a decided shortage of people willing to smack us on the rumpus and say, "It's not OK, but you can still do it if you're willing to get back up and keep going." Comforting only makes sense if one is first un-comfortable.

As the Man himself said, Test the spirits to know if they are true - and in this test we see that exclusive hand-holding is a loser. We do this stuff all the time to our kids nowadays. They can't play overly physical sports because someone may fall down go boom. They can't keep score because losing is disappointing and sad. They can't play pickup games and thus they never learn how to work out their own problems. They can't play cowboys and indians because it's culturally mean, nor cops and robbers because guns are wrong, whether or not it's the robber shooting children or the cops shooting the robbers to stop them.

Sure, kids did feel bad when they lost, and when the winners rubbed their noses in it. But the lesson came when strong role models told them not to do that if they won the next time, and taught them how to honestly deal with disappointment. And when they did win, it was sweeter because it was earned honestly, and not given to them in the spirit of "fairness." (In fact, in this sense "fairness" is dishonest, because it unfairly confers a reward on failure and slacking, making them equal to success and diligence.) The alternative is to never be able to cope with failure, making one whiny and miserable all one's life.

Losing is, in fact, a true life lesson - one learns that others are superior in all sorts of skills and contests, and one can (given healthy guidance) remember to be happy for what one actually is, instead of resenting what one is not, and indulging a grievance against the world for exceeding one's own capacity. Think of the mess if everything was like that - a Vonnegutian nightmare where the best medicine, symphonies, cuisine, engineering, athletics, etc. were no better than what any one average person could accomplish on their own. It would be a terrible world if nobody in it could sing or cook or paint better than I could. We want and need people to be vastly better than us in some areas, and it's better for all concerned if neither we nor they were made to feel guilty about it.

So what does this have to do with church? Simply put, what people are trying to do to all of us, they've first tried to do to Christ - He is infinitely better than every last one of us in the one thing that really matters - He is perfect, sinless, God-made-man. If we do not have ANY acknowledgement of this, then the news that He is also our friend loses all its impact. The Methodists that Teflon describes, in focusing exclusively on the friend part of things, lose the power of that revelation. God Incarnate cares and decided to use His might to free us from bondage; in fact, the only possible way that it could work is if He is in fact the Son of God as well as the Son of Man. Lose that grandeur, and you lose everything else. Fail to come to grips with our own failure, through sin, and one can scarcely grasp the Good News that even this can be remedied. Lent comes before Easter for a reason.

*I have GOT to get these guys onto the sidebar before too much longer.
** Pastor "Honky Cat." Heheheheheheh.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sold-out Gold

I watched a little television today. Maxwell House used the old Madness song "Our House" to sell their coffee. The rewritten lyrics were dreadful, which simply added to the insult. Maxwell House is in the doghouse as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some random stuff

» The thing with work is that it’s not just one major project, but all the other small stuff that has to go on while the project is running. I have to do so many niggling tasks that I feel like the rest of the staff are working harder than I am. It’s a mental block more than anything else; got loads done yesterday all by myself – not coincidentally, felt like a million bucks.

» Nobody uses their turn signals. I’m convinced there must be a rash of thefts of turn signal sticks. Seriously, some prankster is jimmying open car doors and just yanking them right out of the steering columns. It’s the only rational explanation.

» Back on 2/28 I wrote: “I’m cautiously optimistic. Just typing that probably ripped Rick DiPietro’s ACL or something, but I can’t help it.” I should have helped it. The Isles started losing important games to teams trying to catch them in the standings, and then lost DiPietro, their starting goalie, to a neck injury. He sat tonight while the Isles got clobbered in Ottawa. I think the last team I rooted for that had any success was the ’86 Mets.

» On a related note – one of hockey’s many “unwritten rules” is that you don’t run other teams’ goalies. As a result, goalies don’t really get bodychecked, but they still get contact. If you hassle a keeper you may distract him enough to score, or get him to slash at you and take a penalty. If you just run him over (and make it look like an opponent pushed you) you may put him out of the game. I don’t think it’s intentional, as in, “Gee, let’s hurt the goalie,” but in the back of the mind there’s the thought – “he’s playing well, let’s rough him up and rattle him a bit.” In this case, DiPietro had come way out of his net to beat a forward to a loose puck, so he was more exposed than usual; again, this happens. Steve Begin didn’t clobber him on purpose; but neither did he dive out of the way or anything. It’s all part of the game; and no, I’m not calling sour grapes here. I could use Dwayne Roloson’s injury during the ’06 Finals as a good example as well. Coaches tell guys constantly, “You’ve got to get physical with these guys,” and “Go hard to the net,” and there isn't a magical switch in your head when, at a split-second's notice, an off-balance goalie is in your path.

I’ve been run my share of times, though thankfully I’ve never been hurt badly enough to leave a game. On my level, though, the temptation is worse, because most teams on my level don’t carry a backup at all. If the goalie goes down, they have to borrow a guy from another team or toss some gear on a non-goalie – thus losing two good players instead of one.

I’ve played for nearly every team in our league at least once along the way, and so have most of the goalies. As a result, no matter what happens in a game, the goalies always get along. As an example – I was playing defense one game when a scuffle broke out at the opponent’s net. Of course we all ran over. The other goalie saw me from the corner of his eye and actually wound up to clock me, but I said, “Steve, it’s me.” He instantly goes, “Oh – hi, Mike.” And then he clocked someone else.

» I picked Kansas to win the tournament. Jayhawks fans – I’m sorry.

» Shannon C of “I’m Seriously, Damn It!” spoke very kindly of me the other day – said that blogs like mine (and Tracey’s and Ricki’s) help her and that she reads regularly. This, of course, was two days after I wished for Mark Millar to be run over by Stan Lee in a Hoveround. (Irony 1, Christian Witness 0.) But still, my sincere thanks for the kind words; it keeps me going when I’m feeling blue. A word in season, how good it is!

» Speaking of which, this is an interesting reply to my Captain America rant. I think that KG and I disagree less than he supposes. I don’t think patriotism is obsolete at all; I just think that Mark Millar thinks it is. And having read my Lewis (in this case, The Four Loves), I am aware that blind patriotism has its dangers. I also think, however, that the ideal is necessary. Too many people talk as if blind patriotism invalidates all patriotism, as part of a general outlook that supposes that anything gone wrong means that it getting it right is impossible, and not much worth trying. To no-one’s surprise this means that people risk little, and aspire to no greatness of any kind - works, words, spirit, or virtue.

There’s a whole post related to this, just starting to percolate inside of me. For now I’ll just note that, for a society that likes to discount the Fall of Man, we do an awful lot of worrying about the fall of our principles.

Humping the Homeless for Fame and Fortune

The tent city homeless in St Pete are rejecting an offer of housing:

The city has been preparing to open a 90-day tent city on a vacant private lot so that people could move off the sidewalks near First Avenue N and 18th Street. At the end of 90 days, city officials say, they should be able to place residents in a more permanent setting, including a new shelter in Largo.
Though advocates initially agreed to the move, they now say it will not proceed without written protections.
Among them: The advocates and the homeless want equal say in how the camp is run. They also want to be able to bring new people into the tent city to replace people who are helped. And they don't want to be sent to the Largo shelter, to be built at the former site of the PSTA headquarters.

Let's review: (1) The homeless are rejecting an offer of housing from the city of St. Pete. (2) They want to keep the tent city permanent. (3) They want a say in how the tent city will be run.

Let's take (1) and (3) together. If you want to have a say in where you live I recommend getting off the malt liquor. I live in the hood in Tampa - please tell me that what I see with my own eyes is false and the majority of homeless don't have drug, booze and/or mental problems.

Now (2). The homeless advocates have learned the lessons of Revvums Al & Jesse, who have made their fortunes exploiting the suffering in the black community. The tent city needs to be permanent so that April Kellogg of FOX 13 News has a place to park her butt. These activists are humping the homeless to fame and fortune.

Damned right the Sisko is angry! I am damned sick and tired of my compassion being exploited!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

If it weren't for updates, I wouldn't have no posts at all

Friends, I haven't given up - but life and work are just beating me about the head lately. In a good way. This means that I can lurk and toss a few comments, but actual posting continues to be light. I just don't want you to think I've forgotten (all eight of) you.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Good news

Just in: the NHL suspended Chris Simon indefinitely for clotheslining Ryan Hollweg in last night's Islander/Ranger game.

There's no place in the league for something like this, and I hope he's done for the year. The whole point of "policing yourself" breaks down if you don't have the maturity to handle it. And I know that many people see something like this as the logical extension of dropping the gloves, but I disagree. The truth is, dropping the gloves offers the opponent the chance to fight back. He may even win. In other words, it's the difference between a gentleman's duel and a mugging. I rather like that hockey permits the duel, and strictly punishes the mugging.

In fact, I'll go further and theorize that the duel helps prevent the mugging by putting accountability into the idea of protecting yourself and a teammates with a fight. You can't just do that all the time, because you will hurt your team, and you will become a target for others. It keeps things under control. Believe it or not, hockey isn't just a fight with skating, no matter what you saw in Slap Shot.

Bottom line is, if Simon thought that Hollweg was giving him a cheap shot, he can duke it out. Losing a fight is preferable to losing the respect of every player in the league and shaming your team by being a cretin. Besides, it's not like Simon's never gone a round in his career - look at the PIM (Penalties, in Minutes) for his career record. Nor has he ever reached 50 points in a season - the true mark of a grinder/enforcer. So drop the gloves and don't be an unprintable word in a family blog.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

First rule - do not dispel

updated, March 9 - you know, the more I read about it the less I like it. It's actually making me angry at this point. Millar's on record as favoring the pro-registration guys, which means that he basically set up Captain America - the living embodiment of our patriotism - as the bad guy. To bring that home with a mjolnir-quality sledgehammer, he has Cap opposed by Manhattan emergency workers in the climax of the big fight, after which Patriotism quits: submits itself and eventually dies.

Now, I know full well that "death" is a completely malleable concept in the comics. But unless something HUGE comes along, the symbolism of this is inescapable: Millar is telling me that patriotism has no place in our world today, either real life or in our imagination as a herioc ideal to which we aspire. Inadvertently, he does get one thing right - when we submit to tyranny, we become slaves, and die. That's exactly why Cap would never have done it, and why the entire Civil War denoument and epilogue are a total load.

My dad was a huge comics fan.

He had an extensive collection and it would take quite a pile of dough to bring it all back together: old war comics like The Haunted Tank and Blackhawks, the original X-Men #1-150 (doubles of some), a great bunch of the early Spider-Man and Hulk comics, some Batman, some Thor, Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD (in the classic Steranko days, when Fury fought, showered, ate, and made sweet love without ever putting out his cigar)... He had always wanted to break into the trade himself, and I believe he did briefly work at Marvel, though in what capacity I never learned - he had a photocopy of the pay stub on the wall of his studio.

It would kill him all over again to learn about this.

The big thing about Marvel was that, coming into the 60's, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby wanted to get away from the absurdities of 50s superhero comics and do some more socially relevant stuff. The genius lay in doing so without losing the essential tone of the comics: FUN. It remained a great, glowing, over-the-top world of two-fisted action, where people wore garish costumes in public - but which in many other ways was clearly recognizable as our world.

The X-Men and Spider-Man were perhaps Stan and Jack's finest achievement. These were teenagers suddenly shouldering great powers (and great responsibilities), and reacting the way teenagers often will: tempermentally. They would squabble, struggle, worry for their loved ones, and eventually prevail - only to be misunderstood and feared for their powers. And really, that's the universal thread of the teen years, isn't it? Every kid thinks nobody understands me, and the world's against me, and if they only knew my true abilities. These two titles recognized that every kid has a secret identity, and tapped into it.

Escapist? Yes. Still, it's worth recalling the Chestertonian quip that the people who worry most about escapism are jailers. These were rip-roaring yarns, but they also spoke to people - they took on social problems in a way that remained true to their internal logic, and addressed some universal human nature to boot. That's why they're still exciting now. That's what earned Marvel the moniker of "The House of Ideas." And that's what makes what happened to Cap all wrong.

Rewind a bit. The Ultimates line has been launched, repositioning Marvel's classic heroes by telling their origins (some of which are forty years old) all over again in the current day. It's not a bad idea, but they did so while losing the necessary distance from the real-day world to make it an escape. That's mistake number one. The first rule of storytelling, dating back to Homer and Aesop - do not dispel. Don't ground your story so literally that it can't take flight; the reader won't go anywhere.

Then came Civil War, the brainchild of editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and writer Mark Millar - a huge multi-title crossover involving all of the Marvel characters. The main plot is that the government gets fed up with superheroes wrecking stuff and orders all of them to register their powers and identities. Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic are on board; notably, Captain America is not. (This brilliant post from the Invicible Super-Blog sums things up.)

So, we get right back into that real world - but again, too deeply. It's like J Jonah Jameson wrote the comic: superheroes are a menace! Outlaw them all! More disturbing, it ignores a good deal of the strong characterization of everyone involved: Tony Stark hires supervillains to enforce the registration act? Really? And Peter Parker decides that, after hiding his identity since he was 15 so nobody kills Aunt May/Mary Jane/his pet rock, he's just going to call a press conference and blab away? And worst of all, Cap decides at the very end, after he's pretty much won the thing, that it wasn't worth it AND HE QUITS. (Great explanations thereof here.)

Captain !%&^% America does NOT QUIT. This is a man that punched Hitler in the face. This is a man who, when his arch nemesis launched a deadly rocket at Washington DC, hopped on the damn thing like Slim Pickens and brought it down in the Arctic at the apparent cost of his life. That's so frickin' awesome that it blew Chuck Norris' mind; now he's just laying down his mighty shield and giving up? That's pure bovine effluent - and we have yet to address his ignoble death.

Going down over the Atlantic while sabotaging several tons of Nazi vengeance is a worthy death for a superhero. Getting shot by a sniper while going to trial is hella weak. Um - Mark Millar - what frickin' possessed you to kill CAPTAIN AMERICA the same way Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald? Are you blargin' insane, jackass? At least let him go out in style. Damn, it would be like Batman dying from bad shellfish.

It's just a craptastic end to a 66-year comic history, and it's a disservice to the character, disrespectful to the faithful readers, and an insult to the Mighty Marvel Manner. I hope Stan Lee runs you over in his Hoveround, Mark Millar. You suck.

Note to file

When food shopping on an evening of single-digit temperatures, it is unadvisable to forget a bag in the car overnight. Case in point:

New CRUNCHY Windex!
There are a few bubbles, but most of that is ICE. Thanks be, I didn't leave anything edible in that bag.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Updated look

There are a few changes, mostly cosmetic - but despite the "We saved your old template" message, I am having a little trouble making sure that everyone's link is actually still there. I saved the darn thing myself to my hard drive just to make sure.

It looks like some folks are missing - and it looks like Blogger will not let me edit the template in its new "layout" page, nor let me correct the " that I used instead of ' when abbreviating. I also don't know how to re-add my sitemeter counter. I'm probably lucky I didn't lose everyone's comments, now that I think about it.

Well, more to come, I suppose. Like herding cats, I tell you...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Posted Without Comment (FOX News)

None needed:

Wednesday, February 28, 2007
These days, the rules of Madonna's household are more along the lines of "like a virgin" than "express yourself." The pop icon is getting a taste of her own medicine — from her 10-year-old daughter Lourdes — and finding that with motherhood comes prudishness.

In a grand twist of irony, Madonna — who posed nude for her "Sex" book, simulated a sex act on a water bottle in her "Truth and Dare" movie, passionately embraced an African-American Jesus in her "Like a Prayer" video and kissed Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards — is having to tell Lourdes not to dress so provocatively, The New York Post's Page Six reports.

"My daughter is going through a phase of wearing jeans so tight she can't bend her knees in them," Madonna told British Elle, according to Page Six. "I have a go at her and say, 'Can't you wear something else? You have a closet full of clothes and you wear the same pants every day. ...
"'And please wear a belt because I don't want to see your butt crack when you bend over.'"

Other reports surfaced recently that the mother of three — who's married to British director Guy Ritchie — won't allow Lourdes to date until she's 18.

The singer better hope her "lucky stars" will align when she tries to impose that rule.